Archive for the ‘Things I Hate About Hockey’ Category

After being indirectly insulted all day Monday by all the Dallas Stars bloggers/tweeters who tend to accuse anybody that disagrees with them of being an idiot, or worse, somebody that doesn’t know anything about hockey, I think I’ve settled on an opinion about the latest trade.

Joe Nieuwendyk traded James Neal and Matt Niskanen to Pittsburgh for Alex Goligowski.

First, I’ll say that I hate trades. I never like to see people traded. I almost always get over it, though. I still wish Philippe Boucher were still around, but most other trades I’ve learned to live with.

After the initial shock that Nieuwy would trade a young forward with the kind of potential that Neal has, I can see that he’s probably the one that would have to be traded. He’s good and teams want him, but he’s in a category (forwards) where the Stars have a surplus.

Neal has high potential, but I think it’s apparent that it might take a little while for him to work out his inconsistency kinks and reach that potential. I still expect him to be a star in the league, but he’s young and he has some work to do.

As everybody says, over and over, ad nauseum, the shortage on the Stars is in puck-moving defensemen. So they traded from a surplus to fill a shortage and that’s really all you can do.



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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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Why? WHY?! Why, of all teams, did you pick the Red Wings?

Are you trying to drive us crazy? You couldn’t go to the Kings? Or the Sharks or something? Ack!

Yes, that’s right. Our beloved Mike Modano has rubbed salt in our wounds by signing with the hated Red Wings. Sure, that’s his prerogative. Sure, he’ll have a dumb ol’ great time and probably get back to the stupid playoffs and look all great with those overrated Wings players everybody’s always raving about. But, but…it’s…it’s the WINGS. What the hell?!

I’m happy Mike found a place to land. I’ll be happy when he has fun and plays well and enjoys his likely last season on the ice. I want him to have a great season and score lots of goals and show another team up close what a great skater he is. And while all that’s going on, I still want the Wings to lose every game they play.

I’ve been on a streak of seeing the home opener in person for several years now. Also, I swore the last time I went to a game against Detroit that I’d never do it again. Then the schedule came out and, naturally, the home opener is against Detroit. What should I do? Which vow should I break? I still haven’t decided. And now that Modano is going to be skating around the AAC in one of those garish red-and-pink jerseys, with the sweat showing through his hideous red breezers, I don’t know what I’ll do. It’s a good reason to go and to not go.

I guess I’ll go. Hmfph.

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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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I’m listening to Marc Crawford on BaD Radio and after this and Mike Heika’s article on his current positive attitude, I think I have a way to explain it.

He thinks he has a bad team. He thinks the players aren’t very good so why get upset when they fail? “They’re trying hard,” he said. It’s not that they’re not trying, they’re just not as good as teams like Pittsburgh and St. Louis and Los Angeles.

He has no intention of adapting The System or figuring out how to win the game in front of them, even though the rest of the league can see them coming from a mile away.

He’s just biding his time until he gets a team that can win a Stanley Cup in spite of him, like he had in Colorado, 14 years ago.

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Dallas 1, St. Louis 6

Well. That was terrible.

I can’t tell what was bad about it. It all looked the same.

Marty Turco is not helping. Not helping at all.

Our goalie-of-the-future, Kari Lehtonen, had to come in and mop up. He is a large man. That’s all I’m going to take from his first appearance.

And that’s all I have to say about that awful, awful game.

Oh, wait. Jamie Benn took care of himself in a pointless fight, picked by a crybaby that doesn’t like getting hit. He adds another dimension to the greatness of his game.

That’s all I have to say.

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