Saturday, July 14, 2007
What Can You Do?
It's seems things can't get any worse for the Montreal Canadiens . After missing the playoffs for the 1st time in 2 years, the Habs looked to get better offensively and get a substitute for Sheldon Souray during the NHL free-agent signing period. But that plan is very quickly falling a part for Bob Gainey and the Montreal Canadiens.
After the 1st day of July was done (which was the 1st day of free-agency), almost all of the big names in the free-agent market were gone. Daniel Briere signed an 8-year, $52 million with Philadelphia, Chris Drury and Scott Gomez both signed on with the Rangers, Ryan Smyth went to the Avalanche and Jason Blake signed on with Toronto. Other notable signings include Paul Kariya going to the Blues and Brian Rafalski to the Red Wings.
But where you might ask are the Canadiens in this signing frenzy? Your 1st reaction might be that they didn't try for anyone, or at least didn't make a very good try at anyone. But this is where we get to the problem. The Canadiens did try for some of players, and they made good offers as well. So good, that they offered more money to Ryan Smyth, Paul Kariya and Quebec boy Daniel Briere than they signed for.
These players all signed lucrative contracts, and to think that the Habs offered more money is mind boggling. So what is the Habs answer to this problem, that players don't want to play in Montreal? Well, to the dismay of Habs fans everywhere, there isn't one. The Canadiens can't help it, if players don't want to learn french. The Canadiens can't help it, if free-agents sign for less money, than what they offered.
So the Habs plan to upgrade their offense is gone, but what about their defence? Well the Habs where so caught up in trying to sign offence, they missed out on all of the big defence men. Rafalski as I already told you went to Detroit, Matthieu Schneider went to the Ducks and Scott Hannan signed with Colorado. So the Canadiens solution to Sheldon Souray's is..., Roman Hamrlik? Yes the defence man who was supposed to be the best thing since sliced bread, and then never developed signed with the Habs for 4 years and $22 million! It was quite evident to the world that they Habs signed him for to much, but what happened next was a shocking blow too Montreal.
Sheldon Souray, who was supposed to sign for $6-7 million in either the free-agent market or in a contract extension with the Habs ended up going to Edmonton for 5 years and $27 million! Do the math and Hamrlik, a liability offensively and not much better on defence will make $100,000 more than Souray!
Now, Montreal couldn't of seen the massive under payment of Souray coming. But really, the Habs free-agent troubles are getting embarrassing.