Since the topic of She Who Must Not Be Named has already been covered quite well from multiple viewpoints here at the Good Pirate Ship RedState, thought I’d take a flyer on bringing it up again, instead talking about the latest developments among the professional sports leagues about which at least a few people still care.
It’s July, so naturally we start with hockey. Normally — if any of us remember back far enough to when normal was a thing — the NHL Entry Draft is held in the latter part of June with free agency kicking into gear at the beginning of July. This year, between the oddball schedule and the Seattle Kraken expansion draft, everything was moved into later in July. Despite the predicted limits on free agent spending due to the salary cap not increasing, teams were busting out the checkbooks and spending freely albeit not extravagantly. When the normally idle during the start of free agency San Jose Sharks sign three people on the first day, you know it’s not a normal year. (For the record, my beloved — albeit bedraggled, as of late — Los Tiburones added veteran character and depth by bring aboard Nick Bonino and Andrew Cogliano, also completing their revamped goaltender contingent by signing James Reimer to work with the earlier traded for Adin Hill. Martin Jones’ contract was bought out; he has since signed with the Philadelphia Flyers.)
The Kraken apparently read the wrong handbook on how to put together a new team, as the organization seems to believe you can have three goaltenders playing at the same time. With former Florida Panthers netminder Chris Driedger already under contract, and Vivek Vanecek picked up from the Washington Capitals in the expansion draft, the Kraken surprised most everyone by inking Colorado Avalanche goaltender and Vezina Trophy finalist Philipp Grubauer to a handsome contract. Grubauer was easily the best free agent goalie available, so convincing him to use Mount Rainier instead of the Rockies for any climbing desires he might have was quite the coup for the Kraken crew. The problem is the Kraken now have one too many starting-caliber goaltenders, so a trade is most likely on the horizon. Seattle also signed quality forwards Jaden Schwartz and Alexander Wennberg. Squidward is going to have some tired tentacles from working out all the new contracts.
The NBA held the first round of its annual draft Thursday evening. Given the COVID-driven oddball scheduling of college games played this past season, the eligible players are a bit more on the unknown side to all but the hardest of hardcore collegiate fans than is normally the case. That, plus the fact most professional-quality players these days already have their bags packed before they set one foot on any given college campus just long enough to strut their stuff and pad their résumé, makes keeping tabs on the talent a challenge for anyone who finds blinking a necessity.
In NBA news of the established player variety, the Los Angeles Lakers have swung a major trade with the Washington Wizards, acquiring Russell Westbrook in exchange for four players and one draft pick. Westbrook, who has been a triple-double machine throughout his career but arguably has never played on a championship-caliber team, now joins LeBron James and Anthony Davis on a squad as expected to win it all as the Tune Squad. If it doesn’t work out, Lola Bunny is next up.
Meanwhile, in the NFL, training camps are opening. To the surprise of many, Aaron Rodgers reported to the Green Bay Packers. To the surprise of none, he articulated his displeasure with the team’s long-running refusal to include him in personnel decisions. While Packers management is technically in the right for saying via action we run the team and you throw the ball and never the twain shall meet, when you have a Hall of Fame quarterback on your roster, maybe getting his input on things would be a good idea, what say?
Finally, in they only sports currently featuring real live games — that would be baseball — the looming trade deadline has sparked some major movement. Easily topping the list is the as-of-yet not finalized deal between the Los Angeles Dodgers, with the Blue Crew shipping some top-flight talent presently in their farm system, and the Washington Nationals, who in return would send pitcher Max Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner out west. Scherzer is a veteran starting pitcher with plenty left in the tank (as opposed to tanking), while Turner is a stud at the plate, in the field, and on the bases who can play multiple positions. Since neither the San Francisco Giants nor the San Diego Padres are going away in the NL West, and the Dodgers are a starter short thanks to the loathsome lout (putting it nicely) that is Trevor Bauer, the move makes sense for a team perfectly willing to spend whatever is necessary to not only contend for the World Series title every year, but win it.