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.
  • Old Soldier

    It is getting harder and harder to take anyone seriously who points the finger at Bettman. He is a lawyer hired by a group of wealthy businessmen to be a frontman and advisor. I would bet a paycheck that Ed Snider, MLSE or any other owner are not willing to sit back meekly while “their” mouthpiece makes the decisions.

    So the personal vitrol aimed at the man shows less in the way of objectivity than emotionality.

    I also believe it wouldnt kill the players side if they followed the owners lead and kept their mouths shut and let Fehr do the talking. The more we see of Crosby, Selanne and Ovechkin crying foul, the less pity they get, at least in my eyes. It is hard to feel sorry for someone who even after a rollback in salary will be able to buy a brand new luxury home for cash every year.

    And as far as the players blaming the owners for the current situation, if you honestly believe that if the owners cancelled the lockout and kept negotiating that the players wouldn’t go on strike the minute they got their last paycheck of the season and the playoffs looming (which is exactly what Fehr did in MLB) you are delusional.

  • I tried it at home

    This wont be popular, but Id like to say something about Bettman. He’s not my favorite person either, but take a deep breath on the hating, and remember, he ok’ed the EIG taking over the OIlers when he didnt have to, and he stopped Peter Pucks selling the team to the states. I know its trendy and popular to bad mouth the guy, and he deserves a lot of it, but he also did a lot for Edmonton keeping the team when it would of been easy to let it go.

    • B S

      Bettman came into the mess that was Peter Pocklington’s financial screw up and fraud and said the team could be sold to local interests if they put forward a comparable bid to the Houston oil baron within a couple of weeks. If Bettman hadn’t come in, the franchise would have been held (Pocklington owed the ATB a ton of money and was trying to make the sale outside of their jurisdiction while he fled to the states) until the ATB saw tax money from the sale. He has held onto Phoenix for years despite sales offers for the team involving relocation…yeah doesn’t sound like a double standard to me(sarcasm).

      Sorry but the only people in that debacle that get my respect are the EIG who paid way too much for a wholesaled flagging franchise in order to keep it afloat.

  • dessert1111

    After listening to numerous speeches by both Bettman and Fehr over the past few months, I’ve gone from completely siding with the players, detesting Bettman and thinking Fehr was a good guy to absolutely detesting Fehr, siding with no one and feeling sorry for Bettman.

  • Rogue

    Lol!! Yankee haters amuse me. Every one hates teams at the top. Just like all the Oiler haters from the 80s’s. A good team is a good team, regardless if it was bought or not.

    Jeter overrated? He is not the player he was 5-10 years ago, but this “overrated” guy is in a battle for the batting title. Must then mean all players under him are total bums, lol.

  • Great read as usual Jason. I’m happy to see someone out there with the same attitude as myself. Last lockout I understood why, and supported the owners 100%. I didn’t vow never to come back, I thought I understood the economics of the thing. This time? I know I’ll watch the games when the lockout is over, but my obsession for the game left after the last lockout and hasn’t returned. It will only become worse. I purchased the 7 game pack this year (I haven’t been to Edmonton for a game in 10 years), but I will not be buying them again. This time I see nothing more than 2 sides unwilling to share the massive piles of cash that the fans and corporate sponsors pay for. Unbelievable. The reach-out to fans by both sides is nothing short of pathetic. Players are to blame for hiring a guy that has a track record for this sort of thing, plus they didn’t start negotiations until the 11th hour. The owners are to blame for allowing the GM’s to spend like drunken sailors and then blaming the players. Silly, just silly.

    • Rogue

      Two things really hit me:
      1.The NHLPA currently want a higher percentage of revenue than all the other N.A. major leagues while being the least significant in terms of popularity.
      2.Who actually created and perpetuated the longterm contracts? Was it simply the owners or rather a very clever concoction by agents who got desperate-to-win owners to buy into it. I recall Spector saying on Corey’s show this summer that owners have few opportunities to correct their mistake ie.at CBA time because at all other times they are competing against the other owners trying to assemble the best team of players and if they did otherwise the players could complain of collusion. Also as Spector noted, all the agents know what kind of deals are on the table and how to manoever to get the best deal. So it really is a little deceiving to say simply that the owners are behind the crazy escalating salary mess. And really the crazy lengthy salaries are really benefiting the players mostly albeit a small elite segment of all the players.

