Tuesday, October 30, 2007

 

KIP-PERRRRR!!!!!

First things first: I'm glad I was wrong. Like most people who have been hockey fans for any significant period of time, I have cheered for a team with mediocre-to-lousy goaltending and no easy way to upgrade it. Having your goaltender repeatedly cost you hockey games is no way to go through life as a fan; it's agonizing. Now, and for the foreseeable future, that won't be a problem for Flames fans.

Once the details of the contract structure are public and confirmed, I might have more to say about the deal itself (word so far is that it includes a performance-based no-move clause, which is a brand new concept to me). For now, it suffices to say that the AAV (cap $ figure) is significantly less than Kipper's open market price, so good.

At left: next season's Calgary Flames as it stands right now. Got an IM from Tyler last night: "Please tell me that you're writing a post about how the Kipper signing means that your youngest boy will be playing for them next year because they can't afford anyone else, including the older one." That's not too far off; depends on what the cap is.

I haven't looked at it too deeply or even too shallow-ly, but a reasonable guess seems to be that it'll rise from $50.3M to $53M-$54M; as I understand things, it probably won't jump as much as it did the past two years, because there were factors other than revenue increases that contributed significantly to those jumps.

Anyway, looking at the salary table, here are my quick thoughts:
  1. Yes, they can afford to sign Langkow
  2. No, they can't afford to sign Langkow and Huselius
  3. The Flames need several young forwards (i.e. more than 1 or 2) to make a leap, or they're going to be even more comically top-heavy next season than this one (and last)
----------

Yesterday afternoon should have been better than it was for me. That was a real coup for the organization, and it should have been a proud time to be a Flames fan. Listening to the media scrum with Darryl Sutter, though, evoked a regrettably familiar sentiment: very little "Good for you, Darryl" or "Oh, that's interesting!" and a whole lot of "What the fuck is wrong with you!"

Good manners aren't everything, and there's nothing wrong with being a man of few words, and dry sarcasm has its time and place too. But it just blows me away how unbelievably shabbily Darryl Sutter treats the media. Two-thirds of his answers are made in an entirely disparaging tone, whether they are gratuitously sarcastic and derogatory, or simply mean.

The one that really sticks in my mind was a question by (I think) TSN's Jermaine Franklin, who asked approximately, "Do you think this contract is a lot less than Kiprusoff could have gotten as a UFA?" Now, a perfectly fine answer would have been, "I couldn't possibly speculate on that, and it's a moot point now anyway." Or, "I don't know." His actual answer, and you could see the sneer coming out of the radio, was, "The way I was raised, thirty-five million dollars isn't less money."

Really? Because the way *I* was raised, you treat people who are just trying to do their jobs with some basic courtesy and respect, even if they're lousy at it. And I'm not from a family who is renowned the nation over for its character. [/rant]

----------

Two quick non-hockey items. First, I think it was Cosh who wondered aloud last year if maybe the Sports Gal, aka Mrs. Bill Simmons, was a better columnist than her husband. I'm not a Simmons-basher -- for me, the fact that he actually watches sports and enjoys them keeps him well ahead of a good 3/4 of all other sportswriters -- but I have to admit, the Sports Gal's rant in this past Friday's football picks column is the best thing I've read on his page in months:
As you can tell, I have a short fuse after nine months of carrying a living being; biting my tongue just isn't in the cards anymore. So I wanted to send out some apologies for my behavior over the past few days.

Sorry to the guy who thought it was OK to stand in my potential parking spot so his family could get the prime spot in front of Pinkberry -- I wasn't really going to run you over. Sorry to the lady who thought it would be cool to talk on her cell while swerving into my lane, cutting me off and then driving 10 mph under the speed limit while I tailgated her and slammed my horn. Sorry to the guy who cuts our lawn -- I'm still not sure why you thought it was OK to move our Halloween props and ruin them, but I'm sorry just the same and you're not really fired. Sorry to the guy in front of me at Ralph's who had 20 items in the 10 item express lane. Sorry to the lady who thought it would be a "good idea" to balance her checkbook at the Citibank ATM. And sorry to the guy in the Astroburger drive-thru line who changed his order six times.

Sorry to the woman at the doctor's office who coughed 20 times without covering her mouth, then asked to borrow my magazine -- you don't know why I'm sorry, but I am. Sorry to Bill for erasing the NBA games from 20 years ago that hogged our valuable Tivo space, then pretending it was an accident. Sorry to the female driver who accused me of not planning to pick up my dog poop when I was already holding the poop bag in my hand and figuring out how to bend over when I'm pregnant, and sorry for threatening to throw the poop at her car when that's probably against the law. Sorry to my daughter for everything you've witnessed lately. And sorry for everyone who has to read this lame rant. Just don't complain to Bill about it if you know what's best for you.

Second, I ran across this graf on an unrelated topic, and found it brilliant -- and a good thing to keep in mind next time the NHL is in labour negotiations (or even just issuing a random press release):
There is much made [...] about the fallacy of "argumentum ad hominem". There is, as I have mentioned in the past, no fancy Latin term for the fallacy of "giving known liars the benefit of the doubt", but it is in my view a much greater source of avoidable error in the world.

