Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The biggest free agent signings of 2011

Tomas Vokoun, moments after being informed
of the contract terms his agent just agreed to.
We're now twelve days into the NHL's free agency period, and the signings have slowed to a trickle. But while this year's free agent class was widely dismissed as the weakest in years, it did feature a handful of big name players who found new homes during the early frenzy.

Let's take a look back at some of the signings most likely to make an impact in the years to come.

Jaromir Jagr, Philadelphia

The good: Despite repeated requests over the years, wisely insisted on delaying his return to North America until he was absolutely positive his mullet was in game shape.
The bad: Forgotten sports stars attempting improbable comebacks rarely find success in Philadelphia until they've murdered a few dogs first.
Worth noting: Has previously played for the Penguins, Capitals and Rangers, meaning he's apparently aware of the same four NHL teams as Gary Bettman.

Tomas Vokoun, Washington

The good: Was willing to take an enormous discount from his expected contract value because he wanted to play on a team that could make a deep playoff run.
The bad: Due to a clerical error, wound up signing in Washington instead.
Worth noting: Will provide the Capitals with the best goaltending they've had since 1999, which is also presumably the year his agent was born.

Tim Connolly, Toronto

The good: Toronto is a perfect fit for a player with a history of concussions, since the ACC is the closest thing the league has to a permanent quiet room.
The bad: He recently compared the Maple Leafs to the New York Yankees, so he could be distracted by having every Yankee fan he meets from now on trying to punch him.
Worth noting: It may be a bad sign that the last time Brian Burke and Ron Wilson assembled this many Americans on one roster they became the only team in hockey history to lose a big game to Roberto Luongo.

Christian Ehrhoff, Buffalo

The good: The Sabres surprised many by getting the veteran defenceman's signature on a ten-year contract.
The bad: He was a member of last year's Canucks, so there's a good chance the signature was faked.
Worth noting: Many observers have questioned whether he really intends to play out his entire front-loaded contract, pointing out that no grown adult with access to a vehicle has ever spent ten years in Buffalo.

J.S. Giguere, Colorado

The good: Along with Semyon Varlamov, is expected to provide a huge upgrade to the Avalanche's goaltending situation.
The bad: Given that they finished the season starting a former Ottawa Senator third-stringer, the same could be said for any form of solid or liquid matter as well as some gasses.
Worth noting: After spending the last two years with the Maple Leafs, will do a great job of mentoring his new Avalanche teammates on how to finish last while knowing that a Stanley Cup contender owns your first round draft pick.

Ilya Bryzgalov, Philadelphia

The good: Despite his $10 million salary next season, he won't have to be the best goalie in the league to satisfy Flyer fans; he just needs to be six or seven times better than Tomas Vokoun.
The bad: The success record of giving long-term contracts to NHL players named "Ilya" is spotty at best.
Worth noting: Is eager to show his respect for Flyer's goaltending history, but hasn't decided whether he'll grow a Robert Esche neck beard or just get his face caved in by Felix Potvin.

Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner, St. Louis

The good: The two aging veterans have agreed to mentor the Blues' younger players by offering candid feedback and helpful criticism.
The bad: They plan to do it from a theatre balcony, Statler and Waldorf-style.
Worth noting: We can pretty much start writing a pair of "traded at the deadline for a fourth rounder" stories now.

Tomas Kaberle, Carolina

The good: Will fit in great with the rebuilding Hurricanes, since he already has experience planning a "Sorry our lousy roster got you fired, Paul Maurice" party.
The bad: His brother played for the Hurricanes for years, which means his father probably already has the front office's phone number on speed dial.
Worth noting: It will be fun when the Hurricanes make their first trip to Boston and all the Bruin fans have that "I feel like I should recognize this guy but he just doesn't look familiar" expression on their faces.

Brad Richards, New York

The good: Has been on a roll ever since he left Tampa Bay and finally got away from that crazy coach with the beard who kept vowing revenge someday.
The bad: While it's true that new York sports fans love physical players, it still may have been a public relations mistake to run onto the field during Derek Jeter's 3000th hit homerun trot and clothesline him.
Worth noting: He won't be under as much media scrutiny when his contract expires in 2020, since by that point he'll be a grizzled veteran and the salary cap will be much higher and also he'll have been retired for three years.

James Wisniewski, Columbus

The good: Will be playing for team fans rarely talk about, so you can still get away with mumbling to disguise the fact you have no idea how to pronounce his name.
The bad: Signing a former Habs defenceman to a big-time contract isn't always guaranteed to work out, says your Maple Leafs fan friend through clenched teeth.
Worth noting: Was unfortunately suspended by the NHL during the contract signing when they misinterpreted his "my pen is out of ink" hand signal.




