Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

While Lou Is Losing His Mind, Stevie Is Hitting His Stride

When I read the Chief’s post today I was going to write a similar post to this one to break up the Chopper Willa talk around here, but I was too busy during the day to write it up.  Just about an hour ago the story got a whole lot more interesting… sometimes patience is a virtue.

From the mainpage:

NHL deems Kovy contract “a retirement contract”. Says it “artificially drops cap hit”. Also states its too overloaded the first 10 yrs

More from the mainpage via TSN:

The NHL has rejected Ilya Kovalchuk’s 17-year, $102 million contract with the New Jersey Devils on the grounds that it circumvents the NHL’s salary cap.

Kovalchuk was slated to earn $95 million over the first 10 years of the deal and then just $7 million over the last seven seasons. That would translate to an annual cap hit of $6 million per year.

You can almost see the veins on Lou Lamoriello’s massive scalp throbbing from here.

Yet while Lou loses his mind, Stevie is hitting his stride.  Also from the mainpage:

This just in: Don’t play poker with Stevie Y.

There has been a whole lot of shakin’ on Channelside Drive by a GM who won’t stop making moves. Yzerman did it again Monday, acquiring Flyers winger Simon Gagne for under-performing defenseman Matt Walker and a fourth-round draft pick…

It’s tricky and I’m not sure I agree with all of it, but there is a plan there and that’s refreshing to see. While wandering in the wasteland the past three seasons, the Bolts’ plan seemed to be drawn up on the back of a napkin with a felt-tip pen that promptly ran…

Watching him work in the short time he has been here, it’s clear that the Bolts’ new GM is decisive, focused and knows what he wants to accomplish. It’s interesting to see the plan take shape.

That’s Joe Henderson from the Tampa Tribune.  Something tells me we’ll be hearing more from Joe at A2Y this year.

I’ve considered Tick-Tock and Lou to be the best NHL GMs for a while.  They have a track record of winning, and winning often.  But Lou has been slipping lately, as have the Devils, and I think the writing is in prune juice on the wall:  it’s time for Lamoriello to be put out to pasture.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting he gets shot in the head and made into glue, just given a nice desk job where his aging brain won’t be taxed too much.

Reading from Baroque’s Big Book of Biology, we learn that synapses (the neural highway in the brain) are lost during aging in the prefrontal cortex of primates.  Baroque also tells us that the most typical psychological term for functions carried out by the prefrontal cortex area is executive function. Executive function relates to abilities to differentiate among conflicting thoughts, determine good and bad, better and best, same and different, future consequences of current activities, working toward a defined goal, prediction of outcomes, expectation based on actions, and social “control” (the ability to suppress urges that, if not suppressed, could lead to socially-unacceptable outcomes).  You may think that comes from wikipedia, but you should know that Baroque is the reference for all legitimate online scientific content.

In his old age, Lou is losing his executive function and should, rightfully, lose his executive function as GM if the Devils want to win in the future.

While details of the NHL’s rejection of the contract Kovalchuk signed with the Devils are still emerging, I can guarantee you that Steve Yzerman would not make the same mistake in seeking approval for this kind of contract (often called a “Ken Holland Contract”) from Gary Bettman and the league.  Stevie was a fast student, and one thing he definitely learned from Tick-Tock is when you send a contract to Li’l Gary for approval be sure to send an able, willing, and eager messenger to deliver the contract to Li’l Gary personally.  As Tick-Tock knows, Li’l Gary prefers “ballerinas”.

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Comments

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Guilherme's avatar

On one hand, nice to see the NHL take a stand on Kovy’s case. On another, shame the Devils are not doomed by the cap. And what will happen to Kovalchuk? Will he just leave the NHL and look for greener pastures on the KHL?

And I always liked Tampa since they beat Calgary to win the Cup (!), now I’ve got one more reason. On the other hand, if Yzerman builds a winning team it will be harder for him to come back when Tick Tock’s synapses start to vanish (or something like that).

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 07/21/10 at 12:43 AM ET

cigar_nurse's avatar

Holy crap. MY eyes my eyes
Great to have ya back VOOX. Now give me a Stella bitch.

