Thursday, July 14, 2005


The Morning After

Guten Tag! How are you feeling this morning?

If you are feeling some excitement mixed with a bit of anger, relief, and apathy, then you probably have the "It's about god damn time the lockout is over" Syndrome.

If you are REALLY excited, like my friend Michael, you could end up in a mental institution.

Now that we've had a bit of time to digest what has happened, it's time to prepare for the chaos of an unprecedented offseason, crazy rule changes, and more hockey news than you can shake a cane (but not a Carolina Hurricane) at.

(This is assuming the deal will be ratified, because you know the two sides aren't stupid enough to screw this up and vote 'NO')

First, each team will need to assess it's current position, read through the CBA 100 times, and prepare to get hand cramps from signing contracts, buyout agreements, and sending offer faxes.

Scott Burnside at ESPN provides a capsule look at each team as they stand after the dust settles.

TSN has a breakdown of the Canadian teams and the current contracts they are tied down to. The numbers don't quite jive, but the Canucks look very good or very bad depending on how you look at things:

Todd Bertuzzi - $5.3mil
Ed Jovanovski - $4.0mil
Trevor Linden - $1.5mil
Ryan Kesler - $722,000
Alex Auld - $513,000

Just 5 contacts for US$ 12,000,000

So, the Canucks have a lot of financial freedom, but have to worry about signing a lot of their stalwarts to deals...The SedinBots, Marek Malik, Sami Salo, Brendan Morrison (or will they let him go?)...

...and whither Markus Naslund? Will he really return home, like he's moaned about before? How about the brothers Niedermayer, who have been making noises about wanting to return close to home?

The other big question will be in goal. Will the Canucks try their luck with young Alex Auld after a pretty good AHL season? Will they give Dan Cloutier one more chance? Will they go after a different goalie who is on the market?

Oh, and there's always Todd Bertuzzi's re-instatement case. This is going to be a fun few months! :)

I was also stunned to see that the UFA age will apparently whittle down to 27, and not 28 as reported earlier...

liberalized free agency: age eligibility for unrestricted free agency at age 31 in 2005, 29 in 2006, 28 in 2007. In 2008, it's 27 or seven years of NHL tenure.
So, a special player like Sidney Crosby or an Eric Staal could be given UFA status at the age of 25! Wow, quite a stunner...

Now, Tom Benjamin from is a wise old crank, but I get the feeling that if Gary Bettman found a cure for AIDS, Tom would criticize him for not discovering such cure 10 years ago. It's time for a little Devil's Advocate and give some positives that I see to counter Tom's railings against the new CBA.

You will also now see 1,000 articles detailing just who is a winner and a loser in this whole debacle. Until we see the effects of this deal over the long term, it's pretty fruitless to bother with such an exercise.

Look, the European players who were able to play at home for decent salaries and stay with their families for a year (like Pavol Demitra or Ilya Kovalchuk) are the only short-term winners. Everyone else involved, from beer vendors, to NHL owners, to Chris Pronger, was a big short-term loser in this battle.

Lyle Richardson, aka Spector, sums up his feelings and I have to agree with his sentiment:

I don't want an apology from the NHL or NHLPA. It's pointless to ask or demand it, since it wouldn't be sincere. Neither I or you were factors in this labour drama and neither side really gave a damn about us. If they had, they would've avoided this nightmare in the first place.

The only thing I want is for both sides to learn from this, to understand that if they pull this stunt again in four or six years time, they might as well kiss their league bye-byes.

The damage from this lockout was serious but not fatal. Next time may be

I want both sides to learn to negotiate in good faith with costing them an entire season, and I want them to start improving this game and market it the way it should be done, not half-heartedly and half-assed as in the past.

In other words, shut up and play hockey!


You owe me a new screen now. I spit up my Cherry Pepsi when I read the last line to the first bulleted point. Way too funny!

Secondly, I think you missed a crucial point when discussing the FA system. I think this means the death of the Group 1-7 FA's that was so confusing to understand who belonged in what group. Who cares about Group I or Group II Free Agents!
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