Tag Archives: hockey

Worst NHL contracts on the books

In our  continued effort to point out how we could easily be better GMs than a number of people currently holding that position in the NHL, we would like to take a moment to highlight some of the worst contracts currently on the books for NHL teams. It may be the ridiculous overvaluation of a player, the length of the contract or the fact that it is hamstringing their salary cap but one thing is for sure – these GMs must have been choking on their crystal meth pipes when they signed these.

Thomas Vanek (Buffalo Sabres)– $6.4 million for 3 more years, cap hit $7 /year
To be fair to Buffalo their hand was forced by a ridiculous offer sheet from Edmonton oilers GM Kevin Lowe. They matched and they have a 25-35 goal scorer who is not even remotely consistent.

Jay Bouwmeester (Calgary Flames) – $6.6 million for 3 more years, same cap hit
No shocker that one of the worst signings can be attributed to Darryl Sutter, hell you could make an entire list of terrible signings from him. This one was just a complete overvaluation for a good defenceman. $6.6 mil a year will buy you Dustin Byfuglien AND Brent Seabrook.

Shawn Horcoff (Edmonton Oilers) – $6.5, 6.0, 4.0 with $5.5 cap hit for next 3 years
Ahh it’s good to be an NHL player in Alberta, overpayments are in adundance. The sheer fact that Horcoff and his agent were able to get this out of the Oilers just proves how clueless Kevin Lowe is.

Scott Gomez (Montreal Canadiens via NY Rangers) – $7.5, 5.5, 4.5 with $7/year cap hit for next three years
Glen Sather must have taught Darryl Sutter and Kevin Lowe everything he knows because he is the original monopoly man, throwing money around like it is nothing. Over the years he has had so many bad signings it’s tough to list them all. Unfortunately for Montreal, they were dumb enough to trade for the perennial underperformer who has averaged under 14.2 goals a season over the past 4 years.

Ilya Kovalchuk (New Jersey Devils) – $6.667 cap hit for the next…..15 years. No big deal
What else can you say that hasn’t been said. To be fair, Ilya is an impressive -29 this year.

Rick Dipietro (NY Islanders) – $4.5 mil/year until 2021 same cap hit
Well thank god Charles Wang locked up his injury prone goaltender situation for one and a half decades when he did. Without that signing they may have actually been able to build a decent team around a decent goaltender.

 Wade Redden (NY Rangers) – $6.5, 5.0, 5.0 with a cap hit of $6.5…if he played in the NHL
Ah Mr. Sather makes another appearance on the list. Good work Slats. Glen has been the GM for the Rangers for 10 years now and has signed superstars such as Chis Drury, Scott Gomez, Bobby Holik, Eric Lindros, and Pavel Bure to long term contracts. None of them really worked out, but that doesn’t phase Slats from returning to that vault and minting more money for players that don’t deserve it.

Sergei Gonchar (Ottawa Senators) – $5.5/year for 2 more years with same cap hit
In a move that didn’t really make a whole lot of sense Bryan Murray signed Sergei Gonchar to a 3 year deal during the last offseason. He already had offensive players that are questionable at defence in Chris Campoli and Erik Karlsson.

Mike Komisarek (Toronto Maple Leafs) – $6.0, 5.5, 3.5, 3.5 cap hit of $4.5 per year
At what point does a defenceman that averages 15 points, + 4, and 110 PIMs turn into a contract that pays him $6 million dollars and averages $4.5 million over five years. Can’t even put into words what a misappropriation of funds that is.

Sure we’ve left plenty off this list so feel free to list your favourite contract on the market right now.

Bandwagon sports journalists

Sometimes I wonder how particular sports journalists maintain their job for more than a month. Most sports fans emotions about their favourite team ebb and flow with their current effort levels and success rates. But why does it seem like “professional” jounalists get sucked into this same stream of mindless thinking. Shouldn’t professionals be able to evaluate players/teams and realize when they are over-performing or under performing? For example take Mike Brophy of Sportsnet and his articles about the Toronto Maple Leafs less that two weeks apart.

