What a great summer so far right? The Blackhawks have kept up the pace jettisoning their supplemental talent, the Red Wings have gotten even older, and the Blues try their luck at second-hand goalies again. Oh, and Columbus is still Columbus.
Gets me every time.
Growing up, my parents used to love the movie "What About Bob?" starring Richard Dreyfus and Bill Murray. Dreyfus was a shrink who encouraged his patients to take 'Baby Steps' to accomplish things they were not comfortable doing. I see the same reaction when it comes to our beloved hockey team. Right after the Game 6 defeat, someone in my section said "This is another growing step; first playoff road win, we'll get there". The rose-colored glasses could be seen from space.
The Preds have never entered a season with the tagline "TEAM BUILT TO WIN THIS YEAR", which usually means in the world of sports cliches as an aging team with a bunch of veterans giving their one last go OR a team preparing to go through salary cap hell (see related picture above, it's like the photographer said "You will play 2010-11 in ATLANTA *gasp*). Poile and Co. have never graced us with that premise yet and that's probably a good thing.
While it is funny watching the Hawks shed away grit and role players like a kid pulling crust off the bread, they still have Keith, Seabrook, Kane, Toews, Ho$$a, Sharpe (I starting writing this at 1:30 P.M. on July 8th), and others at the moment still. Yes, they are the favorite to win the division. I'm dealing with that too. And don't expect anyone from Yahoo, TSN, CBC, ESPN, or anywhere else to pick the Preds to finish above them. In their eyes we lost our Captain and "a top caliber defenseman". While we think this is addition by subtraction, most will not. The Lombardi signing is a perfect fit on paper, but very much off the radar (Thanks, Ilya). So don't expect us anywhere near the top of anyone's playoff predictions. We'll be predicted to squeak in again by some, and by others to lose our spot to Calgary or so.
To the educated fan that reads the blogs here, the front office did just about everything we wanted them to do so far. They brought in a faster, younger, and some would say better top-line center. While several UFA's walked, draft picks were acquired from their rights and some potential offensive help and depth. There still is the #2 goalie issue, which this franchise knows the importance of having a strong backup, and the task of filling out the defensive pairs (Will somebody please STAND OUT), but overall this summer has been spectacular thus far. I'm tempted to say Poile has turned green and replaced his left hand with a Droid in response to not getting the top GM votes.
And no, Kevin Weekes isn't coming here. This is a good thing.
The final question going into the season regarding the roster is whether or not to bring in a hired gun like Afinogenov OR let some young'un earn that spot from camp/Milwaukee. Since Youtube does work on most computers, Linus Klasen does excite me greatly, especially if he cuts down on the ischoklad. Many are happy about the Jonas Andersson signing, and then there's the Sergei Kostitsyn situation, O'Reilly, the other Santorelli Brother... law of averages says one or two to these guys will make some contributions. God, I hope so.
What would you rather see? Someone like a Paul Kariya (spit) come in for a season and move the timetable up? Or give the kids a chance?