So this off-season, until recently, had been shaping up as one of the most painful, boring off-seasons I could remember. Last year there was a flurry of free agent signings, interesting trades (I still can't believe the Habs gave up their best prospect for Gomez), and optimism around the Leafs. This year, the UFA market was pretty boring (although I should thank the Sens for their outrageous Gonchar signing), the Leafs' only UFA signing a questionable one (I miss the headiness of KOMIKAZI!!!!1), and the only trades that have happened were because the Blackhawks had to dump massive amounts of salary to be able to ice a team next year (thanks for Versteeg, BTW).
Then, the Kovalchuk saga ended... until Gary Bettman waded into it. Suddenly, Bob McKenzie was tweeting from a Kid Rock concert and everyone who's put their blog on summer holiday was back to their computer. All of this has made finding FTB links far more fun and much easier. I'm no longer scraping the bottom of the barrel for something interesting to post for you guys. So today, I tip my hat to Gary Bettman in thanks for giving people something to write about. Links are below.
2010 Fortunate 50
Sports Illustrated released the highest paid athletes lists yesterday. No hockey players are listed. Maybe this is why Kovalchuk is obsessed with that $100 million contract?
Top 10: Biggest NHL contracts
The Hockey News looks at the ten biggest NHL contracts that were actually approved.
How many current Maple Leafs would make a six-team NHL?
Vintage Leaf Memories has a really interesting post - who do you think would be talented enough to be in a 6 team NHL?
102 million dollars, but it’s about the Stanley Cup
Vintage Leaf Memories shakes his head at players who sign massive contracts and claim all they care about is winning the cup.
NHL finally wages war against long-term deals
Mirtle on why it was a good thing for the NHL to not approve Kovalchuk's deal.
NHL GMs must take team approach
The Hockey News has an interesting story about how it's no longer a one man show in NHL front offices.
Report: MacArthur becomes unrestricted free agent
The Thrashers walked away from MacArthur's arbitration award yesterday. I have a feeling this will be more common this year than it has been in the past.
I love the Maple Leafs
Loser Domi reminds us of something very important.
A Call for Calm Regarding the NHL's Rejection of the New Jersey Devils Contract with Ilya Kovalchuk
In Lou We Trust is trying to calm down Devils fans. Including some conspiracy theorizing in the comments.
Simmonds and Neal Aren’t The Answers
Jeffler thinks we should stop fantasizing about Wayne Simmonds and James Neal. At least, putting them on the Leafs roster fantasizing.
Monster of a Season?
LeafsWire.ca looks at Jonas Gustavsson, and just how important he is to the Toronto Maple Leafs.
2010-2011 Maple Leafs: Contender or Pretender?
Leafs Wire on whether or not the Leafs can be in the playoff hunt this year.
What Was Wrong With The Leafs Part One: Penalty Killing
Yakov Mironov starts a series of posts reviewing what was wrong on the Leafs last year. This could be a long series.