Gather ’round, boys and girls, it’s story time.
It started on a Tuesday. This past Tuesday, as a matter of fact. We’re just under eight weeks away from exchanging vows, and everything was on the up and up. We have quite a bit left to do, but the big, important things — venues, food, guest lists, invitations, etc — were all done. Tucked away into a neat little box. Plenty of little things left to accomplish — Engelbert bowls, for one — but we could rest easy knowing that, even if we didn’t do anything else before August 7th, we’d have an awesome party on our hands.
And then, at 9pm Tuesday evening, the phone rang. We lost our caterer. Something about embezzlement and jailsex or something. Within 24 hours, Todd Bertuzzi had re-signed with the Red Wings for two years and a TWENTY NINE PERCENT RAISE!
An unfortunate coincidence? Nay.
Bertuzzi’s agent/Satan’s helper Pat Morris threw out a ridiculous number — two years and $3.875M — in hopes that negotiations could be stalled until seven Saturdays from now, when Todd’s Operation: Fuck You Janov-Petrella Wedding could be executed. In a surprising turn of events, the recently re-signed Ken Holland and Jim Nill — who have always had my back, they’re my homeys — wouldn’t allow such things to transpire.
There’s no other way to look at it, folks. Our fantastic general managers jumped on a mighty big (not to mention mighty slow, mighty wobbly, mighty gap-toothed) grenade for me and my bride. It’s the true character of the Red Wings organization. How many weddings have Stan Bowman and Ray Shero saved from disaster?
Zero, that’s how many.
Point is — in order to make the deal happen this early, and to appease the Dark Lord (presumably), some facet of our wedding plans had to be destroyed. Holland and Nill are fantastic men, but gods they are not. Allegedly.
A cap hit of $1.9375M over the next two seasons. He’ll earn $2.25M this season (150% of his salary from a year ago) before dropping into $1.625M for 2011-12 (still 8% higher than 09-10). In terms of numbers, dollars, and cents — the cap hit might not be too far off if we can guarantee 15-19 goals (see what I did there, Andy?) and 40 points each of the next two seasons — and the chemistry with Henrik Zetterberg and Valterri Filppula is undeniable. But that’s like saying “whoa this sausage really goes well with bacon and eggs.” Of course it does. But have you ever looked at sausage by itself? It’s fucking disgusting.
GRIDDLECAKES SIGNS ON (aka, continuing the breakfast theme)
Valtteri Filppula’s older brother has been signed to a one-year, two-way deal with the Red Wings. At first glace, this move seemed little more than depth signing for Grand Rapids — and a potential call-up in a pinch — but all of a sudden, with Todd Bertuzzi’s contract sinking the ship that seemed so happily afloat, Ilari Filppula has a chance to wedge himself onto the big club.
I still think that’s a long-shot, given his age and pro experience up to this point. Nevertheless, he’ll be given a shot in training camp and if October rolls around with two Filppulas on the roster, prepare to be out-prettied. I’m looking at you, Todd.
HOLLAND AND NILL FTW!
As has been speculated for weeks now, both of our top-flight general managers, Ken Holland and Jim Nill, have been signed to long-term extensions to remain in their respective capacities. Five-year extensions, which kick in next season, guarantee that our men in charge will most likely last longer than Nick Lidstrom’s contract after-all.
If either or both guys decide they’ve had enough hockey and hang up their clipboards, there’s a guy in Tampa that might be available for the job. He’s new, but I hear good things.
Continuing the good news, Red Wings capologist Ryan Martin decided to stick around instead of joining good friend Steve Yzerman. First order of business: allow the Bertuzzi deal to happen. Bang up job, Ry.
All jokes aside, it’s a great bit of news — the Martin part — and it should mean continued excellence in the cap-manipulating department.
Speaking of which, here’s where we stand — with all one-way players listed:
G :: Howard, Osgood [2,133,333]
D :: Lidstrom, Rafalski, Kronwall, Stuart, Ericsson, Kindl [20,683,333]
F :: Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Filppula, Cleary, Hudler, Bertuzzi, Holmstrom, Draper, Ritola [32,175,378]
Total salary dedicated to 18 players is $54,142,044. The cap is expected to increase to somewhere in the $58M’s, so the Wings have $3.8 – $4.6M to spend (depending on the actual cap number) on the following holes:
:: A sixth/seventh defenseman, depending on what role Jakub Kindl earns during training camp. Doug Janik can drop in — as can Brendan Smith, but that’s unlikely given the Red Wings desire to over-ripen prospects in the AHL. It seems all but official that Andreas Lilja is out, unless he takes a drastic pay-cut to remain a Red Wing. Good news, everyone! Derek Meech might be back because he never bitches, always takes an insanely low salary, and is a forward sub when needed. Expect whoever takes this slot to slide in around $750-$850k tops.
