Tag Archives: dallas stars

Question Of The Day- Whither Matt Stajan?

So Maple Leafs Fans, we are passed the midway point (don’t tell the all-star scheduler that!) and we are edging closer to the deadline so there are questions to be asked and decisions to be made. Let’s start with a tough one, what to do with one Matt Stajan? Stajan is one of the guys who seems to have rebounded very well from some tough love from Mr. Wilson. He is on pace to score 19 goals (my math is about as accurate as a Mats Sundin rumor from Bob McCown) and 61 points. Here is the question Burke has to ask himself: at 25 years old is this what Stajan is, a 20-25 goal scorer at or around 60-65 points? Or this is a one year thing? If he IS the 20-25/60-65 a year guy then you are starting to look at a player comparable at the low end to Brad Richards( I know, Richards was in the Olympics and is an All Star, I am just talking about numbers….)…Again, my math is nothing to write home about, but Richards’ averages about 21 goals and 49 assists a season averaged over his career. If you look at this one year of Stajan’s as the break out, then who’s to say he can’t become a consistant 25 goal, 50 assist guy. At 1.75m he is a bargain (especially when you compare it with 7.8 for Richards (who is 3 years older then Stajan)


Conversely, do you think this is an aberration, then do you deal him when is value is at it’s highest. People (perhaps correctly) chastise Cliff for not dealing Toskala after last season for the very same reason. It says here the best GM’s know when their assets are worth their absolute most and deal with them accordingly. If a year from now, the goal is to have the average age under 25, then is a guy who turns 26 next December to old to take the spot of a younger guy? I don’t try to pretend to have the answer. I think this is the type of question Burke is really going to have to focus hard on. Of course an easy answer would be to question what the return would be should you deal Stajan. Obviously we don’t know…but let’s say prospects and picks (some mix of both 1 and 1). One thing that would concern me is the message that it would send to the team. Stajan was benched and has responded well, very well. If he were to get traded, what does that say for the Wilson way…. You get sent a message, you hear it loud and clear and still get traded????

Interesting times indeed. At least it’s something to talk about


Article of the Morning….

Elliotte Friedman’s blog on the Vinny situation is as good a read as I have seen. The only thing missing from it is an accurate read on how dire things are in Tampa Bay. Elliott’s analysis of the current financial implications and the realities of a trade of this magnitude are bang on.

“So, how many teams are really in this race?

Montreal, for sure. Vancouver definitely could be. It has cap room and prospects. Toronto has cap room, but no prospects. It fits Edmonton’s profile, since the Oilers threw bags of cash at Jaromir Jagr and Marian Hossa. I also wonder about a Colorado, a Dallas, or an LA.”

Take the Leafs out of the picture. It’s not happening. Could you imagine Vinny in Vancouver with Sundin??? Almost happened in TO!

“Lecavalier is a great talent, and a durable one, too. Only twice in his nine seasons has he played less than 80 games – 68 in 2000-01 and 76 in 2001-02. Those two things are extremely attractive to any GM interested in anyone with a long-term deal. But you know what’s become even more important to these GMs? Flexibility.”

Damn straight. Look at the ducks current cap situation, ummmm, who made that mess again ? 🙂

“Other execs are wondering what Chicago is going to do with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook – tough choices despite Nikolai Khabibulin’s $7 million per season clearing this summer. Even Detroit, the model franchise when it comes to drafting, developing and getting players to take hometown discounts, has team-altering decisions to make. Henrik Zetterberg, Marian Hossa, Johan Franzen and Jiri Hudler (restricted) are all up, and Zetterberg is testing the Red Wings’ limits. (They gave Hossa a one-year deal equal to Nicklas Lidstrom’s $7.45 million, and a 10-year, $75 million offer to Zetterberg has apparently been rejected.) The Lightning themselves are in this situation because of the Stanley Cup gifts awarded to three players, Lecavalier being one.”

Folks- this is why it is good to be a Maple Leaf fan right now. Keep your heads up. If Burke plays this right he is going to be able to have a buffet of choices for top players fairly soon. Be patient. Wait until the cap goes down, then watch teams squirm to get under the cap! This is going to be interesting as hell.