Article 1, Oct. 27 2010: Phil Kessel for MVP, positive about Leaf’s possibilities for year
Article 2, Nov. 3 2010: Toronto is Loserville, that’s about as negative as it gets

Now I understand that Brophy is probably a Leafs fan and that articles about Toronto will get read lots, but where is his credibility? How can he possibly consider himself a hockey expert when 6 days after he was more giddy than a 10 year old boy that uncovered his mom’s Playgirl collection he has thrown himself off that rainbow covered wagon and is high tailing it like Forrest Gump. We can only hope somebody shoots him in his buttocks. Best quote comes from the second article where he writes:

“The funny thing is, the Leafs struggles this season were not exactly unanticipated. Most picked the Leafs to be in a dog-fight to make the playoffs, but when they got off to a great start, winning their first four games and picking up nine out of a possible 10 points in their first five games, expectations (once again) rocketed through the roof.”

Who helped rocket those expectations Mr. Leaf MVP Candidate?

But it’s not just brophy that flip flops like John Kerry in a presidential debate circa 2006 or whenever it was. The Vancouver Canucks’ media over the first couple of weeks of the season had been attempting to further flame the embers of a possible goalie controversy between Corey Schneider and Roberto Luongo. Now, Luongo has been a fixture in the league for more than 10 years and one of the most solid goalies around for the majority of his career. That, coupled with the fact that Luongo is a notorious slow starter should have kept all the medias mouth’s shut while he struggled for a couple of games and Schneider picked up a couple of wins. Now Luongo has reeled off back-to-back wins including a shutout and most people have forgotten how to spell Schneider.

I realize the rationale behind the media talking in such ways – it illicits a response from the general public and there are enough morons out there that will argue against the logical reasoning, hit the panic button, and go hide in their bomb shelters. It’s the same reason Fox News has so much success in the US.

Gary Bettman – The Donkey

The few readers who actually read this blog can probably tell by now that Truthfully Lying is a big fan of the ol stick and puck, better known as hockey. We are passionate about the game and our local team to the level of unhealthiness. This level of interest in the game and the NHL makes it almost impossible to consistently read/listen to what form of retardation the NHL head office has manifested on any given day. They have one of the most exciting sporting products in terms of speed, toughness, and sheer talent yet more mundane sports such as Baseball and Basketball continue to outpace them for fans. Nothing against those two sports – well at least nothing about Baseball, basketball….meh.

I’ll give you a quick recap of some of the genius ideas that have come out of the NHL head office and Mr. Bettman’s ridiculous mouth before discussing their latest and greatest idea….it’s a doozy believe me.

Highlighted puck
Oh look there goes a red rocket! Better yet you also get to see Fox’s genius robots at the end of some of the goals.

Warrior Advertising
Instead of using the talent and toughness of real NHL players to show off how great the sport is the NHL and their advertising agency thought that a big boobed girl dressing a guy in his gear and making him seem like a “warrior” would be the best way to attract fans. Instead it probably confused people while at the same time making the league seem pathetic and bush-league. Good work Gary and co.

Present day
And then this morning I read this
I thought it was a joke at first, I couldn’t believe a professional sports league would actually even consider something like this, let alone how ridiculous the explanation around it seems to be. Each “Guardian” will have 5 powers???? Good god. What is the Atlanta Thrasher’s guardian going to do, hatch golden eggs? Is the Edmonton Oiler going to spill oil into the environment – he’s definately my pick for villain. Who in the NHL office thought this would be a good idea? What i’d like to hear is how much money they have already pumped into this jaw dropping project. I’m sure its multi-million already.

