Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Does Eklund need Habs fans this badly?

I understand that the summer is a difficult time to blog. I do. And I understand that there must be demands on Eklund to keep up the traffic to his site. But, for a site I used to like and even defend relentlessly, I feel a little bit cheated lately.

The latest post may have been the straw that broke the donkey's back. Eklund's blog 30/07/07:

The Ryder signing is a shocking one to me but it sends a clear message that I did ponder. It was not until this morning that I received confirmation on that message. LeCavalier and the Habs are on a collision course that could start as early as this year's trade deadline

I mean, where does he come up with this stuff?

First of all, why is the Ryder signing shocking? Should I be shocked that Ryder signed a one year contract (again) for a raise over his last salary? I wasn't shocked, it's actually something along the lines of what I expected, given the Higgins and Komisarek and Plekanec contracts. A good job by Bob Gainey.

Second, how does signing a player that you would have had to sign to a one-year contract the very next day on arbitrator's terms so clearly send a message (other than duh?!?)? Clearly it doesn't. It sends one message. Ryder will play for the Habs this year at an affordable rate.

But, all that aside, I was willing to forgive his exuberance. That was until the kicker:

Enter Ryder, who should have been a 3 or 4 year deal at around 3.5. The Habs yesterday avoided arbitration, but did make Ryder a one year player and gave themselves a chance to make Vinny a "lifer" at some point in the next 2 years...

Ryder should have been a 3-4 year deal? Why? Players and GMs negotiate contracts based on salary, terms and length. It's all part of the bargaining. How can one say that a player should be on a 3-4 year contract? I happen to think the one-year option is quite a good one, as it gives both player and team a chance to re-evaluate. In my opinion, Bob Gainey was more likely to have promised a longer-term deal if Mike produces this year again, than what Eklund suggests.

Besides, how could signing Ryder to 3-4 years at 3.5 million prevent us from signing Lecavalier? Vincent is a centre, and may actually need a winger one day. If Koivu was signed for one year, then it might be a different story, but this Ryder signing does not send any hidden messages.

So why suggest it does? Perhaps to whip up some hysteria among a large group of people who actually care about hockey in the summer (Habs fans). Ever since I heard the suggestion made, I've noticed that Eklund does include Habs rumours on most days. He needs our traffic more than we need his rumours.

I'll still read the site, of course, because I'm hooked. But, I just wanted to voice my cynicism. I wonder how everyone else feels about his site nowadays.

Just a quick note, while I'm on the topic of Eklund. I recently stumbled onto a parody site written by Peklund. It's a funny read, but the funniest thing these day is how closely it resembles an Eklund blog. Obviously that's the point, but I still find it funny. Mr. Peklund also quotes Habs and Leafs rumours daily as a jibe against Eklund's ridiculous tangential speculations like the one I commented on today. Give it a read. It's good fun.

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