  • Rogue

    Jason;

    The “overrated” was not directed at you. It was Tigers cheap shot comment.

    Yes, of course they have a huge advantage. Still, they do not win every year. The last major free agent was C.C. They do not get every major free agent. If they want to pay for over spending, they can as it is within the rules of the league. Any team in any league would and should take advantage of the situation, including the Oil.

    As far as developing talent, you may be wrong. Jeter, Hughes, Nova, Pettite, Rivera, Cano, Posada(retired) are just a few home grown kids. There are others that have been dealt. Like the Red Wings,they fill in around the edges.

    • and your rebuttal was “you’re a hater”…well done.

      Which part was cheap, “overrated” or “herpes” because there is plenty of reason to believe both.

      It doesn’t matter who your comment was directed at anyways. Jason’s response still applies doesn’t it?

  • Rogue

    Tiger…Ah yes stats. Its the intangibles that make him what he is. I can trot out stats showing lots of players are superior in stats compared to Jeter. Your point?????? You must know that stats are not the end all to every players value?

    I did not say that Gregors comment did not apply./ In fact I agreed with the unfair advantage. Maybe try reading what I said again.

    As for the rest of your comments,classless.

    • Ah intangibles. The fallback position of everyone without a real argument.

      Can you make any statements in support of your position or are you just going to push ahead with this “hater” and “classless” routine? Don’t be mad at me because you have no response.

      I just want to put your previous comment in context to see if I have it right: Despite that fact that Baseball is by far the most stat dependent of any sport, you believe we should throw out the numbers because you prefer Jeter to Edgar?

      • Jason Gregor

        Fact is Jeter has 3,287 hits…Martinez has 2,247…So Jeter had 1,000 more hits, but you say they are the same player?

        Martinez was better power hitter, no argument there, albeit for a short seven year span, but their overall games and their ability to contribute to the outcome of the game isn’t close.
        Jeter consistently had more ABs and played more games, not to mention he played the field while Martinez sat on the bench half the game.
        Martinez had 2,247 hits in 7,213 ABs, while Jeter was able to still have the same career average with 3,287 hits in 10,485 ABs is an even bigger accomplishment. It is much harder to maintain that average with more ABs over course of a career.
        Also Martinez had his numbers during the most offensive…cough, cough, drug era in baseball. He was great for a 7 year span, while Jeter has managed to maintain a very high level of play over a much longer time. He’s a two-time runner up for the MVP, and three times finished 3rd. Martinez was 3rd three times, but never 2nd.

        Also you compared Martinez who was a DH and average 3rd baseman to Jeter who was a 5-time Gold Glove winner.

        I don’t even like the Yankees, so defending one is tough, but Jeter is an incredible player. Look at his production at 38 years old. Pretty unreal.

        I guess gold gloves are intangibles in your mind.

        • As you like to do, you wildly miss the point to try and pick out what you want to argue. I’ll play along for fun.

          Let me go through your response:

          Martinez was better power hitter, no argument there

          Funny enough, Jeter is supposed to be the on-base guy, yet Martinez was better at getting on base. In fact he led the league in OBP 3 times. Won 2 batting titles. Weird.

          Martinez had 2,247 hits in 7,213 ABs, while Jeter was able to still have the same career average with 3,287 hits in 10,485 ABs is an even bigger accomplishment.

          Jeter had an extra 3000 plate appearances and 1000 hits yet only created 200 more runs. How does that mean Jeter had more ability to contribute?

          not to mention he played the field while Martinez sat on the bench half the game.

          This is fair, but Jeter is not a good defensive player. Never has been. This goes to my point about him being overated. More on this in a minute.

          Also Martinez had his numbers during the most offensive…cough, cough, drug era in baseball.

          Makes sense. Martinez aged gracefully and faded away, must be on drugs. Jeter comes back strong at 38 after two years of serious decline, but he’s sparkly clean.

          …was a 5-time Gold Glove winner…I guess gold gloves are intangibles in your mind.

          They are when they’re completely undeserved. Pointing to his gold gloves is laughable. This is what I’ve been talking about. Jeter is a BAD defensive player who won 5 gold gloves because he’s Jeter. Then people run around saying he’s great at defense because he won gold gloves. It’s an embarrassment to baseball and is literally one of the reasons I don’t love the game anymore. Does anyone actually still defend Jeter’s gold gloves? I’m surprised you don’t know this because it’s pretty widely accepted that he has no range and got his gold gloves based on fielding percentages accomplished by not even getting near balls other players would have reached.

