Monday, December 28, 2009

The Crush of Something

Does anybody ever go to FOX Sports for sports news? I tend to only go there when I'm looking for a softball of an article (see below), but they have a ticker-like bar at the bottom to tell you what games are being played today. Because you can't just click on "Schedule" and open in a new tab? Anyways, FOX Sports on MSN Presenting The Hockey News gave me Edward Fraser's list of four names that aren't all correct. Let's see if I can remember to copy, paste, bold and swear.

Before the lockout, you could forgive a player who was overpaid because it didn't really affect the team; you could simply throw more money at the problem, filling the hole left by the underperformer.

It's so hard to remember the halcyon days of hockey without a salary cap, but I'm pretty sure fans and management alike used to bitch about players not playing to match the amount of money being paid. Just like any other fan has said in any other sport, salary caps be damned. Poor play while being paid millions has always been deemed as unforgivable, and then the player gets a significant pay cut. It happens in sports and everyday life, but let's write a boring article about it.

But nowadays, and it has been an issue that has grown year after year since 2005-06 as more teams gravitate to the salary-cap ceiling and space becomes increasingly precious, being overpaid is a crime.

I guess I'll have to pretend that this is a new issue.

If a player is heaped a handsome sum, he is expected to maintain or elevate his play, even though his best years may have gone by or were never even possible.

Isn't your beef with the GM that throws him the money? It's hard to fault a player for signing a contract that he is offered if the player knows he isn't going to be good. If came to me tomorrow and offered me money to write this bullshit, I'd take it. My integrity can disappear if I can work and wear this shirt at the same time.

That has been the case with the following four. Not a soul among this quartet has played overly poorly, but the grand expectations placed upon them based on their stipends have resulted in unrealistic goals.

So this article exists... why? Instead of trying to delve into why contracts are so much, maybe use press access to talk to GMs and scouts, we're going to see four players - that may be very good - and roast them for not asking for less money. Outstanding.

Brad Richards, C, Dallas Stars ($7.8 million cap hit)

The league's fifth-highest cap hit and 12th-highest salary (also $7.8 million), Richards was rewarded for his brilliant 91-point effort and two-way play in 2005-06.

It was a steady decline in production from that point on, however, with seasons of 70, 62, 51 and 48 points. His plus-minus suffered as well — though that's as much a product of a shaky team in Tampa — going minus-46 in the 144 games after inking the deal.

Good thing he repeated that salary number. Almost forgot it in the 58 characters between them.

So Brad Richards played for a shitty team in Tampa, huh? Well now that he plays in Dallas, his numbers must still suck. After all, the article is about players that can't perform to match their salaries. What would you say, Mr. Fraser, if I told you that Brad Richards was having a great year?

The 29-year-old is generating top-notch numbers this season and is on pace for 23 goals and 93 points, but replicating this effort next season will be a must if he hopes to prove he is in fact a true No. 1 pivot and deserving of such dough.

Oh, it was the very next paragraph of your article? Good thing you included him in this. To recap, Brad Richards was signed to a contract for scoring 91 points in a season, and is on pace to score 93 points in a season and this is a problem.

Scott Gomez, C, Montreal Canadiens ($7.3 million cap hit)

Perhaps Gomez doesn't belong on this list,

Two players in and we have 0 players that belong on this list. What's worse is that I'm not the one saying that they don't belong here, it's the author of the list. What's worse than that is that he finished.

as he arguably hasn't lived up to even what he should be — a second-line center. But I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and suggest if he was making $5 million the collective complaints wouldn't be nearly as loud.

In his two seasons in New York, the skilled setup man had seasons of 54 and 42 assists to go along with 16 goals in each campaign. The numbers weren't bad, but the Broadway masses expected him to immediately gel with Jaromir Jagr and create instant magic. We know how that turned out.

What a great chance to make a Jaromir Jagr gambling joke. Something like "...Broadway masses could have put money on him to gel..." There, a gambling and hair product joke.

Now, he's on pace for his worst season ever, making Habs GM Bob Gainey look terrible in the process. If he doesn't bounce back in the second half, he'd be overpaid at half price.

To clarify, Bob Gainey looks terrible because he traded to get Scott Gomez and his contract, not because he signed him to it.

Brian Campbell, D, Chicago Blackhawks ($7.1 million cap hit)

Oh, how the Blackhawks wish they could turn back the clock and avoid doling out $57 million to the mobile defenseman. Then-GM Dale Tallon should have had the foresight to see his own cadre of blueliners would develop into a formidable corps, but instead Campbell has become cap enemy No. 1 (after Cristobal Huet stepped up his game this season) on a team that will be in dire straits this summer.

It's fairly obvious that Dale Tallon had no foresight, and is thus out of a job as GM. (And with a name like Hjalmarsson, it has to be good!)

The Hawks' highest-paid player is third on their defenseman depth chart and in average time-on-ice (behind Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook), but would be a top-pair blueliner on 80 percent of the league's clubs. Even so, few of that 80 percent would find it worth spending 12.5 percent of available cap space on a single, one-dimensional defender.

Brian Campbell would be a top defenseman, but some GM that isn't a GM anymore spent too much money on him. Good thing this article was written.

Players named: 3. Players that suck: 1.

Chris Drury, C, New York Rangers ($7 million cap hit)

Blueshirts GM Glen Sather must have thought Drury was the second coming of Mark Messier when he doled out more than $35 million for seven seasons to a player who had never topped the 70-point mark.

Damn, he got one.

Leadership is an intangible that doesn't show up on the scoresheet and Drury certainly has that trait in spades,

And combined with Chris Drury's grit and determiniation, makes him worth $7 million. Just kidding, he sucks and shouldn't be playing.

but the 33-year-old was and is better suited for second-line duty. With that in mind, his performance (22-plus goals and 56-plus points in each of his first two years on Broadway) would reap positive reviews.

But like his brethren on this list, his egregious contract will always be his millstone.

If he had used the "on pace to" numbers, he'd have Chris Drury dead to rights for this season. 11 goals, 21 assists for 32 points in 77 games. For whatever reason, that was glossed over so that all four players in this article look like they may or may not be overpaid. What a waste of time. But at least I can feel better about myself for posting since Terry Frei no longer supplies article to ESPN, and isn't that really what I'm being paid to do?


Larry B said...

Does anyone have access to Brad Richards's salary cap number? I can't find it anywhere.

Alex said...

Try these:

Larry B said...

Either you're continuing the joke, Alex, or you have failed miserably.

Tonus said...

Yeah, I like how he listed Richards' "cap hit" and salary separately, as if it was a coincidence that they were both $7.8 mil.

That article was so bad that it diminishes this site for even covering it. Holy shit what a waste of space.

Alex said...

Larry, I think I failed miserably.

Please forgive. *Kneels. Head down.*

I noticed the 7.8 copy but thought maybe someone could find something I missed. I "through" it out there.

Alex said...

Holy shit, "threw" it.

Fuck me.