Notebook – September 18, 2006

NHL signings, more CFL franchise news, CFL Notes and more make up this edition of the Notebook.

NHL Business – Worse Than Before

The NHL is not out of the woods yet. I can see the product taking a step backwards on the ice this year. Off the ice, the new labour agreement may have created more problems that are solved. This past week Philadelphia’s GM Bobby Clarke signed Group 2 free agent and 10-goal scorer Ryan Kesler to a $1.9 million offer sheet. The Vancouver Canucks were forced to match the offer or receive only a second round draft pick in return for three years investment in a first round pick. Speculation is that Clarke put forward the offer sheet knowing Vancouver would have to match, therefore using up more than three times what the Canucks qualified Kesler at and leaving them close to the $44 million salary cap. Over paying Level 2 free agents can only lead to inflationary contracts in arbitration for developing and utility players.

Earlier, the New York Islanders signed goaltender Rick DiPietro to a 15-year contract worth $4.5 million per year. This contract will take DiPetro to his 40th birthday. The length of the contract and the fact it starts and ends by overpaying DiPetro makes it look like a bad deal. Even if DiPietro develops into a top goaltender, this deal makes him un-tradeable, even if salary caps rise, due to the length of the deal. It looks very likely like a unique way to circumvent the salary cap by providing a known value for a goaltender for the next 15 years. The only problem is that if DiPietro gets hurt or otherwise fails to become the Islanders top goaltender, the Islanders will be carrying an additional burden of his salary for years to come. Start making many of these deals and a franchise could be on shaky ground if they guess wrong.

CFL Franchise Interest

Apparently David Asper is one of three prospective buyers of part of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. There is a trio of bids to return a franchise to Ottawa, all seemingly successful, smart business people. Funny how successful business people want to put their money into CFL franchises. Makes you wonder if the information that no franchise actually turns a profit is true. If you factor in who is not bidding then you may change your mind. The fact that the CFL could not encourage Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk to submit a bid may reflect more accurately the profitability of a CFL franchise, if only in Ottawa.

A review of the groups making bids for an Ottawa franchise shows that Jeff Hunt makes the Golden Gate group the favourite. Not only are his local connections key, but they seem to have the right attitude, understanding that they have to attract new fans to succeed rather than assume the base CFL fans in the Ottawa area will be enough.

CFL Salary Cap Brings on New Complexities

Interesting how a real salary cap makes the CFL team salary structures a little more transparent. First Wally Buono discusses letting players go after this year due to their salary structure. Next Roy Shivers defends the contract binder he left in Regina. Shivers is right. He was let go less for the salary expenditures (almost $600,000 in inherited dispersal draft salaries) than for the fact he was not likely to renew for another year with a majority players entering free agency, leaving any incoming GM in a tight pickle.

CFL Notes

Pigskin Pete to retire. Apparently, there will be another Pigskin Pete. The tradition will continue.

Corey Holmes is placed on the trading block before he is re-signed for three years.

Jesse Lumsden signs 2-year plus option contract with Ti-Cats. Getting some playing time will certainly help him refine his game and establish a professional reputation. With Holmes signed, will Josh Ranek be shopped around in the off-season?

‘Riders bring in Yo Murphy. I am a big believer of bringing in solid veterans late in the year when the playoff push is on. Let’s hope Murphy can add some leadership.

The Bachelor attracts some media interest. Jesse Palmer brings more next-great-Canadian-quarterback hype than I thought. QB‘s explain adjustment process for Palmer. Nice to see a reporter talk to almost every QB in the league for an article.

Ricky Williams to return to Argo line-up and sets goal to take Toronto to the Grey Cup.

Obvious observation that byes will be gone if Ottawa does not return next year. Giving two byes per team when you have a balanced schedule results in the mess we have this year.

Esks get testy, death watch begins. Gass should be suspended. His kick was up there with the worst I have seen in the CFL. Update: Gass fined for kick. Double-standard lives on.

Other Notes

Backup punter Gillooly-ed competition. They have backup punters?

Toronto reporter takes up Jim Hunt’s $50 bet with Paul Godfrey. Finally a realist in Toronto. I will take that bet as I am sure the NFL will not move into Toronto in my lifetime.

Gambling websites can be dangerous (Overtime Central the exception).

Silvertips’ Constantine suspended for excessively punishing players. Treat players like circus animals and expect them to perform like robots.

3 Responses to “Notebook – September 18, 2006”

  1. Bill Says:

    nice spread of news

    yo murphy is a fun name.
    the islanders are funny

  2. Bill Says:

    backup punters are funny too :)
    doesn’t look like his plan worked. maybe he shoulda worked on his kicking :)

    I don’t like that McCullough is hurt!

  3. Jon Says:

    Somebody reads this stuff!

    Good stuff Bill.

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