Friday, July 27, 2007

"Lowe" Down, Dirty, Rotten Thing To Do...

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae if she is checking in.

The gloves are off in the NHL - Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe has extended another offer to a restricted free agent - this time to Dustin Penner of the Anaheim Ducks. The Oilers have offered Penner $21.25M over 5 years - meaning the Ducks have seven days to match the offer or accept a first, second and third round pick as compensation should they choose to let Penner walk.

Lowe may very well change the face of hockey with his bold moves. When the NHL adopted a salary cap, the prevailing wisdom was that you had to draft and nurture good young players who would come cheap, thus allowing you to keep your best players or sign a couple of free agents to bolster your roster. What Lowe has done over the last few weeks is put his colleagues on notice that they can't bank on retaining talented players for "under market value" just because they aren't eligible for free agency. Teams are now going to have to factor in big raises for good young players winding up entry level contracts. Don't be surprised if a number of other small market teams start using Lowe's strategy to force player movement across the league - in addition to evaluating talent, GMs are now going to have to make decisions on players based on cost-effectiveness and value for money.

Kevin Lowe couldn't attract any free agents this summer, so he is going to use his cap flexibility to screw up plans of a few other teams. The irony in all of this is that a few years ago Lowe would have been leading the pack of GMs from small market teams whining that they couldn't compete with big market teams who were throwing around huge sums of money (often overpaying guys) for young players who had not yet proven themselves. Fast forward to the present - Lowe has screwed one small market team (Buffalo) and has put the screws to another (Anaheim) by offering ridiculous contracts to a couple of good young players who haven't really established themselves as front line players. Lowe is threatening to bring down the very system he, and many of his colleagues, fought so hard to implement.

Lowe has to be the most loved and hated man in the NHL today - loved by the NHL Players Association for finding a loophole around restricted free agency, and reviled by his colleagues who have to change how they think about building their teams.

In other news

Michael Vick entered a "not guilty" plea in his first court appearance on conspiracy charges - Vick issued a statement saying that he takes the charges "very seriously and look forward to clearing my good name". What makes Vick think that his name was ever good? Can you "clear your good name"? (sounds grammatically incorrect) Did he mean clearing the good name of Ron Mexico? We're perplexed?

Cincinnati Bengals take note - reinstatement to the NFL after serving a suspension more than just a rubber stamp...they need look no further than former teammate Odell Thurman who had his request denied by Roger Goddell.

Barry Bonds vs Bob "the midget man" Costas. Next stop pay per view

Fiesta Bowl star hiring security for wedding amidst racist threats - Boise State running back Ian Johnson, who celebrated the winning touchdown in the Fiesta Bowl by running to the sideline to propose to his cheerleader girlfriend has hired security to be present at his wedding in Boise this weekend. We wish Ian and Cindy Popadics all the best. Hey, are we the only ones who are getting a chuckle out of a cheerleader having a last name of Popadics? That's a pretty good name to put on a cheerleading application. We hope she hyphenates her last name Popadics-Johnson...we'll let you mull that over.

Boston Red Sox LF Manny Ramirez had three hits, including two home runs, and drove in four runs to lead the Sox to a 14-9 win over the Indians. Honourable mention goes out to Wily Mo Pena who had four hits, including a home run, and four runs batted in. We mention Wily Mo because our man Sparky has been on a crusade to get WMP traded for a bag of balls.

St. Louis Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols had two hits, including a home run, and drove in five runs to lead the Cards to an 11-1 trouncing of the Cubs.

Houston Astros P Wandy Rodriguez pitched seven solid innings, allowing one earned run on five hits and two walks while striking out six, in the Astros' 7-1 win over Boomer Wells and the Padres.

We recovered from a lousy afternoon to go 4-0 last night - the total for the week stands at + $255; hey, if Julio Lugo and Wily Mo can make it over the Mendoza line...we can get this back in black. It'll just take a while. Today's suggestions

San Diego over Houston - would the real Jake Peavy please stand? Peavy has been getting knocked around a bit of late, but we expect him to display his early season form against Houston tonight. Woody Williams goes for the Astros so you know the Padres are good for four or five runs. Lay $100 on San Diego - $150.

New York over Washington - Mets made a couple of errors to throw away yesterday's game, not likely to happen again. We like Sosa over Bacsik tonight in a walk. Lay $100 on the Mets - $180.

New York over Baltimore - Yankees are hitting the cover off the ball (well, maybe not last night) which doesn't bode well for Jeremy Guthrie and the O's; we'll take Pettitte tonight. Lay $100 on the Yankees - $140.

Seattle over Oakland - M's have lost six in a row...we're going with the strategy that says "they have to win eventually" - who better to get them out of this funk that Felix Hernandez?

That's it for today gang...thanks for taking the time to check in. Have a great one peeps.

Hazel, we hope things are groovy in your world.

We're Out.


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