Posted by cigar_nurse from Greenville South Cakalakee on 07/21/10 at 12:47 AM ET

VooX's avatar

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 07/20/10 at 10:43 PM ET

I think it depends upon the other offer(s) he received.  Ironically in the salary-cap age of mundane news during this time of year, the salary-cap itself finally gives us SOME drama.  At least we won’t be hearing about Chopper Willa from the media for a while. 

Halle-fuching-lujah

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 07/21/10 at 12:48 AM ET

VooX's avatar

Holy crap. MY eyes my eyes
Great to have ya back VOOX. Now give me a Stella bitch.
Posted by cigar_nurse from Greenville South Cakalakee on 07/20/10 at 10:47 PM ET

The more you drink, the better “she” looks.  Go get “her”, tiger.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 07/21/10 at 12:49 AM ET

Avatar

the salary-cap itself finally gives us SOME drama.

I love the story but I don’t see how the NHL has a leg to stand on.

Over at SBNation (which I don’t have an account at,  so…), hey quote the CBA saying that they can reject a contract if it “involves a Circumvention of either the Club’s Upper Limit or the Maximum Player Salary”

As far as the cap, the CBA says that the average salary is the cap hit, so they’re not over the cap.  In fact, for the next two years his salary is equal to his cap hit.

As far as the Maximum player salary, isn’t the maximum salary something like 20% of the cap?  The cap is $59.4 and in no year does he ever make more than that.

How can it be rejected?  The NHL can’t madate when a player retires.  Kovalchuk with be younger than Chris Chelios is now, so you can’t say it’s unheard of for a player to play that long.

I just don’t see them having a leg to stand on, at least as far as the rules that SBNation quoted are concerned…

Posted by Garth on 07/21/10 at 12:57 AM ET

cigar_nurse's avatar

Baroque also tells us that the most typical psychological term for functions carried out by the prefrontal cortex area is executive function.

Psychological should be physiological. Gee I haven’t read about that stuff for years.How about the amygdala which controls emotional and explicit memory? We got a few trolls here with flawed amygdalas.  Have a great night all.

Posted by cigar_nurse from Greenville South Cakalakee on 07/21/10 at 01:04 AM ET

VooX's avatar

Posted by Garth on 07/20/10 at 10:57 PM ET

While I could try and figure out all the salary restrictions in the salary-cap rules, I can barely remember how much crack I get for $20.  I think I’ll leave the answer to your question for the math fetishists, and stick to the crack pipe myself.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 07/21/10 at 01:19 AM ET

Avatar

I think I’ll leave the answer to your question for the math fetishists, and stick to the crack pipe myself.

The math took a lot out of me so…can I…maybe…have some crack too?

Posted by Garth on 07/21/10 at 01:30 AM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

I was feeling sorry for Kovy, but then I remembered they are probably going to extend unemployment to 99 weeks.

Nice to have you back VooX….you were missed.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 07/21/10 at 03:23 AM ET

Lucce's avatar

Good post.

I hope Kovy leaves for KHL that will start the debate of the cap and Garys ass will be rosted some more.

Posted by Lucce from Kingdom of Zweden on 07/21/10 at 03:36 AM ET

Baroque's avatar

I think any contract that fits the specified requirements should be allowed to stand. If it screws the team later, then it screws the team over later.

It’s just a CBA, not a freaking Constitution. There is no “spirit of the law” just a list of allowable contract manipulations and those that aren’t. A contract fits the rules or it doesn’t and if it fits the rules but the whining suits in charge don’t like it, then address it in the next CBA and stop bitching and moaning about what you didn’t think of in earlier negotiations.

For such a tough sport, there is more whining from offices than a group of cranky sleep-deprived toddlers. What a bunch of babies.

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 07/21/10 at 08:54 AM ET

pgoody's avatar

Guess who looks like a genius now… Klessel…

Posted by pgoody on 07/21/10 at 09:11 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Over at SBNation (which I don’t have an account at, so…), hey quote the CBA saying that they can reject a contract if it “involves a Circumvention of either the Club’s Upper Limit or the Maximum Player Salary”

As far as the cap, the CBA says that the average salary is the cap hit, so they’re not over the cap.  In fact, for the next two years his salary is equal to his cap hit.