38 comments:

  1. Oh, ROFL! Love the one about Wiz, especially! :)

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  2. I was going to scold you for the dog-murdering remark but then you made the Canuck-faking-things remark so I decided to forgive you.

    But really, murdering dogs shouldn't be funny.

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  3. clare-lighten up. the joke wasn't about murdering dogs, it was about a team that's complacent in hiring a convicted dog murderer.

    if nothing, at least he isn't the qb of your football team. i have to watch this pos for 16 games this year.

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  4. The good: Has been on a roll ever since he left Tampa Bay and finally got away from that crazy coach with the beard who kept vowing revenge someday.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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  5. Oh ouch on the Vick joke. That was a burn, haha.

    The Bryz/"long term contracts to players named Ilya" joke more than made up for that though.

    Brilliant work, sir.

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  6. Muahahahahaaaaa!
    I completely share the love for the Wiz one!
    Thanks for making my day.

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  7. As a Caps fan, I hate you for your spot-on observation. ;)

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  8. And now I noticed the picture caption.

    Bravo, DGB. Bravo.

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  9. I bet the Sedins have a fake dog fighting ring..

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  10. Great joke about Wiz. Real laughter was produced.

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  11. Statler and Waldorf-style... Pure gold!

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  12. The losing a big game to Luongo gag had me on the floor.

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  13. Always appreciate a good Jagr-Mullet joke.

    Also XD at all the Vokoun jokes

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  14. Hey! I can win big games at home!

    ... as long as Dustin Byfuglien and/or Dave Bolland aren't involved in any way, at least.

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  15. "It may be a bad sign that the last time Brian Burke and Ron Wilson assembled this many Americans on one roster they became the only team in hockey history to lose a big game to Roberto Luongo."

    Oh man, as an American this one STINGS!

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  16. I've only gotten halfway but this is THE BEST DGB post EVER... and that's saying a lot!!!! ROFLL!!!

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  17. DGBdestroyedmymarriageJuly 12, 2011 at 11:50 AM

    Bahahahahaha

    I say this on almost every new post, but this is one of your best for sure!

    Gold Jerry!

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  18. "It may be a bad sign that the last time Brian Burke and Ron Wilson assembled this many Americans on one roster they became the only team in hockey history to lose a big game to Roberto Luongo."

    As a Canucks fan, I had to pick myself up off the floor.

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  19. I love you DGB. How do you keep churning out gold?

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  20. My friend and I prefer to call them the "NBC 7," throwing Detroit, Chicago and Boston into the mix as the only teams Bettman is aware exists.

    Very good post as usual.

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  21. I know how to pronounce Wisniewski because I lived next door to a family with that name. I couldn't spell the name from memory if you paid me a million bucks, however.

    I definitely LOLed at the Statler/Waldorf reference--but I tend to laugh at almost everything I read here.

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  22. For the signing a former hab to a big time contract, talk to oilers fans.

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  23. "The bad: Given that they finished the season starting a former Ottawa Senator third-stringer, the same could be said for any form of solid or liquid matter as well as some gasses."

    Made me choke on my drink.

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  24. 5 stars for sure. The Jagr and Vokoun jokes were the best!

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  25. Nice zingers! Did you take a sarcasm pill before writing this one??

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  26. Oh man, the Stadler & Waldorf bit was priceless! Writing like that is what keeps me comming back!

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  27. Archbishop KrejciJuly 13, 2011 at 9:42 AM

    I love how you used the Vokoun picture, considering it's probably the same reaction he had when he realized what Keith Ballard is making.

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  28. Priceless, Sean, just priceless. Only one thing was missing...

    "BOO-Yah!"

    oh, nevermind


    Sincerely,
    A Canadophile in DC

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  29. "Will provide the Capitals with the best goaltending they've had since 1999, which is also presumably the year his agent was born."

    That's great

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  30. Hey, Luongo's won at least TWO big games in his life!

    (What's that you say? Oh, right, no one remembers the 2004 World Cup. Never mind.)

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  31. "The bad: Given that they finished the season starting a former Ottawa Senator third-stringer, the same could be said for any form of solid or liquid matter as well as some gasses."

    Classic.

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  32. I used to find the Luongo Olympic jokes amusing, but unfortunately those are superseded in my mind in his "bobbing-for-apples" performance in the 'Cup finals. Sorry.

    Otherwise, the rest of these are somewhat amusing, especially the Brad Richards one.

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  33. I thought I saw a familiar face during Jeter's 3,000th hit...now I know who.

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  34. Just a FYI. The wendel Clark all heart video is no longer on YouTube.

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  35. This is not good. I'm drunk and need some wendel.

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  36. On the plus side for Toronto, one knock on the head and Tim Connolly will think he's still playing for the Islanders.

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  37. the Statler and Waldorf joke gave me cramps

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