Thursday, July 28, 2011

Box Office Forecaster - 07/29/11

Want to know what's opening in theatre's this weekend? Use our handy guide to determine what you should see and skip before you head out.

Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, and Olivia Wilde

Current Rotten Tomatoes Score: 42%

Opening Weekend Prediction: $73million

What's it About?: A spaceship arrives in the old west and it's up to James Bond and Indiana Jones to save everyone.

Who's Going to See It?: Anyone who loves action packed summer movies so pretty much everyone.

Should You go See It?: Definitely, as I mentioned before this is James Bond and Indiana Jones teaming up to battle aliens in the old west. Not to mention that this is also directed by Jon Favreau who directed the "Iron Man" movies so you know you're going to get your money's worth here. Plus, I think we can all agree that the western is due for a comeback.

Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marissa Tomei, and Kevin Bacon

Current Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%

Opening Weekend Prediction: $24million

What's it About?: Based on the trailers it looks like it's about a marriage that falls apart and a man discovers something about himself and......wait for

Who's Going to See It?: Large groups of women who can't wait to see the scene where Ryan Gosling takes his shirt off.

Should You go See It:?: Normally I would say no but this does have a pretty solid cast and it looks better than the standard romantic comedy. It's getting pretty good reviews so it can't be any worse than the next movie on this list.

Starring: Neil Patrick Harris, Hank Azaria, Jayma Mays, and Sofia Vergara. Plus the Voices of Jonathan Winters and Katy Perry

Current Rotten Tomatoes Score: 15%

Opening Weekend Prediction: $30million

What's it About?: Some cartoon characters from the 80's that aren't nearly as good as you remember them being end up coming to New York where wackiness will ensue.

Who's Going to See It?: Parents who loved the show as kids will drag their kids to this movie. As they're waiting in line the kids will ask, "what the f*ck is a Smurf?" Also guys who think Smurfette looks like this in the movie.

Should You Go See It:?: If Smurfette looked like that in the movie I would say yes. But no, this looks awful like "Alvin & the Chipmunks" awful. If you're taking kids that's alright but if you're an adult wanting to see this you should watch an old episode of the Smurfs and not only will you not want to go anymore but I'm willing to bet you the episode doesn't stay on for longer than 15 minutes.

Your Best Bet this Weekend

Cowboys & Aliens
That Rotten Tomatoes score isn't that great but come on it has to be better than "Quantum of Solace" and "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls" right? Right......?
By the way this was one of my favorite things from this past week.
("Daniel Craig is my Wookie bitch now!")

Top 5 Movie Estimates
1. Cowboys & Aliens - $73 million (1)
2. The Smurfs - $30 million (1)
3. Captain America: The First Avenger - $26 million (2)
4. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two - $25 million (3)
5. Crazy, Stupid, Love - $24 million (1)
(numbers in brackets represent number of weeks in release)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Movie Trailer Hall of Fame - Apocalypse Now

I love movie trailers. To be honest, it's one of my favorite things about going to the movies. After you get through about 10 minutes worth of commercials you always hope to see a preview for a movie that makes you go "wow, I have to go see that". When the movie that you paid to see is about to start and you have a brief moment where you don't remember what you're watching then you know you've seen some great previews.

This is the first of what will be an ongoing series that looks at some of the greatest movie trailers of all time.

Release Date: August 15, 1979

Starring: Marlon Brando, Martin Sheen, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper, Laurence Fishburn, and Harrison Ford

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Major Awards: Nominated for 8 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor for Robert Duvall. Won 2 Oscars for Best Cinematography & Best Sound.

Box Office: $78 million in North America & $150 million worldwide

In 1997 I was working at a video store and probably watched/listened to this trailer close to 100 times. I worked at a Video Update and we had to play these VHS tapes that had a loop of movie trailers on them. My favorite one was a tape that was from the early 80's that had trailers for Star Wars, Cannonball Run, and The World According to Garp on it. My absolute favorite preview on that tape was the one for Apocalypse Now.

