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NHL rejects Ilya Kovalchuk's deal with Devils: Weigh in


(Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)


A day after the New Jersey Devils announced that they'd inked the NHL's belle of the free agent ball, winger Ilya Kovalchuk, to a landmark, 17-year deal worth $102 million, the league rejected the contract because it was an attempt to circumvent the collective bargaining agreement.

Kovalchuk will be 44 in what was to be the last year of his contract, well after he would likely retire from the league. The way the deal was structured, with Kovalchuk set to make just $550,000 for each of his final five years -- less than three percent of the $102 million -- wasn't quite in the spirit of the salary cap, the league determined.

Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos said this morning that the NHL believes the deal was "a retirement contract," because they simply do not think Kovalchuk will be able to play until he's 44.

Here's the statement from deputy commissioner Bill Daly:

The contract has been rejected by the League as a circumvention of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Under the CBA, the contract rejection triggers a number of possible next steps that may be elected by any or each of the NHLPA, the Player and/or the Club. In the interim, the player is not entitled to play under the contract, nor is he entitled to any of the rights and benefits that are provided for thereunder. The League will have no further comment on this matter pending further developments.

What do you think of the deal, and what can the league do to prevent loopholes like this when the current CBA expires in 2012? Could another lockout be in store, or is it too soon to worry? (Yes, it's too soon.)

Weigh in using the comments section below, and we'll post some of them as talking points on the blog later. Tarik is working on a story, and he'll weigh in as well.

Update: Below are some of the comments on the Kovalchuk deal.

Arguments for the contract to stand

ThePat: I agree that the contracts are bad for the league but they are legal so the NHL should just wait till they can fix it.
RichC3: I wished they had left it alone for a different reason. It would have hamstrung the Devils for years to come, one less compeitor just as the Flyers and Hawks will and are realizing what those contracts are doing to their teams. Yep the Hawks won a cup so worth it, but going forward they will be in trouble for years to come.
TheDoubleAlex: The NHL could easily be consistent and stop every contract like this, but they haven't. It seems like they didn't want to deal with it before, and decided to ignore it since the deals weren't horrendous. But now they feel like they have to do something because of the ridiculousness of the contract. They can certainly choose to do it, but it's going to leave a very bad taste in the mouths of fans, players, agents and teams. It's not a very smart move.
_Mark: The NHL set a precedent by their inaction on the Pronger and Hossa contracts. Those two contracts and the Kovy contract were done with the same intention, just varying in degrees.


Arguments against the contract

braunt: The Kovalchuk contract was such a blatant attempt at cap circumvention as to be laughable. The league HAD to reject it or else lose much of its credibility on the salary cap issue. What would be next, a 25 years contract? 50 years? A thousand dollars down, a thousand dollars a day for the life of the player? The NHL lost an entire year so that it could rebuild its business model on the basis of the salary cap, and this contract would put the survivability of that system in danger.
paidinfull: While it is unfortunate that it happened to NJD and this was an odd time to take a stand... you can't argue that this was "wrong" of the NHL to do or "the worst thing" for them to do.... Lastly, it makes a mockery of WSH and it's fans, who paid OV the money he deserves and have it reflect correctly within the cap.
tominsocal1: So, if the Devils try to argue they can circumvent because Chicago is circumventing, when in fact the CBA says you can't circumvent, where does that put the Devils? With a citation for going 80 in a 65.

By Lindsay Applebaum  |  July 21, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
 
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Next: Ilya Kovalchuk (non) update and some Capitals news

Comments

On the Kovalchuck contract a couple of things:

1)This is the worst thing for the NHL to have done. The contract is completely legal by the CBA. Its not the teams, players or agents fault.
2)The NHLPA is not going to be happy at all with the league voiding it. We could be headed right back towards a lockout with this type of thing, coupled with the escrow and the league wanting to lower the salary cap ceiling.
3)I agree these contracts are bad for the league, but they are currently completely legal.
4)While league argues its circumventing, the team will argue that he is completely worth it. Its legal under the CBA. The reason for the minimum payments at the end of the deal is the team protecting itself on the investment. If Kovalchuk is still playing but not up to standards and they want to buy him out, they dont want the buyout to be with a $6M annual salary.
5)If the league thought this was voidable then how are the ones previously signed not. To me it is a joke that the NHL did it. They should have just kept their mouth shut and fixed the problem when the CBA runs out. It's the leagues fault, they shouldnt be forcing the blame on others.
6) The Caps still need a 2C. Can the NHL find a way to void that problem for us?
7) My guess is the league wanted Kovalchuk in LA and will try anything to get him there.
8)Goodbye

Posted by: ThePat | July 21, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

sgm, can you for all of us use your sacred stat machine to spit out some data on which line was better - the plumber line (Adams-Haworth-Locker) v the KHD line (Kono-Halpern-Dahlen) v the Brads-Steck-Laich line from last yr?

and btw, I didn't see the specific stats you pulled up that led to your simplistic conclusion that the Backs line was superior to the Hunter line. Did I miss that post? Can you repost it please.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

The mention of the "Plumber Line" led me to this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ice_hockey_line_nicknames


...and I can watch KHD work all day.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 10:58 AM |

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

If you really are going to credit a line for the results that happen when they are off the ice then you are really reaching. Yes, momentum is nice, but it is still up to the guys playing on the ice to do the job.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

so can you commit to making this statement then just so we can nail down your position on this topic.

I, SGM, am qualified to judge any hockey player and any hockey line by using NOTHING MORE THAN STATISTICS.


Because that is exactly what you're saying.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I'm just going to throw a chair and get this flame war kicked off again **chuck**

Posted by: Chewbacca22 | July 21, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad that the NHL voided this contract as it makes a mockery of the NHL.

@44 years old it's incredibly difficult for the NHLPA or NJD or Kovalchuk to argue that they expect him to play. Especially when Kovy comes out and says "he hopes he can play by then" which is hard not to read as he doesn't think he will be able to play, but "hopes" he will.

I don't think that even on the grounds that it's "legal" that the following information will over turn it. This was taken from SI.com

[For example, Hossa's highest take-home rate is $7.9 million, or just $2.67 million more than his $5.23 million cap hit. Pronger's best year will net him $7.6 million, or $2.69 million above his $4.91 million cap hit. In Kovalchuk's case, he's bringing in $11.5 million, or nearly $5.5 million more than his $6 million cap hit. Hard to argue the deal's not disingenuous when broken down like that.]

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/allan_muir/07/21/deal.react/index.html#ixzz0uKVZUzTa

While it is unfortunate that it happened to NJD and this was an odd time to take a stand... you can't argue that this was "wrong" of the NHL to do or "the worst thing" for them to do.

Lastly, it makes a mockery of WSH and it's fans, who paid OV the money he deserves and have it reflect correctly within the cap. Signing a contract that lowers Kovy's cap hit from the previous year ($6M

Posted by: paidinfull | July 21, 2010 11:12 AM | Report abuse

The mention of the "Plumber Line" led me to this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ice_hockey_line_nicknames
--------------------

i have no problem admitting I have not watched half the players on that list. And therefore cannot offer up any firm conclusion on which line was better :)


The Stevens-Lemieux-Tocchet line in the early 90s was insanely difficult to defend against also. I think Tocchet also played with Adam Oates and Cam Neely on a line but that didn't work out as well because they moved him to the left wing since Neely occupied the RW spot.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 11:14 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

sgm likes to use stats. A lot of people rely on them, even experts rely on them heavily. But I agree with you there are a lot of little things that take place in the game that should be coupled with the stats to get the whole picture.

If I had to guess sgm is younger than 25 and cstanton is over 40.

Posted by: ThePat | July 21, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

I don't know how the NHL can say they voided the contract because they didn't believe Kovy could play till he was 44. That seems like a weak argument to try and make even if its true. The better way to nail down these types of contracts is to set a limit on the # of years on a deal based also on the current age of the player. So maybe when he's under 25 they can offer him upto a 10 yr deal. Between 25 and 30 yrs of age, the contract length goes down to 7 or 8 yrs. And so on. Based on that the max length on Kovy's contract would be maybe 8 yrs.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Can someone explain what this entails then for Kovalchuk? Does this mean he's not on contract then for the Devils? Is he then available still for other teams to make a bid for his services? Thanks, in advance, for your responses.

Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | July 21, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

If I had to guess sgm is younger than 25 and cstanton is over 40.

Posted by: ThePat | July 21, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

38

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

The NHL voided one several years ago (Predators) that then had to be reworked. When I read through the numbers on the Kovy deal, it looked like it violated 50.7 or whatever the section is that says the later years can't go down by more than 50% of the first two years, which were $6M each I think. Anyway, look for it to be restructured and then approved. And, for those who say, "They approved Hossa, so they must approve this," try telling the cop you were "just going the same speed as everyone else." Generally, failure to enforce a law 100% doesn't mean it can be broken.

I doubt the Devils will take it to court or whatever because that could take years. Meanwhile, their whole team would be in flux. The NHLPA meanwhile has five business days to appeal; however, when a player signs a cap-circumventing deal, it essentially takes money away from every other player (salaries are a percentage of revenue and its tied to actual salary paid, not cap hit, for each year), so it's questionable whether they would do that.

Finally, someone mentioned Pronger deal above, and the current take is the Flyers will get the full hit, all 7 years, since the Pronger extension kicked in after he was 35. Meanwhile, league is still "investigating" Hossa and other deals. Language in CBA says you can't circumvent. If player, agent or team had any conversation or a "wink and a nod" agreement on retirement before contract is up, then this is evidence of circumventing.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 21, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

@paidinfull

You can very much argue that voiding it was the worst thing the NHL could have done. I guarantee you agents will argue that. Allen Walsh an NHL agent has already done that. The league is moving down a slippery slope with the NHLPA again in my opinion.

I agree that the contracts are bad for the league but they are legal so the NHL should just wait till they can fix it.

Posted by: ThePat | July 21, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

Ovechkin:
28GP, 20G, 20A, 40Pts, +14

Backstrom:
28GP, 12G, 18A, 30Pts, +13


This is their career playoff stats. So it includes Backstrom's first season against Philly when he was no where near the player he is today.

Point me to other Caps with equal or greater playoff performances. I have no desire to go break down the yearly and game by game playoff stats of the other guys because their career stats imply they are not as good. So the burden is on you to show why those statistics are not correct.

Also, I arleady waste enough time writing on this thing, I have no desire to break down how a group of players performed in the '80s because, in the end, who cares. That was over 20 years ago.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse

sgm likes to use stats. A lot of people rely on them, even experts rely on them heavily. But I agree with you there are a lot of little things that take place in the game that should be coupled with the stats to get the whole picture.

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

if you look at it logically, how can you ever use stats to quantify a 4th line's production without taking into account the actual role of that line? Anyone here who watched hockey for the past 20 yrs should be able to tell you that the McKay-Holik-Peluso line was probably the best 4th line to play over that period. But their offensive stats only reveal a small part of their overall production. It doesn't take into account the role that line played as a ferocious bodychecking line, the fighting prowess of McKay and Peluso and how they helped give momentum to their team time and time again with big hits and fights. How they used that line to shut down the opponents' top lines. Stats cannot quantify any of this even if you take into account how many goals they scored and how many goals they allowed because that line was used in many different situations. Comparing to another 4th line that scored more goals (which is what sgm would rely on) would be an irrelevant comparison because that other line may not be used in the same situations, facing the same calibre of players, wouldn't be as tough, etc.

Stats are simply a crutch to explain things that your eyes never saw. Or were unable to comprehend. They tell part of the story, but to reach conclusions based strictly on stats is an admission of one's inability to understand complexity.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

my apologies....you can just tell you have been a fan for years and sgm is of the younger generation.

Posted by: ThePat | July 21, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

The NHL set a precedent by their inaction on the Pronger and Hossa contracts. Those two contracts and the Kovy contract were done with the same intention, just varying in degrees.

Posted by: _Mark | July 21, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Also, I arleady waste enough time writing on this thing, I have no desire to break down how a group of players performed in the '80s because, in the end, who cares. That was over 20 years ago.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 11:25 AM | Report abuse


why are you evading my question? You're famous for trying to pin me down on statements and trying to get me to commit to something and I have obliged you in the past. Why can't you commit to the statement I posted above re: the fact that you think you can judge any player or any line without ever having watched them play? If you continue to be evasive about it, I'll know how full of krap you really are.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

no worries Pat :) 40 sounds a little scary. I remember turning 30 and thinking that was the end of the world as I knew it. Headin towards 40, it takes me 2 days to recover from a softball doubleheader now instead of just one. And the old liver can't synthesize toxins as well as it could before so I get buzzy after 3 beers instead of 6.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

The NHL set a precedent by their inaction on the Pronger and Hossa contracts. Those two contracts and the Kovy contract were done with the same intention, just varying in degrees.

Posted by: _Mark | July 21, 2010 11:29 AM

OK, the speed limit is 65, and everyone is going 75, so you decide to do 80 ("If everyone can break the law to varying degrees, then I can too."), and the cop pulls you over.

Tell him you were only really doing 5 more than those doing 75 and all that really does is provide admissable evidence that you were, in fact, exceeding the posted limit.

So, if the Devils try to argue they can circumvent because Chicago is circumventing, when in fact the CBA says you can't circumvent, where does that put the Devils?

With a citation for going 80 in a 65.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 21, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

"And the old liver can't synthesize toxins as well as it could before so I get buzzy after 3 beers instead of 6."


lol, thats like going from bantamweight to flyweight

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

espn.com's article states that there is clear language in the CBA that you cannot reduce a players salary more than a certain percentage from one year to the next in order to soften a cap hit, ie: a player can't make $10mil one season and $1mil the next.
With this in mind, I don't see how Kovi can make $6.5mil in year 11 and then $750k the next and then $550k the last 5 years. This seems to be in direct violation of the CBA language, does it not? Perhaps if they spread out that average salary into the last 6 years to make it seem less like circumventing, the league wouldn't have a leg to stand on.
As it is written now, the Devils, Kovi and his agent were just plain irresponsible. They did not think it through. The league has expressed their displeasure with other contracts that have been signed but could not void them because the Ovechkin and Hossa contracts were pretty cut and dry. Kovi's went to far.

Posted by: jmurray019 | July 21, 2010 11:44 AM | Report abuse

I wished they had left it alone for a different reason. It would have hamstrung the Devils for years to come, one less compeitor just as the Flyers and Hawks will and are realizing what those contracts are doing to their teams. Yep the Hawks won a cup so worth it, but going forward they will be in trouble for years to come.

Posted by: RichC3 | July 21, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Not evading. Their career playoff stats are no where near Ovie's and Backstrom's. That information is out there and you are more than free to retrieve it. I don't feel like taking the time to do so because I really do not care so much.

@ThePat

Yes, other things are important other than stats when deciding to put together a team. A good checking line whose main role is to go out and shut down another teams top line may not have the best +/- because of the competition faced. But if it's +/- is better than other team's top defensive line then it is doing well. There are always comparables that can put certain statistics into context.

However, when judging the top line of the late '80s to today's you are comparing top lines so that is a fair comparison.

Also, if you compare player to player:

Ovie>Ciccarelli
Backstrom>Hunter
Knuble is about equal to Courtnall

Yes, Ciccarelli was a top player who made it in the Hall of Fame. But Ovie is in a class by himself and is on his way to making himself know as one of the best players ever.

I know some old timers will get upset about me saying Backstrom is a better #1 center than Hunter, but it is true. Hunter was a fantastic player, and this is in no way disparaging to him. But was Hunter ever considered one of the top 5 centers in the NHL during any year?

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The mention of the "Plumber Line" led me to this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ice_hockey_line_nicknames
--------------------

i have no problem admitting I have not watched half the players on that list. And therefore cannot offer up any firm conclusion on which line was better :)


The Stevens-Lemieux-Tocchet line in the early 90s was insanely difficult to defend against also. I think Tocchet also played with Adam Oates and Cam Neely on a line but that didn't work out as well because they moved him to the left wing since Neely occupied the RW spot.


Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 11:14 AM


I concur and IMO several of the ones I recognize didnt do enough to warrant having nicknames. So many great lines of the recent past were better than some on this list and never had nicknames. But good nicknames are hard to come by.

You cant tell me you dont remember the fury of:

"The Slovak Pack"—St. Louis Blues 1999–2000—Pavol Demitra, Michal Handzus, and Lubos Bartecko

...whose only claim to fame was that they could all speak Slovak on the ice and the opposition for the most part couldnt

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

It's so hard to quantify players and lines from different eras; i.e., what would Peter Forsberg have done if he hadn't played in the dead-puck / clutch-and-grab era? It boggles the mind - and he's still got one of the greatest PPG ratios of all-time, despite being mugged by the likes of Pronger and Matvichuk on nearly every shift.

One thing to bear in mind for me though, is how much faster today's game is than even ten-twenty years ago. All it takes is watching some NHL footage to drive that point home. And then you see clips of Mogilny-Federov-Bure [who merely comprised one Red Army line, back in the day] and so few guys could even keep up, it was ridiculous.

Almost everybody in today's game can skate, there's a certain footspeed-threshold of athleticism you simply have to meet and if you can't, you just won't cut it, no matter how skilled you might be.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 21, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

"And the old liver can't synthesize toxins as well as it could before so I get buzzy after 3 beers instead of 6."


lol, thats like going from bantamweight to flyweight


Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 11:42 AM

I was going to say, from flyweight to fleaweight. Three beers??? cstanton...

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 21, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"The Slovak Pack"—St. Louis Blues 1999–2000—Pavol Demitra, Michal Handzus, and Lubos Bartecko
-----------

Don't kid yourself, Pavol Demitra was a great player in his prime, none other Keith Tkackuk called him one of the best playmakers he'd ever played with, and that guy should know. He was freaking fantastic playmaker, no doubt about it.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 21, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

I have to agree with the NHL here. While the deals they let slide in the past were in the grey area, this one was way over. Allowing $9 = $6 in terms of the cap violates the spirit if not the letter of the rule. The easiest way to fix this is to stop the averaging of contracts and make $1 = $1 in the year paid. I don't have a problem with the rule about the cap hit ending when the player retires; it's consistent with the $1 = $1 rule and let's a player basically say "this is where I will play until the end."

Posted by: TheCapitalist1 | July 21, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Not evading. Their career playoff stats are no where near Ovie's and Backstrom's. That information is out there and you are more than free to retrieve it. I don't feel like taking the time to do so because I really do not care so much
-------------

BS. Nothing but evasion goin on up in heaa!

You are telling all of us that you can judge any player and any line despite never seeing them play based simply on stats. Can you EVER make that case? perhaps. But NOT ALWAYS and probably barely half the time. Take a player like Adam Graves. His contributions to his teams were always much more than the sum of his statistics. Everytime Messier scored a goal it was Adam Graves who had done the dirty work to either get him the puck via forecheck or it was Graves making life miserable in the crease area and the puck would find its way in. You can't look at a stat sheet and quantify that type of contribution aside from partially taking into account a +/- stat, or an assist stat. But it doesn't tell you how much room Graves created on the ice for Messier to be successful, how Graves would relentlessly harass any player who dared look at Messier the wrong way. All that factors into success but doesn't show up on paper. Or Scott Stevens knocking player after player out with big hits on the way to a Cup final. The energy that type of play creates for a team is infectious.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

This is one of the best thing Bettman has done. He should have done it sooner.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 21, 2010 12:00 PM | Report abuse

"The Slovak Pack"—St. Louis Blues 1999–2000—Pavol Demitra, Michal Handzus, and Lubos Bartecko
-----------

Don't kid yourself, Pavol Demitra was a great player in his prime, none other Keith Tkackuk called him one of the best playmakers he'd ever played with, and that guy should know. He was freaking fantastic playmaker, no doubt about it.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 21, 2010 11:56 AM

Yeah, I try not to kid myself.

