Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

You Can’t Always Get What You Want. But If You Try Sometimes, You Might Find, You Get What You Need

“You can’t have everything,” Jim Nill said to me a few times.  I didn’t record our conversations, it just didn’t feel right, but those words stuck in my head.

In the past, he said, the Wings would go and get any player they wanted, the only limiting factor was price.  Today, value is another important factor.

He went on to say the dedication to win comes from the top.  Mike and Marian on down.  “1A and 1B” as he called them.

The Ilitch family was determined to bring Modano to Detroit.  Nill stated that Mike Ilitch wanted Modano very badly because of his local history, including the Little Caesar’s program as a kid, which was very important to Ilitch.  He also wanted Modano because he knew he could get him at the right price.

The Wings have realistic expectations with Modano.  While they don’t expect him to get 30 goals anymore, 30 assists is a reasonable expectation.  If he was the Modano of three years ago, we wouldn’t have been able to afford him under the cap.

What Nill had to say about the cap itself, took me completely by surprise.

 

The Red Wings like the salary cap as it is.  They are not bothered at all by the upper spending limit.

Except for one season or so, we’ve never spent more on salaries than we do today, Nill said, the team is reaching the limits of what they can pay to players and still remain profitable.

In another post, I will be discussing in detail Nill’s comments about Lidstrom today and the Wings without him, Hudler, Bertuzzi, scouting players including a discussion on what he looks for and advanced statistical metrics, which players he expects to have great seasons, where he likes to watch games in the arena, and why he isn’t a GM somewhere else.

Today, I will discuss recent hot topics.  Continuing on with Modano and the fourth line, moving onto Salei/Mitchell/Lilja, and wrapping up with goaltending.

As Nill sees it, with Mike Modano centering our third line, Hudler returning, and Cleary healthy, the Wings will have the best four lines in the NHL.  And I can’t argue with that.  I asked about what that would mean for our fourth line and the guys fighting for spots.  Maltby has to accept the fact he is in his late thirties and not expect a roster spot.  Draper will be on the fourth line.  Kids like Helm and Abdelkader are locks, and will be getting as much ice-time as possible on the fourth/third lines, while the rest of the prospects will have to fight it out during training camp.  They are in a fight for their spot on the roster in Traverse City, each one of them better bring their best game.

The lines are all up to Uncle Mike.

Signing Abdelkader was not even a concern.  From the way Nill spoke of him being a lock on the fourth line, it seems certain Home Keys will be back next season.

And what about our defence? “You can’t have everything.”  But we still are alright.

Nill expects Ericsson or Kindl to really step up.  Smith seems like he will be in the mix as well during training camp.  It’s up to the kids to fight for their spots, but it seems like Ericsson and Kindl will be the guys.  Not once did Jim mention Meech.  I didn’t bother asking about him, either.

While many here are concerned we didn’t go after Mitchell, Nill is not.  He thinks Salei is a great addition for his price.  While Lilja would have been welcomed back, Andreas wanted a bigger role on the team.  The Wings weren’t able to offer that to him.  Nor could they fit in his salary demands under the cap after our other summer signings. 

Don’t look at Salei as a step-down from Lilja, though, Nill certainly isn’t.  To him, Salei is better with the puck than Lilja and, while smaller, has a grittier edge to his game than Lilja does.

Finally, the eternal “weak” spot of the Wings, goaltending.  Look for Osgood to have an amazing year, Nill promises, Chris will step it up and set team records this season.  And don’t worry about Jimmah, I was assured, he has been working hard with Bedard and is making subtle improvements to sharpen his game.

This is no spin from Nill.  He truly believes we are stacked and ready to go next season.  And I can dig that.

Let’s Go Red Wings!!!!!

Is it October yet?

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Comments

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Andy from FightNight's avatar

Thanks Voox, this fills me with optimism. Good work!

