Tuesday, February 13, 2007


There Have Been Better Weeks

by Greg

So both my teams went into the deep swoon this week -- the only victory either has managed in recent memory came when the Avalanche and Thrashers actually met, so the laws of time and space demanded someone come away with the win. If there's a silver lining to the past week of bad hockey, it's that any dreams Colorado may have had of accomplishing much have been exposed as fantasy, and they can now concentrate their energies on trading Pierre Turgeon and Brad May for players that are actually useful.

The Thrashers, meanwhile, made a deal that ... doesn't really make a lot of sense to me. No, Vitaly Vishnevski didn't turn out to be the Great Russian Hope I'd expected. Yes, the Thrashers need a center. But they don't really need another third-line center -- all their centers are third-line centers -- and while Eric Belanger is, I'm sure, a fine player, he's also another third-line center. Having four third-line centers doesn't somehow equal a first-line center. Don Waddell indicates he wants to use Belanger as a top-line guy, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution rather optimistically calls him a "potential scorer," but it's hard to get really excited about a 29-year-old whose career high is 37 points.

The other theory is that the deal is just setting up something else -- that the deal is freeing up salary cap money. Belanger's salary is a quarter million less than VV's, but I'm no expert on the salary cap and the whole bit about payments already made this season just makes my head hurt, so I can't figure out how much it really helps. In any case, I certainly hope there's more to come -- it's a bit early to be preparing for disappointment.

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