July 1, 2008: "A tale told by an idiot, full of sound & fury, signifying nothing"

11:31 PM ET Update: Via Canucks & Beyond: Ryan Johnson coming to Vancouver? Not sure, but at least he won't be able to block shots against the 'Nucks anymore. Sheesh.

10:47 PM ET Update: Via Sportsnet: Ryder to the Bruins, three years @ $4 million. Canucks couldn't have jumped in that lake either eh?

Well, that draws day one to a close. Vancouver fans I would think aren't that happy and management sure didn't give them any reason to get terribly excited to show up at GM Place next year. But, alas, it's just one day. And still a lot of decent names outs there and deals to be made.

So, come back tomorrow won't you? I know feel obliged to keep going until I have have something to be proud of! And so far all I have is the Avs think Raycroft is a good idea. Finding happiness in the misery of others? I am certainly not above that. See you tomorrow.

8:53 PM ET Update: Via LoHud.com: Valiquette re-ups with the Rags, so a solid, young cheap back-up for Luongo is off the table now. Sanford may have to come back by default.

8:27 PM ET Update: Via TSN: Garth Snow takes a break from the bong hits required to live in Long Island long enough to sign Mark Streit to a five year, $20.5 million dollar deal.

8:00 PM ET Update: Via Puckhound61@ Kuklas: Preds sign former Canuck Drew MacIntyre to a one year, two way deal. MacIntyre spent most of his years with Manitoba.

7:30 PM ET Update: A slow down after a torrid pace all day of money and men flying around the league. Hossa sounds like he's waiting until tomorrow and Demitra apparently is waiting to see what that decision is. The entire West Coast Express is still sitting out there still. While I am not a fan of a lot of these following names, the following souls, along with those I just mentioned, still need a home (or a confirmed retirement): Forsberg, Sakic, Weight, Jagr, Sundin, Kalinin, Huselius, Barnes, Avery, Shanahan, Ruutu and Cooke. Or since Gillis has crossed the RFA boundry, how about Wolski, Svatos, Bernier, Umberger, O'Sullivan, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Erat or Clowe?

Quick fixes never work. Quick, expensive fixes definitely don't (re: Mark Messier). The Sundin offer smacks of desperation and, even if he signs, if doesn't solve that much; Gillis would still need to get other guys out there to offset the pressure he would have game to game.

A lot more needs to happen before this is said and done. But Gillis hasn't done much to give fans something meaty to chew on. Given the Backes thing backfired, with every hour that passes, his job is getting harder and harder. If he is left to deal with fellow GM's on trades, things could get ugly.

Teams that have done the best so far (some of them silently?): New Jersey, Edmonton, Phoenix and the Blue Jackets.

FYI, Via TSN: Redden lands on the Rags: six years, $39 million.

7:00 PM ET Update: Via Sports Illustrated (I missed this while in transit): Sorry Canuck fans, that David Backes thing was, as you guessed, a cock tease. The Blues match it. The Canucks have managed Hordichuk and Wellwood today. This doesn't really feel like Christmas anymore.

I wonder how long Luongo has spent in the bathroom today.

6:46 PM ET Update: Via Sportsnet: Holik returns to the Devils, one year $2.5 million. Another one Gillis let slide. But fuck it we have DARCY HORDICHUK. Via TSN: The Leafs win the Hagman sweepstakes: four years, $12 million.

6:36 PM ET Update: Via CDC: Hey, anyone know an 8 year vet who's never gotten more then 13 points in a single season and is basically a plug and play bruiser? Darcy Hordichuk you say? PERFECT...how does two years sound? Honestly, what the hell is going on here?

Via TSN (again): The Rags hang on to Rozsival (four years, $20 million) and add Rissmiller; Flyers add Raduns and Metropolit; Devils score big with Rolston (four years, $20 million); Blue Jackets get Commodore (5 years, 18.7 $million) and Brian Campell goes to the Windy City, a whopping 8 years, $56.8 million deal.

5:25 PM ET Update: Via TSN: I missed this one, but Lalime heads off to Buffalo for two years, $2 million.

I'll speak for the Canuck nation in this missive to Mike: "Hey, grumpy, we're still waiting!"

4:33 PM ET Update: Via TSN: Sorry for you "bring Auld back" fans in the crowd. He's going to be the new Ray Emery in Ottawa. Two years, $1 million.

OK, I'm warming up to Backes now. I know nothing about him, but there must be some understatement to his game that Gillis was hoping to steal. At this point, since I am assuming the Canucks are doomed like any good fan, let's guess JD matches it in one week, with a single finger salute to our GM and an invite to a back alley brawl.

