I have been looking for the last couple months to indulge myself in some sort of fantasy trade type post to put up here and damned if I haven't finally come to the conclusion that the current state of the CBA has wrecked a lot of the fun out of being a hockey fan for me.
I'll plead guilty that I love player movement. It might suck for the families involved but I always remember my fondest childhood followings of a team revolving around things like the Expos picking up Ron LeFlore or seeing a guy like Doug Flutie come up to the CFL.
I can remember exactly what I was doing the day I found out that Al Iafrate had just become the newest Bruin and I can remember just as well how much of an upset I was in when I found out that the Bruin's had traded Barry Pederson for some 20 goal scoring Vancouver winger who was a disappointment for them [ok just cause I love transactions doesn't mean my record is perfect when analysing what would be the best ones]
Anyhow... it gets me back to today here and how the last couple months I have started several attempts to put up a trade idea post to get a little discussion going only to realize there can't be trades in the NHL anymore.
There is no talent for talent swaps... everything is totally about contracts. In times past it was easy to argue whether or not a Keith Crowder might be worth a Stan Smyl... or maybe a Denis Potvin could be brought in for a couple draft picks and a Brad McCrimmon if the Islanders were rebuilding. Bringing in a Potvin or a Crowder or a Smyl wasn't going to bankrupt a team. No one had to care how many years the player had on his contract because if the guy was good it was just automatic that the team would be able to afford to sign him again.
No one ever left simply because they wanted too much money... there were no teams out there who were going to pay more. If a player was worth what he was asking he got it and if he wasn't he was sat till he realized he couldn't make more as a teacher or a factory worker anyhow so he might as well sign.
I guess I don't feel that the genie can be put into the bottle again. Maybe a fan of trades like myself will never again be able to sit here and logically fantasize about the exchange of one second liner for another. Not even sure if it would be better to get back to these days.
I do think that some sort of concession to this loss has to be addressed though. The Bruin's are having a good season this year but I see almost no posts of any interest at all here. There is the odd Bergeron and Zinavjev are doing good posts... a few Potvin and Raycroft are doing good... and of course a few the whole team are doing good... but where is the off-ice coaching calls? The ideas how to take a good team and make it better... the fuel for spirited debate?
If the team suddenly starts to suck I am sure that the anti-management group will give us some grounds for a discussion again but there is never a solution offered even here. I guess it has frustrated me at times to see general statments made that the team had no plan without the person making the statments going on record with that same breath to suggest what his plan would be...
but now maybe I finally have to admit it's impossible to have a plan.
A team like Colorado or Detroit can stay competitive for 10-12 years by spending 60 mill a season. If two of their guys get old and leave the money just goes to two new old guys. A few good draft picks look alot better when there are only a few spots to be filled.
A team like Atlanta or Ottawa can seem to get better overnight when 4-5 years of straight top 5 draft picks finally all get together for a 3-4 year run before they get too expensive to keep together.
it can seem like a plan at times... but it really doesn't hold up to me.
New Jersey might have an actual plan that is working... and I think Boston clearly has a plan [as to whether it is working or not one can debate I guess]
I really think Boston and Jersey are the only two teams in the NHL that have a specific budget and make all their moves to the best of their ability while staying within the confines of this budget.
Other teams are just broke and do what they have too to survive... how much fun is it for the Edmonton Oiler fans to think about trading Comrie. They already know the team can't get anything good for him cause they can't afford it. Calgary fans can't dream about dealing Iginla for a Hershal Walker return. One day soon he will be too expensive and the team will lose him for crap.
Boston watches guys like Allison and Guerin and McLaren and Dafoe leave every season... we have been pretty damn good at getting return for all of these guys but Murray wasn't that cheap and the return for Dafoe is currently signing Potvin off the UFA market with the contract being saved.
If Boston didn't have the money to fund an adequate payroll the returns for the loss of all our superstars wouldn't look nearly as good.
I guess I am wandering here... not sure if my intended point is still my main one. I come to the board here and devote an hour or two a day of my life to being a Bruin fan mostly to have an intellectual passtime. Watching the actual games is fine too... but the quality of hockey in this day and age of the trap and the 30 team watered down talent rosters is a lot less exciting than it was even back in the late 1970's when I really got into the game psycho level.
I doubt anyone of importance will read this post and I am sure that it won't make any difference even if they do but man I wish for some innocence to be put back into the sport.
I'd even enjoy a Montreal fan post here today suggesting they send us back Quintal and Juneau for Bergeron and Jillson.
Bergeron, Samsonov, Boynton, Zinojvev, Thornton, Jillson, Toivonen, Raycroft...these are our younger players. And they're creative, smart, and talented. They wouldn't look out of place in the good old days.
The NHL stinks right now. So does the NBA, and half of the MLB. All of the leagues are "watered down".
Someday, the NHL will be paired down to 20-24 teams and the situation will be like the NFL. It has to be.