Sometimes being responsible for the things I do in my day job means you get to go places and meet interesting people. Sometimes it also means you don't get to bed until 4am, and then work calls with an issue demanding your attention at 8.
Due to the various demands of things, I'm afraid that's why you haven't seen much Shrapnel, my wife hasn't seen much of my smiling face, and I haven't seen much sleep.
It's not all bad, though. In the lack of sleep sometimes brings clarity, and terrible wisdom. I have seen the dark vaulted halls of Nationwide, wrapped in the gossamer threads of a sleeper within his web. Is he a mad king filled with visions that can never be fulfilled, dreaming of glory while the ground rots beneath his sepulchre? Or perhaps he chases through a maze of his own making, seeking an exit that may not exist, wandering deeper and deeper into the darkness in search of a light.
Or perhaps this watcher in stillness is what they most fear: Fully aware of his power, willing to craft schemes of terrible power, slowly marshalling his power, allowing all the pieces to fall into the proper time and place, until he is ready to rise from his slumber and shock us all.
The natives are restless, but a moment's lapse of weakness from one of his opponents in this seemingly endless battle of wills could see us all offering praises to his dread gaze once more. IA! IA! Scott Howson F'htagn!
So, yeah, I had fun with that.
Despite my lovecraftian bent, this is not to say that Howson or the team have been totally idle. Recently acquired Nick Foligno was set up on a new deal that seems surprisingly reasonable and basically replaces Marc Methot's cap hit, and development camp is in full swing with a number of encouraging reports from The Union Blue, Lori Schmidt, Puck Rakers, #CBJ, and of course the excellent coverage at the team's own camp blog.
If you can't make it to the "scrimmage" (mostly 3 on 3 mini-games and shootouts) today at 2pm, it will be streamed live on JacketsTV.
At Backhand Shelf, there's an interesting look at the Harvard ties to the Wild's showstopping Zach Parise and Ryan Suter deals, thoughts that Jay Bouwmeester could be on the move (and most of the arguments about his cap hit apply equally to Rick Nash), and a look at expectations of big money players in the NHL.
At the Peanuts Gallery, Dok took a trip to Niagra Falls recently, and found a lot of sympathy in Ontario. Which isn't surprising when you think about some of the utterly bizarre things Leafs fans have dealt with over the years.
At Puck Daddy, Anze Kopitar gets to take the Cup home and there are interesting rumblings about a nuclear option for the Coyotes. I'm not expecting this, but if the Jackets could snag, say, Mike Smith in a dispersal draft? Suddenly this team looks quite different. That said...I don't want to see it. But if it does, I damn well want Columbus to benefit from it.