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

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Finnish Flashback

I don't have time today to write an excellent post on this subject yet, but I did make a nice graphic. Anyways, per TSN, Teemu Selanne has come to terms with the Ducks on a contract for the remainder of the season and should be re-joining the team this week.

There's probably two major points I want to bring up, for starters, and I'll delve a little more into these on later posts:

  • First off, in terms of salary cap management, the delayed season starts for Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne do wonders for Anaheim's postseason roster; quite frankly the Ducks should ice a pricier playoff team than they could have afforded for an entire regular season. If I were a rival fan, I'd probably be pissed. I mean, it's all well within the rules of the CBA (as Oiler fans loved to bring up during criticisms of the Dustin Penner offer sheet, or Devils fans with the Alexander Mogilny demotion), but it still was an advantage for Anaheim only—neither player was considering any other teams, it seems. And even if other teams wanted to engineer such a cap trick to their own advantage, it seems unlikely that they'd be able to pull it off with two such future hall-of-famers and difference-makers. I'm not really ready to put Brian Burke up for GM-of-the-year yet (he got a clear advantage in Scott & Teemu's one-team focus), but it is still very impressive the way he was able to manage salaries and keep availability for both players, even to the ridiculous point where the Ducks will ice both players and their offseason replacements.


  • Even though I expect rival fans to be irrationally bitter about this, there will still be valid complaints about what this means for the integrity of the league and its regular season. While everything that's transpired has been CBA-legitimate and seems sincere, any time the league's best players are voluntarily not playing in regular season games, that's bad news—even if it does end up serving the player and team's playoff interests. Even though I believe both players were genuinely considering retirement (as opposed to just milking a CBA loophole), the fact remains that the retirement loophole has now been explored and demonstrated; should the Ducks succeed this postseason it will be very interesting to see if any other player or team tries to mimic this formula, and if so, whether the league will act to try to curb it.
So, good for the Ducks' cap situation and bad for the league. And really, before we go claiming how successful the semi-retirement strategy is for a team, we really should see how the Ducks end up finishing this season and playoffs; a lot of people see the roster upside here without really recognizing the desperate straits the Ducks were in before the first of their wafflers came home. It's still going to be a tight points battle down the western conference stretch, one that perhaps a full-year Ducks squad might have been able to avoid, but at least now the Ducks have two more superweapons in their arsenal.

Feel free to comment on either of these issues in the comments, or if you like, tell me what your fully-healthy Anaheim forward lines would look like with a dressed Selanne (and Pahlsson).

14 comments:

Mike said...

Of course I'm red-hot-mushroom-cloud-laying-motherfucker-motherfucker pissed, but I expected it.

And even if other teams wanted to engineer such a cap trick to their own advantage...

I look at it the other way too. Wouldn't players want to avoid some regular-season drudgery? Sure, they wouldn't get paid as much, but if it becomes socially acceptable in the league, it would be a Very Bad Thing.

I'm a pretty forgiving fan, but if my team decided to only ice a real squad the last couple of months in the season, I'd give up my season tickets without a second thought.

RudyKelly said...

This isn't that new, is it? I thought I remember Forsberg getting "injured" and sitting out most of the season, only to come back for the playoffs. I'm not that mad just because I saw it coming. I know Bettman said they'd be looking into closing this loophole, but how?

Would the lines look like this?

Bertuzzi-Getzlaf-Perry
Kunitz-Weight-Selanne
Moen-Niedermayer-Pahlsson
May-Carter-Marchant

Something like that? I don't know, I don't really know the bottom lines too well. I'm more curious as to how the power play would look.

Earl Sleek said...

Yeah, it's not exactly new, but if it's an injury, that's something that can be confirmed with doctors. Scott & Teemu took a path that didn't involve injury at all, just their shaky willingness to play. That's the difference, and depending on who you talk to, that's huge.

Earl Sleek said...

Oh, and I don't want to skew anybody's predictions, but my lineup matches Rudy's.

For the PP, based on what we've seen lately, I'd guess it goes:

Bertuzzi-Getzlaf-Selanne
Pronger-Schneider

Kunitz-Weight-Perry
Niedermayer-Beauchemin

Of course, our lineups have no place for guys like Bochenski or Sutherby or Parros or Miller or Ryan; is there a trade coming with all these extra pieces?

Gautham Ganesan said...

Ugh. Just, ugh. Although I am, as you so eloquently put it, irrationally bitter, the silver lining is that perhaps Selanne will be unable to rekindle his magic in the absence of Andy McDonald. Although knee surgery certainly helped, you could attribute Selanne's post-lockout surge to McDonald's similar rise over that time period. Doug Weight obviously remains a sublime passer, but perhaps any chemistry Teemu generates with the American center will pale in comparison to his affinity for Andy Mac. Anyway, here are my line combos:

Bertuzzi--Getzlaf--Perry
Kunitz--Weight--Selanne
Moen--Pahlsson--R. Nieds
May--Sutherby--Parros/Marchant

S. Nieds--Beauchemin
Pronger--O'Donnell
Schneider--Huskins

I'm not gonna delve into power play units, because I don't really see what Carlyle plans to do. Selanne was known to take PP faceoffs last year, was he not? I might throw Scott on left wing, Selanne at center and Perry on the right with Getzlaf and Pronger manning the points, I don't know.

Earl Sleek said...

I'm not even sure that "irrational bitter" is the right term--there's certainly rationale behind it.

