So. Wings are up 2-0 on the Avs. We completely destroyed them this past game 5-1; honestly, I think we let up after goal 4, and goal 5 was just an amazing opportunity we just had to take it. I haven't seen Sakic at ALL. Seriously! If I didn't know better, he hasn't been PLAYING. That's how great of a job they've done minimizing his effectiveness. The Avs that stand out in my mind, but not necessarily for good reason, are: Theodore, Budaj, Laperriere, McLeod, and McCormick. Just by the names you should be able to guess why. Oh, and Foote, but only because Filppula gave him one hell of a hit from behind that was partially a stupid move on both parts, and should've been penalized, but wasn't and it made me smirk a bit.
Anyway. Based on offseason, some rumors swirling, and my own personal preference, here's what I'd like to see happen this offseason.
-Sign Stuart to a long-term deal. It's going to be more tempting to stay put, and we've already shown him how family-oriented we are (with his young family that would be a huge plus for him), not to mention we play a style he fits in seamlessly.
-Let Lilja walk. Before Stuart, it was like we had #1, 2, 3 defensemen, and then a multitude of #5/6 players. Lilja is great at blocking shots, but I've seen some of our call-ups pick it up too (Abdelkader, a forward, actually did one hell of a job). Lilja is also VERY penalty prone. Stupid ones, at that.
-Buyout Lebda's and Samuelsson's contracts. Each has one more year if I remember correctly, and we have young players who could easily step in and fill their shoes right now. Sammy has shown a bit more prowess in the playoffs, but he can't find the back of the net to save his life! Plus, I'm worried about that uncontrolled slapper of his - it's the reason Cleary was eating out of a straw for weeks. Put him under pressure on the point and it's sure to cause another mishap. Lebda is certainly more solid than Lilja, and he's got a hell of a lot of speed, but KQ is out of options after this year and Ericsson is definitely read for the big time which is going to be keeping someone on the bench.
-Sign Filppula to a fairly long-term (3-5?) contract extension worth some big bucks in a year or two. The kid has SO much upside to him, and he drew a ton of attention at the trade deadline, so we have to act QUICK before his RFA offer sheet goes sky high.
-Do NOT resign Hasek. Osgood has beyond proven that he can take the reins of the team. This means we call up Howard permanently and we slowly work him into the rotation. We have Osgood another three years so here's the best option as far as I see: first year - Osgood 2/3 or 3/4 of the games, Howard the remainder; second year - split 60/40 or an even 50/50 depending on how Howard adapted the season before, think similar to this year's tandem; year three - basically give Howard the reins, much like his first year but the inverse.
-DO resign the UFAs Chelios, McCarty, and Downey. Both Mac and Cheli bring great leadership - Pierre McGuire (ass) said, between the benches last night, that Mac was like another coach while sitting. Chelios is a saint with the young D-men. Mac still can provide some offensive bang at unexpected moments and rile up the troops with some fists. Downey is just plain energy! No, he doesn't play every night, but the man is funny, has to provide some energy both on and off ice, and he's just a genuine good guy! After Anaheim's Cup win last year, EVERYONE has picked up that muscle guys are needed. Just having Mac might not fly.
I might edit this a bit later, but a friend wants to video chat so I need my attention there.