Wednesday, August 04, 2004


Will you take this arbitration award, in sickness and in health?

The early returns are in! Sergei Gonchar and Pavel Kubina are both richer bastards than they were 2 days ago.

Pavel Kubina - Was awarded a 2-year deal which will pay him $3.1mil and $3.4mil for the next 2 seasons. This is exactly what I predicted earlier ($3.25mil per season average), so my predictions have been pretty good so far. Maybe I should charge $5 a minute for this stuff and speak in a thick Jamaican accent.

Kubina was seeking $3.7mil a year, and the Bolts were prepared to pay $3mil a year for 3 years. Both sides came out pretty well on this one.

Sergei Gonchar - The media hounds are all over the fact that Gonchar was awarded a one-year deal at $5.5 million.

Compared to the $3.65mil he earned last year, the 51% jumps out at most people.

It�s also shocking to most that the Bruins so easily accepted the ruling, given the past aversion to paying out big contracts (excluding Martin Lapointe).

Look at the background to this particular case, and it�s not a really surprising decision, after all.

According to this Boston Herald Article, the Bruins had offered Gonchar $4.6mil, while Gonchar�s agent countered with $8.75mil! Given the award of $5.5mil, the Bruins clearly �won� this arbitration hearing, and were more than likely fully expecting and willing to pay Gonchar any award that was around the range of $5.5 to $6.0 million/season.

Given the past history of arbitration awards (Demitra got $6.5mil/season), I am quite stunned that the most offensively productive defenseman in the NHL wasn�t awarded a deal worth at least $7mil per season. Elite defensemen such as Pronger make $10mil, and Gonchar is certainly just a tier below that.

Of course, now comes the requisite whining from Gonchar�s agent

``As expected in the current environment, the Bruins took an aggressively negative approach toward the arbitration,'' Barry said yesterday. ``We don't feel that the characterizations that were made of Sergei's game were accurate, and we feel they were done solely to achieve whatever their goal was in the arbitration.''

Barry added: ``They took a very aggressively negative approach to Sergei in order to buttress their argument that he wasn't as good as Wade Redden or Ed Jovanovski (two players cited in the hearing).''

Well, duh!!! Do you expect the Bruins to talk up Gonchar? The Bruins are trying to get the lowest contract possible, and will obviously do whatever it takes to win their side of the argument.

Why do players and agents insist on the player attending these arbitration hearings? Most of these guys have fragile egos it seems, and/or are not used to criticism, since they have always grown up in charmed lives (Always the best in their group, etc etc).

Why hire a player agent in the first place, if the player insists on going to the hearing? Note to players: If you spend a huge commission on an agent, and don�t want your feelings hurt, then you let the agent attend the hearing on your behalf and stay home and play golf.

No player should EVER cry foul about having their feelings hurt in this process, because it�s set up in such a manner that the team has to cut the player to pieces in order to win their argument.


Will there be aftershocks?

Remember how Scott Niedermayer rejected New Jersey�s offer of around $7mil per season.

Unlike Gonchar, Niedermayer, the Norris Trophy winner, has a truly legitimate claim that his salary belongs amongst those paid to Pronger and Lidstrom.

Although the offensively superior Gonchar was award just $5.5mil next season, Niedermayer�s game will be tougher for Devils GM Fat Lou to chop into bite-size pieces.

With Scott Stevens gone for most of the year, it was Niedermayer who stepped up and became the best d-man in the NHL (In the minds of NHL writers, that is).

Will Gonchar�s low award hinder Scott�s efforts?

Niedermayer doesn�t have the glaring poor +/- that Gonchar has, and the Devils have already offered $7mil per season. This has already set a high salary floor.

Niedermayer�s agent expects $8 or $9mil, and I expect that he may easily get it. Based on the Devils offer, which would put Niedermayer at the top of the Devils food chain, and the low award to Gonchar, my psychic senses tell me that Niedermayer will be awarded around $7.5mil per season.

Why only $7.5mil? Looking at his offensive numbers prior to this season, they don�t blow you away. If an arbitrator can see through Gonchar�s offensive stats, perhaps they can see through the fact that Niedermayer has shown only one truly �elite� season.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?