Today, with the magnitude and grace of a Dan O'Neill lede -- falling down a Chilean Mine, The Blues off-season puzzle fell into place with a resounding thud.
I was lukewarm on the depth signings that took place before today's pickup of Jamie Langenbrunner and Jason Arnott. I was happy that we didn't go gonzo over an older, above-average caliber free agent with an inflated value just to, "make a splash." (Too long since GT had a Paul Kariya, Under a Bus Edition) But, I was also disappointed, as usual, that there was no real movement to improve the team. There is definitely the feeling of inertia that Big Bad Brad Lee addressed in today's earlier article, and I won't dwell on that further because he hit the nail on the head with a jackhammer. Stop reading here if you're a sensationalist or a melvin. Proceed if you don't suck.
I didn't have quite as negative an outlook because I, like many of you, saw glimpses of what this team could achieve at the end of the 2010-11 regular season. A frustrating amount of talent coalesced that was absent for most of the campaign. A superb core of competitors that was short of a few pieces... well, we now have extra pieces. Which is never a bad thing unless you've rebuilt an engine or assembled IKEA furniture.
While, Arnott and 'brunner aren't the big time players they used to be, they still have game. Even the most cautious optimists here would think they can push the youths over their "hump of indifference". The other FA signings will come in awfully handy in the mid-season; given our roster's propensity for implosion. On one hand, they're friggin' cheap and I won't be bummed if they bust and flounder in Peoria. We now have NHL manpower. On the other hand, imagine if ONE of the "$600K club" could put it together like Vodka, D'Ags, or the greatest old-dude-who-is-past-his-prime-signing-in-St.-Louis of the year; Unfrozen Caveman Ballplayer Lance Berkman.
I was in Montreal when Erik Cole was signed by the Canadiens at $18M/4yr, the response was generally "Bon... a quelle prix?! Tabarouette!!" [Good, at what price?! F#@&er!!.] Cole is not a bad player but I have no idea what he'll contribute to the Habs beyond NOT playing against them. However mundane Armstrong's signings were, there is the sense that they filled a very specific niche. At the absolute worst , that role is "NHL-ready player".
And I think we can all agree now that, at the end of this day, we're a helluva lot better off than we were 24 hours ago... no matter how full/empty your glass may have been this morning. We're not quite so bad off when the big questions (outside of the obvious, "who has got a few hundy mil to blow? [cough]*Shahid*[cough]") Is, "Which backup goaltender can sprout the best soup-filter and wear the best 93-96 era cap?" and "Which Captain America do we make Captain Bluenote?" These hypothetical batshit questions were not relevant until a few hours ago. Ridiculous as it may sound, it is kind of awesome when you think about it -- and that's all you'll be able to do until they drop the puck.
If you're not down with that, you'll be on the wrong side of a Flick line brawl.
Let's Go Blues!
--If you want BrickShitting, read STLToday or the Globe and Mail.