Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek. nWo.


At around 12:00 noon on Thursday, you were taking 20 bucks out of some joke ATM, still deciding on where you were gonna spend it for lunch.

Meanwhile, Ray Shero was handed roughly $10-million dollars and told to fix last season's playoff poopfest.
And he had one thing on his mind: Defense.
Last year's Penguins never had it together on defense. As of July 1, 2010, that is a thing of the past.
With Shero's moves today, he is putting the onus on his forwards to carry the offensive load.
That sounds like an obvious strategy when you talk about "forwards" vs. "defensemen."
Having more-defensively minded guys on the blue line, though, will free up Letang and Gogo.
Plus Malkin, Crosby, and Staal are one year older and one year better.
Not much else to say about this until the season starts.
Seeing Gonchar go is bittersweet, for us, anyway.
And we won't let that cloud our judgment of Shero's signings on Thursday.
Gonchar signed with Ottawa, so that means he sucks now and is dead to us.
It's like when you quit smoking weed after college.  "Yeah, I get it.  But, meh, it's over."
The Penguins opened the checkbook to the tune of $9-million dollars for two top defensemen in the free-agent class:
Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek.
Both guys make more per year than Brooks Orpik.  Just sayin'.
Anyone who can piss off someone from Boston like that is solid in our book.
ASSETS: Is an excellent defender, capable of playing a shutdown role.
Has the ability to work the point on the power play and owns some offensive upside.
Possesses a good frame for the level.

FLAWS: Does not use his size enough to his advantage, which prevents him from maximizing his overall potential.

Doesn't shoot the puck nearly enough.

CAREER POTENTIAL: Shutdown defenseman.
*He did lead the NHL in shot-blocks a few years ago.
Shero quotes from media conference:
"Michalek is a right-handed defenseman that we really liked. He’s 27 years old, a big body, 6-foot-2. He was really under the radar in Phoenix. He’s had a great career there. He was an under the radar swap with Minnesota a few years back, and he really blossomed in Phoenix under Dave Tippet. We’ve really liked him for a long time. Phoenix tried really hard to re-sign him. Unfortunately for them he became free. He was our first phone call today. We took care of that pretty quickly."
Our gay take:
Michalek was under the radar; Shero was right.
While people bought tickets to Volchenkoville, Shero had his sights set somewhere else.
The guy is only 27 and is apparently solid, so that's a good sign all around.
Searching him on YouTube just yields a bunch of videos of him getting wrecked.
He's getting paid $4 million a year for the next 5 years.
That might sting to some people.
But maybe it doesn't sting as much because of another contract that Shero got inked.
Only problem is that Paul Martin was some former prime minister in Canada.
ASSETS: Is very mobile and extremely low-maintenance. Can log huge minutes if necessary.
Has sound offensive instincts and good size. Owns good habits, which add to his value.

FLAWS: Doesn't play a physical game at all and can also at times struggle against aggressive opponents.

Is not a natural power-play quarterback.

CAREER POTENTIAL: Mobile big-minute defenseman.
*Was on Team USA, but had to miss because of an injury.
Shero quotes from media conference:
"Paul is a really smooth skating defenseman, great stick, good defensively, offensive production might be a little bit better than what he’s had in the past. He’s a real solid all-around player. He can play lots of minutes, an effortless skater. It says a lot about Paul Martin – who had a lot of suitors out there – that he wanted to come to Pittsburgh, which made us feel good. It worked out quite well for us."
Thoughts from PUCK THE MEDIA.
Bitter Devils fan Steve Lepore:
"Martin is a solid guy, but he's no #1 d-man.  He won't make a defense better, he'll fit into an already solid D (AKA, he's perfect for the set you have).   Was promoted to us as the next Niedermayer, but isn't fast enough, nor does he have the offensive instinct or skills.  He's merely a solid, two-way defenseman who, in my opinion, caught a weak UFA market to get himself a little bit more than he could've with Jersey.

That said, he'll play decent defense, can play PK/PP, and will not make mistakes.  But its hard to feel like Martin developed into everything he could have with this team, and its hard not to look at the Devils doing just fine without him while he missed 60 games this season.  That said, I'll miss him and he's a decent two-way defenseman."

Our gay take:
This was Shero's big move, obviously.
As Steve Lepore said, Martin took advantage of a shallow pool and cashed in.
As is usually the case in free agency, you'll overpay for anyone you REALLY WANT.
Shero apparently really wanted Paul Martin.
The main thing for us is that when this relatively heavy contract is in its final year, Martin will be 34.
So he should still be serviceable.
$5 million per year.  Still having trouble looking at that number.
But we have more trouble looking at Mike Cammalleri floating through the Pens' zone.

So, where are the Pens?
According to the world famous CAPGEEK:
About $2.25 million left under the cap. Shero says Guerin is still in play, but we don't think that's going to happen.
At the time of this post, Guerin's decision was down to the Pens and Rangers.
Tons of names still out there.  Should still be interesting.
go pens.