The NHL’s Silly Season is well under way, with the sort of player movement that would leave me dizzy if I was any good at knowing where half these guys were employed previously. Florida signed D Ruslan Salei to a four year deal yesterday, Doug Weight returned to St. Louis, Colorado lost veteran D Rob Blake to his former club, the Kings, D Ed Jovanovski bolted Vancouver for a five-year contract with the Coyotes, LW Scott Thornton signed with San Jose, and Dallas waved goodbye to Jason Arnott and Johan Hedberg, who signed with Nashville and Atlanta respectively.

The above, is, of course, a very short list.

No two deals have raised eyebrows, however, quite like Boston’s acquisitions of Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard, particularly given the size of the former’s pact and the club’s frugal history. From the Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul DuPont.

Why, oh why, weren’t the Bruins spending like this back in the day when there was no salary cap?

Now that a limit exists on what NHL clubs can spend on salaries — that ceiling being $44 million for the upcoming season, year No. 2 of the NHL cap — suddenly Freres Jacobs and Friends have gone swashbuckling into the free agent market like a bunch of latter-day Rangers, Red Wings, Stars, Avs, and Flyers.

Now, is spending a bad thing? No, it’s not, provided the war chest is being emptied out for the right warriors. Before the cap came in, the Red Wings did the best job of spending, spending, and spending more, but they dished it to the right people (in other words, not to Marty Lapointe and Alexei Zhamnov).

In Boston’s case, the spending now is just, well, an odd thing, or an upside-down thing.
When the Bruins could spend, including the late-’80s and early-’90s when they were oh-so-close to a Cup, they didn’t.

Now that they can’t spend, or when they’re limited by the league’s hard cap, they’re out there dishing out the bucks like there’s no tomorrow. And this was the club, above all 30 NHL clubs, that claimed before the September 2004 lockout that there would be no tomorrow if people spent the way the Bruins are spending now.

I don’t get it.

That said, I do like it. A ton.

Chara is a unique property, a huge and effective minutes eater whose size and strength lead to an intimidation factor beyond any backliner in the game. A potential team captain, he could be the franchise cornerstone the Bruins have lacked since the day Ray Bourque left town.

Hey, and all it took was money. Who ever thought it was that easy, especially in the Hub of Hockey?

Red Wings captain and 22 year NHL veteran Steve Yzerman announced his retirement earlier today.

The Detroit Free Press seems to be doing their best to stay on top of the story as quickly as possible.