The discussion here is about "lines". Demitra was indeed a very good player. The other two, and thus the "line", IMO, fell short of the mark.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 12:02 PM | Report abuse

"And the old liver can't synthesize toxins as well as it could before so I get buzzy after 3 beers instead of 6."


lol, thats like going from bantamweight to flyweight


Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 11:42 AM

I was going to say, from flyweight to fleaweight. Three beers??? cstanton...

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 21, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

hey now. When I was in college I could play quarters with Jack Daniels. And I mean, fill a whiskey glass to the brim and chance quarter after quarter. After about 35 I noticed a big dropoff in my body's ability to synthesize alcohol. To be honest, I may have said 3 beers but I really meant 2. After 2 beers now I get a little buzzy. Its pathetic I know. But what can I do about it?

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

The discussion here is about "lines". Demitra was indeed a very good player. The other two, and thus the "line", IMO, fell short of the mark.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 12:02 PM |

Handzus is a very good 2nd or 3rd line pivot. He can play either role.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 21, 2010 12:04 PM | Report abuse

A casual hockey fan - but avid hoops fan - was complaining to me about 2nd assists; he said, "They gave out a 2nd assist the other night, but all _______ did was bump it up to his teammate." I replied, well:

1) the bump was right onto his teammates' stick, hitting his guy right in-stride*
2) he got absolutely crushed a split-second after making the pass, but, even knowing the hit was coming, still waited that extra tick to make sure it was a good pass, rather than protecting himself.

Given 1) and 2), if someone ever complains about that 2nd assist, they've most likely never been on the receiving end of one of those checks, I'm fairly confident in saying!

*It amazes how some guys always put the puck right where it needs to be; there's a Czech guy I skate with, the next time he makes a bad pass or doesn't hit a guy perfectly in-stride I guarantee it'll be his first. I can't tell you how much better he makes his linemates, just by being on the ice with them [well, us].

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 21, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

One thing to bear in mind for me though, is how much faster today's game is than even ten-twenty years ago. All it takes is watching some NHL footage to drive that point home. And then you see clips of Mogilny-Federov-Bure [who merely comprised one Red Army line, back in the day] and so few guys could even keep up, it was ridiculous.

Almost everybody in today's game can skate, there's a certain footspeed-threshold of athleticism you simply have to meet and if you can't, you just won't cut it, no matter how skilled you might be.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 21, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

oh absolutely, when you compare lines from different decades its always assumed that you are doing it "within context"

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 12:08 PM | Report abuse

@ ThePat-

Agreed on your first 5 points. My take is that, in a way, I'm happy the contract is not going through, but then again, this is not the way it should have been handled. If this was the first contract to circumvent the cap, then I'd say it's the right way to go, but it's not. You can't let others slip by because they're not as big a mockery and then draw the line later at a huge contract like this.

They should have already had rules in place to account for this. Either make it nearly impossible for a team to get rid of a player's cap without trading him, or say that a player can't make less than a certain percentage of the total deal in one year or something. But you can't just arbitrarily decide now which deals you'll allow and which you won't.

Posted by: TheDoubleAlex | July 21, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo
------

I think they oughta give out 3rd assists sometime when the goal is directly scored as a result of a hit that causes a turnover or a guy who provides a screen. Not sure how you could ever judge this totally accurately but those plays are just as important as some of the assists that players are credited with.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

The discussion here is about "lines". Demitra was indeed a very good player. The other two, and thus the "line", IMO, fell short of the mark.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 12:02 PM |

Handzus is a very good 2nd or 3rd line pivot. He can play either role.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 21, 2010 12:04 PM

Again, wouldnt call him "very good". His numbers certainly were not (and while he was with StL he benefited a lot from playing with Demitra and managed an all time high in goals 25g 53pts), but he did play solid D.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 12:13 PM | Report abuse

Michael Handzus is only 33 and has already played 12 years in the league, made his national team a bunch of times and played in two Olympics. He was a prolific scorer but changed his game to become a terrific defensive forward. Handzus is a very good hockey player.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 21, 2010 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Handzus is a very good center, and I would take him in a Caps jersey, no problem.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 21, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

I understand your point in the speed limit example, but I don't think it is an apples to apples example. There have been many cases of precedent affecting or changing decisions. The Pronger and Hossa deals were not as blatant as the Kovy deal. It will be interesting to see how it plays out and how the NHL addresses it in the next CBA.

Posted by: _Mark | July 21, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton - I agree, those guys do some pretty heavy lifting for which they don't get enough credit.

One guy that stands out for me is Dustin Brown, my buddy raves about him from growing up but I really didn't know much about him other than that. Then I watched him in the Olypmics - holy crap, talk about a guy sacrificing his body to make a play! In fact, I didn't think Kane did a whole lot in the beginning of the tourney, even with Parise and Stastny - then they put him on Brown's line, and what a difference. All of a sudden, Kane had all the time and space he needed, to make plays and find the open guy or bury it himself.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 21, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

"The Slovak Pack"—St. Louis Blues 1999–2000—Pavol Demitra, Michal Handzus, and Lubos Bartecko
---------------

can't say that line made any great impact on me either. The Flyers crazy 8s line had Fedyk on it who was nothing more than a passenger on it (despite any stats that sgm digs up). When LeClair was acquired and ended up replacing Recchi (great player in his own right), and Renberg replaced Fedyk, that line became a true beast. Although Renberg himself was sort of a beneficiary of the power forward styles of Lindros/Leclair also.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

The NHL was right to void this contract because it was even more absurd than the Hossa contract signed last year.

As for the Pronger deal, the NHL actually has a tool to use against the Flyers which many people are either forgetting or simply just don't know about and that is the limit of players under contract to the big club.

IIFRC, NHL teams are allowed to have no more than 50 players under contract at any point in time. Should the Flyers stash Pronger on LTIR, like they did with Mike Rathje, to avoid taking a hit to their salary cap, they still have to maintain a contract slot for Pronger which can make some of their manuvering with prospects a little dicey.

However, because Kovalchuk's contract is not an over 35 deal, he could retire and the Devils wouldn't suffer any consequences.

Posted by: CapsNut | July 21, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

So, if the Devils try to argue they can circumvent because Chicago is circumventing, when in fact the CBA says you can't circumvent, where does that put the Devils?

With a citation for going 80 in a 65.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 21, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

The problem is that there are big differences. For one, there is good reason for the cop not to pull every single person over who is going over the speed limit. It's going to be selective when they do stop people.

The NHL could easily be consistent and stop every contract like this, but they haven't. It seems like they didn't want to deal with it before, and decided to ignore it since the deals weren't horrendous. But now they feel like they have to do something because of the ridiculousness of the contract. They can certainly choose to do it, but it's going to leave a very bad taste in the mouths of fans, players, agents and teams. It's not a very smart move.

Posted by: TheDoubleAlex | July 21, 2010 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Michael Handzus is only 33 and has already played 12 years in the league, made his national team a bunch of times and played in two Olympics. He was a prolific scorer but changed his game to become a terrific defensive forward. Handzus is a very good hockey player.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 21, 2010 12:15 PM

You obviously have a high opinion of the guy, and thats great. But "prolific"?

pro·lif·ic   /prəˈlɪfɪk/ Show Spelled[pruh-lif-ik] Show IPA
–adjective
1. producing offspring, young, fruit, etc., abundantly; highly fruitful: a prolific pear tree.
2. producing in large quantities or with great frequency; highly productive

...and there have never been a ton of Slovaks in the NHL, and thus at the highest level. So him making his national team consistently, while highly commendable, isnt a tremendous accomplishment.

Would you feel better if I said he was...one heck of a slovakian hockey player?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Iginla would be another guy I'd imagine fits your profile; even though he can snipe he plays like a grinder. Crosby got all the credit for the GWG in the gold-medal game, but as soon as Iginla followed the puck into the corner I had a very bad feeling in my stomach. He just overpowered probably Team USA's two best defenders to make the key play - Rafalski, who simply couldn't handle him, and then Suter, who came over to help - after which you know who got free. Ugh.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 21, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton...you are becoming a CHEAP date lol. I do not see a problem with a team giving a long term contract to any player as long as the cap hit is based on salary for any particular year, not averaging.

Posted by: nimrodrsp | July 21, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Iginla is just old. Like many great power forwards before him, he just doesn't have as much to give at his age anymore. He'll still give you 20-30 goals sure, but he isn't the bull he was earlier in his career.

Love Dustin Brown.

Handzus > Demitra.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 21, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

uh oh, you just mentioned Dustin Brown. Somewhere out there RichPhil gets a chubby.

But DB is a serious example of a guy whose contributions far exceed his personal stats. He's a talented and slightly bigger version of Matt Cooke. And a real throwback old-school player that would have fit in perfectly to those 80s/90s teams. When you look at the Kings turnaround, they added a real identity with guys like DB, Simmonds, Greene, Johnson, Kopitar, Doughty, and Stoll. That is a physical talented core that is one of the best balanced out there and it doesn't even include Colton Teubert who is another big nasty mobile dman in the system. The Caps core could use a similar balance. Next yr for the Kings is critical to take the next step. They really need to get past the 2nd round.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Phil

Would you take him at $4M per for your 2C?

He signed a 4yr deal in 2007, perhaps we can snag him?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

.you are becoming a CHEAP date lol. I do not see a problem with a team giving a long term contract to any player as long as the cap hit is based on salary for any particular year, not averaging.

Posted by: nimrodrsp | July 21, 2010 12:32 PM |

Horrible suggestion, in my opinion. What about the salaries already signed? You don't think GMs are going to go up in arms everywhere if there structured contracts suddenly turned their salary cap situation upside down?

Just limit the # of years. Contracts can only go to 38 or something like that. Then 1-2 year deals until they retire, should they still be useful.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 21, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Slovakia made it to the semis of the Olympics, one of the best hockey assemblages of hockey talent ever produced. They've produced a number of great hockey players - Hossa, Gaborik, Demitra, Chara, to name a few - along with a certain goalie with whom I believe we're all familiar.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 21, 2010 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Handzus > Demitra.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 21, 2010 12:33 PM


Holy Cow, career vs. career!?!

You have made your position clear sir, and I have no further comment.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Would you take him at $4M per for your 2C?

He signed a 4yr deal in 2007, perhaps we can snag him?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 12:36 PM |

Worth a shot. @ 33, he may not have what it takes to play 2C anymore though. I watch a lot of Kings hockey, and him and Stoll generally share 2C duty, but neither are truly offensively prolific enough for 2C duty. Although, on a team with much better offensive wingers like ours, a two-way 3rd line center with offensive upside like Handzus may very well be good enough for 2C. But then I start to see shades of Belanger, ya know?

I'd actually rather have Stoll than Handzus, but I would take either centers on for sure.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 21, 2010 12:39 PM | Report abuse

The Kovalchuk contract was such a blatant attempt at cap circumvention as to be laughable. The league HAD to reject it or else lose much of its credibility on the salary cap issue. What would be next, a 25 years contract? 50 years? A thousand dollars down, a thousand dollars a day for the life of the player? The NHL lost an entire year so that it could rebuild its business model on the basis of the salary cap, and this contract would put the survivability of that system in danger.

Some here have argued that the Kovalchuk contract was “legal” and improper for the league to void it. I disagree on both points. No contract can cover absolutely every possible contingency that may present itself over the life of the agreement. However, one can look to the “spirit” of the deal to see right away that this player contract was not legal. The NHL collective bargaining agreement (CBA) goes to great pains to outline and prohibit salary cap circumvention in many forms. An entire section, Article 26, is devoted to the subject, including the league’s rights and duties as to handling potential circumvention cases and appeals of the league’s decision. Section 26.15 provides some (not all-inclusive) examples of circumvention, including: (e) A Club and a Player, during the Player's active career, agree that upon the Player's retirement, he will receive a sum of money for services to be provided to the Club after retirement; and (f) A Club or Club Actor pays a Player or Player Actor for a "no-show" job, or for a job in which the payment to the Player or Player Actor clearly exceeds the fair market value of the services rendered.

I’ll be curious to see if the Devils or the NHLPA appeals the league’s decision and takes the case to an arbitrator. Not only could the arbitrator establish an unwanted precedent, but the CBA allows for the imposition of fines and other penalties against any party found guilty of willingly circumventing the salary cap provisions. I believe the best solution would be for the NHL and NHLPA to resolve this issue in the next CBA. Other sports leagues have limits to contract lengths and so should the NHL. The question is, considering the bitter state of affairs between the two, will either of them be willing to give up any concessions in order to reach an agreement on this point. The league wants to limit or even eliminate salary arbitration for RFAs; perhaps the player’s association can fend off any changes to salary arbitration by agreeing to limit the length of players’ contracts.

Posted by: braunt | July 21, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

They've produced a number of great hockey players - Hossa, Gaborik, Demitra, Chara, to name a few - along with a certain goalie with whom I believe we're all familiar.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 21, 2010 12:36 PM |
!!!

How dare you forget the #1 Slovakian player ever...

BONZAI !

Posted by: richmondphil | July 21, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

One other problem with these kinds of long term deals is that it makes players such as Kovalchuk virtually untradeable under the current CBA regime. Who would want to take on Kovalchuk’s contract say 8-10 years from now, when he is in the twilight of his career, but potentially the missing link to another Cup contending team? Trades are good for teams, the NHL, and fans, as they generate excitement and interest, but the current CBA has inadvertently limited trades due to its inflexibility. I’ve watched many a discussion between hockey talking heads on this issue and the need for the NHL to increase flexibility in the CBA so that GMs can wheel and deal. Contracts such as this one take the league in the opposite direction. Perhaps if the CBA allowed for some cap exceptions, such as what the NBA allows, or if GMs could barter with each other for cap space, then the problem with contract term length wouldn’t be an issue.

Posted by: braunt | July 21, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

This case is also not the first time that the Devils have danced close to the line with respect to the salary cap. Recall that in 2005 the Devils got away with moving Alexander Mogilny’s and Vladimir Malakhov’s off of the books, even though they were both over-35 year old contracts and should have counted against the team’s cap limit no matter what their circumstances. The Malahkov case was especially egregious. Malakhov claimed he had retired, which meant his salary would have counted against the Devil’s salary cap, while the Devils’ GM Lou Lamiorello claimed the player had failed to report, thus in abeyance of his contract and suspended by the team, meaning his salary did not count against the cap. It may be time for NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to have a “come-to-Jesus” meeting with the GMs (or at least Lamiorello).

Posted by: braunt | July 21, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Oh I wasn't saying to acquire Iginla, I realize he's on the downslope; more was just pointing to him as a guy who, even though he's goal-scorer, makes his linemates better in ways you might not immediately notice [Cam Neely definitely fits that bill as well]. It's striking to look at Huselius' stats for example, playing with and without Iginla.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 21, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Sign Handzus to a 15 year contract. How much per year, 750k ?

Posted by: larryn703 | July 21, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

@wtf_fehr

So Demitra has scored more points than Handzus, so what? Are you trying to compare a bottom-2 line center with a top 6 winger? Because I am certainly not, I am merely pointing out my personal opinion on the two players.

Posted by: richmondphil | July 21, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Slovakia made it to the semis of the Olympics, one of the best hockey assemblages of hockey talent ever produced. They've produced a number of great hockey players - Hossa, Gaborik, Demitra, Chara, to name a few - along with a certain goalie with whom I believe we're all familiar.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 21, 2010 12:36 PM

Yup, one of my favority hockey players of all time happens to be Slovakian. Perhaps you have heard of him, Peter Bondra? Also a big fan of Zednik.

My point was there have not been a ton of Slovakian NHL'ers. So a very high percentage of the ones that play in the NHL, represent them in world events, which makes sense.

Since the 1958–59 season, 66 Slovak forwards and defencemen have played at least one game in the NHL.

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

DoubleAlex: The CBA has a whole section called "Circumvention" and says the league can void any contract. Specifically there are rights then to challenge the voiding and go before an arbitration judge. The judge can then sustain the rejection, order that the league drop its objection, or even modify the contract so that it would then fit within the CBA. The league actually has little to lose in this.

The problem is that this really is a gray area. How does the league know that Hossa won't play until 42 and that his diminishing skills won't make his contract appropriate? As I said earlier, a league investigation hasn't been concluded there. Kovy contract though was so blatant. It's like if your wife says to be home by 11:00 and you come home 11:30 three straight weeks on poker night and then one night you crawl in at 3:00 am. You just can't argue that by allowing 11:30 she must allow 3:00.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 21, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

so can you commit to making this statement then just so we can nail down your position on this topic.

I, SGM, am qualified to judge any hockey player and any hockey line by using NOTHING MORE THAN STATISTICS.

Because that is exactly what you're saying.

Posted by: cstanton1 |
---------
hockey is about stats, but also effort, desire, lockerroom chemistry, attitude, defensive awareness.

example: given similar cap hits, I would take a player such as Gomez on my team before I would take Jokinen because of his lockerroom issues and non-playoff success...

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 21, 2010 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Interesting to see the love for Handzus.

Who knew?

What started as a discussion about a group of linemates from 1999-2000 being impressive enough to warrant a nickname has developed into a disscusion about one of them possibly centering our 2nd line at $4m per.


Any love for Ľuboš out there?

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

Yes, the NHL can void any contract and like you said, the void can be challenged and then it goes to arbitration.

In this instance, it looks like the NHL is going to argue the contract argues the spirit of the rule. That is a weak legal argument when the other side argues with contractual language(CBA) and precdent(Hossa contract, etc.). If the current contract complies with both then it will be extremely difficult to show the contract violates the "spirit" of the rule.

The NHL's best hope is that there is some clause in the CBA that the Kovy contract is violating somehow(maybe how quickly contract value drops or anything) or they have a record of Kovy and the Devils agreeing that Kovy will retire at a certain age before his contract expires.

Otherwise, it looks as though the NHL has a very weak case.(unless there is more information out there that we are not privy to)

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

I've mentioned Handzus multiple times over the past 6-8 months as a possible trade target...

What's with the attitude?

Posted by: richmondphil | July 21, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

I barely remember Lubos so no love here. And Handzus's style of play has changed over the yrs. He's not a bull anymore.

Re: Stoll. He had been available for 2 yrs on the market and the Caps were never once mentioned as a team who showed any interest. Very disappointing imo. Stoll offered an attractive package of size, defensive play, and some skill along with his age. He would've been our 2nd/3rd line center and really nailed that position down for us. Its not often a center like that becomes available and why we showed no interest was befuddling. Center has been arguably our #1 need for several years now and esp a certain type of center.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

@RichC3:
How would the just-voided contract hamstring the Devils for years?
6 mil cap hit for a player routinely in the 40-50 goal range!
I'm pretty sure that's a helluva bargin...

@tominsocal1:
leave cstanton alone. I'm 37 and know exactly how he (and his liver) feels... and to be fair, it depends on the % of alcohol in the beer you are drinking. For example: I'm 'there' after two Molson XXX (7.2%) and need 3-4 Corona's to do the trick... growing old has it's advantages but my liver has clearly missed the memo!
Now where's my red stapler?

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 21, 2010 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Speculation that Lou knew the deal would be rejected:

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/423081-did-lamoriello-know-the-kovalchuk-contract-would-be-rejected

And the quote below is a bit odd in that Lou, while defending the ability to offer such a contract, also agrees these types of contracts shouldn't exist, and also lets the world know that it was ownership (and not himself) who wanted to do the deal.

