Yesterday Ilya Kovalchuk finally agreed to a new deal with New Jersey, one that is supposedly going to be 17 years long. And I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something about that just doesn’t sit well with me.
I want to say it’s the part where he’ll make $11.5 million, but if a team wants to overpay a guy, that’s their prerogative. (But still. $11.5 million? For a guy that has won exactly ONE playoff game and hasn’t figured out what the equivalent of “defense” is in Russia?) People are whipping themselves into frenzies over the cap circumvention and the fact that it utilizes that loophole to keep the cap hit manageable isn’t what bothers me. I think the part of the deal that bothers me is the way in which it uses the term of the deal to keep the cap hit low.
I actually usually like long-term deals. Nicky Backstrom signed a ten year extension in Washington? Heck yes, keep that guy around. Ryan Miller got himself a five year deal? He’s a goalie, he actually wants to be in Buffalo, I support it 100%. And when Tyler Myers signs his twenty year extension* next summer I’ll wear my Myers shirt around town with pride. But these are all deals that (God willing) will be played out. In ten years Backstrom will be 32, Miller will be in his mid-thirties, and I’d like to think Tyler has twenty years* in him (all with Buffalo, of course). Kovalchuk is already 27. Even if he plays until he’s 40, that’s only thirteen years. What I don’t like about this deal is that by making it long enough to keep the cap hit reasonable, it got up to 17 years. For a guy who’s 27. Even if he was a 21 year old signing his first contract after the rookie one it would be different.
It’s not even the fact that the deal is front-loaded. If you want to give the guy the cash up front, fine. But giving him the money up front in a way that makes it easy for you to buy out his last few years, years he’s most likely not going to play, seems to be taking cap evasion a little too far.
I don’t know what the solution to this problem is when they start renegotiating the CBA and I don’t pretend to know. I don’t mind long term deals for players who are bigger names (because regardless of whether or not he can win, I personally consider Kovy to be a big name). For the fans, it gives them security that players they like and players they want to root for and keep in town will stay there. For the team, it gives them a way to pay the player money he wants while not completely screwing over their team for years to come. I just feel like something should be done to prevent deals that no one expects to end with the player still playing. There’s a reason Kovalchuk’s money goes down in the end and I feel like that reason just might rhyme with “shmyout.”
I don’t know. Maybe I’m being completely unreasonable and probably maybe this post doesn’t even make any sense. I just don’t like that guy signed a contract he’ll never play the duration of.
Whether or not the Devils actually win now is an entirely different story and I’m not going to even get into that. (Hint: I don’t see it happening.)
And props to the Kings for not caving in and throwing at him what he wants. You guys showed him not going above 15 years. I think you made the smart choice.
*I’m exaggerating here. A little.
In The Buffalo News today, there’s an article about how the Sabres dislike drafting Europeans. Now, there are some perfectly legitimate arguments made in this article. There’s definitely a risk today with young Europeans who want to stay at home or want to sign with the KHL. I’m not disputing that at all.
But one of the examples is Dennis Persson, who played in Sweden for a few years before heading over here. Okay, I get it, you want to get use out of your picks. But you know who else stayed in Sweden for a year before coming over to the NHL? Lars Nicklas Backstrom. Yes, that’s right. And in my humble opinion, he turned out okay.
Indulge me for a moment and allow me to be the 800th person to comment on how it seems like the season just started. I really can’t believe the playoffs are already here, but they are. Woo!!
The Sabres went out with a bang, pulling Lala who proceeded to crash into the ref and go right into the boards. That seems somehow fitting for what will most likely be his last game in Buffalo. Good luck, Patty. You always seemed like a nice guy.
Buffalo did, however, lose, which means they get Boston in the first round.
1.) This will most likely be the most boring series in the history of the world.
2.) I know that Boston hasn’t been too good this year but Raask has been playing really well and I am a little worried for Buffalo. Miller will be fine barring some sort of meltdown (please God, NO) but it seems like the Sabres just can’t seem to score against Boston. This could be problematic.
I’d like to think that the Sabres will win and I’m trying to be optimistic, but this is the Sabres. I think it really could go either way.
I’m totally over the whole Richard thing. For Alex to keep it that close while missing ten games is really impressive in and of itself. And the season for the team was so magical that it really just would have been extra frosting on the cake, and even I, the frosting queen, know there is such a thing as too much frosting.
