Friday, January 11, 2008

A Tale of Two...Opinions

December 21st...

"If the Islanders can throw 15 years at Rick DiPietro and the Flyers are willing to give Mike Richards a dozen, why not a 15-year deal for Ovechkin? Is there a player in the league, apart from Crosby, as likely to make such a deal pay?...Is it worth it? Put it this way: If Lecavalier is the reincarnation of Jean BĂ©liveau, then Ovechkin is the Rocket. No one in the league plays the game with such fire, such joyous abandon. Ovechkin is the real thing, the bona fide, superstar sniper the Canadiens have not had in nearly a quarter-century, since Guy Lafleur hung 'em up. All it will take is, oh, $120 million over 15 years and a slew of first-round picks."

January 11th...

"Is Ovechkin worth $124 million over 13 years? Is anyone?...even with his deeds of derring-do, the sad sack Capitals are tied for 27th in a 30-team league, and quite probably doomed to miss the playoffs for a fifth consecutive of Thursday, Ovechkin may have just consigned himself to being the most commanding one-man show since Henry Fonda as Darrow."

The latter, from an article written in the Vancouver Sun, was lambasted by Ted Leonsis. The irritation appears well placed.

There are two arguments made in that latter article that seem especially ill-fitting. The first concerns the quote, "Is Ovechkin worth $124 million over 13 years? Is anyone?"

Well, yes. By definition, that's true, by whatever definition of "market" one wants to use. Leonsis and the rest of the club deemed that number was what it would take to secure Alex's services for the next 13 years -- he accepted it. End of discussion; he's "worth it" to someone (and, I suspect, to a lot of fans long before this contract expires).

Second, there is the inevitable lament that Washington is the shack at the end of the dirt road of hockey -- hopeless and clueless about winning a championship. Ovechkin has, so the argument goes, chained himself to a loser for the next decade or more.

Well, gee, I haven't seen any championships in Pittsburgh since Sidney Crosby came into the league, either, and they remain a flawed team to boot, despite their current winning ways. Because of the manner in which the league has pursued an "all-the-eggs-in-one-basket" strategy by making Crosby the be-all and end-all of hockey, that Crosby-centric theme works only if Crosby wins...will we be seeing these same laments in a few years, that he toiled in a city that couldn't win, should the Penguins fail to win a Cup and the end of his contract is in sight?

And more to the point, when that contract does come up, as Leonsis put it in the context of Ovechkin (but replacing Alex with Sidney), "does anyone really believe that in five years - as a free agent - that a player such as [Sidney] wouldn't receive an offer for $10 million per year as an unrestricted free agent? What does this writer think the salary cap number will be in five years? In 10 years?"

If that scenario unfolds, Canada might be beckoning, especially if Pittsburgh hasn't won anything.

The Montreal Gazette article opined that $120 million and "a slew of first round picks" would be a good deal for the Canadiens. Ted spent about that much, gets to keep the picks (no small consideration, given the strategy of team-building the Caps are trying to employ), and that's a bad deal.

Guess only when the city involved is Washington.


Anonymous said...

Here is my reply (from the capsboards, user "yitzhak") on the situation:

Now, I am sure I do not have to go into a whole exhibition on Ovechkin's many skills on the ice. I want to talk about his character. I want to talk about the man Alex Ovechkin, not the hockey player.

I have been reading this awful tripe spewing from the fingers of countless jealous "computer-chair GM's" who would crap their lucky underpants and then lick it while the whole wide world watched, for even a shot of signing AO under 10 mil a year on their respective favorite team. Seriously guys. Anyone can see through your barbed comments. The pain of unrequited love stings, doesn't it?

The truth is that AO loves DC. He loves it so much he wants to stay there for 13 years. Not only does he love DC for what it is, but what it will be. He is in love with the potential she holds. Sure, she may look a little ugly to you. She may not have all of the glitz and glamour that some other gals have. But, she has a great personality, and AO isn't as shallow as you seem to think everyone should be.

"DC doesn't deserve such a dashing young gentleman caller."

AO begs to differ. He seems to think that he is a perfect match for DC. And, of all people involved, I would say that AO is the best person to judge just who is worthy of his love.

"AO is obviously is only doing it for the money."

Well, guess what. AO could have not signed a contract and waited for someone to send him an RFA offer, which the Caps would have been forced to match. After seeing what Philly coughed up for Briere, and what the Rangers gave the Gomez and Drury, who really thinks that some team wouldn't have given him an offer for league max? 10.8 mil, right? Looks like GMGM saved himself about 2 million a year for the next 6 years. Hell, as AO even said himself, if it was about the money, he would have signed up just until he was a UFA and left to the highest bidder, which I assure you would be for much more than 10 million. This contract shows that AO is loyal. LOYALTY. A trait often lacking in today's sports landscape. You guys don't see it because he isn't being loyal to your team. You should respect his ability to stick with a franchise that might not be on top today, but has the potential to be on top in the near future.

"No one should make more than Crosby."

AO will be making the same as Crosby for the next four years. Sid's last season on his contract is 7.5 mil. Mostly so his lame-ass cap hit would be 8.7 mil. From there, Sid the Kid will signs a new contract for a lot more money than AO will be getting. Mark my words. Your precious little poster-boy will make more than AO over their careers, not to mention his endorsement deals and his god-awful clothing line.

"AO will be taking up almost 1/5th of the Caps payroll for the foreseeable future! Surely they can not build themselves into a contender with one guy making so much money!"

Really? Seriously? What percentage of the cap do you think 9 million will be in 4 or 5 years? 1/7th? 1/8th? If the salary keeps being raised at the current pace (39 to 50.3 million in 3 seasons) That is roughly 3.8 million a season. At that rate, in four years, the cap will be 65.5 million. AO's contract will be under 14% of the cap. How many teams at that point will have a superstar of AO's caliber for under 14% of their cap? Exactly. That is just in four years. Imagine in ten years? Ten million will be the going rate for 2nd tier players, much less a superstar in the middle of his prime. I will go out on a limb and say that the Capitals will be contenders within the next three seasons. In fact, they are a playing as a playoff caliber team right now with three or four key injuries and with suspect goaltending.

Maybe this will clear up a little confusion. Sorry AO doesn't love your team like he loves the Capitals. I know rejection hurts, but it is really time to move on.

Anonymous said...

Get your facts right. That article was not written by a Sun reporter. It was written by Calgary Herald pundit George Johnson. It was carried in a number of papers in Canada, but the byline is pretty clear.