Petshark: Talking Stick
by petshark on 07/02/12 at 04:00 AM ET
NHL Free Agency 2012, Day One
Today started off pretty well for the sort of spectator I am. I like to track the movements of ex-Sharks as well as the arrival of new Sharks and really anyone who has ever caught my attention. Torrey Mitchell promptly signed with Minnesota, I got giddy over a Flyers signing, and Brad Staubitz went to Anaheim. Although he has never played for “my” teams, I was happy about Yann Danis being signed by the Oilers. I like to hear about players finding a place.
Then came news that the Sharks had signed Adam Burish. It’s all fun and games until my team actually makes a move, then it becomes frantic serious. It is very inconvenient that the NHL site makes it so you can’t find a player’s page through “Player Search” unless he is under contract with a team. You can still find him through a stats search but why they have to break his page between contracts is a mystery.
I was trying to figure out where Burish fits in, aside from being chatty with the press and friends with Pavelski, Havlat and Potenza, when news came that Winnik was gone for certain. That was a really bad time to learn that. Suspect it as I might have, I didn’t need to hear it while mulling over a four year contract for Adam Burish, ex-Star, ex-2010 Blackhawk. I don’t have a lot of happy memories about the 2010 Stanley Cup Champions. I thought I had forgotten all about that what with Niemi being such a congenial addition to the Sharks. Then came the clips posted everywhere of the “Pronger’s an idiot” off the cuff speech. Oh yes, I remember that. “Idiot”? Is that really what comes to mind when one is angry with Chris Pronger?
I’ll get over this… eventually… again.
Burish’s four year contract surprised me. Wilson hasn’t been giving out terms like that very freely. Burish promises to bring energy and enthusiasm, to even share it and instill it in his new teammates. Sounds ambitious, that is good. Joe Pavelski had good things to say about him.
This evening, Renaud P. Lavoie tweeted that the Sharks signed Bracken Kearns. Last season he played mostly with the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL, and five games with the Florida Panthers. At the very least, he will be a welcome addition to the Worcester Sharks.
Also out there but not very loudly is the fact that Matt Irwin signed a one-year contract some days ago with the Sharks. This comes from capgeek. It was not an acceptance of his qualifying offer, as his new contract lacks the requisite NHL salary increase (went from $740k to $650k). My friends on the Sharks Message Board helped me understand that subtlety. His AHL salary went up from $67.5k to $105k. That seems like a sound business decision to make.
“It’s a business,” I keep hearing. That players are sent hither and yon according to someone’s business plan is accepted, doesn’t bother anyone. Playing professional hockey isn’t personal. It’s just business.
This discussion arose more in my Flyers Twitter feed than my Sharks feed. Lots and lots of peripheral stuff gets out about the Flyers, while the Sharks keep things locked up tight. “Things” like why Daniel Winnik is no longer in the Sharks’ plans, why this has been apparent—apparently—for some time. The Flyers, on the other hand, are asked nosy questions like whether trading high-profile players away with little notice bothers the guys left behind. They say, of course, “no, it’s a business, I understand that.” Then they choose to test free agency. Hey, it’s a business.
I think it’s a little ridiculous, to expect a team of people to perform up to their potential unless they do take it personally. I don’t believe that blocking shots with reckless abandon or giving that last little bit of effort you’re not sure you have comes from a place of “business.” Neither is it likely to come from pure self-interest. “Just business” will tell you that you need to understand your teammates as well as you possibly can so that you can help each other instead of get in each other’s way. But business won’t help you do it.
Loss of a job is up there with death of a family member and divorce as cause for depression. I’m not saying that spending a few days or weeks or even months between contracts is like losing a job, but it is clearly very personal.
So I don’t accept that which team you sign with or where you want to play or who is going to help your team is just business. Likewise, who signs with your team isn’t necessarily a matter of money or term. It can be as simple as geography, or as insidious as failure to win. Even business is hardly ever “just business.”
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About Petshark: Talking Stick
Native of Northern California. Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.
I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle. I watch, I react, I write it down.
My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked. I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind. When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom. It hasn't, I don't think it will. At all.
Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.
I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.
I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org