Posted by Andy from FightNight on 08/21/10 at 08:58 PM ET

stayouttamalibu's avatar

Look for Osgood to have an amazing year, Nill promises, Chris will step it up and set team records this season.

This is interesting, because I was wondering how much Ozzie was even going to get to play next season.

Posted by stayouttamalibu from California on 08/21/10 at 09:47 PM ET

pgoody's avatar

Ya man I love the Monkees… errr….

Posted by pgoody on 08/21/10 at 09:56 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

Nill sure loves him some Ozzie. I sure hope he’s right.

And he seems like a good fellow (after all, he reads us). He knows hockey, he knows the team, he knows the players, and I think we can say he knows the fans, specially because he is a fan.

Again, great work Bartender. Now give me some tequila.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/21/10 at 10:07 PM ET

Avatar

The Wings better like the salary cap.  It made them about 150 million dollars in the first four years it was in existence.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 08/21/10 at 10:14 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

Jim Nill is a great guy, as is Ken Holland.
Those guys are the heart and soul of the Wings.

Posted by w2j2 on 08/21/10 at 10:41 PM ET

MarkK's avatar

It seems that he’s in a position in which he can say openly what he believes, and is comfortable believing in the organ-I-zation and the decisions they make.  Good place to be.

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 08/21/10 at 11:11 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

The Ilitch family was determined to bring Modano to Detroit.  Nill stated that Mike Ilitch wanted Modano very badly because of his local history, including the Little Caesar’s program as a kid, which was very important to Ilitch.

And that, in a nutshell, explains why Drapes wasn’t traded this summer and Malts is being offered at least a two-way contrct. If there’s a better, and more loyal, owner in all of sports, I don’t know who it would be. I love Tick Tock. I love Uncle Mike. But I love and respect Mr. & Mrs. I. Bless them and their family.

Again, great work Bartender. Now give me some tequila.

What Herm said – but I’ll take a Rusty Nail (with two olives), please. smile

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 08/22/10 at 01:34 AM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

from wikipedia

Jim Nill played 1 season for the Salt-Lake Golden Eagles of the CHL in 1980–81. He finally made his NHL debut in 1982 for St. Louis. He only played 1 season for the Blues before being traded to the Vancouver Canucks for Tony Currie, Rick Heinz and St. Louis’ 4th round choice (Shawn Kilroy) in the 1982 NHL Entry Draft for Glen Hanlon on March 9, 1982. He helped the Canucks to the 1982 Stanley Cup Finals where they would lose to the New York Islanders 4–0. After 2 more seasons in Vancouver Nill was traded to the Boston Bruins for Peter McNab on February 3, 1984. He did not receive very much ice time in Boston and consequently the Bruins ended up trading him to the Winnipeg Jets for Morris Lukowich on February 4, 1985. He played nearly 4 years for Winnipeg, However they were not able to defeat the powerhouse Edmonton Oilers or the Calgary Flames. He was sent to the AHL’s Moncton Hawks. He did not stay in New Brunswick long as Detroit Red Wings head coach Jacques Demers liked his tough style of play. He was traded to Detroit on January 11, 1988 for fellow journeyman NHLer Mark Kumpel. He played the final 3 years of his NHL career in Detroit with brief stints for the AHL’s Adirondack Red Wings. In Adirondack he was a teammate of Sheldon Kennedy. He retired from hockey as a player after 1991.

Took on all the heavies,
I don’t ever remember him backing down..

Many, many more

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 08/22/10 at 01:42 AM ET

Osrt's avatar

Posted by HockeyTownTodd

That’s why you’re Gramps. I completely forgot Nil played, although it was before my time. No, seriously, I wasn’t even in the country and had no conception of ice hockey.

Anyway, a lot of appreciated optimism from you Mr. Nil. I would love Ozzie to have a great year and push Howard. Jimmah, meanwhile, needs to adjust to a much better team in front of him He’ll face less shots but his save percentage will have to be the same.

