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Eric Belanger: 'The line has been crossed'

Center Eric Belanger, who signed a one-year, $750,000 deal with the Phoenix Coyotes Tuesday, was on a sports talk radio show this morning on Montreal's The Team 990 talking about his situation with the Capitals and future in Phoenix. Audio of Belanger's comments on the show can be found here and a transcript of the interview follows.

Opening comments:
I made it clear early this summer that Montreal was one of the teams on our list, then things didn't work out and everybody knows the situation I've been put in by Washington. It was just a matter of getting a good fit right now. I didn't go to Phoenix for the money; I went for the opportunity, and I'm excited. Phoenix was high on our list, too, early in July, but we all knew the financial restraint they were under and things didn't work out, but I'm happy they're working out right now. I had Dave Tippett as an assistant coach in L.A.my first couple years. Like I said they were one of the teams very high on our list; things happen for a reason. I'm looking ahead to the future and I think things can work out long term there.

On what happened with Washington:
For over seven weeks I have a lease on a house, my kids are enrolled at school. We have a verbal agreement over seven weeks ago; they said it would take about a week to make a trade. It wasn't a question of if they were making it but when, and you're going to be signed, because they didn't want to lose any leverage on the trade and we all know the story after that. I'm no lawyer guy but the line has been crossed, and now I'm looking ahead. I have a great opportunity in Phoenix and I want to play good for that organization. ... I feel wanted by them in Phoenix. They showed a lot of interest for a long time and that's what I'm going to take. I'm going be a very hungry player and want to do good for that organization.

If he's expecting more of an offensive challenge in Phoenix:
Yeah, I mean, that's the plan. I mean the opportunity is there, it's myself to take advantage of it, but that's the plan. They lost a guy like [Matthew] Lombardi -- a very good player -- and I think they see me replacing him and it's a great challenge and hopefully I can deliver. There's a lot of talent in Washington and maybe I'll be put in a little more offensive situation there and hopefully I can respond well.

On how he feels about the Washington situation:
I'm trying to take all that energy and turn it into a positive one. It's not an easy situation for me and my family. Like I said, the line has been crossed when my family's involved; that's why I have a hard time swallowing it. But like I said, I'm turning it in to positive energy and I have to do it all over again. Have to find a house, find schools for the kids, find babysitters and all that stuff. But you know what, me and my wife have done it in the past and we're going to do it and everybody's going to be fine. In a couple months we're going to look at it and probably tell ourselves that's was the best thing that could have happened to us.

Was there another pitch made to the Canadiens after things fell through in Washington:
No there wasn't. Montreal signed Jeff Halpern a couple days ago, a week ago, and they were pretty set at center. I don't feel like I'm a fourth-line center. I can bring a lot more to the table. When the situation fell off in Washington, it was more a question of opportunity than going after money. I had offers yesterday with more money on the table, but I turned them down because I felt Phoenix was the better opportunity to showcase myself and to be there long term because that's been talks that we've had with them. When new owners come in, there might be talks about an extension during the season. That's the plan for now and I'm looking forward to it.

By Katie Carrera  |  September 15, 2010; 11:22 AM ET
 
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Next: Karl Alzner and Mathieu Perreault ready for training camp

Comments

It will be interesting when and if the "real" Nylander situation is exposed.

Posted by: puckman | September 15, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

never really wanted him back anyways, but again...i feel mcphee could have handled the situation a little bit better

Posted by: _stevo | September 15, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

he sounds pretty classy to me. Too bad he doesn't like to finish his checks. Definitely a dropoff from Lombardi.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

A definite black eye for Les Caps.

Stay Classy GMGM!

Posted by: Jordan_Kitts | September 15, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm still totally confused about what happened -- was hoping the Post would get to the bottom of it. hmm.

Posted by: j_strong | September 15, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

It is a business and not a family affair; sometimes you are in the winning end, sometimes you are at the other end. GMGM did his job, that is to look for what is best for the team. I feel for Belanger family having to relocate without much time to prepare, but that is the price successful athletes have to pay - best of luck to them.

Posted by: hock1 | September 15, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

yes, Caps did yank him around a bit on this one. But he was never a 2C from what I could tell - simply didn't seem to have the on-ice vision to make plays and his passes seemed to lack touch. If he proves me wrong, so much the better for Phoenix but not feeling like he was a big piece for us...

Still, I wonder what the trade was...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | September 15, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Here's PuckDaddy's take on it:

"The optics on this situation aren't good for the Capitals; there's really no winning a PR battle with a father having to pull his daughters from school and move them across the country.

But honestly: It was a verbal agreement, not a signed contract. And someone in the Belanger camp was squawking to the media before the Capitals could make the trade that would result in a contract for Belanger. We're not exactly sure what an NHL general manager's reaction would be upon seeing the verbal agreement/trade/contract scenario exposed and his negotiating position hindered, but it probably included the phrase "you've got to be $@$!@# kidding me."

It could also be something more innocent: The Capitals had a trade, it fell through, they didn't believe their deal with Belanger was as cemented as Camp Eric did, and moved on without any notification.

The fact that Belanger also lost over $1 million in the ordeal, if the numbers are accurate, certainly may have provided kindling for the torch job from him and his agent.

Just another happy reminder that this wonderful diversionary entertainment we love is, in the end, a business."

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Well that's awkward......Honestly I love the caps just as everyone else on here does, I'm also a big fan of McPhee's. That being said I gotta agree with Belanger on this one. There is absolutely no justifying that the caps needed to be straight with him, and they clearly weren't. This is not how you want to run an organization if you're trying to attract free agents in the future. I wasn't a huge Belanger fan, but he played through unbelievable pain for us, and that deserves more then what he got. Had this happened to any of us, or any of our friends we would be absolutely furious, and there's no denying that.

Posted by: dcfury | September 15, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

I am sure GMGM would have sign him for 750000 too. Who is he kidding! He sign with Phoenix for less money so he would have a job.

Posted by: sporttraveler | September 15, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

t is a business and not a family affair; sometimes you are in the winning end, sometimes you are at the other end. GMGM did his job
------------

how often does this actually occur ? you make it sound like this stuff happens frequently enough that players should be accepting of it. This is a pretty rare situation, in fact I can't recall this ever happening before where a player gets led past the altar to the honeymoon suite and then gets kicked out of bed.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Just another happy reminder that this wonderful diversionary entertainment we love is, in the end, a business."

--------------------------------------

and there is a certain way to conduct said business. And a certain way not to.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Well, that's why contracts are written on paper. BOTH parties had a choice. If Belanger did not feel comfortable with a verbal, he could have signed with any other team when ever he wanted. It's too bad that the trade never panned out, but thats why GMGM wanted to protect himselfand the Capitals. It's a shame that families and kids are involved, but he could have choosen not to accept the verbal agreement 7 weeks ago.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss | September 15, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Tragically, this is typical of how this team deals with people in general. Every player who leaves is upset because nobody in this organization, from the owners on down, have any clue how to treat a player with the respect they deserve. In my short memory, I can recall: Gartner, Courtnall, Langway, Cicarelli, Bondra, Kolzig, and Theodore. All dissed and all pissed. It doesn't take a whole lot of extra effort to treat people with a little consideration and respect. Once again, the Caps organization has demonstrated that they either don't get it, don't care, don't care that they don't get it, or don't get that they don't care.
Stories like this get around the league quickly. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that several of the trades that didn't happen this year failed to come together because the players involved were hestitant to join an organization that treats players so shamefully.

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | September 15, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

I wouldn't want to have dealings with the GMGM defenders in the real world. Sure, it's a business and everyone is not going to like decisions that are made. Just tell it straight. Don't let the captain of your team find out he's being traded in the news. Don't let your former #1 goalie know that he is no longer in the plans by moving his desk around until he gets the hint to leave. Don't tell a kid that you don't think has a future on the big club that he's made the opening day roster, only to waive him two days later and hide behind the Nylander defense. Being a tough SOB is part of the business, being a coward is not.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"Two sides to every story. Shouldn't have made these arrangements without your wet signature on a contract."

Exactly. I'm a Realtor and I ALWAYS tell my clients,"It means nothing until I get it in writing."

Honestly, I don't care. While I feel bad for him losing his teeth here it's not like he's going to make or break the Caps this year.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | September 15, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Still, I wonder what the trade was...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | September 15, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse
-----------------------------------------

I posted last week or whatever that the deal was with Vancouver and the 2 main pieces were Bieska & Flash. Then who knows what happened. When I was 1st told of this trade according to a friend of mine "the deal was done". Then it lingered & lingered etc.

The other thing about this is, I get 100's of texts a day from the hockey community etc. Not once did I ever get anything about EB NOT ONCE & I can tell you that was a first for me. This whole deal is just nuts.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 15, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

The Caps are to blame when the trade gets soured because someone in the EB camp couldn't keep their mouth shut? So the story goes anyway.

Posted by: Steve_R | September 15, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Well, that's why contracts are written on paper. BOTH parties had a choice. If Belanger did not feel comfortable with a verbal, he could have signed with any other team when ever he wanted. It's too bad that the trade never panned out, but thats why GMGM wanted to protect himselfand the Capitals. It's a shame that families and kids are involved, but he could have choosen not to accept the verbal agreement 7 weeks ago.

Posted by: Capsfannmiss

you don't think verbal contracts are ever honored ? That stuff happens all the time. Teams talk to players, express a level of interest, and then there's some trust that develops. I'm sure this agent has had experience dealing with a verbal agreement in the past without getting totally screwed. It seems like the level of verbal commitment the Caps made to Belanger was pretty extreme. This wasn't a case of "hey, we want to sign you but its contingent upon a trade so do what's best for your client, no promises". This was apparently "please do us a favor, keep EB off the FA market, we know its asking a lot for you to trust us to do this but we are dead serious on bringing him in and we have a deal that is going to go thru with dead certainty, so please trust us"

it would be hard for an agent and player to simply say "umm, thx but not thx. We don't trust you and we're not taking any chances".

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

The Caps are fumbling at the door.

The team is close to being a Cup winner and instead of making the necessary moves to part with VALUE to get VALUE at other spots like defense and goaltending (sorry I still think this club needs a veteran with two 22 year old netminders), the club is just fumbling around making believe that NO moves need to be made unless they are outright steals and the Caps can simply bring up guys from Hershey and have them make up the difference in advancing in the playoffs.

To date, this team has made NO improvements from the club that lost a 3-1 lead last year against the #8 seed in the playoffs.

At least no 'proven' changes.

You can market rookies as the salvation but history dictates guys rarely come up and make that kind of an impact in Year 1 of being an NHL regular.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | September 15, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

i wonder how these same GM apologists would feel if McPhee was able to sign Ovechkin to a longterm extension by promising him he'd also sign Semin to a longterm extension. And the day after he snagged Ovechhkin he turned around and traded Semin.

That's business too, right?

there is a way to conduct business and McPhee screwed the pooch on this one because there could be potential fallout.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Here's my whole deal. I'm a huge believer that in order to have your best shot at a Cup you have to be solid up the MIDDLE! Period end of story. Look at teams that have won the Cup, have contended for several yrs, are elite teams yr in and yr out. They are all strong up the middle. Ted has even acknoledged this publicly so he knows it too! Yet we're gonna have Cup aspirations with rookies for our 2C & 3C spots? Man I'm just not diggin that at all. When was the last time a team won the Cup with ROOKIES at 2C & 3C? I understand and I've said it many times that we have the cap space etc to do anything at any time but wow this is disappointing.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 15, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

To date, this team has made NO improvements from the club that lost a 3-1 lead last year against the #8 seed in the playoffs.

At least no 'proven' changes.

You can market rookies as the salvation but history dictates guys rarely come up and make that kind of an impact in Year 1 of being an NHL regular.

---------------

and you certainly can't expect rookies to come in here and perform at a high level without some great veteran leadership to help guide them. Still no strong veterans on defense (poti?!)

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

GM his disappointed at every turn this offseason, period. He has been a disaster. After the disgraceful way the postseason ended, I never thought this would have been possible.

It just never ends for us Caps fans.

Posted by: underpants2 | September 15, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

With apologies to Ray above, almost every contract in the history of mankind was agreed to in principle (verbal) before the parties write it down and sign.

Yes, you can agree to buy someone's house, put a downpayment, and then not sign the contract, because you got cold feet. And you will get your deposit back. But people will call you a bum and your real estate agent might drop you for harming his reputation.

You can be a bum and get away with it (no law against being a louse) but you are still a bum.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 15, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

All of you who are bashing GM are ignoring the fact that the signing of EB was clearly "contingent" on a trade occurring. EB and his agent knew, of course, that when a team makes a trade, it's not unilateral - they need another team to agree to the trade. You GM and Caps haters are bashing the team and McPhee as if he made a 'deal' and then reneged. All of the reports were that the deal was contingent on a trade happening, supposedly within one week. The trade didn't happen, therefore the Caps had no obligation/ability to sign EB.

If I enter into a real estate contract to buy a house, contingent on selling mine, and mine doesn't sell - I'm under no obligation to buy the other house. It's the same principle here, exacerbated by the fact that Belanger's camp leaked the deal to the press. Anyone who is familiar with NJ GM Lou Lamoriello knows that he insists on such secrecy in discussing transactions that he will and has actually walk away from a signing or trade when it was leaked.

Posted by: Thisistheyear | September 15, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I know that "legally" this was not an enforceable contract, and Belanger should have not made any personal arrangements because of it. But one of the reasons I love hockey is because it's kind of old-school. Players tend to still be down-to-earth and there are codes of honor and unspoken rules and values. With this comes that a man's word is his honor. The Caps blew this one in my mind. Corporate business as usual was more important than their word. It will be interesting to see how Ted spins this.

Posted by: vahockeyfan | September 15, 2010 12:10 PM | Report abuse

...and if GM had signed Belanger the cstantons and cheefs would be complaining that he signed a 'second rate' talent....you guys are the reason it's so hard to read this blog. I have to read the posters name first, before I read the post.

Posted by: Thisistheyear | September 15, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

so, thisistheyear the caps do what exactly? did you use that as your handle for last yr as well? how'd that turn out?

btw, i already explained my stance on it pretty clearly so there was no ambiguity on how i feel about EB. I was against the signing from the beginning. What I object to was the handling of this contract. Or any contract for that matter. Is that clear enough for you or should I type slower?

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

the same fans who are closing ranks right now to try and explain away this fiasco would be front and center vilifying any other GM who did exactly what McPhee did in this situation. (esp if that GM operated the Flyers, Rangers, or Penguins)

you hypocrites know who you are :)

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

and btw, EB has every right to air his feelings about this. None of you would keep your mouths shut in the same situation either. Its not just sour grapes. He felt he got legitimately screwed and he's airing details about what went down without resorting to calling McPhee or the Caps a bunch of scumbags. His comments are pretty restrained considering.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

the same fans who are closing ranks right now to try and explain away this fiasco would be front and center vilifying any other GM who did exactly what McPhee did in this situation. (esp if that GM operated the Flyers, Rangers, or Penguins)
----------------------------------
And are the same fans who blasted Huet for rejecting the Caps deal to sign with Chicago.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

let me ask you guys bashing GMGM. lets say you were trying to sell your house. a buyer came in and said, i'll buy your house for $1M but before i sign the contract, i need to sell my house. i'll get back to you in a week.

first, would you take your house off the market to other potential buys based upon that oral promise.

second, would you still have your house off the market if you havent heard back from that potential buyer in SEVEN WEEKS?

sorry, but belanger and his agent share the blame on this one. belanger for mouthing off in the press about a done deal before any proposed trade could go down. and his agent for not protecting his player by taking him off the market based upon an oral conversation.

nobody knows what was said or promised in any meetings betwen the two parties, so accusing GMGM of all the wrongdoing here is premature. what we do know is that belanger mouthed off when he shouldnt have and he was forced to sign a contract for up to $1M less per year. if i were his agent, i'd accuse the caps of crossing the line as well.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | September 15, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Re-post from previous:

I keep getting the image of McPhee playing his flute and skipping down the street like the Pied Piper and some Caps fans following him in a trance as the rats did. Some of you are so blindly faithful it is just pitiful, if you can't see this was a huge d0uchebag move then you will never see. And if you think this team is as good this year as it was last with Ersk/Sloan as 6 and 7 D and no 2nd/3rd C other than prospects then you are just hopeless

Posted by: PhilR | September 15, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

5 yrs / 19.875M for Marc Staal's new contract.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps had much of a defense to EB's allegations, they would have responded publicly by now. The legalities will be argued out, but I think it is safe to say now that, at least in terms of ethics, it was a d**k move by the Caps.

