Friday, December 28, 2012

Buyout Candidates: Mike Komisarek or John-Michael Liles

komisarek liles buyout leafs
Welcome back to the NHL, Wade Redden.

One of the concessions the league made to the players in its latest proposal was accepting a one-time compliance buyout prior to the 2013-14 season. The buyout will not count against a team’s salary cap, meaning teams like the Rangers can finally rid themselves of ugly contracts like Redden’s. (Note: The buyout will still count against the players’ share, which might be an issue for the union).

The Leafs are actually in a fairly envious position; only two players are signed beyond four years—Mikhail Grabovski, their best two-way forward, and James van Riemsdyk, who is only 23.

Unlike in Anaheim, Brian Burke has done a good job creating cap flexibility. The bad deals, like Tim Connolly and Matthew Lombardi, are both done after this season.

The roster isn't without its fixable mistakes, however. The two players who are most frequently cited as buyout candidates are Mike Komisarek and John-Michael Liles.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Cashing in the Paul Ranger Lottery Ticket

paul ranger leafs marlies
If there's a silver-lining to Jake Gadiner's "concussion", it's that the Leafs are getting a better look at Paul Ranger.

Gardiner left a game on December 8 against Rochester after receiving a blindside hit from Kevin Porter, who was penalized for the hit, and hasn't played since.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy Birthday, Daniel Alfredsson

Daniel Alfredsson hurt
Today is Daniel Alfredsson's 40th birthday. If this lockout doesn't end his career, Father Time soon will.

Here is my present, a list of low-lights from Alfredsson's distinguished career.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Who's Conceding What: CBA Negotiations Recap

Bettman and Fehr fight
Two days of unbridled optimism followed by catastrophe.

Just as it looked like the NHL and the NHLPA were making major traction, to the point that people were eagerly anticipating puck drop, everything went to hell, coincidentally when the players wanted to bring Donald Fehr back to close the deal. Now everything's off the table and Gary Bettman is fuming.

"What you're witnessing is very tough bargaining," Bettman said in a press conference after Thursday night's talks. "We kept giving and giving and giving. We made five different proposals. We did something completely unorthodox—we kept negotiating against ourselves."

If Bettman is upset that the owners are negotiating against themselves, he has no one to blame but himself. The fact that the NHL tabled such a ridiculous proposal in the summer gave them no choice. The owners were going to have to give up plenty of the outlandish terms they initially wanted in order to get the terms they realistically could expect (e.g., a 50-50 split of HRR).

But that isn't the usual give-and-take that happens in negotiations. Usually, you give the other side something important in order to get something important for yourself.

In the last round of CBA negotiations, the ones that ultimately cost the 2004-05 season, the players were forced to take on a salary cap and were generally hammered by the owners. All was not bad, however. During negotiations they won in other areas, such as liberalized free agency. Give-and-take.

During these negotiations there has been less give-and-take. It's more like give, give, give. But despite what Bettman claims, it isn't the owners that are giving.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Boo Bettman

Donald Fehr has Gary Bettman fuming. Considering it's Bettman that usually has everyone else feeling that way, it's a nice change.

After Fehr met with the media last night to say the two sides were "close", only later to find out by voice message that, in fact, they weren't, Bettman responded with a press conference of his own and ripped the NHLPA.

For a man usually composed and collected, Bettman was visibly angry, the stream practically pouring out of his ears. He did his best to spin the NHLPA's spin, all the while conveniently forgetting to disclose the fact that talks fell apart once the players decided to bring in Fehr to close the deal (because that's his job, you know).

The whole scene may as well have been a spoiled brat throwing a tantrum on the playground because little Donnie wasn't going to hand over the best parts of his lunch just like Gary demanded. "No no no no no, I wanted all of the Dunkaroos, three of the cookies, and only half of the sandwich. What don't you get? I want it noooooooowwwwww."

It was bizarre theatre.

But it's Bettman that usually makes fans infuriated, so to see the NHL commissioner meet his match, find someone who vexes him to no end, is satisfying.

Despite fan antipathy towards Bettman, today for The Good Point I wrote that his long-standing tradition of handing out the Stanley Cup should persist, boos and all.
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