Was reading the newspaper over breakfast today, and when I turned to the sports pages, I got the shock of my life...
Martin Havlat, one of my favourite players on the Ottawa Senators NHL hockey team, got traded to the Chicago Blackhawks! (Oh, have I mentioned that I'm a hockey fan?)
Havlat was traded along with Brian Smolinski to the Chicago Blackhawwks for Tom Preissing, Michal Barinka, Josh Hennessy, and a second round draft pick in 2008. Havlat (who wore the number 9 and was nicknamed "Mach 9" for his speed and skill) has been one of my favourite Senators over the years, with his speed, his flair, and his style on the ice being such a joy to watch, but the trade writing was on the wall over the last couple of months, especially after the Senators disappointing run in the playoffs this year. With the league salary cap at $44M and some of the signings the Senators made, combined with Havlat's eligibility to become an unrestricted free agent next summer and his unwillingness to sign a multi-year deal with Ottawa, which the Senators couldn't do anyway because of the cap constraints, the writing was on the wall for the Havlat trade. He promptly signed a 3-year, $18 million dollar deal with Chicago.
While I really like the guy, I don't think he's worth $6 million a year, to be honest. Havlat had a terrible season this past year, scoring 9 goals and having 7 assists in 18 games, due to missing most of the season with a dislocated shoulder that required major surgery. He had a good playoff run, to be honest, but... What really annoys me about this is that the Havlat trade was a result of the new attitude in the NHL with the salary cap. Player loyalty can be bought these days, and while I understand Havlat's attitude in some ways, the fact is that he wasn't a team player. He obviously didn't want to stick around in Ottawa, given the way he backed the management into a corner about signing a long-term deal that they couldn't possibly do because of the salary cap. The Senators legitimately have a chance of making a run at the Stanley Cup again this year, but here's the young, 25-year-old player who wants to see what he can get on the open market for his services.
So long, Mach 9... Just don't expect to win a Stanley Cup in Chicago.