The Capitals will be playing the Canadiens in the first round. Montreal has had a few really good stretches this season and Halak had been awesome and I seem to recall Theo having a meltdown in that one came up in Montreal, but I feel like the Caps should be able to get this one done.
Ottawa is playing Pittsburgh, which is convenient because that means one will go home. I can’t decide which team I hate more but I feel like it would be better if the Pens got knocked out first. Thomas Vanek OWNS the Sens now!! The Sabres can beat them!! Their mindtricks will work no more!
I have faith that San Jose will perform their annual chokejob, and I feel really bad that Phoenix has to play Detroit. If they beat the Wings then they truly are blessed.
Not to sound cocky or anything, but I knew they’d win if I was there. And it wasn’t even for selfish reasons. Ottawa has been playing really well lately and Buffalo needs to keep getting two points.
Hecht’s shot in the shootout was hilarious. He schooled Marty. Jochen’s success in the shootouts amazes/amuses me to no end.
The first period was pretty boring, but it was huge that the Sabres didn’t fall behind. New Jersey isn’t exactly an offensive firepower, but they’ve got one of the best goalies ever and it’s harder to come back against them.
Speaking of goalies, I was asked last night by one of the people I was with who “that goalie for the other team is.” I was really patient when I explained the shootout but I had to inform everyone that he’s arguably the best goaltender in the history of the NHL.
I’m still in shock that Ryan let that goal in. Ryan. I thought you would have that one.
My seat was pretty insane. Center ice, club level. I’ve never sat there before so it was lots of fun.
Lindy’s got to go with Lala tomorrow against Boston. Ryan needs a rest and Lala needs to get his confidence back up. Boston isn’t exactly a huge threat so it would be a good time to play him.
Washington won 5-1. I heard it was a great game. They’re pulling away and I doubt the Sabres or Devils will be able to catch them. The ease with which they’ve been winning is kind of scary. There’s so much offense there. Cripes.
On the subject of Ilya Kovalchuk going to Washington, I personally don’t think it’s the best idea (and I also feel like there are other teams that would go after him way more aggressively). Yeah, he’s got a crapload of offense, but the Caps have proven that they don’t really need any extra goals. It wouldn’t be worth giving up what Atlanta would probably want in return and screwing up the chemistry they’ve got going for a rental, and I feel like a line with Alex and Kovy might not work. I know Alex has adopted a “pass first” mentality since being named captain, but that’s just too much offense and too much crazy Russian on one line. If the Caps get one thing at the deadline, I would rather it be a physical defenseman (yeah, their defense doesn’t suck as much as people say it does, but they still could use one). And, of course, that 40-year extension for Lars.
As for Buffalo, Kovalchuk would be the pure goal scorer I still wish Buffalo had (I don’t trust scoring by committee when none of our players has 20 goals. I just don’t like it), but defense is a weak part of Kovy’s game and Lindy would probably put a bullet in his head.
So yeah. There are my thoughts on the matter, for what it’s worth.
I’m not that upset about the Sabres game since I went into it anticipating a loss. If anything, I’m glad they at least managed a point. It was almost funny seeing how long it took for their first shot on goal. The Sabres simply cannot play a good game against the Senators, and that’s that. Not really anything else to say.
Derek Roy hasn’t done much of anything this year, but I still hope his injury isn’t too serious. Although it does open up a spot in the lineup if Patty K really is ready to come back.
This team would be so frighteningly bad without Ryan Miller.
The worst part about last night is that my jersey is now 0-1 and got pulled halfway through the second period. Although taking it off looked like it might pay off for a while; right after the Sabres scored their two goals.
We need someone who can score in the shootout.
We need a reliable scorer.
The Caps, on the other hand, won a huge statement game against the Devils. This is the second game in a row they put up four or five goals on an elite goaltender and they didn’t even choke like they usually do when they’re playing New Jersey. Alex had another three-point night so now he’s only four back of the lead league for points. He’s ridiculous. Lars Nicklas had himself a three point night as well, giving him his 200th point and 202 points in 202 games. That’s…crazy. I don’t understand why he hasn’t been re-signed yet and Semin has.
