"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." - Mark Twain
Bit of a surprise from Tim Cowlishaw this week, who clearly thinks we should take that Twain quote to heart. You know how we've been reading articles about how amazing Jim Nill is and the Stars should be for over two solid weeks now? Cowlishaw seems to think that, while Nill made some good moves, the Mavericks filled their holes even more assiduously.
From the column:
Finding a center and a young scorer were priorities for the Mavericks. Check and check.
In the Stars’ case, bringing in a scoring center of a different kind and upgrading the defense were the biggest needs. Check and ... oops.
What Nill missed out on was adding to the team’s young corps of defensemen.
Now, I don't pretend to be naive about the duties of an offseason sportswriter, especially during the slowest sports week of the year. Cowlishaw is doing his job, I suppose, even if I find this column quite a bit of a stretch. More importantly, I certainly won't delve into the Mavericks' basketball needs on any deep level, but it's tough to see how Parsons and Chandler are really going to do for the Mavericks what Spezza and Hemsky could do for the Stars.
Because of how difficult it is to agree with this point of view, I will relate these two basketballers to two hockey players of very rough equivalence who were also recently signed by the same team:
Chandler Parsons/Matt Niskanen: Smaller player who is valued for an ability to score from farther away from the net, but also grossly overpaid for the modest production he will likely bring.
Tyson Chandler/Brooks Orpik: Defensive stalwart who needs to stay healthy to contribute. A supporting piece, but not a top player.
This concludes my talking about basketball forever. "Hey, stick to hockey, man!"
It seemed almost inevitable that pieces like this would start popping up, and I think there is some wisdom in measuring enthusiasm about two players who have had health issues in the past. But we've been saying for a year that Cody Eakin should be a third line center, and Nill has made it happen by grabbing a 1A/1B set of centers for a cost the Stars could afford. Then, before we could even start talking about how thin we would be on top-six wingers, Hemsky was signed to a very prudent contract. These are both Very Good Things that have not happened in a while. We were Nashville just a short few years ago, depending on players like Ribeiro or Roy to help us sneak into the playoffs. Now we're right up there with Colorado, luring good players that other teams want and seriously looking at how we could grab that #3 spot in the Central this season. This feels very good.
I can't say anything about the blue line that hasn't been said so far. (note: maybe stop typing then.) The future is bright, if a bit hazy, and there really weren't any free agent options that could have substantially helped this year without clogging up the path for those prospects in the next two years. You can bet your sweet bippy that Nill has explored trading for a top defenseman ever since he came in here, but it hasn't happened for one reason: he isn't willing to pay the price teams are demanding for the players that are available. It's okay to be okay with that.
Maybe I am wrong, though. That is why there is a poll at the bottom. In a way, it is your chance to write a better post. Good luck!
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Oh ho! You want to have links? Here they are.
In case you missed it, Tyler Seguin is back on Twitter. Oh my, is he ever back on Twitter. Let's just be grateful this video went as planned, hm? Tyler, we love you. Please never do this again. [Puck Daddy]
Speaking of Seguin, what must be the city's official website has finally decided that they may have lost the trade. (I think it's a ruse, hoping Dallas will run him out of town themselves so they can get him back and then run him out of town again when he films a music video from the top of a fire truck while swallowing flaming torches.) [Boston.com]
Here's an cheeky little photo gallery from the Dallas Morning News. Apparently someone over there wanted Ott And Niskanen to return to Dallas. ¿Que? [DMN]
Antoine Roussel and Stephane Da Costa are still working to make France a hockey superpower. [Press & Sun Bulletin]
Do you want to know more about hockey metrics? Of course your do! This piece will tell you what they are, what the numbers mean, and how much you should care about them. [Arctic Ice Hockey]
Grantland has a really neat piece about the last decade of free agency. There's one name on there I could live without seeing, but Dallas seems to have done pretty well at avoiding the most astoundingly bad deals. [Grantland]
Grantland also has a really bizarre piece about this offseason. Would you agree that Dallas got Spezza "on the cheap" from Ottawa? [Grantland]
A couple more from Puck Daddy. First, Eric Lindros was apparently a complete turd when he was 19, which, looking at the photo from this article that mirrors any stock high school bully from a '90s movie, doesn't surprise me... [Puck Daddy]
Finally, there was actually a really nice moment at the ESPYs when Stuart Scott talked about his fight with cancer. I recommend this one. (Scott's speech starts just after the seven-minute mark.)