What is often underestimated about the effect of d**k moves by management is the impact on players who remain with the team. They begin to think that they will be on the receiving end of that kind of treatment in the future. It's not good for team morale.

Posted by: zmega | September 15, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

I'm a huge believer that in order to have your best shot at a Cup you have to be solid up the MIDDLE! Period end of story. Look at teams that have won the Cup, have contended for several yrs, are elite teams yr in and yr out. They are all strong up the middle. Ted has even acknoledged this publicly so he knows it too! Yet we're gonna have Cup aspirations with rookies for our 2C & 3C spots? Man I'm just not diggin that at all. When was the last time a team won the Cup with ROOKIES at 2C & 3C?

-----------------------

in GM's defense, there is still plenty of time to sign and walk away from more players.

but good point on the rookies at center. This team neglected the center position for too long and now they've been in mass overdrive trying to fill it via the draft the last few yrs. And they've proven they can't really find quality centers any via trade or free agency. So we'll have to wait around for a few yrs and hope the latest draftees develop. AGus already looks busty so its upto MaJo, MP, and the 2 Russkies from this past draft. If they develop acc to schedule, we should have some quality depth at center in 2013.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

McPhee has done an exceedingly poor job at building the team this off season. Now, it appears, that he is being a classless jerk as well. Time for Leonsis to grow a pair and move on with another GM..............

Posted by: poguesmahone | September 15, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

What I really want to know, and Pokerface maybe your source can help, is who decided on the Season Ticket Holder gift this year?

Talk about PR nightmare. The jackets "run very large". They just called all the season ticket holders fatties. If it was GMGM, I say fire him.

True the chick behind me is probably thankful her XXXL will fit a little "looser" now, but for the rest of us it's just mean and cruel labeling.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 15, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

let me ask you guys bashing GMGM. lets say you were trying to sell your house. a buyer came in and said, i'll buy your house for $1M but before i sign the contract, i need to sell my house. i'll get back to you in a week.

first, would you take your house off the market to other potential buys based upon that oral promise.
-------

very weak analogy. You don't have a longterm relationship with the realtor industry the way McPhee does with players and player agents. Therefore, you deal with things a bit differently and you can afford to screw people over or renege on promises because there's no longterm fallout from it.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

If EB is that valuable he would have had every GM out there beating down his door to sign him at that $1.75 mill. price tag and I am sure like EVERYONE he was thinking the Caps were going pay him that. The Caps and no other team were doing to that.So he took the best offer he could get.

Posted by: sporttraveler | September 15, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

5 yrs / 19.875M for Marc Staal's new contract.

---------

i was close! I think i said 5 yrs 22.5 mil

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

"Brad Richards is not in the cards, unless you are willing to give up:

-Fehr
-Johanson
-1st rounder

That is what it will take to get him."

That is funny. Where does Richards rank right now in terms of top forwards in the league? Where did Kovy rank last year? Get the difference.

Posted by: sgm3

Brad Richards had 6 more points than Ilya last year. He is 30 years old, and has won a Conn Smythe Trophy.

Their value is very close. Wishful thinking won't get you Brad Richards.

Posted by: underpants2 | September 15, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: ThePat | September 15, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

And if you think this team is as good this year as it was last with Ersk/Sloan as 6 and 7 D and no 2nd/3rd C other than prospects then you are just hopeless

Posted by: PhilR

and minus ShaMo who was our most consistent rugged presence and someone you could at least depend on not getting caught up ice.
To expect Alzner to come in as a rookie and outperform a ShaMo type is a tad unrealistic.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

FWIW, I like this Caps roster a lot, overall. But when a GM gets to what I consider to be 2 players away from a very serious SC challenger (2C and 1D), he's got to be aggressive and creative in filling those gaps. Maybe he will surprise us over the coming weeks and months, but right now it's hard to be optimistic.

Posted by: zmega | September 15, 2010 12:43 PM | Report abuse

First off, let's let the Belanger thing go. It's business and none of us here really know what went down - speculation.
As for the team we have before us, I am sure everybody will agree it is more than adequate to get through to the playoffs. Most of these players will have 70-80 games to prepare for post season, as well as for management to evaluate. Come spring, room is available to go after a center or additional D if need be. I say give these guys a try and adjust later.

Posted by: gonchpup | September 15, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

The letter in the link I just posted sums up the whole thing. Pretty hard to defend the organization.

Posted by: ThePat | September 15, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

If EB is that valuable he would have had every GM out there beating down his door to sign him at that $1.75 mill. price tag and I am sure like EVERYONE he was thinking the Caps were going pay him that. The Caps and no other team were doing to that.So he took the best offer he could get.

Posted by: sporttraveler | September 15, 2010 12:36 PM

he lost his own leverage as the free agency period dwindled down and other teams filled their holes. Maybe his market worth was somewhere between the 2 numbers but its safe to say he lost at least a few hundred thousand greenbacks. And for that, I'd be livid as well. Not to mention the personal stuff with the kids etc. That takes its toll too. Imagine how ticked off you guys would be if you uprooted yourselves and started a new life for your family based on what you consider to be a very strong verbal agreement in good faith, only to have it ripped out from under you. You guys would all be ticked off, and rightfully so. There is a certain unspoken etiquette to how you conduct your business and when the stakes are raised and it involves significant money and your family, then the burden of responsibility is much higher to keep that word.

either way, it looks like McPhee has no clue how to engineer a deal. If he felt the deal was rock solid and he communicated that to EB and his agent, it goes to show how weak his own grasp is at pulling off trades.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

we should have some quality depth at center in 2013.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse
------------------------------------------
LMAO! That's pretty darn funny! The problem is it's true! We will be a very very deep team up the middle in a couple/few yrs. Like Daughtry says "What about now, what about today"?

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 15, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

First off, let's let the Belanger thing go. It's business and none of us here really know what went down - speculation.
------------------

when one party is pretty vocal about how things went down and the other part offers a "no comment", i think you can kinda read between the lines. I'm sure McPhee wishes everyone would let the Belanger thing go too.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Like Daughtry says "What about now, what about today"?
---------

and like Daltrey said "Won't get Fooled Again!"

that's what EB and his agent are ruefully thinking right now. And most of the other player agents just got a gigantic wakeup call as well. There will be a ripple effect felt from this, even though it may be small the Caps didn't do themselves any favors for future dealings.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

what the Caps have said pubically so far regarding this is a classic non-denial denial... the fact that they haven't flat out denied the allegation is a proof that they're guilty as sin.

Posted by: joek443 | September 15, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

haha, have to say thats the first Daughtry quote I have seen on here

Posted by: _stevo | September 15, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Come spring, room is available to go after a center or additional D if need be.

--------------------------

i thought that was the plan THIS offseason.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

the Caps should just utter a denial and say this is obviously a bald-faced lie since they had no plans to be active in free agency.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

Just read the email from the agent as published in the Globe. Sure sounds like the Caps wanted to have their cake and eat it to. Sending the moving van company to coordinate move is proof of intent.

If I were delivering newspapers to McPhee's house, I'd ask for payment "in advance."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 15, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

hell, if i was waiting on GM in a restaurant i'd ask for payment in advance. I hear he likes to 'dine and dash'

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

My greatest fear is that the trade/Belanger deal were nixed because GMBB demanded that Flash stays with the team.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

McPhee threw EB and his agent under the bus, and they shouldn't have to keep their mouths shut about it. I'm still glad EB never got signed because I don't much care for him. But the way this went down is more than a little shady.

Posted by: cstanton1
----
This is how I feel! and don't like that it reflects poorly on the Caps... and neither should Ted!
-----------------------------------------

Still, I wonder what the trade was...

Posted by: RedLitYogi | September 15, 2010 11:43 AM
----
I posted last week or whatever that the deal was with Vancouver and the 2 main pieces were Bieska & Flash. Then who knows what happened. When I was 1st told of this trade according to a friend of mine "the deal was done". Then it lingered & lingered etc.

The other thing about this is, I get 100's of texts a day from the hockey community etc. Not once did I ever get anything about EB NOT ONCE & I can tell you that was a first for me. This whole deal is just nuts.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208
----

I think what happened was the Sami Salo injury... suddenly an option for salary to go to LTIR and not have to give up Bieksa or a D in a trade... but I could be wrong and the Salo injury not affected this at all.

Posted by: FrankM73 | September 15, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 15, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

And yet:

“They don’t have a legal leg to stand on,” one agent said Wednesday. “The entire situation is governed by the CBA. An agent and the player are obligated under the CBA to take individual legal action or you can lose your certification to be an agent ... The sole remedy would be a grievance.

“The grievance precedent is 100 per cent crystal clear: Unless you have a signed standard player contract on file, registered with the NHL, you have nothing.”

The agent added that he believes Tacopina mishandled the situation.

“This is a cold, nasty, cut-throat business, and when you’re dealing with the likes of George McPhee, just know what the rules are and know how to deal with them,” he said."

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/agent-rips-capitals-for-backing-out-of-belanger-deal/article1708426/

Posted by: GFisher1 | September 15, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

pokerface is right, read the above link.... it has a supposed unaltered email from Belanger's agent to Don Fishman recapping the entire situation.

quite disturbing if even remotely true.

Posted by: FrankM73 | September 15, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The article from the Globe and Mail indicates that Belanger's agent is a "defense lawyer" who just started representing athletes. Moreover, it quotes several NHL veterans who said they would never have agreed to such a deal...it appears more than likely that the agent bears much of the responsibility for this problem.

Posted by: Thisistheyear | September 15, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

The Belanger thing happens in sports, thats why you go with signed contracts not words and handshakes.

Lest we forget, verbal contracts can work agaist the organization too. Dont you remember Cush (Cushman). Matt (his dad and agent) said "my word is stronger than oak." And I even watched him shake Maguire's hand. Then what happened?? Matt got a little nervous while Jerry was with another client and wouldnt you know it, he ran over and signed with Sugar mere minutes before he was supposed to announce what team he was going to play for.

Obviously Belanger's agent doesnt want to be shown the money, nor does he like entertaining movies or he wouldnt have fallen for the ole' "my word is stronger than oak" line.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 15, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

"let me ask you guys bashing GMGM. lets say you were trying to sell your house. a buyer came in and said, i'll buy your house for $1M but before i sign the contract, i need to sell my house. i'll get back to you in a week.... second, would you still have your house off the market if you havent heard back from that potential buyer in SEVEN WEEKS?"

The only Caps failure here is in not seeing how this situation would explode and make them look awful, just as it has played out now, as the seven weeks dragged while they knew EB was hanging in the balance, even if they didn't think he was their problem. No it is not their responsibility to see him signed here or elsewhere, and their initial agreement was only verbal and non-binding. But a verbal agreement definitely counts for something in PR and reputations for future business dealings. So when they knew that this 'trade' was dead and they had no room/use for EB, the fact they didn't go to him to make it clear DC wasn't for him is mind-boggling simply from a selfish standpoint.

They must have known he was looking for a house and schools-- how did someone in GMs office not say 'whoa,' we should deal with this EB thing one way or another?

Unbelievable they didn't see all of this playing out exactly as it is no-- with a ton of sh***y press. The last thing this team needs is another target on their backs. We're cocky, and now we d*** over good guys.

The karma stinks, and the Caps come off looking lame. Lame, dumb, blind move, from their own standpoint, regardless of what happened to EB.

Posted by: capsfan7 | September 15, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

It speaks to a reputation that McPhee seems to have.

Makes sense, under his watch, the Caps have NEVER signed a top tier free agent.

Posted by: underpants2 | September 15, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone here really believe that a self-serving letter from an attorney is the "gospel truth?" As an attorney for many decades, when I wrote a letter to an opponent, I wrote the facts the way I believed them to be, and in a way that if my letter became public it would reflect best on my client.

That letter may or may not contain the entire truth, but you should not just take it at face value - or if you do, I've got a nice bridge to sell you in Brooklyn!

Posted by: Thisistheyear | September 15, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

As I understand it, they wanted to trade Flash, but then GMGM found out that the rest of the league thought Flash was overpaid and/or sucks. Ce est la vie!

Not GMGM's finest moment here.

Posted by: oldtimehockey | September 15, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

i wonder if the Canucks org read this blog and were completely horrifed by how much we hated Flash. That's what prolly caused the deal for Bieksa to fall thru. Fellas, this is all our fault.

great link btw Pat. I love reading that kind of detail that he laid out in his email to McPhee. You really get a good insider view of how things went down. And yes, its pretty clear that McPhee decided to blow off the agent so he wouldn't have to deal with the transaction falling apart. Kinda like when a gen contractor comes and works on your home, does a sh__ty job, then you can't track him down once you pay him because he doesn't pick up your calls. McPhee didn't have the courtesy to be communicative thru the process.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

very weak analogy. You don't have a longterm relationship with the realtor industry the way McPhee does with players and player agents. Therefore, you deal with things a bit differently and you can afford to screw people over or renege on promises because there's no longterm fallout from it.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

the point of my analogy was as the seller, would you rely on what a buyer tells you orally or would you be sure to get everything in writing before taking action. as the seller, belly should not have closed any doors to other offers until he had a written deal from the caps, regardless of what was said by the caps, particularly if it was known that the signing was contingent upon a trade.

now, if what belly's agent is saying is true, it clearly doesnt reflect well on the caps. but all we know, and will likely know, is their side of the story. and belly and his agent share much of the blame for the situation as the caps.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | September 15, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I personally do not like how the Caps management handled the Belanger situation. I know it is business but I think it is important to follow through on your promises. However, while I do not like what the Caps did, it seems everything they did followed the rules.

The Caps management sort of remind me of the New England Patriots. Very few public statements. A bunch of one line answers releasing almost no information. Walking a fine line on the rules. And more than willing to be cut throat when dealing with players. Just do whatever it takes to better the organization, no matter what the consequences. As long as it follows the letter of the law, that's all that matters.

I'm not saying I agree with this philosophy but it appears to be the one they have taken.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

"Eric recently had a conversation with Bruce in which Bruce expressed his desire to have eric on the team and told him that he was even on the training camp roster. Obviously based on all of these facts, prior to the call from Don on august 17th, there was no question that Eric would be playing in Washington this season. As a matter of fact on the August 17th call, Don said for the first time that while you were trying to get this done there was “no guarantee” that the trade would be made and therefore you might not be in the position to sign eric. In response to that I told Don that our agreement was never a matter of “if” the trade was done , it was a matter of “when” it got done. Don stated that that was “true, but the market changed.” I reminded him of the commitment he asked eric to give to washington by agreeing to the deal and not going back on that agreement once you made the trade (and thereby discontinuing conversations with the other teams) and the teams equal commitment to eric, a veteran of over 600NHL games who has a reputation of doing whatever he has to for the good of the team. In light of all of the positive reinforcement that we were given throughout the weeks proceeding the August 17th call, the new “no guarantee” position was very upsetting and I believe very unfair. While Don has now taking to repeating “you can move on if your restless” I have repeatedly said to him that with training camp 2+ weeks away, there are no longer situations for us to move on to! I have expressed to Don that the emails and text messages both from him and Ian Anderson support our position.

