The problem with free agency starting at 11:00 a.m. central is that nobody can get any work done if they keep punching “refresh” on the Wild.com free agency tracker for the latest news on who their favorite team has signed (actually I’m told you don’t have to hit refresh because the page updates every 60 seconds!). That’s why you need a job like mine, where you are required to spend all day on the Internets to see what’s the haps? As Ferris Bueller might say, “It is so choice. I highly recommend it.”
Unfortunately, we are less than an hour in and the Wild have already lost out on the Marty Biron sweepstakes. He went to the Rangers and immediately transformed them into a Cup contender. We will have to make due with Nik Backstrom, the franchise’s all-time leader in wins.
Now, I can’t speculate on who the Wild will or will not sign. You’ll have to read the Star Tribune’s Mike Russo for that. He’s got the 411. What I can say (and Russo said this on his latest blog) is that fans should remain patient, and not swerve off the Wakota bridge if hours or days pass and the Wild don’t sign anyone, or they hear a player they want signed with another team. By the way, Zbynek Michalek (to Pittsburgh) and Sergei Gonchar (away from Pittsburgh) are both off the market.
It would be great if the Wild signed Ilya Kovalchuk, Matt Lombardi, Dan Hamhuis and every single Minnesota native available. But that requires some extreme mathematical genius. Chuck Fletcher did go to Harvard, so who knows? Maybe he can figure out how to get it done, but let’s just wait and see and not panic if it doesn’t happen.
Here’s my problem with free agency. Why July 1? Does it really have to start a day before the July 4 weekend kicks off? Who decides this? What would the problem be if they decided to start it on July 12?
Not only are people in the lower 48 dancing on boats and lighting fireworks, but you’re also competing for media attention during the LeBron, D-Wade, Boshy and Darko feeding frenzy. I just worry that the Wild might sign or trade for a very good player, but it will be overshadowed by news of the Timberwolves landing LeBron. Wild.com will get about two clicks that day (by me and hopefully the player we get).
Now, I don’t expect many people to pay attention to a lowly website punk, but if you’ll recall a couple months back, I completely solved the NHL’s realignment issue and I’m just waiting for the call from Mr. Bettman to thank me.
In actuality, my real problem is the very real possibility that I’ll be pulled away from a game of bean bag toss along the shores of Gull Lake to write a story for the site about a signing. Back in 2006, I spent a Saturday night working in my office as the Wild signed Keith Carney, Mark Parrish and Kim Johnsson within a few hours. PR guru Aaron Sickman and I were forced to watch Taste of Minnesota fireworks from the window in our office. It was actually quite nice. I hope he feels the same way.
So if you’re at the Caribou Coffee in Brainerd this weekend, and you see a severely sunburned dude working on his laptop, that’s me! And the Wild probably just signed somebody.