4:15 PM ET Update: Via TSN: We have another Gillis sighting though it's no less confusing then the first one: Vancouver signs RFA David Backes to a 3 years, $7.5-million offer, giving JD and the St. Louis brass a solid week to match it.

Why David Backes? Moneyball? Redbull head rush? Losing out on everyone else? Feeling sad and wants someone to find him relevant? Who knows but this will certainly endear him even more to the GM's...

4:13 PM ET Update: Via Sportsnet: Ha, you thought you hated the filthy Avs before? Joining their sieve goalie from the Leafs is Darcy Tucker: two years, $4.5 million a year. Kesler and Tucker eight times a year? Niiiiice. Also, via TSN's ticker, Kolzig officially goes to Tampa.

3:47 PM ET Update: Sticking with TSN: The Lighting snag Adam Hall for three years, the Leafs add Jeff Finger for four, Chicago gets Cristobal Huet in a shocker (and they are keeping Khabby too?), Florida adds Cory Stillman for three years @ $10.6 million (DAMN IT GILLIS), the Rags add Aaron Voros and the Pens tap Eric Godard.

On the Vancouver horizon? Nothing. Just that familiar black cloud that's been hanging around the past few months.

3:15 PM ET Update: Via TSN: Oh yeah, we got some "quality" moves now. First the Avs replace Theo with Raycroft (try very very hard to not snicker) and the Cup champions decide to back Osgood up with Conklin. Both one year deals.

The Habs resign RFA Kostitsyn 3 years @ $3.23 million and the Coyotes add some muscle in Todd Fedoruk in a three year deal.

I'm just going back to picturing Raycroft in the Avsmonkey uniform. Awww, that's good stuff!

3:00 PM ET Update: Via TSN: Not wanting to return to the playoffs for a couple years, the Caps ink Theodore to a two-year deal. Also, Kurt Sauer is headed to Phoenix for four years.

2:46 PM ET Update: The guys and gals in the CDC are talking up a Sportsnet report that Gillis sent an offer to Sundin for two years, $10 million a season. Take that for what it's worth; Gillis isn't that stupid is he?

Rumors of Jagr and Pittsburgh and Kolzig and Tampa as well.

2:36 PM ET Update: Via Inside The Kings: Kings nab Gauthier and a second rounder from the Flyers in exchange for two (unnamed?) prospects. Via Colorado Avs via Kukla: Per Ledin inks one deal with the Avs after playing all year in the Swedish Elite League.

So, not only are the Canucks standing more or less still, but the few teams behind them in the standings ('Yotes, Kings, Blue Jackets) have already made significant changes or are just getting warmed up.

**spits, kicks kitten across room, eats sandwich**

2:14 PM ET Update: Via TSN: Mark Eaton stays in Pittsburgh. Two years, $2 million.

2:04 PM ET Update: Gillis is awake! The soccer star has signed with the Canucks for a year at just under a million. Christ...somewhere near Disneyland Dave Nonis is coughing up his donut bits in raging laughter.

Sundin is rumored to be receiving a mega fuckton of money; not bad for an old man. Anyone else getting the feeling Gillis is going to miss the boat on everything today?

1:35 PM ET Update: Via TSN: Boston inks Blake Wheeler. Via the Star Tribune: The Wild have brought back Brunette and have acquired Zidlicky from Nashville for Ryan Jones and a second pick in 2009. Just for help, here's more on Jones since I never heard of him.

1:02 PM ET Update: Via Sportsnet: Vbata takes the place of Rolston in Tampa Bay. Give the new TB guys credit, they're not keen on finishing last again. Gillis on the other hand...

12:33 PM ET Update: From Kukla: Canes Sign Babchuk & Anaheim resigns Perry before Edmonton tries anything funny.

BTW - A huge glove tap to Kukla (Paul and Alanah and whoever else) cause they are aggregating this stuff, without question, the fastest out of any website, mainstream or otherwise. Well done guys & gals.

12:12 PM ET Update: Cujo to the Leafs via Kukla & Rene Bourque to Calgary for a 2nd rd pick from Chicago (via the CDC from NHL Radio on XM).

Also, via TSN, the Oilers flip Pitkanen for Erik Cole. Good move on both ends. Ugh.

11:55 AM ET Update: Kukla gets two more: scratch Dupuis from the list of FA's as he stays in Pittsburgh while Brad Stuart will remain a Red Wing.

Let the Hossa-induced madness begin. We're sure Gillis is awake right?

11:34 AM ET Update: The Oil keep rolling, sending Matt Cooke's favorite beanbag Raffi Torres to Columbus for BC boy Creme Gilbert Brule.

Devils also lock up Jay Pandolfo (sniff sniff) but will let Sergei Brylin & Arron Asham test the market.