George, what is happening to eric and his family has been very difficult. At one point I was told by Don that you would call Eric to explain the situation to him. I relayed that to Eric. Unfortunately, that call never came. Please reach out to me so we can discuss this. "

I love that George find ways to weasel out of a deal. Too bad he can't weasel his way INTO one.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

The agent may have been inexperienced and naive. Nevertheless, EB got abused here, or at least it sure looks that way based on what's in the press and the Caps' silence.

Posted by: zmega | September 15, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Another episode of "At The McPhee's"

(they are ordering take out on the phone)

"Let me get this straight, sir, you want me to cook the food and hold it for you...IF you decide you want it?"

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 15, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

The Caps management sort of remind me of the New England Patriots. Very few public statements. A bunch of one line answers releasing almost no information. Walking a fine line on the rules. And more than willing to be cut throat when dealing with players. Just do whatever it takes to better the organization, no matter what the consequences. As long as it follows the letter of the law, that's all that matters.

I'm not saying I agree with this philosophy but it appears to be the one they have taken.

Posted by: sgm3

Just like the Patriots, minus all of the great coaching, bold gm moves, and of course championships.

Posted by: underpants2 | September 15, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight. Caps fans are saying it alright to deceive someone to get what you want because it is not against the law. If that is the case, I don't want to hear any more whining about a player who demands a trade after declaring he loves the city and wants to stay forever.

Furthermore, what's lost in all the controversy is that GMGM was about to pay this guy $1 million over his market value. Defend that.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

I think it's hilarious that Eric Belanger has a list of teams as if he were anything other than a journeyman third-line center. He would have been a nice fit for the Caps, but no one is going to look back at the end of this season and think "if only we'd had Belanger out there".

I also think it's hilarious that everyone is so eager to rip on McPhee for being shady that they will just totally take the word of a sports agent at face value.

Posted by: spacecadetkid | September 15, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Does anyone here really believe that a self-serving letter from an attorney is the "gospel truth?" As an attorney for many decades, when I wrote a letter to an opponent, I wrote the facts the way I believed them to be, and in a way that if my letter became public it would reflect best on my client.

That letter may or may not contain the entire truth, but you should not just take it at face value - or if you do, I've got a nice bridge to sell you in Brooklyn!

Posted by: Thisistheyear | September 15, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

lmao, so now the letter's a possible fake? You know how silly an assertion that is? And you're an attorney on top of it all? good grief, do you realize how traceable an email is these days? Email-hosted servers contain copies of sent and received emails. If the Caps were stupid enough to deny they got this email and that it was a fake, they're setting themselves up for even a bigger public embarassment. No way is this email a fake. That agent wouldn't be so stupid as to provide a fake email to the press. He's playing the cards he has, that's all.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 1:22 PM | Report abuse

I read a Darren Dreger tweet about another situation where there was a verbal agreement but it was then backed out of. However, in this case it was the player who backed out of the deal to sign another. So it does go both ways.

Oh yeah, that player was Nylander.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Furthermore, what's lost in all the controversy is that GMGM was about to pay this guy $1 million over his market value. Defend that.

Posted by: ablake70

Great point!

Ted, WAKE UP! Honeymoon is over. We want a CUP! Get rid of this moron.

Posted by: underpants2 | September 15, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

I'm not saying I agree with this philosophy but it appears to be the one they have taken.

Posted by: sgm3

good comparison.

----------------------------

Furthermore, what's lost in all the controversy is that GMGM was about to pay this guy $1 million over his market value. Defend that.

Posted by: ablake70 |

awesome point


----------------------------

"Let me get this straight, sir, you want me to cook the food and hold it for you...IF you decide you want it?"

Posted by: tominsocal1

i am shaking with laughter.

btw, unless i got my timelines wrong, is it possible that Montreal would've signed Belanger instead of Halpern. I know they signed Halpern for a low amount because they were backed up against the Cap but maybe they would've created some more cap room if they preferred a slick skating frenchie like EB.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

"lmao, so now the letter's a possible fake?"

@cstanton1

That is not what Thisisthe year said. Not even close.

He was saying the agent would word the email in a fashion that portrayed the facts most favorably to his client and would not have anything damaging in it. So other facts may have been omitted. Certain facts could have been emphasized that actually had little or no bearing.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I read a Darren Dreger tweet about another situation where there was a verbal agreement but it was then backed out of. However, in this case it was the player who backed out of the deal to sign another. So it does go both ways.

Oh yeah, that player was Nylander.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

and arent we the better for that...ooof..

if i recall, in the nylander situation there actually was something in writing from his agent on a fax but nyls never signed the offer sheet...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | September 15, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

The article from the Globe and Mail indicates that Belanger's agent is a "defense lawyer" who just started representing athletes. Moreover, it quotes several NHL veterans who said they would never have agreed to such a deal...it appears more than likely that the agent bears much of the responsibility for this problem.

Posted by: Thisistheyear | September 15, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse
------------------------------------------

Whether you like it or not, believe in it or not etc GMGM is known for being a very meticulous business man. He is very calculated & deliberate. That's why the comment of "you better know the rules when you're dealing with him" came about.

Saying that, Tacopina is new to representing NHL players so this is his 1st of many lessons to come.

I do believe the Caps were very interested in signing EB & there is/was a trade out there. The problem came when EB's camp said they were getting "restless". The last thing they expected to get was "well go do what ya gotta do". So to me this deal very well still coulda happened but EB's camp needed some guarantee sooner than GMGM could get it to them. So EB went to the only team who still had a spot available. I don't really know that anybody did anything "wrong" by the letter of the law. I think GMGM coulda lobbed a phone call or email to update his side but didn't for his own reasons.

Could it have been handled better? Sure but no rules were violated etc.

To me I look at where this leads us now. Right now we currently have rookies occupying our 2C & 3C spots and I'm not comfortable with that at this point.

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 15, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I love that George find ways to weasel out of a deal. Too bad he can't weasel his way INTO one.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

yup, like those moves for knuble, laich, feds, huet. trades that resuled in picks for varly, green, carlson. yeah, cant find any good deals he's made.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | September 15, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I do not think we can judge this situation. Belanger and his agent were not very good at keeping the signing quiet (or at least it appears as though, I guess the rumors/info could have come from others) so them not keeping their mouths shut and giving all sorts of winks/hints could have affected the trade which in turn may have soured the caps on signing him. If their lack of silence interfered with the deal why would the caps have signed him.

I do not know the situation but I tend to think blame on this falling through could be equally both parties fault or mainly Belanger or mainly the caps, I do not know.

That being said I think the caps could have used him as a 3rd line center and I really don't care about the second line center all I want is one shut down D and more emphasis on wingers playing D.

Posted by: BorntoHula | September 15, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Anyone notice the lawyer's capitalization errors, lack of paragraph usage, inconsistency, etc? Not to mention even from his own words it still sounded like his deal all banked on the trade being made.

Maybe Belanger got worked over because he had a Master P like agent. New team, new state, new house, time for a new agent as well Eric.

Anyone know off hand approximately how many 3rd line centers were signed between the supposed deal and walk away?

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 15, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

I read a Darren Dreger tweet about another situation where there was a verbal agreement but it was then backed out of. However, in this case it was the player who backed out of the deal to sign another. So it does go both ways.

Oh yeah, that player was Nylander.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

and arent we the better for that...ooof..

if i recall, in the nylander situation there actually was something in writing from his agent on a fax but nyls never signed the offer sheet...

Posted by: dcsportsfan1

Nylander signed early in free agency. It not the same, McPhee let Eric hang, and perhaps walk away from other offers.

Posted by: underpants2 | September 15, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

yup, like those moves for knuble, laich, feds, huet. trades that resuled in picks for varly, green, carlson. yeah, cant find any good deals he's made.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | September 15, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

i didn't realize a GM was allowed to rest on his laurels. Thx for the reminder. Lets excuse the fact that he's been unable to execute anything this offseason except for a nightmarish PR situation. This offseason being a key opportunity to plug in some much-needed holes.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

The $1.85M for EB was not $1M over market value.

What happened was because time passed and teams filled their needs, he ended with less options and therefore had to settle for less.

His market value is more like whatever another team would have given him 7 weeks ago.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 15, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

It sounded like EB wanted the Habs, but they werent interested/buying. He even said it himself, they wanted a 4th liner and thats not what I am.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 15, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Belanger should never have agreed to take himself out of the market w/o a contract.
My question however, is where was the reporting on this issue since the original report ran? And, why, is this being broken by an out of town paper? Neither our traditional or new media outlets had this or seemed to be able to follow up.

Posted by: vafan3 | September 15, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

On the bright side if someone is looking for Winter Classic tickets contact Belanger he has the ones he bought for his family, haha. And I guess there is now a hotel room available as well.

Posted by: ThePat | September 15, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Hold on. August 17th is the day everything started to come to light?

August 17th is precisely the day this agent's naivete and ineptitude kicks in... August 17 is when he KNEW he had to get EB elsewhwere.

"The market changed" comment is an entirely fair and balanced one. All this other 'be nice to EB since EB has been good to you' crap is crap.

Where are the 7 weeks in this equation? Katie's story broke 8/12, only days before Don told agent to walk if he wanted.

AS bad as this looks for the Caps, agent looks equally like a chump. EB can file a grievance against Caps, but could also consider suing agent for malpractice.

This story died 8/17 at the latest.

Posted by: capsfan7 | September 15, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Anyone know off hand approximately how many 3rd line centers were signed between the supposed deal and walk away?
------------------------------

halpern, comrie, hilbert?

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

maybe madden and conroy too. Some team signed Dave Scatchard but I don't know if that was for the big club or for the ahl club

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 1:43 PM | Report abuse

and basically, any deal impacts any other deal. So for the sake of argument, a team that may have wanted to sign EB but were unable to fill that specific hole may go sign another player at another position and decide to fill their checking line center hole at a different time.


I don't for a minute think EB was being sought after by many teams, and he's not making that statement either. He probably realistically had 3 or 4 teams that may have shown interest. But still, no doubt he lost his own bargaining power thru this situation.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

@ tominsocal1

I don't think any team would have given him anything close to the Caps offer. That's probably why he was so eager to accept the secret deal. My guess is that his other offers were somewhere in the $1-1.3 million dollar range.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

Is the sky falling AGAIN!?!?

...and nary a puck dropped.

F' the BULL, none of us will ever know ALL of the gory details behind the innerworkings of the NHL.

...but I guess there is nothing else hockey related to talk about so BASH AWAY...JUDGE ON!

GO CAPS!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | September 15, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

I'll be curious to see if Ted L. responds on his blog about all this at some point.

Like many fans I'm worried that beyond Backstrom our center plans rest on out-of-position (Fleischmann, maybe Laich), brittle (Gordon), inconsistent (Steckel), maybe or maybe not NHL caliber (Perreault) and probably not quite ready for the NHL candidates (Johansson, Gustafsson, Eakin) along with various seemingly career minor-leaguers. Just seems like an awful lot of iffy candidates for such a key position.

Posted by: blackjack65 | September 15, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Also, Habs took Halpern on 9/7 for 600K. No question EB's camp talked to them before 9/7--weeks after they knew they had nothing to bank on from the Caps-- but didn't want the deal. Caps had nothing to do with EB's not going to Montreal

Posted by: capsfan7 | September 15, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

The problem here in my eyes is the Capitals helped him find the school, house etc. This wasnt just them saying once we get a trade done we can sign you. It appears they went out of the way to help the guy out. Now if they didnt want to sign him or say we dont have a concrete verbal deal they should have came out and said so then and there. Why didnt they? Because then Belanger could have taken it offensively and gone and signed elsewhere. I am wondering if GMGM figured maybe he overbid for the guy and backed off. I dont know. I will say I am a huge Caps fan and this season doesnt look great in terms of a deep run. We have zero depth. Rookie centers, the blue line isnt really improved, and the kids who are there to help improve it are rookies/second year guys. You cant wait around in the NHL, it is a bit like football where you gotta build for this year as well as the future. We are still very young but come on...We cant expect cups every year just because our guys hit their prime. We cant afford them all based on the salary cap. So we gotta be ready to be legitimately a threat to win. I want to see the Caps name on the cup someday afterall.

Posted by: Killerangel81 | September 15, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I'll be curious to see if Ted L. responds on his blog about all this at some point.
----------------------------------------

i'm sure Dr Spin will be in overdrive.

And McPhee has been on vacation since July 1st. So of course he can't answer emails.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

i know someone that wanted to move and put their house up for sale. he was told by his realtor agent that someone was willing to buy his house for $xx dollars but did not have a signed offer yet. this was exactly what he was looking for and began making plans to move. found a house to rent, schools for his 3 kids and a new job. he keep asking his realtor about the deal and was told it was coming along. two weeks before he started his new job he was told that there was no 'real' deal for his house. he was p*ssed to no end, demanding from his realtor what happened and how could this drag on. he wanted to make the buyer responsible for what was happening to him.
he got stuck with the house for an additional 3 months and ended up selling for less than it was worth. he actually paid almost all of the 'new' buyers fees just to get out of the house.
when i talk to him, which is often, we sometimes discuss who was ultimately responsible for that situation.

every time the answer is: it was my fault

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

The problem here in my eyes is the Capitals helped him find the school, house etc. This wasnt just them saying once we get a trade done we can sign you. It appears they went out of the way to help the guy out. Now if they didnt want to sign him or say we dont have a concrete verbal deal they should have came out and said so then and there

----------------

right, that kind of behavior helps build trust between team and player. That's why its a little harsh to say that this is a business and EB and his agent should've known better. The Caps gave them every indication that the deal was imminent. Its an extreme case of a team leading a player down the path and then reneging on things, and then making it worse by not communicating in a timely effective manner.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 1:59 PM | Report abuse

"Now if they didnt want to sign him or say we dont have a concrete verbal deal they should have came out and said so then and there"

killerangel, you have to remember Caps basically told EB-- between the lines-- it'd be in his own best interest to look elsewhere by 8/17.

And everyone has to remember GM is definitely keeping $ in teh bank for a February purchase. I actually like the idea that the Caps might have to work for it until then, I hope they lose their full share of games, so they're hungry and pissed going into April like every other playoff team.

All the coronations of the past 2 years have killed us. I hope they get pushed around for the next six months. GM will be spending Feb....

Posted by: capsfan7 | September 15, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Phoenix got a great deal here. $750k? His faceoffs alone are worth more than that. It really looks like Washington messed this up pretty bad. Belanger could have had a lot of options had he not intended to come back to the Capitals and taken himself off the market for so long.

Posted by: Stu_c | September 15, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

every time the answer is: it was my fault
------------------------------

why are you comparing your one-time dealing with a realtor to a situation where GMs talk to agents frequently and need to forge a long-term relationship? apples and bananas dude. We all get that when we're buying and selling homes etc or some other business transaction, you have to adequately prepare yourself. But this is a little different. McPhee will consistently have to deal with players and agents. Its not a one time transaction.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@ Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

You are right. Ultimately, Belanger didn't protect himself and was too trusting. Going back to your house analogy, would you deal with that buyer again? Do you think others who know your story would want to deal with that flaky buyer?

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

I say welcome to the real world EB. He had a choice to not move his wife and kids. He agreed to do it. I would be very upset if it happened to me, but that is life. I do wish the Caps had taken a better aproach, however.

Posted by: johnatlanta | September 15, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

lmao! seriously folks on here are too funny. I liked EB but the "deal" was make the trade you stay, don't make the trade you don't stay. Trade didn't happen, he doesn't stay. Get over it. As for his comments and the agents, you are hearing one side of it from people that didn't get what they wanted. Had he stayed in DC he would have made more money (good reason to be peeved that it didn't happen) his agent would have made more money (good reason to be peeved it didn't happen) and hey does anyone really believe that people wouldn't be petty about that and say something less than honest to the press to make themselves look better? Further, at least half if not more wouldn't have been happy if EB had stayed! They'd be moaning about the price of him and how he isn't a great player, because really I can't remember the last time anyone was happy with the play of anyone on the Caps team! It is a non stop bash fest and the Caps organization can do nothing right according to most posters here. Everyone is always wrong from GMGM right down to the staff at the Phone Booth!! Here's what I want, for all of you that can be better GM's, coaches, owners and players to send in your resumes, put on your pads and put yourself in their positions! Since you all know best, you could surely get the SC to DC faster than they can, so please by all means do it! If nothing else we all agree that we want the Caps to win the SC so please, make it happen! Otherwise, why not try supporting the organization and not publicly bashing it at every turn.

