Sunday, August 17, 2008

Reading Between the Lines

I gotta say, when Mike Russo posts, I jump. I cannot find anything on the internet that comes close to making me get all tingly as when I see that there's a new post on his blog. And yes, that includes boobs.

His post this morning and his subsequent piece is good stuff. (I'm sure that I'm not the only one who finds the irony in that statement) Make sure you read that first before you go on.

I've been reading Russo's blog since day one and the insight he brings is unheard of. However he is also handcuffed by the fact that his access comes because both the management and players trust him absolutely. He cannot be too frank with his information and he cannot hypothesize about meaning and intention.

Therefore, I declare that it is Diablohockey's duty as hockey bloggers to take the honorable Mr. Russo's information and read between the lines as any two-bit hack is able to do. This is done from a purely unbiased standpoint. Let's break it down.

(Italics are Russo's printed stuff)

OK, I’m back in the Twin Cities. Almost one month until training camp starts.

"Geez I miss Florida already. Time to get out the flannel shirts. As soon as it hits 72, I'm flying back."

I talked to assistant GM Tom Lynn yesterday and here’s a story on management’s meeting with Marian Gaborik in Slovakia.

"Where the boring information for the folks that still have dial up is."

Unfortunately, Gaborik’s voice isn’t in the story, although, trust me, I’ve tried to get him and his agent for weeks. So keep in mind, this is one side.

"No Love from Trencin. What is that all about? What is the temperature in central Slovakia in late August? I might need to fly out when I get too cold. Anyways, this is a bad sign. Usually I can get an email. Even when Brian Rolston was bailing out of Minny, he still texted me."

But Lynn said at no point in the meeting did Gaborik tell the Wild he wanted to move on.

"Of course, Lynn mentioned that Gaborik said he'd rather be caught in a MSP airport bathroom tapping toes with Larry Craig than spend another season playing for Jacques Lemaire."

If he did, I think the Wild would let that be known simply to prepare its fan base that a trade is coming. At the end of the day, who knows if the Wild will be able to get Gaborik signed, but as of now, the Wild at least believes it’ll be able to sign him.

"Wait - but I just did prepare the fan base that a trade could be coming. Darn it, that crafty Tom Lynn. He's always getting me to say something in the blog that I wasn't meaning to. At least he hasn't done this to me...

You can bet that one giant part of this meeting had to do with questions from Gaborik about the team’s inability to land a big free agent this summer and its inability to make a meaningful trade deadline acquisition the last two seasons.

"And more questions from Gaborik about the lack of quality Slovakian restaurants in Saint Paul. I mean, how can a city have a Kurdish restaurant and nothing from Slovakia? Unfortunately, Gabby's not the brightest bulb. That was also evident in his lack of grasp of the most recent collective bargaining agreement. He kept asking Lynn if Pavel Datsyuk or Hank Zetterberg were available."

This is from Russo's aforementioned piece in Sunday's Strib.

Gaborik could not be reached to comment, but Lynn called it a "great dinner and meeting."

Lynn's words: "A great dinner because I had Wild Side catering send a slab of the leftover roast horse they sell to the stooges up on the club level and a great meeting because Gabby smiled when I told him a joke about the horse, a priest and a hooker."

"We showed him a lot more info than any player has ever seen before -- how we scout, how we measure players statistically," Lynn said. "We also listened to his opinions.

Lynn's words: "I'll listen to his opinions even though Jacques doesn't give a sh!t about them. At least I'm pretending that I'll be able to convey Gabby's wish to skate in the neutral zone during the penalty kill."

"We just talked about the team, how we operate and where we are going, and then his performance and place in the future. So I would say it was a good meeting in that (a) it happened, and (b) Marian had good input, observations and understanding."

Lynn's words: "I'm thankful it happened because I wasn't sure when that customs agent in Bratislava was going to let me have my Blackberry back. Oh, and in regards to (b), did you know that Gabby wants me to figure out a way to break Hank Zetterberg's contract with Detroit and then resign him here for 2.5 million a year? Apparently, this Tishchenko fella from Spartuk, Moscow said he knew a way. Crazy, I know."

One objective for Risebrough and Lynn was to prove to Gaborik he's not being impeded from scoring in Minnesota's defensive-minded system.

Lynn's words: "Did you know that before I started working for the Wild, I was a magician?"

"Mmmmm... I still think I can get him to think he'll score here."

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