But it was a circumvention of the cap. By adding 4 or 5 years to the end of the contract, they’re spreading his salary for more years, thus diminishing his cap hit.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 07/21/10 at 10:10 AM ET

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It’s just a CBA, not a freaking Constitution. There is no “spirit of the law” just a list of allowable contract manipulations and those that aren’t. A contract fits the rules or it doesn’t and if it fits the rules but the whining suits in charge don’t like it, then address it in the next CBA and stop bitching and moaning about what you didn’t think of in earlier negotiations.

It’s not so much a question of the ‘spirit of the CBA’, more about its purpose, which is to ensure cost certainty for owners and therefore salary stability for the players. The rules of the CBA are designed to achieve this end, and because of this, there is also a clause in it that allows the NHL to strike down contracts that will work against the interests of owners and players.

A friend of mine is a law student, and once summarised all law in four words - ‘don’t be a dick’. (With certain exceptions - e.g. drugs) The CBA is similar - ‘don’t screw up the league’. The Kovalchuk contract, if allowed, would become a precedent that would screw up the league - and both Kovalchuk (with his blatant ego-driven desire to be highest paid in the league) and Lamoriello (with his complete lack of consideration for what the contract would do to his own team, never mind the health of the NHL) are both dicks for risking the security and stability of the NHL. It’s stuff like this that leads to lockouts.

Posted by fcjbencard on 07/21/10 at 10:35 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

If they’re worried about contracts that screw up the interests of the league in the spirit of the cap, then the CBA needs to have very specific wording in it regarding which contracts do this, so they’re not given blanket authority to deny any contract Gary Bettman simply doesn’t like.

There is nothing in Kovalchuk’s contract which breaks any rules because the league was too fauxing vague in hammering this shit out.  If there’s no way to punish Matt Cooke for a cheap shot that, at the time, wasn’t illegal by a written-in-stone rule, then there’s no way to void Kovy’s contract on a spirit violation.  Write your rules better and you don’t have to worry about this shit.

I hope everybody grieves this.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/21/10 at 10:49 AM ET

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But it was a circumvention of the cap. By adding 4 or 5 years to the end of the contract, they’re spreading his salary for more years, thus diminishing his cap hit.

So?  The average salary is the cap hit.  The NHLPA agreed to it and so did the NHL.  End of story.

Chris Chelios is 48 years old.  Even if he doesn’t play this year, he will have lasted till he was 48.  Can you prove, beyond any kind of doubt, that Kovalchuk won’t be playing when he’s 44?  Because if you can, great!  You’re going to make a lot of money with your pretend invention, but if you can’t then you can’t void a contract just because it’s long.

The only differences between this contract and Hank’s & Mule’s are relative greed and subtlety.  Kovalchuk wanted to make more than Ovechkin and, for a few year, he will.  Neither Hank nor Mule (or Hossa, for that matter) will ever make nearly twice their cap hit in a year like Kovalchuk would.  Their deals were structured smartly whereas Kovalchuk’s IS a slap in the face to the league, but it’s still a legal slap in the face, as defined by the CBA.

If this is circumvention then so are Hank’s, Mule’s and Hossa’s.  Not Pronger’s though, because the Flyers are stupid and signed him to a 35+ contract.

They followed the letter of the contract.  There is no “spirit” of the contract.

The Kovalchuk contract, if allowed, would become a precedent that would screw up the league

I absolutely agree with you about them being dicks, but this isn’t a precedent.  There are at least three contracts (Zetterberg, Franzen, Hossa) that preceded this one.  Say what you will about Hank, but with Franzen’s injury history (one full season out of five) does anyone really expect him to be playing until he’s 40?

Clearly this is going to be a loophole that’s closed with the next CBA but for now I simply don’t see that the NHL has a leg to stand on.  If it goes to an arbitrator, the PA is going to say “read the words” and the NHL is going to say “no no, don’t bother with the words, we’ll just tell you what we think the rule should be”.  Pretty cut and dried to me.

Posted by Garth on 07/21/10 at 10:55 AM ET

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If there’s no way to punish Matt Cooke for a cheap shot that, at the time, wasn’t illegal by a written-in-stone rule, then there’s no way to void Kovy’s contract on a spirit violation.

+1

If the league didn’t want the average salary to be the cap hit, they shouldn’t have allowed the rule to be worded that way.

