Archive for the ‘mullets’ Category

What if the NHL instituted a luxury tax?

July 13, 2009
Stern: “Bettman’s on the phone again? Aw, not again … “

So, we are 99.99 percent sure that the CBA prohibits the institution of a luxury tax, but let’s just dream for a minute that Gary Bettman could justify his massive salary by stumbling upon a magic loophole.

Seeing that marquee franchises in Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York, Detroit and even San Jose will feel a considerable pinch going into the 2010-11, the league declares a “state of emergency” for the cap with the solution of instituting a luxury tax so that teams could exceed the ceiling. (At a huge price, of course).

Now, instead of wondering who the Hawks would have to move to accomodate the re-signing of Kane, Toews and Keith, the hockey world would ask: are the Blackhawks willing to fork over the dough to make it happen? It would be a godsend for hockey bloggers/pundits/message board trolls and a great way to allow money making franchises to keep their rosters together.

The best part, though, is how the league could potentially use the extra cash to benefit everyone. Let’s daydream for a moment:

  • The league creates a “luxury tax” pool each season. They pledge to use every dime to purchase high-end advertising spots during events such as the Super Bowl and American Idol. Also, more money could be spent to publicize the Stanley Cup Finals and Winter Classic.

  • Maybe the league could pump that money into moving the “NHL on the Fly” broadcasts from what seems to be a broom closet to … what’s that called again? Oh, right, a studio. It would also be nice if the NHL Network stopped playing the same Capitals-Rangers game on an endless loop, now that you mention it.
  • Since Bettman clearly will not take any egg on his face/acknowledge economic realities regarding the Phoenix Coyotes scenario, the league could use luxury tax money to take care of the ‘Yotes debts and pay Wayne Gretzky buckets of money to exist/coach a team that has never made the playoffs under his tutleage.
  • Perhaps they could lend Versus a little money to get Brian Engblom a haircut* and produce a freakin’ highlight show already.

  • Put the luxury tax money to good use by helping families who cannot afford hockey equipment. Or better yet, donate it to charity or to retired players’ pension funds.
  • Use the money to revamp the city of Edmonton, so Dany Heatley can continue his pampered existence without any fear of bad weather, the ghosts of his past or backchecking.
  • Bribe Pierre McGuire to just go away. Please.

What would YOU want the league to do with extra cash if they could receive luxury tax money?

* – I think he actually DID get a slightly better hair cut this year, but are you going to complain about seeing this photo?

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Trade fakery: putting the Penner to paper

February 6, 2009

With the trade deadline about a month away, the crazies are coming out of the woodwork. Not to be out-crazied for one moment, Cycle like the Sedins will periodically try to dig up completely fictional (and sometimes farcical) trade rumors for giggles.

The sky might begin to fall if any of these come true.

Every now and again in sports, a player signs a contract that dwarfs their actual talent to the point of near-paralysis and franchise malaise. For example, in the NBA, the $100 million contract Juwan Howard signed years ago comes to mind. Howard seemed like a decent human being (and not a bad basketball player) but his albatross contract absolutely became a sad punchline. Allan Houston’s contract with the Knicks is another example: when the NBA allowed buyouts without salary cap penalties some people referred to it as The Allan Houston Rule.

For years, the NHL’s blunt answer to Howard and Houston was Alexei Yashin. His deal saddled the New York Islanders and was perhaps the worst move in an Stoogey Murder’s Row of transcations made by Mike “The Pansifier” Milbury. In fact, that buyout still negatively affects the cap for the floundering franchise in Long Island.

Still, Yashin is gone to bask in his ludicrous riches and supermodel wife. To take his place is power forward in the making turned sour forward Dustin Penner.

Penner took advantage of a Stanley Cup run with the Anaheim Ducks and was offered an excessive offer sheet from Kevin Lowe in Edmonton, a move that would live on in infamy. Signing Penner destroyed Lowe’s friendship with noted scholar and hothead Brian Burke, but worse yet: it’s been pretty much a disaster for the Oilers.

Outspoken Oilers coach Craig MacTavish bashed Penner in November and criticized his play this month as well. It’s been a pretty miserable stay in Edmonton for Penner (who makes $4.25 million per season on average), even though it seems a little unfair. His statistics actually have been pretty much the same as he was as a Duck.

Sometimes, you are what you are. Which pisses off the Oilers to no end.

So, it pretty much goes without saying that the Oilers would like to ship Penner out of town. But the problem has been: who would take him? Perhaps it would be fun to take a look at some deals that while admittedly Bruce Garrioch-like, could probably work in some bizarro world in which Mike Milbury still had a job:

Semi-ludicrous Penner deals that maybe aren’t that crazy after all
Stars trade Sean Avery for Penner (similar cap values … Penner makes about a half million more)

Trading a cancer for a floater; this trade would do what many have before it: reshuffling the chairs on the Titanic. Really, the main thing this would accomplish is to make both teams more interesting in NHL ’10. Plus it would give us something to laugh about.

