Bienvenue, everybody! First, an announcement: You may have noticed a few small changes around here lately. I'm really enjoying the Blogs Of Distinction blogroll, which updates automatically. Every time a new post is published, your blog goes to the top of the list.
Meanwhile, the Poll continues until December 31st with an astounding 37 votes thus far (thanks Greener!). Randy Wood flirts with 70% but Valk and Cross are still making 2nd an interesting race.
And now... let's talk hockey!
Did anyone imagine that it would unfold like this? That Mats would have one option in order to continue his career; wear a Montreal Canadians sweater, or retire. Guy Carbonneau seems to think that's the way it is. There's only one team left for Sundin:
"The Rangers and the Maple Leafs have signed players and don't have any cap room".
Really? Detroit too, I suppose. What about Vancouver?
"It's not all about money with Mats," Carbonneau said. "I'm sure he has plenty put away over the years."
Warning: Dry-witty-sarcastic-response... inevitable.
I'm sure Mats enjoys open speculation about his accumulation of wealth "over the years". We know there's plenty, but where do you think he's put it, Guy? Wait, don't answer, I'm still trying to figure out, if it's not about money with Mats, then why are teams with little or no cap space out of contention? Seems like backwards talk to me. Seems, dare I say it, arrogant? (Gasp! Someone in Montreal is arrogant? Imposseebluh!).
Back to the Leafs. According to this article by Kevin McGrann, the Leafs have 5.4 million left in cap space. Not enough for Sundin, but if Mats were to return, obviously changes would be made.
McCabe and Kubina, the obvious choices at 5 million each, would easily free up the cap space, if a deal can be found to move either. That's a big IF, and it's publicly Plan A, but there's a back door plan as well. Have a look at the Leafs payroll. Now have a look at McGrann's article again, at the box on the side that says LEAFS LINEUP. See who's listed as an extra?
Mark Bell seems awfully out of place as the 3rd highest paid forward on the team. Based on his statistics and troubled history, Mark is Mr. Expendable. Sending him down to the minors would free up 2.16-million in cap space, bringing the amount available to Sundin up to 7.56 million, or roughly, the amount Montreal is offering.
So the Leafs are still in the Sundin sweepstakes. I'm not suggesting the Leafs want to give up on Mark Bell and cut him loose after all he's been through, but that's plan B.
I was going to write a post before that was going to be a debate between 2 people over whether or not the Leafs should keep Mark Bell. Basically, it goes something like this:
Some guy: A convicted felon should have no business wearing a Maple Leafs uniform and no place in the dressing room. Hockey players, and the Leafs especially, are admired, even worshipped, by millions, many of whom are children. I'm not suggesting that NHL players have a responsibility to be role models, I'm just sayin' they are regarded as heroes by many, yet Mark Bell is the opposite of a hero, and it's too much to ask to pretend he's not.*
Some other guy: Ya, but did you see that hit on Alfredsson? It was awesome. He totally destroyed him! Bam! Goodbye Ottawa Senators playoff hopes! It was the best goddamn thing any frickin' Leaf did in last years sad, stinky season. Bell smoked Alfredsson!
So, once more, for old times sake, and maybe, just maybe, if the Captain wills it, as a last hurrah:
*. Mark Bell is the opposite of a hero, and it's too much to ask to pretend he's not: The real reason JFJ was fired, and the real source of dressing room dysfunction is this issue.