Posted by Garth on 07/21/10 at 10:56 AM ET

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I absolutely agree with you about them being dicks, but this isn’t a precedent.  There are at least three contracts (Zetterberg, Franzen, Hossa) that preceded this one.  Say what you will about Hank, but with Franzen’s injury history (one full season out of five) does anyone really expect him to be playing until he’s 40?


Pretty sure that this is the first contract ever to include multiple years at both the maximum and minimum league salaries. That right there is the big, flashing red light that gives away that this is circumvention. Both Zetterberg and Franzen signed hometown deals - they’ve played their entire NHL career in Detroit, and it’s clear that they don’t want that to change. Anyone who signs for 17 years in New Jersey, after three months in the organisation, can’t really say that they know it’s where they want to spend the rest of their career.

The Hossa deal, frankly, could have been voided as well, because it is similar to Kovalchuk’s but (a) much less obvious in terms of salary fluctuation and (b) putting on my tin foil hat, it was offered by a team in a major media market trying to break a long-term title drought, rather than the New Jersey Devils.

If it goes to an arbitrator, the PA is going to say “read the words” and the NHL is going to say “no no, don’t bother with the words, we’ll just tell you what we think the rule should be”.  Pretty cut and dried to me

The NHL will point to the section that bans general cap circumvention, and then ask whether any reasonable person could believe that there can be any motivation for signing a contract this front-loaded, with this much salary fluctuation, with an organisation the player has been in for three months, other than deliberately and blatantly circumventing the cap.

Posted by fcjbencard on 07/21/10 at 11:14 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

There are at least three contracts (Zetterberg, Franzen, Hossa) that preceded this one.  Say what you will about Hank, but with Franzen’s injury history (one full season out of five) does anyone really expect him to be playing until he’s 40?

I don’t think Hossa will play to 42, and the first thing I thought when heard of Hank’s contract was “I thought he’d retire at 38”.

But no one knows this for sure, look at Homer for instance: he plays what is probably the most grindind style in the league and has been doing this for quite some time. Because of that, he played in only 76% of possible games for him, and still signed another two-year deal which will take him to 40 years old. And Franzén, who’s very much injury prone, played 78% of possible games so far, so why can’t he reach that?

(as you may have realized, I don’t know exactly where I stand on this deal, all I know is that everyone involved—NJ, Kovalchuk, the owners—is stupid)

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 07/21/10 at 11:20 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Anyone who signs for 17 years in New Jersey, after three months in the organisation, can’t really say that they know it’s where they want to spend the rest of their career.

They can really say that they committed to a 17-year contract with that club, meaning they’ll spend the rest of their career there, especially if there’s a NTC on that deal. So, yes, they can really say that and then they can be forced to abide by that.

The Hossa deal, frankly, could have been voided as well, because it is similar to Kovalchuk’s but (a) much less obvious in terms of salary fluctuation and (b) putting on my tin foil hat, it was offered by a team in a major media market trying to break a long-term title drought, rather than the New Jersey Devils.

Exactly; if they didn’t void the Hossa deal, then why are they and how can they void the Kovalchuk deal?  Because it seems more obvious the intent of the contract?  Bullshit.  Put it in writing and abide by that.

The NHL will point to the section that bans general cap circumvention.

And the NHLPA should point to the section of the CBA that clearly defines what a general cap circumvention is and then raise their hands in a confused manner and say “oh wait, there isn’t one”. 

Let’s cover what exact damage we’re doing to the league, the players, and the teams by allowing these contracts.  Can anybody tell me how the NHL is a worse place for allowing this Kovalchuk contract?  Don’t give me shit about “what if everybody signs these?” because you and I both know for damn certain that not every player is going to want to sign a contract like this because of the risks involved.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/21/10 at 11:23 AM ET

Guilherme's avatar

One thing: the league limits the lenght of entry-level contracts, which can’t last until after they are 25 years-old, and have maximum lenght of 3 seasons. Maybe they limit contract to 40 years in the next CBA.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 07/21/10 at 11:30 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

If we want to discuss possible damage to the league, then we should be discussing the precedent that has been set that allows Bettman to outright state what a team’s or a player’s intentions are when signing a contract and voiding anything that he simply doesn’t like or that’s not what’s in the best business interests of the game.

