Are the Players to Blame for the NHL’s Mega Deal Fiasco?Posted by whitecovermagazine
*written on Tuesday, July 17, 2012.
We have all the respect in the world for Sportsnet‘s Mike Brophy, because homeboy has been grinding it out for years as a print journalist with a penchant for sports, and that ain’t easy, because those boys don’t make a lot of money and really don’t have that much fun.
But, tonight, Mike Brophy got it very wrong.
Ironically, his failure in his latest column probably is due to the fact that he’s too old school (or too old) to understand today’s contracts. Even if you’re young, you probably still hate these 40-year, $356 million mega deals (or whatever term length they’re up to now) but you hate them for different reasons than Brophy does.
Because, today, Mike Brophy suggested that the NHL’s stars are handicapping their general managers and robbing them of their ability to move them. And, folks, that’s just not true. GMs have doing that to themselves for a long time.
He offers up, first, the Rick Nash situation:
“I wondered, how does the Columbus Blue Jackets general manager figure to squeeze such a huge package out of a rival GM who knows Howson is painted into a corner? Once a player makes it known he wants to be moved, the chances of his team getting fair market value in return for him diminishes significantly. It becomes even more complicated when that player has a long-term contract as well as a no-trade or no-movement clause.
“And it sure doesn’t help matters when the team — Columbus in this case — is one of the least desirable teams to play for in a 30-team league.”
Well, that’s not totally accurate. Rick Nash never originally publicly came out and declared that he was requesting to be traded, and he then finished the season with Columbus. It was actually Scott Howson who outed Nash’s trade request – probably in an effort to pigeon hole Nash and screw over his public perception – and then died by his own sword.
Because, as you know, Scott Howson ain’t gettin’ nothin’ for Nash now.
Sure, players can be dicks, and they’ve backed their GMs into corners before. Look at Dany Heatley. But, Nash didn’t do that, at least not in this case. It was Howson’s poor management style and his Napoleonic overreaction that caused his own affair and his own issues.
“Look, Rick, I’ve got a big dick, too!”
Yeah, but not anymore. Howson will be lucky if he can trade Nash for a condom at this point.
As for Roberto Luongo, well, Brophy had an opinion on that, too:
“You could say the same thing about Vancouver and its beleaguered goaltender Roberto Luongo, who has demanded to be moved. However, Canucks GM Mike Gillis isn’t in quite the same desperate situation as Howson. Under Gillis the Canucks made it to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final two years ago and he has a viable alternative in goal in Cory Schneider. Gillis’s future in Vancouver is not hanging on the outcome of this trade.”
Well, again, that’s just plain wrong. Luongo only asked for a trade after it was clear to him and everyone who watched Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs that Cory Schneider was Vancouver’s new chosen no. 1.
Roberto Luongo has undergone four years of abuse from fans and foes alike in his blue and green sweaters, and the Canucks obviously chose to betray his contract.
Remember, it was Mike Gillis who signed Bobby Lou to that contract. It was Roberto who agreed to it, and then was fully prepared to honour it. It was Roberto who was ready to retire a Canuck.
It was Gillis who changed his mind. It was Gillis who declared that Luongo would be traded. It was Gillis who pigeon-holed himself.
So, if Mike Brophy is right about anything, it’s that YES: long-term contract just aren’t the NHL’s bag.
But, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that has nothing to do with Rick Nash or Roberto Luongo. They’re just along for the ride like the rest of us.
Brophy should have known better.