----------

Flames host the Nashville Predators tonight (730PM MT, RSN West). Word is that Nilson is hurt (day-to-day) and will be replaced by Nystrom, and Hale is headed back to the PB so that Eriksson can take another crack at getting his ship together.

Nashville is 0-4-0 on the road this year, and got smoked 7-4 at home vs. Calgary earlier this month. After an awfully long stretch of Predators dominance, the Flames have actually won the last two matchups. Here's a 1000-point trivia question for the non-BoA-reading Flames fan in your life: who scored the game-winning goals in those two games? Seeing as how the answer is Rhett Warrener (in OT) and Eric Godard, it's about as un-guessable as it gets.

Course looks good, swing feels good, I like our chances. 4-2 Calgary, Eric Nystrom gets his 1st NHL goal. Go Flames.

Comments:

"The way I was raised, thirty-five million dollars isn't less money."

I think that this is a comment about his lack of education - this statement is a cry for help.

Of course he's a witch when it comes to contracts but it is what it is.

You didn't comment Matt on the reputed heavy frontloading of the deal - according to Dowbiggin (and I don't think that this can be possible, but bear with me) it's 6.7MM for the first five years and $1.5MM for year six. Strikes me as bizarre, that does.
 


This is the line from Sutter that intrigues me:

"If you do your research the best years (for goalies) are 28 to 35. Clearly he has his best years in front of him," said Sutter of the 31-year-old Kiprusoff.

1) Kipper is already 31. Years 28, 29 and 30 don't count in this deal. And is he acknowledging that years 36 and 37 are going to be trouble?
2) Is there actual evidence of the 28-35 claim? Because it isn't so "clear" to me.
3) The Flames do research? Then explain Jeff Friesen.
 


1.5M for year six addresses what Andy is say about year 37.
 


FYI, Flames game is available in HD. The channel numbers for BEV and StarChoice are listed on that page. Shaw should at least be able to carry the feed instead of the regular Sportsnet HD feed, but they haven't figured that out yet. If they fail again tonight, Shaw HD customers should give 'em an earful through their feedback page.

Of course my main interest in the subject is Oilers HD on Sportsnet (coming soon apparently). Still, I can stomach watching the Flames in HD. Shaw better get their act together.
 


I am just surprised that a blogger felt badly that someone was mistreating members of the mainstream media.

Wonder if one of those scribes asked if there was any chance the Flames would let Phaneuf go to July 1 without a contract?
 


1.5M for year six addresses what Andy is say about year 37.

Except for the fact that the cap hit is the same in all six years.
 


Even if Kipper's play drops off by 2014, the cap hit should, in theory, have less impact because the cap will be higher. And since they'll only be spending $1.5 million in real dollars they can afford to pay more for an upgrade, if one is needed.
 


I think that this is a comment about his lack of education

Funny how our uneducated GM is signing all our franchise players to below market value contracts, while your GM is busy throwing buckets of money to the likes of Penner and Souray.

Seriously guys, is it really that hard for Oiler fan to admit that this is a great deal for the flames? We just signed a top tier goalie who would have gotten $7M+ on the open market for $5.8M.

Except for the fact that the cap hit is the same in all six years.

Who cares, I imagine $5.8M will be peanuts in six years in terms of cap space. Even if it isn't, the alternative was trying to go with an unproven goalie for the next few years, which would have been insane.

Great deal. Period.
 


The risk?

If Phaneuf wants to be an asshole, he can demand much more than 4.5 million on a long term deal.

Hell, if he hits July 1st, 2008 unsigned, anyone want to bet against a team with a blueline need throwing 70 million over 10 years in his direction?

Considering Ryan Whitney got 4 million a year on a six year deal this past summer, 4.5 million for Phaneuf might be a bit on the low side. My thinking is that any new long term deal for him starts at an annual average of 5 million per season.
 


Of course it's a great deal. Kipper gets a long term deal, the fans know their goaltending is fine, and the Flames got a discount. Front loading the contract works well for a team that is more likely to have cap issues than money issues (i.e. the cap hit is lowered by adding a token year on the end). If the player doesn't even intend on playing that season, the team still has a cap hit...but by then the cap should be higher. In the meantime, there's more cap room to sign other players. Nice signing, but obviously Kipper gave a discount. Whether Sutter can recognize it or not.
 


Re: the front-loading, I've heard the same numbers (6.7x5 + 1.5x1), but that can't be right. I don't have the CBA in front of me at this moment, but I'm pretty sure this is impossible; the way I recall it (from discussions after the Dipietro deal among others) is that the annual salary in any particular year of a contract cannot be more than double or less than half of the previous year's salary.

HBomb is absolutely right.

And back to the first point: this is evidence about as concrete as it gets that the Flames are a "large market team". Rod notes this right above, but again: the Flames are looking 4/5 years down the road -- when the cap will presumably be 60-some million -- and acting as if their primary concern at that point will be cap-related, not cash-related.
 


The game is in HD on channel 298 in Calgary. Which is awesome.
 