:: Three or four bottom half forwards. There are plenty of restricted free agents in need of new contracts, so it’s safe to assume many of them will fill out the roster. Darren Helm (who is probably next in line for a deal), Justin Abdelkader, Patrick Eaves, and Drew Miller would make 14 forwards. It’s just a matter of numbers now. After that seventh defenseman mentioned above, there will be about $3M — maybe $4M — to get all four under contract. Drew Miller may be the odd man out, and Patrick Eaves might not want to take a near-league minimum contract again.
If we use the numbers I predicted a few weeks ago, signing the fab four will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.1M. Here’s hoping, because they all deserve deals and looked good in red and white.
I'm leaning towards Miller being the odd-man out, but I have no idea what Patrick Eaves expects to be paid now that the Hurricanes aren't on the hook for half his salary. I don't know if he takes $850k after showing his potential like that. I don't want him paid more than that.
I also still want Lilja back, because Ericsson-Kindl as our third pair kind of scares me. But, hopefully Big Rig just went through a goaltender's sophomore slump and he'll be that guy we all saw in the playoffs two years ago.
I'm getting slowly convinced that Bert's cap hit is where a guy who brings what Bert does is worth, but my guts don't feel right. He's riskier than banging a hooker without a condom.
Sorry Mikey. And now I want some breakfast — minus the sausage.
Ugh, Todd Bertuzzi is such a dickweed. TWO MORE YEARS OF DICKWEED. I am not amused, Ken Holland, not amused. *sigh* Especially because I don't trust him not to completely suck and blow now that he's got some semblance of job security. He's. So. Ruined.
As for the rest of it, there are few things less interesting to me personally than number crunching, so I am really more than happy to let you all do it.
I gotta say, I had a good thing going with my fakeboyfriend (Drew Miller, for those who haven't been following along), but if he leaves, it's going to be splits-ville. I don't do LDR. Not even fakeLDR. Bummer. In reality, if we lose Miller, I count that's a loss for the team. He did a good job for us this last season. But Fakeboyfriend is clearly < Abbie/Helmer/Eavester Bunneh.
And further bummer that I won't be able to point to the Red Wings as a whole and be like, ONE OF THEM REALLY, REALLY WANTS TO DO ME, if Lills does leave. My fangirl puck-bunny cred totes drops down a level. Annnnnd, I dunno. I think Lills is from the "My brains got rattled and now I'm suddenly better at hockey camp" with Mule, but pre-concussion Lilja was always scary. The idea of an Ericsson/Kindl defense pairing scares the crap out of me though. Maybe we can knock each of them upside the head good and hard…
As a proud member of Team Contuzzi, I oppose the signing. Of course I do. And I knew all along that he was only stalling to give me some faint, false hope that I wouldn't have to see him on my team ever again. So much for that idea.
I had resigned myself to the original plan – the 2 years at a $1.5 million cap hit. Even though I hoped it wouldn't happen, I expected it to happen. But the raise? Aside from hating it on principle, we're talking about a 35-year-old with a history of injuries and inconsistency. And the extra money going to him isn't there to give someone else, which may cost us. If we lose someone this summer (like Lilja), or can't call someone up during the season (as happened last year), due to lack of cap space that we essentially bid against ourselves to waste, I for one won't be happy about it.
Here's the thing about breakfast. So you have bacon, eggs, and sausage and they go good together. But really, you already have bacon so do you NEED sausage? You already have a meat in that meal. What's wrong with some toast or some OJ? There are other things that would complement the meal just as much and maybe even better than adding sausage. Plus, sometimes sausage is good and tastes how you would expect but sometimes you don't know that you've gotten turkey sausage or something you weren't expecting and it just falls short, am i right?
I'm just saying there are other options for lines… I mean, breakfast.
If we're lucky, Bert will turn out to be pancakes. You see, you never get the first pancake quite right, it's always a little light or dark or misshapen or something. But, the second one is great. You've learned from the mistakes you made with the first one and now you're making pancakes so perfect that you can see a tear of joy coming out of the corner of Aunt Jemima's smilin' eyes.
Bert was here before, but it just wasn't quite right. Now he's got a chance to make up for it.
(side note: as a younger sibling, I love this analogy, but my older sister doesn't seem to appreciate it quite as much).
It wasn't long ago where a lot of us considered Lilja to be our worst defenseman, and we wanted him run out of town; now we're all trying to figure out a way for him to stay while signing all of our RFAs. Basically, a guy can get better over time; maybe it just takes having the poo kicked out of him.
Bertuzzi could suck balls this year, but as long as he stays healthy, I don't see why a repeat of last year is possible. Plus, if he does go on IR, his salary doesn't count against the cap, so it would not be all bad. The risk is there, but with any player over 35 there's a risk. Very few players at Bertuzzi's age come with no issues; maybe it's better to go with the devil you know than the one you don't.
I despise this with the white-hot passion of a thousand burning suns.
This in my mind means the team is going to fail for another two years. At least that will be it.
And think how easy it will be to cover for the dead cap space of nearly $2 million when TB retires after the first year because of injuries, since at the same time Lidstrom won't be coming back, either!
//bangs head against concrete overpass