Posted by Osrt on 08/22/10 at 02:25 AM ET

pjwalny's avatar

Hey you guys know that Mrs.Ilitch is more personally invested than that of MR. Mrs.Illitch. She has always had lots of love for this franchise. Im not knocking Mr. I by any means. If you have ever got a chance to talk to the Illitch’s or people close to them you would find that Mrs. Illitch absolutely adores this team. Remember I am not knocking Mike, but Mike has always had high hopes for the tigers.

I guarantee that if you spoke with Mr.illitch on his death day and gave him one wish, he would wish for a Tigers world series championship. He loves those motor city kitties. As he ages in this latter part of his life he will start making significant attempts to get a world series victory. You can already see in the last five years that he feels the clock is ticking. The Tigers payroll has made a jump. I believe the 2006, 2007 or 2008 team was one of the top five payrolls in baseball. As the years go on, he will start panicking. He will probably try to “Yankee” in a championship.

If you dont know what I mean by that or if you dont follow baseball. The Red Wings previous to the lockout and the cap were the New York Yankees of hockey. There is no salary cap in baseball. He has already done of this overspending already. Unfortunately, some of those huge contracts have backfired.

What does this mean for the Red Wings? Well, dont worry there is only one thing about this that will influence the winged wheel. The Red Wings payroll will never drop and we will always be pushed right up against the cap. Just dont count on getting a new stadium anytime soon. It would be great to see the wings in a brand new stadium but it wont happen. He’s gonna start sinking money into the tigers payroll. If Dave Dombrowski screws up the signing like he screwed up everything else, we will probably be just a high payed team without a championship. Buying the Pistons might help in that we could share a facility downtown.

Remember I am not saying anything bad about Illitch, the red wings, his wife and or his financial endeavors! He has been and will continue to be a terrific owner. He is the best owner from any of the major sports, hands down. He took the Dead Wings and turned them into the 3rd highest in overall worth team in the NHL. (Forbes NHL 2010) His actions have made the Wings won of the most loved team in the country. Forbes also rated the Red Wings as having the 3rd best fan base from all of sports. Out of all the North American teams. (also citing Forbes Fanbase rating 2010)

Posted by pjwalny from Not Detroit, evidently?? on 08/22/10 at 02:28 AM ET

Avatar

Ok, we get it Mr Illitch!  You love the Wings and so does your wife!

Posted by Garth on 08/22/10 at 02:54 AM ET

HockeyJoe's avatar

Jim Nill’s jersey from his days with the Adirondack Red Wings is currently in the Hockey Hall of Fame. No joke.

Posted by HockeyJoe from Upstate New York on 08/22/10 at 04:59 AM ET

pomthillips's avatar

If you have ever got a chance to talk to the Illitch’s or people close to them you would find that Mrs. Illitch absolutely adores this team. Remember I am not knocking Mike, but Mike has always had high hopes for the tigers.

Shenanigans.

It is hard to pick out fact from fiction when I have heard people also say the exact opposite regarding Illitch’s priorities (i.e. that he favors the Wings over the Tigers).  Who has the more accurate inside scoop?  Shenanigans, right off the bat.

Furthermore, why would he go through the charade of pretending to look into a new arena?  Regardless of whether he purchases the Pistons or not, he clearly intends to improve the Red Wings’ arena situation, it’s just a matter of how.  If he succeeds in purchasing the PIstons, all signs indicate he genuinely intends to build a new dual-sport facility in the city (estimated at $350-400 mil according to Crain’s Detroit Business).  If the bid fails, he will likely renovate the Joe (which is $150 mil approx also according to Crain’s).

Either way, there is no incentive to bluff the city into thinking he is building a new arena, because he will certainly seek public funds either way.  He has invested too much in the City to build in the suburbs.  Nor do I don’t think the threat of a temporary stay at the Palace is a particularly useful bargaining chip.  They know he’s going back to tha D.