Oh, hey, Jonathan Toews has just become a free agent after his deal in Chicago.  He’s the most sought-after center in the league, the most marketable player in the world, and is getting offers from everywhere.  The small-market Thrashers offer him the biggest deal they can on a four-year contract that pays him the same amount over those four years.

Wait though, Bettman says the intention of that contract is to force a larger portion of revenue sharing dollars in order to artificially inflate the cap and he voids it.  Of course, it’s because the league wants their most marketable stars in their biggest markets, but only Bettman is allowed to figure out other people’s intentions.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/21/10 at 11:34 AM ET

Avatar

And the NHLPA should point to the section of the CBA that clearly defines what a general cap circumvention is and then raise their hands in a confused manner and say “oh wait, there isn’t one”. 

Article 26.3 (paraphrased because I can’t copy/paste it)-

No club may enter into any agreements, promises, undertakings, etc of any kind… if it is intended to or has the effect of defeating or Circumventing the provisions of this Agreement, including without limitation, provisions with respect to the financial obligations of the Clubs and the League, Team Payroll Range, Player Compensation Cost Redistribution System etc

The salary fluctuations on Kovalchuk’s contract ($11m between highest and lowest annual salary) circumvent the provisions of the CBA because they serve, long-term, to ensure the Devils will spend above the team payroll range by at least $5m dollars. Which then means (a) that the Devils have an illegitimate advantage over competitors and (b) that Kovalchuk’s deal skews the players’ share of the league revenues, ultimately costing other players money (which is why I’m baffled that the NHLPA is fighting the NHL on this - it’s actually in the interests of all but one of their members for them not to!)

Any reasonable person would conclude that this contract is, beyond all reasonable doubt, intended to circumvent the cap. It will certainly do so in practice, and in so doing, will unbalance the system of cost certainty. Owners will have to spend more in real terms to be competitive, increasing their costs - already happening to some extent (in terms of salary paid last season, Vancouver, Detroit, Philly and Chicago all spent over the cap). Players, as mentioned above, are screwed over by this deal because of escrow payments (which they really aren’t happy about atm). From a business point of view, these things make investing in the NHL less secure as a proposition for owners and the media, thus damaging NHL revenues, which exacerbates these problems further in a vicious cycle towards bankruptcies and lockouts.

In hindsight, the NHL should have struck down Hossa’s deal as well - but luckily, the Kovalchuk deal is so extreme that this past mistake shouldn’t bind them with precedent.

Posted by fcjbencard on 07/21/10 at 11:58 AM ET

wingsfanindenver's avatar

something that this whole episode shows that I don’t think anyone has addressed. These types of contracts show the cracks in the whole cap system. The owners writing these contracts are in *interested* in the cap. They’re interested in winning, and will do what they feel is necessary to win. If that means ridiculously long contracts to star players, fine. Gary’s Little Experiment failed. It was a joke to begin with, and it’s a joke now. The Big Kid owners are going to continue kicking sand on the Little Kid owners, and that’s just the way it is. Don’t like it? Move your damned team out of Nashville, or Phoenix, or Miami and into a hockey market.

Posted by wingsfanindenver on 07/21/10 at 12:00 PM ET

wingsfanindenver's avatar

These types of contracts show the cracks in the whole cap system. The owners writing these contracts are in *interested* in the cap.

errr should read “aren’t”

Posted by wingsfanindenver on 07/21/10 at 12:02 PM ET

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Maybe they limit contract to 40 years in the next CBA.


Charles Wang will be most disappointed - that 42 year extension to Tavares was a key part of the Islanders’ future…

Posted by fcjbencard on 07/21/10 at 12:11 PM ET

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Any reasonable person would conclude that this contract is, beyond all reasonable doubt, intended to circumvent the cap.

The problem is that there is NO WAY to prove that they intend to circumvent the cap unless the league can uncover emails or communications stating that they’re going to circumvent the cap.

That’s why Hossa’s contract stands and that’s why, if the Devils organization are in any way competent, Kovalchuk’s will.

Posted by Garth on 07/21/10 at 12:12 PM ET

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The owners writing these contracts aren’t in *interested* in the cap.

You’re 100% right.  You’ve got to think that one of the “richer” owners suggested the whole “contract total divided by term equals cap hit” wording in order to have some wiggle room.