“Then, there is the economic collapse. Teams are under the impression that, at best, the cap will stay the same next season, before decreasing in 2010-11. From Oct. 1, 2007, until the financial lunacy began in mid-September, 37 NHL players signed contracts of at least five years in length. That’s an average of three per month. Since then, there have been three in total .”

That’s right. How would you like to the Isles with a goalie tied up for 13/15 more years who has suffered long term injuries of late. The goal is to build properly. Our building is full every night. MLSE is patient enough to get this built properly.

“Managers exhibiting buyer’s remorse are recognizing a painful reality – that if you want to trade one of these contracts, you’re going to have to make the kind of deal that is difficult to explain to your fans. What they’re hearing from potential partners is some variation of this: “If you want me to help you take this contract off your books, well then you’re going to have to take my brutal contract. Oh, you don’t want to do that? Well, you’re going to have to take something else I don’t want – like a middling prospect or a later-round draft pick. You’re not getting anything of value from me for an asset you’re desperately trying to get rid of.”

Keep an eye on guys like Jason Blake and even, gulp Sean Avery…..These are guys who’s contracts get moved in order to accommodate other moves.

The focus in the trade market has changed drastically.:

“As much as Senators fans are making Jason Spezza the scapegoat, how happy would they be if Bryan Murray traded him for a mid-level prospect and a draft pick that wouldn’t be in the first round? A couple of different executives said unless Murray is willing to take on an ugly contract in return – and he probably isn’t – he may not get much more for his best centre. If you believe the whispers, that’s why number 19 remains in the nation’s capital. A harsh reality for the Senators and their fans. But, if you think trading Spezza is going to bring in the players who will start an immediate turnaround, you’re mistaken.”

This is the reality of life in a cap world. In the NBA they talk of trading salary slots. The NHL is moving towards that. For those who love trades and banter, it’s boring as hell.

“Considering some pretty smart hockey people are now saying they knew about the captain’s availability a week ago, chances are the Lightning know all this already. They might as well roll up the sidewalks outside the rink if they screw up this one. Maybe they can’t afford to keep him. But they can’t afford to trade him for what’s being made available, either.”

I am not so sure on this one. If things are as bad as I am hearing (and who the hell am I?) then I cant imagine how bad things really are.

Under 50 days to go until the deadline…. Buckle up!

Kaberle, Modano, Hull, Avery, Rentals, Caps & Raps… Oh My

I love this quote from Bruce Arthur. Can’t you just picture the scene in the Leafs locker-room, all the regular’s are gathered around Kaberle’s locker, they ask him about his NTC:

“”We haven’t spoke about anything, and obviously my status stays the same,” Kaberle said with an air of finality. “We can talk about tonight’s game if you guys want to.”

After a pause, one sharp reporter said, “Not really.”

That is right out of a SNL skit… whom do you think the “sharp reporter” 10:1 Howie 5:1 Jonas

Oh to be on the Dallas Stars next flight with Modano and Brett Hull… Let’s see, sitting in 11 a is Mike Modano, here is your boarding pass and in 11 C is Brett Hull, here you go…

“”I think we would have analyzed (the signing) a little bit more over the summer before you go into the free-agent market. Do a little more homework and detailed analysis (and get the opinions) of players who have played with him, or how guys feel about it,” said Wednesday the 19-year veteran.
“It could have been avoided, I think, but I think (co-GM) Brett (Hull) felt having him as a teammate (while with the Detroit Red Wings), he saw something in him. “Talent-wise, he’s a very skilled kid. But I think character-wise and his personality didn’t blend with the criteria that we’ve always had as Dallas Stars. Since Bob Gainey was here, we implemented a kind of personality and character-figure in Tom Hicks. That’s kind of where it went off and tail-spinned, and got corrected.”

One word…. Ouch…Gotta love when a guy like Modano suggests that maybe, just maybe it would be a good idea to do some , ummmm, what’s the word for it, oh yeah HOMEWORK before signing a player…. The fact that he references Bob Gainey is even more classic.

