Monday, June 30, 2008

Calling Ron Hainsey

I’ve got a real problem with Ron Hainsey, the solid UFA defenseman from the Columbus Blue Jackets who will get a lot of phone calls on Tuesday.

What’s his nickname?

In hockey, Richard Park becomes Parksy, Trent Hunter is Hunts, Brendan Witt, naturally, is Witter.

What the heck do you do with Hainsey?

Hainz? Nah.

Hainser? Weak.

Hainsey-sy? Don’t think so.

I guess there are bigger problems for a team to have. Ron is a good player who is about to cash in spectacularly. After struggling as a first-round pick in Montreal – he went 12 picks after his pal Rick DiPietro in 2000 – he found his game under Ken Hitchcock in Columbus. He will deserve every cent he gets this week because many teams could use a fully developed 24-minute man entering the prime of his career.

Did I mention Hainsey happens to be buds with Rick DiPietro, who could use a mobile 6-foot-3 dman in the Islanders’ end? Sources tell Point Blank Page Six that Rick attended Hainsey’s recent wedding. It's not exactly the Lightning hiring Mr. Malone and then signing Mr. Malone's boy, but it's something.

Ron is only 27 years old, so his signing wouldn’t foul up the franchise’s plan to build around youth.

He could stay with Columbus, but I suspect Hainsey’s agent will get big offers from more than a dozen teams, including the Islanders. At whatever the going rate is for Ron Hainseys – figure on Scott Hannan money – six years would get it done. It’s simply a matter of how far the Islanders will go.

With John-Michael Liles staying in Colorado, the alternative on D for the Islanders is probably not signing anyone at all. You can make a case for that, too, I guess. Depends on how patient you think you can be.

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