So, yet again the NHL has dropped the ball on the marketing of their product by once again refusing to use the talent and toughness of the actual athletes to promote the on ice product. Instead they are hoping to lure 35 year old nerds that still live in their parents basement I believe. As the title of this blog suggests, the only logical superhero name that can be given to Gary Bettman is “The Donkey”. His superpowers are whining, being useless, and shitting on hockey lovers around the world. What a dick.

NHL -Western Conference Predictions

As it seems that everyone thinks they are an expert about the NHL and can put out random opinions and pass them as fact (ie. Mike Brophy) I figured I would follow suit. I am pleased to give you my completely biased, but most probably correct NHL Western Conference predictions for the 2010-2011 NHL season.

1. Vancouver Canucks – Even though I doubt Coach Alain Vingeault would be able to coach Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky, Sidney Crosby, Patrick Roy, Paul Coffey, Mark Messier, Alex Ovechkin and Bobby Orr, in their prime to a Stanley Cup championship I do believe the 2010/2011 Canuck group seems to be a focused bunch. 40 years of mediocrity has made the Vancouver fan base a jaded one, but they are jacked up this year about their team and for good reason. The Sedin twins have gotten better every season since they joined the league culminating in Henrik Sedin winning the Art Ross trophy and Hart trophy as the leagues best player last season. Daniel, who was injured last year, will continue to push Henrik and their work effort should brush off on the other core players, Ryan Kesler, Roberto Luongo, Alex Burrows and new additions Dan Hamhuis and Keith Ballard. Newcomers Manny Malhotra and Raffi “cokehead” Torres should make the third line more menacing then the goofy looking Kyle Wellwood and his merry men Steve “I can’t skate” Bernier and The Great Dane, Jannik Hansen. All in all a Northwest Banner seems to be a lock and first place heading into the playoffs seems like a realistic goal and outcome. Long live GM MG. For all of you “it’s destiny” freaks look no further then the last two NHL cities to host a Winter Olympics. The NHL team won the cup the following season, seems like a perfect storm.

2. Chicago Blackhawks – Long gone are the brash, but effective supporting cast of the Stanley Cup winning team. I for one don’t see the great collapse that a lot of these so called experts are predicting. This team still boasts a line up that includes Jonathon Toews, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook amongst a strong supporting cast like Patrick Sharp, Hjalmarsson, Kopecky and Brian Campbell. They will get wins and points on skill alone. Oh, and anyone thinking that goaltender Marty Turco is a step down in goal, give your head a shake. Goldberg from the Disney Mighty Ducks Movies could have backstopped the Hawks to the Cup. Niemi is not a good goalie, hence why they walked away from the arbitrators ruling. The 2009-2010 Blackhawks were a motivated bunch and there didn’t seem to be anything that would stop them. I doubt they will have that same drive after a summer of parading the Stanley Cup around padding their egos. I’m looking at you Patrick Kane. If I’m Marian Hossa the thought of going to another Stanley Cup final makes me sick.

3. San Jose Sharks – The San Jose Sharks will continue to be a threat as long as they roll out Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley, Dan Boyle, Patrick Marleau and company as their top players. Gone are the days that they will dominate the Pacific division and finish first in the Western Conference with ease, but they are still the best team in the Pacific Division, but for how long? If this team played in somewhere other then beautiful San Jose do you think they would have won a couple of cups by now? I sure do. Far too laid back out there in wine country and with Niemi and Nittymaki as their keepers for a whole season, they will win the division, but not by much.
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4. Detroit Red Wings – I for one don’t understand how this organization does it year in and year out. The same players are back for another year and logic says they should finish in the top half of the conference. The age should be a concern and the impending injuries are going to stop this squad from winning the division, but they will be a force once again. The only surprise is that apparently Ken Holland doesn’t realize that Todd Bertuzzi is bad hockey player.

