I'll likely regret writing my thoughts down now, as shortly after I completed my entry last night the Blues signed Paul Kariya to a 3-year, $18 million dollar contract. If it were any other team I'd call them crazy for spending $6 million a year on a wrong-side-of-the-hill guy like Kariya, but the Blues have oodles of cap space, a team reinvigorated under Andy Murray and reminds me a bit of how Nashville looked a few seasons ago when Kariya signed there seemingly out of the blue.
Now with the Predators looking like they're ready to be relegated to duking it out with Columbus and Chicago for the basement in the Central Division, that opens things up for St. Louis to vault into that spot to make a run at Detroit.
Speaking of Detroit, they're minus one man in a black hat as NHL villain Todd Bertuzzi found an appropriate home for himself in Anaheim with his former love slave and cornerman Brian Burke. After all, it was Burke who stood by willingly to defend Brad May and Todd Bertuzzi (as well as Markus Naslund and Matt Cooke and coach Marc Crawford) for their gangland assault on Avalanche forward Steve Moore.
Just the fact that Bertuzzi is being brought back into Burke's fold should be enough of a warning flag for the NHL to think that Anaheim or other teams like them have any plans to play the wide open style at all next year. Bertuzzi was the ultimate physical force for Burke's Vancouver team and while Anaheim is most certainly a physical team... I can't help but wonder if the rule book we came back from the lockout with has already been set on fire and they've dusted off the one we saw in use from about 1995-2003.
With all that I've rambled on about the Predators being asleep at the wheel, someone woke up David Poile and told him that the free agency period has begun so he jumped out quickly and snagged Jed Ortmeyer (Rangers fans will be upset by this) as well as forward Radek Bonk and (it's official, he's a journeyman!) defenseman Greg de Vries. Well, at least those deals should get them up to the $35 million dollar salary floor nicely.
The Los Angeles Kings, who should be on everyone's radar next year for a sleeper team provided they find a goaltender worth having, have broken through after being involved on talks for all the big names and landed a pile of new guys today. They've inked forwards Ladislav Nagy from Dallas, Michal Handzus (and his mullet) from Chicago, Kyle Calder from Detroit and defenseman Tom Preissing from Ottawa.
You know what might not be a bad idea for the Kings? Take a flier on Ray Emery as a restricted free agent and pressure Ottawa into matching the offer. Emery would be a perfect fit in Los Angeles and his personality is made to be in Hollywood. Just the thought of an Odd Couple type of situation with Emery and Anze Kopitar.
Well, it might not be quite so odd - but the idea of a loopy Canadian kid and a ready-to-be playboy Slovenian has gold written all over it. If the NHL had any strings to pull, they'd make sure that this could happen. Instead, they'd rather find ways to get a team into Las Vegas to make no money and give Rick Tocchet and Mrs. Gretzky a new avenue to run game on the NHL.
I kid...I kid.... mostly.