Everything about this trailer is great. The first thing that you'll notice is that there is no annoying voice over saying crap like "in a world where.." or "meet Captain Willard". You get hit with the cryptic "The End" by the Doors and see a bunch of explosions in the jungle followed by a glimpse of the insane hotel room scene introducing Captain Willard.

After that we get a shot of a young Harrison Ford sending Martin Sheen on his mission to kill Colonel Kurtz. You know you're in for something special when Willard is told to terminate him "with extreme prejudice".

They do a great job of setting up the story and they follow it up by showing small glimpses of all the movies classic scenes:
- "Ride of the Valkyries" scene
- Robert Duvall "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" line
- Playboy concert scene
- Willard arriving at Kurtz headquarters
- A snippet of Dennis Hopper's insane speech

 You also get treated to essential Vietnam songs like "Suzie Q" by Creedence Clearwater Revival and "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones.  At the end of the trailer we're reminded that this movie is from Francis Ford Coppola who at this point had already directed "The Godfather", "The Godfather Part II", and "The Conversation". There's a lot to take in, but the trailer does a great job of showing that the movie is bat-shit crazy.

The actual movie production was a plagued with problems. I recommend watching the documentary Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmakers Apocalypse which covers Coppola nearly going not only broke but mad during the production. Today the movie stands as not only one of the best films about the Vietnam War but also one of the best films to come out of the 1970's.

What are some of your favorite movie trailers?

Monday, July 25, 2011

The "other" 5 Greatest Wrestling Entrance Songs

Bill Simmons had an article last week over on Grantland about how the wrestling entrance song is a lost art and how some guys like CM Punk are making them matter again.

He was referencing the last WWE PPV called "Money in the Bank" which had an epic entrance from CM Punk (see below). The PPV was actually the first WWE event that I had watched in close to two years. The reason for this is that the product just hasn't been that good lately. They've taken a more PG friendly like approach (aka. no blood) and the story lines have been terrible. This event happened to have a great storyline as it was Punk's last night in the company and threatened to walk off with the WWE title if he won the match (which he did BTW).

I have to say the event was great and everything about the main event from the build up to the actual match reminded me why I'm a wrestling fan to begin with. There was one thing that bothered me during the event though, I noticed that a lot of the wrestlers entrance music selections were terrible.

In the article Simmons says that the following things are needed for a great entrance song:
1. You need a hook. You should be able to tell who it as after about a second and a half.
2. Entrance music shouldn't cripple a wrestlers gimmick.
3. The music shouldn't peak right away, it should build to something.
4. Don't be afraid to change a wrestler's music.

He made a list of the top 12 songs from 1997-2011 and I have to say that his list is pretty dead on. It covers pretty much everyone from The Rock to Stone Cold and all the way up to Chris Jericho who happens to be number one on the list. Hell, even Al Snow makes an appearance.

I noticed that there was some great entrance music that didn't even get an honorable mention. So in honor of the Grantland article here's my list of the "other" 5 greatest wrestling entrance songs from 1997-2011.

#5. Tazz (If You Dare)

(music starts at about 2:20)
I was going to just put up a copy of Tazz's entrance video but he might have one of the worst video's of all time. Basically it flashes the number 13 (to represent how long it took him to get to the WWE) then it shows him standing like he's posing for a mug shot. The video wasn't great but I thought his music was fantastic with it's heart monitor beep opening. This is how you hook them in. Tazz ended up having a relatively short wrestling career in WWE before moving to the broadcast booth. The video above was from is WWE debut in January 2000 at the Royal Rumble (one of my all-time favorite PPV's). 

#4. Christian (At Last)

Go to YouTube and type in "Christian entrance music". After you go through some video's with names like "I Love God" you'll come across about eleven different theme's for the current World Heavyweight Champion. He's had a lot of music but this was his best from around 2003. This was also around the time that he was starting to become more of a singles competitor after teaming up with Edge for so long. But listen to that song though, it has probably one of the weirdest chorus lines that you'll ever hear.

