Monday, July 2, 2007

Free agency off to much-needed (and frenzied) start

from Wes Goldstein at

It's about time the NHL had something that lived up to its hype.

Too bad it took until July. But after a postseason that was generally a competitive dud and the failure of the anticipated major trades at the draft, a league desperate to remind people of its existence could have done worse than the noise created from the first day of free agency

Especially since the biggest splash was made by the team in what is arguably the NHL's most important market. That would be the New York Rangers, who opened their wallets and signed the two most coveted free agents in centers Scott Gomez and Chris Drury, instantly legitimizing themselves as Stanley Cup contenders next season and maybe even earning a few headlines at home during prime time for the Yankees and Mets.


Who was the real winner of the first day of NHL free agency? The Rangers, who signed both Scott Gomez and Chris Drury? The Flyers who picked up Daniel Briere? How about the Red Wings who signed Brian Rafalski away from the Devils? Wrong. The real winner was the NHL, which, after a frenzy of free agent signings, saw their largest market teams grab all the best players. After three straight years of seeing six small market teams reaching the NHL finals, resulting in dismal tv ratings, the NHL needs its largest market teams to start winning again. This is a good start.