Friday, August 05, 2005

Ducks sign Scott Niedermayer - Burke is once again a genius!

Well, I was worried for a while, but as it turns out Brian Burke knew what he was doing all along. I never should have doubted him, in hindsight.

Burke went out and got the best defenseman available by signing Scott Niedermayer to a four year deal for $27 million. He also re-signed Rob Niedermayer for four-years, $8 million.

This is obviously a great signing for the Mighty Ducks. S. Niedermayer is the defending Norris Trophy winner and is arguably the best defenseman in the game today. His signing gives the Mighty Ducks incredible depth on the blueline. Carney and S. Niedermayer are the top pair, Salei and Ozolinsh are the second pair and, to hear Randy Carlyle tell it, that may be all he needs! However, if he wants to trot another pair onto the ice he has Vitaly Vishnevski and either Marc Popovic and/or Ladislav Smid. In my mind, that's the best group of defenseman in the NHL.

Now, the question becomes who will score for the Mighty Ducks? Sergei Fedorov is solid, of course, as the #1 center. Petr Sykora is a fine choice as the #1 right wing. However, who will play the left wing on the top line? Right now, it's either Joffrey Lupul, Mike Leclerc or Rob Niedermayer. Of those three, only Mike Leclerc is a natural left wing, but he doesn't have the natural scoring touch that Lupul does. R. Niedermayer is even less skilled when it comes to scoring, but he's the fastest and the best in the corners/forechecking. Lupul is the star in the making, but is he ready to play on the top line? It may be time to find out.

Randy Carlyle is the new coach, and he's an intense guy that promises to play up-tempo hockey. I'm not sure the Mighty Ducks have the legs to play that style on offense, but then again this is not the roster we will see on opening night. Burke still has time to make some more moves, and I'm sure he will. I lost my patience with him earlier this week because he had yet to make a big splash as Mighty Ducks GM. Now that he has, and now that he has brought a 31-year old Norris Trophy winner to Anaheim, I have more confidence in him than ever before that he will put together a team that will not only be good, but who will be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Silence is NOT golden - it's maddening!

The doors of the UFA store have been opened for just over 48 hours and most GM's have rushed in to grab what they can. Here are a few of the players that have been signed already:
Chris Pronger
Markus Naslund
Mike Modano
Jerome Iginla
Derian Hatcher
Pavol Demitra
Alexei Kovalev
Sergei Gonchar
Tony Amonte
Steve Yzerman
Bobby Holik
Glen Murray
Adrian Aucoin
Adam Foote
Joe Nieuwendyk
Gary Roberts

Meanwhile, a few GM's are still circling the parking lot looking for a place to park. Those GM's work for teams like the Avalanche, the Maple Leafs, the Sharks, the Capitals, the Devils, the Sabres, the Lightning, the Predators and, unfortunately, the Mighty Ducks. These GM's have combined to do exactly nothing since the doors opened.

Now sure, there are plenty of good players still on the shelves. Peter Forsberg, Scott Niedermayer, Ziggy Palffy, Nikolai Khabibulin, Paul Kariya, Miroslav Satan, Brian Raflaski, etc. However, the selection is not what it once was and instead of having their choice of players, the GM's in the parking lot will be left to fight over what's left.

As a Mighty Ducks fan it has been a very disappointing 48 hours. We've heard nothing from our GM except that the new head coach hates losing as much as he does (both could be pissed this season unless they sign some talent) followed by a cryptic interview with a Vancouver radio station. We have no idea what players he is interested in, no idea what players are interested in Anaheim and no idea when we will hear anything other than the maddening silence that is slowly driving some of us crazy.

To me, this is like being a foster kid at Christmas. You go to bed on Christmas Eve dreaming of all the things that you might get the next day. When you wake up you rush downstairs to see what you got. But when you get there, there's no gifts with your name on them. Instead, you get to watch all the other kids open their gifts with glee while you and a few others sit in the corner with nothing but jealousy and frustration to keep you company.

(I will now try to bring all these bad analogies home) Hopefully, Burke parks the car soon. Hopefully he gets himself into the UFA store and buys a couple of players. Hopefully he puts them under the tree for us to open and enjoy, and hopefully he does it before we completely give up hope and/or go insane.

Paging Mr. Burke! Mr. Brian Burke, please do something!

There's a line in a recent article about Dave Nonis that is very telling to me:
"Nonis left the distinct impression he's very much in control of things, which may come as some comfort to the faithful who are used to the more theatrical style of his predecessor."
Right now, all Mighty Ducks fans are on the verge of hysterics. We are watching the Queens, the Penguins, the Blackhawks, the Panthers, the Blue Jackets, the Wild, the Thrashers and every other team not named after a Disney movie make moves to improve their team. Meanwhile, we don't hear crap from our supposed genius GM and are left with nothing but conflicting reports that he is either going to do nothing, going to sign a player soon, going to be near the cap, going to leave room under the cap for flexibility or going to use the cap money to buy himself some office furniture.
That line tells me that this is what Canucks fans have been going through for years. Apparently, this is how Burke works, and it's driving me, and from the sounds of it, every other Ducks fans absolutely crazy! At least in the past we knew we weren't going to do anything, so there were no raised hopes to be crushed. But now, we expected Burke to improve this team. While he still might, it would be nice if he did SOMETHING before the end of the day just to let us know that he is not dead.
Since the start of UFA there are only nine teams that have not made any moves. Anaheim, Toronto, Buffalo, Colorado, New Jersey, Tampa Bay, Washington, Nashville and San Jose. I'd hate to be the last team to make a move in free agency.
Mr. Burke, anytime you feel like doing something, please feel free.