Good job of accumulating a list of rental players from Kevin Allen in his USA Today hockey blog:
Jay Bouwmeester (Florida)
Keith Tkachuk (St. Louis Blues)
Mathieu Schneider (Atlanta)
Andy McDonald (St. Louis)
Nik Antropov (Toronto)
Doug Weight (New York Islanders)
Bill Guerin (New York Islanders)
Gaborik (Minnesota)
Maxim Afinogenov (Buffalo)
Sean O’Donnell (Los Angeles)

Another great quote: “Citing declining sales, the CBC has pulled out as a carrier of Toronto Blue Jays telecasts.” William Houston, Globe and Mail. There is no surprise that the CBC balked at a rate of $150k per game to broadcast the Jays games. “Beeston said 145 of the Jays’ 162 games will be televised, 125 on Sportsnet, which is owned by Jays proprietor Rogers Communications, and 20 on TSN.” By the way, did anyone else here this gem from Mr. Beeston while on with Pad Thai (Watters) and Brady ” I am almost finished writing up the job description for Blue Jays President.” Please, someone tell me just how long that should take and what Mr. Beeston (whom I am a huge fan of) has been doing since he took the job???? I guess with the rate of signings and trades he realizes there is no rush to do…..ummmmmm, anything

A subject that drives Howard Berger nuts seems to have been resolved in the media’s favor in Montreal:

“Growing weary of widespread rumours and gossip surrounding injured players, Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau on Wednesday said anyone sidelined indefinitely will now have the nature of their injuries released to the media. No longer will the team report such players have upper- or lower-body injuries.Carbonneau said the decision was reached following a meeting between himself, general manager Bob Gainey, vice-president (hockey operations) Julien BriseBois and the team’s communications department.”

I have heard the arguments from both sides. The anti-reveal argument is if you reveal a player’s injury the opposing teams will attack that injury every chance they can. The pro-reveal argument is simply, we have a job to do and you shouldn’t hide information from us. If the former is true then the injuries shouldn’t be revealed, the hell with the latter.

Tonight’s shows on both stations were the worst I have heard since I have been pre-viewing/reviewing the drive home radio shows on both the Fan and 640, The interview with Steve Nash was pretty dull and almost unlistenable seeing how Nash sounded like he was in an aquarium for it. Kudos to Mccown and Kelley for interviewing an athlete (they rarely do) and for admitting that they taped it earlier (not that it would have made a difference to any of us listening), which they also rarely do. Those who preceded Nash and followed were equally as uninteresting. Over on 640 the lineup with the exception of Dean Lombardi was really dull. Perhaps it was the cold weather, but it seemed to be a night when both stations should have punted. Here’s hoping tomorrow is better.

You know the old saying about a sucker being born every second…
“Sources say the team is expected to be sold within the next two months with current owner Jerry Moyes retaining as much as 20 percent.” That according to Darren Dreger, speaking on the issue of the Phoenix Coyotes. With all the issues facing this team, most importantly a 30 year lease with brutal terms (no parking revenue for the team AND a share of each ticket sold being shared with the city) it’s hard to phathom who would buy the team. That is not to suggest that the team isn’t valuable. Truth is many would leaf fans would gladly change rosters wth the Yotes in a heartbeat… Why someone would buy this team is beyond me…especially right now…

Hats off to Jay Triano for finding Andrea Bargnani’s game. Man, anyone else see him put up 31 tonight in another loosing effort?? Quite an impressive showing for the Big Euro.

If you are a hockey fan, you had to watch, with a smile on your face the play as the Caps defeated the Pens 6-3 tonight. Way to go AO and my adopted 2nd team the Washington Capitals!

Have a good night all

The Best Article You Will Read Today

Friends, if you only read one thing today, read Michael Farber on Sean Avery. This is the type of work we hunger for and should demand more of. For every time we hear “there must be more to the story” there should be an article like this. Brilliant work Michael!

Here is the gist and some highlights:

Avery is a team killer. A train wreck. In complete opposition to what his dad, the NHLPA and other supporters have tried to say before, he is not just a good boy… Farber, at the end of the 3 page must read comes to the realization that someone will one day take a flier on Avery….