"There is nothing that we have done wrong," he said Tuesday. "This is within the rules. This is in the CBA. There are precedents that have been set. But I would agree we shouldn't have these. I'm also saying that because it's legal and this is something that ownership felt comfortable doing for the right reasons."

Posted by: YouAreABigWhiner | July 21, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

as a sidenote, can you imagine any local hockey writer putting out a column like this with respect to the detail provided?

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dcsportsbog/2010/07/what_daniel_snyders_learned_a.html

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

While I think Gomez might become available, wouldn't he have a huge cap hit? But I think Plekanec supplants him as the #1C, now that the contract's done. Gomez looks tremendous, but the end-result isn't often the greatest [lots of passes miss the mark, and lots of giveaways to boot for a 1C]. He is strong-like-bull for his size and his teammates do seem to like him though; in a hypothetical btw him and Savard, I'd go with SG, much quicker and stronger, although not quite the playmaker.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 21, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

agreed - i'd take SG (provided he gets a clean bill of health) over Gomez because he provides more intangibles. Gomez is still largely a finesse center and he tends to fade in some tough situations. Savard is fiestier and seems to relish tough competition. More a guy you'd want to go to war with in a series.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Assuming the Devils still end up signing Kovalchuk...

Most likely best-case scenario: They circumvent the cap to a lesser extent a la the Hossa deal. $2-3 million cap savings.

Worst-case scenario: They go to arbitration and win and get that massive chunk of additional cap space. $5-6 million or whatever it is.

While it's good news that the league stepped up, there are still a number of teams across the league that have utilized these sham contracts with their key players. The Caps are not one of those teams so they are at a disadvantage.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 21, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

@ Tom-

What I'm saying is this isn't a very good way for the league to go about this. Since they've already let some other contracts slide, they should take a different tactic with this. Do I think it's a good thing this contract won't be held up? Definitely. Do I think this reflects poorly on the NHL? Definitely.

It's over now, but I just hope this forces them to finally make the rules about this aspect of contracts crystal clear.

Also, regarding the Hossa deal, it's an insult to say that it's still under investigation. If they find that it's not acceptable, are they going to take the SC away from the Hawks? I don't think so. At this point, the contract already did its job, so deeming it unacceptable is too little, too late.

Posted by: TheDoubleAlex | July 21, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

@TheDoubleAlex

Is it over?

Has it been stated that NJ won't take this to arbitration?

And does it really comfort you as a Caps fan if instead of $5 million in cap space savings, the Devils structure a new contact that gives them $3 million in cap savings?

That is still a considerable advantage for them over us and a lot of other teams.

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 21, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

The thing I noticed (hope I didn't miss this skimming the comments) is that the last 5 years are only $550k which is league minimum NOW. So do the Devils, the league or the NHLPA really believe that in 13 years when that segment starts that league minimum pay will still be that amount? If not, then the contract would be invalid just from that perspective. And the union has to be careful with their response as they could box themselves in a corner if they support this and then try to get things higher when they try to negotiate a new contract.

Posted by: Varly | July 21, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

just found this interview with ex-nhl rugged defensive dman Jay Wells. Very enlightening stuff esp his comments on powerplays. Also offers a nice insider view on how minor league teams were run back in the day esp when a farm team was split up between two nhl squads

http://www.insidesocal.com/kings/2008/06/catching-up-withjay-wells.html

Question: You sure didn't take any nights off in 1985-86, which turns out to be the high water mark for you in terms of statistics. Any particular reason why that season was so good for you?

Wells: If you broke it down statistically, every year I would score a goal or two and that would be it. That year I scored 11 goals. For those first few years I never played on the power play and I remember our power play was struggling quite a lot and I remember walking in and it was Pat Quinn, Mike Murphy and Brad Selwood. Like I said, the power play was struggling, but they kept putting out the same lines, whether it was the Marcel Dionne line or the Bernie Nicholls line, but it just wasn't working. So I walked in after a game one time and I said very calm and cool, "I don't understand you guys, what you are doing here. Power plays can make or break games and teams and ours is floundering terribly yet you keep putting the same guys on the ice every single time." So Pat is sitting there and says, "So Jay, what do you suggest we do?' So I say, "Put me on." And literally, I had three guys laughing hysterically in the coaches' room (laughs). I said, "I don't understand what you are laughing about." I was starting to get a little hot under the collar. So I said, "The reason why you should put me out there is you just have guys who know they are going to go back out there, they are just waiting for things to kind of come. Put me out there with Garry Galley, Jimmy Fox, Tiger Williams, me and I don't remember the center, but we will have a very simple power play. Just give us a chance and if nothing else, we'll make the Marcel Dionne line hungrier and they will play better." So the next day in practice we worked on it very simple, two passes and we shot the puck, Tiger stood in front and caused trouble and Foxy picked up scrap and sure enough we go into Hartford and the first power play comes up, they put us on and wouldn't you know it, I scored a goal. We come off high-fiving, my first goal of the season. Then we went into Philadelphia and they put us out there on the first power play and sure enough I scored again. That was the same game that Dave Brown took me on and I ended up getting kicked out in the second period. But that was the start of my points. Power play was everything and I scored 10 goals on the power play and I got lots of assists. That's why there was such a big jump in the stats. That was a year that changed some coaches' outlook on me. If I could keep it simple I could work the power play, but if I tried to get fancy I wound up back on the bench

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

@Varly

I can't see why anybody in the entire league other than Kovalchuk and maybe his teammates would support it.

If I understand this escrow concept, these loophole contracts cause players throughout the league to lose pay during the frontloaded years if the league sustains losses during those years, as has been the case recently.

In other words, there is little reason to see why the NHLPA would support that contract.

Furthermore, if the Devils choose to take this to arbitration, does the NHLPA even play a role? Or is it simply up to the arbitrator at that point?

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 21, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes you can invent a somewhat-plausible story to cover what you did.

"Sorry, Mr. IRS, but I really THOUGHT I could deduct all my business suits." (No, you can't.)

OTOH, the Kovy contract is blatantly absurd. Why would a team keep a guy for FIVE YEARS after he dropped to the bottom of the barrel. OK, maybe one year at the bottom and then conclude the contract at age 41 (a 13-yr deal for 101.5 = 7.8 cap hit) is at least SOMEWHAT within the realm of plausibility. You could at least roll your eyes on that one. But, c'mon, the CBA says you can't circumvent, and if this isn't circumventing, what is your definition?

We're all familiar in life with getting away with things to some small extent and having it overlooked and then you push the envelope until someone says, "That's it. You've crossed the line."

The NHL has a leg to stand on. They can show examples that no great player ever dropped down to a bum and kept playing for five years at min salary. Chris Chelios? Almost, but not quite.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 21, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm greatly amused by the people who say that the NHL is locked in by the Hossa and Pronger "precedents." As if the NHL was even slightly consistent in its enforcement activities. For anyone who believes in that consistency, I have 2 words for you - Colin and Campbell.

BTW, just repeating "it's legal" 17 times doesn't make it so regarding the Kovalchuk contract. Give us some analysis, like Tom has done, and some reason to believe you have the ability to make a judgment about what is legal. The person who yells the loudest doesn't automtically win an argument.

Posted by: zmega | July 21, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

My point in bringing up precedent is that the league put itself in a potentially weaker position. I hope that the rejection of Kovy's deal holds up and makes other GMs and Owners rethink the circumventing.

Posted by: _Mark | July 21, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

When lawyers get involved, strange things happen and lawyers get money.

Posted by: _Mark | July 21, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Here is what I think the NHL's case is. There is a part of the CBA that does say they can void a contract that goes against the spirt of the CBA so they have the legal right to do that they did. Here is how they can show this is different then the other contracts.

1. It is longer then any the other contract. Ovechkin and Dipietro were the only two within 4 years of the length and they were 22 (Ovechkin) and 24 (Dipietro) when they signed the deals not 27 and both of them were even amounts or backloaded.

2. No player has ever signed a mulit-year contract that took them to age 44.

3. None of the other contract have had so many years at or around the league min.

4. He has the biggest difference of any player between his highest paid year and his Cap hit (Kovy=$5.5 million, Hossa=$2.625, Pronger=$2.68, Zetterberg=$1.67, and Franzen=$1.55). The only contract that was even close to Kovy's difference was the one for Luongo which was $4.67 but he only has one year at the highest $10 then the next highest is $6.7 million which is only a $1.4 million difference.

The league warned the teams that this were pushing things last year when they reviewed those contracts and the Kovy deal just went way beyond all of those other deals that were questionable. Here is a great analogy I saw while reading comments on other sites. The other teams were like someone doing 5-10 over the speed limit. Most of the time the cops won't do anything and if they do it is a warning to slow down. NJ was somone doing 20+ over. Cops are going to pull that person over and they are lucky if they only get a speeding ticket and not reckless driving. Yes the Kovy deal was similar to other deals in the fact that it was front loaded but they took it to such an extreme the NHL had to do something before teams had more players "under contract" who were retired then still playing.

Posted by: icehammer97 | July 21, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Are there any updates on how NJ plans to handle the rejection?

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 21, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

FYI for those wondering about what Flash will get in arbitration, the arbitrator awarded Clarke MacArhur of the Thrashers $2.4M, 16 G, 19 A and a -16 last season. The Thrashers smartly walked away and my guess is Flash will get around $3M maybe even slightly higher and the Caps will be walking away.

Posted by: ThePat | July 21, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

True, people get away with things all the time as you pointed out in your speeding example and coming in later.

However, the crucial difference in this case is that it does not appear the Kovy deal violated any statutory rule.

In the speeding example, a rule was set that you cannot drive over 65 mph or you will be ticketed. True, cops will often let you slide anywhere between 1-10 mph over the limit. However, if a cop gave you a ticket for driving 70 mph you would be punished because you are violating the statute. The same can said true of you coming home late because you are violating the rule of "don't come back after 11:00 pm" if you come back at 3:00 am.

Statutory language always takes precedence. However, in this case the Kovy contract is not clearly violating any statutory provisions (the CBA) as we know. If a type of contract provision is not explicitly listed as a violation of the CBA then it is given the benefit of the doubt that it is considered a valid contractual provision which puts the burden of proof on the side challenging that the contract violates the CBA.

The next step would be to look at prior rulings on the most similar occassions. This would be the NHL's allowance of such contracts such as Hossa, etc. While not absolutely the same they do give a view of how the NHL ruled on similar provisions. These would weight heavily in favor of Kovy's camp, but it is not clear cut since there is 100% equivalent situation that occurred.

Then the NHL has to argue the spirit of the rule. The weight of the evidence here would have to be quite convincing to overcome the above. The NHL will argue that the amount of year at the minimum, the difference between the 5 highest paid years and the 5 lowest paid years is much greater than previous, and point out the shapr decline in salary at around year 11.

The NHLPA will argue that this complied with all the stautory language and is valid since the similar type contracts were all valid. They will say that there is nothing written stating that 2 or 3 years of minimum is okay but 5 is not. That the NHL is now arbitrarily choosing guidelines 5 years after the CBA has taken effect and how this is a violation of the contract the NHL and the NHLPA entered into(the CBA).

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

It's all in section 50.7 here:
www.nhl.com/cba/2005-CBA.pdf

It's page 237 of 472 pages in that file..

Basically, the contract can't do the following:
1) From year to year, can't increase more than the minimum of the first 2 years of the contract. So for this contract, the only time it goes up is from Year 2 to 3...$6M to $11.5. Not a violation.

2) From year to year, can't decrease more than 50% of the first 2 years of the contract. So that 50% figure is $3M. So the closest any 2 years come to doing that is when it goes from $3.5M to $750K. But again, not a violation.

So pretty much, that's how NJ got around the loophole...they danced around the CBA and made it their b!tch...sigh...I really hope the NHL finds some other ground to nail them on this, but not sure it'll happen.

Posted by: miguelmora76 | July 21, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Devils wont protets the ruling: http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/

Posted by: ThePat | July 21, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

ThePat: I have been saying 2.75-3.0 for Flash for a long time.

tmac: You bring up a good point on how Kovy deal affects others. Let me bore some of you with the math. If league revenue is $2.8B and players share 54% that makes players pool $1.5B. If the salaries add to exactly $1.5B, each player is paid 100% of his contract. Now let's suppose would have been $1.5B in actual salaries but shenanigans (Hossa, Pronger, Kovy if allowed, Nylander $3M, Huet assume in monirs, Ralston too) and you could add say $30-45M in salary (which is based on payments, not cap hit) and that means players could be 2-3% over and each player, then, gets a corresponding reduction in his salary for the year.

A 2% reduction for Ovechkin this year would be $180K.

So, how do you suppose Ovechkin feels about players being paid more than cap hit and about teams burying in minors so they can pay more salary?

In the end, the players get a percentage. The contract they sign is a target. The less all the other players sign for, the more Ovechkin gets in the end. It's easy to see how he would vote on this.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 21, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I've mentioned Handzus multiple times over the past 6-8 months as a possible trade target...

What's with the attitude?

Posted by: richmondphil | July 21, 2010 1:02 PM

Phil, you perceive from a false assumption. I have no attitude.

And if you say you've had a chubby for Handzus for 6-8 months, I believe you. I just dont remember.

That said, I do not see him as the player that you do. Thats my story and I'm stickin' to it!

Posted by: wtf_e_fehr | July 21, 2010 3:10 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal

I know you have said that on Flash. I was just really surprised MacArthur got awarded $2.4M. Seems really steep for him. Thankfully Fehr signed and didnt go to arbitration or he would probably get around $2.8. I wouldnt be surprised if Flash gets awarded $3.25 a season based on the MacArthur ruling.

Posted by: ThePat | July 21, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Are there any updates on how NJ plans to handle the rejection?

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 21, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

ESPN's rumor mill said there is talk they might not appeal.

@ miguelmora76

I think what you just talked about, the fact that the contract can't fall more then 50% of the amount of the first two years is the exact reason why the NHL has a really good case here. All of the other front loaded contracts had the highest $ years at the very front. This one had two years of lower $ then many of a very high salery. This is done so they could avoid breaking and of the already stated rules but would still clearly be trying to get around the rules. It is one thing to front load a contract and follow the current rules to get some advantage like the other teams did. However what NJ did was middle load the deal so they could get the lower cap hit of a front loaded deal without breaking the rules currently set up in order to prevent teams for gaining too big of an advantage. This issue is this contract is middle loaded but everyone is lumping it in with all of the other long contracts that tail off and are calling it front loading.

Posted by: icehammer97 | July 21, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

sgm: I'm going to disagree with you by using the "reasonable man" argument.

No reasonable person, with NHL knowledge, as an arbitration judge would be, could see the Kovy deal as anything but circumvention.

An arbitration judge isn't the same as a legal judge and we aren't dealing with statuatory laws here. It's a CBA, and since the players get a percentage, the Kovy ruling yes or no doesn't affect how much the NHLPA gets in the end. The only disaffected person is Kovy. And, he can get his money, the Devils just have to take a bigger cap hit to give him that money...unless they are circumventing...which gets them into the catch-22 that will kill them in the end.

ThePat just posted that the Devils won't contest. Which is what I predicted.

Yours, nostrathomas

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 21, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

there's something really wrong if a player like Flash is worth 3 bills.

There has to be some other factoring involved here..

I had him officially at one game this past season where he provided what I'd consider a complete effort. That is, hustle, grit, skill, defensive awareness. That was a game against the Penguins towards the latter part of the season. The rest of the time he floated around like a very pretty butterfly. The comparison in effort from that one strong game he played to the other games is night and day. There's a lot of room for improvement in Flash's game. He doesn't have the mental tenacity to get there, to push himself that hard. I'd have been happy if he displayed that effort in 15 games. Then at least you say he's making a concerted effort to add those elements to his game. But 1 out of 70 games for a complete effort ain't cuttin it.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

the NHLPA can still contest it though I believe.

Posted by: ThePat | July 21, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Are there any updates on how NJ plans to handle the rejection?

Posted by: tmac2yao | July 21, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

lots of alkyhol

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

Phil, you perceive from a false assumption. I have no attitude.
------------------
i second this. I didn't see any attitude from whattheF in that recent discourse. RPhil was being a tad hypersensitive. Trust me I know how that goes.
And anyway, wtf_fehr usually reserves the attitude for me, lol

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

A great explanation of how the escrow system works and how front loaded contracts given to star players can actually take money out of other players' pockets:

http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=3266#more-3266

In light of this, it will be interesting to see how the NHLPA handles the Kovy situation. A good portion of the membership would probably rather see this deal continue to be invalidated, though they may agree in principle with fighting against the decision that Bettman and Co. have made.

Posted by: YouAreABigWhiner | July 21, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

The NHLPA and Kovy can both still protest if they choose. It would likely be the NHLPA who would conduct the protest.

The CBA, in conflicts such as this, is treated like statutory rules that govern the contracts/actions occurring within. Laws and court cases over the past 100 years haven given rise to this. (I don't really feel like researching the actual precedent, but it is true).

An arbitrator has state rules he has to follow also(governed by the state, but I am sure the CBA has listed under which laws these arbitrations are held under).

An arbitrator cannot just ignore the law.

However, the CBA can list whatever rules and guidelines the arbitrator needs to follow that are not set by the state(which is a lot). That is why the CBA is considered "the law" in these type of conflicts.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton
you saw Flash play in person at all 69 games in which he played?

Posted by: boomer44 | July 21, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

For those of you who think it is absolutely clear that the Kovalchuk deal is permitted under the CBA, I refer you to section 26.3 http://www.nhl.com/cba/2005-CBA.pdf . That provision broadly prohibits any agreements that defeat the intent of the parties to the CBA. Add to that even Lou L. publicly admitting that the Kovalchuk deal is bad for hockey. It's not hard for me to imagine the league's position being upheld.

Posted by: zmega | July 21, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

@boomer44

cstantons point is Flash is not worth a $2.2M contract much less a $3M he will be awarded most likely. The Caps should actively be shopping him right now after the award to MacArthur.

Posted by: ThePat | July 21, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

@Timbo -- going back to the earlier concept of "heavy lifting"

http://www.prohockeyfights.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=230&highlight=&sid=2806782baa6ca60f219151029bf5c3d6

Some really great info imo. Mentions Tocchet's relationship with Mike Keenan and gives a solid profile on him that extends way past his gambling stain that most newcomers to hockey associate him with.

"I love guys who know they're going to get hit hard and they know they're going to get hurt, but they'll make that pass to you for an open net," says Tocchet. "The guy who scores the goal gets the glory, but the guy who gets hammered doesn't get the credit. Those are the types of guys you win Stanley Cups with, and you win Canada Cups with. That's team chemistry. I'm just one of many guys filling that role."

""He does a lot of the intangibles, a lot of the little things that don't end up on the scoresheet," Steve Larmer says. "He's constantly holding forechecking up, taking the body, making the little plays out at the blue lines and setting picks for other players. Those things are just as important as scoring goals."

As he demonstrated in the round-robin game against Team USA, Tocchet's also willing to take one for the team. He wound up with a fresh set of stitches across the bridge of his nose when American Mike Modano clipped him with his stick as Tocchet moved in to unload a bodycheck. The normal response by Tocchet would have been to slug Modano, but he demonstrated the kind of restraint Team Canada head coach Mike Keenan has been preaching.

"It was hard (to hold back), but I don't have anything to prove by punching Mike Modano in the head," Tocchet says. "We won the game. And I was the happiest guy in the world just winning the game." "

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

For those of you waiting on Kovalchuk even if the NHLPA does file a grievance, which I believe it will. Then the league and NHLPA have to agree on an arbitator. Them coming to an agreement on one in situations like this hasnt happened in 5 plus years. So odds are NHLPA files grievance, Devils and Kovalchuk rework deal and its still slightly shady but not as bad and then the league can do nothing about it.