Huet, too, appears to be heading for freedom in twenty minutes. (h/t Kukla's)

10:29 AM ET Update: Salvador stays in Bon Jovi land: 4 years, $2.9 million. Nuts, he would have been a solid addition in the 6 through 8 slot.

10:03 AM ET Update: TSN reports Rolston is going UFA. You could feel bad for Tampa in this case, but why would you?
He is likely Detroit-bound based on rumors about his family situation but who knows. I'm sure the canucks.com forums will be giddy; I'm more happy he won't be blasting rocks at Luongo eight times a year.

9:23 AM ET Update: Not much from the Province this morning: Naslund and Morrison will get calls today, but Mo is as good as gone. Bieksa could still be bait if Gillis has no other options. And a look back at last year when Nonis couldn't land anyone not named Isbister.

The Edmonton Journal has a bit more bulk to their story: Canucks will take a shot at Hossa and use their dwindling Swedish component to lure Sundin. Cory Stillman is on the Gillis's radar but Matheson doesn't think Naslund has a prayer in returning. Demitra is still a safe bet while he adds Anaheim to the Morrison race. Lastly, to back-up Luongo it's looking like Auld, Valiquette or Conklin (and if that last name doesn't scare the crap out of you, then you're not drinking enough yet this morning).

9:00 AM ET Update: The Caps keep RFA Mike Green around: 4 years, $5.25 million. The Pens still don't want to let Hossa out of their Igloo.

7:45 AM ET Update: The Wings have interest in taking on the Bertuzzi again (he does make everybody woozy). Add the Islanders to the list with the Blue Jackets who will target Morrison later today. And The Boston Globe rage vomits that the Canucks could target Sakic and Jagr.

The Globe is taking their lead from the NY Post where logic has no place in their hockey analysis. Brilliant!

7:00 AM ET Update: The early morning reads have the Canucks after Hossa still, but also now Sundin and Avery. That's new and, in the case of Avery, highly hilarious. I'll get to the Vancouver dailies after coffee.

Happy Canada day you wacky Canucks. Have some beer for those of us who still have to go to work.

3:00 AM ET Update: Jody Shelley (SJ), Gaustad (BUF) and Lilja (DET) all re-up with their clubs respectively. Good move by the Cup champs to not Lilja hit free agency. Rolston still waffling & it's looking more and more like Tampa won't get him.

Lastly, Lubo wants to punch Dean Lombardi in his face. Classic.

6:47 PM ET Update: As of now, Malone, Roberts, Prospal (TB), Olesz (FLA), Liles & Foote (COL) are all off the market and locked up. Rolston appears to be waffling down in Tampa.

The biggest names - Hossa, Demitra, Jagr, Ryder, Sundin, Naslund, Morrison, Nagy, Vrbata, Campbell, Redden, Streit, Orpik, Stuart, Blake, Huet, Theodore, Emery, etc. Oh ya, Bertuzzi (so, yup, the entire WCE is still free) and notable pests like Tucker, Ruutu, Cooke and Avery are out there too (ugh, imagine three of them on a line).

**************


Since we stand a mere half day away from the start of yet another free agency, it's worth noting that there are way too many idiots out there who put pen to paper, or finger to key, and write effectively nothing and it spreads like a plague until you convince yourself "sure, Jagr could be a Canuck tomorrow" (and yes that one is out there, I don't have the heart to make it up).

I know you know this and I hope, since you're the good-looking awesome reader that you are, that you're not here wanting more of that. So welcome aboard where we'll gun to analyze everything Vancouver related and anything else of note, particularly when it comes to the Northwest.

For instance, Lubomir Visnovsky to Edmonton? This is a big trade and damn beneficial for a team that the Canucks need to pass in the standings (friendly FYI: Vancouver DID finish last in the NW). The Oil upgrade their defense and can now move Joni Pitkanen for something to shore up another area (like goaltending?). That's tough to ignore. Calgary already got Cammalleri to effectively replace Huselius (or Tanguay depending on who you talk to). The Avs are resigning their own guys but nothing terribly big in their world (yet). Ditto with Minnesota who is looking at losing perhaps more then gaining this week.

And Mike Gillis? He's done nothing he promised (and yes I am counting Wellwood in there) and all eyes are on him. It's a safe bet he'll pull the trigger on something; but at what cost and how effective the guy will be is obviously to be debated. Heaven help us if he gets into a bidding war that spirals out of control (re: Ryan Malone and the suddenly and mysteriously recession-proof Tampa Bay Lightning).

Regardless, let's have some fun shall we? Merry Xmas! And if it sounds too good to be true (like a brand spankin' new Canuck first line of Demitra/Hossa/Naslund or some variation thereof) remember that you're likely reading complete bullshit.

But hey, even the bullshit is fun every once and awhile right?

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