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Archive for the ‘Contracts’ Category

I’m so happy that Brad Richards wasn’t traded today. I still, probably naively, have hope that he re-signs with the Stars. Trading him would have taken away what little chance we had.

This team can do something if they stick to it and when Richards comes back from his injury, I think they’ll be able to start pulling ahead. The last two games have been so encouraging. I would have hated to see Joe Nieuwendyk bail on the season.

If he had traded Brad just to trade him, it would have been a mistake. The possibility of losing him for nothing isn’t any more gloomy than losing him for somebody else’s mediocre prospects.

Nobody that needed Brad as a final piece would have been willing to give up their best young players, and that’s what Nieuwy was reportedly demanding. Good for him!

Everybody whined that Nieuwendyk was asking way too much and he’d never be able to trade him at those prices. I always thought he was thinking, “Exactly.” The point was that he didn’t want to trade him!

It’s like, my house is not for sale, but if somebody asked me what my price is, I might say, “500 grand.” They’d say, “You’re crazy! Nobody would buy that crappy house for that!” And I’d say, “I know.” BUT, if they said okay, I’d be outta here so fast, I wouldn’t even pack.

So now we can relax a little and start concentrating on the playoff stretch in earnest. Now that it’s getting closer, and they seem to have come out of their funk, and I watched a game RIGHT ON THE GLASS, I’m really getting excited about the Stars.

I’m all in now.

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All this talk about which team Cliff Lee is going to sign with has gotten me all worked up again about long-term deals. The talk is that he wants more than six years and the Yankees are offering him six seven. The Rangers don’t want to offer even that much, but it’s still all up in the air.

Ever since Rick DiPietro signed his 15-year contract with the New York Islanders, I’ve wondered what in the world a player would want with a contract that long, let alone the team.

The list of cons from the team’s point of view is already much longer than the pros. The pro is that you don’t lose a guy that you feel is a great player. The con is that when you inevitably want to lose him, you can’t. Either his contract is still so young that nobody wants to take on all those years of the cap hit, or the player is in his last throes and is not good enough for someone else to take over the cap hit.

In my opinion, though, the player should be even less interested in a deal like that. I guess the thing they want is to be guaranteed a paycheck for 12 years, but it seems risky.

Maybe DiPietro knew that he’d spend most of his career on the IR. Otherwise I haven’t been able to explain why he’d chain himself to the Islanders.

The current trick is to pay the player almost all of his money in the first half of the contract and only owe him a few hundred thousand at the end of it. But the cap hit is averaged out over the life of the contract. Sure, a $5-million cap hit seems like a steal in the first 2 years, but when the team is struggling in the 10th year and you’re playing on the 4th line, or you’re in the pressbox, it’s not going to seem like a steal anymore.

No team spends 12 years at the top. Certainly not in a cap league. And certainly not if they give players those crazy deals. If you’re a player and you sign a sweet 12-year, high-dollar deal when things are going great, you should brace yourself for some awful years, because you’re sticking around no matter what.

Conversely, plenty of teams could spend 12 years at the bottom.

If you sign a deal with a team that seems destined for greatness (or just achieved some), things might be good for a year or two.

But what if the team starts to struggle and they can’t rebuild because your contract is hanging around their neck for the next 8 years? Fans will hate you. Media will hound and criticize you. Your GM will shop you every year, hoping for a team for whom you’ll waive your no-trade clause, just to get you, the anchor, off their books.

What if the team starts to struggle and they fire the coach you love and hire, say, Ken Hitchcock? Or Marc Crawford? You just have to take it.

What if the team signs some idiot that you can’t stand being around?

What if the GM makes bad deal after bad deal and even though you’ve given up on ever winning anything with your God-forsaken team, your stats suffer because you’re dragging AHLers and slackers up and down the ice?

What if ownership changes and they stop doing anything?

Too bad. You’re stuck. Nice contract you got there. I guess the money is worth the risk of never winning anything.

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No more No. 9.

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The Dallas Stars obviously want to break up with me, but I just can’t let that happen.

• They fired Doug Armstrong and hired nutty Brett Hull.
• They traded Jeff Halpern and Mike Smith.
• They let Nik Hagman just walk.
• They signed Sean Avery (admittedly, they almost got rid of me with that one).
• They traded my beloved Philippe Boucher for a bag of pucks Darryl Sydor.
• Instead of just firing Hull and letting Les Jackson take over, they demoted Jackson, too.
• They hired my original favorite player, Joe Nieuwendyk, to take over, which cannot end well favorite-player-wise.
• They fired my beloved coach, Dave Tippett.
• And if that weren’t bad enough, they hired Marc Crawford to replace him.

They’re obviously trying to get rid of me.

Well, it won’t work!

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Dallas 1, Los Angeles 5

The Kings even felt sorry for us. Anze Kopitar scored the 5th goal with just seconds to go and basically apologized for it.

That run of games before the Olympic break looked like it might be something building. We were all optimistic and we were just a point out of 8th place. Turco was back, we were scoring. All a mirage, it appears now.

Turco wasn’t at his best. Again. But he wasn’t the only one. Again. Brad Richards passed the puck to a Kings player more often than to a teammate. Steve Ott tripped over his own stick at one point. Krys Barch was Krys Barch.

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I wandered out onto the ledge after that last game, didn’t I? I was still hot about it when I wrote the post-game post so I might have lashed out a little.

But Mike Heika has been writing about being patient the last few days and I agree with him.

The Stars are a team in transition, and this is just 30 games into the transition. Yes, there are moves that can be made, and might be made. But the bottom line is new general manager Joe Nieuwendyk has a budget of $45 million for this season, and there’s no indication that will change, even if Tom Hicks does sell the Rangers.

So then you have to ask yourself – if you were the GM – would you try to roll the dice on a big move in attempt to possibly go after the Stanley Cup this year, or do you stay patient and allow your young players to get more experience?

I’m always on the side of not trading away the kids. I think that defensemen take time to develop and you have to let them. I don’t think that there is a “top-six” defenseman out there that is worth what we’d have to give up, or is available for what we have to trade. Players like Dion Phaneuf are overrated, and players like Dan Boyle are unavailable.

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I really don’t like this news. TSN is reporting that he has officially signed a contract with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL. I haven’t heard yet if he has any outs or anything.

I was mostly resigned to the likelihood that he wouldn’t return to the Dallas Stars, but I was planning to watch him play for whatever team he joined. I wanted him to come back to town with his new team so Stars fans could give him a long standing ovation in his new uniform. It would have been very moving.

Now, we’ll just never see him again. We won’t get to say goodbye.

I’m not mad at either side, surprisingly. I don’t blame Joe Nieuwendyk for wanting to wait and see if he’s healthy or for offering him a much-reduced amount. And I don’t blame Zubov for thinking he can still play and wanting to play for somebody that’s willing to take a chance on him.

I don’t know what I’m going to do; cheering for a team that Sergei Zubov doesn’t play for. I never have before.

He has such a fluid style. He can still deke with the best of them. He can still head straight for a defender and then yoink the puck and spin away at the last second, while the other guy looks around, comically confused.

I’ll miss the way he trails one toe as he serpentines through the neutral zone. Or turns on the heel of his blade as he ducks around the crowd at the net and flips the puck into the top corner.

Or holsters his stick after scoring a particularly humiliating shootout goal.

I’ll miss his beaming, dimpled smile when he or a teammate scores a goal.

Adoration makes him uncomfortable, but it’s his own fault for being so great. It’s pretty much assumed his #56 jersey will go up into the rafters in the AAC the minute he retires, and it had better.

Maybe we can say goodbye on that night.

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