Posted by: ThePat | July 21, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

@zmega

That clause has very little teeth to it. That is just general contract language thrown into many contracts.

The key is the language of the CBA, and nothing prohibits it. If this cotract defeated the "intent" of the CBA it would say so. There is nothing in the CBA that says it intends to void these contracts. The CBA is a written contract. You must go by the language in it first and foremost.

Nothing in the language of the CBA makes it invalid, therefore it gains the presumption of validity.

This is from an ESPN article by Burnside:

"A source familiar with NHL contracts and the CBA told ESPN.com that he can't see how the NHL can win its case -- that the deal circumvents the collective-bargaining agreement -- if it went to court. What's to stop a team from signing a player to a contract that takes him into his 40s, the source said. There is no language in the CBA to prohibit that, the source pointed out."

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton
you saw Flash play in person at all 69 games in which he played?

Posted by: boomer44 | July 21, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I saw him play but not in person. I wouldn't be caught dead paying good money to see the current version of the team play. Sorry. In the past you can kinda predict the 'highly entertaining' games from the other ones. But its not that easy anymore. I want to see 18 (at least 16) skaters going hard, finishing checks, getting into some scrums without killing the flow of the game, some good ole fashioned hatred on the part of both teams. The Caps don't really have that personality so just watching them win a game in person isn't enough for me to make the effort. I also travel a lot. Once in a while I'll catch them in other cities for lack of something better to do. But as a whole, they bore the livin daylights outta me. I thought the Rangers series last yr and about 4 games in the Philly series resembled the kind of hockey I'd find acceptable to watch in person. But if the point of the question was whether or not I could see Flash's overall game that may not be clearly depicted on a television screen, I feel fairly confident that from what I could see that it gave me a very accurate portrayal of his game. Flash isn't exactly the type of guy who does a lot of action far away from the puck. He's not finishing checks out of the camera's view or getting in anyone's face or aggressively taking a forward on the backcheck. For the most part his actions occur in view. And the one game v the Pens, he played a very solid game. Everything he did in that game was out of character for him.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat

I agree with that because of the length of time of the process and the animosity it creates. It is likely the Devils will agree to alter the contract slightly so the NHL gets the appearance of winning while Kovy loses little to no money and the Devils cap hit goes up only slightly.

It wouldn't suprise me to see the Devils push up the values of the finals years from the $550k minimum to about $1M. That would increase the cap hit by about $0.23 and woulnd't cost Kovy any money.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

we need a guy like this in the worst way. Someone who gives young players confidence to play their game and add some other elements. Tocchet came into the league with a meager 8 fights under his belt in juniors and finished his nhl career with 225. Add to that 950 pts and 3000 PIMs

"Darius Kasparaitis, the young Lithuanian whose physical politics tortured the Penguins in the Islanders series, found some of his first complete English sentences coming out in tribute to Tocchet.

''Yeah, I like Tocchet,'' Kasparaitis said. ''I like that guy. A tough guy. I saw some tapes of him in good fights. Now, he plays hockey. Scores goals. Passes puck. Everything. Before, in Philly, a tough guy. Sometimes, I touch him up, because I know he's a tough guy.''

Tocchet has seen the tapes, too. Has his own collection. Tocchet vs. Wendel Clark. Tocchet vs. Gord Kluzak. The classic Tocchet vs. George McPhee.

''Yeah, I watch 'em,'' Tocchet says, ''but it's not like I get off on them or anything. You have to change with the times. Now that some of the rules have changed and fighting started to be legislated out of the game, everybody's a lot braver I've noticed.''

Thus the evolution continues, and it is only perfect for the renewed mission of the Penguins under Eddie Johnston.

Of all the wondrous talent Johnston inherited by succeeding Scotty Bowman, he is particularly thankful for that of No. 22.

''He's the kind of player you hated to have play against you,'' Johnston said. ''He's the first guy on and the last guy off the ice. He's terrific for our younger kids; he really corrals them. He's such a presence.''

Tocchet came into this game, the truth be known, without a lot of the skills that would translate into a long career. But by his intelligence and diligence, he sculpted a highly unsophisticated game into a certain status as a kind of prototype in the game's still fluid physical protocol.

''Rick Tocchet is what I call a warrior,'' said Bowman, whose compliments are unearthed as rare jewels. ''He really brings a lot to a team because he really believes in team play. He's tough on himself and he's tough on the team. As a coach, if you had even one guy like him on your team, you'd have a heckuva chance to do your job well.'' "

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

The Devils won’t appeal the league’s decision – it doesn’t make sense for them to do so as they are direct business partners of the NHL. The league is actually looking out for New Jersey’s interests. As long as the league uses this ruling as the basis for judging similar contracts and stays consistent in its rulings (alas, not their strong forte), I don’t believe the Devils will object.

Kovalchuk won’t appeal because it would drag out an already elongated and uncertain free agent period for him. This ruling may bring the LA Kings back to the table, so he’ll likely still have enough leverage to negotiate a favorable contract. As the summer goes on and teams begin to fill their rosters, Kovy’s leverage will fade, so he will want to close a deal sooner rather than later, which precludes an appeal.

The question thus becomes: What will the NHLPA do? The union could push the issue with the hope of winning and gaining some favorable advantage over the owners in preparation for negotiations on the next CBA. However, the NHLPA is in disarray and rudderless. I’m not sure they have the leadership on board to make such a decision. As outlined above, they might be hurting one of their own if they prolong the process. At best, they would need Kovalchuk’s concurrence in order to file an appeal, but I don’t think they’ll even get that far.

Posted by: braunt | July 21, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

Re: Pronger contract

Pronger's deal was ruled an "over 35" contract by the NHL in the days following the Flyers announcement of the signing.

http://www.broadstreethockey.com/2009/7/8/941881/daly-pronger-contract-an-over-35

So, his cap hit will remain even if he retires, thus taking it outta the realm of the Hossa and Kovalchuk deals.

Posted by: YouAreABigWhiner | July 21, 2010 4:08 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton
it is a shame you don't watch more games live, our preferred type of hockey is very similar, but I have to say that this current version of the team is the most exciting Caps team I have seen, and I have seen close to 1,000 Caps regular season & playoff games live! I know you are only 38 but come on aboard and enjoy the ride.

Posted by: boomer44 | July 21, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

@YouAreABigWhiner

I think the Flyers can and still appeal that ruling, but will wait until Pronger retires to do so (if they don't need to by then, then they won't). I'm not sure how that would play out.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

On the Pronger contract...over 35 contracts you face the cap hit for the entirity. But do you still owe the player money if he retires? Or does the cap hit just go against the team and no money owed?

Posted by: ThePat | July 21, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Under the CBA, the Devils have no RIGHT to appeal, nor does the player. The only party who can appeal the League's rejection of the contract and go to an arbitrator is the NHLPA. Apparently they are studying the contract, interviewing all involved parties and will then make their decision, which must occur within 5 days of the League's action.

Moreover, this is an ideal way for the League to mess with the NHLPA which is still in turmoil and does not have a permanent executive director after last year's Paul Kelly fiasco. I believe this is clearly the League's first shot across the bow in preparation for the negotiation of the next CBA.

Posted by: Thisistheyear | July 21, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

sgm - You seem to be focusing on contract language that supports your position and minimizing the significance of anything else. That's fine for an advocate, not so good if you are trying to do a fair analysis. The circumvention provison is not just boilerplate. It is general language, but it has meaning. If you think a contract that, if it were to become a precedent, would essentially eliminate the salary cap structure and restore the big market/small market split is consistent with the intent of the CBA, then I guess there is nothing I can say to convince you.

Posted by: zmega | July 21, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

@zmega

What you said makes no sense. These contracts do not violate the salary cap structure as decided by the CBA. It is the CBA that says the yearly cap hit is averaged throughout the length of the contract. That does not occur in other sports (in the NFL, signing bonuses are spread out but not yearly salaries).

I do not like these contracts and believe that the NHL needs to get rid of them. But it is quite clear that the Kovy contract(barring the release of information we are not privy to) does not violate the current CBA.

But the point is to do a legal analysis to soee if the contract is valid under the current CBA. To do so, it is contract law that the language of the contract takes precedence. Everything else is secondary. That is the law. What is "fair" is not the law when two sides freely enter into a contract.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Some of you are talking about what the NHLPA might do. The Kovy contract is good for Kovy alone and to the detriment of enarly every other player. The players get a percentage of revenue which doesn't change with or without Kovy contract. As I've explained, all the other players actually get a bigger percentage (a tiny bit bigger) if Kovy were to say sign with KHL and all other things equal.

Only 5 days for them to decide. They really should've had an advanced plan for what to do in this circumstance. As it is, they will need to have a big meeting and get all 30 team reps on board which means team reps polling all the players (most of whom are on vacation all over the world).

Then, also, if an appeal, NJ would be hamstrung until a decision. What to do with Ralston? Kovy has to be squirming, since Lou L can back out, and Lou must be squirming, since Kovy can bolt.

At least there's a short fuse.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 21, 2010 5:37 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

Kovy can also appeal himself.

But if the appeal process goes all the way through it will be a long process. That's why I think it is likely that either Kovy or the NHLPA files an appeal(I'm not sure if they need to vote on this or if the appointed leaders are given the power to act on it themselves) the Devils and the NHL will reach an agreement where the Devils alter the agreement slightly with a slightly larger cap hit(same money for Kovy) and the NHL gets to walk away saying it showed its teeth.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Why would the NHLPA file an appeal when all of its members except Kovy lose money on this contract?

Posted by: zmega | July 21, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

@zmega

You have to look at this in a long term view. By protecting the contractual rights of one of the union's members the NHLPA is protecting the rights of all of its members. If the contract is defended and remians valid then it will allow other players to sign such deals.

In addition, it gives the NHLPA an extra bargainning chip during future CBA negotiations because the owners will want to get rid of it and will need to give something up to get it rescinded. If the NHLPA didn't defend Kovy it would lose that bargainning chip and in turn that weakens the NHLPA.

A union is considered weak if it allows the other side to make new rules along the way. No union does this without getting something in return.

In terms of escrow, I'm not sure if the player's salary is never received, I think it is just delayed as it sits in escrow.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

On the Pronger contract...over 35 contracts you face the cap hit for the entirity. But do you still owe the player money if he retires? Or does the cap hit just go against the team and no money owed?

Posted by: ThePat | July 21, 2010 4:20 PM

A team only owes money to a player if he actively plays in the NHL in a given season or is on Long Term Injured Reserve. So, once a player retires, the team's contractually mandated financial obligation ends. However, the cap hit remains until the end date of the contract regardless of whether the player has voluntarily retired.

Though the Flyers will still be on the hook for the cap hit if Pronger retires prior to the contract's expiration, a more likely scenario would be the team buying out the remaining years which would result in a much lower burden against the cap due to the lower annual salary in the later years of the deal.

Posted by: YouAreABigWhiner | July 21, 2010 6:04 PM | Report abuse

If the contract is not illegal YET, if the loophole has not been closed YET, then the contract should stand. We all know that this deal is shady, but being "shady" is irrelevant if legal. Ilya and the Devils should fight this, if it is in fact not illegal (I haven't had a chance to read the bylaws). If Gordie Howe could play when he was 52, Kovalchuk can play when he is 44, and the NHL cannot prove otherwise right now. If this deal gets rejected I would LOVE to see Ilya playing at 44. I can only imagine the kind of sheepish response the NHL will provide then (though hopefully Bettman is gone by then, and someone dedicated to marketing, not changing, but marketing this great game will be at the helm).

Posted by: mcgratsp | July 21, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

"A source familiar with NHL contracts and the CBA told ESPN.com that he can't see how the NHL could win its case -- that the deal circumvents the collective bargaining agreement -- if it went to court. What's to stop a team from signing a player to a contract that takes him into his 40s, the source said. There is no language in the CBA to prohibit that, the source pointed out.

It's believed the NHL Players' Association will file a grievance over the league's rejection of the Kovalchuk deal. It has five business days from Wednesday to do so. If the union does grieve, an arbitrator will decide whether the league was within its rights to scuttle the deal."

why don't they just come up with the max contracts like they have in the NBA?? Also WTF does the "spirit" of the law or the agreement have to do with anything? it's either legal or illegal. it's their fault that they couldn't foresee that some people might actually get creative and take advantage of any gray area... imagine that!

Posted by: joek443 | July 21, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse

@joek443

exactly

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

sgm: CBA sect 11.6, page 42 (it won't cut and paste) says NHLPA can appeal (no mention of player or team) and says then an arbitrator has 48 hrs to hear case and decide. So, max time frame, by next Thursday night it's said and done, one way or the other.

If Kovy wants to appeal, he must do so under NHLPA. Devils I think as an organization have no right to appeal from what I can read.

Could Kovy sue under NJ labor law? No clue, but doubt it, since it's collective bargained.

joek443: As some have pointed out, it's impossible in any jurisdiction to cover absolutely all potential loopholes that can be created. The CBA bylaw (it's around page 40 of CBA) clearly states any contract which shows intent to circumvent can be voided. That might be gray, but in this case the grayness could help the NHL. Any contract that shows intent to circumvent. This has nothing to do with Kovy playing until 44. If any person in the Devils organization with material decision making power on this contract even THOUGHT (did not even have to say out loud) that Kovy would retire and thus avoid hit the last few seasons, then that is intent (although good luck proving it). But, in this case, the comments from Lou L ("these contracts are bad for the league...ask ownership...") almost FORCE the league to charge them with circumventing.

The Devils are violating the spirit and the letter and admitted it in so many words. What should the league do?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 21, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

JoeK, the reason it is not as black and white as sgm would have you believe is because the CBA includes an entire Article on "circumvention," 9 pages of text. The language of that Article is somewhat general, but it is part of the contract. You don't include that much language in a contract unless you anticipate that people will try to game the system. "Circumvention" goes to the intent of the parties. So this is an actual part of the CBA text, not some made-up concept. In real life (or at least legal disputes), things are rarely black and white.

Posted by: zmega | July 21, 2010 6:33 PM | Report abuse

Also WTF does the "spirit" of the law or the agreement have to do with anything? it's either legal or illegal. it's their fault that they couldn't foresee that some people might actually get creative and take advantage of any gray area... imagine that!

Posted by: joek443 | July 21, 2010 6:05 PM | Report abuse


I think that the original idea with the whole "spirt" thing was a way for the NHL to void contracts that tried to find loopholes. The problem is they needed to start voiding these contracts years ago when they first started instead of now. The start of last season they warned all of the teams that they needed to be very carefull when making these deals and NJ went out and made one even more crazy then any of the ones before that. The NHL is fighting this to send a message. The tried a warning and that didn't work. So now they are moving to the next option. Now the NHL really has nothing to lose here. If they lose the appeal then it is just like they let the contract be plus whoever it is that appeals is going to have to pay for whoever argues for their side. But if they win or the NJ, the NHLPA, ect don't appeal then they have all but stopped these contracts which is what they clearly want to do.

Posted by: icehammer97 | July 21, 2010 6:34 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

I think you're judgments on what is considered "intent" is too low. It would take more than 1 person "thinking" it would happen. It would have to be some sort of agreement between the player and team to end the contract before it finished. Unless the Devils and/or Kovy were ridiculously sloppy, that is almost impossible to prove.

Yes, Lou said the contracts were bad, but he then followed that with the statement that they were legal under the current CBA.

The contracts NFL teams hand out to rookies and the guaranteed money they give them are conisdered "bad" contracts but they are legal under their CBA.

@tominsocal1

The vague portion of the CBA you point to leaves it very difficult to win on as the NHL has the burden of proof to prove the contract is invalid. Therefore, the 50/50's will go in favor of Kovy.

Also, I don't think the NHLPA and NHL have agreed on an abritrator for 5 years and the length of time it will take before they agree on that is what will delay the process. Because each will appeal the others suggestions and it is no one side that is delaying the arbitration, but both as each side refuses to use the other's chosen arbitrator.

If you disagree with me, read all the websites that have other people with legal backgrounds who are commenting on the subject. It has been unanimous that they all agree the NHL has about no shot of winning this case if it goes through.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 6:56 PM | Report abuse

I've looked at various sites and it is not unanimous or close to that. Are you just referring to one ESPN article?

Posted by: zmega | July 21, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

sgm: Nobody thought OJ would get off either.

All the NHL needs is one quote, somewhere, from Kovy, snickering and saying no way would he play till he's 44 on that contract. The CBA has specific language that if the player knows he's circumventing, then it's an illegal contract.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 21, 2010 7:10 PM | Report abuse

@zmega

si.com
sportingnews are a few. I clicked on a few others but have yet to see one side state they think the NHL will win.

Look, you can believe whatever you want. All I'm saying is you are giving boilerplate contract language more weight than it has. The main reason language like that is in there is so that it gives the NHL the ability to void any contract and take it to arbitration. During this process they then have a little leverage to work out a deal between themselves and the opposing party.

The chances of winning on such language,especially when opposed to the clear contract language not barring such contracts (which would have been easy to bar as the NFL and NBA each have limiations on the legnth of contracts and even the NHL has restrictions on 35+ contracts. That means the NHL considered ways to restrict contracts and chose NOT to make these restrictions).

In addition, the allowance of similar deals over the past 5 years also weighs heavily against the NHL. So even if the NHL had an ability fight these contracts with the language you stated, the fact that they consistently let similar deals go unchallenged would make those types of contracts valid. The analogy is of a tenant who is supposed to pay their rent by the 5th of every month, but for 10 consecutive months they pay on the 10th without any opposition from the leasor. Then if on the 11th month the tenant waits to pay until the 10th to pay, the leassor CANNOT evict or fine the tenant for the late pay. The UCC says that this term then becomes part of the contract. A person has to enforce their side and the repeated failure to do so changes the contract.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

True, if evidence like you mentioned came about then that would change everything. However, Lou and Kovy's agent are smart guys and know what their doing regarding the CBA. I would be very surprised if they were that sloppy. But it does happen.

OJ went to a jury, anything can happen when a case goes to a jury because most jurors do not know the law and do not know how to apply it. If this case was held in front of a jury I would actually give them a shot of winning(still a small one though).

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 7:23 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

Moving on from the Kovy talk. I missed this earlier, and it may have been talked about, but did you see that Clarke MacArthur won a $2.4M arbitration award? For a 16 goal 19 assist season in 81 games.

What do you think Flash will get now? Does it change your estimate?

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 7:32 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton
it is a shame you don't watch more games live, our preferred type of hockey is very similar, but I have to say that this current version of the team is the most exciting Caps team I have seen, and I have seen close to 1,000 Caps regular season & playoff games live! I know you are only 38 but come on aboard and enjoy the ride.

Posted by: boomer44 | July 21, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

thanks boomer but i'll pass for now. I have a pretty good sense of the team and there are some aspects I enjoy (for ex watching them turn on the offensive pressure as easy as opening up a faucet after they've slacked off for half the game and need to make up some ground). But they have predictable lulls and they're largely a finesse team with very few exceptions. Not my kinda hockey but I don't begrudge anyone else who enjoys how they play. We like what we like. Although I suspect some initial newcomers to the game may change their opinions after they get more educated about the game and more experience watching it and esp watching how some other teams play. If you watch other teams enough you'll get a sense of the increased urgency with which they play. I like that tension in a game.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 21, 2010 7:50 PM | Report abuse

sgm, we've beaten this to death, so I will let it drop. I did not find a single example of an actual attorney stating for attribution anything like what you have been claiming. A lot of sports bloggers have expressed their opinions, a few people saying their friends uncle is an attorney and he says ..., but nothing with an attorney putting his name on the line. No competent attorney would make the kind of absolute statements that you have presented, at least not for the record. A competent attorney might express an opinion one way or the other (and I think there are arguments on each side), but never the kind of absolute statements that you have been making. And BTW, to refer to the 9 page Article in the CBA as "boilerplate" is just ridiculous. Show me somewhere else where the same language is used (that's what "boilerplate" means).

