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.
  • Chaz

    MLB playoffs and the NFL with a little Premier and Champions’ League footy thrown in will more than satisfy my sports appetite while these idiots argue over their billions. If the lockout is still going on after the Superbowl, that’s when it will start to bother me.

    Until then, good riddance.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Thanks for the video pick-me-up, Jason. Do you think the little kid in the ball pit caught chlamydia after?

    My theory about the lock-out’s effect is this:
    Canadians care about hockey and feel personally insulted and hurt whereas Americans don’t care, in fact if hockey didn’t resume until Jan., Americans would buy their cheap tickets and say ‘don’t games usually start earlier in the year, like in November or something? Whatever, maybe there will be a good fight in the game tonite’. The lockout will have no effect on US fan support. In Canada, however, because we invest our heart only to have it repeatedly broken, there may be a serious backlash this time.

  • 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.

  • Spydyr

    Why the Eskimos did not bring in a few late round QB cuts from the NFL flabbergasts me.

    They have no legit QB’s at all.Bring some in.

    No problem trading Ray but for the love of all things green and gold at least try to replace him.

  • 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.

  • Mantastic

    We are last in all offensive categories.The Eskimos look/are in total disarray on offensive. 10 delay of game penalties this season so far is unacceptable. Kerry Joseph’s last 9 CFL sarts he has lost. He is 39/going on forever. Jyles is what he is. He has the tools but lacks the football IQ that a starting QB needs. Nichols? Who knows. I put this debacle on the shoulders of both Tillman and Reed. They combined choose this path. If at 200 pm today the Eskimos announce anything other than that Joseph and Jyles are released I’ll be disappointed. The Eskimos need to go out and find a QB that can get the job done long term.

  • 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.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    A blessing in disguise as far as Oiler interests go. The Oiler kids would be more men than kids for the 2013-2014 season.

    Getzlaf and Hopkins would make a dymanic duo down the middle.

    • Rogue

      There is nothing positive about young men missing a year of NHL hockey (unless injured). Eberle, Nuge, Hall, MPS, Yak – even Gagner. These kids are in their ‘formative’ years of development. Each exposure is a learning experience (good and bad). Missing exposures during a formative process is terrible for development in any system.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        Who said they are missing a year, they’ll still develope in the AHL, won’t they?

        They’re still playing/developing, only difference is in the size of their paycheques.

  • 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.

  • 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.