Wednesday, July 2, 2008

It's weird how "Finger defenceman" sounds OK as a noun...

(Yes, I'm now stealing Demetri Martin jokes in an attempt to feel better.)

So I've spent the last 24 hours trying to talk myself into the Jeff Finger signing.

It's not working.

I read through Steve's analysis and MF37's mostly positive thoughts. I put on my nicest pair of homer goggles and stared at the home page for hours. But it's not helping.

This contract is a mistake. And the last thing the Leafs need is more bad contracts.

Finger certainly has his share of positives. In The Cheap Seats gave him a final grade of A-, noting that he was only a minus player in five games all year. He led the Avs in hits and was an excellent shot blocker.

But it's one thing to block shots and throw hits when you're a career minor leaguer making the league minimum. It's quite another to do it when you're a millionaire with a long-term deal. We'll have to see if he can summon the same fire with the Leafs that he showed last year.

Fletcher defended the signing by pointing out that Joel Quenneville loved him. But if that's the case, why did Quenneville banish him to the press box for half the teams playoff run? (Answer: here's why.)

Yes, everybody gets overpaid in free agency. We've known that for years. And Finger has enough positives that I can maybe, sort of, possibly understand why some team would offer him $14M.

But not the Leafs. They may have wanted the guy, but they didn't need him. When you're a rebuilding team, you need to have the discipline to walk away from the table when the numbers get crazy. Fletcher failed that test yesterday.

The worst part of this deal is that it's the first serious crack in Fletcher's armor. We've let him off the hook over a few odd moves because, after all, he's Cliff Fletcher and he saved us all once before. But this signing has to throw up all sorts of red flags. Maybe, just maybe, we wound up with the Phoenix Coyotes version of Fletcher.

I have to go drink now.


  1. how's the drinking going?

    at least he's not 35 and got a 4-year deal, right? right?

    and can a defensive defenceman really be so bad for our beloved maple leafs?

  2. Nice to see he already has a sponser over at! I think he'll popular. People will no longer say "who's Finger?", they'll say, "ooohhh, that Finger!"

  3. Memo to Leafs marketing department. Do not give him the number 11. That would not be as funny as you think it would.

  4. he should be number one, and they should put "THE Finger" on the back of his jersey.

  5. that is one thing I can guarantee.

    You all WILL get tired of the Finger jokes. Like...soon.

  6. You all WILL get tired of the Finger jokes. Like...soon.

    I'm already there.

    When they announced the signing, the hockeybuzz discussion had people making "Fletcher gives fans the finger" joke every third post. People were posting that line on the 15th page, as if they'd be the first to think of it.

    The lesson, as always: hockeybuzz makes me despair for the future of the human race.

  7. Don't let downgoesbrown fool you...he is actually Eklund from hockeybuzz.

  8. dont worry about playoff mistakes man, leafs wont be in the playoffs for awhile

  9. This reminds me of the time Cliff traded our No. 4 overall pick to NYI for McCabe and a couple. You know who the pick was? Roberto Luongo, another bonehead move. Cliff should've bowed out as soon as the offseason started, even if we didn't have Burke...

  10. This reminds me of the time Cliff traded our No. 4 overall pick to NYI for McCabe and a couple. You know who the pick was? Roberto Luongo

    You're thinking of the deal that brough Wendel and Matt Schneider to Toronto -- McCabe was a few years later.

    That deal gets a bad rap. Yes, the pick turned out to be Luongo (who the Islanders later gave away from nothing), but there's little chance the Leafs would have picked him. They hadn't soured on Potvin yet, so chances are they would have picked somebody like Brewer or Mara, or maybe even a bust like Tkaczuk.

  11. In Finger's defense on that PM Bouchard goal... the boards took a shite bounce. He was the man responsible for making it to the iced puck, and it cost them the game - no question. But considering he played only 2:13 more than Milan Hejduk and had an even +/- rating for the game, while Hejduk was a -3, and that Ryan Smyth was a slightly less bad -2, along with their Centre Paul Stastny (also a -2)... you begin to wonder if it was all Finger's fault they lost the damn game.

    He did have 2 points in his first 2 NHL playoff games prior in the series, so it wasn't ALL bad on his part... and they eventually brought him back to play against the Wings after they were down in the series 1-0, so I guess he wasn't in the dog house forever... then they lost 5-1, so they dropped him again... before bringing him back for game 4... which they lost 8-2 (he played more minutes than anyone, and Detroit scored 6 goals at even strength or short handed, and only gave up 2 PP markers, yet he was only -2 on the game... not really that bad all things considered).

    I'm pretty sure Jose Theodore had more to do with the series loss to Detroit than Finger did though.