I knew it as soon as he took a seat in the box. You could feel something was going to break, and in the fourth overtime a penalty is absolutely killer. When the official put his hand in the air a roar went up from the crowd so loud you would have thought it was a goal. And when Morrow finally tipped it past Nabokov, the axe came down and Dallas was moving on.
To do this game proper justice you have to give credit to the goaltenders. I’d hate to pick which one was better in a game that was held scoreless for so long, but Marty Turco was playing like his van would go up on auction if he lost. He made at least a half dozen saves that just made you shake your sleepy head, sometimes in quick secession.
However, this save by Nabokov is just disgusting. I actually had time to say “there it is!” thinking the winning goal was about to be put in. The crowd was flipping out. Some guy had his finger on the button to make with the confetti. Willa Ford started typing “OH EM GEE!!11 LOLZ” and was ready to post. But Evgeni said no.
Still, something had to give, and Brenden Morrow was everywhere. And now here we sit, with the question that has been on the mind of every Sabres fan since August now legitimate:
Who signs Brian Campbell?
Now if you’ve been with us all along you know that I have been pretty hard on Soup. I have to stress that it is nothing against him at all. The frustration many Sabres fans have had is with the UFA market and the way his agent, Larry Kelly, has handled negotiations with the team. I am in that category, thus the photoshops of Campbell as a deity.
That said, Brian is not coming back to the Sabres. I’ll say this now, if Brian Campbell somehow signs with the Sabres on July 1st, 2008 we will turn this space into a blog about cats dressed up like Hitler. A kittie costume party for the fuhrer is on the horizon if Soup skates with the Slugs in October. As enticing as that all sounds, it’s still not very likely.
Even with his playoff struggles, his contract figure is not likely to come down. The sentiment here in the Roost is that while Campbell did struggle mightily with the pressures of the trading deadline and the playoff spotlight, it didn’t affect his value to any of the teams interested. Sure, San Jose may not push as hard to sign him because of his tendency to disappear for games at a time, but other teams won’t have a problem breaking the bank.
That’s the thing about Brian Campbell; while everything that has happened since the Winter Classic has proved he is mentally weak, once July comes all of those problems will go away. Soupy is the anti-contract year player, he plays much more comfortably when given a designated team and takes confidence from this security. Campbell had no problem living up to a $1.75 million contract when he was only worth Nathan Paetsch money, and he will have no problem performing under a $6 mil/per contract; it’s just the getting there that almost killed him.
Yes, Campbell is going to make at least six million dollars next year. It’s hard to imagine, and sometimes I wonder if he’s the next Sheldon Souray, but that’s not for me to decide. Take a look at the list of UFA Defenseman GMs will have to pick from. Who is the top prospect? If Wade Redden even gets his last contract matched Soupy could be looking at a $7 million+ contract, and all the hair curlers a ginger could ever need.
Again, all of this is nothing new, but it is worth pointing out. No matter what was going to happen this postseason the Sabres made the right move in shipping Soupy West. There was no way of competing in this summer’s marketplace, and San Jose losing in the Conference Semis does nothing to affect this truth. Whether you think (as I do) that the Sabres should have done more in addition to that trade is another story, and one that will be beaten to death in its own time.
Now all that is left is the guessing game. San Jose will make a run. Ottawa needs someone to fill that gladiator costume. Half of the Rangers’ D are scheduled to hit the open market, and I’m sure they can make cap room if they murder Jason Strudwick. Anything can happen, but nothing with us.
Nolan Pratt, anyone?