Posted by: ags38 | September 15, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I actually like the idea that the Caps might have to work for it until then, I hope they lose their full share of games, so they're hungry and pissed going into April like every other playoff team.

All the coronations of the past 2 years have killed us. I hope they get pushed around for the next six months. GM will be spending Feb....

Posted by: capsfan7

great comment, i feel the same way. Adversity is what this team needs more of. And losing a bunch of games before the trading deadline forces McPhee to make some significant moves instead of hiding behind a win-loss record in the reg season and thinking this team is better than it really is. Ideally, you'd want this team to have a rougher start and get more eyes on them to force mgmt to aggressively upgrade the roster without blowing it up completely of course. And then make some more tweaks at the deadline as this team learns to play a different style of hockey where they can't simply just turn it on for half a game and pull out victories like they did last yr. You don't want it to come down to the last weekend of the season necessarily but cruising into the playoffs as a #1 seed is not the best thing for this squad. I think starting on the road is a quicker way for this team to get into the right playoff mindset.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1:

"Its not a one time transaction"

this is exactly why EB agent should be held accountable.
in all of sports this is something that will happen maybe every 20 or 30 years

how many other agents cry foul? none - because they don't let what they want to happen cloud a business decision. it's not just gmgm that will be impacted by this 'non' signing. every agent should be demanding a signed contract if a team wants their clients commitment.
you want to hold gmgm accountable for this entire situation becuase you don't care for him - no matter how you try to spin it - it took 3 parties to screw this up.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

i didn't realize a GM was allowed to rest on his laurels. Thx for the reminder. Lets excuse the fact that he's been unable to execute anything this offseason except for a nightmarish PR situation. This offseason being a key opportunity to plug in some much-needed holes.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

and i didnt know reading comprehension was an issue for you. you asked whether GMGM could weasel his way into a deal, which obviously he has.

as for executing in the offseason. i'm pretty sure signing backs happened in the offseason. as did deals w/ flash, schultz and fehr and left the team $5Mish below the cap.

also, he did acquire dj king which has been the type of player that many here have been clamoring for for over a year.

Posted by: dcsportsfan1 | September 15, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"McPhee will consistently have to deal with players and agents. "

cstanton, just curious... what would you have done?

Lets say it was you-- a deal the Caps thought they had down pat (Flash?) as they were talking to EB's camp falls through (and yes, possibly because of EB's leak). Then on 8/17 Caps communicate (in good faith, thinking of EB's interests) that EB might be better off looking around. There's still hope for the (Flash) deal, but you never know...

Where is the obligation to sign EB in all this? before 8/17? That wasn't all that much after they'd been shopping Flash-- which wouldn't happen overnight, as EB knew.

You certainly have no obligation to sign him after you told them to look if they were worried.

Sorry about the home and schools, but that could have been in good faith too if they felt as confident as EBs camp that the Flash deal would go down-- they could have been as surprised as any that it didn't. And felt bad about how it impacted EB, but what are they going to do? They told him to look-- or ride it out like they were doing if they wanted to risk that.

But what cstanton is your alternate conclusion to this?

Posted by: capsfan7 | September 15, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Going back to your house analogy, would you deal with that buyer again? Do you think others who know your story would want to deal with that flaky buyer?

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 2:08 PM

to honestly answer your question. yes i would
i now understand that there was no real commitment from them. i would not, however, base any other decisions i make without a binding (written) agreement.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

McPhee will consistently have to deal with players and agents. Its not a one time transaction.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse
------------------------------------------
Yeah but he probably won't have to deal with Tacopina for very long if he keeps handling his agents like he did this EB situation! LOL

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 15, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

you want to hold gmgm accountable for this entire situation becuase you don't care for him - no matter how you try to spin it - it took 3 parties to screw this up.
---------

whether i care for him or not is irrelevant. I'd feel the same way about a transaction like this if this were the GM for Columbus. Its extremely shady sh_t.
However, I doubt some of the GM lovers here would be rationalizing this the same way if it was Ray Shero or Sather or Holmgren. This blog would be filled with comments about how no player or agent will want to do business with those teams, etc. You know its true.

and i don't hold GM accountable 100% for this. But definitely more than half of it. In this situation, EB and his agent were probably very cautious in the beginning but had their fears allayed through their various dealings with the Caps. And then the rug got pulled out. You can call it being naive but imo I can understand why they trusted the Caps based on the info that is coming out.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

The business of happiness!!!

Posted by: HeShootsHeScores | September 15, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind us not being #1 all season, but I hesitate to wait until the deadline to make moves. Chemistry was a big problem...we had too many new players and not enough time to let them all gel. We don't have to move now, but sooner rather than later would be better.

Posted by: capscoach | September 15, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"This blog would be filled with comments about how no player or agent will want to do business with those teams, etc. You know its true."
cstanton1

i believe this 100%

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

If I was EB I would ask Tapocina why his @$$ wasn't on a plane to Arlington to finalize my deal since there was a snag rather than waste time typing a worthless 4 page email.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 15, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"and i don't hold GM accountable 100% for this. But definitely more than half of it"

my position is the agent is responsible for about 75% and the rest split between EB and the caps

i think all three parties really wanted this to happen. EB gets a paycheck he wants, agent gets a bigger cut with a bigger contract with caps (as opposed to potential lesser deals) and caps get a serviceable center.
unfortunately wanting and having are not the same thing

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Also, honestly, how many of you out there knew the Belanger deal wasn't going to go through for a couple of weeks now? I already assumed that since Flash was still here and there wasn't a Belanger announcement. Now to read that Belanger's agent was told to look around way back on 8/17 makes me feel EB's agent screwed the pooch.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 15, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse


Just another happy reminder that this wonderful diversionary entertainment we love is, in the end, a business."
--------------------------------------
and there is a certain way to conduct said business. And a certain way not to.
Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 11:50 AM |

There is if this was the 1950's.
& we're in Xanadu.
The Caps didn't intend to be malicious but they also have to take care of their own interests first.

Posted by: Rocc00 | September 15, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"makes me feel EB's agent screwed the pooch."

sounds to me like he's a pooch screwer too

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

@ Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

I didn't really clarify my question. I guess I should have thrown in something about the buyer helping you pack and driving your kids to their new school, then pulling out of the deal, but we are moving into dead horse territory.

My issue is not that the verbal agreement was rescinded, this happens everyday. But why let this drag on for nearly two months when you probably knew the guy wasn't in your plans a few days after your verbal agreement? Just tell the guy you've changed your mind and be done with it. As late as last week GMGM was still pretending to have no clue about the Belanger situation. That's just weak.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

It has been almost a calendar month since EBs agent was told to take a look around. EB didn't find out Monday the deal was dead and then sign with Phoenix yesterday.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 15, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock

no crap...i think everyone is saying both sides screwed up here. But the Caps look much worse only because they went through the process of moving his family down to DC for him, placing his children in school and providing his family with hotel and the ticket informatioin to the winter classic. If the Caps never did any of that stuff it wouldnt be a story, but they did.

Posted by: ThePat | September 15, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

n fact I can't recall this ever happening before where a player gets led past the altar to the honeymoon suite and then gets kicked out of bed.

-----------------
Of course you are not aware of these things, it is kind of presumptuous on your part to think you should, you are not involved and it is not your concern, why should they tell you?
This negotiations are a constant in any professional sport and if you think they are nice process, well then you must be believe in Santa too. The fact is, both sides are trying to get the best of the other, and if one of the parties feels the shaft, then they act accordingly.

Posted by: hock1 | September 15, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

I saw this quote and found it funny and also correct.

"Verbal contract not worth paper it's written on, as they say."

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Here is my take on the whole thing. So far in the Globe and Mail article EB's agent came out with his big "proof" and all it was, was a email he had sent to the Caps talking about all of the calls and texts. So far he has yet to come out with proof of any of these conversations or texts. I have also seen places where it has been said that this agent was fired from his job as a lawyer for incompetence. Even this email he has gone public with looks like it was written by someone on a blog and not by a professional. Half the time Eric is not even capitalized. I am not normally the grammer police but when you are writing a letter in a professional business it should at least have the real easy stuff done.

Even other agents are talking about how this guy mishandled the situation. Also in a league where all the time you hear about trades that almost happened to never question if a trade will be made but when is very poor judgement.

"A contract, however, was never signed and registered with the league, an arrangement several veteran player agents said they would never have agreed to. " That right there says it all. No smart agent would have stopped talking to teams without something signed. Because if they did this would happen all of the time. Yes, it sucks for him that it didn't work out but to put yourself in that position and then put complete blame on the team is just showing that he feels it is all about him.

On final thing I find fishy. The "Caps' deal" was for $1.85m. The Habs who Belenger mentioned signed Halpern for $850,000 I think. They were going to be paying Belenger much more then that is any more then that so I don't buy that this cost him a lot of money.

P.S. In the agent's email he never once says that GMGM ever talked to him it was all the assistent GM.

For those who don't feel like looking back up for the article link it is http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/hockey/agent-rips-capitals-for-backing-out-of-belanger-deal/article1708426/.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 15, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

@icehammer

Fishman handles pretty much all the contract negotiations. He is GMGM's voice so dont waste your time on pointing that out.

Posted by: ThePat | September 15, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

and i didnt mean than it a derogatory way, just was pointing it out so you know for the future.

Posted by: ThePat | September 15, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

The Caps didn't intend to be malicious but they also have to take care of their own interests first.

Posted by: Rocc00 | September 15, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

to what extent. That really seems to be the basis of disgreement here. To what extent should a team protect its own interests? At all costs as long as its not deemed outside the rules?

those of you making this argument seem to think its ok for the Caps to do whatever they need to to protect their own interest. And its highly doubtful you'd side that way if this was another organization accused of conducting business in this manner. Fess up cretins!

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Look at the pattern: Eminger, Nylander, Belanger...you can even go back to Bondra.

George McPhee has failed to create a winning team in Washington. It's time for him to be fired. Five season with the best player in the world - three of those years with a stellar supporting cast...and he the team can't get out of the first round.

We have talent - but not the kind that wins anything of value. McPhee sat on his hands this summer while a bumper crop of free agent defensemen changed hands. Some teams even acquiring two! And whom did we get: Wilsie, King, Greanleaf and Nycholat. Wow. Now that's what i call embarrassing. And now Belanger is scooped up for peanuts...and he is a player in a position of need.

My guess is that that this is all about $ and that McPhee is more interested in turning a profit for daddy warbucks and less interested in a championship. Otherwise he would have done something this offseason...other than fielding a younger, cheaper team that is less likely to succeed in the playoffs than last year's.

Posted by: dingram3 | September 15, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

It provides me endless amusement reading the constant bashing. I cheer for several sports teams with a fan base that looks for any excuse to hate... Coaches, players, owners, GMs, and hell even cheerleaders. But I have got to say the the group of haters on this board is the first group that I have seen that will take any news at all and turn it into a hatefest. I suspect that when the Caps do finally win the cup that there will be some on here complaining how we did not do it the right way or took too many games to do it. Give it a rest already. Real hockey can't get here hast enough. At least when we lose a few games in a row, you can have real hockey reasons to be haters.

Posted by: jbears1 | September 15, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Of course you are not aware of these things, it is kind of presumptuous on your part to think you should, you are not involved and it is not your concern, why should they tell you?
This negotiations are a constant in any professional sport and if you think they are nice process, well then you must be believe in Santa too. The fact is, both sides are trying to get the best of the other, and if one of the parties feels the shaft, then they act accordingly.

Posted by: hock1

i don't believe in santa or the easter bunny. I do however believe in man-hating lesbians and the fact our GM did something more than a little disingenuous here. And don't understate the culpability of what the Caps did. No one's asking them to 'play nice'. And no one here believes negotiations aren't a tough-minded affair. The degree to which the Caps wooed Belanger is at issue here. But its probably just easier for you to make your point when you exaggerate someone else's viewpoint.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

At least when we lose a few games in a row, you can have real hockey reasons to be haters.

Posted by: jbears1 |

How about losing 3 in a row to Montreal?

Posted by: underpants2 | September 15, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

But I have got to say the the group of haters on this board is the first group that I have seen that will take any news at all and turn it into a hatefest.
posted by jbears1 |
---------

likewise, short of McPhee marching players into gas ovens, he's still considered untouchable by his loyal nuthuggers. Face it, the way this Belanger story is unfolding, its pretty much worst-case scenario for this type of situation. He's basically a lying d__k who doesn't return phonecalls. His 'no comment' speaks volumes.
Excellent work so far this offseason George! Now go pick up some leftover scraps and turn this team into a contender.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

"My guess is that that this is all about $ and that McPhee is more interested in turning a profit for daddy warbucks and less interested in a championship."

If this was true Nylander would be playing on the team. They are paying him about $4M not to play. And because of that opening on the roster they must fill it with somebody. So that will cost them at least $500k extra.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

How about losing 3 in a row to Montreal?

Posted by: underpants2 | September 15, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

didn't you hear....it was just "one bad week"

guffaw

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

There is one thing that is consistent here with GMGM.

He hides behind his desk and turns his phone off when situations get dicey. He did it to Kolzig, Bondra, Nylander, and several others under contract. Now it shows up with players not under contract also. I don't know how anyone can think that this type of business reputation won't hurt getting free agents to sign here and find the Caps a desirable place to be under contract.
Who in the heck wants to be Nylandered by Georgie Boy? Or who wants George to turn his phone off on you when you really need support and help from him? Or to live in fear that when George stops talking to you, you are on your way out the door because that's his MO?
I agree with Belanger's agent that George has a reputation, and it doesn't appear to be a very good one. Hiding behind your employees and your turned off phone is not a very up front or respectable way to conduct business. I think a lot of players will agree with me.

Cordially,
RBlatch

Posted by: rblatch45 | September 15, 2010 3:30 PM | Report abuse

Since the Caps have made no moves to secure a 2 and now a 3C, the obvious answer is that Mr. Michal Nylander will return to carry the franchise to its first ever Stanley Cup. The same group that spent countless hours convincing the kool-a...er fans that Nyles wasn't even good enough for a rec league, will now convince the kool-aid drinkers, I mean, fanbase that he is a highly capable 2C that just needed time to heal from his injuries.

Laich-Nyles-Semin
Chimera-Flash-Fehr

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

George McPhee has failed to create a winning team in Washington. It's time for him to be fired. Five season with the best player in the world - three of those years with a stellar supporting cast...and he the team can't get out of the first round.
----

its actually worse than that. He's created enough of a successful "exciting" team that its bought him some more time here. This town isn't exactly rife with hockey knowledge so fans/media/owner automatically equate pure skill/talent combined with an improving reg season record to a perennial Cup contending dynasty in the works.

The flip side is, its very possible that we keep exiting the playoffs in the 1st and 2nd rounds over the next few yrs and end up having to rebuild this thing all over again. I'm not 'hating' when I say this, I truly believe this is a very real possibility. There is a window of opportunity here and if that passes, good luck trying to stockpile some great players. We benefited quite a bit from some bad reg season records and were able to acquire some great core players. If McPhee doesn't understand how to then complement those players with a sound roster and system, we'll end up having some more good reg season records, ergo miss out on topnotch bluechip prospects in the draft, blow this window of opportunity, and then find it harder down the road to get guys like Ovechkin and Backstrom to rebuild this team. You saw the streamlined approach that Pittsburgh and Chicago have taken. 2 or 3 more yrs of playoff failure for the Caps and they'll find themselves having to blow it up and start over without the same level of quality prospects to pull from. And sorry, but I just don't see this team winning a Cup this yr or the next. I don't see them filling their holes adequately and adjusting their systems accordingly.