5. Los Angeles Kings – Any team with such a large nucleus of good young talent and coming off a better then anticipated season usually suffers a set back. Although, the maturity of Drew Doughty and the strong group of veteran leadership in Ryan Smyth, Michael Handzus and newcomer Willie Mitchell should keep this team right on track. LA looks like they could be good for a while, as long as they keep that Clune guy off of the ice, what a clown.

6. St. Louis Blues – I’m not drinking the Jaroslav Halak kool – aid, but he is a definite upgrade over Chris “I look like a mechanic” Mason. The Blues were an upcoming team in 2008-2009 only to trip up last year and miss the playoffs. Perhaps they got too complacent after their brilliant second half of the 08/09 season and didn’t get the competitive juices flowing in time to build on their success in the 09/10 season. A full season under new coach Davis Payne and largely the same cast of the 08/09 season should see this team return to the playoffs and compete for home ice down the stretch.

7. Nashville Predators – I have no idea how this team gets into the playoffs every year, but alas. I don’t see any reason why the trend wont continue. Partially because the bottom half of the Western Conference is bad, but also because they boast a stingy young goalie and a big, strong, nasty skilled back end. Nashville consistently is a hard working, focused, pesky team and they will consistently beat up on the lesser lights and will be able to steal enough wins off of the big teams to sneak into the playoffs…..again.

8. Phoenix Coyotes – Captain Coyote, Shane Doan, got his young group on a roll last season which seemed to energize a clueless fan base. Dave Tippett is an excellent coach and Illya Bryzgalov is a good goalie, but I don’t have faith in this group being able to repeat their success or improve on it either. The Coyotes will squeeze into the playoffs mainly because the teams below them are just so much worse.

9. Colorado Avalanche – A young Avalanche team came flying out of the gate as an unknown team in 08/09 and built up an early point cushion which helped them squeeze into the playoffs last season. After a playoff seeding last year this team cannot expect to sneak up on anyone any longer. Additionally, Craig Anderson is going to be hard pressed to duplicate the type of season he had last season. This line up is too young and too inexperienced to be able to repeat last seasons success. This organization is heading in the right direction and should expect to be battling for the upper echelon of the Western Conference in the not to distant future.

10. Calgary Flames – This prediction comes with an asterix. The only way I see the Flames not finishing dead last is if they come stumbling out of the gate and someone, anyone, over there in Cowtown gets the balls to finally take the Sutters out to the glue factory. These clowns are ruining the Flames and the only hope for the flaming C is to get Jay Feaster to take over. A new GM and philosophy change will get this group focused enough to battle for a playoff spot, finish a couple of spots out of the playoffs and in no mans land. Calgary can take solace in the fact that the NorthWest division boasts the Wild, Oil and Avalanche which should help them rack up points they otherwise wouldn’t get. Regardless of their positioning this season, this team needs to be blown up, and in a big way

11. Edmonton Oilers – The future is looking good for the Edmonton Oilers hockey club and fan base. The hardest part for this group this season will be to keep their idiotic fan base in check. Oilers fans will be expecting 5 cups within the next 6 years so these guys better know how to handle pressure. Nevertheless, this team should be a fun group to watch this season. Steve Tambellini will have his work cut out for him to try and stop Kevin Lowe for giving all of these young guys Shawn Horcoff type money and handing them $7 million a season starting next year.

12. Anaheim Ducks – The Ducks are offering their fans a “Victory Pack” where you buy tickets to 4 games and if the Ducks win these games you will get rewarded with free tickets to 4 games later on in the season. When ever your team marketing department and ownership group is banking on you to lose games it pretty much indicates the commitment level to winning in SoCal. Getzlaf, Perry, Hiller and Ryan are a good core, but their bottom 6 forwards and defensive corps is AHL quality at best, too bad to as this team used to boast Chris Pronger and Scott Neidermeyer.