Posted by: zmega | July 21, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse

@zmega

That is boilerplate language. If you learn how to write a contract you will learn what boilerplate language is. It is a general clause, that is similarly used in many contracts. Yes, there are changes that go with the type of contract, but it is still basically the same thing.

Second, of course no attorney is putting his name on the line, but saying that the NHL has almost no shot at winning is not putting your name on the line. It is stating a strong opinion based on the facts. Almost no shot is not no shot. So there is no statement of certainty.

If this ends up going to an arbitrator, which side would you wager on to win?

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 8:29 PM | Report abuse

The quote from ESPN, while not clearly stating it is an attorney, sure sounds like an attorney since it is a source familiar with NHL contract and the CBA. Both areas where attorneys would be used.

"A source familiar with NHL contracts and the CBA told ESPN.com that he can't see how the NHL could win its case -- that the deal circumvents the collective bargaining agreement -- if it went to court. What's to stop a team from signing a player to a contract that takes him into his 40s, the source said. There is no language in the CBA to prohibit that, the source pointed out."

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

From Burnside:

"Over the past year, GMs regularly told ESPN.com that while the league might not have liked the way these kinds of contracts came together, there was absolutely nothing in the CBA to stop them from doing it"

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

Here's what Lamirello said about the contract. Remember that Lamirello helped write the CBA from the OWNERSHIP side.

(I asked Lamoriello what he would think if someone brought up Kovalchuk's contract in the next round of CBA negotiations (in two years) and pointed to it as a flaw.

"I might agree," he said. "But there is nothing that we have done wrong. This is within the rules. This is in the CBA. There are precedents that have been set. But I would agree we shouldn't have these. But I'm also saying that because it's legal and this is something that ownership felt comfortable doing for the right reasons.")

http://www.sportingnews.com/blog/The_Grinder/entry/view/72217/kovalchuk_saga_not_over_yet

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/michael_farber/07/21/devils.kovalchuk/index.html

http://www.thephoenixpub.com/2010/07/21/sports-law-101-the-nhl-cba-and-ilya-kovalchuk/

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 8:47 PM | Report abuse

sgm: I'm still thinking between 2.75-3.0 for an arbitration award for Flash. $9-10M if he signs for three years.

BTW, you are forgetting that Kovy's agent tried like heck to get a contract from the Kings. Maybe comments he made to the Kings were relayed to the NHL. Maybe the Kings refused to go along with the shenanigans. If Grossman made a wink and nod, "Don't wory, he'll retire rather than play for half a million," then we have the evidence to null and void.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 21, 2010 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Interesting things from the ESPN rumor page.

"if the NHL wins...

1. The contract is "null and void."

2. Then the CBA says (as per CapGeek.com), "Commissioner may impose a team fine of up to $5m but no less than $1m; forfeit of draft picks; and suspend a club employee, player or agent."

3. Again from CapGeek, "In order to retain status as a certified agent ... each agent shall annually certify he has not violated CBA Article 26 (no circumvention)." Kovalchuk's agent is Jay Grossman of PuckAgency. Grossman represents several NHL players including Anton Volchenkov, Nikolai Khabibulin and Pekka Rinne.

4. In addition, the Devils would have to negotiate a new deal with Kovalchuk, and they won't be able to artificially lower his cap hit so it might be tough to give him the money he wants. There are some people joking about the Los Angeles Kings and the KHL's SKA St. Petersburg getting back in on this -- and, in a cruel way, it is funny -- but it's always a possibility, albeit an unlikely one."

If (and I know it is a big if) the NHL does win and then suspended a member of NJ or fined them or took away draft picks do you think another team would try a contract like this? Also look at the part about suspending an agent. If that does happen does anyone think that even if a team is willing to try another one that an agent will risk his own rear if the NHL goes after them? I highly doubt it. This is the NHL trying to stop this while these contracts are still small jokes instead of giant 25 year slaps in the face.

Posted by: icehammer97 | July 21, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

icehammer: Nobody but me has ever posted, to my knowledge, that the key to the "evidence" that the NHL might need could, indeed, come from the Kings.

Grossman came out here three times I think and tried to cement a deal. The Kings I felt were Kovy's first choice, if a contract could be hammered out. You had to figure Grossman gave the Kings (if you recall, the Kings withdrew, and then re-engaged when Kovy's camp made a proposal to them) the same numbers, or close to it, that he eventually agreed to in New Jersey. I am thinking Lombardi (Kings GM?) just wouldn't do it. Surely, even with all the young Kings due for new pacts, a player of Kovy's value at a sorely needed position of LW with LA would easily pass muster at a cap hit of $6M annually.

And, yet, LA failed to secure him, even though it was, apparently, his first choice.

So, what does this tell a person with a Sherlock Holmesian desire to ferret out the truth?

Grossman gave LA the "pitch"; Lombardi said, "I won't play that game"; Grossman went back to NJ; Lou L didn't want to play but the owner did; Devils sign Kovy; Kings call league offices and tell Bettman, "This might not mean anything, but we just want to pass along the details of the negotiations between Grossman and ourselves."

BTW, I read the CBA and I didn't see all those penalties you mentioned about $5M and draft picks and agent decertification, etc. Still, the league is flexing its muscle and you can bet NONE of the other teams will comment. No one will comment. Not till it's over.

"And it was predicted in the eleventh year of the third millenium an enigmatic warrior from the East would leave the burned out town of the Southeast and spurn all suitors for a suburb of the great city of the new continent...only to find it all unravel. And the greatest loser would be the gross man."

--nostrathomas

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 21, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1. I honestly have no idea where it says any of that stuff I was just posting someing that was on the ESPN insider since I know many here don't have it and might be interested. I personally have only skimmed the CBA and I have seen the part about the agents and club personel so I assume it is in there somewhere. NJ may be worried about having thier GM or other people suspended so that could be why they aren't fighting this too strong and maybe Grossman and Kovy don't push it if Grossman is worried about losing his certification and losing his current clients. If he feels he can get around the same amount from LA or some other team there is no reason to risk losing so much from his side unless Kovy really REALLY wants to play in NJ but if that was the case he would have signed weeks ago.

Posted by: icehammer97 | July 21, 2010 11:19 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

That would be interesting if LA had info of that sort and then used it against the Devils and Kovy. However, there could be ramifications for the Kings if that happened. Other GMs and other ther player agents could get very angry at the Kings organization and their release of the negotiations to be used against other teams. There seems to be some sort of code amongst GMs that often keep them from making RFA offers very often and it wouldn't surprise me if there is one of those here too.

But the effect it could have on the Kings organization and their future negotiations could be big. I'm not sure but I think Grossman belongs to a pretty big agency with other sports agents. This could effect the Kings relationship with them and all other agents who would be leery of saying anything.

I do have to believe that Grossman watched what he had down on a written or voice recorded record. Unless he was sloppy nothing would have been in those except for general terms such as the contract terms.

However, people do mess up. That would make the story much more interesting if something like that happened. It would turn into a huge soap opera.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 21, 2010 11:26 PM | Report abuse

On Kovy's choice. Several people here, including Tom in SO Cal, were speculating that his first choice was LA.

While I'm not sure of that, Ovi himself had actually expected Kovy to go with the Kings but believes the Devils are a good choice of team for him as he has a chance of winning with them. (Ovy giving interview to Sport Express, Russia)


Posted by: CapsFan75 | July 21, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

CapsFan75: It wasn't that I "speculated" that Kovy was expected to land in LA.

His landing, you see, was written into the ice chips at the bottom of my Bombay Sapphire and lemonade.

Earlier this evening mrstominsocal1 was on the front (upstairs) porch reading questions from the California driver's test all of us must pass. She was reading to our two daughters currently (of the three) who are here. I stood below them in the driveway and started announcing the answers before she finished the questions.

Naturally they were shocked with my powers. I explained it that I could read mrstominsocal's mind as always.

I didn't tell them I went online and checked the questions the other day.

He-he.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 12:12 AM | Report abuse

circumventing the cap imo.
no team has given a player a contract where the 'up front' years are at a value that is less than what the player is worth - (or would sign for at that length) of $6m for the first two years. the first two years of this deal allow for the 'final' years of the contract. this, to me, is a clear attempt to circumvent. it is very well thought out and conforms to the 'letter' of the CBA - but no other contracts are structured this way (middle loaded) - again they looked for a way to get around a larger cap hit.

Posted by: Capt_Kirk_in_AZ | July 22, 2010 2:49 AM | Report abuse

Capt: In your case, this is like if Star Fleet gave you a deal where you got two years as captain, eight years as admiral and then five years swabbing the deck.

I mean, would you accept such a deal? And what would Mr. Spock say?

"Captain, the contract offer being proposed is illogical."

Kirk: "No, $h!+, Sherlock."

Spock: "I know no one named Sherlock, sir."

Kirk: "For God's sake, you green-blooded automotom, can you let it go?"

"What...sir...should I "let go?"

Kirk: "Arrrrrggggghhhhhh!"

Spock: "Should I order Yeoman Rand to come by your quarters for the evening?"

Kirk: "What...ah...Yeoman Rand?"

"Yes, sir. Yeoman Rand."

Kirk: "Sure, Spock, send her around. Beats getting clipped with a high stick."

Spock: "Yes, sir, I would imagine."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 3:29 AM | Report abuse

Kirk: "Captain's log, Star Date 072210.1. We are now in orbit around planet Ilya. Long range sensors tell us that this planet costs more than it's worth. Meanwhile, Star Fleet's orders are to establish relations with the inhabitants without violating the Prime Directive."

Uhura: "Captain, we're getting hailed by a...Mister Grossman."
"On screen, Lieutenant."
(A slimy creature appears on viewscreen.)
"Enterprise, come in, Enterprise."
Kirk: "This is the Enterprise. Identify yourself."
Slimy Creature: "This is Jay Grossman from the year 2010."
Kirk: "You mean the character who negotiated the Kovalchuk contract?"
SC: "Yes, that's me."
Ensign Chekov: "Ilya Kovalchuk. He was great hockey player."
Kirk: "Agent Grossman, what are you doing in the 23rd century?"
Grossman: "It's a long story, Captain."
Kirk: "Indulge me."
Spock: "Permit me, Captain." (Taps keys on pad. Picture of Kovy appears on main bridge viewscreen.) "In July, 2010, Ilya Kovalchuk signed a 17-year contract with the New Jersey Devils for employment in the National Hockey League."
Chekov: "Did you say Devils? Russians are better than Devils anyday."
Spock: "The commissioner of the NHL, Gary Bettman (snickers in background), then voided the contract."
(On viewscreen, image of Kovy crying.)
Kirk: "Spock, dammit, don't keep us in suspense! What happened!?"
Spock: "The NHL, Captain, ordered that Jay Grossman endure the cap hit for the length of time of all of Dale Hunter's penalty minutes multiplied by the curve on Tim Hunter's nose."
Kirk: (pounding arm of captain's chair) "For the love of God, Spock, that's...inhumane."
Spock: "Yes, sir."
Kirk: "What if, Spock, what if humanity had never advanced beyond that point?"
Spock: (arching eyebrow) "It's possible that humanity might never had reached for the stars."
(Kirk lowers his head)
Uhura: "Captain, if I might remind you, Mister Grossman is still holding."
Kirk: "Sulu, do you have a lock on Jay Grossman?"
Sulu: "Yes, sir, we do."
Kirk: "Fire photon torpedoes, Lieutenant. We don't need him in this century anymore than they needed him in the other one."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 3:58 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

I have seen other contracts where there are seasons with lower than average first few seasons so the ownership does not have to pay substantially in the first few years. It's a payment delay tactic.

However, this could be a case where the Kovy receives $6M/yr (his cap hit) in the first two years of his contract so it does not effect the escrow and therefore will not be taking away money from other players. Then it increases after the current CBA expires, when who knows what the escrow deals will be then.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 8:02 AM | Report abuse

Off topic, but still in the spirit of doing illegal things- anybody else going to this tonight at the State Theatre in Falls Church?

http://notquitegnr.com/

Posted by: Fro_ | July 22, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

(off the subject for a minute)WE MISS YOU CAPT'N PHIL!!!!! A True Leader,an american icon with a heart the size of texas.YOU WILL BE MISSED! every pro athlete could take a page out of his book.'Its not about the money,its ALL about the love of the sport'.If some of the caps played with half the heart he had,they would never lose! GO PHIL,GO CAPS!!!

Posted by: gratefuldid | July 22, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Thrashers walk away from MacArthur arbitration award: http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=328110

Atlanta has upcoming arbitration hearings for several other players, which may have factored into their decision to pass on MacArthur. However, it begs the question of how this ruling and Atlanta's subsequent reaction to it will play into the Fleischmann negotiations.

I think the MacArthur case cuts both ways. The Caps may be looking at paying Flash more than they had expected. On the other hand, Flash's best bet would be to stay with the Caps, as he's likely to get the most money from them. I don't believe he would get a better deal from another team if the Caps walk away from an exhorbitant arbitration award.

My hope is that the MacArthur case will cause the two sides to sign a contract or cut a trade deal prior to the arbitration hearing. Barring a pre-hearing settlement, I wish Flash success with his new team.

Posted by: braunt | July 22, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

makes sense they walked away. He doesn't fit their direction and they probably want to save money to sign Ladd and Eager. At least Ladd. They now have enough depth at the Eager position that they could potentially walk away from that too but they spoke highly enough of Eager after the trade that I think they'll accept the arbitration award

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I know I only usually pop on to make up some faux rumor about a trade or something, but I gotta rant today.

After watching the silliness, most recently by the Devils, we should be BLESSED with the GM we have. Stripping down the whole operation, rebuilding based on a sound plan, not just with the number one overall pick, but with astute drafting of quality skill players at all levels of the draft, not getting suckered in to the free agent frenzy every off season (after learning his lesson with Jagr), not overpaying for rental players, knowing that this team is built for the long haul. It's just refreshing, especially in this town, to have management that sticks to their guns and wants to build a team that other players want to play for. Like Frolov.

Posted by: Leeguru | July 22, 2010 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Well said Lee.

Frolov is an interesting one, if the cost for Flash looks too high walk away and sign Frolov? He plays better in both zones than Flash & maybe all of the Caps Russians would give him a comfort level.

Posted by: Steve_R | July 22, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Craig Ramsay briefly touched on a concept that is never really discussed but something I've always believed in. Aggressive teams find a way to kill off aggressive penalties. It prolly occurs because they subconsciously work harder to kill off these types of penalties so they don't have to change their style and be less aggressive. I don't have "stats" to prove this but its something I noticed early (about 5 yrs into watching hockey). The real aggressive teams don't worry about taking aggressive penalties and only on rare occasions does it really come back to bite you [There was a playoff game involving the Bs (Jay Miller) and another one involving the Blues/Kings (when Courtnall got attacked}]. Physical teams don't get overly concerned when their players take aggressive penalties because they don't want to hamstring their style of play. Its an organizational philosophy that differs from team to team. They don't bench players for doing that and eventually even the refs seem to allow them to play their style more. They're judged on different standards than teams who have a reputation for not playing that way. Another reason I think some Caps fans wonder about the double standard.

So when fans caution about taking "stupid" penalties and they're referring to things like roughings, elbowings, xcheckings, boardings etc, there's a little more involved under the surface. A team that has a vested interest won't usually get burned on the PK when they're killing off certain types of calls.

Flyers coach Craig Ramsay felt it necessary to hold a special talk before practice about aggressiveness and competitiveness, a talk that sparked a much edgier workout than usually is seen at the Flyers' practice facility.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Tocchet got into a jousting match with defenseman Dan McGillis, another Flyer who competes hard. This was exactly the sort of thing Ramsay had in mind.

"We had some discussion before practice with some of the players. I thought they responded with a very spirited workout, a hard workout," Ramsay said. "That's the kind of thing we hope does carry over into the game."

Tocchet has seemed to chafe a bit at times under Ramsay's emphasis on discipline. Ramsay said yesterday that when he inveighs against penalties - something any coach might do when saddled with the NHL's worst-ranked penalty kill - he is talking about lazy hooks and holds, not the aggressive penalties Tocchet tends to take.

"There are penalties that players find a way to kill" because they were taken in the just pursuit of aggressive play, Ramsay said. "Guys like Rick Tocchet, generally those are the kinds of penalties they take. . .The only penalties I don't like are the lazy penalties. He's not a guy that takes lazy penalties."

In fact, Ramsay has not aspired to have the league's least-penalized team, and he would just as soon see a bit more snarl.

"I would like to be a little more aggressive, I think we can be more aggressive, we can be more physical,"

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

You mean "Flash in the Pan", Steve? (BTW, they don't call him The Guru for nothin' ...)

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 22, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

OMG, a Boo siting!

Lee, I agree wholeheartedly with you. Your genius is on full display.

Posted by: CTCapsPhan | July 22, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

Is it genius or more of an idiot savant thing?

Posted by: Steve_R | July 22, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Kinda like how the rain man kicked a@@ at blackjack.

Posted by: Steve_R | July 22, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

"knowing that this team is built for the long haul. It's just refreshing, especially in this town, to have management that sticks to their guns and wants to build a team that other players want to play for"

some assumptions in there... You say we're built for the long haul. I guess if you mean this team will always have a certain level of quality skill players I probably wouldn't disagree with that. That's clearly McPhee's emphasis. But it takes more than that to be a real Cup contender.

You imply that they have some courage/vision because 'they stick to their guns' and refrain from acquiring name players to big contracts. I think in high profile hockey towns where there is more media/fan pressure, that could be true. But in DC, the plan McPhee has stuck to doesn't take a whole lot of courage. Even the Redskins in a high profile football town aren't pressured to chase high money FAs by the fans and media. That's self-inflicted. McPhee has gone the safe route as others have pointed out. And he's been able to acquire enough skill thru the draft that despite having less than impressive trade/FA acquisitions (generally speaking), the Caps have managed to field competitive reg season teams. So he's offset his FA approach with elements of his drafting.

As to the assumption that this is now a hotbed of hockey mania that other nhl players pitching tents to play for, I don't see much evidence of that. If I was a largely one-dimensional offensive hockey player who wasn't garnering too much outside interest, the Caps would be a perfect destination. I wouldn't have to sacrifice my body, I could play a perimeter game as long as I chipped in some points, and I would get to amp up my offensive stats for personal gain. For certain players this would absolutely be a dream destination. But I don't know if those are the types of players I'd want to attract. Knuble being the exception. To attract other types we'd probably have to lure them with richer contracts. And even with Knuble, we gave a 36 yr old player 5.6 mil for 2 seasons. Not exactly a discounted amount. Good signing though and I don't want to nitpick GM for that. But its not like given his age, he was an incredible bargain and took less $$ to play here. And even if McPhee decided his team needed quality aggressive players, how many of those types would really want to play here unless we overpaid them? They won't be able to play their style of hockey because they'd stick out like a sore thumb on this team and end up being a target for fans. Even Brashear who was our resident tough guy didn't put this team shorthanded very often. Most of his PIMs were coincidentals aside from the Hnidy incident which got blown way out of proportion by his own coach and the fans.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

It says in the LA Times here that Kings offered 15 yrs/$80M and used Selanne contract actual at age 38 and Yzerman final contract of $1.25M at age 40 so as not to make the contract ridiculous. Obviously the Devils offering $95M for the first ten years was a much better deal, and you wonder why NJ would pay so much more than the next suitor. Unless the Islanders really did offer the 10 yrs/$100M and Grossman just used that to work the market.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

cstanton,

Now is the time when it could get interesting with the choices that GMGM makes. How many more early flame outs is Ted going to tolerate? Is it Bruce or GMGM that will bear the brunt of Ted's wrath? If George guesses the latter, he's going to be very active at the dead line.

