Daily Cupcakes - July 5th, 2011

COLUMBUS OH - DECEMBER 27: Chuck Kobasew #12 of the Minnesota Wild tosses a puck over the glass to a fan during warmups prior to the start of the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets on December 27 2010 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

Surprise! With Sandie still out discovering her own Walden Pond, I'm doing a guest writing of the Cupcakes today. Hope alla y'all don't mind a little change of pace.

Let's just start it off with the subject most of the NHL has been mocking us for since it happened: The Semyon Varlamov Trade. Joe Yerdon takes a look at Colorado's 'curious' way of acquiring goaltenders:

Upside is the big thing here. Varlamov has played pretty well for Washington in his two and a half years in D.C. Varlamov has gone 30-13-12 in that time with a 2.39 goals against average and a .917 save percentage. The one major issue with Varlamov in his career has been staying healthy and not giving up the occasional soft goal.

Terry Frei over at the Denver Post drops in with even more Varlamov chatter.

"Clearly, given the transaction, we believe in the type of player this goalie is going to be," Sherman said on a conference call. "In constant communication with our hockey staff, there's a belief this player is going to be a guy who can carry the load for us and be the type of goalie we think this organization needs."

Michael Stuart over at Bleacher Report has his 10 Predictions for the 2011-2012 Avalanche, my favorite of which is Number 8: Matt Duchene Will Eclipse the 80 Point Mark.

This is probably the boldest prediction on the list but I do believe that it's possible.  He's young, skilled and he's got some great wingers.

There is a chance that Duchene could get to that famed point-per-game total.  It would be great to see as he is probably the player who has fared best since the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

I'm guessing the 'bold' part of the prediction was that Duchene would have great wingers.

More links after the jump!

Dave Naylor over at TSN poses an intriguing question: Is there a breaking point for violence in sports?

Violence has been a part of sport for almost as long as it has existed. The idea of physically outdoing someone in competition logically involves the notion of one person being allowed to physically punish the other.

Fox News is taking a stab at some early winners and losers of the off-season period. One guess who gets labeled one of the losers so far.

Otherwise, the only additions have been defenceman Jan Hejda and forward Chuck Kobasew — two consistent veteran players, but not the type that are likely to turn the tide in Denver.

Tomas Vokoun and the potential tanking of the Avalanche isn't all Caps fans are excited about this season. Not with Jaromir Jagr back in the league for them to boo as soon as he even gets near D.C.

From a pure hockey perspective, Philadelphia is gambling that Jagr can be more like the 123-point player from 2005-06 with the New York Rangers than the player who didn’t earn his money in Washington and symbolized the pre-Ovechkin. In 2009, Leonsis wrote on his blog that he voted for Jagr as the "biggest bust for a local athlete" in a poll.

Wysh over at Puck Daddy takes a quick look at the Brad Richards deal and the future of front-loaded long-term contracts in the NHL.

The NHL wants to limit term, because it's always wanted to limit term: During the lockout, it wanted a maximum of three years for any contract. This was an insult to any owner who drafted a player and invested resources in that player. They should be able to sign him for three years or 23 years, because stability is only a good thing for fans.

Everybody enjoys laughing at the stupid decisions of GMs that work for teams they don't root for so Bleacher Report decided to stick with the long-term contract haha's with this list of Worst Long-Term Contracts of the Last 10 Years.

The "worst" part comes in when you mention that he was injury-prone from then on, tallying just 164 games played in the five seasons since the big contract.

Mark Donatiello takes a look at some possibilities where the Tomas Kaberle free fall will finally end.

The New York Rangers were in the market for a guy like Tomas Kaberle, but they got their guy in Brad Richards and spent a bunch of money to do so.  They probably aren’t interested in taking on another risk/reward contract like the one that Kaberle hopes to sign.

Good call, Mark. The Rangers don't have the reputation for taking on risky, high-priced contracts on aging defenseman at all. Somewhere in Hartford, Wade Redden is sighing deeply.

Last but not least, the Turner Sports Desk talks about how badly the Caps need to translate winning the off-season to winning on the ice.

Boudreau's first test of growth is how he deals with his talented but non-focused Captain. Boudreau has to be the one to sit Ovechkin down and tell him to to tighten his act up and lead from the front.

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