13. Columbus Blue Jackets – There is a hockey team in Columbus?!? Poor, poor Rick Nash, either he hates winning or Columbus has some amazing woman, or something else that is keeping him there. Maybe he has a really sweet house?! Another season of mediocrity will only further alienate a dwindling fan base in the buck eye state. When Ethan Moreau is your biggest addition you have to wonder why bother trying to make any changes at all. Best of luck Scott Arniel.

14. Minnesota Wild – This franchise was doomed from day one. The jerseys, team colours and logo are all hideous and they stocked the team with a cult of over achieving dorks that were a pain in the ass to watch and play against. Their poor seasons and recent streak of playoff less hockey is hockey karma coming back to bite them in the ass for their over achieving years which their fan base confused as a legitimate hockey team. This organization should have hired Pierre Maguire when they had the chance.

15. Dallas Stars – Joe Nieuwendyk and Marc Crawford deserve better then an ownership group that is hemorrhaging money and unloading their other sports franchises. The messy ownership situation and the thin line up will make the Stars an interesting story this season. The Stars will be unloading players and salary before they will be making the necessary changes to improve this squad as they inevitably will end up in bankruptcy. Maybe Fernando Torres can skate?

Worst Sports Teams Logos

Having a home sports team to root and cheer for is a beautiful thing. Having one with a great logo makes it all the easier to display your pride in your team without looking like a dickhead. That jerk I invited to my 7th birthday party didn’t quite grasp that concept as he showed up with a teal green Florida Marlins hat that he thought I would wear. Nice try, I don’t live in Florida, and i’m hopefully not tripping on ecstasy at that age so I have no use for it.

The Marlins have been smart enough to clean up the look since those disastrous starting days and to be honest, the logo isn’t actually that bad. But here are some organizations/cities that should truly be ashamed of the logos/brands they have created. Oh and for those teams that are mentioned below don’t take the approach of “Well that’s just your opinion buddy”. Take a pro-active approach and talk to your mayor, president, prime minister, premier, governor or whoever else will listen and try to make a change in this world. Either that or just live with the fact that your team has a shitty logo and will probably never win a championship.

Atlanta Thrashers

Is a violent rooster really the best that a hockey team from Georgia could do? Then they added on that lovely font of writing which apparently turns the rooster into a serial killer from some kind of B scary movie. You might as well have gone for the Atlanta Peaches. The worse part is that they made the colours of the logo completely hideous. I give them another 2-3 years before they do a full-on logo redesign and hopefully come up with something half decent. On a side note, is Georgia some kind of bird sanctuary? Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta hawks, Atlanta Thrashers. Oh and making the third jerseys a lovely robin’s egg blue isn’t so good either.

Arizona Diamondbacks

This is one of my favourites because after their initial disastrous logo they sat down and thought “Hmm, this thing is a real piece of shit. What should we do?” So they changed the colours. Genius. The “A” and the writing is still too comical to take a professional sports team serious and the colours are only minimally better. In fact, they just piggybacked on the Phoenix Coyotes new colour scheme. So, Georgia has birds, Arizona has mud brick red, black and white.

Apparently they haven’t heard the phrase “You can cover a shit pie in as much icing as you want, but it’s still a shit pie”. Probably because I just made that up, well at least I think I did.

Golden State Warriors

What came first, the clip art looking Washington Wizard or the Golden State Warrior? I don’t know but I’m taking a shot and saying the Wiz came first. The reason I say this is because these logos make me think of one another….not really what you want when you are competing teams. Anyways they both suck, but since the Warrior people didn’t pick up the fact that they look remarkably similar i’ve decided to ring them up for a terrible logo choice. Warriors is a cool enough name but where does the lightning bolt as a weapon enter the ring? Is Golden State known for their lightning storms? Or do they just produce a lot of electricity? I don’t know. What I do know is that they have shit the bed on the rebranding of their basketball team. Oh and in case you didn’t know that the Warriors play basketball they were nice enough to put a big orange ball in back of the logo, like the sun glistening down on the fearless lightning warrior/electrical technician.