Posted by: Steve_R | July 22, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Ian Pulver is an attorney and has been recognized on several occasions by The Hockey News as one of the People of Power and Influence in the National Hockey League including being ranked
in the top 25 three years in a row.

This is what he recently tweeted:

pulversports: On Kovalchuk. Do NHL lawyers have a "smoking gun"??? NHL must have evidence to show circumvention to have any chance.

@zmega: Thoughts?

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

cstanton,

Now is the time when it could get interesting with the choices that GMGM makes. How many more early flame outs is Ted going to tolerate? Is it Bruce or GMGM that will bear the brunt of Ted's wrath? If George guesses the latter, he's going to be very active at the dead line
--------------------------------

2 yrs ago they make the playoffs, probably expected to beat the Flyers based on the fact the Flyers were considered a fading franchise that yr (derian hatcher was referred to as nothing but a pylon in every posting and the Flyers were considered to be a decade away from having a good team again). So when our highly skilled but inexperienced team got beat by a "lesser" team I was waiting for a lesson learned via offseason acquisitions but didn't see any (i.e. improving the PK, etc). And it didn't help that we lost Matt Cooke and kept Fedorov around after he clearly looked gassed in the middle of the Flyer series. He was on the clear downswing and couldn't be counted upon to keep up a playoff-style pace.

The following yr McPhee stands pat at the deadline. We get past the Rangers which I thought was a very good (unexpected) step forward and Kozlov and a few others really stepped up their games combined with some awful coaching on the part of Torts.

Losing to the Pens in round 2 seemed to indicate to the Caps front ofc that their biggest dearth was depth and quality at the center position. So following the Nylander debacle, they go out and sign BMo. To me that was a clearly predictable weak move. BMo is not an impact player and given his age and the fact that the NHL has gotten faster and bigger and his speed advantage wasn't so much an advantage anymore. And his style of play was not that of a power forward which is something we could have used at that 2nd line pivot. I was not a fan of the signing but it fell right in par with what McPhee thinks it takes to win at this level. I guess they had Semin and Flash penciled in between BMo ? yuck

And again, no veteran defensive help from either FA or via trades aside from the great Corvo.

So now in offseason#3 following a playoff loss, I haven't seen any signs yet of how this team is being improved aside from the ridiculous notion that Flash could be our 2nd line center. And of course, the apparent promotion of Carlson/Alzner.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Another thought why Kovalchuck Deal stinks,Even if he plays 10 yrs of the contract he could agree to be for example sent to AHL,europe,KHL and and the Devils will not take a cap hit for those 7yrs.Example Nylander

Posted by: sporttraveler | July 22, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

whoever loses out on signing Kovalchuk will probably be the real winner. At a lesser level it would be akin to the Oilers losing out on Nylander.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

This could be relevant for the pending Flash arbitration.

"An agent reminds: since Atlanta walked, MacArthur is UFA and his $2.4 million award is off the books. Cannot be used as comparable."

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

The flyers playoff series was by no means a dissapontment...the caps were BEYOND exhausted...they had to fight tooth and nail just to get in. Making the playoffs at all that season was a miracle! Remember that at thanksgiving before BB took over we were in last place.

Posted by: capscoach | July 22, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

sgm: Yes, but the same data the arbitrator used to give MacArthur 2.4 would give Flash a higher amount. MacA got 31 and 35 pts the last two years - Flash got 37 and 51. I don't see how with MacA getting 2.4 the same logic won't give Flash at least 3.0. Unless you get a different judge who looks at it with a different view.

Flash had a better season this past year than Plekanec in 08-09, after which TP got 2.75. With the MacA award, I'm thinking closer to Olesz money of 3.125 or maybe even a little more. You just can't escape the numbers. And I don't think Playoff performance (or lack thereof) has any bearing.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

The flyers playoff series was by no means a dissapontment...the caps were BEYOND exhausted...they had to fight tooth and nail just to get in. Making the playoffs at all that season was a miracle! Remember that at thanksgiving before BB took over we were in last place.
-----------------------------

oh i think it was and I grant you that the Caps were mentally and physically tired on their run to the playoffs. But that's an excuse to me. Because their effort didn't diminish as that playoff series went on. They played their strongest games in games 4, 5, and 6. Even though they lost gm 4, the work they put in in that game was critical to establishing momentum going forward. And to do it in a hostile playoff environment was a key factor they were able to come back and tie the series up after being down 3-1. Game 7 was a letdown to me. The Caps reverted back to how they played earlier in the series and didn't put in enough work. The Flyers could have been had, they weren't a great team by any stretch that yr. That game 7 should never have gone into OT. A similar effort to how they played in games 5 and 6 would have gotten them out of that 1st round.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

The flyers playoff series was by no means a dissapontment...the caps were BEYOND exhausted...they had to fight tooth and nail just to get in. Making the playoffs at all that season was a miracle! Remember that at thanksgiving before BB took over we were in last place.

Posted by: capscoach | July 22, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

the flyers had to wait till the shootout in the last game of the season to make the playoffs this year and went all the way to the Finals.

there were a more than a few people on here who said that they were lucky to even make the playoffs. they were playing a minor league goalie. following your logic, they should have been exhausted and been eliminated in the first round.

Posted by: joek443 | July 22, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

The flyers playoff series was by no means a dissapontment...the caps were BEYOND exhausted...they had to fight tooth and nail just to get in. Making the playoffs at all that season was a miracle! Remember that at thanksgiving before BB took over we were in last place.

Posted by: capscoach | July 22, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

the flyers had to wait till the shootout in the last game of the season to make the playoffs this year and went all the way to the Finals.

there were a more than a few people on here including myself who said that they were lucky to even make the playoffs. they were playing a minor league goalie down the stretch. following your logic, they should have been exhausted and been eliminated in the first round.

Posted by: joek443 | July 22, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

sgm: The "smoking gun" could easily be something from negotiations with the Kings. They offered 15 yrs/$80M and made a legitimate attempt to have the numbers at the end match real contracts (Selanne, Yzerman). Grossman probably told them not good enough, maybe suggesting other numbers. Maybe he said something, whatever, that can be used against them. Really, if Grossman suggested the 5 yrs at the end at $550K, and Lombardi said "That's bogus," and Grossman said anything to the effect, "Don't worry. He'll retire," then you have that gun.

Do you really think Grossman and Lombardi could have had three negotiations with numbers being bandied about w/o something being said?

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

The Kings would have to have that on written(or vocal) record though. Just spoken(not recorded) isn't worth much. Unless there were multiple GMs coming forward saying this was said. But, that is unlikely and is still just hearsay.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

@freeovi864,

You are right, but what are your sources?

Posted by: Leeguru | July 22, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

As a fan, it's so much easier to get over these playoff loses if you place the blame where it should be: the officiating.

Flyers - lost when a Flyers player pushed a Cap into Huet which resulted in a goal. No call.

Pens - Crosby was on the ice. Automatic penalty on Washington. We had game 3.

Habs - disallowing the Ovechkin goal.

See how easy that was?

Posted by: Skullduggery65 | July 22, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

good, i hope Ted chokes on his gyro when an arbitrator awards Flash that cash. Even the Caps know he's not worth that.

But good find on Plekanec, Tom. I just checked and even his +/- rating was 18 points lower than Flash's was for this past season. So I'd be shocked if Flash now gets less than 3 mil. NHL salaries are out of control. There's dozens of NHL players I'd take over Flash in a playoff series who make way less money.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

The Flyers were a better team than the Caps that season and had a better regular season record to show it. It was only the format that gives each division winner home ice that gave the Capitals home ice in the first round. The Caps had the 8th best record in the east that year. So yes, losing in the 1st round was the expected outcome.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

cstanton: I think we'll get our wish on Flash. The award could be as much as 3.3. Everyone will be shocked. Well, don't be.

Yes, I expect the Caps would walk from that, I sure hope. There's gotta be much better ways to spend that money.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

"So yes, losing in the 1st round was the expected outcome."

The Caps had one more win and one less point than the Flyers during the reg season and had come in on a huge winning streak. Based on this you proclaim the expected outcome was for the Caps to lose? Anyone else in their sane mind would AT WORST call those teams even. But you only you would say the Flyers were the expected winners.

Where do you dream up this stuff sgm?

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 1:55 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

The Flyers were a better team than the Caps that season and had a better regular season record to show it. It was only the format that gives each division winner home ice that gave the Capitals home ice in the first round.
Posted by: sgm3

you would think based on this flawed commentary that the Flyers finished with like 104 pts and the Caps finished with 80 pts and got the higher seed as div winner. You really do make some incredibly silly arguments sometimes. A one point differential....tsk. Its like black n white to you huh?

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

cstanton: I think we'll get our wish on Flash. The award could be as much as 3.3. Everyone will be shocked. Well, don't be.

Yes, I expect the Caps would walk from that, I sure hope. There's gotta be much better ways to spend that money.
-----------------

at that salary if we signed him, is he basically untradeable? I figure the only way to be able to dump Flash at that salary is to throw in a cheap quality young prospect and a high pick to get something tangible back in return. I'd hate to lose Flash for nothing if we walked away. He is still a tradeable asset based on his point production.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Was anything I said untrue?

Just because you take things and make unreasonable assumptions out of them does not mean that those assumptions were present in the statement I made.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Kevin Hatcher to the Hall of Fame?

Geez.

Undeserved, IMHO.

Can we have a poll on that - Did Hatcher deserve the honor?

I vote NO.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Are you really that dumb or do you just like to argue for no reason.

If there are 8 teams in a tournament, it would be expected that the team with the 4 worst records would lose to the teams with better records than them. That is why they are favored and called the FAVORITES. The team with the 8th best record out of the 8 teams is expected to lose in the first round. That team is called the UNDERDOG.

It doesn't mean the favorite will win, it just means they were FAVORED(expected) to win.

If you are unable to grasp this concept then just go back to your rantings about grit.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

sgm3,

I believe you are the one that just wants to argue or are dumb. The teams were seperated by one stinking point meaning they were most likely the 7th and 8th seeded teams in the "tournament" as you put it. That sounds pretty evenly matched to me!

Posted by: PhilR | July 22, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

smg you're a total dope sometimes. You butt your nose into a discussion and proclaim that the Caps defeat to the Flyers was the expected outcome and therefore fans shouldn't consider that loss to be a failure. Based on nothing more than a freaking ONE POINT DIFFERENTIAL in the standings.

This is typical for you. You claim to be able to evaluate players from 20 yrs ago based on statistics you look up on the internet. You made ridiculously inaccurate statements about Mike Keenan and then when proven otherwise you run away without any acknowledgment or further discussion. You're like the pencil-necked geek who lives and breathes statistics in lieu of not being able to discern anything for yourself. And then you top it off with the blanket statement that a team with a 1 point standings lead is always expected to beat their opponent. Basically implying that the team that loses deserves a free pass in this situation.

So lets ignore other general variables - head to head, strength of schedule, injury situations, trendings, matchups, home ice, etc.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Can we have a poll on that - Did Hatcher deserve the honor?

I vote NO
-------------

how bout HELLLA NO

If he'd continued to play the last half of his career the way he did the first half then I may think differently

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

Hatcher for now only to the US Hall of Fame.

Posted by: MReilly9 | July 22, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Was anything I said untrue?
-------------------------------

yes, untrue AND dumb. Probably the dumbest excuse I've ever heard provided for a team who lost in the playoffs. By your insanely superficial logic, you take a trial scenario that has nothing to do with the Caps or Flyers btw:

Team A plays in an incredibly strong div and finishes with 90 pts, wins a bunch of games down the stretch and comes in on a high streak completely healthy. And Team B plays in a horrible div, has a head to head rec of 2-4 against Team A, comes into the playoffs on a down and unhealthy note. As long as Team B has even a single point advantage in the standings you claim they should be the expected winners?

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

They had the worst record of all the eastern conference teams to make the playoffs and the 2nd worst record of all teams to make the playoffs.

Yep, clear favorites to make the 2nd round.

Mike Keenan was a good coah up until 1995. After that he became a very bad coach. I said Keenan was bad after 1995. Look at his results. My statement rings true since he was fired twice and resigned once in the 9 year span after '95.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Keenan

Oh yeah, Ponikarovsky.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Oh I've missed that warm and fuzzy feeling that I get when I read the comments on CI. Aaaahhh ... good times.

Posted by: --Boo-- | July 22, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

cstanton and others - don't waste your time arguing with smg. He (or she) will just keep coming back with an endless stream of increasingly desperate and childish arguments. He will never back off.

The phrase "often wrong but never uncertain" comes to mind.

Posted by: zmega | July 22, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

They had the worst record of all the eastern conference teams to make the playoffs and the 2nd worst record of all teams to make the playoffs.

Yep, clear favorites to make the 2nd round.
----------------------------

don't circumvent. You're now excluding the variable that their opponent was the Flyers. A team that was only one point better in the standings. You're also now introducing other variables that your previous argument excluded such as worst record, 2nd worst record blah blah blah

Your initial confident conclusion you reached was the the Flyers were the expected winner, implying that the Caps really shouldn't be disappointed because they lost to a team they really had no reason to expect to defeat.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

@zmega

Did you see this post?

Ian Pulver is an attorney and has been recognized on several occasions by The Hockey News as one of the People of Power and Influence in the National Hockey League including being ranked
in the top 25 three years in a row.

This is what he recently tweeted:

pulversports: On Kovalchuk. Do NHL lawyers have a "smoking gun"??? NHL must have evidence to show circumvention to have any chance.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 2:42 PM | Report abuse

sgm3,

Mike Keenan is 4th all time on the list for wins by NHL coaches, yeah...that is a really HORRIBLE coach right there.

The more you attack cstanton's statements the more I begin to question your hockey IQ. You really should relax with all the personal attacks because in both of these latest cases cstanton is right and you are way wrong imho.

Posted by: PhilR | July 22, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

cstanton and others - don't waste your time arguing with smg. He (or she) will just keep coming back with an endless stream of increasingly desperate and childish arguments. He will never back off.

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

I'll send him to his room without supper tonight. His mother and I have been negligent in raising him. Too many unsupervised afternoons reading up on the benefit of statistics and logic to twist anything to meet your conclusions. That and the repeated Dateline internet sessions have me worried.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

cstanton: I'm afraid McPhee will sorry on Flash that he didn't take the agent's offer of "Plekanec money" at 2.75 (which everyone here dissed).

Check out these numbers:
G G A Pts PIM
Montreal Canadiens NHL 78 26 27 53 29

That's AKostitsyn in 07-08 just before he signed 3 yrs/$9.75M. Slightly more than Flash this year numbers, except you must add 10% cap growth.

Actually, one can argue Flash has outperformed AK over last two years, based on numbers.

I rerally think the judges must be awarding based on comparables and then accounting for cap increasing. It doesn kinda make sense to include inflation.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

How in the world can you say Keenan became a really bad coach??? He's only one of the best coaches in NHL history. Sorry but you are way clueless if you really believe he became a bad coach.

Posted by: ThePat | July 22, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

Yes, the Flyers were the expected winner. Even if the favorite was 50.01% to 49.99% that still makes the Flyers the expcted winner even though it was close.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Wouldn't it be a lot more fun to expend all the negative energy over on a Flyers or Pens message board? Just sayin'...

Posted by: YouAreABigWhiner | July 22, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

I think the Caps realize Flash's award from the arbitator is going to be more than they want to pay. He will be dealt before his hearing I'd bet. You might see him and Erskine in a package for a D-men or something along those lines. Yeah Im probably wrong, but its always nice to have some sort of hope.

Posted by: ThePat | July 22, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: YouAreABigWhiner | July 22, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

I said Keenan was bad AFTER 1995. I said he was good before than.

Please, use reading comprehension people before you comment. I said:

"Mike Keenan was a good coach up until 1995. After that he became a very bad coach."

His coaching record speaks to that.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

sgm3,

Mike Keenan is 4th all time on the list for wins by NHL coaches, yeah...that is a really HORRIBLE coach right there.
------------------------------

IIRC, sgm was trying to paint Keenan as a terrible coach and basically used the "last 15 yrs" clause in his statement intentionally so he could avoid the fact that the one yr prior Keenan coached the Rags to the Cup. And of course all the previous Finals and 3rd round appearances. He was just being his usual sneaky sgm self. Reaching an untrue conclusion and then trying to narrow down the scope so he wouldn't open himself up to too much criticism. I'm wise to his game. And future inaccuracies will be dealt with swiftly and mercilessly.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

You too just need to hug.

Posted by: Steve_R | July 22, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

So now Eklund is throwing around 'a good source' tying caps to Sourey. If this were to happen then someone like Semin would have to be involved going out West. I don't read much into this other than great conversation so what could it be?

Sourey to Caps and Semin/Flash/other heading out West? Or Sourey to Cali team and something coming to Caps like big Joe?

Posted by: flee001 | July 22, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Two rather. Edit fail.

Posted by: Steve_R | July 22, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

Hatcher for now only to the US Hall of Fame.

Posted by: MReilly9 | July 22, 2010 2:22 PM

Thanks. I'm very glad it's only US HoF (I didn't read that). Maybe he deserves that, who cares. He was a bad defenseman IMO, not even as good as Mike Green. Everytime I'd be at the game and the other team scored - yep, sure enough, Hatcher was nowhere near the right post where he shoulda been.

This thing with sgm is turning into that "smear the queer" game we played as kids. No, it didn't mean what it would mean today. It was one person picks up the football and everyone piles on top till he coughs it up.

sgm: Let go of that football.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"I said Keenan was bad AFTER 1995. I said he was good before than."

He didn't present it like that. In fact, without even looking it up I'll say he's a liar. If he had presented it like that I would've been less harsh.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 2:56 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

some of the crap that comes out of your mouth is laughable. Have you ever coached anything before in your life??? I think everyone understood your comment. You know sometimes the great coaches have bad teams that they are coaching....have you ever thought of that at all?

Not everything is in the numbers.

Posted by: ThePat | July 22, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

yes let go that football.

well said Tom. I get uncomfortable when people pile on. But if anyone deserves it its ...

but anyway, lets move on. Souray huh?

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

sgm3,

Saying Keenan "became a bad coach" at any point is just a ludicrous statement, the man is 4th all time! If you really believe that then that just lowers that hockey IQ a few more notches.

And I do believe the reading comprehension of the posters on here is just fine, we just can not believe some of the submissions you have been spewing.

Another thing.....How is 50.1% vs 49.9% not a even match-up??!!

Posted by: PhilR | July 22, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Does it make sense to give up Semin at 6 so you can have Souray at 5.4?

Wouldn't we be better off to let Flash go and just give the three mill to Andy Sutton for one year so as to not to wreck the cap for 2011-12?

I know Sutton has weaknesses.

OK, let's take a poll:

Would you rather have Erskine and Flash or Sutton and Beagle or AGordon?

The money's aboutt he same. Actually, you may be able to get all three for Ersk and Flash depending on arb award.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Not everything is in the numbers.

