Talk is where it's at on day four of buyout week:
I'll admit it. I've always had a thing for Peter Forsberg. He's everything you want in a hockey player -- a tough and aggressive, eyes-in-the-back-of-his-head, prolific and clutch point-scorer. He pops out of nowhere to break opposing team's hearts and send goaltenders crying to the locker room. But Forsberg -- not an Av? Lance Hornby of the Toronto Sun:
"In Sweden, hockey fans already are fantasizing about a Mats Sundin-Forsberg union, though there also are rumours that Forsberg and fellow unrestricted free agent and Vancouver Canucks captain Markus Naslund will shop themselves as a package.
Forsberg's future with Colorado has been in doubt. To keep Joe Sakic and Rob Blake and restock the Avs -- Sakic and Blake were invited to a team news conference yesterday as a signal they're staying -- Forsberg would have to be sacrificed, with Alex Tanguay possibly moving to centre.
Forsberg has told friends that he prefers to stay in Denver but if that club's hefty payroll has no wiggle room under the $39-million US salary cap, he wants to go to a competitive team in a big hockey market."
Okay, so the thought of a Forsberg-Sundin or Forsberg-Naslund tandem is appealing. But isn't that the sole reason we even have one of those kooky all-star games every non-Olympic year? To see crazy combinations like that? Call me stuck in 1996, but Forsberg should stay with the Avs or play in Europe. He flies with Joe Sakic, Milan Hejduk and Alex Tanguay. It just won't be the same to see him don the Maple Leaf.
"Satan's days are numbered" -- that's the great headline The Buffalo News ran today, reporting that Miroslav Satan has probably played his last game in the City of Good Neighbors:
"The Sabres' leading scorer in six of his seven full seasons here is a restricted free agent who would make nearly $4 million this season, about 14 percent of the team's target payroll, and become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
The Sabres will either decline to tender a qualifying offer or retain his rights for the purposes of trading them away for as little as a draft pick.
About the only scenario in which Satan would return is if he became an unrestricted free agent and decided to renegotiate a contract with the Sabres for significantly less money rather than move on. That's unlikely."
So even in the new-era NHL where parity is supposedly the name of the game, the Sabres can't afford to keep Satan. I hope that's not the sole reason that they're rumored to be shopping around Satan, probably for a draft pick.
Satan was often a moody, streaky scorer. But his numbers can't be brushed off lightly. The Sabres had a solid scoring line of Jochen Hecht, Daniel Briere and JP Dumont for a good part of the 2003-04 season. But it's a good -- not great -- scoring line. And none of them will ever score 40+ goals like Satan did. And with the new rules, Buffalo will need to add more scoring touch. So go ahead Darcy Regier, part ways with Satan. I won't cry. But I will if you don't get a consistent, scoring forward to replace him.
I was never a big fan of NHL2Night, but ESPN's John Buccigross always was a beacon of light next to mullet-for-life-club member Barry Melrose. His column on ESPN.com offers some advice to the Pittsburgh Penguins:
"Attention, Pittsburgh Penguins: Please consult me before designing your new arena. You have a baseball park beyond compare, so expect and demand the same for the house The Kid built. Here's a few of my 1,000 ideas:
1. It should hold no more than 17,000. The smaller the better. It doesn't matter how big a football stadium is, but baseball parks and hockey rinks are meant for a more intimate setting. See Fenway Park, PNC Park, Wrigley Field, Boston Garden, etc.
2. Reserve a section behind one of the nets made especially for a band. I'm talking college pep band. Invite a different college or high school band to every game. Bring a college vibe to the arena.
3. Iron City Ice Girls. PLEASE. This is very important.
4. Build a huge outdoor ice skating area on the shaded side of the arena and call it The Craig Patrick Backyard Rink. The outdoor rink should have a statue depicting Patrick helping a young child to skate. Charge $5, keep $2.50 for facility maintenance and give $2.50 to Children's Hospital. Keep a running total of money contributed under the statue in perpetuity.
5. Whatever you call the barn, don't use the word "Arena" or "Center." They are cold, lifeless words. Give me a Lemieux Gardens. For the other 995 ideas, hit my cell."
Buccigross has some great points here about the possibilities of Pittsburgh's new arena. Please -- no enormous, sloping ARENA, where cheers of "Let's Go Pens" would drown out before hitting the nosebleeds. And make it an auditorium, forum or (maybe even) gardens -- not an arena or center. Make it a great place for hockey -- and that means no gimmicky ice girls, Buccigross. Just a place fit for King Crosby.