Monster Madness, Stars Fans Upset, Leaf Roomies and RAPTORS TRADE!

NHL exhibition schedule comes out tomorrow. Always exciting ( 🙂 ). This time with so many new faces, it may actually be. So many players, so few jobs, could be interesting. Also perhaps the Buds have a couple of surprises for the loyal fans….

I am not sure if anyone saw this, I know I didn’t but it’s a great quick clip of the Monster’s trip to Toronto. If others had shown it I apologize, I didn’t see it. It’s awesome- check out the wicked shirt Cliff is wearing!

It’s kind of fascinating to see how the folks in Dallas are reacting to the Monster’s selection of Toronto over Dallas. Couple of intersting articles on that subject today, any Stars fans reading this feel free to chime in on what’s real and what’s, well you know….:

First, the NY Times:

“In today’s Dallas Morning News there is an article headlined “Swedish Goalie’s Snub Stings Dallas Stars.” In it, The Morning News’s Mike Heika tells of anger and disappointment among Dallas hockey fans, and blame pointed at the new G.M. Joe Nieuwendyk. “The shine was off the apple for many Stars fans,” Heika writes, “who littered message boards with doubts about where Nieuwendyk is steering this ship.” Such a reaction is nothing short of astonishing. Even if they were not aware of the admiring comments Gustavsson had made about Toronto and the Leafs in the weeks leading up to his decision, how much chance did Stars fans think there really was for a Swedish player of Gustavsson’s caliber to choose Dallas over Toronto?”

First and foremost let me say one thing, and I don’t mean to be condescending at all, if Dallas fans are pissed that the Monster didn’t sign there, I think that is awesome. No, really, I think it’s hard enough in non-traditional markets to get people excited about players who are there, if folks are pissed about those who aren’t than that is terriffic. I am not going to shit on Dallas as a market, that’s not what this is about. I think it’s great that people there care about a relatively unknown prospect(outside of Toronto anyways). I also think that it’s great that fans are upset with Nieuwendyk for not landing him, for the same reason. Maybe it’s too harsh, but hell I can tell you a lot of hockey markets where the fans don’t care what the hell the GM does or doesn’t do! Personally, I don’t think you make that quick a judgment on the guy but….

“Just as important, there is the question of the elephant in the Dallas Stars’ room: their owner, Tom Hicks, is on the verge of financial meltdown. He took out hundreds of millions in loans that he has been unable to repay to buy half of Liverpool F.C., and now he must take league handouts to meet payroll for his baseball team, the Texas Rangers. Two weeks ago Hicks shut down his sports marketing company, and although he says he intends to keep operating the Stars and their rink, what aspiring player would voluntarily choose to enter so uncertain an economic situation?”

I am not entirely sure that Jonas could have cared less about that. I mean his agent may have, but does a 24 year old actually take that into consideration?

“Gustavsson is a different case altogether. He is already an iconic figure in Sweden, the “Monster” whose flawless netminding led Färjestad to first place in the Elitserien and the playoff championship. He is a big star, looking for a place to be a bigger star. And a hockey player seeking that kind of spotlight goes to a city like Toronto.”

I would love to believe that, but history certainly doesn’t show that. Hell, ask the press in this town where people want to sign and it isn’t Toronto.

“That’s why Gustavsson nixed San Jose fairly early in the bidding process; it didn’t feel to him like that much of a hockey locale (Ontarian Brian Campbell felt the same way after he was dealt there from Buffalo and got out after only four months). And Gustavsson found Colorado in complete organizational disarray, having just fired the entire management and coaching staffs. That left the Stars and Maple Leafs, and when Gustavsson’s Dallas suitors trotted him out to a Texas Rangers baseball game and had him throw the first pitch, that probably sealed it. Ten to one he went back to his hotel room for a Web search of airfares, Stockholm-to-Pearson Airport.”

Now clearly I am an idiot. I didn’t see the forest but for the trees. I asked where the Leafs were going to take Jonas and whom they were going to have meet with him when in fact Burke had the right plan, stick to hockey. The kid wants to play hockey the other shit isn’t going to matter.

“Back in Sweden, everyone was clamoring for Gustavsson to join the Leafs. In the Stockholm daily Aftonbladet on June 28, columnist Mats Wennerholm wrote an article whose promo blurb went like this: “The choice is simple, Jonas: in Toronto, you can become immortal. I would not hesitate a second. It’s the perfect club.”

I don’t doubt the opinions where there, again I don’t think they played any factor at all in his decision. The times goes on more about the financial problems of Hicks and how that is going to make like tough on Joe N. That may be true, but, and call me naive I just don’t see that as a deciding factor in Jonas’s decision.

Now Dallas’s own color commentater Daryl Reaugh had this to offer on his blog:

“But lets get back to the unsubstantiated feedback I’ve dug up in regards to the Stars courtship of Mr. Gustavsson. (TMZ has nothing on me) Word has it that he wanted to come to Dallas. His girlfriend and the Stars Fabian Brunnstrom’s squeeze are best friend’s. The organization, as we all know, is top notch. The goals are championship ones. The city is vibrant. The climate is terrific (except maybe in late July and August). And the opportunity going forward would have been his for the taking. However, now days the player doesn’t always make the final decision. Agents and “representatives” carry a lot of weight. Many of them have their clients best interests at heart, but also their own. Perhaps his reps saw hockey-mad Toronto as a better location for all involved – including themselves? Perhaps.”