I didn’t perceive you as implying anything negative about Ilitch, his wife, etc.  I just thought it was particularly weak conjecture based on hearsay.  At the very most, he’s impulsive.  And if that’s your argument, that is seriously difficult to comment on, let alone predict.

All right well no more whiskeys

Posted by pomthillips from Ann Arbor, Michigan on 08/22/10 at 07:07 AM ET

pomthillips's avatar

Shitballs I did want to comment on the actual post.  Got distracted by that *#$%@& comment.

Man Nill’s words have me pumped. 

Hell yes we will have the best 4 lines in the NHL.  Remember 2008?  We will frustrate and outplay team after team like the machine we were then, rolling out line after line, pre-Hossa.  I think the chemistry is going to be there with this team. 

The defense will be a pleasant surprise.  With Kindl, Smith, Ericcson battling for PT, one of them is bound to break through in a good way.  And Wings fans don’t realize how solid Salei is - he will be one of the top 3rd line defenders in the league, as he should be top 4 most other places.  And I loved Lills but Salei is an improvement in that he has a mean streak.  That he is better with the puck is very surprising but welcome.  I want to see him out there showing Kindl/Ericcson/Smith what to do.

And I like what I’m hearing about Jimmy.  Hopefully he closes up that five hole but continues to be solid kickin those pucks out like pinballs, helmet on or off.

Voox this is better than anything I’ve ever read in the preseason in terms of concrete expectations STRAIGHT from team management.  So pumped.  Very encouraging words.

Posted by pomthillips from Ann Arbor, Michigan on 08/22/10 at 07:20 AM ET

Baroque's avatar

It doesn’t surprise me that Jim Nill is fine with the cap where it is. I don’t think that any of the higher-spending teams would like it to be much higher (some might like a little more space), but more of the complaints come from smaller-market teams who can’t spend to the cap and make profits, but feel compelled to do so because otherwise they would have a much worse team, the teams that can’t realistically afford to spend to the floor, and the grumblings of even the minor revenue-sharing that exists already, including having half the playoff revenue siphoned off for the small-market teams.

Besides, no matter what the league “spends” any overage is taken back from the players via escrow. The larger-market teams have come out very well.

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 08/22/10 at 09:54 AM ET

Baroque's avatar

And I recall nice things about Osgood’s preparation before last year, too - that he didn’t like getting off to such a slow start previously and was determined not to repeat it. Determination doesn’t mean a thing if you have lost your edge. I’ll believe he’s not going to be crappy again when I see it.

[...] Chris will step it up and set team records this season.

Highs for goals against and lows for save pct could be records as much as lows and highs would be. LOL

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 08/22/10 at 10:00 AM ET

MarkK's avatar

I’ll believe he’s not going to be crappy again when I see it.

Well said, B.

Posted by MarkK from Maryland on 08/22/10 at 10:06 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

At this point, you either get the cap or you don’t.

I agree with Nill on everything except Osgood.  I don’t know how he’s going to be breaking any records unless Jimmy loses his job to Chris.  I’m rooting for Osgood and I’ve gotten over the comments he made last year, but he’s definitely the backup now.

I expect big things from this Red Wings squad.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 08/22/10 at 12:18 PM ET

CaptNorris5's avatar

Best thing you’ve written yet, Bartender. Great stuff. All the prizes.

...is it October yet?

Posted by CaptNorris5 from The Winged Wheel, stuck in Chicago on 08/22/10 at 02:09 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Posted by pomthillips from Ann Arbor, Michigan on 08/22/10 at 05:20 AM ET

Word.

Posted by RWBill from cruising Brush Street with creepy Rob Lowe. on 08/22/10 at 02:58 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

Don’t look at Salei as a step-down from Lilja, though, Nill certainly isn’t.  To him, Salei is better with the puck than Lilja and, while smaller, has a grittier edge to his game than Lilja does.

Finally, the eternal “weak” spot of the Wings, goaltending.  Look for Osgood to have an amazing year, Nill promises, Chris will step it up and set team records this season.  And don’t worry about Jimmah, I was assured, he has been working hard with Bedard and is making subtle improvements to sharpen his game.