Posted by: ThePat | July 22, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

right o

evaluating coaches and players without having much more than a numbers sheet in front of you to reconstruct the past is very naive. I said this as nicely as possible.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why Keenan became a bad coach. Maybe it was arrogance, laziness, inability to adapt his coaching style, inability to adapt to the players(and egos) of today's game or something else.

He coached 4 teams, was fired twice and resigned once(forced to resign) from '97 to '04. Of which he had a losing record in 7 of 8 seasons and did not make the playoffs once.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 3:01 PM | Report abuse

@YouAreABigWhiner

He had us getting Frolov yesterday too. He seems to like having a Caps rumor every day for some reason.

Posted by: icehammer97 | July 22, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

cstanton: There you asked about Souray as I was typing about Souray.

You watch him way more than I do, but my impression from reading here is he's on the downward side. Still has plusses, but not 5.4 million plusses. I think if they put him on re-entry waivers though, he would be worth 2.7 for two more years.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

That was a good analogy. That was a fun game to play too. We called it "kill the man with the ball"

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

On Souray a way to bring him here would be to send Flash and Erskine to Edmonton. Then we sign Frolov for 1 yr 2.5M. Move Brooks to 2C.

Ovi-Backs-Knuble
Frolov-Laich-Semin
Chimera-Steckel-Fehr
A.Gordon-B.Gordon-Bradley

Matty P as your 13th F.

Green-Schultz
Poti-Carlson
Alzner-Souray

Sloan as 7th D

and the two youngins in goal.

I think that would leave us with about $1M in salary cap space.

Posted by: ThePat | July 22, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

Tom, at 2.7 I'd say HE@@ YES! Not at 5.4 though.

Posted by: Steve_R | July 22, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

ThePat: I don't know what are the rules in CBA if a player can be traded while awaiting arbitration ruling or right afterward. I'll check....well, don't see anything.

Too bad they didn't offer just less than what the agent wanted (2.75) like 2.65. He'd be easier to trade.

I'll bet Atlanta is kicking themselves for wasting a #3 and 4 pick on MacArthur.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

@PhilR

"Saying Keenan "became a bad coach" at any point is just a ludicrous statement, the man is 4th all time! If you really believe that then that just lowers that hockey IQ a few more notches. "

So are you saying once you become good at something you will good for your remaining days? Willie Mays was one of the best baseball players ever, but he was a bad baseball player when he was on the Mets.

My guess for the decline of Keenan is that he used a hard nosed style of coaching. But when player salaries escalated a large amount in the '90s(as it did in all sports) that sort of coaching became less effective because the players' were making so much money that those type of hard nosed threats from coaches would go in one ear and out the other. Owner's, who invested so much money into player salaries, would often not allow for a coach to bench a high priced player(and the player's knew this).

True, there are a few coaches out there who still have an ability to coach in this fashion.

But the change in power with the ever escalating salaries in sports has changed the relationship between coaches and players. It is much different now than it was 25 years ago.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

ThePat: I have to say that Laich at #2C, Steckel at #3C and Gordo at #4C is weak.

Laich is a great #3W, a respectable/good #2W but not quite up to par IMO #2C. Better than some choices, though, like BMo last year.

Steckel might be a good #3C at some point in time. Right now he's a #4.

I would not touch Souray at 5.4. I'd much rather let Flash walk, at which point we have 6.7 or thereabouts with one roster spot to fill. Move Ersk and you have 8.0 with two spots open. With that money, you can get a very good #2C and a #1D (Volch was only 4.25) and Laich can play wing. Or sign Frolov and get a C and make Laich #3C (he's better there) and move Steckel and Ersk and you still have 6.6 I think for that #2C and a cheaper upgrade, like Sutton, on D.

$4M in space exists with all spots taken. Subtract Flash 2.75, Ersk 1.25, Gordo .8, Stecks 1.1 or Chimera 1.875 to add space and then backfill one player for one. How many different combos can you make?

(Not recommended for children under 6. Batteries not included.)

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

just to remove any ambiguity and to prove once and for all that sgm really is a master of deception. And then i'll drop it.

He claimed above that we had no reading comprehension because he allegedly stated that Keenan was a good coach and then 15 yrs ago became a bad coach.

Nowhere in the link posted below does SGM ever admit that Keenan was anything less than a bum. No mention of his being a good coach anywhere. If I've missed something sgm, feel free to defend yourself with a link.

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalsinsider/qa-with-alex-ovechkin-1.html


-------------------------------------------
We should hire Mike Keenan as head coach/GM. If anyone knows the value of grit it is him. Just look at all of the success he has had the past 15 years.

Posted by: sgm3 | June 23, 2010 3:47 PM
-------------------------------------------
-----------------------------------------
Why only go back 15 yrs? Why not go back even longer? Oh, but that won't help you make your point, is that right?
Keenan made the playoffs for 11 straight seasons. Won both an AHL and an NHL championship. Oh, also made the NHL finals THREE different times not including when he actually won the Cup. Also on 2 separate occasions his teams advanced past the 2nd round. So overall, he made the playoffs for 11 straight seasons with 4 different teams and 5 or 6 different GMs, and he made it past the 2nd round 6 times.
Posted by: cstanton1 | June 23, 2010 4:00 PM |
------------------------------------------
--------------------------------------
I'm all for hiring Keenan as GM(he will replace all the skill guys with grit guys) and hiring Melrose as coach. We would kill any team in fights and PIMS. It will be awesome.

Posted by: sgm3 | June 23, 2010 4:34 PM | ----------------------------------------

I wasn't even proposing hiring Keenan. My goal was simply to prove the sgm's random superficial dismissal of Keenan ignored so many of Keenan's accomplishments.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

Did Keenan still stink when he was with the Flames and got to the playoffs both years recently? The players still made money then. In 07-08 he got the Flames as far as the Caps went. So was BB an awful coach that year too?? Just curious. Your logic works for a small time frame, half of which he coached an awful Florida Panthers team. Bottom line: Keenan was never a bad coach. SGM3 you lose. Case closed.

Posted by: ThePat | July 22, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

I dont disagree with it being rather weak. But to me its better than the alternative of the young guys down the middle. So I was just working with the one proposed trade for Souray and signing one other player.

If it were up to me Id say screw Souray. Let Flash walk. Sign Willie Mitchell. Trade for a 2C. If the trade involves sending Semin out than go sign Max Afinogenov to take his spot.

Posted by: ThePat | July 22, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

My guess for the decline of Keenan is that he used a hard nosed style of coaching. But when player salaries escalated a large amount in the '90s(as it did in all sports) that sort of coaching became less effective because the players' were making so much money that those type of hard nosed threats from coaches would go in one ear and out the other. Owner's, who invested so much money into player salaries, would often not allow for a coach to bench a high priced player(and the player's knew this).

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

what you just stated above actually has some merit altho I wouldn't say he became a bad coach. But he definitely had some interpersonal issues with GMs and some players that negated his effectiveness.

Your statements initially never gave him any credit for any of his accomplishments. Which is why you got schooled. What you did was similar to trashing a great HOF player in the latter half of his career without giving him credit for his contributions in his prime. Basically implying he's been a bum. And of course, you're basing it on stats only. The truth is, even later in his career Keenan played a strong hand in developing players (i.e. in Vanc who otherwise had been pigeonholed into certain roles like a Brashear or Bertuzzi. These are all examples of items you will never ever find on a statsheet ever. But very important nonetheless. If you haven't lived thru certain things sgm, don't be so sure of the conclusions you reach. They're very simplistic and largely inaccurate.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

In '07-'08 he did average(3rd place in the division) and '08-'09 was a good season.

He was fired twice and resigned once during that time.

So one good season over that long haul. Again, he was good until '95. After that, no. Would you accept Keenan's record from the summer of '95 through 2010 as the record of BB from '10 to 2025? Would this be desired?

@cstanon1

My statement was "Just look at all of the success he has had the past 15 years."

With it being 2010, then that goes back to summer of '95. That was the only time period I was discussing. He was successful before that. But if you are going to hire an employee the most recent 15 years of work is much more reflective on his potential abilities than the 15 years before that.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

ThePat: Actually if you let go of Ersk and Flash you can likely sign Mitchell and then trade for someone I've always liked - RJ Umberger.

Yes, wouldn't that be some irony?

Maybe they would take Flash and our #1 pick, I don't know. I'd almost go MaJo for RJ but that will get me crucified here. (RJ signed two more years 3.75/each cap hit, slightly higher salary.)

Remember, though, a bird in the hand...

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Steckel might be a good #3C at some point in time. Right now he's a #4.

I would not touch Souray at 5.4. I'd much rather let Flash walk, at which point we have 6.7 or thereabouts with one roster spot to fill. Move Ersk and you have 8.0 with two spots open. With that money, you can get a very good #2C and a #1D (Volch was only 4.25) and Laich can play wing. Or sign Frolov and get a C and make Laich #3C (he's better there) and move Steckel and Ersk and you still have 6.6 I think for that #2C and a cheaper upgrade, like Sutton, on D.

$4M in space exists with all spots taken. Subtract Flash 2.75, Ersk 1.25, Gordo .8, Stecks 1.1 or Chimera 1.875 to add space and then backfill one player for one. How many different combos can you make?

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

if you get Sutton and Mitchell, losing Erskine isn't a big deal and mitigates the loss of ShaMo. Remember, losing ShaMo and Ersk takes away a large % of hitting off a team that isn't a big hitting team anyway, esp on D. Even though Mitchell doesn't get credited for a ton of hits, he plays the game hard in his end and doesn't concede any ground. He also (like Sutton) likes to go after other team's top players. He's not afraid of that. Something no one our team likes to do except Ovechkin.

I could live with Green, Mitchell, Carlson, Sutton, with Poti/Schultz/Alzner/Sloan as the final 2 or 3 spots. Forces better competition also because Alzner won't be guaranteed a spot and Schultz may not crack the top 4 so he'll work harder at certain aspects of his game.

Not a bad proposal. But I like Steckel despite his less than stellar season last yr. I think he's part of the solution because he's a workhorse like Trevor Linden was late in his career on a checking line. Or as RichPhil has mentioned, almost a Joel Otto type.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse

@cstanon1

My statement was "Just look at all of the success he has had the past 15 years."

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

that's a far cry from what you just posted above.

smg: I said Keenan was bad AFTER 1995. I said he was good before than.

Please, use reading comprehension people before you comment. I said:

"Mike Keenan was a good coach up until 1995. After that he became a very bad coach."

you said nothing like this. You made fun of him because he liked gritty hockey and you used only the last 15 yrs to try and illustrate that point. No mention of him being a good coach ever. Proof is in the posting buddy. Suck it up and admit it. Then we can move on.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

No problem with trading MaJO for RJ. I'd rather have someone proven and solid over the next few years, then a question mark. Hopefully some movement happens. Most GM's take their vacation the first two weeks of August so the next 10 days I expect a few trades and signings around the league and then pretty much silence.

Posted by: ThePat | July 22, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

BLOG FIGHT!!!

Posted by: Skullduggery65 | July 22, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I'd almost go MaJo for RJ but that will get me crucified here. (RJ signed two more years 3.75/each cap hit, slightly higher salary.)
-----------------

MaJo is still an unknown. But in the immediate (next 2-3 yrs), I'd say this would be a win trade for the Caps. They'd still have to draft/develop some more top 2 centers but I'd love Umberger. He's tough, durable, knows how to step up his game when he has to. Gives a strong veteran presence upfront who does a lot of dirty work. You can play him against a top line and still have him provide some offense. Takes pressure off Backs.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I spoke of Keenan and his bad coaching after '95. I did not speak of his coaching before that. The clear omission of the previous coaching period implies that his coaching was not bad during that period, otherwise it would have been included in the bad coaching period.

So while I did not clearly state "he was a good coach through '95" I never stated the opposite. The omission of the previous time period makes it evident I did not think he was a bad coach during that time period.

In addition, I was only interested in speaking about Keenan's coaching experience over the prior 15 years. That is why I mentioned the past 15 years. I brought up the topic I was interested in discussing.

I had no intention of talking about Keenan's coaching record prior to that and also had no intention talking about String Theory, that's why I did not speak about either.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

You know, MaJo and Flash for RJ might work for both teams. I wouldn't mind if we also packaged Chimera as it opens a spot for one of the Bears to step up.

Out: Flash, Ersk and Chimera. Cap space now almost $10M and three spots open.

In: RJ Umberger 3.75, Mitchell 3.25 and Beagle .5. Available space still 2.5 to add a 23rd player - Sutton? He might make a little too much. You can actually sign him and make it work if you leave Alzner at Hershey long enough to not get bonuses, which is doubtful they will do that.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Chimera brings you back much in a trade if anything. Teams may take him at that salary if have some injuries on the 3rd line and think they're playoff bound. But I'm not into the way he plays anyway so he can go ride off into the sunset for all I care.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

sgm: So while I did not clearly state "he was a good coach through '95" I never stated the opposite. The omission of the previous time period makes it evident I did not think he was a bad coach during that time period.
---------------------------------------

in none of your comments on that thread did you ever admit that Keenan was anything except a thug coach who didn't provided any major contributions. You're implying now that you thought he was a good coach for his first 10 yrs based on an "omission" defense? Admit it, you don't like Keenan and so you weren't willing to give him credit for anything. You were just looking to denigrate him so you narrowed your scope to help make your case. Very evasive and unfair way to argue. You try to cover yourself with technicalities when we all know the real point you're trying to get across. And you also ignored the Flames team record, 28 games over .500.

anyway, i think we all know the score. So we can drop it. Just be a tad careful in the future about how you throw out those dismissive statements. Enough folks around here actually lived thru those periods. So they'll call you out easy as 1-2-3. No one likes to be told that what they experienced first-hand is negated by someone's narrow-minded examination of statistics a decade or two later.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

cstanton: I'm not looking for anything for Chimera. We trade/move him, Flash, Ersk and MaJo and all we get back is Umberger.

This works fine if you sign Mitchell and Sutton as UFAs.

Didn't think, but we can also add Nylander to sweeten the deal.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Tom, you finally give up on Staal?

Posted by: Steve_R | July 22, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

the BJackets need young skill guys so that seems plausible. They don't really need an Erskine type though so we'd have to sweeten it for them to take his salary also (and nylander ain't sweetenin nuthin). Columbus needs to rebuild for another 3 yrs to become competitive. Maybe more. Their minor league prospects are horrible.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

I have no feelings towards Keenan, good or bad. I really could care less about Mike Keenan.

I never said he was a "thug" and never said he didn't provide any contributions. All I said was he was a bad coach over the past 15 years. And maybe that coaching that sort of style is not the best way to win in today's game. I was only speaking to what he did over the past 15 years.

It is possible to talk about someone's accomplishments over a certain time period without it meaning you are denigrating them.

Willie Mays was a bad baseball player when he played for the Mets. That doesn't take away from his previous contributions or that he was one of the greatest baseball players ever. But he was bad during that time period. When you look at a person's accomplishments over a certain time period what happened before or after are irrelevant. You are just inspecting a certain time period, not the career in its entirety.

If I wanted to rate how the NY Yankees were from 1982 to 1994 and said they were a disappointment over that time period. If you came back and said how great the Yankees were in the '70s as an argument how wrong I was. My respone would be that is irrelevant in determing how good they were during the time period of 1982 to 1994. This does denigrate the franchise or take away from the contrinutions they made in the '70s or all the years beforehand. But it just states that during that time period they were a disappointment.

I did not overlook what he did on the Flames as that is definitely relevant in the topic of his coaching ability over the past 15 years.

I did not look at anything in a narrow minded way. I was just viewing a 15 year period of one coach's career and rated it based on the results he achieved during that period.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

"For an Umberger today, I will gladly pay you on Tuesday..."

Posted by: Rhino40 | July 22, 2010 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Steve: Naturally I'd love Staal and Clutterbuck as "Plan A." Umberger can be "Plan B" and it's not a bad plan with Frolov as someone suggested.

Honestly, though, the chance to get Staal is remote and if I'm the Wild why trade Clutterbuck? Umberger might be obtainable. They might be able to use Flash as a one-year player. MaJo is a good asset. I also always liked Commodore. Any love here for him?

Flash, MaJo and Orlov and they have to take Erskine and maybe we toss a #2 pick for Commodore and Umberger.

There you go. Upgraded #2C; upgraded D; upgraded grit; upgraded Cup experience.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

Rhino: That was good.

sgm: I thought you gave up the football?

Time to let the next "person" get smeared.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

pulversports: On Kovalchuk. Do NHL lawyers have a "smoking gun"??? NHL must have evidence to show circumvention to have any chance.

@zmega: Thoughts?


Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Who knows today what the NHL minimum salary will be in 11 years? Yet Kovy is going to be making pretty close to it (last 6 years at $550K) and maybe below if salaries escalate as they have the last 10 years.

Second, what are other 39,40,41 year old players making in the league today? I bet they all get more than he plans to get in 11 years. I have never seen that happen in sports where a playe plans to take less than his peers in his senior years.

Third, why do we assume this is a good deal for the players association. The end of the contract assumes Kovy still plays but gets paid only 1/12th of the cap hit for whichever team owns this deal at that time. So artificially $5.5 million of cap room is lost and not paid (x 6 years)to ANY player in the union. So the total dollars paid to players is less those years and a significant $5 million is on paper but not really available to be paid to players...

UNLESS....it is a preconceived plan for Kovy not to still be playing in the league those years and the contract gets retired - which is exactly why it circumvents the cap...

Ask who benefits and you get your answer. All we have to prove is only NJ and Kovy benefit in the short term by making this deal which neither side really plans to live out.

This contract can only benefit the NHLPA if it is not played out to conclusion. So it only benefits them if it is really a sneak around the cap which they opposed in the first place.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | July 22, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

To those who are saying "trade Erskine with x player to get a real D"...

why would anyone want to trade an asset to use for our #7 (or #8) D when they could have our #5 (or 6) D for free as a UFA?

inceidentally, Mr Shaone Morrisonn STILL is not signed, which tells you his value as a top 6 D on the market...

http://tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=2471

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 22, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

"And maybe that coaching that sort of style is not the best way to win in today's game."

tell that to the Ducks and the combination of Burke/Carlyle.

"It is possible to talk about someone's accomplishments over a certain time period without it meaning you are denigrating them."

I don't mean to embarass you but you can click on that link and find numerous examples of where you denigrate Keenan with sarcastic comments about his preferred type of player. Your overall tone in that thread implied you were very unimpressed with Keenan and that you thought he was a joke. You admitted nothing positive about him. Today you claimed that you had until I had to go dig up that link and prove otherwise.

Anyway, there's a lot more coaches and GMs out there than you may like to think, who subscribe to many of Keenan's beliefs. To paint him as an outdated ogre who simply lined up brawling teams does him a disservice. As a Caps fan, I hated him as the Flyers/Hawks coach for all the times he'd try to bully us around. But, I also realized a lot of his tactics and philosophies paid some very tangible benefits. That's where a Dale Hunter type was needed to overcome that. If you can't beat em, join em. The game has changed a little since then. But not as much as you'd like to think. Intimidation and aggression is still part of the game. Which is why you see so many transactions involving toughness occur. Tampa, Toronto, Atlanta are 3 recent teams who tried to establish a new regime via toughness. The Islanders are trying to go that route as well, bringing in Konopka and now Yablonksi.
Intimidation can also occur through relentless hitting and other ways not linked directly to fighting. Soft players don't want to pay that price so you can negate their skill advantage a little by making life a little miserable for them. Did you notice the complete dropoff in hits by Semin after he had that traumatizing little scrap with Staal? Or the way he was hesitant to engage other players after Orpik leveled him early in the series last year? It exists. And we don't employ that attribute.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

inceidentally, Mr Shaone Morrisonn STILL is not signed, which tells you his value as a top 6 D on the market...

http://tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=2471

neither is mitchell, sutton, exelby, mara, ward etc.

