There are multiple reports that as of yet unsigned Restricted Free Agent Steven Stamkos is set to be offered a cap maximum  decade or more deal. This would make him the highest paid player in the NHL. It would also leave him a UFA at age 31 to 33. Meaning he’d still be young enough to court another major deal, assuming he was still healthy, and still perceived as a top player. The Lightning are expected to match this deal, assuming they don’t have him signed to one of their own before then.

The question is why? Yes Stamkos is a top twenty forward, but he’s hardly the best in the game. I don’t see him as even likely to become the best in the game. If you look at this years playoff run, in three series against the heavily depleted Penguins, a sweep of the Capitals and the eventual Stanley Cup winning Bruins he was + player only once. He was a minus player six times. By comparison, Teddy Purcel who outscored him was a + player seven times and a minus player just four times. Simon Gagne’s split was five plus, and four minus games in three less games. Out west, Patric Marleau who played the same number of games, and ended with the same number of points was split 4+ and 5- games, while playing injured. Joe Thornton, put a similar 4/6 split while also playing injured he gathered four more points and was one point short of point per game production.

By any standard except Cup wins, Joe Thornton is one of the ten best forwards the NHL has produced in the last twenty years. To me, if you can’t produce at the same or better level, you don’t deserve a huge deal. This doesn’t count the futility that is having him take faceoffs. Nor does it count the notably unpretty takeaway to give away performance that’s noticeably worse than known defensive lightweights Henrik and Daniel Sedin (aka Thing -9 and Thing -11). Unlike say Corey Perry, Eric Staal, Pavel Datsyuk, Marian Hossa or even Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand he can’t be relied upon to play or produce points short handed.

Even as a pure public relations move designed to put rear-ends in seats and cash in the concession stands registers a league max or even very high end deal isn’t the brightest idea I’ve ever heard.

This drinking game is not for the meek, I wouldn’t advise reading any further if you small bladder or high sensitivity to caffeine or alcohol.

Take one drink when:

The amount of time it’s been since the Bruins won a Cup is mentioned.

Any mention of the Canunks never having won a Cup.

The fact that the two head coaches played together is mentioned.

Any reference is made to the number of Canadian or American players on one of the teams.

There is a tv timeout with two or more Geico ads.

A member of the media asks a completely idiotic question before, during or after the game.

Take two drinks when:

Bobby Orr is mentioned.

An announcer, or player mentions how long it has been since a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup.

Milan Lucic is shown in video playing in Juniors.

The Cam Neely-Barry Pederson trade is brought up.

Any video of the USA vs Canada Olympic games is shown.

The announcers verbally perform a biblical sin on Ryan Kesler.

The Tim Thomas save on Steve Downie is mentioned or shown.

Roberto Luongo is shown letting in a goal to Chicago.

Take three drinks when:

Zdeno Chara’s height, weight, or physical fitness are mentioned.

The Sedin’s cycling the puck is mentioned.

The special teams are brought up when they are playing five on five.

The general managers, owners or other non coaching staff are shown.

Someone feels the need to mention that Vancouver, British Columbia is in western Canada.

Take four drinks when:

The pink hat who started watching hockey in the second round correctly interprets a referees  hand signal of a call.

Any player having been traded at or near the deadline is mentioned.

Matchups from previous series are brought up.

There is scrum not involving Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic, Aaron Rome, Brad Marchand or Alex Burrows.

Take five drinks if someone mentions Bieksa’s toughness and mentions the fight with Patrick Marleau.

 

Skip your next drink:

If Milan Lucic scores in Vancouver and the announcers fail to mention he’s from Vancouver.

The announcers mention any play by Mark Recchi and fail to note he has his name on the Cup with two different teams already.

You hear a Canadian announcer fail to pronounce the Bruins Captains name Chair-ah.

Can anyone sound more out of touch than Wilson? Clearly this one was an empty net tap in from a foot inside the bluepaint. The answer is no. Wilson has the most hysterical (in all senses of the word) meltdown of a coach in this yet young season.

Can one goalie solidify their position? Well, Thomas allowed just one goal, again. This time to the Washington Capitals who are on pace to be held to two or less goals far more times than last year. The Capitals goal-tending duo was affected by “the flu” (The Black & Gold Flu?) and so it’s probably inconclusive so far.

Well, Bergeron not only failed to gain the score sheet, he had one of the worst faceoff nights of his career with just a 22% win percentage. Blake Wheeler snagged and assist and Matt Hunwick stuck the dagger deep into the chest of the Capitals for his first goal of the season.  Pialle is leading all returning Bruins forwards in time on pine, Stuart and Ference have continued to perform at their normal offensive rate.

Caps defense? Um… not really.  Horton may not have gotten a shot on goal, but he was still +2 with an assist. Sorry GM GM, you still have work to do. So sorry.

Egg would be a gift… the Canucks got tripled up by the Wild with no less than six of the boys from The State of Hockey lighting the lamp. Midway through the game the Sharks are halfway to a loss to a probable lottery team on the tail end of a long, grueling road trip that started about 11 time zones away. The Sharks might pull it out but there’s no reason a roster with Thornton, Heatley, Marleau, Pavelski should ever trail a roster with Eric Staal, and 19 other guys.