This is no spin from Nill.  He truly believes we are stacked and ready to go next season.  And I can dig that.

Let’s Go Red Wings!!!!!

I agree with Nill on the Salei pick-up. Mean and nasty. Me likey very much. As far as the goal tending goes we all know what to expect by now. It will always be the big question mark/chink in the armor. Still, I don’t give a hoot. We have the tools, we have the talent. #12 is looking good from my point of view. Thanks bartender, for your excellent coverage. You are the man. Bitch.

I’m spending the next few days at CHOP with my grandson and son. Actually I’m here right now. Modern medicine at it’s finest. Little Jack has a few hemangiomas, but the one under his eyelid is a cause for concern. He is being treated with a fairly new procedure with a drug called Propranolol. We will be here for aboot 3-5 days. Later bitches.

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 08/22/10 at 03:06 PM ET

CaptNorris5's avatar

The only thing that we know we can expect regarding our goaltending situation is that we have no idea what to expect. Regular season Ozzie has been up and down his whole career. This could be one of those amazing years where he’s just unstoppable, or it could be like last year. Howard’s way too young to know exactly what he’s capable of in year 2. He was a rock last year - but this is a different team.

In fact, one of Ozzie’s greatest strengths as a Wings goaltender over the past decade has been his ability to stay sharp even when facing no shots for extended periods of time. Fingers crossed - but hopefully those days will return this year. We’ve got a lineup for forwards stocked with defensive acumen and a healthy choice of defensemen that will hopefully prevent the kinds of struggles we faced last year. Hopefully Howard can handle the Ozzie type workloads, where he’ll face a flurry of shots, and then nothing for some time.

Overall, I’m way fuching excited for this season. Let the race for #12 begin.

...is it October yet?

Posted by CaptNorris5 from The Winged Wheel, stuck in Chicago on 08/22/10 at 03:54 PM ET

Chris in A^2's avatar

I don’t remember Ozzie being that bad last year, the problem was he’d give up the 3rd goal after facing 30+ shots and the Griffins would lose 3-2 in regulation, while Jimmy would force the shootout and they’d lose 3-2 but get the bonus point.

Posted by Chris in A^2 from Nyquist Puck Control on 08/22/10 at 04:11 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

I’ve always found comparisons between the pre-salary-cap Red Wings and the New York Yankees to be a bit of a false analogy.  Granted their success makes it a tempting over-simplification, but it remains an over-simplification nonetheless.

Whereas the Yankees exist in a situation in which their financial resources dwarf that of most of their competitors, the Red Wings, even before the salary cap, were still a mid-market team with no such overwhelming inherent financial advantage.  Television revenues for large market teams (or teams that have historically had favorable cable TV deals in place) in baseball are naturally much higher than for small market teams.  Franchises that play in large markets are thus able to play with a built in advantage revenue-wise.  The Yankees, merely by virtue of playing in the largest television market in the country, had this advantage well before they started their own YES network.  In fact, one could argue that it was the success they enjoyed predicated on that advantage that allowed them to prosper to the point of owning their own network.  The upshot of all this is that the Yankees have resources that no other organization has and, as a result, they can (and have) set the free agent market at a level that only a handful of their competitors can reasonably expect to compete with them.  Granted you have to give them their due as there are other organizations in baseball (I’m looking at you Mets!) who do not capitalize on similar situations, but the fact remains that the Yankees generate revenue from their baseball operation that no small market team, no matter how well run or successful, could EVER match.

When did the Red Wings ever have such a stacked deck in their favor?  The answer is never.  True they did have ownership who wasn’t afraid to spend the money it took to become excellent, but even though Mike and Marian have made something of a fortune selling pizza, the fact is that the Red Wings have never had the luxury of the hockey operation by itself, largely by virtue of the size and economic viability of its home market, generating so much income that the rest of the league was simply unable to match their spending.  It was never that way.  What they were able to do is hire good people to run their hockey team and, rather than simply way over-paying free agents (as the Yankees routinely do), they were often, instead of just coughing up obscene sums of money that no one else could match, able to sell key players on the chance to play for the finest organ-I-zation in hockey. 

