Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I have a much uglier word for it, Sir: Misappropriation

I was encouraged by dan-bob to take all of the anger that I have brewing behind (This happened to me) and focus it at internet journalism. So I went looking for love in all the right places, and found an old friend serving up a very old complaint. and Scott Burnside have the honors.

Just wondering where all the howls of derision were when the Philadelphia Flyers announced last week that they had signed third-year center Mike Richards to a 12-year, $69 million contract extension.

That's pretty good job security for a player who just established a career-best 14 goals. When the New York Islanders became a league laughingstock when they signed netminder Rick DiPietro to a 15-year deal coming out of the lockout, at least he had won a playoff game and established himself as a capable goaltender, if not an elite one.

Those howls, if Scott listened enough, came from anybody who follows hockey carefully, and throughout Canada (with the possible exception of Toronto.) And why was nobody paying attention to hockey? Why, oh why, were the masses of sports fans who have nothing to follow during weekdays in the winter not see this terrible event?

Mike Richards signed this contract on December 13th. Other notable things happening on this date?

(1)A-Rod signs 10 year deal

Let's face it, Scott. Yankees baseball news, especially from the media's half-drunk prom date, usually trumps NHL news.

(2) Mitchell Report

The day that Adobe Acrobat was updated in more offices around the country than any other in the year. But let's bitch about hockey being ignored. Let's complain about this contract being ignored. Because Mike Richards' contract is long and pays over $5 million a year.

Not to mention the second part of his whining. Philadelphia wasn't made fun of as throughly as the Islanders were. Let's examine this a little more as well.

Rick DiPietro is a goalie. For good reason, the team is good, great, or awful depending on your goalie. Ricky D isn't a very good goalie. Career win-loss is right around .500 (104-93-8T-16OTL). 554 minutes played in playoff games. 2-7. And yet New York Islanders GM Garth Snow signed him to a 15 year contract worth $67.5 million. Garth Snow is an important name here because he was a goalie. And if the Mighty Ducks trilogy taught us anything, it's that goalies fly together.

Mike Richards is a forward. While they are touted as the superstars of the sport, it's because goals are more exciting when they are scored and not stopped. When your team sucks, you can rarely blame one guy playing bad hockey as the reason why the score is 9-1. The entire line must be looked at to see if there is a reason that goals have gone down. Adam Oates left St. Louis and Brett Hull wept. Teemu Selanne retires (or does he?) and Andy McDonald gets shipped away from Anaheim.

You cannot compare these players to each other. They are not interchangeable parts in the NHL.

Seems to me that I just read something about substitution and bad players.

In other sports terms:

MLB: Pitcher vs. Catcher
NFL: Quarterback vs. Cornerback
Rugby: Backs vs. Forwards


Richards has one point in six playoff games for the Flyers.

Who was the goalie? His point was an assist. His +/- was -5. So what he should have done was score 10 unassisted even strength goals. Because he can do that without a team.

But less than half a season is a pretty short testing period on which to base a 12-year contract. Still, no one batted an eye when the deal was signed. Why? Because that's the new NHL. Identify the young core of your team, and then roll the dice and lock them up to as long a term as you can possibly manage.

Then hope you're not wrong.

I'm sure there is no scouting involved in signing him to a 12 year contract. If only there was a league that players could play in before they got to professional levels that would gauge them against other players.

OHL Stats for Mike Richards:

233 GP, 115 G, 177 A, +/- of +75, and 56 points in 41 playoff games.

But nobody is making the Flyers the butt of jokes.

Blame the WGA, Scott. That must be the reason why nobody cared about this hockey signing.


Andrew said...

My favorite part of your post here was when you used Richard's OHL stats to try and sound smart. That was fun.

Should I put up some OHL stats for other players? Or would the fact that the majority of players that dominate the OHL never come even close to that level of success in the NHL be a hindurance to you?

How about Peter Sarno? Sheldon Keefe? Corey Locke? I could name about 100 more, but I think I'm good for now.

I love this website, especially Larry's posts - but this one is just lazy.

DiPietro is actually pretty good - 99-74 since he became the full time starter on a completely untalented team that hasn't had a 70 point scorer since he became the starting goalie. He's definitely inconsistent, but at times he makes saves that maybe only two or three other goalies could make. That would have taken too much effort to find out, but I'm here to help.

pnoles said...

My favorite part of this post: Waylon Smithers reference

larry b said...

Andrew- you're easily our most frequently dissenting commenter. Which is great, because we don't just want to be patted on the back all the time. Still, it's not like minor league stats are totally irrelevant. Just saying. I'm not a hockey guy, but it seems to me that while a good performance in the OHL is far from a guarantee for NHL success it's still a strong indicator of talent.

Andrew said...

I agree - but the OHL is really more like a bunch of high school travel teams.

And yes, I am a frequent dissenter, but I love the site - just have as much fun arguing as the next guy.

Bubba said...

Yup, that Andrew sure does like ta argue, I can sure 'nuff testify to that one. But he don't seem like a bad sort.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm kinda late to this, but I'm new, so this is my first time to see this. The OHL isn't minor league; it's juniors, the 16-20 year olds. If Jarrett had used minor league stats he would have found support for his argument. Richards played in the 2005 AHL playoffs for the Philadelphia Phantoms, and was one of the stars with 15 points in 14 games.