Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Thought

Given Tim Connolly's explosion in Buffalo since getting a contract extension, maybe Bob should be signing up his players to change some of their mental states of mind?

Signing Komisarek to a deal might get him hitting again; getting Koivu on contract might shake off his no doubt lingering considerations of retirement; Kovalev lead the team last year, no question -- so maybe showing him some cash might focus him aswell... So, what could be a reason be for the delay?

There are so many unsigned players, they don't have a team next year.

I believe the problem is Gainey is looking to shake up the makeup of his team next year. Let's assume he wants Komisarek to be the next Captain (although right now you might think I've had too many...) So Gainey signs Komisarek to a contract...

Its an immediate sign that Kovalev is secondary to the team, and poof you've guaranteed the Artiste is gone for whatever is left of the season. (Is there a chance he'll even come back down the stretch?) And the same for all the others that don't get the contract. Maybe the players are lost as to who and what they are playing for?

The other option is you sign Kovalev -- ok, he steps it up for the remaining games, and does what he does in the playoffs. But then Gainey is stuck with Kovalev; and I am not entirely sure Gainey wants Kovalev anymore! If Gainey was sure about Kovalev, he'd have been signed in January.

Gainey changed the make-up of his team this year: he went and got highly skilled players in Tanguay and Lang -- highly skilled, but journey-men. Meaning other GMs are happy to pass on them, despite their skill. The work ethic of the team got lazy, because it could -- play mediocre, and let Lang / Kovalev / Kostitsyn pop one in when they get around to it... Well, Lang is out and Kovalev is struggling, and now they are asked to grind out a goal every now and then? Bon chance mon ami.

Who's the leader of this team? Who's gonna be the leader of this team next year?

Can anyone answer that? Blaming the coach is very popular right now, what about the players who are supposed to be leaders? How do you get them to feel accountable when they have not been shown any confidence?

Just one last point; in recent years, typically I have noticed that if players are in a contract year entering free agency, they have huge years. Maybe Bob was trying to leverage that trend: unfortunately it looks like he might have gone a bit far, and decapitated his team in a year when everyone should have no other worry except the performance of the team.

Other (less sexy) reasons could be he really wanted to have the freedom to make trades during the season, or maybe he thought he himself might be out of a job, and didn't want to saddle his successor with a lot of no-trade clauses :)


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