--your daily view from the dark side.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Hiding behind your employees and your turned off phone is not a very up front or respectable way to conduct business.
--------------------------------------

i've been in companies where this is how business gets conducted, and the employee morale is pretty low. I certainly wouldn't have worked at some of these places if I'd known this prior to being hired. So if George wants to run his org like a prototypical sleazy exec, it will have an adgerse effect on the Caps. In some way shape or form, however subtle. You don't have to be mother teresa but i bet there's a happy medium somewhere whereby you can still protect your own interests without having a PR nightmare.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=333885

tsn finally picked it up.

The same group that spent countless hours convincing the kool-a...er fans that Nyles wasn't even good enough for a rec league, will now convince the kool-aid drinkers, I mean, fanbase that he is a highly capable 2C that just needed time to heal from his injuries.
--ablake

get used to that way of thinking. Its par for the course around here. Players that other teams pick up are automatically flawed in some capacity. Players who we pick up are spun up to be the 2nd coming of the savior.

i will laugh out loud for a month straight if we do go pick up Nylander though :)

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Somehow I don't think the treatment of Belanger is consistent with Ted's 10 rules for running the Capitals. Even if the contract was verbal and based on an understanding, I don't think EB rents a home and moves his family to D.C. to start school if a deal wasn't in place. Yes, it's a business, but is this the way to do business? I don't think this reflects well on GMGM or the Caps as an organization. A class organization doesn't jerk around a player for 7 weeks and then tell him there is no contract after he's taken himself out of the free agency mix.

Posted by: wizfan89 | September 15, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I have actually agreed with a good amount of the points you have made today, but when you said this statement, which has a lot of truth in it as almost every sports team does this:

"Players that other teams pick up are automatically flawed in some capacity. Players who we pick up are spun up to be the 2nd coming of the savior."

All I could think of though is that this describes you to a tee, except it is just completely flipped.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

I never thought I would see the day where everyone takes what an agents says as fact. Let's see in his big smoking gun email he sent to the media there was a lot of talk about texts and emails that the team sent him but none of that has been produced. I am not saying it didn't happen but if I were trying to show how bad someone treated me or my client I would be coming out with copies of the emails or texts they sent me saying to wait or that the deal was going to get done. So far all he has done was give his email with all of the things he says happend. If it is true then yes it makes GMGM and the Caps look bad but the key there is IF IT IS TRUE. Now if the agent forwarded the texts he got or an email that he was sent that if would all be gone but he hasn't. Maybe that is because there is no email or texted and maybe there never was. The fact he claims to to be getting these texts when he was starting to feel that things were starting to go bad and if he still didn't save some of those texts to use as proof is unbelievable. He also seems to not understand that he is as big if not the biggest reason this happened. The fact that other agents would not do this kind of deal tells you that they know this could happen if you are put in that situation.

To me his agent is coming out looking worse with each time he comes out and says something. At first it looked like the Caps were horrible people when it came out about the lease and the kids school but now coming out with an email that adds no proof or new information except to just go on a name calling rant about how bad Belenger or in the vain of the email eric was treated by washington. He is nothing more then a spoiled kid who is calling someone names because he wasn't picked for football at recess.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 15, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

funniest comment yet--

"I know I would be upset if I had to take 1 million less and play in front of the 250 Phoenix Coyotes season ticket holders"

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

McPhee and Co. should have their feet held to the fire on this one! They've been messing with a man and his family, definitely not a good way for the Caps to endear themselves to any free agents going forward.

Yes, there was no ink on the printed contract, but that doesn't make the handling of Belanger's situation right on any level. If, indeed, the Caps made arrangements to move Belanger's household goods from Minny to DC, that's a fairly clear statement of the team's intent to have him in Red this season. Certainly, other players/agents will take a dim view of the thoroughly unprofessional manner in which McPhee and Co. conducted this negotiation, and that alone should be of serious concern to Uncle Ted and his partners going forward, especially when the summer 2011 free agent signing period comes around. I can think of a half dozen teams off the top of my head which would have the c0j0nes to do the right thing and fix the situation by lopping off the offending member, i.e. firing the GM during whose watch this mess was perpetrated. Sadly, the Caps do not appear to be among that group.

It'd be quite amazing if TSN and their Canadian sports news cronies would show up at Caps camp and rake McPhee over the coals. No dis on the Caps beat writers, but it'd be nice to finally see some media types put McPhee through his paces and make him squirm. He was allowed to get by without explaining why (former 1st round pick) Steve Eminger was glued to a seat in the pressbox a few seasons back (the fact that Eminger has been a journeyman since is not germane to this conversation). As well, McPhee was, apparently, never truly put upon to explain the Nylander situation to the Caps faithful (and many, many paying customers). So, it'll be interesting to see if any pressure is brought to bear by the hockey media, locally or otherwise, about this potential public relations debacle.

Posted by: YouAreABigWhiner | September 15, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"lmao, so now the letter's a possible fake?"

@cstanton1

That is not what Thisisthe year said. Not even close.

He was saying the agent would word the email in a fashion that portrayed the facts most favorably to his client and would not have anything damaging in it. So other facts may have been omitted. Certain facts could have been emphasized that actually had little or no bearing.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Thanks sgm3! That is exactly what I meant - I never said or implied that the email was a fake.

Posted by: Thisistheyear | September 15, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Whiner,

Re: the movers, did the Caps set up the moving vans for EB, or did they google "moving vans in Minn" and forward EB the list of phone numbers.

Both could be called "assisting" with the move, but there's a huge gulf between the two.

Posted by: Steve_R | September 15, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

"Players that other teams pick up are automatically flawed in some capacity. Players who we pick up are spun up to be the 2nd coming of the savior."

All I could think of though is that this describes you to a tee, except it is just completely flipped.

Posted by: sgm3

can i just say that ftr, i absolutely knew you were going to pick up that comment and use it against me.

here is my official record on Caps transactions free agent/trade transactions to date at the time they occurred--

Clark - yes
Brads- yes
Clymer- lukewarm
Jurcina- yes
Chimera- lukewarm to cautiously optimistic at beginning, turned to dislike once I saw him play more.
Belanger- no
DJK- yes but you know my reservations there
Walker- yes but I knew he wouldn't fit in here or get ice time and he was too old at the point we got him
ShaMo- didn't know much about him but liked his size at the time
Laich- lukewarm (glad he's developed)
Flash- no
Klepis-no
Corvo- i threw up
Cooke- loved it
Steckel- liked his size but didn't know if he'd adjusted from his finesse style from college and Manchester
BMo- hell no
Pothier- hell on
Poti- no
Erskine- yes
Brashear- lukewarm. I'd wanted Godard but the Caps found out he had a drinking problem so they steered clear and got Brash instead.
Stefanishion- lukewarm
Pinnizotto- yes
Stevenson- yes

i'm sure there's more but thats what i could recall. So I don't automatically dislike every McPhee transaction.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks sgm3! That is exactly what I meant - I never said or implied that the email was a fake.

Posted by: Thisistheyear | September 15, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

you're right. I jumped the gun on that one. I stand corrected. SGM wins that round.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Is this comment section cstanton1's personal rant page?

No one here has all the facts, it amazes me that people can take such a hard line without really knowing exactly what went down.

Posted by: phrankbama | September 15, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

i don't believe in santa or the easter bunny. I do however believe in man-hating lesbians...

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 3:20 PM

@cstanton1:

Good "View Askewniverse" reference...

Posted by: Rhino40 | September 15, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

What I saw from Chicago is a 1 year lucky run like the '98 Caps.
What I saw the Pinz do is chasing the Cup like the rest of us now after their 1 Cup.


I rather be consistently at the dance than be 1 shot artists needing to regroup every other year.

Posted by: Rocc00 | September 15, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

btw, my favorite unsung UFA is apparently skating with the Caps today. So cross your fingers and hope he makes it. I'd take him over either BGordo or Steckel as our 4th line center.

Matt Hendricks baby! Gritty, skates well, if you like guys like Adam Burish and Colin Fraser, you'll like Matt Hendricks. He's as good as those 2 but is stronger on his skates and a slightly better fighter.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

I rather be consistently at the dance than be 1 shot artists needing to regroup every other year.

Posted by: Rocc00 | September 15, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

well have fun consistently dancing with the fat ugly girl then.

and chicago's run was far from lucky. Absurd comment. Just b/c they dumped salary at the end of it doesn't mean they lucked their way into a Cup. That's a team which has paid its dues and made significant strides the previous yr in the playoffs and then followed it up by taking the next step a yr later. That's not luck, that's a clear progression. I'm sure their fans can wait around for 2 or 3 yrs before they retool again. They still have Keith, Seabrook, Toews, Kane, Sharp, Bolland, Brouwer, and a couple others. Not to mention some good prospects. So the cupboard isn't exactly bare.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse


What I saw from Chicago is a 1 year lucky run like the '98 Caps.
What I saw the Pinz do is chasing the Cup like the rest of us now after their 1 Cup.


I rather be consistently at the dance than be 1 shot artists needing to regroup every other year.

Posted by: Rocc00 | September 15, 2010 4:16 PM

The Hawks made the WCF the year before winning the Cup and the Pens went to back-to-back SCF (winning one) and lost in the 2nd round last year. Both teams have won more rounds in the playoffs than the Caps have played. I'd rather have the Pens and Hawks so-called inconsistent record than "consistently" losing in the first round like the Caps.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

My guess is that that this is all about $ and that McPhee is more interested in turning a profit for daddy warbucks and less interested in a championship. Otherwise he would have done something this offseason...other than fielding a younger, cheaper team that is less likely to succeed in the playoffs than last year's.

Posted by: dingram3 | September 15, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse
------------------------------------------

If this were the Jim Rome show you would be "BLOCKED!!!!!!!!!! BLOCKED!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Posted by: pokerfaceI208 | September 15, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

he is a training camp pro tryout invitee. could be interesting.

And for those people saying people are overreacting because we only know one side of the story....thats all you ever know with the Caps. Their front office never opens their mouth. I'd love it if they did, but until then Ill develop my own opinions.

Posted by: ThePat | September 15, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

@pokerface

nice jungle reference

@cstanton

hendricks ain't a good fighter IMO...i mean he lost to craig adams and rod pelley

Posted by: _stevo | September 15, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

pat, we'll have to rename you mr eloquent.

and yeah, i was talkin about Matt Hendricks a month or so ago saying how I'd love for the Caps to admit they made a mistake when they/Hershey let him go. But glad he's back. And Boudreau has coached him in the past so he must like him if he's here.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 4:29 PM | Report abuse

Whiner,

Re: the movers, did the Caps set up the moving vans for EB, or did they google "moving vans in Minn" and forward EB the list of phone numbers.

Both could be called "assisting" with the move, but there's a huge gulf between the two.

Posted by: Steve_R | September 15, 2010 4:11 PM

Point well taken. Lotta "he said/he said" is possible in all this, except that if the Caps front office practices the status quo, it'll only be a "he said".

Honestly, while fans are going to fall on one side of the argument or the other, the real concern here should be the perception by other players, especially ones who may/may not decide to come to DC as free agents. In many walks of life, appearances are of more import than the actual truth behind any particular dispute or negative situation. As such, an impression of impropriety on the part of McPhee and his cabal will eventually come back to bite the team in the posterior going forward. Let's recall how few free agents wanted to come here in the recent past, and only just recently have things begun to turn the corner. It's not the time to take a step backwards.

When the Caps/Wizards original owner Abe Pollin was faced with negative publicity generated by questionable actions, he made no bones about moving the people who caused the distractions outta DC (see: 4 Caps in the limousine http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-1126776.html (all traded or let go) , Chris Webber http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1355/is_n11_v93/ai_20305961/ (traded)).

Yes, it's apples to oranges, but the concept is sound. Strong owners will not allow their product to be degraded by individual action which is detrimental to the team. McPhee doesn't lace 'em up, and I don't see any Cup rings on his fingers. Therefore, if any portion of the allegations are true, and Belanger was strung along by the team, it's time for McPhee to go.

Posted by: YouAreABigWhiner | September 15, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton

hendricks ain't a good fighter IMO...i mean he lost to craig adams and rod pelley

Posted by: _stevo | September 15, 2010 4:28 PM | Report abuse

i said he was a better fighter than burish and fraser. I think he's equivalent to a Craig Adams. Rod Pelley is an underrated fighter anyway but you can't go on just one fight. Hendricks hasnt made a career out of scrapping, he upped his totals last yr because he finally got a shot at the nhl and wanted to do all he could to show he's willing to be that typical 4th line scrappy center. And he's a gamer.

regardless, he's way better than Gordo or Steck in that dept. And actually plays the game like a 4th line center should.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton

good point i guess. I'm a fan of anyone who drops the gloves....hell brads is a terrible fighter, but I love to see him fight

Posted by: _stevo | September 15, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

quick book on hendricks in his first nhl season

56 games, 92 hits, 9 goals, 7 assists; 9 mins of ice time per game, 1 shorthanded goal, 1 GW goal, avg'd 1:13 PK time/game

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

"Therefore, if any portion of the allegations are true, and Belanger was strung along by the team, it's time for McPhee to go."

And if the trade that would have allowed EB to sign with the Caps was soured because somebody in EB's camp couldn't keep their mouth's shut? Then what? EB was told the trade had to happen first. Somebody leaked details and the trade died. The agent was told 8/17 that he was free to look elsewhere. How long did the agent drag his heels after that because DC represented the biggest payday to him based on his cut of the deal?

How often is a UFA told to wait a couple of days, but we have a deal for you, just have to make another move first? I'd guess its not common. If there are concerns on the UFA's part, specify that they have to keep looking elsewhere until ink is on paper. It's a buisness.

Posted by: Steve_R | September 15, 2010 4:47 PM | Report abuse

Everyone needs to calm down. Katie wrote that this law firm is new to this. They screwed up, but they'll still sew because they have somewhat of a case. EB gets a little bit of his $ back, life goes on. Whatever...

Posted by: washingtonpost31 | September 15, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

And if the trade that would have allowed EB to sign with the Caps was soured because somebody in EB's camp couldn't keep their mouth's shut? Then what? EB was told the trade had to happen first. Somebody leaked details and the trade died
-----------------

so is the assumption here that EB leaked the details of his impending contract and then the other team (Vanc) found out about the Caps deal with Belanger and asked for a bit more for Flash and McPhee wasn't willing to give it so the trade for Bieksa died?

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

What's to sue? The Caps didn't violate the CBA.

Posted by: Steve_R | September 15, 2010 4:54 PM | Report abuse

The Caps look big time bad on this. But at what point do we ask what the heck was his agent doing during this time? Would'nt you think after 2 or 3 weeks with no movement he would've pressed the issue? Shouldn't the agent been purusing this a little sooner than the week before the start of training camp? The Caps rightfully get the blame for this, but his agent looks asleep at the wheel.

Posted by: jimc93 | September 15, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

cstanton,

I'm not going to assume that the trade was with Van. Just that there was "a trade" that had to happen first.

From what I've been reading word came from EB's camp that something had to happen before he could resign with DC.

Did that kill the deal? Maybe yes, maybe no, but EB was told to keep quiet, he didn't, and there has been no trade.

Posted by: Steve_R | September 15, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Like it has been said by many people on here. Players will most often go to the teams that pay them the most money.

If the Caps offer a contract that a player likes he will sign it. I don't think these recent actions will have an effect on that.

The only thing it could hurt is that no one will ever agree to a verbal contract with GMGM again. So he does lose the ability to do that.

