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"…and on the second day, Mike Gillis attempted to generally manage"

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9:50 PM ET Update: Via TSN: Huselius to the Blue Jackets, 4 years @ $4.75 million.


And this second night quietly draws to a close. And the news somehow got worse for Vancouver 24 hours later: Sundin isn't answering, Hossa picked Detroit and as every team (most of which are far better reloaded and retooled then the Canucks) will drive heavy towards the remaining big names. Gillis, in contrast, re-signed two ex Canucks and added a fourth line center while letting another day full of affordable upgrades escape his grasp.


The best part has yet to come. As Gillis showed his hand with Sundin and now has to scramble, the former go-to guys - Naslund and Morrison - will soon be gone. For every single voice that wanted Naslund gone for whatever reason, you'll get your wish and the Canucks will be far worse off regardless. Besides, Gillis has misplayed the past 48 hours so badly that if you were Morrison would you want to return to this team or go to a far better Blue Jacket team? If you're Naslund, do you want to fill in the Hossa void in Pittsburgh or return to possibly captain what is shaping up to be one of the worse, if not the worst, teams in the league?


Things aren't good. And nothing suggests tomorrow will get any better. But, fuck it, we'll cover it anyway; at this point it's exactly like a car wreck: You can't turn away from any of it.


6:45 PM ET Update: Sorry, late meetings kept me from watching news feeds. At any rate,via the trusty TSN: The Isles nab Doug Weight (one year, $1.75 million), Flyers sign Riley Cote for three years, Stars nab B.J. Crombeen (nice name), Avs resign Wolski, Pens ink Orpik for six years, $22.5 million, the Wild resign Kurtis Foster and the Thrashers awaken to the free agency rush for signing Ron Hainsey to a five-year, $22.5 million deal.


Via Sportsnet: The Rags pull off a great trade (IMO), getting Nikolai Zherdev & Dan Fritsche from the Blue Jackets for Fedor Tyutin and Christian Backman. What can I say? I'm a fan of underachieving Russians. But now I have to hate him for wearing that jersey.

And lastly, the $10 million dollar man is still on the fence. I find it amazing the likes of Demitra, WCE, Jagr et all have not moved in yet another day of action. Time is on their side I suppose. How fun would it be to be a fly on the wall for some of these conversations. Oh the cursing...

3:20 PM ET Update: Via Kukla: Malkin's five extension is official and the Senators lock up Shean Donovan for two years and ink Jarkko Ruutu to a 3 year, $3.9 million dollar deal. A great move by the Sens to give Ruutu a new home.


Via Sportsnet: Canucks do ink Baumgartner and Moose Center Alexandre Bolduc.


1:11 PM ET Update: Via Sportsnet: Avery brings his spleenless act to the Stars. 4 years, $16 million. Larry Brooks will be crying within the hour.


12:51 PM ET Update - Via TSN: Hossa gives the finger to everyone but the champs, signing a one year deal for $7.4 million. Call me nuts, but I think the Pensblog will destroy this man by day's end.


Looks like the one year deal for Sanford is for $650,000.


Also via the TSN Trade Tracker, Josef Melichar signed by Carolina to a one year deal.


With the Hossa deal done, expect all kinds of pressure on $10 million dollar boy now to make up his mind. And, if the domino effect is true, a 'ye' or 'no' from him should set a lot of the final big names in motion (pro or con for Vancouver is still pending).


12:18 PM ET Update - Via TSN: Pitkanen signs a three year deal wit Carolina, $12 million.


I saw rumors of Baumgartner returning to Vancouver (via NHL.com) but nothing so far.


All is quiet on the Sundin front.


10:58 AM ET Update - Via the Flames Insider: The Flames are signing Glencross, a UFA from the Oilers, and will soon resign Vandermeer.


10:51 AM ET Update -Via Sportsnet: Ryan Johnson again confirmed: two years @ $2.15 million.


Still from Sportsnet, Tampa Bay Washington locks up Tyler Sloan and Graham Mink. TSN also reports Tampa has also resigned RFA Ryan Craig to a two year deal and inked Janne Niskal.


Via Kukla: RFA Randy Jones resigns with the Flyers.


Via the CDC: Sanford is back as Luongo's backup. No numbers yet.