” Avery was guilty of hockey’s deadliest sin: being a lousy teammate. There can be room for personal agendas in other sports—think Terrell Owens with the Cowboys—but hockey takes a dim view of square pegs in their perfectly rounded holes. The ethos is different. Unlike baseball clubhouses, where players sit facing their stalls, or football locker rooms, where players are segregated by position, a hockey dressing room is designed so all players face toward the center, gazing at one another. Avery did not look at his teammates in Dallas. Between periods he would often sit by himself in the hallway, headphones on, a citizen of Planet Sean. When Avery was in the dressing room, according to Stars veteran Mike Modano, he was often on his phone, discussing a potential book deal or his movie project, a romantic comedy based on the life of the only NHL player to spend his summer as an intern at Vogue.”

One word….WOW

“Avery wore shorts with his sport coats to preseason games because, Modano said, “he didn’t feel he could express himself if he dressed the same as everybody [else]…. He just seemed unwilling to do what we were all asked to do, on and off the ice. He wanted to march to his own beat.” Avery was the iconoclast clown, throwing spitballs at hockey’s ways.”

To quote LT, “OMG” (oh my god)

“After he signed, I told him that now that he’d gotten the big contract, he could take it down a notch and just go out and play hockey,” said Red Wings forward Kris Draper, Avery’s friend and former teammate. “Unfortunately that’s not what happened.”

We all know it hurts the most when friends go on the record with stuff like this….

“POLL YOUR average American, suggests an NHL veteran, and Avery will draw higher name recognition than any active player aside from Sidney Crosby. Avery, who declined to be interviewed for this story, retains the services of a Hollywood public relations firm, the only active NHL player known to have a nonsports publicist. For him this is a reasonable investment. According to a former teammate, Avery was at a house party in New York City last summer when an actress from a popular television show started chatting him up. She said she didn’t know much about hockey, but she was mightily impressed that the NHL had made a rule just for him.”

It’s true but soooo sad. The guy is better known the Alexander Ovechkin.

“Dave Siciliano, his coach in Owen Sound, had his own Avery Rule, which he refers to as the 80/20: Siciliano devoted 80% of his time to Avery, while the other 20% went to the rest of the team. “You seemed to be dealing with something every day,” says Siciliano. “He had an overzealousness and a lack of discipline that would cause rifts on the ice, at practice, on bus trips.” On one trip Curtis Sanford, now a Canucks goalie, heard a scuffle at the back of the bus and wheeled in time to see captain Dan Snyder, upset by an Avery comment, being pulled off his mouthy teammate. Siciliano wanted to dump Avery, but Owen Sound G.M. Ray McKelvie recalls, “A lot of people had already gotten the idea that he wasn’t a team player. It was hard to make a deal that made sense for us, until one night in Kingston he had three [goals] and three [assists]. A couple of days later [Kingston G.M. Larry Mavety] and I had a deal. Sean could get people riled up, but he was an excellent player.”

Sounds just like the guy you want on your team….Me thinks LT was right on this one….

“after being traded in March 2003 to the Kings, a team less secure in its identity, Avery ran amok, by hockey’s standards. Even with a serendipitous do-over—he was kicked off the team with three games left in 2005–06 for refusing to participate in a drill and arguing with assistant coach Mark Hardy at practice but was allowed back after ownership replaced G.M. Dave Taylor with Lombardi that summer—he continued to roil teammates as much as opponents. He cruelly ridiculed the speech of left wing Dustin Brown, who has a slight lisp. “He was really hard on Brown, a quiet guy who just shut down,” says Conroy, now with Calgary. “He didn’t come out of his shell until Sean was gone.”

He’s just a nice guy eh Glen???? Did the PA offer to step in and assist Brown with this issue????