GMGM will now surely be looked at as ruthless, and while there are plenty of negatives about being ruthless it can also be a positive when involved with contract negotiations and trade talks as it can be intimidating to some people.

I will point to the Patriots again as an example. They are viewed as being ruthless in contract negotiations with players and will let anyone walk if they view its in the best interest of the team. The team remaining silent on the issue, or releasing a small press release, is also something the Patriots have always done over the past 10 years.

There seems to be a lot of similarities to how the front offices are run. (No, I'm not comparing results, I'm just comparing how they are running the teams. So don't bother bringing up Super Bowls. We all know the Pats have been significantly more successful than the Caps the past 10 years)

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

The Caps management sort of remind me of the New England Patriots. Very few public statements. A bunch of one line answers releasing almost no information. Walking a fine line on the rules. And more than willing to be cut throat when dealing with players. Just do whatever it takes to better the organization, no matter what the consequences. As long as it follows the letter of the law, that's all that matters.
----------------------------------------

If the Caps could find someone like Tom Brady in 6th round, they could do whatever they wanted and get away with it.

Again the Caps management acts like the Pats and the Red Wings WITHOUT any of the hardwares that those teams have.

Posted by: joek443 | September 15, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

the other negative being that the caps may have to offer up a bit more money to sign someone. Many other variables at play of course but that is another potential negative outcome. And you know how McPhee is loathe to pay anymore than he thinks a player is worth.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

"Again the Caps management acts like the Pats and the Red Wings WITHOUT any of the hardwares that those teams have."

Isn't that the best way to try to become like them? If you wait until you already succeeded then what would be the point of changing to their style.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

@ Steve_R...

No argument to any of your points. However, the core of my assertion remains: the possible perception of McPhee as a shady dealer is a definite detriment for the Caps going forward. Politicians are frequently railroaded outta town for merely appearing to have acted in an inappropriate manner. Often times, public scrutiny, fair or not, demands their eventual removal. If this were Montreal, Toronto, or any other hockey mad city with a bloodthirsty media contingent and implacable fanbase, McPhee's departure would be guaranteed. As DC is not any of those places, it's a better decision for the Caps ownership group to be intelligent without being forced, take the high road, and remove McPhee and Co. This would serve dual purposes: show potential free agents that the Caps can (once again) be trusted, and, more importantly, remove a distraction before training camp begins.

At the moment, the team's focus should be on the beginning of the season and not a pissing war between a seemingly betrayed player and a GM. Guilty or not, McPhee has now allowed himself to become the focal point of negative publicity for the team. Also consider that the Caps have a handful of free agents of their own who are, as we speak, making decisions about where they'd like to ply their wears next season and beyond. The "Ovie Effect" only goes so far.

If McPhee were a stand-up guy, he'd come out in the press and admit that he screwed up, even if he's not technically in the wrong. It's time to do some face saving instead of face palming. As that is about as likely to happen as Nylander donning the Red again, Uncle Ted should consider the circumstances and realize that, while he may be able to win in a court of law if the Belanger camp decides to file suit and it goes to trial, he cannot win in the court of public opinion. When you mess with a man and his family, you will not find much support from the masses, as it should be.

Posted by: YouAreABigWhiner | September 15, 2010 5:21 PM | Report abuse

the Pats know how to play D. And they have had hard hitters like Seymour, Bruschi, Rodney Harrison! so there

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Isn't that the best way to try to become like them? If you wait until you already succeeded then what would be the point of changing to their style.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

well don't you think they should find a Tom Brady in later rounds of the draft first?? you can act like whomever you want but if you don't produce any results, you just end up being an incompetent fool.

Posted by: joek443 | September 15, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Great discussion and some really salient points made by many. I usually scoff at those who come off as pedantic on these boards, but today I will be a hypocrite as I can't resist. All contracts are "verbal". Some are "oral" and some are "written". "Verbal" is not synonymous with "oral". Please return to the regularly scheduled spirited debate.

Posted by: columbiapike | September 15, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

People here are blaming the EB camp for the trade leaking out. Did you read the timeline in the mail? The agreement was in mid-July and the leak was in mid-August. Meanwhile the moving van advance people went to his house (just like they did at my house when I moved), and apparently these movers were been paid (or would have by the club). Also the Belanger family would have been travelling to DC for house-hunting. Considering how nosey the press is in Quebec, how long do you think this could have been kept under wraps? Sure, when EB and agent agreed to remain mum, it was for a week - not 7 weeks.

The Caps made a conditional deal with a player and then continued to peruse options. At the very least, the Caps should have said after say two weeks, "Look, there's a snag. If you want to look elsewhere, come back and give us best and final chance to top what you get."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 15, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

To follow up, who says the leak came from EB? The email sasid an agreement was reached mid-July. The story broke a month later. In the meantime, I was wondering, what's up with Belanger? Where's he going? Reporters in Canada might well have asked some of the GMs - "What about signing Belanger? Are you persuing him?" And the answer may have come back, "We inquired but his agent said he's not available."

As I said above, you just can't keep a secret like that forever.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 15, 2010 5:40 PM | Report abuse

If what some posters have said about possibly reacquiring Nylander becomes fact, I will know for certain that the Caps' front office needs a new nickname:

The Ministry of Truth

IMHO, the question of whether or not Nylander was/is good for the Caps was rendered moot by the circumstances of his departure. GMGM should either come completely clean or just suck it up and live with the consequences of his actions, not just bring Nyls back as though nothing had happened.

Which of course raises another question:

Given the history between the Caps and Nyls, who is the bigger fool if Nyls does return: Nyls or GMGM?

FTR, I am hopeful, not a hater, but this whole off-season thing--culminating in Belanger's departure--has me wondering exacly what GMGM's plan is.

I don't feel so good...must be that Kool-Aid® I drank...HAPPY NOW HATERS??

No, I guess not until either:

1) The Caps actually win the Cup (in which case the haters will find something else to complain about)

OR

2) GMGM is fired/BB is fired/Ted sells the team/the team is blown up/any combination of these, in which case y'all will rant on endlessly about how their respective replacements are even worse...

Now, would somebody please drop the damn puck already?

Posted by: Rhino40 | September 15, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Hey Katie, any update from rookie camp? No? Well that's o.k., we're all keeping busy beating this dead horse that was the Belanger debacle.

I like the Matt Hendricks camp invite.

Now back to the dead horse. Some earlier posters told me it once laid in the spot where dozens of people are hitting a dusty patch of ground.

Posted by: FunkyGloveFacewash | September 15, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

I'm not the biggest fan of belanger but I'm even a less fan of GMGM.What happened to EB is just wrong,dead wrong.I personnally didnt even want EB back on the team and felt he wasnt much of an asset but to screw around a guy and his family like a piece of trash is WRONG.This is just more of a reason to hate on gmgm.I love,i mean LOVE the caps but hate the mgmnt.Always have.If ted wants the caps to be a top notch org. and be looked at as one than he needs to get rid of gm.The caps could and should be a better group than what they got and untill he his still in office the caps will never win a cup.Its just a fact.And now that the rest of the guys or other elite players in the nhl see how GMGM operates(not that they didnt know already)nobody is gonna feel safe dealing with him and i hope thats what sends him packing.BUH-BYE GM! GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | September 15, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

"well don't you think they should find a Tom Brady in later rounds of the draft first?? you can act like whomever you want but if you don't produce any results, you just end up being an incompetent fool."

@joek443

You are talking about results. I am talking about the manner in which the organizaiton is run. Being ruthless and hush-hush about everything seems to be the road the Caps took. It is the same road the Patriots took. I'm sure other teams have taken it also. It worked for the Patriots and I'm sure it worked for others.

The Pats have been a very popular team the past 10 years for both good reasons (Super Bowls) and bad(spygate). So while the results may vary, the manner in which those organizations were run were very similar. That's all I was trying to say. Nothing more.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

FGFacewash: Good point about the dead horse. We've beaten enough dead horses this summer to make a calvary troop in the Doofus Brigade.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 15, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm displeased with how everyone listens to Belanger tell the story and then blame the Caps and GMGM for the situation he found himself in.

We don't know what was really said or promised.

Apparently Belanger thought that a trade would be made and it would be resolved in a week - so he waited SEVEN WEEKS!

He may have screwed the Caps leverage by going public with that 7 weeks ago and maybe the Caps owe him nothing.

It may have depended on whether the Caps were able to snare Willie Mitchell - who decided to go to LA (less than 7 weeks ago)and made making any trades a moot point.

Point is we had the $1.85 million to sign Belanger all along and still didn't = and though Belanger says it was 1.85 million but all he could get elsewhere was $750 K - Tall tale...why would the Caps overpay?and while part may be true probably not all.

We will never know...GM GM can't comment on players he would have liked to acquire that are in other organizations because it would be tampering.

The one who is at fault here is the Agent for Belanger - what a tool! He can't work his inside connections and find out the difference between a wish and a promise.

He should be decertified as an agent.

Belanger is free to spout off all he wants - on July 1st he told NHL Live in an interview that he was very close to signing with a team - and that never happened either.

Give GMGM and the Caps the benefit of some doubt that it did not all act out the way Belanger says.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | September 15, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

FGFacewash: Good point about the dead horse. We've beaten enough dead horses this summer to make a calvary troop in the Doofus Brigade.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 15, 2010 5:56 PM

@Tominsocal1:

Good point Tom: let's all stop beating this mummified...no, wait: "fossilized" horse...

Posted by: Rhino40 | September 15, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

well GMGM has been in charge for a dozen years, how long are we supposed to wait for him to find someone great in later round of the draft? another dozen more years??

Belichick found Brady in his first year in NE and nobody in the NFL drafts better than the Pats.

again they can act like the Pats if they want to but unless they produce the results, they're just another wannabe.

Posted by: joek443 | September 15, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

FTR, I know who's right and wrong here but I was asked not to say anything until all of the speculation was done.

Posted by: FunkyGloveFacewash | September 15, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

This situation leaves a black mark on the Capitals, regardless of who is ultimately to blame. I would point out, though, that EB's agent is "Joe Tacopina, a high profile New York defense lawyer who has recently begun representing NHL players". Before you demonize GMGM, look into the history of Mr. Tacopina. Many believe him to be more concerned for his celebrity than his legal advise and has an ego the size of Manhattan (think Drew Rosenhaus). It may be that Mr. Tacopina is not as adept an agent as he thought he was (he's no Drew Rosenhaus)and that he provided poor council to Eric Belanger. Not trying to defend GMGM on this one but I'd be looking a bit more warily at good old Joe Taco!

Posted by: AADCDERM | September 15, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

well GMGM has been in charge for a dozen years, how long are we supposed to wait for him to find someone great in later round of the draft? another dozen more years??

Belichick found Brady in his first year in NE and nobody in the NFL drafts better than the Pats.

again they can act like the Pats if they want to but unless they produce the results, they're just another wannabe.

Posted by: joek443

How is any of this relevant? Do you have any idea what I was talking about in my previous posts?

Another organizational similarity I thought of between the Pats and Caps. They way they release, or don't release, injury information. It usually is "so-and-so has a lower body injury and is day-to-day" even though they were clearly hurt in the arm and out for an extended period of time.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 6:19 PM | Report abuse

@ sgm3

I agree with your earlier statement about teams not having enough cap space for B. Richards. Of course, if a team really wanted him, the GM could find a way to offload salary (trades, dumping players in the minors).

The Pats have been a very popular team the past 10 years for both good reasons (Super Bowls) and bad(spygate). So while the results may vary, the manner in which those organizations were run were very similar. That's all I was trying to say. Nothing more.

I have to disagree with this statement. The Patriots draft well and find low cost reclamation projects that fit the system designed by a man who is a brilliant football mind. The Patriots coach spent 15+ years learning the pro game as a NFL assistant, including studying under HOF coaches. The Caps cannot compare.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

joe taco! now that's an agent i can get on board with!

---------
again they can act like the Pats if they want to but unless they produce the results, they're just another wannabe.

Posted by: joek443
-----------------

and really, where is it proven that the way the Patriots deal with certain contracts and players is necessarily the reason for their success? You could find good or bad organizations which deal in very similar manners. The difference still comes down to picking the right players and the right schemes.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Belichick found Brady in his first year in NE and nobody in the NFL drafts better than the Pats.
-----------

and if you want to take that comparison a step further, the Pats have had strong off and def lines. i.e. the TRENCHES. The Caps don't draft for the trenches. They draft for the perimeters. They're like Steve Spurrier and his million wide-receiver sets. Flashy wingers - Flashy receivers.

trade flash.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 6:29 PM | Report abuse

FTR, I know who's right and wrong here but I was asked not to say anything until all of the speculation was done.

Posted by: FunkyGloveFacewash | September 15, 2010 6:08 PM

Isn't it possible that you are getting biased info just like the rest of us?

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

if you believe the caps intentions all along were to never sign EB - just keep him in limbo for as long as possible - then your feelings about this are justifiable.

june 30th - ted and gmgm sitting around discussing FA strategy

gmgm: "i've got a few ideas for tomorrow and the following weeks"

ted: "me too. i think there a few pieces out there we could use come april next year."

gmgm: "no. i meant fishing and playing some golf - we are sticking to 'the plan' aren't we?"

ted: "sh*t - thats right i almost forgot. well what about a longer term plan - say three weeks out until training camp?"

gmgm: "well for fun we could pick a player and make up some b*llsh*t story about needing to complete a trade before having an actual signed contract. i'll bet you $10k i can string somebody along for two months"

ted: "i'll take that bet and just because i like you so much - i'll go with the 'under' at 7 weeks"

i'm pretty sure it went something like that

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

meanwhile, poor Flash bought a new house in Vancouver and his kids are already enrolled there. The unfairness of it all!

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if EB would have done better to have fired his agent and hired Mama Ovechkin to seal the deal. I would bet none of this nonsense would have happened.

Posted by: AADCDERM | September 15, 2010 6:35 PM | Report abuse

if you believe the caps intentions all along were to never sign EB - just keep him in limbo for as long as possible
------

Has anyone made this point? The Caps wanted EB (yuck), and they wanted to sign him and still get their trade done without losing him to another team.In order to do this, they made some clear advances towards him that kept him on the hook. When their trade fell thru, they bailed. Took their phone off the hook. Disconnected their #. McPhee doesn't live here anymore. Forwarded all calls to Phoenix.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

meanwhile, poor Flash bought a new house in Vancouver and his kids are already enrolled there. The unfairness of it all!

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse
____________________________________________

Thanks, cstanton-I just spit diet Pepsi all over my laptop keyboard after reading your post!

Posted by: AADCDERM | September 15, 2010 6:39 PM | Report abuse

if you believe the caps intentions all along were to never sign EB - just keep him in limbo for as long as possible

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

I don't think GMGM is such an a**hole that he wanted to keep EB out of the league this year. My guess is that GMGM was holding out to see if he could find someone better than EB or get him to lower his asking price.
___________________________________________
meanwhile, poor Flash bought a new house in Vancouver and his kids are already enrolled there. The unfairness of it all!

Posted by: cstanton1

We don't want to be unfair to Flash. GMGM, make this happen!

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

if you believe the caps intentions all along were to never sign EB - just keep him in limbo for as long as possible

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

I don't think GMGM is such an a** that he wanted to keep EB out of the league this year. My guess is that GMGM was holding out to see if he could find someone better than EB or get him to lower his asking price.
___________________________________________

meanwhile, poor Flash bought a new house in Vancouver and his kids are already enrolled there. The unfairness of it all!

Posted by: cstanton1

We don't want to be unfair to Flash. GMGM, make this happen!

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Damn double post

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

u guys still use keyboards? voice recognition s/w is where it be at beyatches

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

meanwhile, poor Flash bought a new house in Vancouver and his kids are already enrolled there. The unfairness of it all!

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 6:34 PM

Does Flash even have kids? I thought the rap on him was he won't "go into the corner."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 15, 2010 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of kids in school, we are left to wonder how the Belanger children will fare in geography.

