Monday, August 15, 2005

The Worst Free Agent Signing Yet

Lost in the Fleury, err, flurry of free agent activity over the past week or so was the significance of the Colorado Avalanche signing fourth-line winger Brad May to a two-year, $1.3 million deal. "May Day" is best known in Buffalo for the series-clinching overtime goal he scored as a member of the Sabres against the Bruins in the first round of the 1993 playoffs (Rick Jeanneret with one of the great calls in hockey history), but perhaps May is better known to the rest of the hockey world for the 20-game suspension he received back in 2000 when, as a member of the Phoenix Coyotes, he took a two-handed swing to the head of Columbus Blue Jackets forward Steve Heinze.

At the time, May's suspension was the fourth longest in NHL history. Since then, Todd Bertuzzi's thuggery has bumped May to fifth. Which brings us to the significance of the Avalanche signing a player who has taken almost twice as many penalty minutes as shots on goal over the course of his career and hasn't had a 30-point season in a decade. May spent last season as a teammate of Bertuzzi's in Vancouver. He was such a good teammate and such a tough guy, in fact, that following Steve Moore's questionable hit on Canucks superstar Markus Naslund, and in the weeks leading up to the now-infamous rematch, May had this to offer to the media regarding Moore:
"There's definitely a bounty on his head. Clean hit or not, that's our best player and you respond. It's going to be fun when we get him."

It is now seventeen months later and Steve Moore will likely never play hockey again. He is no longer under contract to the Avalanche, and is "hopeful he'll see the ice again." Meanwhile, Moore's former employer has taken money that would undoubtedly have gone to resigning the prototypical checking line center and spent it on a talentless goon who delights in neck-breaking cheap shots and slashes to the face. Based on May's lack of character alone, Avs fans ought to be disgusted. Based on the specific circumstances, they ought to be outraged.

[Note: Mark Kiszla's article here provided the impetus for this post.]

Follow up: Apparently Avs fans are voicing their displeasure over this move, and it's getting some ink nationally (albeit not in this nation) as well. Nice pic in that second article, by the way. Jerks.

No comments: