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Friday, April 20, 2012

It's Mike Wallace (and hockey) day

First off, the Penguins come home to Pittsburgh for game 5 tonight at 7:30. The Pens should have won any or all of the first three games: no way around that.
But I can't get over that if the official had called icing on that first Philly goal in game one (remember, it was unquestioned and the NHL apologized for blowing the call), and if EVERY second after that had gone exactly the way it played out, it would be 2-2 and the Pens would have home ice for the last three games. That's a BIG deal.
Ah well. Let's hope Fleury (who stopped his last 14 shots after a rough start in game 3) is ready to play tonight.
Today is the day, folks. Wallace has until midnight to sign an offer sheet from another team. If he does sign it, the Steelers can either match it, or let him go and receive a first round pick as compensation.
If Wallace doesn't sign an offer sheet from another team, he has until June 15 to sign the Steelers tender of $2.7 million. If doesn't sign it by then, the Steelers can reduce that offer to 110% of his 2011 salary (which was $525,000). Or, he can hold out. I think he'll take the tender.
So, Wallace reportedly wanted Larry Fitzgerald money (long term deal at about $15 million/year). He could end up with less than $600,000 if he plays hard ball. Wow.
I think he going to sign his tender and also that the Steelers will continue to try and work out a long term deal with him. If he doesn't like what the Steelers offer, he'll probably try to get a big contract from somebody again next year.
I'm a little surprised that nobody went after Wallace. The guy is a game breaker. He has put up big numbers in all three of his NFL seasons and he hasn't caused any problems off the field or in the locker room. He plays hard and isn't a diva on the field. I can't recall a star free agent with no baggage generating so little interest before. His agent's demands must have really scared people away.
So, I expect Wallace to grumpily be back in Pittsburgh this season. With rare exceptions, the Steelers don't negotiate once the season starts. So if they don't work something out before then, it will be an unhappy Wallace in 2012.
But that's better than no Wallace at all.
While the Steelers reworked the roster for salary cap puroses and some familiar names are gone, pending Wallace coming back, the only real loss of free agency was William Gay.And he wasn't going to play much this year. So, a 12-4 playoff team stays intact. Another good offseason by the front office.

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