AIYA!

I have been remiss in updating my site for a while.  So much has happened though.  So let’s do a short recap of things:

  • Canucks!:  They actually did some good things this offseason.
    • Signed Manny Malhotra as a UFA: Now, I’m not a fan of this contract, but I’m a fan of the player.  Malhotra brings a solid 3rd line defensive presence who is consistently in the top 20 players in faceoff percentage, and chips in a little bit offensively.  He’s not particularly fast, or physical, but he is pretty big guy, and he’s been around long enough to know how to play his role well.  But at $2.5MM/ year for 3 years, this contract is probably about a $1MM waste of cap space.
    • Picked up Keith Ballard for Michael Grabner and the right not to pay Steve Bernier: Solid pick up for what will probably be a pretty good, top 6 skill winger in the future, and an albatross of a contract who frustrated the hell out of fans, coaches and (I would imagine) management.  We’re not getting a great contract in return – Ballard comes with a cap hit of $4.2MM – but we are getting a good player, one who can play in all facets of the game well, plays physical, and can move the puck pretty well.  Or, you know, what we thought Bieksa was going to be.
    • Signed Dan Hamhuis as a UFA: Again, solid pick up, but at a pretty high price.  That said, he was (curiously) one of the most coveted players on the market.  Given that, we got him at a decent price ($4.5MM/ year).  Again, another generalist who can play in all 3 zones with some aplomb, can be physical, and can move the puck and chip in on offence.

    Gillis still needs to add some size up front, and create some cap flexibility moving forward, but he has some options to do that (I’m looking at you Bieksa).  He still needs to sign Mason Raymond, which, I think will likely go to arbitration (unfortunately).  He managed to re-sign our other young RFAs to contracts (O’Brien, Glass, Schneider) that range from pretty good to only ok.

  • Lebron James gave us ‘The Decision’ … as well as all of the fantastic comedy to go along with it: Was I excited for this?  Not really, but I was interested in where he was going to go.  Did it bug me as much as it did some other people (D. Gilbert, J. Jackson, Cleveland)?  No.  It was self-aggrandizing and narcissistic – or what the rest of us call “The NBA”.  I don’t think he handled the situation (deciding to go to another team) well.  I think it would have been common sense to at least tell his previous team to give them some heads up.  But really, Lebron has always struck me as a kid – a completely immature kid who got launched into an adult world.  I can imagine his ‘advisors’ are all kids too … and are probably enjoying riding his coattails a little too much to stand up and say “Um… this is a horrible idea.”  That doesn’t excuse his actions, but every 25 year old makes similar mistakes.  It just happens that Lebron’s mistakes are magnified by significant proportions.
  • Do I think his decision was selfish though?  No.  Free agents leave their teams all the time.  That’s the point of free agency.  He didn’t demand a trade mid-season, he didn’t refuse to play, he didn’t hold any guns to his GM’s head.  No, he gave the Cavs 7 years to build a team capable of winning the championship.  What’s the best he got?  Delonte West?  Mo Williams?  A washed up Shaq?  Boobie Gibson?  Sure, you can argue that Varejao is a fantastic energy player; energy players come off your bench though, they don’t start for you.  The best player he’s probably ever had the chance to play with on the Cavs – Jamison – is 34, and let’s be honest, has never really done much in the playoffs.

    That said, I’m not exactly sure how that Heat team is going to work out.  Lebron is used to being an alpha dog, but clearly, Wade is the leader of that pack, and always will be.  Does that make Lebron his sidekick?  I think Lebron is very capable playing as a playmaker, and if he accepts that role, watch out.  But when it comes down to it, I can’t imagine anyone except Wade taking that last shot, and when all the pundits and analysts come out of the woodwork criticizing his clutch ability, will Lebron get bent out of shape and demand the ball?  I’m curious to see it work.

  • Toy Story 3: Wow.  Sequels and trilogies rarely work in movie making.  Iron Man 2 wasn’t as good as the original.  Spiderman 2 and 3 were awful.  The Batman series (pre-Bale) got farcical.  But Toy Story 3 blew that notion out of the water.  Just … wow.  Go see it if you haven’t already.  It hit all the right notes.  For someone that grew up in the Toy Story era, I was pleasantly surprised – and I had very high expectations going in.  And I’ve already told Shannon that I will no longer throw anything out ever again.
  • Despicable Me: Not as wow, but very cute.  Agnes is preeeetty much as cute as you would expect.  Just expect calls of “It’s so fluffy!” or “It’s so fluffy I’m going to die!” and spontaneous singings of “Unicorns, I love them” after having seen this movie.
  • Golf: I’ve been hitting off of grass lately to practice, and that’s helped the wrist tremendously.  I think I mentioned I threw up an 80 in Vancouver – I haven’t been close since.  Since I stuck a new shaft in my driver, I’ve had trouble turning my drives over, and, of course, my putting is hot and cold (mostly cold).  That said, I’m hoping I’ll heat up at the right time, as the annual Palm Desert hockey team trip is coming up.

Don’t have much else right now.  I’ll be sure to update more often.

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