"OK, put your hands up! Who can tell us what the 'DC' in Washington, DC stands for? Miss Belanger?"

"My daddy says it stands for 'Damned Capitals.'"

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 15, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

i feel bad for belanger and his family trying to setup a home in the dc area. but EB and his agent knew there was no signed contract and hung in there hoping this 'trade' would go through. it would seem the reported $1.8M the caps offered was about 25% more than what EB could have gotten elsewhere. i'd bet that if EB had been offered to sign a $1.8M contract by someone else before the original week to complete the trade was up - he would have signed it. he was under no obligation to the caps even if the trade went through. i really think his agent told him to hold out until the trade went through. now that it hasn't he trying to place all of the blame on the caps.
you'll never hear this from the caps front office (they never give any info on anything) - but what is probably closer to the truth is the caps indicated the trade wasn't progressing as they had hoped (i'm sure it didn't as it never happened at all) - so if they wanted to seek other offers they should do so.
sometimes people see the shiny big red apple all they way at the top of the tree - out of reach - and refuse to pluck the perfectly good one right in front of their face.
who screwed up the most: EB's agent
knowing how thighlipped the caps front office is - i'll bet they could have done a better job of keeping the EB camp informed on the progress of the trade.
EB should have told his agent to keep shopping me after that first week went by

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it possible that you are getting biased info just like the rest of us?

Posted by: ablake70

I got my info by calling Miss Cleo and she's definitely impartial, she just reads the cards. Funny thing though, it turns out the reading wasn't free after all!

Posted by: FunkyGloveFacewash | September 15, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

knowing how thighlipped the caps front office is

------------

wth is thighlipped? that's some big lips.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 7:03 PM | Report abuse

i feel bad for belanger and his family trying to setup a home in the dc area. but EB and his agent knew there was no signed contract and hung in there hoping this 'trade' would go through.
------

now you're reaching into the bowels of absurdity. No one goes and buys a home somewhere on a "hope" that a trade goes thru. The level of commitment offered by the Caps is a far cry from what you're stating here. IMO, they did everything possible to convince EB and agent that the signing was a formality and that the deal would be done for sure.

Posted by: cstanton1 | September 15, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse

kirk you're right. Xena is hawt!

http://assets.gmgradio.com/photo/page/2009/04/fvcc8xznps.jpg

Posted by: cstanton1

Double minor cstanton for burning out the retinas of the good CI posters. And for the record, Zena was hot!

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

cstanton1:

lmao - that was awesome

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

thighlipped - hahahaha

i really shuld pruf reed more otfen

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

Here's the story on the Belanger situation that Mike Vogel could gather. The "Rest of the Story" as he titles it.


http://dumpnchase.com/

Posted by: CapsFan75 | September 15, 2010 7:13 PM | Report abuse

What happened?

Wille Mitchell to the Kings happened. I don't think the Canucks expected that.

Once that went down, they called off Beiksa or wanted a D-man in return (Erskine / Sloan?) which probably swung the equation for the Caps.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst | September 15, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75:

that article is a much more believable version of the events

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

"I have to disagree with this statement. The Patriots draft well and find low cost reclamation projects that fit the system designed by a man who is a brilliant football mind. The Patriots coach spent 15+ years learning the pro game as a NFL assistant, including studying under HOF coaches. The Caps cannot compare."

I agree with your statement.

But I was talking about how the team was run from an organizationl/management level. i.e. how they handle contract negotiations, how they handle releasing statements to the press, how they handle releasing injury information.

I'm also not saying that this is the way to do it. The Pats have been widely criticized for this. I was just pointing out similarities that I noticed. I'm not trying to use the Pats as an example to say what the Caps are doing is good.

I'm sure there have been plenty of sports franchises who have run their organizations like this and have failed miserably. Running an organization in this manner does not necessarily mean success.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Darn Capsfan you beat me to it I was just about to post that link. Reading that it seems like the Caps did nothing wrong at all. Of course Vogel wasn't going to write anything bad so what we have here now is two stories each trying to make themselves look good. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.

I think that the Caps did try to help EB with a house and his kids because they were trying to get things done and have him come back happy. Things didn't go as planned and he had to look elsewhere. I think that EB and his agent did wait for the Caps wether there was a formal offer or not because he wasn't going to get more then $1m anywhere else. I also think that it was the EB camp that leaked the rumor either by telling to other teams that were talking to EB that he was going to sign with the Caps as soon as he could or by leaking it himself like he now has with his email to GMGM. I think this guy is a failed lawyer who wanted to be a big time sports agent and was looking to get a great deal to show off to other players to try and get there servies. It backfired big time on him and now he is trying to deflect blame so that he at least has some chance of not losing EB as a client and never getting any other ones.

I think the Caps did want him but once it came out that they were dealing from a position of strength they lost their biggest chip in the trade. They tried to find something else that would work but there just wasn't anything else out there. I think WM was a backup plan to get the defenseman we wanted and then we could trade Flash to a team that needed scoring for picks or prospects since the trade for a Dman had fallen through. That also fell through so now we are on to plan C or lower because of all of this and now we don't have the center we thought we did.

The big thing here is by leaking the info Belenger cost himself some money and moving issues. But for the Caps it has left us with no second or third line center and no defensive dman. If there was no leak and the trade had worked out like everyone thought it would we would have filled all but the second center role and that could go to the top rookie in camp. I think Belenger screwed that Caps as much as they did him by leaking (if he did) the signing so he is not as innocent and abused as everyone seems to treat him like he is.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 15, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

What happened?

Wille Mitchell to the Kings happened. I don't think the Canucks expected that.

Once that went down, they called off Beiksa or wanted a D-man in return (Erskine / Sloan?) which probably swung the equation for the Caps.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst |

I was thinking the same thing.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 7:38 PM | Report abuse

What happened?

Wille Mitchell to the Kings happened. I don't think the Canucks expected that.

Once that went down, they called off Beiksa or wanted a D-man in return (Erskine / Sloan?) which probably swung the equation for the Caps.

Posted by: Political_Stratgst |

I was thinking the same thing.

Posted by: sgm3 |

You also have to throw in that freak Sami Salo injury in late July.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 7:40 PM | Report abuse

icehammer97:
the article doesn't support the 'fire gmgm' crowds stance. we should see some rebuttals on the vogel piece soon

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for posting the Vogel story, CapsFan75.

A few questions for anyone with answers.

-If the Caps had to move salary to sign Belanger to a one year $1.85 million salary July, how were they able to offer him a 2 year $3 million salary in June?

-Are the Caps saying that it was between Flash and Belanger as 2C? Even after they gave Flash a 100K signing bonus and BB laughing off the Flash trade rumors?

-Vogel said that Belanger's agent leaked the e-mails. Are the Caps acknowledging that the e-mails are legit? (I assume the Vogel piece is their rebuttal)

-Are guys who are not apart of the training camp roster normally invited to training camp to keep in shape? If so, were these offers extended to BMo and Theo?

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Suddenly Vogel has "the rest of the story". After the last day of bad press for the Caps front office, I would venture to say someone said "get Vogel in here and let him put out a favorable story, we're getting beat up here". Vogel of course is on the payroll. It seems as though the Caps could have announced weeks ago that the Belanger deal was off, but instead silence. There are no reporters in town willing to "rock the boat" to find out real info, because they want access so they are able to "rock the red"...
Bottom line is the Caps added an enforcer this summer, but otherwise did nothing to improve a team that crashed and burned in the 1st round. (Oh, sorry...I forgot it was that darn "hot goaltender's fault").

Posted by: kcbrichmond | September 15, 2010 7:46 PM | Report abuse

Nice interview on Japers with Kuznetsov and Orlov. Both are fine with playing in Hershey, in fact both want to play there this year after the end of the KHL season.

Posted by: zmega | September 15, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse


i could never know for sure but -

"-If the Caps had to move salary to sign Belanger to a one year $1.85 million salary July, how were they able to offer him a 2 year $3 million salary in June?
"
if belanger signs in june for a $1.5M cap hit - that may have set the price at which 'we walk' on flash if arbitration comes in too high.
since he didn't want that deal...

"-Are the Caps saying that it was between Flash and Belanger as 2C? Even after they gave Flash a 100K signing bonus and BB laughing off the Flash trade rumors?"

all you'll ever get out of the caps is 'we got who we wanted". i'm not sure if BB believes everything he says

"-Are guys who are not apart of the training camp roster normally invited to training camp to keep in shape? If so, were these offers extended to BMo and Theo?"

they can invite anyone without a contract if they are interested in them. it would seem that the caps had an actual interest in EB since they were trying to work a deal and make a transition to dc easier for him.


Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Nice interview on Japers with Kuznetsov and Orlov. Both are fine with playing in Hershey, in fact both want to play there this year after the end of the KHL season.

Posted by: zmega | September 15, 2010 7:59 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps were hoping to "luck in" to retaining Belanger after the trade didn't materialize, why WOULD they have anything to say about his status? Caps kept quiet about everything and the other side apparently tried to pressure them into resurrecting a deal that was no longer on the table. No wonder that GMGM doesn't conduct his business in the public forum -- everything gets twisted anyway. The incompetence/inexperience of Belanger's agent isn't the responsibility of the Caps organization nor should it hurt them in the future in securing players. What a phony controversy!

Posted by: McKinley2 | September 15, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

The assistance with moving and getting kids set with schools doesn't fit well with the Vogel piece.

Posted by: zmega | September 15, 2010 8:03 PM | Report abuse

The one thing not consistent in the Vogel story is the word Belanger got is the trade was "when" and not "if."

The whole issue of blame rests on those words. If the Caps told Belanger "if," and not "when," then I was premature in overly assessing blame to the organization.

If in fact Belanger was told he would be signed "when the trade" happens and not "if it happens," then the Vogel story is slanted.

Maybe we can also get Bill Clinton to tell us what the definition of "is" is.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 15, 2010 8:04 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

If you tell a person "when I sell my house to Mike Gillis I will buy your house".

The only difference between that and "if I sell my house" is that "when" gives a time when the buying of the house will occur. Soon after the selling of the house to Mike Gillis.

In a statement of "when I sell my house to Mike Gillis I will buy your house" means that that person will not buy your house until his house is sold to Mike Gillis.

So if his house is sold to anyone else or is never sold then he would not have to buy your house.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

"When" should you count your chickens, "if" they hatch?

Posted by: dimagus | September 15, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

The Vogel piece makes sense as well, so like someone else said the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. The thing I don't like about the story is that the Caps were adamant on moving a player out to bring Belanger in. That means they probably have a self imposed budget this season and didn't want to spend close to the salary cap ceiling. That could explain the lack of signing anyone all summer. At the same time that explains that, I therefore wouldnt hold your breath on a trade of bringing in a high priced player until right at the trade deadline if at all.

Posted by: ThePat | September 15, 2010 8:37 PM | Report abuse

The when/if argument only works for a few days. After a few days they had to know that the trade had issues. Everyone here knows how often deals fall through and after a few days they had to have some idea things were going wrong but they tried to force things.

As for who the leak is, I don't see how it isn't the EB camp. All the leak did was here the Caps and their position so if it was with them and they got found out they would have a new job to find. But from the EB camp it helped them get out their deal and his agent could start talking about how he EB this great deal.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 15, 2010 8:46 PM | Report abuse

http://dumpnchase.com/?p=258

the other side to the Belanger story...maybe that agent has more explaining to do than we thought.

Posted by: capscoach | September 15, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

@fanohock1

Everyone knew Kolzig was done, except Kolzig. He's that damn competitive. You still need to talk to the guy, and tell him where he stands with the club. GMGM wouldn't even talk to the guy!!Kolzig took us to the finals on his back. The finals; a place GMGM will never see again. Kolzig had more hockey guts in his body than this entire team (except Bradley and King).

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | September 15, 2010 8:56 PM | Report abuse

""When" should you count your chickens, "if" they hatch?"

When the eggs hatch that's the time you count. If they don't hatch then you don't count.

When the trade is completed that's the time the Caps sign EB. If they don't make the trade they don't sign EB.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 9:09 PM | Report abuse

So who can tell me something about that center that has been invited to Camp...is he really going to be any better than MJ/M/or Flash?

Posted by: capscoach | September 15, 2010 9:16 PM | Report abuse

sgm: I can't recall whether or not the agent's email said the Caps had to "trade a player" or "move a player." Difference being, they cut send to minors to move a player and make cap space.

Regardless, the agent must get blame. At some point he should have asked, "Is this a guaranteed to happen offer, only contingent on when?"

Fishman would have said yes or no. We presume from the agent's side the Caps would have said "Yes" and from the team's side they would have answered "No." If the agent didn't get that clarified, he's an idiot.

Bottom line, though, is it gives a negative perception of Caps, right or wrong. You only need read these posts to see that.

And, remember, perception is in the mind of the viewer.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | September 15, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Is this Tacopina guy the same lawyer who defended the Van der Sloot guy who killed the young girl in Aruba? How the heck did he get into hockey as an agent? Weird.
Setting the Belanger thing aside, the big question is: Why hasn't this team signed a Center or a Defenseman this summer????? Does anybody have a theory that makes sense?

Posted by: kcbrichmond | September 15, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

@kcbrichmond

I think the team has a budget for themselves. That is why they haven't signed anyone. That is why they wanted to move a contract before they could have signed Belanger. Just my opinion at this point.

Posted by: ThePat | September 15, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

@Roccoo

Man are you full of it about the Hawks. Cstanton nailed you to the wall. Keith and Toews are headed to the Hall after they win more Cups. I wish we had a D man that was just %30 as good as Keith. Toews- a 21 year old Cup MVP, who plays with the tenacity of Scott Stevens in the playoffs. Our guys need to be chained to chairs to watch the last two seasons of Hawks playoff games. The Flyers and Hawks made us look like school girls (that includes Ovi and Backy) The two best teams "in the playoffs" ended up in the finals. The Hawks would have dusted us in 5. The Flyers win in 6.

"Yea, that's what I said J.R.. We brought in our best Euro-trash game and got spanked by a bunch of scrappy Canadians."

The Hawks will reload. We'll re-golf.

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | September 15, 2010 9:32 PM | Report abuse

@tom. It depends on where you are reading. Even before the Vogel article there were almsot as many if not more who were bashing the agent more then the Caps. I think that if there were that many who may or not be Caps fans that were throwing the agent under the bus. I think if anything the Caps fans tend to be much harder on the Caps then hockey fans or other teams' fans. They are still one of the few teams that many national people say can win the Cup. If you read here thought we will be lucky to make it out of the first round and anyone who thinks different is drinking kool-aid.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 15, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

Cody Eakin will perform better in the playoffs than Flush. And I mean this year!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | September 15, 2010 9:36 PM | Report abuse

CSN's 'sportsnite' show
they played an audio click of belanger's 'crossing the line' comment.
then alan may weighed in - he basically said without a signed contract there is no commitment & EB's agent should have never let it get that far

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 10:18 PM | Report abuse

click = clip

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 10:19 PM | Report abuse

Has anyone checked out this Joe Tacopina? He's a NY criminal defense attorney, represented Joran VanDer Sloot, among other low lifes, and this is his firm's web site http://www.tacopinalaw.com/

I didn't see any mention of representation of athletes. Why on earth would Belanger pick a newbie like this guy, rather than one of the established NHL agents? This story gets wierder and wierder.

