Wednesday, July 09, 2008


John Davidson's Revenge

by Jes

When the Blues' John Davidson signed Canucks winger Steve Bernier to an offer sheet, we knew that it was based on one thing: SPITE!

While the move makes sense from a hockey standpoint, it is obvious that the offer was made only because the Canucks made a similar RFA offer sheet to the Blues' David Backes.

“Steve is a good young player who would play a big part in our youth movement,” said Davidson. “Our coaches and scouting staff are extremely positive about him.”

Did JD say that with a straight face?

Despite negotiating the RFA offer sheets into the CBA (and it's not a NEW thing), GM's get so childish when one of their players is signed to an offer sheet. Just witness Brian Burke going ballistic (over and over again) after Kevin Lowe signed Dustin Penner to such a deal.

So, why do GM's get so petty when an offer sheet is made?

1. Inflation - Let's face it, Steve Bernier would not have been given $2.5M by the Canucks, nor Backes by the Blues. GM's don't like seeing younger players get more money than they would have been offered by their 'owning' club.

2. Meddling - GM's, being middle-age executives, have large egos that can't handle somebody being in their business.

GM's often get pwned by the agents/PA, so when a fellow GM's makes an offer sheet, it's basically looked like cutting the legs from out under that particular executive. When you make an offer sheet, you are certainly getting your nose involved in another team's business.

Well, it's time for GM's to grow up and realize that the RFA Offer Sheets are simply part of the business. All 30 teams must compete with each other, so why shouldn't they be looking to acquire talent by any means necessary.

Certainly, a smart GM won't go making dozens of offer sheets and pissing off GMs, but a smart offer sheet is simply another tool to acquire talent, or at least TRY to acquire talent.

Really, if GM's are so worried about salary inflation, they'd stop offering insane UFA deals like $3.5M a season for the likes of Jeff Finger. I don't see GM's going after each other in the press for signing such moronic contracts. Do you? (Except for Brian Burke, who loves to hear his own voice)

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1) So will the aforementioned Burke still blame Lowe for this offer sheet exchange as well?
2) We agree, if GM/owners didn't want this type of situation to take place they could have written the CBA to exclude offer sheets. Why have a provision if its not going to be used?
@ Faux - you still need the union (onion in my books because it makes my eyes water) to sign it... You can't just say "WE WANT THIS" and get it... Concessions were a pathetically big part of resolving the lockout. I wanted another year of lockout, since they were bargaining for what we have now... It's fuggin stupid...
1) Czech: You wanted another year of lockout? They could have stayed out 5 years it wouldn't have made a difference. The problem has NEVER been the players/player greed that's driven the salary structure, its been ownership greed/unwillingness of the high revenue teams to TRULY share their wealth with the lower revenue teams
2) The salary cap, we were told, would end this disparity. It didn't. If the NHL wants to have 30 or so teams, and have them in non-traditional markets (an argument for another day) then it will have to face that those teams will never be able to compete economically with the NY's/Toronto's of the NHL, cap or no cap.
3) As for the offer sheet issue, yes the NHLPA had some say so in this, but with all the other HUGE concessions they made, we're certain if Bettman had wanted to exclude this provision it wouldn't have been the deal breaker. As it was the owners got almost everything they asked for.
FAUX - I don't disagree with really anything you've said, nor did I mean that greedy players were somehow to blame for anything (although sometimes they bitch too much about the money they make). My point was that it seemed they rushed the present system through, regardless of who was making the concession (where I feel both sides caved a lot).

Really, I believe that the biggest problem was lowering the UFA age, which also spurned on what we're seeing with these offer sheets. Teams can now acquire younger RFA players like Edmonton did with Penner, and simply prey upon teams who are up near the cap figure.

I'm not saying it's necessarily a bad thing, but if you're team-building, paying picks as compensation does little for you, even if you get a Vanek or Perry or someone who's considered a top RFA. If anything, you set your team back a long way in the process. Star power helps, but teams are built on good scouting/drafting and frugality... Ask Ken Holland...
Don't know if you saw this, but it is a funny take on what all the comments said by each team about the signing really mean :
If the NHL wants to have 30 or so teams, and have them in non-traditional markets (an argument for another day) then it will have to face that those teams will never be able to compete economically with the NY's/Toronto's of the NHL, cap or no cap

Not necessarily if all teams agree to form a communist union and each gets exactly one-thirtieth of league-wide revenue
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