          Look at his production at 38 years old. Pretty unreal.

          At 38 Edgar hit .306 with 23 HR, 116 RBI, with a .423 OBP and a .543 SLG. He also drew 93 walks. The only number there Jeter beats is batting average, even though his job would suggest he should try for a higher OBP.

          He’s a two-time runner up for the MVP, and three times finished 3rd. Martinez was 3rd three times, but never 2nd.

          This does nothing but reinforce that he’s overrated. Alex Rodriguez has 3 MVPs and a couple gold gloves too, yet the common fan thinks Jeter is the better player.

          There are thousands of people out there suggesting that Jeter should get MVP consideration this year. Ichiro had to lead the league in hits, steals, and batting average while putting up 69 RBIs to get that kind of consideration.

          Jeter consistently gets more votes than he deserves. All you have to do is look at the list and each year he’s gotten votes you’ll see players with similar to superior seasons well behind him on the list.

          You all seem to think that I am claiming Jeter is not a good player. He’s a great player. I’m saying he’s overrated because at best he’s Roberto Alomar when everyone seems to believe he’s Roger Hornsby.

          Baseball has been ruined anyways. I will never forgive either Selig or Fehr, the atmosphere that ruined Junior, or the culture that deifies Jeter.

          I happen to think Martinez is one of the all-time most underrated players, but I’m willing to agree to disagree on that. I will insist however, that these two players belong in the same conversation based on the numbers, even if you prefer Jeter, and that alone makes Jeter overrated.

          Jeter is in the Alomar, Biggio, Sandberg, Martinez category, not the Griffey, A-rod, Schmidt, Ripken category.

          • Jason Gregor

            How can putting Jeter with Alomar, Sandberg etc make him overrated.

            I never said he was the greatest ever, far from it, but if you think he’s in Alomar territory isn’t that pretty darn good?

            If Alomar hadn’t spit on an umpire, I suspect he’d be considered even better.

            Yes, Gold Gloves can be overrated, Palmeiro won one while only playing 28 games at 1B, so I will agree they can be misleading.

            But Jeter’s overall game was better than Martinez is all I’m saying. Martinez was a better power hitter, while Jeter was more a singles hitter. And Martinez had an incredible 7-8 year stretch, while Jeter has been very good for a long period of time.

            I’m not a huge Jeter fan, let’s clarify that, but he’s played at a high level for a long time.

            And while I can’t stand A-rod’s personality, he is a much better overall player than Jeter.

            I just don’t see Jeter as overrated. I see him as a great player, but not elite. I think overexposed might be a better way to describe him because he plays for Yanks and they are always in playoffs due to their payroll.

            I might give him more credit for his dating stats though..haha

          • How can putting Jeter with Alomar, Sandberg etc make him overrated. I never said he was the greatest ever, far from it, but if you think he’s in Alomar territory isn’t that pretty darn good?

            Yes. I have never said otherwise.

            Overrated does not = bad.

            I also never said YOU overrated him. I said he is overrated. You agree with me that he is not elite, but the average fan believes he is. This is the definition of overrated. Our disagreement is not about what Jeter is, it’s about what most people believe Jeter is.

            But Jeter’s overall game was better than Martinez is all I’m saying. Martinez was a better power hitter, while Jeter was more a singles hitter. And Martinez had an incredible 7-8 year stretch, while Jeter has been very good for a long period of time.

            One thing I’d like to get straight. Martinez was not a “power hitter”. He was a hitter period. The rare player at the plate who will kill your team in regardless of what needs to be done. His higher OBP and virtually identical BA despite his last 3 years is evidence of that. Martinez was clearly better offensively all-around and Jeter will likely end his career with worse offensive numbers in everything but steals.

            The only possible “all-around” argument is the DH thing, but Jeter is so bad defensively that he costs is team runs. Better to be off the field than a liability.

            Edgar was also great for about 12 years, but was injured badly a couple times in the middle…and the only reason he doesn’t have an MVP is because during his best year there were 3 Mariners in the top 6 vote getters.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    It’s a good thing that Devan Dubnyk is a lock, a sure fire starter in the NHL. There’s no way he would benifit from playing in Oklahoma this season.