What a nice segway for me to use into Semin’s contract. Um, what?!? One year? $6 million? I don’t get it. GMGM says it’s what the player preferred and gave him more flexibility. I still don’t get it. Players like him don’t sign one year deals. Moreover, how can he sign a deal for $6 million? Can they afford that? Where’s the room to keep Nicki? If there’s one player who needs to stay it’s him. He’s just as important to this team as Alex. Sasha is a great player when he wants to be, but I never saw him as indispensable. Is George just trying to get him a contract so that he can trade him after the season and not have to worry about that? They could get a pretty decent return for him, especially if he’s already got a contract. I’m sure there are plenty of teams who would want him. I’m just perplexed by the whole situation. And a little bit angry. Neuvirth has been really solid the past few games so I’m sure they could trade Theo if they wanted, which would open up more cap room, but there’s still another contract to be signed. And isn’t it contract year for Flash as well?
Hmm. It’s just all a little odd. We shall have to wait and see how it all plays out.
Tonight the Sabres are playing the team of Sir Christopher’s hometown, and hopefully he’ll be able to play. I’m not sure who Lindy benches to make room for him. I know he’s the captain, but I’d almost say Rivet after the way he played the past few days…but he is the captain.
Team Sweden announced their roster. I hope Henrik Zetterberg is back in time to play for them. They always put together a good team and this looks like another one. I am a little surprised Henrik Tallinder made the team, but I guess now that his rape case is all cleared up he’s a valuable asset.
If Buffalo isn’t careful, they could lose five straight. They’re already at two; they looked disinterested Friday night and even though I only saw the third period tonight, it did not look good. Wednesday night they play Washington (!!!) and Washington’s game isn’t over yet, but as I write they’re winning 3-0 in the third and are on the power play. Friday they play Chicago, and everyone knows how kickass they’ve been. Then on Saturday they finish off in New York. The Sabres should be able to beat the Rangers but they couldn’t two nights ago and they’ll be on the second night of a back-to-back and the fourth game in six days. The Sabres need to make some changes before they start the next three games or they could be in serious trouble.
As I see it, they have two big questions:
1. Ryan has no doubt been the MVP of the season, but I can’t even remember the last time he had a break and he almost gave up four goals tonight. When do the Sabres sit him and play Lala for the sake of keeping all of his limbs attached?
2. Will the Sabres EVER score a goal again? Or will they at least score a goal that does more than give the opposing goalie a Ryan Miller Shutout?
After loads of speculation as to whether or not the league would suspend Alex to prove that they were cracking down on dangerous plays, he got himself a two-game timeout.
I’m totally okay with it. I’m pissed that he actually did something to warrant a suspension, but the punishment seems fitting enough. It was his second ejection in three games, there was that whole slew foot incident, and this one was dangerous. Gleason did come back and play and Alex was the one who ended up getting hurt more severely, but it was still a fairly blatant knee-on-knee.
I certainly don’t want him to completely revamp his playing style, but something does have to change. You gotta be a little more careful next time, buddy boy. Someone could get hurt and I’d really prefer if it wasn’t you.
I apologize for the general panicky tone to my post last night. When the team wasn’t saying anything and they just kept showing the hit over and over, it looked really bad. Hearing that he skated this morning is (hopefully) a good sign. He should take this suspension to heal and recover so that he can just suck it up and come play a game in Buffalo. He owes me one after all this crap so far this season.
I realize that it is kind of convenient that his suspension comes at the same time as an injury, but whatevs. Regardless of the reasons, Florida and Philadelphia got a big break.
As for all the talk of karmic retribution and this being the hockey gods’ revenge for him getting away with his hit on Kaleta, um, it’s more that he just did it in general one time too many. I still don’t think he’s a dirty player and I don’t think he’s like those goons who just want to go out and hurt people, and I don’t think the hockey gods are trying to screw him over. It was just that he kneed another guy and it was time to do something about it.
I still don’t see how Mike Richards gets away with all the crap he pulls.
I know that this was exactly how Buffalo started out last year and I know it’ll all start going downhill soon enough (probably around the time Ryan gets completely exhausted at the Olympics), but for now, I’m completely enjoying the Sabres’ success. They’re winning, and they’re beating good teams. This is fun.
