FRIDAY: MIXED BAG

The biggest sporting event in the world starts today. Whether you are a fan of the Olympics or not, the fact is for the next 16 days London will host the most athletes in one place for four years. I love the Olympics, because they evoke so many emotions. Athletes train four years to get to this point and in many events, one minor slip up can cost them their dream. It is gutwrenching and exhilarating all at the same time.

The best part is that there is still a lot of hockey and football to chat about while the Olympics are on.

Former Oiler Lubomir Visnvosky has filed an appeal to veto his trade to the New York Islanders, stating he had a NMC clause. I asked NHL agent Kevin Epp (not Visnovsky’s representative) about No Movement Clauses.

JG: When a player signs a contract that includes a NMC does, that NMC become null and void once he arrives at a new team?

KE: No. it stays with the term of the contract. I’m sure you are asking because of the Visnovsky situation. Typically it stays in the contract, and I guess that is what is up for debate in that scenario.

JG: The NMC is part of his contract just like the money. Is there anywhere in any contract that you’ve signed/overseen that stipulates once a player waives his NMC then the team that is acquiring him has the option to uphold it?

KE: That is not in there; it doesn’t say that or stipulate that at all. I don’t know what the circumstances are, I don’t know if he had a complete NMC/NTC clause, or if he had a limited trade. Sometimes there is a deadline or date when you have to put in a list of teams that you would or wouldn’t go to. Lots of times there are cases where players either forget to do it, don’t do it or it doesn’t happen in a timely manner. I haven’t read over his exact contract, but I think if he had a complete NMC/NTC I’m sure he’d have a strong case."

After chatting with Epp I made some phone calls and was able to discover that Visnovsky had a complete NMC for the first four years of his contract, but he had a limited NMC/NTC clause for this year.

It stipulated that as of May 15th, 2012 his club (Ducks) could request (in writing) that he provide them with a list of at least ten teams (he could list more) that he would be willing to go to. He would then have 14 days after receiving the written request, to submit his list to the Ducks. If he does not submit his list within the 14 days after receiving the written consent of the club, they are free to trade him to any NHL team.

I’m guessing that is what will be argued. If the Ducks sent him their request and he didn’t reply in the proper 14-day window, then the contract states they are free to trade him to any NHL team. It doesn’t sound like a NMC become void after a player gets traded. I spoke to two other agents today and they both said they’ve never seen one that had a void/opt out aspect of a NMC, other than the limited NTC.

QUICK HITS

  • If you plan on watching the Olympics on tape delay, and don’t want to know the results beforehand, I’d recommend staying off twitter during the day.
     
  • Chris Vande Velde and Alex Plante signed one-year, two-way deals yesterday. Both are depth signings. Plante took some strides last year, but his biggest hurdle will be fending off the younger defenders coming up. Martin Marincin, David Musil, Martin Gernat and Oskar Klefbom could push him farther down the depth chart. Vande Velde could be the heir apparent to Eric Belanger, as a 4th line centre. He needs to improve his footspeed, but he’s solid in the draws and on the PK. If Belanger has a bounce back year, I could see the Oilers moving him next year and replacing him with a cheaper Vande Velde. Of course Anton Lander will have a say in Vande Velde’s icetime, but I see Lander as a #3, who might develop into a #2.
     
  • Nice gamble by Jim Rutherford in signing Alex Semin. Seven million is a lot of money, but they aren’t a cap team and it’s only a one-year deal. Semin is one of the most naturally skilled players in the league, and while his consistency and work ethic are a concern, I think he’s worth the risk for a year. Kirk Muller has an infectious personality, and I bet he’ll find a way to keep Semin interested. If he stays healthy, I see him bouncing back with 35 goals. The Canes have four solid offensive players in Skinner, Semin and the Staals. I’m sure their marketing campaign will revolve around the letter S…
     
  • I can’t wait to see how the Wings will do without Nick Lidstrom and Brad Stuart. The Wings have struck out in free agency and trades thus far. Their blueline is average at best right now.
     
  • Steven Jyles’ fumble didn’t cost the Esks the game last night, their inability to put up points in the first half did. The Esks D and special teams continually gave them great field position, but they couldn’t capitalize. Injuries are never an excuse, but last night the O-line didn’t look great missing three starters. The Esks D is great, but their offence is still a question mark.
     
  • I wonder if Tim Thomas is eyeing a political career after hockey. He’s made his views on some hot topics very clear, however, because he has different views on marriage than some doesn’t make him an idiot. Too often we resort to name calling when someone disagrees with our stance on something, and while I don’t view marriage as only man and woman, I also can understand why some feel that way. Actual conversations about it would be much more beneficial than name calling, but it sadly that seems highly unlikely.  The interesting thing is why so many seem to think his opinion on marriage means more than anyone else’s. It doesn’t. Nor does mine.
     
  • Memo to Ryan Tannehill: Get your ass to training camp. You’ve only played 1 1/2 years of QB in college and you need the reps if you think you’ll actually be a successful NFL quarterback. Every day you hold out decreases your chances of beating out Matt Moore as the Dolphins QB. Wake up.
     
  • Interesting how an attitude or persona can change how people are viewed. Many feel Steve Tambellini has done a below average job, yet in Toronto many feel Brian Burke is doing an okay job. Burke was hired November 29th, 2008. He’s been in Toronto for 3 1/2 years and they’ve never made the playoffs. Only two players, Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski, have longer stays in Toronto than Burke. Burke has re-built his entire team, but unless he acquires a goalie, they don’t look like they will improve.