#3. Cactus Jack Theme

The hardcore legend Mick Foley (aka. Cactus Jack) has had a few different theme songs over the years. When he was in ECW he used "Born to be Wild" but when he was re-introduced in the WWF in early 1998 they gave him this guitar heavy song. I personally love it because when you hear the music you know that someone is about to get fucked up. If for some strange reason I ever have to get into a fight I'm going to tape up my fists and come out to this song.
p.s This entrance video cracks me up with it having to show Cactus Jack piledrive Triple H through a table like 5 times.

#2. Triple H (My Time)

Triple H's current theme (The Game) by Motorhead is great and you've probably head it if you've ever been to any sporting event in North America. He got this theme in the early 2000's after the whole DX thing had been run into the ground. In this we get a great intro and it builds to someone yelling "maaaa tiiiiiime". This clip makes me laugh because this was during the time when the McMahon's had to be involved in pretty much every main event. But this song was very fitting for Triple H at the time as he was starting to become the number one guy in the WWE.

#1. nWo Theme

This is one of my all-time favorite entrance songs and I have to say that I'm a little surprised Simmons didn't put it on his list. This song represents one of the most exciting and innovative era's in professional wrestling. The video above was from the nWo's brief and terrible run in the WWE during 2002. The clips from WCW were great as it normally involved people throwing garbage at them and either Hall or Nash picking up a Cruiserweight and throwing them around the ring like a rag doll. It's hard not to love a song that sounds like it came from a porno.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Box Office Forecaster - 07/22/11

Want to know what's opening in theatre's this weekend? Use our handy guide to determine what you should see and skip before you head out.

Starring: Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell, Tommy Lee Jones, and Hugo Weaving
Current Rotten Tomatoes Score: 73%
Opening Weekend Prediction: $80 Million
What's it about?: This is first of what will probably be many Captain America movies (Chris Evans has agreed to star in six of them). This one is mostly an origin story about how he becomes Captain America as he battles the Nazi villain (as opposed to the Nazi hero??) Red Skull.

Who's Going to See It?: Pretty much everyone who has ever picked up a comic book.

Should You Go See It?: Even if you're not a comic book fan you have to be impressed with the way this movie looks. Plus even if you're just a bit interested in seeing The Avengers next summer you might want to go check this out as this is the last Marvel movie before that mega blockbuster opens next summer (make sure you stick around for the end credits). This was also the movie that I put as #1 on my list of the top summer movies.

Starring: Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake
Current Rotten Tomatoes Score: 60%
Opening Weekend Prediction: $28 Million
What's It About?: I think the title pretty much sums it up. I wonder if they end up falling for each other by the end of the movie? 

Who's Going to See It?: Guys who couldn't convince their girlfriends to go see Captain America. Plus large groups of women who I'm sure will find everything that Mila Kunis says during the movie to be hilarious.
Should You Go See It?: As much as I make fun of this movie I have to say that it looks pretty good. Kunis is a great actress and Timberlake is funny on SNL so this could be pretty good. But if you went to see the very similar "No Strings Attached" that came out earlier this year with Ashton Kutcher and Natalie Portman you may feel like you've already seen this story before.
Your Best Bet This Weekend

Captain America: The First Avenger
This has fun summer movie written all over it. Plus with Comic-Con happening this weekend in San Diego movies like this are going to be talked non-stop so make sure you go check this out. Besides if you're reading this you're a geek so just embrace it and go enjoy the movie. As a treat here's the trailer for the bad 80's Captain America movie featuring Ned Beatty (no he doesn't play Captain America) and a ton of bad special FX.

(that's some awesome voice over work on this trailer)
Top 5 Movie Estimates
1. Captain America: The First Avenger - $80 million (1)
2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two - $64 million (2)
3. Friends With Benefits - $28 million (1)
4. Transformers: Dark of the Moon - $11.9 million (4)
5. Horrible Bosses - $11 million (3)
(numbers in brackets represent number of weeks in release)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hockey Card Heroes - Chris Osgood

I had an idea the other day that I wanted to start doing a feature on some of my favorite hockey cards from the late 80's-early 90's. I was going to feature one card at a time and talk about why it's a favorite, how much it's worth, and where that player is today.