“There were dressing-room fisticuffs. Thornton and Avery had a “play fight” in Edmonton in late December 2006—it started when Avery hit Thornton with an exercise ball—and Thornton wound up breaking his wrist and missing 23 games. Lombardi, who after succeeding Taylor had announced that Avery was on “double secret probation,” traded him to New York five weeks after the Thornton incident, but not before warning Rangers president Glen Sather that “you’ll have him in your office once a week.”

Double Secret Probation??? That can only mean one thing TOGA PARTY!

“”Brett Hull criticized us when we traded Sean, saying our team was bad for Sean and bad for the game,” Lombardi recalls. “Freedom of expression. How does [Hull, the Stars’ co-G.M. with Jackson,] like it today? They spent $15.5 million to protect the right of free speech. Adams and Jefferson would be proud.”

OUCH!!!! Seriously, can this be made into a tv show or a movie????

“I think the persona Sean took on”—the Vogue-interning, starlet-dating, crossover celebrity who feigned indifference to the game—”became more powerful than the real Sean,” Hull says. “You know the Green Goblin in the Spider-Man movie? Like that. It just overtook him. He decided to be Evil Sean.”

Ya think???????????

“We spend time psychoanalyzing Sean,” Lombardi muses. “Maybe we should be doing it to ourselves.”

Does anyone else get the impression that maybe, just maybe Lombardi is a tad bitter towards mister Avery or feeling a lot bit vilified?

Then, Farber ends with the conclusion that I and many others have drawn….

“Sometime, somewhere, there will be a comeback. Avery will do the requisite scraping and bowing because, as Calgary’s Michael Cammalleri, Avery’s friend and former Kings teammate, says, “Without hockey Sean would just be some guy doing some crazy stuff.” An e-mail message to SI from Nicole Chabot, Avery’s publicist, late last month read, in part, “We at this point are just trying to weather the storm as best we can. The comeback story will be amazing, but we are a ways away with all the details still to be sorted out.” Oprah, schedule some couch time.”

Pass this article along folks, when you read a Toronto daily today, remember it. This is sports journalism as we should demand. Thank you Michael.

On Trading Sean Avery

Spoke to Neil Smith this am about this, from a logistics perspective only. So the Stars could waive Avery, he would clear. They would then recall him. Assuming the Leafs were able to get him on a claim, his salary would go down to about 2 million. The Leafs would then trade Blake to Dallas for a 2nd round pick.

Leafs dump Blake, and his $, get avery at a decent discount and a 2nd round pick

Wilbur’s Trade Proposal- Would You take Avery?

So Wilbur had an interesting thought tonight on his radio program. Trade Blake to Dallas for Avery and a second round pick. Wilbur also thought there was a way to do it through waiver so the buds would only have to pay Avery 2 million per. So Buds fans, would you make that deal???

Ego: The Reason Sean Avery Will Be Back

Go back over the last couple of years in the world of professional sports and ask yourselves this, how many “bad boys” have been written off only to return time and time again. How many time have we asked ourselves “How many strikes does _ get?” The reality is it usually is endless. There is one reason for this; EGO. Those who become coaches and general managers and even to a certain degree owners have EGO’s. In every sport there exists just enough EGO that says ” I am strong enough to control this guy, harness the talent and make him a player”.

In football think about Jimmy Johnson, Bill parcels. In baseball Tony Larussa come to mind. Hockey??? Glen Sather comes to mind, so does Mike Keenan. I think a part of me would suggest both Ron Wilson and Brian Burke. I just don’t see it now and with this team. So rest assured they were will be an appetite for Avery. The upside is just enough to wet the appetite. The EGO strong enough to think it can harness the character flaws.

Then there is the money issue. Most people have written that the Stars with Avery. Remember if they waive him now, after he clears waivers he become eligible for re-entry waivers. $3.875 a year through to the 2012-13 season becomes about 1.9 a year. Say what you want, there are a lot of folks running teams out there who think that if Avery gets help, is under their wings(EGO) he is a pretty good deal at 1.9 a year. For some reason I believe the 1.9 is too high but it’s late and I am sure someone out there smarter then me will have the right answer.

In any event, despite all the hoopla, Avery will be back. Bad boys with talent always get another shot. There are too many EGO’s out there who are sure they can fix contain him.