Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Inmates Still Run the Asylum and I Still Love Martin Broduer

There are two sides to the travesty that is Rick Dipietro's new contract. On one hand, it is absolutely shocking- a 15 year deal given to a guy who really hasnt won anything (and being an Islander for life probably won't help that cause). On the other hand, it is a completely expected move made by an organization that has become less than the laughing stock of the NHL. Rumours of a deal like this surfaced last summer, and when nothing materialized I, and I think everyone else, assumed it was just talk. Just throwing around numbers and ideas. But apparently talk has become reality. This reminds me of a quote: Thoughts without action are dreams. Actions without thoughts are nightmares. Guess what this one is.

Rick Dipietro could become a great goalie. He could become underpaid for several years of that contract, and in fact, player salary inflation could prove that contract a real bargain in only 2-3 years. Dipietro is after all only the 6th highest paid goalie, and if anything, that number will only dip. But why saddle your team with such a burden?

If there is anything the new CBA has proven its that teams need to be flexible. Dynasty phases and rebuilding phases seem to have accelerated due to the salary cap - as soon as a team matures together and starts winning, they must be dismantled because no team can afford all premier players anymore. So why get stuck with a guy that is completely unmovable? Dipietro will be nearly 40 when this deal expires, and it is unlikely that his level of play will be comparable to that in his prime years. You can point to Ed Belfour as an example of a great goalie playing great late into his career, but for every Belfour there's 30 guys who retired due to rust. And in the event Dipietro gets a career ending injury? He still gets paid. Given the choice between playing for the Islanders or getting a $75 million injurt benefits cheque, I'm not sure how long he'll actually be playing for.

I sincerely doubt there is any celebration on Long Island tonight besides that of the champagne uncorking in Garth Snow's equipment room (I mean GM's office). After all, he just completed his first deal! (You can't see me but I'm rolling my eyes BIG TIME).

A couple of other key signings int he last couple days. The Flyers managed to sign Simon Gagne to a deal 'similar to that of Alex Tanguay,' (who coincidently has the same agent as Gagne). Considering the similar structure of Tanguay and Gagne's contract, I can't help but daydream what the Flames would have had to give up to get Simon Gagne. Obvoiusly the reason Sutter was able to pilfer Tanguay for so little was because the Avs are were in a huge budget crunch. The question in Calgary has always been, if we trade Iginla, what could we get for him? Gagne's name is one that has not unreasonably been thrown around in a deal that involves Iginla (of course this is pure hypothetical internet bullshit talk, but I don't think it was crazy). Assuming the Flames had the option of Gagne or Tanguay, which one would we have chosen? Personally, I like Tanguay, I think he should have been on the Olympic team. He's won a Stanley Cup. Gagne on the other hand has not won a Stanley Cup, but his pedigree of a World Cup and Olympic Gold Medal are no less impressive. He also seems less injury prone, and he will probably be named the Flyer's new captain, given Primeau's impending retirement (more on that as it is announced).

All else being equal, I would probably choose Gagne simply for the fact his two way game might be a bit better, and he seems less injury prone compared the the arguably more talented Tanguay. Of course, back in reality we know all things weren't equal, and the Flames would not have received Gagne in return for Leopold and a pick. So Gagne in a Flames jersey remains a pipe dream, much like the thought of a #1 centre.

Finally, the Oilers sign their Pronger parting gift (Lupul) to a $7 million 3 year deal. This means Pisani, Stoll, Horcoff and Hemsky are locked in for a garuntee of 3 years each, no one earning over 4/year, and as an Oiler fan I can confidently say: LOCK SMYTTY DOWN. Seriously Kevin Lowe, all these guys are great, but Ryan is the glue that holds it all together. Assuming this group is as good as they were last year Edmonton can stay competitive this year. Don't expect another cup run, but they will suprise some people.

Finally, I'd just like to comment on Martin Broduer, regarding his latest book. This guy continues to prove why he deserves all the accolades he gets, not just by his actions, but because hes one of few athletes who speaks his mind, and who actually knows what hes talking about when he opens his mouth (Sean Avery should take note).

First Broduer says that Bertuzzi has suffered too much for his attack on Moore. Lets face facts, this is the opinion of virtually every athlete in the NHL that has commented on the issue, but is one that hasnt yet taken hold in the minds of journalists out there.

"I play the game, these kinds of hits happen over and over again," Brodeur reiterated Monday. "People are lucky they don't get hurt more. I'm not taking anything away from Steve and his injury . . . but it's tough, this guy's (Bertuzzi's) life is changed, his career is changed. It'll be tough for him to ever be the same player from the day before he did that."

TSN article about Broduer's new book

The bold part of his quote is why I agree with Broduer. If you watch the game enough you realize that the Bertuzzi hit is borderline run of the mill. If you watched the playoffs last year you'd see that players were letting loose like hits from behind were going out of style. The penalty assesed to Bertuzzi was based on media coverage rather than extent of the injury,'meanness' or the attack's 'premeditation.' The real culprit here (besides Bertuzzi) is the NHL's lack of dedication in taking dirty hits out of the game, and penalizing them indiscriminently. You can't only arrest 1/100th of the crimes you witness being committed and expect people to stop disobeying the law, likewise, you can't suspend 1/100 of the dirty hits committed and expect players to curb their enthusiasm. The benefits of playing dirty far outweigh the costs, and the instigator rule only reinforces that. Real changes need to be made if the NHL actually wants to prevent plays like this happening again.

Finally, Broduer, a native Quebecer believes Quebec is better off staying with Canada, Sprite makes a better energy drink than Gatorade, and that he's better off taking a pay cut to keep the team competitive (a crazy concept in this day and age) even if it gets him in trouble with the NHLPA. Like Andrew Ference, Broduer negotiates his own contracts. Of course, the NHLPA filed a grievance and argued that Broduer's lawyer negotiated the contract for him, and wasnt a certified NHLPA agent.

"These were the same people who had certified David Frost as an agent," says Broduer.

'Nuff said Marty. 'Nuff said.

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