I was going to focus on some obscure players like Dominic Roussel (loved the Kings growing up) or Garth Butcher (the Blues are my favorite team and I liked his name) but I thought it would be appropriate to look at an obscure card and one I got when I first started collecting hockey cards.

The year was 1991 and I was just starting to collect cards. I don't know why I did but if you were a hockey fan around that time there was a good chance you were spending some of your money on a package of O-Pee-Chee or if you had more money you were buying Upper Deck cards. 

I was 11 years old and probably making $10 a week in allowance so I was buying O-Pee-Chee. Not only did I buy O-Pee-Chee but I also started buying things Beckett the hockey card magazine and I would go to sports card shows whenever they came through Medicine Hat.

With the little allowance money that I had I would go to these card shows looking to try and sell some of my cards in the hope that I would make some cash to buy a Brett Hull rookie card or the holy grail of cards, the Wayne Gretzky Rookie card. This plan didn't work very well as the sleazy guys working the tables weren't interested in buying my Phil Housley or Dirk Graham cards (I guess collectors don't care about plus/minus ratings...).  I quickly realized that I wasn't going to get any rookie cards of the current NHL all-stars. If I wanted rookie cards I had to start with some of the players who hadn't made an impact in the NHL yet. This led me to this card:

Chris Osgood - 1991 7th Inning Sketch "Tomorrow's Stars Today  - #196

I remember getting this card in a team set at a Medicine Hat Tigers game. The set itself had a few players that would go onto have NHL careers like Rob Niedermayer, Mike Rathje, Brent Thompson, Dan Kordic, and David Cooper. 

Obviously the gem of the set is Chris Osgood who just retired a few days ago from a great NHL career that saw him win three Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings.

I don't know how much the card is worth but a quick look on eBay showed another Osgood/Tigers card selling for $5. I can't help but think that the card should probably be worth more than that considering his retirement and of course the talk about him going into the Hockey Hall of Fame somewhere down the road.

There is a couple of interesting things on the card worth noting. The first is you can tell that the picture taken for this card was from a Tigers road game against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. You can tell because of the large ugly curtain hanging in the background which is still in Lethbridge's arena to this very day. The other funny thing is the card has Osgood's hometown as Medicine Hat but if you look at his bio on it's listed as Peace River, AB.

While I did end up collecting some cards that are worth more money than this one, this is one of my most rare and favorite cards in my collection.

p.s. I did meet Chris Osgood in '97 when he brought the Stanley Cup to Medicine Hat after he won it with the Wings but I have to say that this is one of my all-time favorite Ozzie moments.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Obscure Residents of Springfield - Brittany Brockman

As I've talked about many times on here before, The Simpsons is my favorite show. I fully recognize that the show isn't quite what it used to be. That's ok with me because you can watch pretty much any episode and catch little things that you may have missed before. Part of this is due to the fact that there are so many great characters on the show. Of course you have your regulars like Homer, Bart, and Marge. But there's such a great list of other secondary characters like Mr. Burns, Moe, and Lenny & Carl. But every now and then you'll watch an episode and you'll be like "wow, I haven't seen Uter in like three years" or "they never show Wendell anymore". I'm a big fan of the rarely referenced characters. With that said, let's explore one of Springfield's more obscure residents.

Brittany Brockman

Who is she: Daughter and presumably only child of Channel 6 news anchor Kent Brockman (aka. Kenny Brockelstein)

Episodes: Brittany only has any legitimate screen time in two episodes. The first was in season 5's "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy" where she convinces her dad to do a story on the new Lisa Lionheart doll that Lisa is helping to create. She can also be seen in Season 7's "Scene's from the Class Struggle in Springfield". In that episode Marge is trying to get the family in a snooty country club and there's a scene at that club where Brittany is yelling at a server named Fritz for bringing her a bologna sandwich which wasn't what she ordered.

Interesting Facts:
- Kent Brockman does a story on Lisa Lionheart only because Brittany was the one who told him to do a story on the Berlin wall.
- Head is unfortunately the exact same shape and looks identical to Kent Brockman. This seems to be a common occurrence in Springfield with parents and their children. (eg. Milhouse)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Box Office Forecaster - 07/15/11

Want to know what's opening in theatre's this weekend? Use our handy guide to determine what you should see and skip before you head out.