Cleveland Browns

On one hand I really appreciate the Cleveland Browns lack of effort on a logo, but in terms of making fans happy how can you possibly get excited about a team logo that is literally a football helmet painted……orange????
“Excuse me, our team is named the browns”
“Yeah but brown is such a shitty colour, nobody would want to wear that. We are going to go with orange”

Stunning.

In another sense, the logo is brilliant because it truly symbolizes the lack of caring on the players and team managements part about their team. So maybe that was what they were going for, and if so….then I think we can all agree the Browns’ logo is spot on.

MISMANAGEMENT – Usually gets you fired

Does anybody else have a hard time figuring out the way the NHL does business? The fans of the NHL were forced to miss out on an entire season of NHL hockey in 2005 when the owners of the NHL decided to lock out the players and force them into a salary cap. Now, I am a fan of the salary cap, it puts all 30 teams on a level playing field and the best managed, developed and coached teams are the ones that are winning the Stanley Cup. The fact that there hasn’t been a repeat winner since the 90’s is probably due to the fact that the GM’s and management of the NHL don’t seem to be the brightest. Look no further then Darryl Sutter and his recent handy work with the Calgary Flames. Prior to the lock-out in 2004-2005 the teams with the deepest pockets were able to buy all of the talented players and essentially buy the championship. As a fan of a relatively small market team, due to the disparity in the Canadian Dollar versus the American Dollar it was a tad annoying losing constantly to Detroit, Colorado and co. and their stacked line ups. So, the agreed upon CBA was a welcome sight and the changes that followed made the “new” NHL a more exciting game. The arrivals of Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin didn’t hurt either.

The part that has irked me is that the NHL owners got together and forced the players into a situation where they had to accept the salary cap. But, who were the owners protecting them selves from? At the end of the day it is the owners who are signing the checks and agreeing to pay players ridiculous amounts of money. The salary cap was a tool that has become a necessity to protect the owners from themselves. So, what do the owners do the second the salary cap comes into play? They take off their NHL hats and turn into irresponsible imbeciles. They begin to examine the CBA and find ways that they can circumvent the cap so that they can pay these players
the type of money that they complain about later. If I was a player in the NHL, why wouldn’t I accept a $102 million contract that is going to pay me millions of dollars until I am 44 and no longer playing the game. What person in their right mind is going to say “no” to a lifetime contract that guarantees all of that money?!

The recent news of the NHL, rejecting the Illya Kovalchuck agreement is a real head scratcher because there have been countless other long-term deals of similar ilk. The only difference in this deal then others is that Mr. Lamoreillo was a little too aggressive with the length of the deal and he didn’t leave much salary at the back-end. The owner of the NJ Devils signed the deal and it is his arrogant commissioner, Gary Bettman, “Mr. No National TV Deal”, who rejected it and is now “investigating” several other “lifetime deals” like Roberto Luongo in Vancouver, Marc Savard in Boston, Chris Pronger in Philadelphia, Marian Hossa in Chicago and I’m sure countless others. It just seems like one massive, critical mistake after another which is inevitably going to affect the fan once more when the current CBA expires. I am sure the posturing and propaganda is about to start any day now and the owners will paint the players like selfish, spoiled little children again. How can they let all of these deals go and then all of sudden reject one? News reports making the rounds in recent weeks suggest that the NHL wasn’t fond of the long-term deals, but the fact is they never did anything about it. They registered all of the deals and rubber stamped them, why now are they doing something about it? They created the CBA, ratified it and then shot holes in it like it is target practice. A real commissioner would have seriously considered rejecting the first “lifetime deal” and would have fined the owner in question. It is going to be interesting to see how this all plays out, but I just don’t see how this is going to look good for the NHL. They have nobody to blame but themselves and they make the players and fans the scape goats. Another lockout in 2012 is going to hurt and it may be equally as long as the 2004-2005 fiasco, because the owners and management of the NHL have screwed themselves over again.