LOCKOUT LOSERS

I don’t think it is productive to talk daily about this asinine lockout, but this photo made me chuckle. Gary Bettman doesn’t scare anyone, or command respect, like Marlon Brando did in the Godfather, but Bettman likely thinks he does. Either way this lockout is an embarrassment to the game, for both sides, and sadly it will likely last for two months.

Maybe I’m being too rational to assume it will only last two months, but if it lasts longer there are a few teams that could lose much more than just one year of hockey.

If the lockout lasts a full season like it did in 2004/2005 then the free agent pool could be extemely deep. Contracts DO NOT carry over, so Ladislav Smid, Ryan Whitney, Ryan Jones, Lennart Petrell and Darcy Hordichuk would be UFAs. Nikolai Khabibulin’s contract also expires, but that is more of a gift than a problem.

Smid had the best season of his career last year and was looking forward to carrying that into a four or five year deal. He will easily get signed, but a missed year will cost him more money on his next contract. Whitney is coming off two injury-plagued seasons and would likely have to settle for a short-term deal to prove he’s healthy.

Some teams could lose elite players, and get nothing in return if there is no season.

Anaheim: Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf could walk. There has been lots of talk that they aren’t happy in Anaheim, which doesn’t make much sense to me, but if it is true a lockout could hurt the Ducks more than any other team. Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu and Toni Lydman are also UFAs next summer, so Ana would need a complete face lift.

Calgary: Jarome Iginla has one year left. I doubt he’d just up and walk away from the Flames, but a year off will lower his trade value. Henrik Karlsson would also be a UFA, and some teams could offer him a more realistic chance to start.

Dallas: Jaromir Jagr, Brendan Morrow, Derek Roy and Michael Ryder will be UFAs next summer. These players would likely suffer lost wages more than the Stars would from their absence, but after Jamie Benn (RFA), Loui Eriksson and a 42-year-old Ray Whitney they’d have little offensive depth.

Detroit: Jimmy Howard, Valtteri Filppula and Dan Cleary could test the market. Not superstar players, but solid complimentary guys.

New Jersey: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajak, David Clarkson and Marek Zidlicky could be available. The Devils finances aren’t great and they’d likely lose two of these players. Elias will take a big pay cut from his current $6 million cap hit, but Clarkson and Zajak are in line for a raise. We’ll see if Lou can weave his magic once again and keep his team competitive.

NYI: A lockout likely doesn’t change the ineptitude of the Islanders, but losing Mark Streit for nothing would be a huge blow. Lubomir Visnovsky (who lost his appeal to veto trade last week) is also a UFA, and there is no way he’ll be coming back. They could lose their two best offensive D-men for nothing during this lockout.

PLAYERS WILL LOSE AS WELL

While some teams could see key guys walk away, numerous players will not only lose a year of pay, but they will lose out on future earnings as well. Like Smid and Whitney, there are other players in the league who need to prove they can still play or prove that they can build on a solid season.

Mike Smith: He was the story of the playoffs last year, but he’s only had one great season. I doubt the lockout will stop GMs and owners from overpaying players, but the shine from Smith’s playoff performance will be less bright next July than it is today.

Selanne, Jagr, Daniel Alfredsson, Roman Hamrlik, Jason Arnott, Evgeni Nabokov and Sergei Gonchar: A lockout likely ends their NHL careers, or at least any significant contract. Would any of these guys come back and would a team believe they have much left in the tank after a year off? Doubtful.

Nathan Horton: He won’t have to rush back from his concussion problems, but he’ll take a pay cut to prove he is healthy.

Alex Semin: Would anyone give him close to a one-year $7 million deal after a lockout? He could lose between $8-10 million if it lasts a full season.

Lower-tier players: Guys like John Scott, Anthony Stewart, Jamal Mayers etc. These guys will likely lose their jobs to younger guys who play in the AHL or junior this year. I’d guess you’d see at least 60 "role" players lose their jobs if the lockout lasts a year.

I wonder how many of them feel the lockout is worth that.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

  • We will need a "pick me up" during the lockout so thank you to Adrianna Lima…Again.
     
  • The New Orleans Saints are the only 0-2 team in the NFC. They desperately miss their head coach Sean Payton. Their defence looks more unorganized than the Eskimos offence.
     
  • Miami Dolphins: Tied for first in AFC East. Tan-e-hill…TAN-E-Hill… I know beating the lowly Raiders isn’t a big accomplishment, but they won. The Pats lost to the Cardinals, so clearly they aren’t that great. And with all the lame lip-synch videos of "Call me Maybe" the one performed by the Dolphins Cheerleaders is the best and most tolerable. Just put it on mute…

  •  The Eskimos offence is in disarray. They can barely get the plays in from the sidelines. Matt Nichols was the most effective QB in Hamilton. He would be the starter this week if he didn’t get his bell rung, and the worst part is that he had them in the endzone twice on that drive, but both were called back due to penalties. If the Esks don’t take one of those penalties then the play where he gets hurt doesn’t happen. They are literally beating themselves up. 
     
  •  In one of my fantasty football leagues (I’m only in two, anymore is too much) I might have had the worst week EVER. Gates last minutes scratch, 0 points. Chris Johnson, 17 rushing yards, 4 points. Matt Schaub, 9 points. It got worse from there. I have to take some of the blame because I drafted my team, but Johnson, Gates, injured Jackson etc, have got me off to an awful start. Good news is it can’t get worse, and my Dolphins won.
     
  • Tough dilemma for hockey fans. No NHL, and if you want to watch the WHL in town you have to support the owner of the NHL team. The Oil Kings have a very good team. Curtis Lazar is a projected top-ten pick in the draft, and they have the #4 pick from last year, Griffin Reinhart, as well as three Oiler draft picks in Ewanyk, Gernat and Moroz. You shouldn’t punish the kids by not going to watch, but I understand why some will stay away due to the Oiler connection.
     
  • I’ll be cheering for the Orioles and Oakland in MLB playoffs. I hope Baltimore wins the American League East and then Oakland beats Yanks in one-game wild card. I can’t stand the Yankees, although Jeter is one hell of a player.