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint
Current Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%
Opening Weekend Prediction: $136 Million
Who's Going to See It?: Pretty much everyone. This is the final film in the Harry Potter series and even if you never read the books you'll be curious to see how it ends.
Should You Go See It?: Of course, this is getting some of the best reviews of the year. It's recommended that you wait a week or two to go see this one in the theatre. The theatres are going to be packed with everything from screaming kids to dorks dressed up like Harry Potter. The Potter die-hards will be out in full force this weekend. If you hate crowds like I do try and catch this one on Monday night next week.

Voices of: John Cleese, Craig Ferguson, and a bunch of people you've never heard of
Current Rotten Tomatoes Score: 88%
Opening Weekend Prediction: $31 Million
Who's Going to See It? People who couldn't get into Harry Potter since it was sold out and middle aged women who have Winnie the Pooh crap in their car and office cubicle.
Should You Go See It? It's nice to see a traditional hand-drawn animated movie. The unfortunate thing is that the running time for this movie is only 69 minutes. That is one short movie and you have to wonder if it's worth paying to see in the theatre.

Your Best Bet This Weekend

Horrible Bosses
I would normally say go see Harry Potter but let's face it, every showing will be sold out and you'll have to spend over two hours sitting next to some stranger who will use part of your arm rest for the entire movie. Instead show your support for this comedy that's getting great reviews and looks hilarious. If you haven't already, check out the red band trailer below.

Top 5 Movie Estimates
1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two - $136 million (1)
2. Winnie the Pooh - $31 million (1)
3. Transformers: Dark of the Moon - $27 million (3)
4. Horrible Bosses - $17 million (2)
5. Cars 2 - $7 million (4)
(numbers in brackets represent number of weeks in release)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Why Can't I Stop Watching House Hunters?

I admit that I watch too much TV. So for me summer TV really sucks. My wife always says that the only thing on TV in our house is "Family Guy" and hockey. Well, there's no hockey being played in July and and Family Guy is in reruns over the summer. This has led me to discover some new shows and channels that I wouldn't normally watch.

One of the shows that's caught my eye is HGTV's "House Hunters". Let me just say that I don't normally watch HGTV. Nothing against the station but home renovation shows aren't normally my thing as I'm probably the least handy person that you'll ever meet. Ask me to nail a hammer into a board and I'll ask you if I could use a left handed hammer. The point is, I typically like to watch shows that involve car chases, explosions, bad animation from the 80's, and laugh tracks.
(I think this is a left handed hammer...)

"House Hunters" has a very basic concept. A couple or young family are looking for a new home because they either have to move because of a new job or their family has outgrown their current home. There's also "House Hunters International"  which is basically the same show but it has rich people looking for homes (or mostly vacation homes) in places like Italy or some small Caribbean Island that nobody has ever heard of. I prefer regular "House Hunters" because there's some good stories about families buying their dream homes. (On a side note my swears that the International version is better because it gives her ideas on where we will live when we finally win the lottery....)

(Saying "International" is better than regular "House Hunters" is like saying "Baywatch Nights" was better than "Baywatch")

 On the show the family looks at three houses and by the end of the episode they make their home buying decision. This also includes a follow up 2-3 months later after they've moved in (this is very similar to HGTV's other show "Property Virgins"). It's fun to see a couple or family go through the process of making a decision on the biggest purchase of their lives. While the show is great you could probably create a drinking game out of the following things that happen in just about every episode:

- couple talks about how loud the street is in front of the house
- wife complains about the kitchen cabinets
- husband complains about how much lawn there is to mow in the back yard
- husband walks into the basement and says how "this would space would make a great man cave"
- couple talks about how they would like to do more entertaining
- they want something that's in a central location for cheap (which never exists)
- husband's a jerk by sending in an obscene lowball offer that never gets accepted

I know these are all things that any average realtor hears about 100 times each day but there's something about it that makes for great TV. Of course, the best part is when the couple makes their decision because as you watch you're like "why did you take the house with the shag carpet" or "why didn't you take the house that has enough space for a pool table".