When did the Wings ever have an off-season in which a small group of free agent signings were given contracts whose value was comparable to the total payroll of entire rosters in the rest of the league?  Never happened.  But the Yankees did exactly that just last season.  And if the Yankees sign a big $$ free agent way above what the rest of the market can possibly withstand and that particular player flames out and doesn’t pay off?  (Because remember, for every C.C. Sabathia there’s a Carl Pavano)  The answer is, they simply discard them and move on to the next free agent.  Did the Wings ever enjoy that luxury?  Nope.  They always had to spend wisely, spend well and minimize any mistakes.  With the Yankees, the organizational philosophy is that if throwing money at a problem doesn’t work the first time, well we have plenty more money to throw at anyway.  Never was the case with Detroit hockey.

So to all those who continue to be tempted to buy this silly notion that the Red Wings were ever, in any way whatsoever (with the lone exception perhaps of their success on the ice), the Yankees of the NHL, please apply some thought next time you feel the urge to make this assertion

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 08/22/10 at 04:24 PM ET

pjwalny's avatar

Ok, we get it Mr Illitch!  You love the Wings and so does your wife!

Posted by Garth on 08/22/10 at 12:54 AM ET

Thats not what Im saying at alll!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What??? Where did you get that?

Posted by pjwalny from Not Detroit, evidently?? on 08/22/10 at 04:37 PM ET

pjwalny's avatar

It is hard to pick out fact from fiction when I have heard people also say the exact opposite regarding Illitch’s priorities (i.e. that he favors the Wings over the Tigers).  Who has the more accurate inside scoop?  Shenanigans, right off the bat

Okay, whatever, thanks for the comment.

Shitballs I did want to comment on the actual post.  Got distracted by that *#$%@& comment.
haha sorry

Hell yes we will have the best 4 lines in the NHL.  Remember 2008?  We will frustrate and outplay team after team like the machine we were then, rolling out line after line, pre-Hossa.  I think the chemistry is going to be there with this team.

Yeah, we will have the best four.

I’ve always found comparisons between the pre-salary-cap Red Wings and the New York Yankees to be a bit of a false analogy.  Granted their success makes it a tempting over-simplification, but it remains an over-simplification nonetheless.\

Well you might be right, lots of ant-wings fans view us like them.

So to all those who continue to be tempted to buy this silly notion that the Red Wings were ever, in any way whatsoever (with the lone exception perhaps of their success on the ice), the Yankees of the NHL, please apply some thought next time you feel the urge to make this assertion
Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 08/22/10 at 02:24 PM ET

Slow down, Im not saying anything bad about the wings. If you talk with some hockey fans from smaller markets, they make that similarity. Thats a fact. You can’t control opinions. Did we simply buy those stanley cups through big contracts, NO. We had good players and great team chemistry. Remember people blame our success on money, the yankees have alot of success. We have alot of success, its not such a bad things. Dont worry, that stigma is gone. I read in an article recently that were not the yankees anymore, were the Patriots.

Posted by pjwalny from Not Detroit, evidently?? on 08/22/10 at 04:52 PM ET

pjwalny's avatar

I don’t remember Ozzie being that bad last year, the problem was he’d give up the 3rd goal after facing 30+ shots and the Griffins would lose 3-2 in regulation, while Jimmy would force the shootout and they’d lose 3-2 but get the bonus point.

Posted by ChrisinA^2 from the University of Michigan on 08/22/10 at 02:11 PM ET

First off, Go Blue.

