Thursday, November 01, 2007


I have a lot to say to you people

**Reliable sources! I have it on excellent authority that this is how the 6 years of Kipper's new contract break down:
So the initial reports of the contract being pretty front-loaded were correct, but the details were off. (If you care: CBA Article 50.7 says a contract cannot drop from one year to the next by more than 50% of the value of the lesser of the first two years. Lesser of the first two years of this deal is $7M, 50% of that is $3.5M, so $5M followed by ($5M-$3.5M=) $1.5M is OK, whereas $6.7M followed by $1.5M is not.)

The actual implications of this structure (pending the details of the no-trade, no-move elements of the deal), in terms of what fans care about, is roughly:
  1. In the late years of the deal, Kipper is quite tradeable (if need be) to teams who are operating well under the cap. Say that after Year 4, Calgary and Atlanta are talking deal: Atlanta only cares that they have to pay Kipper $6.5M over 2 years; the fact that his cap charge is $5.83M/yr is of little consequence to them because they aren't anywhere near exceeding the cap.
  2. Similarly, he can be waived (i.e. sent to the minors) quite comfortably in the late years. Salaries for minor league players, even if they're on a one-way contract, do not count against the cap; the kicker is that you still have to pay them their regular salary. Clearly, if Kipper is not performing well -- or even well enough to be the regular starter -- then sending him to the minors for Year 6, and paying him $1.5M to get rid of a $5.83M cap hit, would be an easy decision.
  3. And following directly from that, it's equally clear that Kipper would probably be motivated to retire if that was the case. Playing in the minors for $1.5M at age 37 after earning $33.5M in the NHL the previous 5 years is presumably unappealing.
**Meta-NHL. If you read too much, it's really easy to become convinced that the NHL is uniquely screwed. Two articles at yesterday drove home once again that this isn't the case. Bill Simmons:
The question remains: Why do the people running the NBA care so much about big-picture issues and causes (globalization, technological advancements, the WNBA, etc.) and so little about the quality and integrity of the league itself?

If there was a WNHL, this would be rather on point, wouldn't it? (Appropriately, he ends this segment with, "...let's hope Gary Bettman didn't secretly take over this league a year ago.") And Chuck Klosterman:
American pro basketball continues to self-identify as forever facing doom, almost out of habit.

The reason for this is forever the same: The NBA is hopelessly, endlessly, incorrigibly narcissistic. It's a quality that defines every decision the league office makes and every direction it takes.

When people hear the word "narcissistic," they associate it with egotism, but that's not really accurate. The failing of the mythical Narcissus was not his obsession with himself; it was his obsession with his image. And this is what prompts the NBA to wrestle with itself. No other league is as preoccupied with how others feel about its product. At least twice a year, David Stern feels obligated to deliver a state of the union address that dissects the minutia of TV ratings and tries to manipulate whatever image problem the association happens to be consumed with at the moment. [...] Unlike other sports, pro hoops tries to actively reinterpret the meaning of everything it is; it wants to control the way fans think about it. But this can never work, because the NBA has three problems that are inherent to its modern existence. Stern can't spin them because they are not image-related. They are simply realities that need to be accepted.

Problem 1: Some games are going to be boring

Unlike other sports, you say, Chuck? Pffft.
**He's done it again. More fantastic work by Vic Ferrari at IOF yesterday. He does a terrific job of both explaining and disclaiming his figures, so I won't try to summarize.

What I will say, in my semi-annual rant on this point, is that people who reject this kind of stuff out of hand are really stupid.
The Flames wrap up their 7-game homestand tonight (4-1-1 so far) against the Red Wings (6PM MT, Flames PPV), who look to be the class of the conference.

I see Henrik Zetterberg is finally getting the respect he has earned over the past couple of seasons. Duhatschek had a nice piece on him last week on Monday; my favourite is probably still Razor Reaugh's from February.

From my own perspective: Spezza, Ovechkin, Crosby, and a few others can make defenders look awful on any given shift, but there is no one who is the equal of Zetterberg (and his line) at making the opposition look completely inept for an entire game. They control the puck beautifully, one guy is always finding some open space, and when they don't have the puck, they seem to get in the way of everything. Call them the Line Most Likely to Make You Depressed About Your Team's Ability to Clear Their Own Zone.

On that note, they pretty much mauled the Iginla line in a direct matchup on October 10th in Detroit. I'll be interested to see tonight whether Keenan goes for the Power vs Power rematch, or whether he crosses his fingers and sends out Lombardi & wingers against Zed, while sending Iginla against Samuelsson (or Draper).