I don't know if I can honestly say that I'll keep watching "House Hunters" when hockey starts back up in the fall but until then I'm going to enjoy watching people argue over kitchen cabinets and breakfast nook's.

Monday, July 4, 2011

5 Best NHL Free Agent Signings

July 1 is of course Canada Day. It's a great day to enjoy being around family and friends while taking in some BBQ and fireworks. It's also the day where for a few select Canadian kids they become more wealthy than they've ever dreamed of.

Yes, Canada Day is also known as NHL Free Agent Day. In between flipping burgers on the BBQ, hockey fans are asking "hey did we sign <enter name of overrated player> yet?" Depending on who your team signed some fans are not only ordering their jersey but are planning that Stanley Cup parade route for next summer.

Yesterday I touched on some of the deals that left a lot of hockey fans scratching their heads. These are the signings that make some GM's look like brilliant men.

#5. Eric Belanger (C) - Edmonton Oilers
The Contract: 3 years/$5.25million - Cap hit of $1.75million
Why it's a great deal: Last season the Oilers had a lot of things missing from their lineup. Scoring, toughness, faceoffs, goaltending, you name it and it was wasn't there. GM Steve Tambellini saw a very young team that could be a few years away from greatness and addressed some immediate concerns like toughness and faceoffs. While the signings of Ben Eager and Darcy Hordichuk were good, the signing of Eric Belanger was even better. The Oilers are acquiring one of the best faceoff men in the NHL who can play in pretty much any situation and get you 40 points. There's a good chance that Belanger will be the Oilers fourth line centre this season and that's a huge upgrade over Andrew Cogliano or Colin Fraser.

#4. Matt D'Agostini (RW) - St. Louis Blues
The Contract: 2 years/$2.3million - Cap hit of $1.15million
Why it's a great deal: In his first full season in the NHL D'Agostini scored an impressive 46 points in 82 games for the Blues last year. Not too shabby for the 24 year old who had a limited role with the team last season. Now compare this deal with the Ville Leino signing that I wrote about yesterday. Leino in his first full season was 27 and had 53 points while playing in more of an offensive role with a better team in the Philadelphia Flyers. I'd have to say that Blues GM Doug Armstrong did a pretty good job here.

#3. Andrew Brunette (LW) - Chicago Blackhawks
The Contract: 1 year/$2million
Why it's a great deal: I have to admit first that I'm a big Andrew Brunette fan. My buddies give me a hard time when I draft him every single year in our hockey pool. Why do I draft him every year? I draft him because he's a consistent player. Yes, he's 37 year's old but he's also guaranteed to get you at least 50 points. Plus, he never gets hurt, he's appeared in all 82 games 7 out of the last 9 years. Last year he had an off year playing for a terrible Minnesota Wild team and got 46 points but look at Chicago's left side and it's a little bare. Don't be surprised to see him put up some big numbers on Chicago's second line next season.

#2. Max Talbot (C) - Philadelphia Flyers
The Contract: 5 years/$9million - Cap hit of $1.8million
Why it's a great deal: It's important to know that according to TSN this deal may be in violation of the salary cap because the final two years of his contract are less than half of the first two years of the deal. According to the story he'll earn $2.5m and $2.25m the first two years then $1m for the last two years. Regardless, it sounds like they'll figure this out and make it work. It's a good thing because the Flyers are acquiring a great third line player who has a Stanley Cup to his name. Talbot doesn't get a huge amount of points (21 last season) but he's a big game player who will no doubt be great for them in the playoffs. One thing to note is that he was a very popular Penguins player so those games in Pittsburgh next year will be very interesting.