Osgood lost his mind! He got sick with influenza and when he came back, he was not the same. I felt really hurt by his actions. I am mad and disappointed with him. Last year, we really needed him to be a stable presence in an unstable team. I really like him. He simply broke my heart last year. He hung us out to dry. Thank god for jimmy because if Howard didnt do good, well our playoff streak might have ended.

I have really liked Ozzy ever since I was a little kid. When we were down in the dumps last year he should have stepped up. I know he is not a luongo or Miller, I just really wanted my Ozzy. I will still love you Ozz, even if your not between the pipes.

Posted by pjwalny from Not Detroit, evidently?? on 08/22/10 at 05:02 PM ET

SYF's avatar

That fourth line is going to be so much fun to watch this year.  It’ll remind me of Kocur, Draper, and Maltby as the original Grind Line.

VooX, I raise my Jameson’s to you.  Looking forward to the Nill interview.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 08/22/10 at 06:36 PM ET

Wings_Fan_In_KC's avatar

GRIND LINE MARK III


(Spinal Tap Reference)

Posted by Wings_Fan_In_KC from ...somewhere southwest of The Motor City... on 08/22/10 at 06:42 PM ET

pjwalny's avatar

When did the Wings ever have an off-season in which a small group of free agent signings were given contracts whose value was comparable to the total payroll of entire rosters in the rest of the league?

I dont know what that means? The entire question.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 08/22/10 at 02:24 PM ET

Wow you must really hate the Yankees! Every sport has an evil empire. Yankees in baseball, Lakers in basketball, Red Wings and Cowboys/Patriots. Don’t forget that the red wings organization is worth triple almost quadruple to some other franchises. Besides don’t worry about the wings reputation, there is a salary cap and a new nhl. Obviously the wings are more than just a team who has bought championships. Many thought we would struggle after the new changes to the nhl. Our cup in 2008 proved all wrong.

I mean wow, you really got pissed off by that comparison. It just means were successful. Im sorry.

Posted by pjwalny from Not Detroit, evidently?? on 08/22/10 at 06:45 PM ET

VooX's avatar

VooX, I raise my Jameson’s to you.  Looking forward to the Nill interview.
Posted by SYF from Las Vegas, NV on 08/22/10 at 04:36 PM ET

Sorry to disappoint, Sully, but this is part of the interview.  I didn’t record our conversations, am posting from memory, thus no quotes around what Nill said, as I can’t quote him verbatim.

The facts are correct, the exact wording is not.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 08/22/10 at 07:35 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

Wow you must really hate the Yankees!

I think you might be missing the point.  The point being made has little to do with whatever feelings you, I or anyone else might have about the Yankees.  The point I’m attempting to make is that the Red Wings never enjoyed this type of financial edge over their opposition, and that the seemingly never-ending comparison that you and many other fans mistakenly make has little, if any, solid basis in reality beyond the passing resemblance between the on-field/on-ice performances of the two franchises.

A quick look at the facts:  There are thirty franchises in major league baseball.  The current Yankee payroll is a full 25% higher than the next highest-paying team in the league, more than double the amount of twenty-two other major league teams, more than triple of seven of those and nearly seven times that of the lowest.  The Yankee starting infield alone has a payroll greater than fifteen of the thirty teams in MLB.  While the Wings were definitely at the top of the payroll list prior to the salary cap era the fact is they were NEVER had the type of unique financial advantages that the Yankees enjoy with which to out-spend their opponents to anywhere the extent that the Yankees do.

The Yankees have the type of deep pocket resources which allow them to simply out-spend virtually everyone else and in the process establish a “market rate” for free agency which effectively prices eighty percent of the teams in the league out of the market regardless of how intelligently run or otherwise resourceful their front offices might be. 

