Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Friday, July 20, 2007


The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau wrote a new article that listed the worst contracts given out this off-season. I looked forward to reading it; I love reading articles about terrible decisions by general managers. When I got to it, though, my amusement quickly turned into uncontrollable rage. Here’s what angered me so (full article found here):

"2. Lubomir Visnovsky (returning) to the L.A. Kings for 5 years and $28.25 million. I liked many of the signings GM Dean Lombardi made this summer; Brad Stuart (one year, $3.5 million) was a smaller gamble with larger upside, while Michal Handzus (four years, $16 million) and Tom Preissing (4 years, $11 million) should be valuable contributors as the Kings grow into Stanley Cup contenders.But that’s a major part of the problem I have with Visnovsky’s signing. If the nearly 31-year-old blueliner, who has missed even more games than Hamrlik (74 games) in the last five seasons, is regarded as their power-play quarterback, why sign Preissing, who excelled in the same role with Ottawa last year? And since a fair number of hockey types believe the Flyers overpaid for Kimmo Timonen, how come they aren’t looking at this deal with an equal amount of disdain?"

Lubomir Visnovsky's contract was the 2nd worst of the off-season??? Hold on, I need to take a minute… (clears throat, takes a sip of water)


How… I mean, what… I don’t even know where to begin. I feel like challenging this guy to a duel. I guess I should start by dismissing the notion that Tom Preissing comes even close to replacing Lubomir Visnovsky. Preissing is a good player, but he’s averaged 40 points the last two years; Lubo’s averaged more than 60. Besides, it’s not like you can only have one guy that’s good on the power play. I don’t even get that part. (I do like how he put in “regarded,” though, insinuating that Lubo isn’t actually good at it. Very sneaky.)

You have offended Lubo's honor, sir, and I demand satisfaction!

Over the past two seasons combined, Lubo has been outscored by Scott Niedermayer and Nicklas Lidstrom among defensemen. That’s it. His 125 points the past two years equals the totals of Sergei Gonchar ($5 million/year contract signed in 2005), Bryan McCabe ($5.8 million/year in 2006), and Sergei Zubov ($5.35 million/year contract in 2007). I don’t think Lubo can be considered inferior to any of those players. In fact, I’d argue that he’s better. I don’t see those guys playing on a team as defensively porous as the Kings and still ending up +1 on the season. Not bad for a power-play quarterback.

I also take umbrage with Proteau’s mention of Visnovsky’s propensity to miss games. It’s indeed true that Lubo has missed 74 games in the past 5 seasons; what Proteau doesn’t point out is that 59 of those games were in the three seasons before the lockout. Since hockey started again, Visnovsky has missed 15 games in two seasons. (Plus, 8 of those games were at the end of last season when the Kings were pretty much tanking, so I’m not sure if he was actually that hurt.) Sure, he gets a lot of little injuries, and that’s going to happen when you’re a 5’10”, 185 pound defenseman; to act like he’s injury-prone and unreliable, though, is ignorant at best and disingenuous at worst.

Don't worry Lubo, I got your back.

The whole thing gets even more ridiculous when you scan the article and see that Sheldon Souray was his 4th worst contract of the summer. Sheldon Souray has a very good slap shot, it’s true, but he’s pretty bad at everything else. His plus/minus? -28. I know that plus/minus is kind of a tricky barometer of a player’s worth, but you have to be pretty bad to be -28. Yet, somehow his contract is better than Lubo’s, even though they get basically the same amount of pay. sdfasdfsa…sorry, that was my hand clenching into a fist. I think I’ve got it under control now, though.

I am completely flabbergasted by this attack on Lubomir Visnovsky; who in their right mind thinks he’s not deserving of $5 ½ million dollars a year? I know he’s small and people claim that he can be pushed off the puck by a power forward, but that shouldn’t get in the way of what he’s actually done. Bottom line: Lubomir Visnovsky is almost a point-a-game defenseman that also gives you above-average defense. I'd want him on my team over all but a handful of defensemen in the NHL. Maybe Proteau just wanted to be different and that’s why he decided to go after Lubo’s contract instead of Chris Drury’s or Daniel Briere’s; maybe he thought Lubo was okay to go after because he can't speak English; maybe he’s just a dick. Whatever it was, he’s wrong.

(Oh, and the reason people don’t look at Lubo’s contract with the same amount of disdain as Timonen’s is that Timonen is getting paid $6.3 million dollars a year and isn’t as good offensively or defensively as Lubo. Just because they’re both offensively-minded defenseman from Europe doesn’t mean they’re the same, and I can’t tell you how many times that comes up.)


Earl Sleek said...

Dood. This chump's Visnovsky-bashing even has me pissed off.

You're pretty much right on every count, and can I say that maybe the Lubo contract is the BEST thing that DL has done this offseason (in my opinion)?

Bah, morons!

Earl Sleek said...

Even more Proteau-bashing, now that I've actually seen the article.

How about his #1 worst signing, Ruslan Fedotenko, where HNMoron says: "More to the point – why on earth doesn’t an incentive-laden deal make more sense for this guy than guaranteeing him a payday regardless of his efforts?"

Hey dumbshit, you don't even need to get past the CBA FAQs to find this helpful gem:

What players may earn in performance bonuses?

Performance bonuses will only be permissible for the following types of players: (1) players on entry-level contracts; (2) players signing one-year contracts after returning from long-term injuries (players with 400 or more games who spent 100 or more days on injured reserve in the last year of their most recent contract); and senior veteran players who sign a one-year contract after the age of 35.

I'm not saying Fedotenko isn't a bad signing for the Isles, but he clearly falls outside all of these qualifications. Seriously, this "pro" needs a little polishing, methinks.

KMS2 said...

to act like he’s injury-prone and unreliable

his tone definitely implied that. I'm glad that I didn't come across this article before you because I definitely would not have been able to write a more coherent or better argument. I agree with Earl, signing Lubi is probably the best one that DL made this offseason.

Rick said...

Visnovsky is not many of the things that this writer says. As I blog all the time, the hockey press is one of the lowest rungs in the journo world.

As absurd as this guy is, I tend to agree, for other reasons, that $5m per for that length is probably too much for Visnovsky.

Lombardi is a good GM, and he knows more about the sport than you or I, but sometimes he does very strange things.

He's probably preferable to Souray, anyway.

Nick S. said...

If Lubomir is so great, then how come he doesn't speak English?

dbushik said...

I do think this guy is a bit off the deep end in railing against this contract, but I do think that fans of the Kings aren't nearly as weary of this deal as they should be.

It seems like because he came into the league late, a lot of people think of Lubo as a kid, when in fact he's 30. There is the chance that he starts fading quickly.

Long term at high dollars for a guy who is older than most people realize. That is a little risky. I don't think the deal garners being listed with the worst of the off season and think Proteau's opinion is pretty poor on a couple of the selections he makes in this article, but I also think that Kings fans are a little too happy about this one. A couple years from now he could be the new Modry for Kings fans, with a much bigger contract. It's a possibility that isn't so far out that fans should miss the cloud completely focusing on the silver linning.

Bottom line, I like the deal and agree with taking Proteau to task, but I also feel many fans are blind to the possible downside.

Doogie said...

Good to know why I was instinctively confused by that. I had no idea just how good Lubo was.

Also, I sent Proteau an email basically telling him to shove his smug superiority over correctly "predicting" 12th for Edmonton last year. Any intelligent hockey observer could tell you there's no way in hell anyone could've seen how the season went down back in August, and claiming Awesome for basically lucking out is rather disingenuous.

PPP said...

Proteau is brutal. There is basically no need to take anything he writes seriously.