#1. Tomas Vokoun (G) - Washington Capitals
The Contract: 1 year/$1.5million
Why it's a great deal: Interesting that I said the worst contract so far was the Ilya Bryzgalov signing. Similar to the Oilers, GM George McPhee saw a hole in his lineup and not only filled it but did it for a great price. The Capitals finished first in the East last year only to once again lose early in the playoffs. One of their biggest weaknesses was their 3 goalie carousel of young and inexperienced goalies. McPhee went out and got the 35 year old who is a veteran of 11 NHL seasons and put up a very respectable 2.55GAA and 6 shutouts last year for a terrible Florida Panthers team. The only knock against Vokoun is that he's only appeared in 5 NHL playoff games. But with a one year contract the Capitals have nothing to lose. At least they're not on the hook for 9 years like the Flyers are with their goalie.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

5 Worst NHL Free Agent Signings

July 1 is of course Canada Day. It's a great day to enjoy being around family and friends while taking in some BBQ and fireworks. It's also the day where for a few select Canadian kids they become more wealthy than they've ever dreamed of.

Yes, Canada Day is also known as NHL Free Agent Day. In between flipping burgers on the BBQ, hockey fans are asking "hey did we sign <enter name of overrated player> yet?" Depending on who your team signed some fans are not only ordering their jersey but are planning that Stanley Cup parade route for next summer.

There was some great deals this year but before we get to those let's look at the deals that are either just dumb or have "payout" written all over them.

#5. Michael Ryder (RW) - Dallas Stars

The Contract: 2 years/$7million - Cap hit of $3.5mil
Why it's a bad deal: For the last three season's Michael Ryder has been playing for the Boston Bruins in more of a third line role. His first year saw him have a decent 53 point season. After that he fell back down to earth with a 33 point season then 41 points last year. He'll be on the top line in Dallas next season seeing each team's best defenders. While he doesn't have a huge salary, don't expect him to see a 50 point season in Dallas.

#4. Ville Leino (LW) - Buffalo Sabres

The Contract: 6 years/$27million - Cap hit of $4.5mil
Why it's a bad deal: Basically, Ville Leino has only played one full season in the NHL. Now, on the upside he's only 27 years old. He scored 53 points in 81 games last season playing for the Flyers. But, in 09/10 he scored 11 points in 55 games and before that he had 9 points in 13 games. This could be a great signing but this could also be like the Dustin Penner/Tomas Vanek contracts from a few years ago.

#3. Brad Richards (C) - New York Rangers
The Contract: 9 years/$60million - Cap hit of $6.66mil
Why it's a bad deal: Brad Richards is a great player, he's a true #1 centre and if you ask any team in the NHL they would love to have a player like him on their team. He's won a Stanley Cup and has a Conn Smythe Trophy. What I don't like is the fact that this is a typical Rangers signing. Richards is 31 years old and they'll have him until he's 40 and he'll have a cap hit of $6.66million. It's ironic that on the day they signed Richards they also bought out their captain Chris Drury who had a cap hit of just over $7million. By the way, Drury is only 33 and also signed there as a free agent.

#2. Erik Cole (LW) - Montreal Canadiens
The Contract: 4 years/$18million - Cap hit of $4.5mil
Why it's a bad deal: I like Erik Cole, the guy plays a tough style of hockey that the Canadiens are desperately lacking. He had a respectable 52 points in 82 games last year; however, that was his highest points total since the 06/07 season and the first time in his career he's appeared in all 82 games during a season. He has a history of injuries and at the age of 32 do the Canadiens really want him for another 4 years? Plus, let's not forget about that one part of a season in Edmonton. He had a dismal 27 points in 63 games. He was traded back to Carolina that same season where he had 15 points in 17 games. This one reeks of buyout in a few years.

#1 Ilya Bryzgalov (G) - Philadelphia Flyers
The Contract: 9 years/$51million - Cap hit of $5.66mil
Why it's a bad deal: This signing could hurt this team for year's to come as they traded away Jeff Carter and Mike Richards in order to sign him. Plus let's also look at the fact that he's never really done anything in the playoffs and was terrible for Phoenix the last two years in the post-season. There's also the important fact that they're going to have him on their books until he's 40 years old. Yes, a 40 year old goalie making $5.6 million. Wow, Nikolai Khabibulin's contract doesn't seem so bad now.

I'll be back tomorrow with the five best signings.