Monday, July 19, 2010

Time For a New CBA

The early reports on the Kovalchuk deal are that it is for 17 years for a total of $102M which is an annual cap hit of just $6M per year. This is a relative bargain in the salary cap system for a player of his caliber. According to something NESN's Jimmy Murphy re-tweeted, the Contract is structured as such:

First 8 years: $10M per
Next 2 years: $7.5M per
Final 7 years: $7M TOTAL

The $10M man for only $6M on your salary cap!

This is the Devils taking full advantage of the current CBA to gain a competitive advantage on the rest of the league in the near-term. The next CBA needs to institute a "Kovy" rule to address this. If you wiped the final 7 years off the contract his cap hit would be $9.5M per year. With those 7 years on there, he only costs $6M towards the cap. Here's hoping he doesn't live up to his salary of $10M while only costing them $6M per season. You can't blame Lou for doing it, because our own Chiarelli did the exact same thing on a smaller scale with Savvy. Savvy averages $6.375M in actual salary over the first 4 years of his 7-yr extension, but his cap hit is only $4,007,143 per season since the final three years TOTAL only $2.55M.
The inherent problem with a deal like Kovalchuk's is that its made with the distinct intention of buying him out after the 10 years is up. If Lou Lamoriello has his way, Kovalchuk will be a force for the Devils for the next ten years at the bargain basement price of $6M per season against the cap. After the tenth year, Lou will just buy the contract out and bid him farewell at little to no expense since the buyout only has to do with the remaining term and amount (7 yrs for a total of $7M). Same thing with Savvy. Think he will be playing the 2015-16 season for the current league minimum of $525,000 like his contract currently states (and costing his team over $4M against the cap)? The answer is no. He will either have been bought out or retired so the system is flawed and allows this practice.

Lou Lamoriello: For my money, the prettiest man in hockey.

How does the NHL fix it? They need to cut down on front-end loading of contracts. In the Kovalchuk example, let's assume he gets paid exactly $1M per year for those final 7 years. That's 7 years of a 17-yr contract that his salary is only 10% of the most he makes in any single year. So, you could limit this percentage to say 50%: in no year of a multi-year deal could any single-year salary be less than 50% of the largest single-year salary in the deal. Using Kovy as an example again, that means the lowest you could go for those final 7 years would be $5M. For the sake of argument, if the final 7 years were at $5M per, the annual cap hit would be $130M/17 which is roughly $7.65M. No GM would do this deal because it would be incredibly expensive to buyout throughout the life of the contract and the $7.65M cap hit is not enough of a bargain to justify the long-term risk. Therefore, the most you would see a guy like Kovalchuk sign for is 5 years which is much more realistic and better for the game as a whole. Gary Bettman and the boys better get busy and figure out how to transition into the next CBA because the current CBA is beginning to create some problems.

By the way, your Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks used a front-end loaded contract to Marian Hossa (actual salary of $7.9M with a cap hit of just north of $5.2M) to help win the cup this year. They don't usually work out though - just take a look at the New York Rangers for an example with Drury, Redden and formerly Gomez. How's Rick DiPietro doing for the Islanders? Vinny Lecavalier looked like a man just going through the motions for much of his first season of an 11-yr contract extension last year. Vinny's deal is similar to Kovalchuk's in that he is making $10M per season for the next 6 years and then it drops off, but not as harshly as Kovy's. Vinny's cap hit is a little over $7.7M which is much more reasonable.

This blogger just hopes that some of these issues with the CBA don't lead us into another lockout. The game has come a long ways since the clutch-and-grab days of the late '90's and early '00's and we certainly don't need another season off. However, another lockout would definitely help keep the pink hats away which wouldn't be the worst thing in the world...let's hope we never see a day where the NHL becomes as over-commercialized and over-hyped as the NFL, NBA, and MLB.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Komrade Ference

A spectre is haunting the Bruins locker room; the spectre of Communism.

I've long suspected this - I've taken note of Ference's interests, accomplishments, and personal history to reach this conclusion: Andrew Ference is a commie.

Back in the 2001-2002 season, Andrew Ference was a teammate of a few Russians on the Pittsburgh Penguins, notably perennial dirtbag Alexei Kovalev. It was at this stop in Ference's career where his leftist leanings came to bloom into full-fledged communism.
  • Ference's parents are elitist yuppie commies from Alberta. His dad is a dentist and his mom is a doctor. Going with trends in today's media, what, with intelligence/higher education equating to pinko liberalism, one can easily connect his commie influence with his upbringing.
  • Ference is a tree-huggin' liberal moonbat whackjob. He has worked with environmentalist David Suzuki to get carbon offsets for the NHL's attempt for carbon-neutrality. Suzuki is not only an environmentalist, but was a director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Union back in the '80's.....ACLU, CCLU = COMMIES
  • Ference traveled to Africa for "Right to Play" to teach Tanzanians about hockey... and spread his communist agenda. Being all inclusive and friendly to those folks, surely a recruiting tactic to appeal to the poor, then regale with tales of socialism/communism.
  • In a recent interview with Vf311 that probably didn't happen, when asked if he was a commie, Ference replied, "Nyet, oh no, I mean, no". bullshit!!!
  • Ference was the team rep to the player's union. Communism and organized labor go hand-in-hand. Class struggle - the working man vs. the capitalist...Hockey players of all countries, unite!
Ference's Favorite Hat: The Russian Ushanka

Commies usually wear brown; Here's Ference proudly displaying his Commie plumage.