7:35 AM ET Update - An open letter to Mats Sundin:


Good sir, no one is doubting your skills as a player. No one is doubt the legend you have created for yourself over your lengthy career. No one is doubting your heart blah blah blah.


As such, I am asking you to kindly, but with extreme prejudice, to reject the Vancouver deal. Clearly, our agent GM doesn't really get how this works just yet.


$10 million a season will not negate the fact you'll have to travel far more as a Canuck and be under similar if not worst scrutiny then you were in Toronto as the defacto savior of a listless franchise. Have you seen that frumpy look Naslund gives at every post-game interview when asked why the team can't win? That sound of resignation in his voice, the non-verbals that suggest carrying the "C" for this team is making him likely hate the sport? That'll be you. You'll be asked to shoulder a load that someone of your age and stature simply should not be asked to.


You deserve a far better fate in your final year or two with a team like the Rangers where you won't travel and you'll have several skilled millionaires around you to offset the pressure. Plus Manhattan is a great area to get milked of your millions and never see trees. Or how about Detroit, a fine city with fine people and a championship team loaded to the brim with your Swedish brothers. Montreal is far more primed for a run into post season glory then Vancouver is. Or maybe one final jaunt through Toronto where your legions of fans will still embrace you and your service every second of every shift.


I know you see the problem. And I know you see the dollar sign and have second thoughts. But all the money in the world can not adequately prepare you for life as the face and savior of this franchise. Ask our goalie if you need a reference.

I trust the sleep will have done you well and you will, in the end, recognize what is best for all parties involved which is rejecting Mike Gillis's offer to inherit, remake and embody all that is the Vancouver Canucks.

Best of luck with your future endeavors.

6:12 AM ET Update - Via TSN: Still nothing official on Ryan Johnson? Via the St. Louis Dispatch: Ryan Johnson IS a Canuck. Via The Province: Confirms the Johnson deal. As for who is Johnson: 10 year vet, best year was 8 years ago and would likely be the fourth line center. Good on the PK, good at shot blocking.


Via The Province: Ed Willes does a disservice to every functionally literate Vancouver fan with an absurd softball piece on Sundin being the best answer for the Canucks. Nice try jackass.


Via The Province: Unlike Willes, Tony Gallagher is more realistic noting how the Sundin offer is (ugh) basically all Gillis has now unless he wants a Demitra-sized bandaid. Also notes that Gillis's idea he can improve this team via the draft route is questionable since the team has (gasp!) no real tradable commodities other then Edler or Bieksa.


Via The Province: Ben Kuzma talks about the Backes deal from the Blue's view: "The offer was like a Volkswagen for a Porsche...It didn't make any sense at all -- not even close to being sensible." Awesome.


Via The Province: Hordichuk wil snack on the eyes of his opponent's family if he has to.


Via The Sun: Unlike Willes, Iain MacIntyre notes Gillis is close to the line of poor general management, including that the Sundin offer "doesn't exactly fit the sabremetrics/moneyball management model of identifying under-valued players based on pure statistical analysis rather than paying huge money for stars whose reputation and past deeds command it." Hmm, paying huge money for past deeds; we did that a decade ago for some clown from New York, no? Also great to note that if Sundin says yes and retires after one season, the Canucks are still on the hook for that $10 million.


All of this Sundin nonsense makes me think of Walter from The Big Lebowski: "Just because we're bereaved doesn't make us saps!"


Ah, sadly, it would appear that it does.


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


So the past several days saw the following clowns either enter or stick around the hallowed battlegrounds of the Northwest:

Oilers: Erik Cole, Gilbert Brule, Lubomir Visnovsky
Calgary: Rene Bourque, Daymond Langkow, Craig Conroy, Eric Nystrom, Michael Cammalleri
Colorado: Darcy Tucker, John-Michael Liles, Adam Foote, Scott Parker
Minnesota: Marek Zidlicky, Andrew Brunette
Vancouver: Wellwood, Hordichuk

It doesn't take much to see which team still has some work to do (unless an oft-injured chubby center and a fourth line pugilist is what you think makes a Cup winner). The last place Canucks still have a few holes up front that unless Sundin uses his new found wealth to split himself into three different players he is far from the lone solution. Lots of decisions still to be made and some quality offensive solutions to be had.

Let's hope the second day treats us better then the first.