    Tambellini was hired July 31st, 2008 and the Oilers have finished 22nd, 30th, 30th and 29th under his watch. Sam Gagner, Shawn Horcoff, Ales Hemsky, Ladislav Smid and Theo Peckham are the only players remaining since he arrived. Even though it never started until January of 2010, the Oilers finally have a plan, but I’m not sure what the Leafs plan is. They don’t keep their top-ten picks, but they also don’t want to finish 8th "And get blown out in the first round."

    I’m guessing Burke gets more rope because he won a Cup in Anaheim, but his tenure in Toronto has been anything but successful.
     

  • I love the 30 for 30 series. Up until Wednesday my favourites included: "Kings Ransom," "The Two Escobars," "Once Brothers,", "June 17th, 1994,’ "The Birth of Big Air," and "Into the Wind" the Terry Fox story, but now I have to add "Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks" to my list. I highly recommend it.  Great story lines and shows how intense the Pacers/Knicks rivalry was.

    Many have told me that "The U" is a must see as well, and I’m looking forward to it. These types of documentaries are a must-see if you are a sports fan. I love them.
     

  • Good article by Kevin Anderson on Claude Giroux. Great quote from Giroux when asked about the scars on his wrists.

    “Those are from (Sidney) Crosby,” he says half smiling, but with some tension in his voice. “Every time we’d line up against each other for a face-off during our (2012 playoff) series, instead of going for the puck when it was dropped, he’d hack me across the wrists. I ended up playing the series against (New) Jersey with one of them fractured and had to go for surgery on both of them after we were out of the playoffs.”
     

  •  All 18 players who filed for arbitration or had their team take them have settled before seeing an arbitrator. The NHL thrives on deadlines. I know it is unlikely, but the NHLPA and NHL should have a deadline for a new CBA. If they didn’t agree to a deal before September 5th, then they would present their case to an arbitrator and let him/her decide.

    We’d never have a lockout/strike and the fans would never get short-changed. I know it’s a pipedream, but having a deadline in place would force them to start negotiating earlier and get a deal done. The NHL culture thrives on deadlines so why not put one in place for CBA talks?

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Maybe if he would’ve spent more time trying to win the draws instead of slashing Giroux the Pens wouldn’t have got their arses handed to them.

  • John Chambers

    Jason,

    Having a deadline to decide the new CBA would hand over an undue amount of leverage to the players union. With regard to shortening the season, this tactic overwhelmingly benefits the owners. They can stand to miss an entire season or a fragment thereof and have it not translate into diminished brand value or much foregone revenue, but for some players it can represent a significant percentage (in some cases over 20%) of their lifetime career income.

    The players will ultimately have to accept a deal they won’t be entirely happy with. The NHL has done a great job of monetizing the business, and the players don’t have much of a claim to that revenue. The players stand far more to lose with a lockout, and it’s my guess they’ll acquiesce to a deal that provides them 50-52% of hockey-related revenue.

    • MessyEH!

      That’s why Crosby has a cup and a gold medal. He does what it takes to win. I never saw a single penalty called off of a face off. That was one great series.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Love that Crosby did that to Giroux, most of us fans don’t even realise that it really is a a war out there on the ice.

    Kill or be killed. That Crosby kid’s going to be just fine. The fact that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to beat down his opponent, has alot to do with him being in the finals a couple times already.

    The things you have to do to be labelled a winner nowadays….

  • Jason Gregor

    OK, I’m pretending my Mom is reading over my shoulder, but here goes:

    I agree Jason. T. Thomas’ opinion re: marriage shouldn’t mean more than your opinion (or mine for that matter). The fact is – it does.

    MSM and the “lesser types” have created “opinion leaders” of major league athletes. Our heros are placed on pedestals and are not discouraged by the media to share their sporting and even personal world views.

    Generally speaking, I think it’s safe to say that a person’s accomplishments in life means his or her opinions carry greater weight – regardless of the topic. T. Thomas has earned a SC – and in the hockey world that gives him a larger listening audience. Doesn’t mean his/her opinion is right, but it doesn’t mean it’s wrong either. But, we likely listen because . . . hey, this guy won a Cup!

    I do find it somewhat interesting that the media provides the forum for this sort of free discussion, then (hypocritically) stands back and wonders why athletes have so much influence.

    Just sayin’ . . .

    • Jason Gregor

      I think you need to recheck your facts. Tim Thomas posted those comments on his facebook page. He wasn’t asked about it. The media had nothing to do with it. He spoke his mind, which is fine, I just don’t see why so many are upset about it.

      And putting all media in same bowl is idiotic. I talk about how they perform as athletes, I’ve said for years I don’t expect them to be better people than everyone else.

  • @Jason Gregor –

    “I wonder if Tim Thomas is eyeing a political career after hockey. He’s made his views on some hot topics very clear, however, because he has different views on marriage than some doesn’t make him an idiot. Too often we resort to name calling when someone disagrees with our stance on something, and while I don’t view marriage as only man and woman, I also can understand why some feel that way. Actual conversations about it would be much more beneficial than name calling, but it sadly that seems highly unlikely.  The interesting thing is why so many seem to think his opinion on marriage means more than anyone else’s. It doesn’t. Nor does mine.”

    Very well said Jason.
     

  • Disagree on Thomas. Sometimes what you think/say/do really does mean you are an idiot. We live in a place where everyone has a right to say or think what they want, but that doesnt mean all ideas are created equal. Some things really are idiotic.

    Right now, Tim Thomas is doing his best qualify as an idiot