Posted by Garth on 07/21/10 at 12:19 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Posted by fcjbencard on 07/21/10 at 10:11 AM ET

Good thing you’re joking. To be clear(er), maybe they won’t allow multi-year deals that end after the player is 40 years old. After 40, you sign for one-year and that’s it.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 07/21/10 at 12:30 PM ET

AndrewFromAnnArbor's avatar

If there’s no way to punish Matt Cooke for a cheap shot that, at the time, wasn’t illegal by a written-in-stone rule, then there’s no way to void Kovy’s contract on a spirit violation.

Sigh…in a league where Matt Cooke can blindside elbow a guy to the head and end his season without even a penalty assessed on the play, yet Sean Avery gets an indefinite suspension for making an off-color remark about an opposing player and an ex-girlfriend, nothing should really surprise us anymore.  Especially when said league pays the most major attention to the most minor of issues, and vice-versa.

It’s not like the PA and the League will even agree on an arbiter to hear the grievance, so I hope Lou is prepared for last summer’s Hudler saga, only about a hundred times worse.  And at the end of the day, we all know what will happen because about half the people here are lawyers—the letter of the law is with the Devils, and there is nothing that makes this contract void aside from Gary Bettman’s whining and snivelling.  Being a lawyer himself, you’d think he’d know that.  Being an unscrupulous moronic troll, you realize he doesn’t.

And fcjbencard, I’d be careful about using terms like ‘cost certainty’ if I were you.  The only effect of that that owners actually care about is the fact that it increases the equity value of their franchises year-on-year.  Actual payroll is a whole other matter entirely.

Posted by AndrewFromAnnArbor from Fortress Europe on 07/21/10 at 12:43 PM ET

Wings_Fan_In_KC's avatar

You’re 100% right.  You’ve got to think that one of the “richer” owners suggested the whole “contract total divided by term equals cap hit” wording in order to have some wiggle room.

————————————————————————

Cue Mike Ilitch !

Posted by Wings_Fan_In_KC from ...somewhere southwest of The Motor City... on 07/21/10 at 12:48 PM ET

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Cue Mike Ilitch !

For sure.  Teams like Detroit, the Rangers, the Leafs…you know they didn’t want a cap (well, the Leafs ownership couldn’t have cared…they’re going to make money hand over fist whether they spend to the cap ceiling or barely reach the cap floor) so they had to be smart when agreeing to it.  Make sure there were loopholes they could exploit.

Posted by Garth on 07/21/10 at 12:50 PM ET

Rumbear's avatar

Baroque’s Big Book of Biology

Which volume?  I have Vol IV is there a more recent edition?

Voox…glad to hear you survived the “peace” riots….hit me, Ketal One straight up with a twist.

Posted by Rumbear from Top O the Hasek, doing the pre-season shuffle.... on 07/21/10 at 03:10 PM ET

SYF's avatar

The only seeming controversy left in Tampa is whether Yzerman’s moves this past offseasn makes his team any tougher or softer for the grind of the regular season and, hopefully, the playoffs.

The comments made by the Bolts faithful seem to suggest that 95% of them approve the moves he made to improve his top-six forward lines but did they sacrifice “toughness” to get better?  Holy hell, it was an argument us Wings fans only know waaay too well.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 07/21/10 at 03:21 PM ET

Behind_Enemy_Lines's avatar

The cap is lame. All arguments for the cap are futile. Do the Yankees win the world series every year? Way less spots open to make the playoffs in baseball too. Did the Rangers/Kings/Blackhawks win a shit ton of cups when there was no cap? Numbers savvy I am not, but who exactly is the cap supposed to benefit? Seems everyone looses. As J.J. pointed out a while back, it seems teams at the floor are screwed (in ways he can explain better) just as bad as those at the ceiling.

Posted by Behind_Enemy_Lines from Evanston,IL on 07/21/10 at 05:39 PM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

Which volume?  I have Vol IV is there a more recent edition?

The unabridged version.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 07/21/10 at 09:18 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Guess who looks like a genius now… Klessel…

Posted by pgoody on 07/21/10 at 07:11 AM ET

Only at a sea slug convention.

How exactly does this make him look good?  The fact remains he called 80% chance on LA and he was wrong.  Dead wrong.

Baseball has the Mendoza Line, the hockey blogosphere should have the Klessel Line.  If you can’t make predictions and bat higher than Klessel with them, you’re just officially a joke.