I mean, the Ducks last summer tried to replace Selanne & Niedermayer with Bertuzzi & Schneider, but nobody I think predicted that as players returned, the Ducks would be keeping the replacement players as well. It's pretty ridiculous, no doubt.

From last year's cup team, it's been a switch from McDonald, Penner, and Jackman for Bertuzzi, Weight, and Schneider -- that's a swift kick to 29 teams' groins right there.

spade-in-victorhell said...

meaningless unless we do somthing with all this wealth...hope we dont turn into the ranger of old and new

losing to LA was a step in that direction

Finny said...

lines?

#: RW-C-LW
1: pears-getzzy-bert
2: teemu-weight-kuni
3: robby-sammy-mo
4: bochy-sudsy-stache/mayday

I guess Cartsy has a chance for that fourth line too, but I *like* Sudsy there... :(

God, I'm glad I'm not Randy right now.

Finny said...

*scratches head* forget it. I'm not going to try to be randy. I'm just going to hope I get to see my "new" boy every once in a while.

Bryan said...

As far as 4th, I would recommend Bochenski, Marchant and Carter. Parros is a playoff liability. Sutherby is just bad. May can go in there and bang heads but aside from being a veteran he isnt as good as the others.

As far as how the team looks compared to last year.
Tuzzi for Penner is a wash. Weight for Mac is a downgrade. Schneider for Dipenta/Jackman is a huge upgrade. Bryzgalov for Hiller is a huge downgrade. Then you have to look at who has improved and who has gotten worse. Niedermayer doesn't seem to have returned quite to form. And Odonnell and Marchant are definitely showing their age. I'm assuming Selanne will not be as good as last year, 1 year older and without McDonald but who knows. Importantly, Getzlaf and Perry have definitely improved alot. Huskins as well.

As a season ticket holder, I am annoyed that more than half my season money was spent watching an inferior team. Before Niedermayer came back, alot of games were absolutely dreadful. But it may pay off when playoffs come. And I think the league will serious consider modifying the rule for RFA's that if you're not signed by nov 1st, you can't play the entire year to include all free agents. It would not stop the Nidermayer situation but definitely the Selanne one. They used to have a clause where if you signed a guy after a certain date all other teams would have a crack at claiming him first.

Also Melrose thinks Sundin will get traded to the Ducks before the deadline.

Earl Sleek said...

And I think the league will serious consider modifying the rule for RFA's that if you're not signed by nov 1st, you can't play the entire year to include all free agents. It would not stop the Nidermayer situation but definitely the Selanne one.

I'm not opposed to this, I guess, but it is worth noting that more fans are upset with Niedermayer's under-contract actions than Selanne's. If I really wanted to stem Niedermayer, it's simple: make some portion of his might-be-retired contract count against the cap, even if it's not paid.

Still, there's a flipside. If indeed it is bad news that the league's best players miss the start of a season, it's also bad news if they also miss the end of a season. Putting in restrictions means that instead of partial seasons of Selanne & Niedermayer, we get none. That's not the ideal either.

And where to draw the line? Aren't the Red Wings set to sign some kid from Sweden? I mean, Rudy's made a point in his comment. It's not really the first time there's been a late addition to the league.

As for Sundin (or Hossa), I'd love to have 'em for a reasonable price. Still, I don't really count on either one happening. Going against both players is Brian Burke's record of acquiring European-born players; in Anaheim I can count the transactions on one hand.

Bryan said...

But this is the first time the players being added were real difference makers. Adding 2 HOF players is pretty unheard of.

Matt said...

Three things:

1) Earl's "flipside": indeed. In case no one's noticed, the threat of NHL-quality players going to other leagues to play is increasing, not decreasing. Anything that restricts the ability of NHL to sign quality hockey players is going to be a net negative. We might still get Forsberg back in an NHL uni this year; I think that's good. If there was a (say) Dec.1 deadline, then either we miss out on Forsberg for the last part of this season, or someone signs him and uses cap space knowing full well that he can't play yet due to injury, and might not be able to at all.

2) The real coup here for Burke re: the cap is not paying Selanne for only 40% of the season, it's getting a 90-point scorer signed for the price of a 3rd liner.

3) It seems clear enough from the machinations of two months ago that the ScottN situation wasn't ideal for the Ducks either. I don't think we have to worry much about copycat situations when Burke himself says No Chance are they going through that a second time.

Earl Sleek said...

2) The real coup here for Burke re: the cap is not paying Selanne for only 40% of the season, it's getting a 90-point scorer signed for the price of a 3rd liner.

Yeah, that probably needs more emphasis. Selanne's a doll; give him whatever time he needs and he'll sign for whatever money's left in the bank.

It's probably worth saying on your point #3 that there's a lot of things that need to happen before someone could conceivably copycat the Ducks' pattern:

a) The player has to earn it, not just in his career but specifically for the home fans. It was very important in this case that both Scotty and Teemu are huge huge fan faves, and when Burke gave them leeway, nobody really raised a huge fuss. Anaheim fans agree: they have earned it. I don't think this works unless fans buy into it.

b) It almost has to happen after a cup win. Even though Alfredsson might meet the criteria for point (a), the fact that they lost and the fact that they intend to improve on that: there's no room for Alfie to take a few weeks off, even if he has earned it just as much as Scott or Teemu.

c) It really has to be a player that intends to come back to one team--a guy who's going to shop himself to multiple teams isn't going to cut it. It's tough to hold cap room if a guy might not even come back to your team.

There's other things there, I'm sure, but it's a very very tough set of circumstances that makes this work; even stranger that these criteria occurred for two players in one season for the Ducks.