What are the Islanders doing?

The New York Islanders apparently just signed goalie Rick Dipietro a FIFTEEN year contract. As Tom Jackson would say, if this were on NFL Gameday on ESPN, someone in the Islanders organization is “retarded”.

First off, when I informed Doherty of this, he presented a very good question, will the NHL even be around in fifteen years? More to the point, though, WHY DO YOU GIVE A GOALIE A 15 YEAR CONTRACT? I’m going to assume that there is NO WAY they can have guaranteed contracts in the NHL…oh, wait…they do have guarantees, so the team WILL be paying this one out for 15 years?

Now, hey, if Dipietro plays for 15 years, well, this is a great contract for the Islanders. They will overpay now and save money long term. The chances of Dipietro playing for 15 years? Ridiculously low. So, 7 years from now, they may wake up and realize that they need to keep this guy until he is FORTY, pay him and they can’t trade him. Yeah, very easily could be a bad deal. On Dipietro’s end, however, the man is really smart.

Here’s to hoping this will be the last hockey article on this blog, ever.

  1. Is the NHL going to be in existence 15 years from now? For that matter, is the NHL going to be in existence 15 months from now?

  2. I really wouldn’t know considering that Chicago hasn’t had an NHL team in decades. I do love to go to Wolves’ games though. How is it that the lower level hockey is actually more fun to watch than the NHL? I have a suspicion that there is a lower percentage of foreign or Canadian players, but I’m not going to say that is definitively the answer.

  3. “Is the NHL going to be in existence 15 years from now? For that matter, is the NHL going to be in existence 15 months from now?”

    HA, if it wasn’t for American corporations wanting to get their hands in on sporting money in every sport, the NHL never would have went on strike and there would be 12 CDN teams.

    When the NHL started post WWI, the only teams that were profitable were the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Arenas, from their the expansion into the US with the NY Americans and Pittsburg Pirates did not work out well. The only reason why Boston, NY and Detroit fought through the depression and formed the original 6 was because of large financial banking and huge debt.

    This strategy worked out in that the support never stopped and as fans came back to the game in the 50’s and 60’s, the US organizations made money back.

    With the advent of Fox, ABC, NBC and ESPN covering the NHL, U.S. teams have begun to make a lot of money on t.v. contracts meanwhile CDN teams have relied upon CBC for coverage.

    Will the NHL be in existence in 15 months? In Canada for sure. Will the NHL be in existence in 15 years? Again, in Canada it will.

  4. Well the NHL may very well survive in Canada even if it doesn’t in the US, but how many teams could Canada really support. Six of the nine biggest markets in Canada already have NHL teams and a seventh had one and lost it. When you get past those markets you very quickly descend into areas of at most 300,000 people, which outside of Green Bay, markets that small have a tough time supporting professional sports franchises very well. That leads to the inevitable problem of degrading the product that is put forward, which also contributes to dwindling economic support from the fans. So yeah, if you want a 8 team league than Canda would be your place. Frankly i would be more than happy to trade the NHL to Canada if they promised to shut down the Toronto Raptors and Blue Jays.

  5. How exactly is the NHL going to survive in Canada alone, with the investors it has, when the league makes the majority of its money in America even with more TV coverage in Canada? The NHL, to have success, needs to first drop teams, about a dozen or so and at least four of those casualties are going to be the Canadian teams. Reality of it is that the rest of the league has to hoist up Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, and Ottawa despite at least 2 and probably all 4 of these teams doing just as well in terms of fan support (or better) of any American team. This is because of the advertising revenues and you just don’t have the same there as you do in America, no matter how good the hockey is or how passionate the fans are.

    Here’s what I’ve thought would save hockey, for about two-three years now I’ve wanted this…

    Drop it to a 16-20 team league and have it set up like English Premier League Soccer. Have another league, where you start out with the Canadian teams and the Nashville’s and Columbus’ and what not. Then, you play each team in the league 3-4 times (same number for each opponent in the league, but keep it at a low number for total games, right around 45) Bump the bottom three teams to the lower league, bring 3 teams up each season. Have the top four teams in the top league in a playoff…3 game set and then a 5 game Stanley Cup Finals.