Marty Brodeur has not looked good this season. At all. I’m ecstatic that Timmy got his first NHL goal (AAAHHH!!! TIMMY!!! I LOOOOOOOOVE YOU!!), but Marty did not look good at all.
Ryan Miller will soon hurt himself/get too cranky to play well/get exhausted by the Olympics as I mentioned above, but for now, I’m thoroughly enjoying his awesomeness. Ryan, you’re not so bad when you’re playing well.
We ended up getting the Devils feed for the game which was annoying in that I couldn’t hear Rick and Harry, but was cool in that I could hear what other announcers (namely, Doc) think about the Sabres. I agree, boys. Chris Butler was a wonderful find.
I can’t believe Clarke MacArthur already has five goals. This is redonk. He’s got to stop scoring at some point. It’s not like he could get thirty.
I’m pretty sure Pommer got his third of the season in February last year.
Mike Grier and Timmy K playing together continues to amaze me. I love the two of them. They’re so good together. Their chemistry is spectacular.
Lots of NHLers have been struck with swine (or at least are coming clean about when they had it) today. I hope none of the Sabres catch it. And I hope Quintin Laing doesn’t get any of my beloveds in Washington sick.
Tonight was Tyler Myers’s ninth game, but there wasn’t seriously any drama surrounding it, was there? There’s no way they can send him back to juniors. No. Way. I will jump off a bridge or something drastic and (only slightly) unnecessary like that.
Tomorrow night the Caps play the Ilya-less Thrashers. It will be in HD, which makes me happy. I’m sad Ilya got hurt, and in a contract year, no less, but his absence makes the Caps’ job a bit easier. I would love for them to continue this sick-nasty winning streak they’ve got going.
Speaking of contract years, I’ve been feeling rather warm and fuzzy towards one Jose Theodore as of late. It’s not secret around here that he and I never really got along very well (scroll down to the earlier ones), so this fondness is a new territory for me. I don’t think he’s the same goalie that won a Hart trophy a few years back, but he’s been the better goalie for the Capitals to this point in the season. I just hope that IF the Caps re-sign him, he doesn’t start sucking again. I really hate when players only play well in contract years.
If/when Buffalo loses to Toronto, I will cry. I’m just letting you all know.
Tonight you play the Coyotes. Now, I realize that last year when you played them, it was something of a whupping. Don’t be too cocky this year, though, boys. Phoenix should not be taken lightly.
The Coyotes were a hot mess this summer. You know it, I know it. But the thing is, the Coyotes have got nothing to lose at this point. It’s not like they were the preseason Cup favorites, and that’s why you have to be careful. Just sitting back and expecting a win tomorrow night won’t do you any good. And I don’t care if it was only the first game of the season and everyone else is thrilled; I don’t like what happened against Montreal Saturday night. You looked great in the first period and then forgot to show up for the rest of the game. Phoenix will take advantage of that if you’re not careful.
Wayne Gretzky isn’t their coach anymore (and for the sake of their six fans, thank God. Wayne was a great player, but a truly horrific coach), and the team is out to prove something. It’s them against the world. They’re like a big group of angsty teenagers.
Watch yourselves tonight, play a full game, and don’t be the team they make a point against.
P.S. Please, please, please score more than one goal. I promise I’ll bake you all cookies if you do.
P.P.S. As it turns out, fortune has smiled on me and I’ll be at the game tonight. Now, Buffalo, I know you don’t have the best track record when I’m at the game, but this time I won’t even be wearing a Caps jersey! I’ll be cheering 100% for you!!
P.P.P.S. I started writing this post last night, but I published it today, October 8. Sorry WordPress is being screwy.
I must confess something to you, Dear Readers: I worry for Dan Paille.
The poor dear didn’t play in the opener, and with Adam Mair returning to health and Tim Kennedy being cute and adorable and pretty darn good (bless his heart, he was being gritty and defending himself Saturday night!) I don’t see a roster spot opening up for him any time soon. And this is just me spitting up words without actually fact-checking, but isn’t his contract up after this season?
I know he’s not a crucial part of the team and after his breakout season two years ago he hasn’t done much other than make us coo, but I still love him. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if his time as a Sabre ends soon, but I know he’ll always have a special place in my heart, and I’ll always remember fondly the times we had together at Chef’s.