The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last minute thoughts

We've got less than 32 hours to go in 2012. Some thoughts as the clock ticks down:

Friday, December 28, 2012

Random Year End Ranting

It's not like this was a horrible year, but there were a lot moments that I'd really like to just scream about. As in, what in the WORLD were you thinking??? 

Let's go backwards.
That's all I have for now. Let's hope 2013 is a good one - without any fear, as Mr. and Mrs. Lennon once said. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

End this. NOW.

Okay, enough chit-chat, gentlemen. As a duly self-appointed representative of the one side of this little dispute that has NOT had a say in these negotiations, I REALLY have had enough of all this bovine excrement that has been flowing out of these offices since September.

There IS a deal to be done. Mr. Fehr over there (points at Steve Fehr) has even said that if you guys got the main stuff finished, the rest would be completed in a couple of hours.

Well, it's time to get to those couple of hours.

When I have not been trying to completely ignore you buffoons - especially after last week and that "oh we're so close no we're not" crap - I actually have been paying attention to the three main sticking points in the negotiations.

Mr. Bettman, Mr. Daly, you have said that these three are NOT negotiable. I am here to tell you that if you continue to say that, I will PERSONALLY come over there and Gibbs-slap you. (If you don't know what that is, Google it. I'm not here to help you keep up on popular culture.)

Mr. Fehr and... okay, I'm just gonna call you guys Don and Steve, 'kay? Lot easier. Anyways - there are a LOT of things you guys could do better than just focus on avoiding things. Seven years ago, those morons over there (points at the BOG and Bettman) said that there was GOING to be cost certainty via a Salary Cap. Yeah, you and I both know that was a load of crap. Show me a salary cap and I'll show you 100 ways of getting around it.

And oh BOY, did some of these guys get around it. Take DiPietro for example. (turns to watch Charles Wang wince) Hey, it was your idea, Brooklyn. And Lou (Lamiorello), you tried so hard to work the edges. Then old Liarpold over there went and took your bonus baby.

Still, I know what's going on here - these guys (thumbing at the BOG) want to get more concessions out of your collective hides. Not surprising, considering ol' Liarpold over their is buddy-buddy with Scotty Dubya and the Koch brothers. Never met a union he didn't want to bust. And I've had my suspicions.

Busting a union, though it's kinda de riguer in my neck of the woods at the moment, is not gonna look good on your resume, Gary. And what the 32 of you need to realize is you're going to all sink like a stone if you don't get this thing done.

And to do that, you're gonna have to use that "C" word. You know, the dirtiest word in politics today - compromise.

So here's the deal: I'm gonna lay out how you're going to get there. You're going to actually fill in the blanks, because really? I don't wanna sit down, read the (bleep) books about how much money a rotating dasher board ad brings in quarterly and all that. But we're gonna go over, one at a time, the three things you guys can't seem to figure out on your own.

First: the change in shared Hockey-Related Revenues from 70/30 or whatever it was to 50/50. Don, this is just a fact of life. The pie has been increasing over the last seven years - with no help from ANYONE in this room - you too, Sidney. But there's a limit to the amount of pie out there. And the way you guys are flinging them at each other, there ain't gonna be any pie left.

Dangit, Don, don't give me that look. I saw that look. It was that same look you gave Congress during the PED hearings. That's why you're here instead of in the Caribbean, taking in a winter league ball game.

I really don't care how soon you want to implement it - Gary, you said something early on about a phase-in over a two-three year period. Considering the culture shock it's gonna be, I think that'd be a good idea. Just don't plan to implement it this year. These guys behind you have issues trying to figure out which lear jet to take to work.

Second thing on the docket - contract limitations. Sigh. Can we just admit that 10 year deals are just insane? Don? You saw it happen with Bud and MLB? There is no reason why anyone should be locked up to a contract for that long - unless it happens to be an agreement between you morons. THAT is one thing I'm demanding, right now - you are GOING to have this thing last until September of 2023, no ifs, ands or buts, got it?

All right, contracts: Five years max, with an option for a sixth, at the player's option. Figure out how to do it. Maybe go end of Stanley Cup finals to June 30th for the period of determining it. Say, player makes the offer for the sixth season, team has until July 1st to accept. If team doesn't take the offer for the sixth season, he's a free agent and can be signed by anyone else until October 1st. 

Only one catch to all this - that sixth season will have to be at the same salary as the lowest salary year in the previous five. You have a guy signed to a $1.1, $1.2, $1.4, $1.6, $1.8 million deal? Guess what: if the player opts for year six, that salary goes down to $1.1 million. Only exception is if it's below the league minimum, then it gets bumped up to league minimum.

See, Gary, that gives your guys an option in a bad deal. They don't have to take the offer. And Don - if your guys sign a five-year deal, they need to keep an eye on that low year.

Look, I know this isn't like figuring out a salary cap and a salary floor and midpoints and what not, but it's got possibilities.

Now, let's tackle the one thing that I really think is what is keeping you idiots from dropping the puck - Don would call it "making whole" while I think Mr. Liarpold over there would call it "market adjustment".

I would just call it "breach of contract", myself.

See, that's what really burns me, Craig. You went out and signed Suter and Parise to those huge deals with absolutely no intention of actually paying those huge salaries. And YOU, Mister Snider. YOU intentionally poison-pilled that contract for Shea Weber by making it damn near impossible for the Predators to match. Well, as much as I feel for Mr. Cigarran over there, I suspect both of you felt exactly the same way that old Johnson-In-Law over there felt: "I ain't gonna pay that."

I would really suggest that the Board of Governors consider the legal ground they would be standing on if they demanded returns on salaries. I think Donny boy over there is smart enough that he would sue the NHL over pulling the biggest Hostess Twinkie switcheroo in sports history.

So the bottom line? You guys made your bed, now you sleep in it. No salary rollbacks, no "escrow" payments, none of that. You are going to pay out those salaries.

Now, don't get so smug over there, Don. These idiots gotta have an out, or ol' Charlie Brooklyn over there is going to have a conniption fit. So here's the carrot on a stick: No current contracts can extend beyond the last year of this CBA. Since we're already going to make this a 10-year deal, it means contracts that go beyond that get terminated after the 2023 season.

Since that just made Tom and ol' Jeremy Jacobs start to hyperventilate, I think it's time for them to get an out. Here's the deal: If you have a DiPietro situation (would you PLEASE stop that, Mister Wang?) where a guy loses 80 consecutive games in a season due to injury on one of these long-term contracts, or if he loses a combined consecutive total of over 100 games at any point before 2017, then the team has the ability to walk away from that contract at that point. If a guy gets hurt in the 2017 season, but the consecutive total wouldn't hit 100 if he was out the rest of 2017 and all of 2018, the team can - after reaching game 100 - walk away from the contract. But ONLY for the rest of the contract (2019 and beyond). A guy gets hurt in 2018 - well, them's the breaks.

Oh, and so the players don't have to worry about things - anyone who has one of these contracts that extend beyond 2018 will have right of refusal on any trades for the first two years of the contract.

Unfortunately, as a Gibbs-smack for not getting this season started on time, that will get extended through the end of the 2015 season, not the 2014 season. Oh, look, Rocky finally figured it out. How neat.

And to appease Mr. Wang - if a player is already over the 100-game total after you idiots finally drop the puck? You can notify the player that you're walking away from their contract at season's end. Like that a bit better, Charlie? Good.

All right. Sit down and figure out how you're gonna implement this. If you don't, I'll come back in here and Gibbs-smack the lot of you.

Especially you, Craig. Thanks for nothing.

Oh, and Tom? I'll see you sometime next year, hopefully.