Penguins trade Ryan Whitney for Penner (nearly identical cap values)
Another laugh riot. From one of the Puck Daddy chats, it sounds like the Penguins aren’t interested in moving Whitney which is marginally surprising. Still, this could work on some level: the Penguins need a big guy to play the Ryan Malone role and the Oilers could need an offensive D since Lubomir Visnovsky might be out for the season.

It scares me that this scenario almost makes sense, even though Penner lacks Malone’s testicular fortitude and Whitney might not have any toes on that injured foot for all we know …

Avalanche trade Ryan Smyth for Penner (Smyth makes about $2 million more per year)

The Avs need to get rid of Smyth’s ugly contract. There probably wouldn’t be too many takers, but the Oilers obviously have some pretty mushy feelings for a certain garbage goal specialist with that throwback mullet. The Avs would shed a few million, get younger and … worse. Quite a bit worse. The Oilers would reclaim their former heart and soul.

Panthers trade Jay Bouwmeester for Penner and draft picks (J-Bo gets about a half million more on this, the last year of his contract)

This is where these faux trade rumors go from highly unlikely/dumb to flat-out cruel. It shouldn’t be funny to imagine the downfall of a franchise, but that would be darkly comical. Going to stop now before the guy from The Litter Box murders me.

Thrashers trade Mathieu Schneider for Penner (Schneider’s expiring deal is $5.75 million, about $1.5 million more than Penner’s average cap hit)

A lot like the Whitney idiot-deal, but probably a) dumber and b) paradoxically, more realistic. Since just about no one wants to play in Atlanta, Penner could wallow in 40-50 point mediocrity with limited abuse. Schneider would fit that offensive D mold as the Oilers shoot for a playoff berth (and then he conveniently comes off the books).

Ugh, I could see that happening. No offense, hopefully, to HOTlanta fans (offense intended only for Don Waddell).

***

Again, keep in mind these trade rumors are willfully unfounded. I shudder to think how close this is to the process a beleaguered hockey beat writer goes through. Hopefully, my blind “throwing at pictures on a dartboard” method is just comic relief.

It’s odd how easy it is to talk yourself into some bad deals, though, isn’t it?

The Mullet gets cut

November 15, 2008

And replaced by Rick Tocchet, otherwise known as the guy who got busted for gambling with Wayne Gretzky’s wife (but, allegedly the Great One was as clean as his image. Allegedly.)

Yikes.

Indeed, my feeling that the Lightning management team was more Dan Synder than Mark Cuban is coming true. Right down to the fact that the Lightning are taking a hit to the wallet after every boneheaded decision. From Mirtle, who must be feeling like a sage:

“Canning Melrose will cost ownership $2.25-million over the next three years, a sum to be added onto the $1.3-million already owed John Tortorella. Tocchet will also almost certainly receive a pay boost for going from an assistant to a head coach.”

What an ugly situation. The Lightning were looking awful this year and Melrose certainly bares much of the blame. Simply put, the league is very different from his days with the Los Angeles Kings and Gretzky. And some questioned his coaching ability in those times, too.

Still, the Lightning ownership is wiping the most egg off its face. Their off-season orgy of stupidity involved signing past-their-due-date guys such as Gary Roberts and Mark Recchi, a good trooper but questionable talent in Ryan Malone and a dubious contract year case in Radim Vrbata.

Vrbata = the world’s biggest fan of Tampa Bay’s management team


They also sent away a decent young prospect in Matt Carle, poorly managed the rookie year of Steve Stamkos and botched the Dan Boyle situation on an epic level.

Just a mind numbingly bad situation that reeks of Isiah Thomas type incompetence. Clearly, Melrose is meant to smile on a loud, quasi-futuristic ESPN set and rock some hockey platitudes. Please Barry, don’t make us cringe with another disastrous coaching run. Most of us like you, just stay away from a bench.

As poorly as Melrose was doing, you cannot help but wonder if the Lightning would’ve been better off letting him submarine the whole season. Then they could get a shot at winning the John Tavares jackpot (if you think that he’s not the #1 pick you probably also think that increased ticket sales and fawning media coverage are things NHL teams avoid). Really, even a gambling creep could probably steer a team with Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, Stamkos, Tavares and Co. to a playoff run. Right? RIGHT?

Can you believe this franchise won the Cup within the last five years? Can you believe Tocchet is a head coach while John Tortorella, Pat Quinn and other actually talented coaches wait for a job? What a clusterfuck.

Somewhere Jay Feaster is eating a victory turkey.

That headline is in memory of the great Wesley Willis. Saw him live in some random shack in Oklahoma, but failed to give him what was apparently a standard headbutt (he had what seemed like a horn on his forehead … just an uncomfortable moment).