Posted by Primis on 07/21/10 at 09:32 PM ET

pgoody's avatar

Where is the facetious font when you need it…

Posted by pgoody on 07/21/10 at 11:10 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

If the team’s payroll range was an issue, the league would have released that as the issue instead of calling it a contract intended as a retirement contract that artificially lowered the cap hit.

The Devils can afford to spend above the cap thanks to the breaking-the-curve nature of how the cap is set ($8M over 57% of the projected average revenue for a team).  They’re not spending over 57% of their revenues with the Kovalchuk contract.  This isn’t going to lead to a cycle of bankruptcies because the Devils aren’t in danger of going bankrupt any time soon.

The Devils enjoy no illegitimate advantage in signing Kovalchuk to this deal because any team should be able to offer this same contract to Kovalchuk and have the league accept it.  Sure, there are small-market teams that don’t have that kind of money, but that’s also the CBA’s fault and not the fault of the players.

Speaking of the players, if they’re worried about escrow, they should probably spend their time wondering why the system that got set up is failing and why the league isn’t making their revenue projections.  If the league was making as much money as they say they’re going to every season (forgetting the impact of the mandatory inflator they’ve taken the last two years), then the players wouldn’t be giving up 12% of their salaries.  The NHLPA is better suited to fighting for actually being treated as a partner, like the league says they are rather than infighting about their superstars’ contracts being too big a drop in a proverbial bucket.  The players collectively are paid about $1.4 BILLION, Kovalchuk making $10M in one year isn’t screwing over Drew Miller nearly as much as Tennessee’s $7,500 yearly tax for the games he plays in Nashville and the fact that the league has set up a system under which many of the bottom 10-earning teams in the league are only seeing growth of their organization’s equity while seeing a lowering of their profits (which allows them to take loans against franchise equity for outside business ventures and essentially legally hide revenues they may be making). 

While we’re talking about equity and how secure a proposition the league is for investments, the largest-earning teams aren’t hurting themselves because they’re still making money hand-over fist.  They have not just cost certainty, but talent-cost certainty.  Only the largest teams can afford to buy talent at levels they can go for and get the lower hits, allowing those teams to be the only competitive teams in the league, making them a VERY solid proposition for investment.  You see, the banks and sponsors look at the league the same way many as the fans have… they see revenues are up (no matter the concept that the revenues are not up evenly and are in fact down in several places) and they see that EVERY team in the league gets their share of increased equity, which as I’ve already stated, can be used to fund means of making money which are not reportable to the league or the player’s association (not to mention that these revenues don’t have to be shared).

So while you’re writing a letter to the NHLPA about how they should all turn their backs on Kovalchuk for wanting to be paid $10M for bringing the Devils $20M in increased profits, maybe you can ask them to give up their name rights for video games and merchandise so they don’t pull a penny for having their likenesses used.  I’m sure they’ll like both ideas.

This is PRECISELY why the NHLPA should be fighting for the Kovalchuk contract, for Donald Fehr, and for a unified front against a league that wants to treat them like minority partners and use them as an insurance policy against falling profits and failing teams.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/22/10 at 03:28 AM ET

Sullyosis's avatar

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/21/10 at 09:34 AM ET

Just want to say, much too late, I’m sure, that of everything going with this issue and the broader sense, the bigger picture that is the NHL’s lack of actual rules that handle cases such as these, that I couldn’t agree more with what J.J. is saying.

If you don’t have a rule in place to negate a certain contract, then you look bad ruling it so. If it does indeed cross the lines, then it reflects poorly on the writing of the rules and makes people skeptical of their enforcement (as in:  ‘Would Pitt and Sid have gotten away with the exact same contract’ type of talks).

I am, however, a terribly hard headed libertarian and realise that contradicts Gary’s system.  ‘If we can figure it out and make it work, then that’s our business and leave us the fuch alone’ is my attitude, but if Gary wants to get his say in, well there’s nothing I can do.  I don’t think it makes the NHL look any better by his doing so, though.  And tip of the hat to J.J. for saying what I cannot in my inebriated state, whether we share the same sentiments or not his argument is the most logical to me.

Posted by Sullyosis from A hateful lair in Post Apocalyptic US (or Arizona) on 07/22/10 at 04:34 AM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com