It's Wednesday. It's raining. I'm overcaffeinated.
...and depressed. Hockey in June is usually a beautiful thing, but I've barely been able to turn on the tube. It has nothing to do with any of these shit-for-brains arguments about poor goaltending (not that I disagree, I'm just venting)...or that Dustin Buff-my-johnson can't manage any semblance of joy when he nets a PLAYOFF GOAL...or even that Christina Pronger is still playing in games that count. In the spirit of piling onto the "odds and ends" shape that most Wings blogs have taken lately, here's a random smattering of what's got my lacy red thong in a bind...
1. Chicago...a dynasty? Go fist yourself Wayne Gretzky. I tuned into Gretz on Mike/Mike this morning and heard him rambling about how this team was on the cusp of becoming an Oilers-like dynasty. I'll set aside my own feelings about how good (or awful) an ambassador The Great One is for the game these days and instead go with this: THEY HAVEN'T WON A CUP WITH THIS TEAM YET...WAYNE! I wouldn't be surprised to see them take it home tonight...and yes...that will be a massive kick in the male g-spot...but the only thing worse than watching Joel Q raise the cup over his head is having to hear about how they've got the death grip on the SCF for the next decade. If they win this year and get back to the finals next year, I can see a good argument shaping up, but until they do BOTH of those things, spare me. They're one sizable Neimi contract demand away from being a first round playoff victim next year.
2. I am legitimately nervous about our goaltending situation. No clue why this is nagging on me this week, but I can't get away from this lurking suspicion that Tiberius' play in Detroit might have topped out midway through the season when he stopped 793 shots against LA. Thankfully, we've got another year of him playing on the cheap, so we don't have to worry about paying massive coin to a guy who's only done it for one season and then seeing him flop. Still...I wouldn't be surprised in the least if he came out next year and started coughing up rebounds en masse...again.
3. Current status: CONtuzzi/indifferent. Bertuzzi...signing...whatever. Should we get excited because he "found his game" as a front net presence at the end of last year or shudder at the prospect of a big body with a lot of wear on it...one that I bet is going to break down in some grand fashion...soon...taking up a roster spot for the next 2 seasons? Does anyone else like our odds of Bertuzzi keeping his game simple for another full year...going to the net and setting up shop instead of flipping blind passes to a fresh line of opposing forwards on a consistent basis? Me neither.
4. Millertime? Last...and this is the biggie...is this fundamental question of which, if any, of our remaining free agents we really want back. Of the remaining guys, the only two that I consider no-brainer, must-sign are Gator and Helm. Helm has already proven that he belongs on the club for an entire season and Gator made a great case for it in the playoffs. Those guys should be locking up our third and fourth lines for the next decade and all signs point to them getting better year over year. Eaves is a likely YES, but only if he signs for something reasonable. He's earned it. I like what he's done on the club, I love the reclamation storyline, the scrappiness in the playoffs, and his willingness to drop the gloves more often than "enforcer" Brad May. The chemistry between him, Helm and Drapes is something special...something that will probably get us another 2-3 years on Drapes' career in Detroit. Meech...I could really care less. Bertuzzi we've already addressed...and I don't have time to get into the blueline situation, even though I am laughing my ass off about Lebda getting turned down by the KHL because his demanded contract looked like a Miley Cyrus rider (only green M&Ms, seven televisions all tuned to TLC and two one-legged, well-hung Asian strippers guarding the door at all times).
Instead, let's talk about Drew Miller. Take a look at the projected forwards lineup below for next season:
Mulestache - Pavel - Buns
Loins - Hank - Vodlemort
Flapjacks - Scuttles - XX
Drapes - Helm - Eaves
Shuffle the top six guys around all you want, with the exception of a Cleary-down, Flapjacks/Scuttles-up shift, those top six are relatively set. The issue at hand is how we fill out the bottom four forward positions. Assuming we resign Helm and Eaves, we're left with one open spot, likely on the third line. Granted, we could see Eaves or Helm jump onto the 3's...and there could be another rash of injuries that throws this whole thing in the dumpster...but assuming we're starting with a "best case scenario" mindset (rare around these parts, admittedly), where in the hell does Drew Miller fit on this lineup sheet?
I wanted magic to happen with Miller all playoffs long. I was positive we were going to have a primetime Miller moment...something iconic...like Mac pounding a turtled Lemieux or even Mule tossing a mouthguard. I kept waiting for him to have THAT INCIDENT that endeared him to the fanbase...that made him impossible to let go.
It never happened. Not for me. I'm not discounting his role on the PK or his hustle out there, but, cap permitting, are we better off with him on the ice or with Gator filling a hole on the 4's and bumping someone else up to play alongside Scuttles and Flip?