They're all capable of being top 6 guys.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Mike Keenan has won exactly one Stanley Cup, and that was a long long time ago. That team - the 1994 Rangers - basically tuned him out by the Finals. He burns his bridges and runs franchises into the ground.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 22, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1

My comment of "And maybe that coaching that sort of style is not the best way to win in today's game." was just a suggestion. I said MAYBE. No, Keenan being a bad coach is does not mean that that sort of coaching will not work. But, considering how good of a coach he once was it is worth exploring that it is POSSIBLE.

You disagree, and you give the Ducks as an example and that is fine. That is the other side of the argument and it is a legit argument. There is no "correct" answer on this, just opinions.

Today, all I said was that in our previous discussion all I was discussing was the prior 15 years. Which is true. Then I mentioned today that I thought he was a good coach prior to that time period. I neglected to mention it because I thought people would be able to pick up the implication since I was only using the past 15 years and not the time period beforehand and that he was successful in the time period beforehand. It is a very simple deduction that I assumed most people would make. I greatly overestimated the ability of some people on here. That was my mistake. I will make sure I say everything abundantly clear for now on.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1: Thank you for the compliment. I was hoping that some humor would lighten things up a bit.


On a more serious note: I agree that Umberger is a good player and may very well fit the Caps stated needs from a skill and compete-level standpoint.

However, I do also have some concerns about what could happen should we acquire him.

1) Umberger's recent remarks to the press about the Caps have the potential of making him a locker-room cancer should he come to DC.

2) As much as I admire Coach Boudreau for what he has acheived since coming here, he does (unfortunately) also seem be to one to hold a grudge. This, too, could be detrimental to team chemistry.

All this begs the question: Does Umberger's upside justify these risks?

Not passing judgement, just saying...

Posted by: Rhino40 | July 22, 2010 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Can someody Please sign Kovlchuk to a legitimate contract so that the rest of the League can do their thing in free agency (whatever that may be)?

Posted by: Rhino40 | July 22, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Rhino: I actually look at that bringing Umberger here might make us face our demons.

What he said had a ring of truth.

If he knows so well what we need to do to win, he can come here and show us.

I think it falls under, "If you can't beat em, join em."

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

incidentally, Mr Shaone Morrisonn STILL is not signed, which tells you his value as a top 6 D on the market...

http://tsn.ca/nhl/teams/players/bio/?id=2471
--------
neither is mitchell, sutton, exelby, mara, ward etc.

They're all capable of being top 6 guys.

Posted by: cstanton1
---------------------

Aside from Mitchell's concussion issues, I'm going to have to say that if 30 NHL teams thought they were top 6 or high priority, that they would be signed by now, the 22nd day of free agency.

Having said that, contract demands should be calculated (Kovalchuk is a case in point here), as well as some teams not having the resources left... but I guess that's my point.

If team x wants player y, they would offer Z and sign them... and 30 teams have not... yet!

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 22, 2010 5:56 PM | Report abuse

Mike Keenan has won exactly one Stanley Cup, and that was a long long time ago. That team - the 1994 Rangers - basically tuned him out by the Finals. He burns his bridges and runs franchises into the ground.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 22, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

you gotta go lookin around Timbo. He's had a very positive effect on some players and jumpstarted quite a few careers. No one's saying he's perfect or that we should hire him here. Just that he's not a bum.

13 playoff appearances, 4 Cup appearances, 3 Conf Final appearances, 1 AHL Cup, 1 NHL Cup.

He's more than what you just characterized him as. I'd like to see how many other coaches on your list can carry his jock with similar accomplishments.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

valid observations Rhino.

I had forgotten about his comments on the Caps for a brief moment. No way he's comin here. And probably, no way he'd WANT to come here. Any player who doesn't believe in a team's style will only go to that team when he's out of other options. So that settles the Umberger debate.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 6:00 PM | Report abuse

Aside from Mitchell's concussion issues, I'm going to have to say that if 30 NHL teams thought they were top 6 or high priority, that they would be signed by now, the 22nd day of free agency.
------------------

remember, just because a player CAN play in the top 6 it doesn't mean that every team wants them. Teams need to
a) have a hole they need to fill
b) have cap space
c) like the particular that player brings
d) playoff-bound teams v rebuilding teams think differently on player acquisitions.

There's probably not more than 6-8 teams who fit those criteria and I'm sure as the dust settles these guys will find a home.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

"If he knows so well what we need to do to win, he can come here and show us."

i wish. The day a player (not named Ovechkin or Jagr) gets his coach to change his system around....

Rhino hit it on the head. Its not the chemistry I'd worry about. Its the fact that Boudreau would have a fit if we acquired him. And why would McPhee tick off his coach for a player who isn't one of the top players in the league? I mean, there are precedents where a team could have a beef with a player but acquired him anyway. A weak example is the Caps acquiring Remi Royer after he ended Trevor Halverson's career. But those instances are usually reserved for player-on-player squabbles. Dave Poulin once almost seriously injured Mike Ridley intentionally and the Caps did acquire Poulin. Hunter and Tocchet had some notorious battles and they were briefly teammates. I can't remember any precedent where a player mocked a coach and then ended up playing for him later.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1: In a perfect world, absolutely: the sinner, once shown the error of his ways, sins no more.

Unfortunately, it is not a perfect world and people's egos get in the way of the truth more often than not.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of sports...

Um...I take that back...make that "sports and politics".

I think it is more important that the Caps are successful than it is to prove who is right or wrong about how to get there, no?

Posted by: Rhino40 | July 22, 2010 6:21 PM | Report abuse

"I think it is more important that the Caps are successful than it is to prove who is right or wrong about how to get there, no?"

while that may be the case, Tom's point/opinion I think was that the Caps probably can't be truly successful unless they embrace some different core elements. And Umberger's comments hinted at that. We don't need him here to teach the team or Bruce how to play. That has to come from the GM and coach.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 22, 2010 6:32 PM | Report abuse

We need an "Umberger." It doesn't have to be him. It could be a "Dale Hunter" or a "Tocchet" or whomever. It could be a d-man, a "Tinordi."

Ideally the guy would be a #2C and cost under $4M. Umberger just fit the bill. Maybe BB would accept him, I don't know. Lots of times in sports you hate someone until he's your teammate and then you love him.

Although, I admit, I knew got over despising Jagr was was really glad when he left. And the way he played well again once he got in NY only made him more despicable. Sure was good in the Olympics when Ovi leveled him, although Jagr got last laugh I suppose.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

Exactly...

Posted by: Rhino40 | July 22, 2010 7:09 PM | Report abuse

Here is a good reviewof teh Caps 2010 draft and the players they selected.

http://www.hockeysfuture.com/articles/12266/capitals2010_draft_review/

Posted by: sgm3 | July 22, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

how many rings does Umberger have? oh yes 1 calder like most of young Caps have.I thought this gang wanted a player to show them how to win a staney cup ring.

Posted by: sporttraveler | July 22, 2010 7:52 PM | Report abuse

LIKE I SAID EARLIER Kovalchuk WILL NOT PLAY FOR THE DEVILS 17YRS HE MAY PLAY 10YRS AND WILL GO TO THE KHL IF HE STILL WANTS TO PLAY.THE DEVILS WILL PAY HIM HIS TOTAL CONTRACT.I AM SURE HIS CONTRACT WILL BE LIKE NYLANDERS IS THIS YEAR. THEY WILL NOT BUY HIM OUT. THEY WILL JUST RELEASE HIM. THAT WAY HE WILL NOT COUNT AGAINST THE CAP LIKE NYLANDER DOESNT THIS YEAR. ITS A CAP BARGAIN FOR THE DEVILS! A 6MILL CAP HIT FOR PLAYER VALUED AT 10 MIL! TO BAD GMGM DIDNT COME UP WITH THAT FOR OVIE.Kovalchuk also really got his 10 yr 100 million dollar contract he was looking for.

Posted by: sporttraveler | July 22, 2010 8:23 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

Must admit I enjoyed your post on "ice chips at the bottom of my Bombay Sapphire and lemonade..."

So, instead of reading the tea leaves to predict the future, you read the ice chips. For frozen augury.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | July 22, 2010 9:49 PM | Report abuse

And now, what you've all been waiting for, the latest episode of "AT THE MCPHEE HOUSEHOLD!"

(If you recall, last time, George was debating how much allowance to give Junior. "The kid up the street gets nineteen and cuts the lawn. Junior doesn't. Tell him fifteen a week for two years max.")

"Hi, dear! How was your day."
"Harumpf!"
"Well, don't worry, dear, maybe you can trade it for a better day tomorrow."
"I don't see any days out there that are better than the days I already have."
"Yes, dear. Oh, by the way, Junior said he's not taking out the trash anymore."
"What?"
"That's right, he doesn't like to do it."
"Kind of like Flash doesn't like to go in front of the net."
Pause. "Yes, dear. Oh, can you take out the trash since Junior didn't?"
"You know, it takes guts to take out the trash."
"No, dear, it takes the trash to take out the guts."
"What? Oh. Anyway, since Junior is circumventing his deal, I'm voiding the contract."
"Junior won't like that, dear."
"Yes, well, tell him he's got five days to appeal to the arbitrator."
"Yes, dear, I'll tell him. Oh, dear...?"
"What now?"
"I'm the arbitrator. Will that be the couch or the bedroom tonight?"
"Harumpf!"
"OK, dear, I'll give Junior his money for this week."
"Next time...next time...next time I'm closing those loopholes!"

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

CF75: Excellent, glad we (nostrathomas and myself) could entertain you.

Perhaps, also, you will have enjoyed the latest installment of "AT THE MCPHEE HOUSEHOLD."

You might remember some of the earlier installments where George had to eat hot dogs for dinner because the mrs had already spent all the grocery-store cap space. And the episode where they couldn't invite anyone else over to the house because Micheal Nylander wouldn't leave (he was on the couch eating chee-tos, the cheese that goes ker-unch) and was taking up too much room. And the time the hardwood floors got destroyed by the zamboni.

I'll be putting out a "best of" series so don't worry if you missed any.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 22, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Interesting article about the Caps http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=5402514. I figured doing some good would be something we could all agree on.

Posted by: icehammer97 | July 23, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

Greetings from Baghdad where the daily temmp is about 125 degrees F. My recollection of the 4th line was Duschene, Gould, and Dale ?. The plummer line was not a fourth line, it was a second/third line.

Posted by: fatboy08 | July 23, 2010 2:34 AM | Report abuse

Whoops, don't know why I didn't remember Glen Currie centering Gatean Duschene and Bobby Gould. They were one of our better fourth lines. Must be the heat frying my brain!

Posted by: fatboy08 | July 23, 2010 2:51 AM | Report abuse

Today, all I said was that in our previous discussion all I was discussing was the prior 15 years. Which is true. Then I mentioned today that I thought he was a good coach prior to that time period. I neglected to mention it because I thought people would be able to pick up the implication since I was only using the past 15 years and not the time period beforehand and that he was successful in the time period beforehand. It is a very simple deduction that I assumed most people would make. I greatly overestimated the ability of some people on here. That was my mistake. I will make sure I say everything abundantly clear for now on.

Posted by: sgm3 |


So now all posters who disagree with the omniscient, omnipotent sgm3 are mental midgits and do not deserve to read, less more comment on his/her "insightful" posts.

Thanks, I will keep that in mind.

Posted by: PhilR | July 23, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

@PhilR

If I was all knowing and all powerful then why would I say "I greatly overestimated the ability of some people on here."

That was an admission of a mistake. An all knowing, all powerful being does not make any errors.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 23, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

The world does not revolve around Kovalchuk and this issue will get resolved with both sides unhappy with the outcome. What legal precedent gets set will open the floodgates for similar contracts forcing the league to make amendments nullifying such future deals. So life goes on...

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan | July 23, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

remember, just because a player CAN play in the top 6 it doesn't mean that every team wants them. Teams need to
a) have a hole they need to fill
b) have cap space
c) like the particular that player brings
d) playoff-bound teams v rebuilding teams think differently on player acquisitions.

There's probably not more than 6-8 teams who fit those criteria and I'm sure as the dust settles these guys will find a home.

Posted by: cstanton1
--------------------
I see you point cstanton... mine is just that ones that are left now (day 23 of FA) are low priority for all 30 teams. Most of the good ones went in the 1st couple of days.

Posted by: FrankM73 | July 23, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

in MP is going to be starting 2nd line center (and I am not a fan of that move), i make the following suggestions:

deal Semin, offer sheet to Bobby Ryan

or

deal Flash, offer sheet to James Neal.

Either one of these instantly makes the 2nd line a very real threat. still need top or 2nd pair d-man.

Posted by: doughless | July 23, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

I know this has been talked about, but let's once again revisit the Kovy situation.

It has been suggested, we offer Kovy a 1 year deal (like the one Hossa took in DET).

Thoughts? Trade Flash for a pick. Next year, Semin and Kovy are gone, we have a ton of money, one stays.

This is what the lines look like:

OV/Backs/Knuble
Semin/MP/Kovy
Laich/MJ/Fehr
Brads/Steckel/Chimera

If your gonna play "firewagon" hockey, you may as well go for broke.

Posted by: underpants2 | July 23, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

pants:

sorry, I am NOT feeling that at all!! the caps do not need Kovalsuck

Posted by: doughless | July 23, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Even moving off Flash, there's only 6.75 in space (unless you want Alzner's bonus to be a penalty the following year).

I doubt he'd do one year 6.75. Anyway, we'd still have a glaring weakness at #2C and we'd be trying to win the Cup with an average D.

I'd say NO to that.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 23, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

I thought I read that this season bonuses can not roll over to next year. They all have to fit under the cap this season.

That being said we don't need Kovalchuk. You can get 3 players left in FA that are above average for that $6.75.

Posted by: ThePat | July 23, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

I meant to say with that $6.75M you can get 3 players total with a $2 or $2.25 cap hit. Just in case there was confusion.

Posted by: ThePat | July 23, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

hockeybuzz chatter:

"There is a scenario that would find Souray in Washington," my source told me. "Of course there is something else, something major that would have to occur, for this to happen. I have heard a team in California would have to get involved as well... but whatever that part is, it is still under the radar as of now."

i now a lot of folks like to hate on Eklund, but he doesn't deny that he deals in rumor.

Posted by: doughless | July 23, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

ThePat: It was 08-09 that all the bonuses had to be fit in. Last year they didn't, and Chicago went over, with bonuses, by $4M. So, for them, their actual cap for this year is 55.4, not 59.4.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | July 23, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Good article describing the details of the Kovy situation:

http://www.nationalpost.com/have+stand/3311943/story.html

@zmega

The agents quoted in the story are all likely attorneys.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 23, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I respect Cap fans. being a fan of a loser organization is not easy.

Posted by: alanb1 | July 23, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

A bridge somewhere is missing its troll.

Posted by: yosemite_sam | July 23, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Am I missing something? Ex-Capital Kevin Hatcher gets elected to the US Hockey HOF and nary a peep from the Post.

Posted by: ouvan59 | July 23, 2010 1:07 PM | Report abuse

If your gonna play "firewagon" hockey, you may as well go for broke.

Posted by: underpants2 | July 23, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

no
no
no no
no no no

no to firewagon hockey. All it does is force you to pay more money to your players without actually accomplishing more. Firewagon hockey teams have players with plumped up statistics. And thats how you end up having to pay a Flash $3 mil+/season

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 23, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

I wouldn't be caught dead paying good money to see the current version of the team play.

- CStanton

Then why are you still a fan? Maybe you should just go be a fan of another team that you would be caught dead going to see.

Posted by: TheDoubleAlex | July 23, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

I guess the moral of the story is to Not Be Caught Dead.

Posted by: MReilly9 | July 23, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I respect Cap fans. being a fan of a loser organization is not easy.

Posted by: alanb1 | July 23, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

thank you! Try bein a fan of the Caps AND the Skins. Makes you want to lie in warm water with a sharp razor.


"Ex-Capital Kevin Hatcher gets elected to the US Hockey HOF and nary a peep from the Post."

I'm guessing none of the current Post/Times writers even remember when Hatcher was a Cap. As Hatcher's offense went up, the other parts of his game vanished.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 23, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

"Canucks announce that Sami Salo has suffered an Achilles tear and is out indefinitely."

I wonder if this means Bieska won't be traded now.

Posted by: sgm3 | July 23, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

i don't really follow eklund but does any of his rumored trades ever come thru? like even one?

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 23, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

roflmao!
http://hockeybuzzhogwash.com/rumourgen.htm

keep clickin that link, its gold!

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 23, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

I once believed that any hockey problem could be solved simply by scoring more goals.

While I still find it (firewagon hockey) fun and exciting to watch, I'm not so sure about that belief anymore.

So I must stand with those saying we don't need Kovy. He's too much like Semin...except Semin occasionally kills penalties, back-checks, etc. $6.7M+ for a guy who might score as many or more goals, but doesn't play both ends of th ice? No, thanks.

Posted by: Rhino40 | July 23, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

how bout this

Erskine and Schultz for Bieksa and Shane OBrien.

Remember, you heard it here first!

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 23, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

bravo Rhino. I sprinkle my holy water on you. Ye have seen the light! The flock welcomes you. Tonight by the full moon we shall sacrifice a virgin by the name of sgm.

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 23, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

from a little earlier:

if MP is going to be starting 2nd line center (and I am not a fan of that move), i make the following suggestions:

deal Semin, offer sheet to Bobby Ryan


or

deal Flash, offer sheet to James Neal.

Either one of these instantly makes the 2nd line a very real threat. still need top or 2nd pair d-man.

Posted by: doughless | July 23, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

@cstanton1:

Please no. I would keep Schultz, trade Fleischmann for Bieksa striaght up, and sign Mitchell (UFA) to a 1- or 2-year deal.

Everybody benefits in that scenario:

1) Mitchell and Bieksa skated well together in Vancouver as the Canucks' shutdown pair.

2) Vancouver has an overabundance of quality defenders, but needs help up front.

3) We, who need help on D but have an abundance of wingers, get one of our two most pressing needs filled.

Only questions are: how much $, and can Mitchel stay healthy?

Posted by: Rhino40 | July 23, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

@tominsocal1

yeah i know thats how the bonuses have worked. This year I think its back to not being able to roll them over to next year. Ill find out.

Posted by: ThePat | July 23, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Vancouver doesn't like players like Flash. They don't employ those types. With the exception of the Sedins, Vancouver likes to combine skill with grit on their top lines within the same player. Guys like Burrows, Kesler, Raymond. Even Samuelsson is a big strong skater who finishes his checks. That's what the Canucks like. Flash could never push any of Vancouver's top 6 forwards out of the lineup.
They need help constructing their bottom 6. And Flash can't provide scoring on those lines while also providing some checking elements. I think the Canucks are also looking for Cody Hodgson to make the jump up this yr.

Schultz provides Vanc what they look for (they'll work on his physicality). They like tall lanky dmen and it would take someone like him to get both Bieksa and O'Brien. Also the salary mismatch may make things attractive for the Canucks.

how about MaJo, Alzner, Schultz, and 2nd for Hodgson, Obrien, Bieksa. You heard it here first!

Posted by: cstanton1 | July 23, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Only questions are: how much $, and can Mitchel stay healthy?
-----------

I'd add, 3) can Mitchell stop any non-4th line forward from turning him like a pylon?

Even before his head injury Mitchell was not exactly fleet of foot, now he makes Erskine look quick.

Posted by: Timbo_1 | July 23, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

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