Friday, January 11, 2008

Stepping Up

Well, the six-and-fifty-four (not to mention my math in the last post) was wrong...

...was it ever.

The new report on the Ovechkin signing is 13 years and $124 million. That qualifies as one helluva thunderclap rolling across the hockey landscape. And for a club that had been averse to the big free agent signing, it is a case of really stepping up to the plate and swatting one out of the ballpark.

With an appreciation for the dramatic flair -- drawing out the announcement and teasing fans with a statement that the original reports on the deal were wrong -- Ted Leonsis announced the mega-deal at a "meet-the-team" function last night at Verizon Center.

Speaking of the deal, Leonsis said, "I'm a risk-taker. And if you're going to make a long-term investment, who else would you do it with?"

It's "risk-taking," to be sure, but there is another element to this, too. It's putting one's money where one's mouth is. Ted has said all the right words about what he thinks the state of the league is and its prospects for improvement in the business side of the sport. In signing Ovechkin to this long a term and this high an average salary, he's gone past words into concrete actions, banking on the league to continue its growth and thus making the $10 million he will pay in each of the last seven years of the deal a bargain for the club.

Is it a "good" deal? There will be no shortage of commentary on that subject in the days to come, although that's the kind of thing that is only going to be known in retrospect. It is a risk, as Ted suggested, but for stepping up like this and backing up his talk on the league's prospects with a signing of this magnitude, we think Ted and the club deserve a lot of respect.


Hooks Orpik said...

I enjoyed this post, especially since it didn't villify Jagr that much. Quite simply it just didn't work out.

Congrats on the Ovechkin mega extention. I now see why he fired his agent, no one in the world would let him ink such a long-term contract when the salary cap (and mex salary) seems to be steadily rising every season.

But hey, I can't say I would turn down $124 million guaranteed. Good deal for AO and a great deal for the Caps, I'm glad for all parties that he's sticking around.

The Peerless said...

What Ovechkin might have left on the table, he made up for in fees he avoided paying an agent...unless Mama is taking a cut.