Now, this is entirely plausible. Again, I am not buying it. Jonas took a long time. I know, I wrote too many posts about his decision. The tour, the meetings, the times, the waiting. I think he did this on his own and I think he had his own reasons. Agents may give advice and may make suggestions. However a good agent wouldn’t push a kid like this. That’s how you end up with no clients. Push a kid in his first deal and you won’t do his second. The player is the boss, the agent works for the player and not vise versa. Could I be wrong? Of course.

As I am writing this i see the Raptors have pulled off a trade, from the good folks at Yahoo Sports:

“The Mavericks and Raptors recruited the Orlando Magic and Memphis Grizzlies to help facilitate the deal. The Raptors will get Hedo Turkoglu in a sign-and-trade deal with the Magic rather than signing him outright. They also will receive forwards Devean George and Antoine Wright from the Mavericks.

Marion will receive a five-year, $40 million contract from the Mavericks.

Stackhouse will go to the Grizzlies, who will waive him. Only $2 million of Stackhouse’s $7 million contract for next season is guaranteed.

Toronto sends a trade exception to Orlando. The Mavericks also will receive forward Kris Humphries from the Raptors.”

DL will have coverage in the am.

So let me get this straight, Steve McNair’s girlfriend killed him (allegedly), his wife didn’t know about it and Lenny Dykstra’s gone bust. I mean really. REALLY!!! What the hell is this world coming to? You know what I say, collectively speaking no dumber animal on the planet than the professional athlete!

Jeff Blair has some good insight tonight on trading Roy:

“The cold reality is that Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay is the face of an injury-riddled team with a .500 record. He’s owed about $20-million through 2010 by a franchise with the sixth-lowest attendance in the major leagues this season. And so, general manager J.P. Ricciardi is listening to offers for baseball’s premier workhorse starting pitcher. In fact, he already started listening before saying so publicly. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim GM Tony Reagins sounded out Ricciardi about Halladay’s availability before the weekend, according to the Los Angeles Times. Ricciardi’s statements to the media came as no surprise to Halladay.”

This is no shocker. Releasing of BJ is no shocker either. JP inherited albatross contracts and he will leave the next GM with the same thing. To those who love JP, I promise this, if, when he trades Roy he includes either Vernon Wells or Alex Rios in the deal or both then he will have done a great job. If he can’t trade Roy and get a shitload he is a shitload!

“The dream is over. The club has an interim president and chief executive officer (Paul Beeston), ownership that no longer operates on the whim of one man (the late Ted Rogers) and a more corporate M.O. than before. The club faces a revenue crunch this year and going forward, will be saddled by the lengthy and expensive contracts given to under-performing outfielders Vernon Wells and Alex Rios. In addition, while the Jays cut loose relief pitcher B.J. Ryan yesterday, they owe him the remainder of $12-million in 2009 salary and another $10-million next year. Ricciardi must be thinking about moving third baseman Scott Rolen – whose trade value hasn’t been this high in years – as well as Halladay. Wells and Rios could only be dealt to a panicked and well-heeled buyer (hello there, Omar Minaya). Whether Ricciardi is the guy you’d want to make a big deal is moot – a Halladay transaction would owe as much to the input of assistant general managers Alex Anthopoulos and Tony LaCava. The guess here is manager Cito Gaston gets a say, and in that case third baseman Howie Kendrick would come to Toronto in any deal with the Angels.”

These are the dark days for this franchise folks. Blair is painting an ugly picture. Maybe that is why he has taken on other beats other than the Jays!

Insert tv sitcom joke here:

“Tyler Bozak, Christian Hanson and Viktor Stalberg thought they had seen the last of living in a college dormitory after they each decided to sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs two months ago. But the three 23 year olds have agreed to live in a similar arrangement this summer. On June 1, the top three Toronto prospects moved into a west-end apartment near the Leafs’ practice facility in order to diligently prepare for their first pro season.The idea of the three spending the summer together in Toronto to train under the watchful eye of the NHL team was hatched by the Leafs’ brass. The three youngsters were more than willing to partake in the plan, but rather than living alone, they decided to band together and share living quarters. The average day for the three includes an early morning workout with new Leafs strength and conditioning coach Anthony Belza, and they undergo constant counselling on the proper nutrition. In fact, Bozak and Hanson – with the other prospects at the camp – watched a firsthand cooking display by a chef the other day at the Air Canada Centre. “Of course, we learned about the right foods to eat, but I also learned that it doesn’t take that long to prepare a meal that is good for you,” Bozak said. “I may not be able to chop an onion as quickly as the chef did, but I can get it down to a few minutes.” The three have the afternoons and evenings off to become accustomed to their new surroundings. Bozak and Stalberg are avid golfers, joined a club in nearby Milton and often the pair of five handicappers find themselves engaged in competitive matches against one another. (Stalberg admitted he hasn’t beaten Bozak on many occasions).”

Cue the laugh roll! That gem also from the Globe and Mail.

More tomorrow on what should be another fun day!

TSM

nytimes is here
Blair is here

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