The good news continues for my local team. Dallas has signed forward Francis Wathier for another two years. He’s the cardboard cutout display outside my cubicle! Mean my Francis remains valid. I think he has a shot at being the next captain should Brad Lukowich not return. Speaking of Brad, should he hang up his skates after 1000-plus games and two Stanley rings, I would like to see him join the Stars’ coaching staff. The new head guy Desjardins could use him. To me, character and experience can trump the technical aspects of coaching.
Joining Wathier is Mike Hedden. So the Austin Stars have toughness to fill out all the newbie forwards I think we’re going to be full of. Fraser was a great player who should make the Dallas roster, now we’ll need a new goal-making machine.
The AHL is certainly making waves sooner this year, maybe a bad omen about the upcoming NHL lockout. I really don’t think the NHL owners and NHLPA will have crap worked out by July 1, thus everybody has to settle for a shorter season, namely us fans.
Back to the AHL because I was shocked to see Tampa and Syracuse announce their new, multi-year arrangement. The Lightning couldn’t let Norfolk enjoy its Calder Cup for long, how classy. I’m sure the plans were in motion weeks ago, the Admirals winning the championship was just a happy accident. The Admirals’ Web site assures their fans there will be a team present next season. I suggest they change their name for starters. Milwaukee using Admirals is comical but they’re older and called dibs on it in the Sixties. The Crunch have switched for the third time in four seasons and this leaves the Anaheim Ducks in the lurch again. Will they go with Norfolk? I would like to see more shuffles, namely something involving the San Antonio Rampage. When they were with Phoenix, it was a proxy Pacific Division match. The Rampage dumping the unexciting Florida Panthers and hooking up with the Ducks will bring back the stronger rivalry; meaning the games are more than just an I-35 grudge match, it spills over into the NHL.