Posted by: Thisistheyear | September 15, 2010 10:48 PM | Report abuse

@ Thisistheyear. This is just my guess but I would guess lower commission. The more and more I read about this agent the more and more I think he is just trying to deflect attention away from his giant screwup. One thing is for sure and NHL player who signs him as an agent after this should immediately be checked for a concussion or brain damage.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 15, 2010 10:58 PM | Report abuse

BTW I love the phone # on the ad on the right side

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 15, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

"likewise, short of McPhee marching players into gas ovens, he's still considered untouchable by his loyal nuthuggers." Really, really? Now McPhee is going to get compared to Hitler. It has been said over and over, but I will say it again. If a "fan" hates the ownership, brass, and basically 80% of the team, why does that "fan" stay with the team? Even the "paper boy" has decided to dump his beloved Leafs on HTM on XM because he doesn't like the organization as a whole. Face it, for some of you, it is time to pick another team.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 15, 2010 11:06 PM | Report abuse

nhl to a couple of potentially concussed players: "we'd like for you to hire J Taco as your agent"

player1: "no thank you"
player2: "do you have a pen?"

nhl to player1: "you are cleared to play"
nhl to player2: "please report to rehab"

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 11:07 PM | Report abuse

CSN's 'sportsnite' show
they played an audio click of belanger's 'crossing the line' comment.
then alan may weighed in - he basically said without a signed contract there is no commitment & EB's agent should have never let it get that far

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 10:18 PM

He's right. I think most would agree that Belanger's agent is an idiot. Still, the Caps strung this guy along for at least a month. The guy was told that his status would be determined by a trade, yet they helped him find a home and a school for his kids? The Vogel response doesn't deny any of this. After reading both sides, here is my take.

Season ends, the Caps want to re-sign EB. He wants a long term deal. The Caps say no and the two sides go there separate ways.

EB tries to get a long term deal on the market, but no one bites. Caps still want him, so they ask if he's ready to take the shorter deal. He says "yes" but in that short span, the Caps zero in on another player they want more.

Not wanting to lose out on EB if the new deal falls through, they tell him to hang tight until they get rid of that pesky Fleischmann. With an opportunity to play 2C and being paid more money than any other team was offering, EB says "Sure". Besides, playing on a line with Semin all year would boost his stats so he could get the big payday next year.

As Belanger waited for Flash to be shipped out, the Caps pursued their real target, Willie Mitchell. When the Caps pursuit of Mitchell becomes public and the team accepts Flash's arbitration award (plus 100K, Belanger starts to get antsy. He calls the Caps to be reassured, at which time they help him move his family and find a home. But as the Mitchell sweepstakes heats up, EB gets nervous and "leaks" the info to the press. EB is thinking, "If I can't go public with my signing until a trade goes thru, how are they going to sign Willie Mitchell?"

When the Caps thought they had Mitchell, the told EB he could move along. Mitchell signs with LA, the Caps come back to Belanger, who has moved on (Despite the small amount he is being paid, those deals don't happen over night.) EB keeps his mouth shut until he signs with a team, which brings us to today.

So in the end, Belanger is guilty of being naive, hiring an idiot for an agent, and overvaluing his worth while the Caps are guilty of being less than honest.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

I am going to come out and say this too. I don't want to be painted a Caps apologist, or a GMGM apologist. If GMGM gets fired for this I could care less. I don't care who owns the team, manages the team, coaches the team, or for that matter wears the jersey. I am a Capitals fan, that's why the jersey I wear to the games doesn't have a name or number on the back. I have been at the stadium whether the Caps have underdogs, 14th in the Conference, or a President's trophy winner.

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 15, 2010 11:15 PM | Report abuse

here is a 6 page GQ article on joe tacopina from march 2007
read and decide for yourself
http://www.gq.com/news-politics/newsmakers/200703/joe-tacopina-natalee-holoway-criminal-defense-attorney

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

Good point about if it said "trade" or "move". Since moving a player could be done without compliance from another team. Unless, of course, if it said "move to another team". But anyways.

I also agree with you, that right or wrong, this will have an overall negative outcome on the Caps. Meaning more people will look upon them negatively than before this occurred. That number might not be that large though.

@fanhock1

You make a good point. If a person hates the team's owner, hates the management, hates the management philosphy, hates the coaches, hates the coaching philosophy, and hates the players, then why do the root for that team? Is it because they like the jerseys?

It would be like going to a restaurant where I hate the owner, hate the management, hate the service and hate the food, but yet I tell everyone that it is my favorite restaurant. That would be odd.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 11:30 PM | Report abuse

@fanhock1

That's great, because in the end WE own the team, and WE pay the players. WE can control what happens to this present team and franchise. (Now weigh in all you goofs who think Ted and GMGM can do what ever they want.)This EB thing isn't gonna' go over well in Toronto. The guy moved his kids!

No wonder we get hosed by Canadian refs in our own building.(Knuble call -2010 play offs) Please comment !!

Posted by: Hunterforcoach | September 15, 2010 11:31 PM | Report abuse

You make a good point. If a person hates the team's owner, hates the management, hates the management philosphy, hates the coaches, hates the coaching philosophy, and hates the players, then why do the root for that team? Is it because they like the jerseys?

Posted by: sgm3

True fans don't abandon their team. They wait it out and hope for change.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 11:37 PM | Report abuse

ablake70:
i just don't believe the caps would put any time and energy into helping belanger get settled in dc if they really didn't want him. i just don't think they strung him along without any intentions of signing him.
i would think it wouldn't be unusual for a player to ask for assistance with local information about a city (realtors/schools/shopping/doctors/dentists etc.)
i would ask - did the caps move him here or provide him with standard information that would be supplied to any player that asked for it?
if the caps went so far as to say "here is a nice home for rent in a good location - you should inquire about it". then they did give him more of an indication that he would be signed
if belanger receive standard info and took these actions on his own - then the caps really didn't do anything wrong imo

not challenging you - but asking for clarity. is your mitchell talk facts that you know or your opinion of events?

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 11:42 PM | Report abuse

@ablake70

This is what I think happened:

The Canucks were getting ready to trade Bieksa after signing Dan Hamhuis. They were set on defense and needed to clear salary cap space. So they reached a tentative agreement to acquire Flash pending the outcome of his arbitration hearing(they probably set a price limit they were willing to accept).

Then Sami Salo suffered a freak injury around July 21. Before the Flash arbitration hearing was scheduled, and before he signed his deal. This was also only a few days after the Belanger first contact happened with the Caps.

So the Canucks held back on the deal. They knew the Salo injury was serious so they had an added need for a defenseman and had the extra cap space to keep Bieksa because Salo's salary would not count against the salary cap while on LTIR.

But it wasn't over then because the Canucks wanted to sign Willie Mitchell and have him be the extra D-man instead of Bieksa and then trade Bieksa to the Caps.

The Wille Mitchell negotiations took a while and the Caps tried to get him too. However he ended up on the Kings. I don't think the Canucks or Caps expected that(remember the Kings were heavily tied to the Kovy and Kaberle).

Once that went down, the Canucks called off the Beiksa deal because of the need for a D-man and the temporary extra cap space created by the Salo injury.

This was around late August I think. I think that is around when Belanger found out the Caps were no longer going to sign him.

Now I do not know this happened, but the timeline does make a lot of sense and fills in many of the holes in the story given by EBs agent and the Vogel.

Anyways, that was my take.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Hunterforcoach = god of the washington capitals

if you own the team, pay the players and can control the franchise - then get off your *ss and get a 2C and a #1D

could we please have all those that think gmgm and/or bb gone get on Hunterforcoach - because he s*cks at this ownership stuff

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 15, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Keep digging around for articles and clippings about Joe Tacopina. I think even those who post on this site and dislike GMGM will come to realize who the real villian is in this debacle. Its the agent. He entered an area with which he has no expertise, is a total egomaniac, totally botched his first client, and is now raving about how horrible the Caps organization treated his client in an attempt to cover up his total ineptitude. If anyone needs to be sued for anything, I think it should be Tacopina for malpractice, incompetence, and misrepresentation. I know GMGM's hands may not be totally clean here but the Caps fans outrage should be directed at the lawyer, not the general manager! Circle the wagons and tell Joe Taco to stick it where the puck doesn't fit.

Posted by: AADCDERM | September 15, 2010 11:50 PM | Report abuse

@ Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

My take is just my opinion of events. Mike Vogel wrote

Washington also had another player on its off-season radar, namely defenseman Willie Mitchell. The Capitals were in on the Mitchell sweepstakes, but the veteran blueliner ultimately signed with Los Angeles on Aug. 25.

Given the time they finally told Belanger to pursue other options was the same time Willie Mitchell decided to put himself back on the market, I didn't think it was too far off.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 15, 2010 11:57 PM | Report abuse

"True fans don't abandon their team. They wait it out and hope for change."

But if you aren't a fan of the owner, management, coaches or players, then what exactly are you a fan of on the team besides its jerseys? Seriously.

This question is not directed towards you but is just a question in general.

This would be similar for a restaurant. If you really liked everything at a restaurant and loved absolutely everything about it, but then it changed ownership and changed everything except the name of the restaurant and how it looked.

Now you go to this new restaurant and you hate everything about it. You hate the owner, hate the management, hate the servie, and hate the food. Would you keep on returning as a consumer just hoping that it would change at some point?

Posted by: sgm3 | September 15, 2010 11:58 PM | Report abuse

ablake70:
i don't recall reading anything about a timeline when belanger moved to the dc area. if the caps aided his move after they were no longer interested (which i would doubt they would spend the time on) then that would be much less than honest dealings.

we'll have to wait and see if any new info develops. i think it is possible his agent was feeding him information he wanted to here about the caps and then acted on that info.
at this point i wouldn't have much faith or belief in any information provided by his agent because j taco royally screwed up for his client.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 16, 2010 12:08 AM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Your version of events is definitely plausible. The only part I disagree with you is Flash being traded to Vancouver. I don't think the Caps ever intended to trade Flash, especially since they gave him a $100K signing bonus.

To answer your question about fans, a lot of these guys have been Caps fans from the beginning. They have fond memories of the Caps from the 80s and 90s and are just disappointed in the direction the team has taken. And you have to admit, those Caps teams went further in the playoffs than the uber-talented, superstar laden team we have today. They have strong opinions, but still want the team to win. I prefer this group to the "everything is perfect even though we can't get out of the 2nd round" crowd.

@ Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

I agree that GMGM probably wanted to sign Belanger, just not for $1.8 million

Posted by: ablake70 | September 16, 2010 12:17 AM | Report abuse

ablake70:
"I don't think the Caps ever intended to trade Flash, especially since they gave him a $100K signing bonus"

i think they went this route to avoid a unknown salary award. if flash had gotten an extra half mil or even 1M more - they could think he was unmoveable. 100k bonus for the lesser of two evils maybe.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 16, 2010 12:25 AM | Report abuse

@ Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

If Belanger and his agent lied about the Caps helping EB find a home and put his kids in school, don't you think Mike Vogel would have included a denial in his piece? That is the most damning evidence against, yet Vogel didn't mention it. All he said was the EB and his agent were leaking e-mails, not that the e-mails were falsified.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 16, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

@ablake70

I was actually thinking that it may have been Steckel. Just because, if the signed Belanger and Flash played center they would just have too many centers. They would still have BGordon and either MP or MJ to be 4th line center. Starting as a 4th line center could be real good for MJ. I think at that time Vancouver was looking for a 4th line center too. Other stuff may have been thrown in there too(picks or prospects)

Now this is just pure speculation on my part. Just throwing out ideas.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 16, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

@ Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

Flash was given the extra $100K after the Caps accepted his arbitration award. They didn't have to do this.

@sgm3

Steckel is definitely a possibility given the logjam on the 4th line. But do you think GMGM was just trying to get someone to take Steckel off his hands or did he really expect to get a lot back for him?

Posted by: ablake70 | September 16, 2010 12:35 AM | Report abuse

ablake70:
unless the cap provided assistance with the move after they lost interest - i don't see how this makes the caps less than honest.
i'm not trying to imply they lied about the caps helping with the move - just when. and if they did indeed make an effort to help him settle in there - then they did have intentions of signing him - again nothing dishonest there.
they knew all along that without a trade/player movement that they did not have a contract in dc

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 16, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

ablake70:

"Flash was given the extra $100K after the Caps accepted his arbitration award. They didn't have to do this."

flash and the caps did not go to arbitration - he signed on july 27 - one day before the hearing. i don't see how the $100k ties into anything - unless your thinking they always intended to keep flash and not belanger. it just didn't happen that way.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 16, 2010 12:51 AM | Report abuse

@ Capt_Kirk_in_AZ

I forgot. You are right about Flash.

The biggest question I have in the Caps vs. Belanger story is if the Caps told Belanger he would have a contract only if a player were traded or if they were waiting to announce his contract once the trade was took place. For a guy to lease a house and move his family across country, I think it's the latter. Belanger has shown that he is gullible, but I don't think he's that stupid.

Also, I don't think this organization had any plans to move Flash. I agree with sgm3 that it was probably Steckel.

Posted by: ablake70 | September 16, 2010 1:04 AM | Report abuse

"The biggest question I have in the Caps vs. Belanger story is if the Caps told Belanger he would have a contract only if a player were traded or if they were waiting to announce his contract once the trade was took place"

i don't believe teams can announce a contract until it has been registered with the league. one thing is for sure - no contract was signed between belanger and the caps.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | September 16, 2010 1:11 AM | Report abuse

IMO the 100K bonus was to sweeten the pot and have Flash sign before the hearing, like he did, for less money than he was projected to get awarded. I am probably wrong, but my understanding is once a arbitration hearing is complete the team that has the rights to the player must pay the dollar figure awarded, no less. If another team wants to sneak in and sign a RFA compensation is required. How much compensation is already outlined by the CBA, depends on the player. Now, if a team decides not to sign the player, like the Hawks did with Niemi, another team can offer whatever they want. As everyone knows, Niemi took less than awarded at the arbitration hearing. If the Hawks could have gotten him for as little as San Jose did they probably would have retained his services.

Does anyone know, for sure, if I am right or wrong on the arbitration rules as far as the team with rights low balling a player after the arbitration hearing?

Posted by: fanohock1 | September 16, 2010 1:28 AM | Report abuse

"Steckel is definitely a possibility given the logjam on the 4th line. But do you think GMGM was just trying to get someone to take Steckel off his hands or did he really expect to get a lot back for him?"

@ablake70

I think it would be a case where each player met a teams need and the Canucks would also be clearing cap space. But due to the difference in talent I think the Caps would've had to sweeten the pot a little with either a pick or medium prospect. But not a current player because the Canucks needed the cap room. Well until Salo got hurt.

Posted by: sgm3 | September 16, 2010 1:51 AM | Report abuse

Rook game today...OH YEAH. Hockey is almost here baby.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 16, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Rook game today...OH YEAH. Hockey is almost here baby.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 16, 2010 8:25 AM | Report abuse

F'ing double posts. Curse you CI. But it was an important message, so touche.

Posted by: SeminAllOverTheIce | September 16, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

McPhee should be thankful to Belanger. Because this fuss over whether the Caps are sleazy is distracting attention from the fact that the team had a horrible off season and is worse than last year.

Posted by: poguesmahone | September 16, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

If Belanger and his agent lied about the Caps helping EB find a home and put his kids in school, don't you think Mike Vogel would have included a denial in his piece? That is the most damning evidence against, yet Vogel didn't mention it. All he said was the EB and his agent were leaking e-mails, not that the e-mails were falsified.
Posted by: ablake70 | September 16, 2010 12:29 AM |
=========================================
The agent is upset because he was outmaneuvered by a crafty general manager. The article Vogel points to states several other agents would never have agreed to a maneuver of keeping the agreement without a signed contract.

His single NHL client, he screwed up. Can't imagine he'd be happy about it. Can't see players running to have him represent them. On top of that, Belanger chose this guy. Why not get Marc Gandler if you want a big deal?

The agent said "George McPhee has a reputation." Sure, a reputation of doing what his owner wants him to do, without batting an eye. I don't see what's wrong with that, because it's a BUSINESS. Not many others do, except weepy CapsFan who thinks McPhee is the obstacle to winning a Cup wanting to come up with imaginary reasons to get rid of him.

Sorry, but I want my team's general manager to be a hard-baller. I wish he had been that hard-ball on Nylander.

Posted by: pga6 | September 16, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

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