Actually, that photo is not only evidence of Ference flying his freak flag, but he's waving his Charlie card right in your face. He has done promotions for public transit and the MBTA. You know who else loved public transit? Michael Dukakis.

Here's Ference in his green jacket (another commie favorite) and bicycle - the guy is dying to live in China with his commie brethren

Look at that big ol' commie star tattoo on his back

Here is the (red) bearded Ference. Reminds me of another famous commie...

V.I. Lenin himself

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Section 311-er known as "P-break" sent the section drunken texts last night, as he had learned about the news of Probert, his favorite player. "I'm goin' outside right now to look for some punks and beat them up."
Check that shit at 1:32 of the video. Was that a head-butt, or just a guy who flinched and collapsed like those fainting goats? Also, the end of the video features a line brawl vs. the Bruins. I vaguely recall that game, I remember Lazaro getting choked or something by somebody.

Oh man, I just found it on the youtube:

Check the B's fan taking a swing at Stevie Y. Yup, that's local shithead John Dennis doing the sportscast for then-WNEV Channel 7.

That was Stephane Quintal who took on Probert, basically hanging on for dear life. Quintal coulda been a man, but decided to join the dark side and played for the Habs for most of the balance of his career. Horrible.
Steve Leach. Back in the day, the Bruins players actually wrote a cookbook. My sister bought it because she was obsessed with Wes Walz. One of the recipes was contributed by Steve Leach - it was "Steak with Salt".

Steak with Salt
by Stephen Leach

1 piece of steak
salt to taste
vegetable oil

Pour oil into hot skillet. Salt the steak. Cook until medium well.

I'm not kidding. Most other players contributed stuff made by their wives/moms. But Leach, man, he dug deep for that one.

Leach. Meetch. Seetch. Beetch. REICH.

Jeremy Reich is back, kids. Back in 2006-2007 when the B's were bad, real bad - it was Reich (pronounced "REETCH" to you pink hats) who showed up every night and played like someone swapped his gold bond medicated powder with cayenne pepper. Section 311 took notice, and is pleased to see that he is back in the fold, "to show the kids in Providence how to prepare for each game" i.e. play every game like it could be your last. If half the parent club played with the fury & abandon of Reich, we'd have Stanley Cups every year. As the Mayor used to say, "Numba 53 in yoah programs, Numba 1 in yoah hahts. Hey, anyone got any Grizz?".

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Canada Day

Who's this Lebron guy and who gives two shits where he ends up? This is day 1 of NHL free agency - all that matters. Some thoughts from the early action on one of my favorite days of the NHL year:

Be thankful that Glen Sather is not our GM: 4 years @ $1.625M per for an enforcer (Derek Boogard) who gives you next to nothing else.

Philly re-upped Braydon Coburn at a $3.2M cap hit and traded for Maszaros ($4M cap hit). It would seem they don't have the room for all that money on the blueline so there may be another move coming OR they were so disgusted with their third pair in the playoffs (which they should have been) that they are spending money on the blueline and willing to go back at it with the tandem of Leighton and Boucher.

Pittsburgh signed Zbynek Michalek ($4M per) and Paul Martin ($5M per) to 5 year deals. I really like these moves for them. The reason they failed this year was because of the losses of Skillz Gill and Rob Scuderi from their cup team. Well, this certainly helps and I don't think the loss of Gonchar will have a tremendous effect (Martin and Goligoski can pick up the offensive slack).

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia got better today. The Bruins did not. I really wanted to see a top defenseman make it to the Bruins and my pipedream was Paul Martin, but I guess those hopes will have to go elsewhere. Of course it's still early and there is apparently still some trade buzz out there for Savard so we'll see.

As feared, it appears that everyone is following the Detroit model for success by not paying too much for goaltending. The top three destinations for Timmy Thomas were Philly, San Jose, and Tampa. San Jose got Niitymaki for only $2M. Tampa added Dan Ellis for only $1.5M to fight with Mike Smith ($2.2M) for the starting job. Philly re-upped Leighton for a $1.55M cap hit. This is what happens when you have a Leighton/Niemi battle in goal in the Cup Final. Timmy Thomas stays a Bruin. Now that I said that, he will likely be traded tomorrow.