The Red Wings’ success was never predicated strictly on their ability to out-spend the opposition to the extent that the Yankees routinely do in baseball, and I think the comparison not only serves to trivialize what the Red Wing organization has been able to acheive, but continues to serve as a weak justification (at least in the minds of those who take it at face value without applying any critical thought to the matter) for the NHL’s rather poorly conceived collective-bargaining agreement.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 08/22/10 at 07:54 PM ET

SYF's avatar

VooX, that’s cool.  I sort of glossed over you saing you will be presenting the interview in increments.  It’s the rarest opportunity to interview Jim Nill as a fan; I’m glad he was gracious with his time.  So it’s pretty much a huge carrot to me to learn more about what he said.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 08/22/10 at 08:05 PM ET

Guilherme's avatar

VooX, I raise my Jameson’s to you.

Yay!

—-

The Yankee starting infield alone has a payroll greater than fifteen of the thirty teams in MLB.

There are a lot of differences, I agree. While the Yankees look at the League to find the best player and then sign him for obscene ammounts, the Wings will look for the player who best fits the team. The Wings modus operandi has a much better chance of success.

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/22/10 at 10:21 PM ET

VooX's avatar

Posted by Kate from Pa. on 08/22/10 at 01:06 PM ET

I hope Little Jack will be back on the ice soon, Kate.  Best wishes to you and your family.

Posted by VooX from Behind the Bar in the Hasek Club Car on 08/22/10 at 10:49 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Yay!

Posted by Guilherme from Brazsil on 08/22/10 at 08:21 PM ET

I fap now.

Posted by SYF from the team that re-signed KFQ and DFC by KFH on 08/22/10 at 11:00 PM ET

pjwalny's avatar

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 08/22/10 at 05:54 PM ET

Okay man. The wings are nothing like the Yankees. For the love of God, you have made your point. The Yankees simply buy players who are good. They just find the best free agents and overbid on them so no other team has a chance. They are worth over a billion dollars. When people do make comparisons to the Yankees, its mainly for the Red Wings great success. Just like the Lakers, Cowboys and Patriots.

For the record I retract any statements in which make any similarity between the Red Wings and the baseball franchise which resides in New York. Im afraid to say their name.

Did Yankees player run over your dog or something? Im mean you really find that insulting. Even when the red wings were at the height of their spending they never did anything comparible to the Yankees. Im quoting you here, “the yankees spend 25% more than the next highest paying team in the league”. Like I said when the red wings were at the height of their spending, I believe they were at only 65 million (unverified no citation). If that number is true, thats only 6 million higher than the 2010 salary cap. So thats not comparable to the Yankees.

Posted by pjwalny from Not Detroit, evidently?? on 08/23/10 at 12:00 AM ET

pjwalny's avatar

The Red Wings are the best hockey franchise in the effing world. The fans are passionate, extensive, ubiquitous, and never ending. The Organization is run like a family. Ever player in the NHL would love to play for this team. Playing for the Red Wings is a way of life not a simple contract. Everywhere the wings travel they are strongly supported. Everywhere. Our players are great role models. They work hard and are great citizens. Mr. and Mrs. Ilitch are the best owners in the world. Hockeytown is blessed to have such a great team in such a troubled city.

In a city where the mayor steals money from his own people, a city that has literally a 50% unemployment rate, and a crime happening on every corner, the Red Wings are the only thing that Detroiters can look up to. (and lafayette coney island)

The Red Wings will break the record for most consecutive playoff appearances by boston with 28. We will also surpass the Montreal Canadians in number of Cup wins. 

p.s. and our jerseys are so bad either.

okay, so if I slandered this team in some way by comparing them to the Yankees, i am sorry, I hope this will prove otherwise.

p.s.s. Anyone who thinks that American is superior to Lafayette really is a moron. ” one up”

Posted by pjwalny from Not Detroit, evidently?? on 08/23/10 at 12:12 AM ET

pjwalny's avatar

* It meant to read: and our jerseys are not so bad either

(even though I read an article in the freep talking about an alternative jersey, they said it would only be worn a handful of times but most people are strongly against the idea) They probably would make alot of money though, that was the incentive.

Posted by pjwalny from Not Detroit, evidently?? on 08/23/10 at 12:17 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