Peca a Jacket! ... now I vanish back into obscurity for another week.
Monday, August 27, 2007
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Well, unfortunately my first week of classes has really been giving me quite the swift kick in the rear. It's made finding available time to update about as hard as possible. And sadly, this week isn't looking to be any easier, as I'll be all but outside of my apartment from 8 in the morning to 10 at night Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, followed by a visit by both paternal units starting Thursday. Even now, I'm updating from the ODU library, so I don't exactly have as many tools at my disposal in terms of things to use in my blog.
You know, I don't think I recall college being this time-consuming. Then again, I wasn't exactly as active, nor was I as gainfully employed, either.
In any event, as was announced around the middle of last week, Michael Peca was signed by the Blue Jackets to a 1-year, $1.25 million deal (there is no link because this computer is erroring on my attmept to open The Columbus Dispatch ... poo on that). And just for sake of trivia, he's going to be wearing #19 this season. I guess this means that Alexandre Picard will need to find a new number if he's up with the team this season, and not down with the 'Cuse.
In the end, this decision makes a good bit of sense. Alex Svitov's contract was null and void now that he'd left for The Motherland, and the Jackets needed to do something -- both from an on-ice standpoint, as well as a P.R. standpoint -- to show that they were going to make an honest effort this season, even if it's been written off as a rebuilding and salary purge season. Enter Peca, who was coming off of injury which kept him sidelined for much of last season with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
As nice commentors told me in my last post, the Jackets' ability to tender this kind of offer to Peca was due, in part, to the Rangers' inability to find any cap space to work with. They're at least a bit over the cap as it pertains to the upcoming season, and will need to shave some of that off before they start playing in October.
As for how this helps the Jackets, there are really two big reasons. First and foremost, Peca is a veteran who all but perfectly fits the mold that both Scott Howson and Ken Hitchcock are looking for in rough, tough, hard-hitting players who are also defensively sound. Peca's a firecracker, all 5'11" of him, who isn't afraid to hit somebody. Additionally, his two Selke Trophies prove that he has defensive prowess, even if he is getting on in his years and looking towards the sunset of his NHL career.
This also helps to ensure that no one who would be down with the 'Cuse to hone their skills is brought up too fast, such as Derrick Brassard, which I touched on in my last post. While Brassard may have near-limitless potential, and is considered one of the Jackets' best up and coming centers, he still has a long way to go, especially after getting injured and sitting out much of last season with his Junior league.
Before I bolt to my bus, one more thing to consider is the potential to trade Peca at the deadline, so long as he uses this season to prove his worth around the rest of the league. And considering the type of guy Peca has shown himself to be, I don't have any doubt that he'll do his best to do that. The question is whether or not an injury, or his body in general, will fall out on him this season. Still, with about a 69 games played average over the past 10 NHL seasons (including last season), it's a safe bet that he'll be fine.