The Flames are 6-1-2 since that game in Detroit, and have looked for the most part like a darn good hockey team. Tonight is definitely a test, one that I think they're ready to pass. Calgary 3, Detroit 2. Go Flames.


Great minds think alike.

I like Razor Reaugh's idea for an official "Best Player in the League", but I don't like the name. Being from Saskatchewan, I know it is a sacrilege to suggest anyone other than Gordie Howe could possibly be the best player in the game, but a better moniker for the award would have to be the "Robert Orr Trophy".

Not only did Orr dominate every game he played, he is also more true to Razor's description of Zetterburg as a potential recipient of the Selke Trophy. Just as Zetterburg plays a defensive role in not allowing the opposition to gain puck possession for appreciable periods of time, so did Orr become the all-time greatest defensement by being an offenseive juggernaut.

Excellent use of footnotes in that preview, MG.

Interesting cap management from the Wings: Datsuyk 6.7, Lidstrom 7.6, Rafalski 6.0, Nobody else above 3 mil per. Zetterburg has another year after this one at an obscenely low price. Osgood's cap number is 850K!

Call them the Line Most Likely to Make You Depressed About Your Team's Ability to Clear Their Own Zone.

Can we get an acronym for this, please? LMLMYDAYTACTOZ doesn't cut it.

BTW, love the Festivus reference.

Matt, the Flames by the same metric. Which is just a measure of your team's ability to outshoot the opposition when you are on the ice (goalposts, crossbars and shots wide included). Every body's numbers prorated to the same as Phaneuf's.

62 Langkow
60 Iginla
50 Tanguay
45 Phaneuf
43 Moss
43 Huselius
28 Warrener
18 Sarich
15 Conroy
15 Nolan
12 Aucoin
10 Eriksson
6 Lombardi
-15 Nilson
-16 Regehr
-25 Yelle
-38 Smith

Regehr shoulf be near the top at this. And lately Keenan hasn't been leaning on him as much for the icetime against the opponent's best, either. Good (non-goalie) players just don't fall to shit like that. He's hurt.

Flames fans should hope that he gets better before Aucoin hits the infirmary, which should be any day now. :)

Warrener is having a great start by this, and by the comments here and at metrognome's site. We know he's just playing against the other team's depth, still, results be results. Good for him, always liked Warrener.

Lombardi should get props for staying in the black at this given the context of a lot of his icetime IMO. Keenan wasn't blowing smoke.

Edit for above, that should read "everybody's numbers prorated to Phaneuf's icetime".

Andy: How about LLLO? (Line Least Like Oilers)

Vic, thanks a ton for that.

I know you've prorated for EV icetime, but can you confirm that the events are all at even strength as well? Discrepancy between the regular PP guys and the regular PK guys should be expected on account of talent (or LOFT), but man, that is something.

Yes, Matt, just for evens of course. That is a hell of a spread, but the Flames are a top heavy team.

Duhatschek's point about Detroit's propensity to find talent in rounds other than "first" is a bit of an understatement.

If I ever feel I've run out of material with a particular Leaf fan I like to bring up the 1989 draft, where the good 'ol Leafs somehow managed to have three first round picks. Unfortunately, there biggest impact player from that year ended up being Rob Pearson.

Detroit on the other hand came away with:
Lidstrom - 3rd Rd
Fedorov - 4th Rd
Konstantinov - 11th Rd

It's fun to ask a Leaf fan if they think one of those players would have made a high-sticking penalty in '93 irrelevant.

Losing any one game isn't the end of the world, but losing twice to Detroit, the current best team in the West (and league?) is frustrating. I'm not even sure we could claim to have really competed against them. With the exception of our early goal, we didn't control the game until they started going into a defensive shell in the third period. We are starting to play better against shut-down defenses, as shown by our comeback against Minnesota, and our comeback in shots tonight, but teams that are strong both offensively and defensively seem to be able to score at will despite our best efforts. The fourth Detroit goal was a good indicator of that.

Still life goes on. The Wild are looking a lot weaker now that they've run into injury problems again. Colorado is keeping ahead of us, but they've had a weaker schedule so far (mostly because they haven't played Detroit yet), and the season series has them at +2 points rather than -4 thanks to a couple of bad bounces and Mr. Magoo.

Looking at the Flames and how they've struggled against the Wings and Sharks, you have to say that the Flames just aren't on the top tier of WC teams. Plus the way they've structured their team, and the prospects in their system it looks like this will be a solid playoff team for 3-4 years but I just don't see them breaking out of the 4-8th seed and maybe a round or two in the SCP.

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