Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bobby Clarke, Still Taking Numbers and Breaking Ankles

Bobby Clarke is upset. While that is not news in itself, the recent cause of Clarke's malaise is. You see, Clarke tendered an offer to Ryan Kesler for $1.9 dollars, which is apparently more than the Canucks were planning on offering Kesler. If Kesler chose to sign with the Flyers, the Canucks would be reimbursed with a 2nd round draft pick. All the provisions of this event are written in the new CBA, but apparently there are several NHL GMs who are upset at Clark's move.

Now I can think of a lot of reasons to be upset over this move - if you're a Flyer's fan. The fact is that $1.9 is a huge overpayment for a guy of Kesler's talent level. Kesler has his strengths, and one of them should be that he comes cheap. But Clarke has the same amount of cash to work with as any team, and if he chooses to blow some of that on a 3rd line guy like Kesler, that’s his call.

The reason that many GMs are p.o.'ed however, is because they believe this offer is a cause of salary inflation in the NHL. The last time an offer sheet was tendered to a RFA was when Carolina offered Sergei Federov some ungodly amount of money back in the 90s. THAT was a true cause of salary inflation, because the amount offered was totally astronomical, and Federov was the kind of player that a GM couldn’t just let go, and because Detroit could afford anyone. The sky really was the limit for that organization's salary. That’s all changed now though. It doesn’t matter how much any one team offers a player, because there's only so much to go around. A higher salary at the top only means a lower salary at the bottom, or vice versa.

"Everyone says it's causing salaries to go up. That's crap. We've all got salary caps and if it is true it drives up salaries, well, doesn't Boston signing (Zdeno) Chara to a $7 million deal or Chicago signing (Martin) Havlat to a $6 million deal drive up salaries, too? Give me a break. "

Clarke Vents

Clarke also points out that the new revenue sharing agreement means that the Flyers organization gives money to smaller market teams, which they then use to sign better players, and the Flyers never got upset about it. Its part of the rules.

But, Clark says, the RFA offer is also part of the rules. If its within the rules, rules all 30 GMs (perhaps reluctantly) agreed to, then no one should be upset about it.

"But they shouldn't be getting mad at me, I didn't put the (offer sheet) rule in the collective bargaining agreement. If they're mad, they should call Gary Bettman and complain to him. Get mad at Gary Bettman. He's in charge of the rules, not me. I didn't realize there were some rules we're not allowed to use."

Clarke is absolutely right. The GMs shouldn’t be mad at him. Flyers fans probably should be though.

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