Considering Ryan Whitney got 4 million a year on a six year deal this past summer, 4.5 million for Phaneuf might be a bit on the low side.

Umm, why? Both are now third year players, with similar offensive numbers (edge to Whitney last year), playing in the top-4 on their respective squads (similar quality of competition, Whitney with a much better ON/OFF +/- though). Ohh, wait... I forgot that Dion is a MONSTER and he hitz reel hard. 4.5M is a fair estimate for Phaneuf. But yeah, some McGuire-ish GM could offer him 7M. You could probably argue Whitney's contract was a steal, too, but I don't get why everyone thinks Dion is this Norris quality D man.

The cap situation in Cowtown isn't so bad. They'll dump a guy like Warrener or Primeau and save a mil or two with replacement level guys, and spend to the cap to keep Langkow. Oh, and I'm an Oiler fan, and I think the Kipper deal is a(nother) great contract from Sutter.
 


looking at the cap table, I'm really starting to resent Warrener and question the Wayne Primeau signing. If we sign Dion, and throw Conroy under the bus, I guess that means were going to commit to Langkow to center Iggy's line. Seeing as we can't really take any salary back for Huselius, we're going to end up giving him away for free.
 


Seriously guys, is it really that hard for Oiler fan to admit that this is a great deal for the flames? We just signed a top tier goalie who would have gotten $7M+ on the open market for $5.8M.

I have no problem admitting as much. I just have questions about the length of the deal, which I don't think are unreasonable. The guy has had three excellent years of pro hockey, which started at the age of 28. The team is now top-heavy in salary, and no one has even responded to Sutter's line about Kipper having "his best years in front of him." Is it really that nuts to suggest that if his knees still work in three years, you'll all be emitting big sighs of relief?

Let's get it out of the way before the trolls pop up: talking about the Roloson, Souray or Penner deals is totally irrelevant, as I'm positive the entire Oilogosphere is on the record as opposing those deals. You aren't going to hurt our feelings by mocking them. What would be interesting would be to see any Flames fans besides Matt and Metrognome actually consider this deal semi-objectively. Links to posts on the matter from Flames fans welcome.
 


One of the pluses/minuses of Kipper's career isn't the age its the mileage. Is Kipper like an NFL running back that once he hits 30 he's just plum wore out, or is he like a redshirted 5th year college player with plenty in the tank? I'm definitely concerned with Kipper's hip (he still looks funny to me when he moves back and to his right), and I'll bet every Flame fan has a secret nightmare where he/she wakes up in a cold sweat as Kipper takes his mask off to reveal Roman Turek, BUT I think the CBA protects the Flames from cap explosion in case Kipper gets hurt, and a front loaded contract makes him easier to move to a team thats renting cap space, in case he sucks. Matt's right though, You can have a great team, but if you don't have solid, top 5 goaltending the other deals to Regehr, Iggy, and upcoming to Dion don't matter.
 


I haven't looked at it too deeply or even too shallow-ly, but a reasonable guess seems to be that it'll rise from $50.3M to $53M-$54M; as I understand things, it probably won't jump as much as it did the past two years, because there were factors other than revenue increases that contributed significantly to those jumps.

A Modest Proposal for teams like the Flames, the Leafs, the Rangers, etc. Teams with more cap trouble than money trouble: Buy all outstanding tickets to the Preds, Thrashers, Panther games to ensure that the Cap rises next year.

P.S. How high does the C$/Oil price have to go before they put fur sinks in the Saddledome?
 


Is it really that nuts to suggest that if his knees still work in three years, you'll all be emitting big sighs of relief?

The scenario of Kipper becoming a decrepit hack at age 36-37 is hard to imagine. He is entering his 3rd season as a full-time starter and he has no history of serious injuries. Assuming a goalie enters a decline at age 35, it doesn't mean their level of play completely bottoms out... It just means he might not win the Vezina at age 36 or 37. Hasek and Roy come to mind...

Having Kipper sign a short-term contract decreases the assumed risk, but my estimate is that the cap-hit would be 6.5-7 million. A 6-year contract below market-value for an annual Vezina finalist won't get too many complaints. I would rather have a strong nucleus tied up for 5-6 years with potential salary cap issues in the last years than the alternative. Which is whatever Lowe has done to the Oilers.
 


"The way I was raised, thirty-five million dollars isn't less money."
That's pretty witty, actually. He's Gruff but Loveable Sutter.
 


You're freaking me out with the Nystrom prediction. Excellent.. Kipper with 39 saves, its almost if something happened recently to inspire him.
 


Which is whatever Lowe has done to the Oilers.

But he has a five-year plan!!!
 


Gruff but Loveable... I have no problem with that concept. That answer, though, I would describe as So Disingenous It's The Same As Lying. He's trying to humiliate a reporter for suggesting something that is -- what, 75% likely to be true? 90%? 98%?

Whatever. As a fan, there's a lot worse problems I could have. But it seems so goddamn pointless... I'm not exaggerating when I say that I'd rather let my sons -- who are 7 and 3 -- listen to an open feed out of the dressing room than a presser from the GM. I could defend or explain away the profanity out of the dressing room; not so the other thing.
 


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