The moment has finally arrived. The moment when Ryan Suter, or Zach Parise, or possibly both, announce the teams that they will likely finish up their careers with, barring any future trades. As I refreshed the NHL.com list of free agent signings, a screen I hadn’t seen before appeared. No longer was the spreadsheet style list, but an error message in its place. Network trouble, timeouts, it finally happened. My heart nearly leapt out of my chest. My spirit soared. This was it, news about one (or both) of the most coveted free agents' decisions had broke, and millions of eager hockey fans had stormed the gates trying to verify the report, inadvertently executing a massive denial-of-service attack on their servers to find out if their team had made the cut. Faster than I thought I could type, I navigated to any other site I thought might have picked it up. For a few seconds, I honestly believe I might have grown a third arm to help me track down who had signed where...and get your minds out of the gutter.
Finally, the page refreshed and...nothing. Parise wants to take more time to decide, and Sherlock Holmes himself couldn't deduce anything about Suter's plans. Not even a form-letter story about how he is waiting a little longer to decide. I get it, these are important decisions, they have every right to think about it. But Ryan, Zach, if you’re reading this, remember that while you’re contemplating which team you want to be the one writing your millions dollar checks, remember that us hockey fans are faced with an even greater dilemma. For those of us out there who mainline hockey, we just ask you to feel our pain, to understand the intense withdrawals we’re going through. You’re going to have a job this fall, that’s a given, but after you two sign, the rest of us are going to have to do some quick thinking (much quicker than you’ve been) to come up with an excuse for why we haven’t accomplished anything today. Remember, it’s Monday, and most of us don’t get an “offseason.” I know I’m not the only one with 15 websites up, refreshing down the list looking for a story to break, minimizing when the boss walks by before scrounging for my next fix.
Yes, I’ve read the forums of angry fans wanting the GM’s to move on, how you’re screwing them over by waiting while their Plan-B’s are signing elsewhere by teams already eliminated from contention. Hey, GM’s are businessmen, they’ll understand, I won’t fight their case here. I’m coming to you as a hockey junkie, someone who has read every signing article posted on NHL.com, even for a few players I hadn’t heard of and teams I don’t care about. Then I’ve gone to the other hockey sites just to read those same articles in slightly different wording while waiting for you two.
I’ve paused five times in the last three paragraphs just to see if anything had changed. This may be my longest blog entry so far, but I would happily scrap it to start writing my thank-you-for-signing-with-us/I-hope-Kronwall-levels-you-for-spurning-our-offer posts. Seriously, do your parts for the economy and sign somewhere already.