Havana To Bring Their Own Storm This Seasonby Che Guevara | September 12, 2017, 1:24 AM ET
In what was far from a normal weekend in Havana as Hurricane Irma tore through the island with Havana just narrowly escaping a direct hit from the eye of the storm. The loud wind drowned out everything, a job normally reserved for the 1956 Ford Sunliners and 1953 Plymouth Cranbooks. Those brave enough to wander the streets were immediately drenched in rain, so immersive they likely couldn't tell if it was falling from the sky or washing over the Malecon.
The palms swayed, their leaves caught in the gusts and doing their best to hang on for life. Homes lucky enough to have storm shutters were heard clacking against the houses as if to protest their trapped existence. As I wandered the pounding water didn't seem all that abhorrent, compared to what I saw in the brief spurts through the rain. Most Cubans were desperately trying to keep the ever rising water out of their houses and away from their valued belongings and families. Their efforts were increasingly futile, battling against mother nature. It was to be pitch black soon and this reporter was going to have to abandon the quest for this evening if things continued to get worse.
Sure enough with a powerful gust the street lights wobbled and in what seemed like epic foreshadowing one fell at my feet. Hurrying along now as the winds and showers picked up, I must be almost there now. Taking out the paper with the address scrawled on it, and trying to decipher what remained of street signs. Couldn't be more than 10 minutes away now, but just like that a flicker, another flash and out goes the power. The whole city looks to be out, the shaky power grid of Havana holding up for as long as it did was quite astonishing really.
In a stroke of good fortune this may have helped my cause, with the power out there was only few houses with lights that came back on and I'm confident one of them must have been where I was destined this evening. A short hike up the hill completed the journey, fiercely knocking at the door and finally an answer came. GM Prozeller opens the door and motions me in, a grand entry way with an almost ironic small fountain greeted me. He can't help but chuckle when he sees my dishevelled appearance and my clothes were pouring off they were drenched and torn. After getting me cleaned up and in dry clothes, he leads me down into what looked like a whisky cellar...or maybe it was a humidor, hard to tell. There were sounds of a larger gathering of men in another room, my eyes nor ears couldn't locate exactly where, but they sounded to be having quite a rambunctious time.
Prozeller set me up with a nice Manhattan and sat down across the small high-top, he had something quite sweeter in his glass, I looked around and saw there was a bottle of mead out...that must have been it. Just then the stone wall opened and revealed the backroom, emerged was A/GM Sittler his shoes clacking across the dark wooden floor. He wanders over and pulls the GM away from the table. Hardly being able to make out what they are speaking to but I know I heard Tyler Seguin's name come up. The team has been trying to negotiate a new contract with him since the end of last season but it hasn't been easy. Likely commanding almost $10 million again this season makes him hard to fit in the teams structure. Especially with the new addition of Alexander Edler on the backend.
For those who have been too busy dealing with the Hurricane to note, Havana dealt for defenseman Alex Edler, finally acquiring a top end dman they have been after for quite some time. However in fairness the team had to give up something to get Edler, parting with Trevor van Riemsdyk, Drew Stafford, and Mark Streit. Wait that can't be right...is that correct? Sittler and Prozeller break off the conversation and they each pour themselves another mead and Sittler heads back in. Hoping there might be an opportunity to peak in the room as he sneaks back in, but alas I couldn't make out anyone else in there, although there must have been more than 6-8 guys in the back.
Prozeller came back and with it a hopeful opportunity to quiz him about the Edler deal and maybe squeeze out an RFA update, but as usual he just came back to get my glass and top it off. The drinks were flowing as freely as the wind and rain outside, although you wouldn't know it down here, these guys were having a grand ole time. Gilmour was the next to appear, but he did not seem to be in the best of shape. He was yelling about the uncertainty he still has in the lineup and how he wanted it all sorted by now.
Prozeller went over to calm him down and it got me thinking, why were the Revolution playing hardball with Seguin, the Edler deal cost them next to nothing both in terms of roster players or salary. I grabbed my phone and with the last bit of battery I calculated out that Stafford was due $4.7M and likely wouldn't play, Streit was $3.8M and might have served as a 6/7 guy and TVR was going to cost them $6.4M over 3 years on qualifying offers, he wasn't useful this season and who knows about the next 2. Either way the Revolution took on a $30.9M contract but moved out $14.9M in useless salary. That effectively makes Edler a $5.3M per year player which is quite bearable. I started to wonder who was running the finance section of this team. It seems like there is no issue to bring back Seguin.
Gilmour sat on the floor and grabbed a bottle of 40 year old Balvenie and motioned me over. Got the sense he was in need of a pick me up, so as Prozeller dropped into the back room I went in search of a couple cigars for us. Rummaging through what looked to be a recently enhanced cigar selection I came across a rare find; Prozeller had a box of Cohiba Behike's so I snatched two and we lit them up. Puffing away, Gilmour was frustratedly trying to draw a lineup and kept coming up short on forwards. After about 5 or 10 iterations he finally used the cigar to light the paper in some odd suspicion that it might fall into the wrong hands. I started to press him on Seguin as it seemed to be a sore spot tonight for everyone so it seemed appropriate that this reporter try and harvest this opportunity. Gilmour continued to puff away on his cigar angrily and every time he was about to speak he just sighed.
Prozeller popped back out to see how Gilmour was making out, he saw the cigars I chose and gave me a look, as though perhaps these were being saved for something special. He made me another drink and polished off the remainder of the mead in short order, in such a way that he could move to the Scotch that Gilmour opened previously. I had a sip and noted I also got the Scotch, it was smooth, this was going to get dangerous. Dougie headed into the backroom and traded spots with Sittler who came out quite gingerly as though to judge the capacity and demeanor of his GM. The two wandered off for a moment and this conversation seemed fairly heated, overheard were numbers, players names, picks, other team names, many swear words and finally a silence as the two men looked at each other.
The calm seemed to echo outside as the storm was finally dissipating, was it the eye of the hurricane with another whole round to go or was this it? Were we finally in the clear?
Prozeller came over looking relieved, he grabbed the box of Behike's the bottle of Balvenie, motioned over to me to join them in the back. Excitedly I jumped up grabbed my cigar and headed towards to back room door. I peer in as he opens it and inside is Gilmour, Seguin, Edler, Burns, McDavid, Sittler, Leech, Nieuwendyk and Draisaitl. We cheers and those without begin sparking up cigars. Seguin smiles as he signs off on a new contract. As the room continues in jubilation, I am finally able to separate Prozeller for a quick conversation. He is all smiles as he puffs away on his cigar, so I ask him with Seguin back and Edler in does this mean he is in "win now" mode? The GM looks at me flabbergasted "I don't understand this 'win now' mode...for the first time since our inception we finally have depth...we are in 'win always' mode. The plan is to stay competitive forever. There will be no dealing away picks and prospects because someone says we have a window. That’s BS."
That's all he says as he wanders back to the celebration which goes all night. The next morning the hurricane has past, the sun is shining and everyone in Havana is looking to move forward.
"You develop Revolutions by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity" ~ Epicurus
¡Viva La Revolucion!