    The reasoning behind this is simple, the regular season in the NHL has the least value of any sport in the World right now. As good as the playoffs are, no one gives a fuck because of the lame regular season and all of these teams that get in. You make all the games matter and you have less top teams, which means the talent is spread out more. If you can spread the talent out, you have a chance to save the league. Bottomline is with the NHL the way it is now, you have talent to fill 2 lines on half the teams and 1 line for the rest. You reduce the amount of quality teams, fans will get to know the players more.

    Also, you could potentially drop down to 48 minute games, 12 minute quarters, like the NBA, to give the stars more ice time.

  6. your idea of making the NHL like the English Premiership is almost as retarded as saying Michigan potatoes are better than Idaho potatoes.

    1st of all, how is having 48 minutes of playing time as opposed to 60 going to give the stars more ice time? The way to get the stars more playing time is to reduce the number of teams.

    The teams that should be dropped are the teams that are horrible. These teams are Pittsburgh, Washington, Boston, Chicago, St. Louis, and Columbus. No canadian team finished worse than 9th in their respective conference.

    They shouldn’t be put in a lower league, they should just be scrapped. This will help put superstars in the remaining cities and restore balance to the ability to be a dynasty team.

    NHL regular season games do not have the least amount of value, just the least amount of value to Americans who don’t care for hockey or who have horrible teams in their respective cities.

    Try telling Hockey Night in Canada that regular season games like the Battle of Alberta or the Battle of Ontario lack value. Hockey Night in Canada has been around since 38 with radio broadcasts and 52 on t.v. HNIC just got sold for $1.4 Billion over 10 years to Bell.

    The problem with the lack of value in the US during regular season is because their are no rivalries amongst the US teams like there once was. (Colorado and Detroit is no longer a rivalry, shit has gone from gang related bench clearing brawls to Detroit routing them fools and there not even being a fight.)

    In any event, i think 20 teams would be adequate (10 from the west and 10 from the east) and a schdule of 65 games. Change the make up of the league to have 4 divisions of 5 teams (2 for each conference). Have every West team play every East Team twice (home and home series). This will inflict rivalries and hatred amongst teams. That leaves 45 games to play against your own conference (5 games/team).

    From here, the NHL should be encouraging the WHA to complete its rebirth and have it similar to the NFL and the AFL/CFL.

    This will ensure that the league remains strong and profitable for many years.

    Oh and Ryan, gladly make that trade. We could amalgamate the Cubs and the Blue Jays so at least the Cubs have won something in the last 90 years. At this rate the Cubs will end up being a Philly sports team, cause not winning shit is what Philly teams do.

  7. “The way to get the stars more playing time is to reduce the number of teams.”

    I’m pretty sure I said that, but to clarify on the 48 minutes thing, well, if you’re playing a shorter game, you’re going to get players the SAME minutes, but those minutes become more important to the game as a whole. With 12 less minutes, there is nothing to take for granted. But, yeah, you need less teams to get stars more exposure, that’s the main thing.

    As for your breakdown of where you would eliminate teams, their record last season has absolutely no bearing on that decision. Why? Because if you chop teams, you’re going to move talent around, where they finished last season doesn’t matter much.

    So, you’re going to chop teams in blue collar American cities? Boston? You want to drop Boston? Please, that is way too short sighted. The rest of the argument carries over for most of the other cities you named. The most successful time period the NHL ever had, where the NHL grew, was because you had a dynamic of a star like Gretzky clashing with the blue collar nature of most of the towns that Gretzky played against. Hockey was only ever successful when it reached the average working man in America. Why? Because they could relate to the game moreso than other sports.

    “NHL regular season games do not have the least amount of value, just the least amount of value to Americans who don’t care for hockey or who have horrible teams in their respective cities.”

    This isn’t true at all. The only comparison that hockey would come close to would be to the NBA regular season, which is almost as bad as the NHL season, but right now there is more talent behind the NBA to get away with it. Games are meaningless in the regular season, and you’re countering this with…ONE NIGHT A WEEK…tons of CANADIANS tune in to watch hockey? How many tune in the rest of the week? How about not just talking Canada and talking America too? Seeing as, you know, most of the league and most of the revenue is American.

    And that’s the main problem with your argument. If you argue this based only on Canada, you’re putting yourself in one hell of a deep hole right off the bat. The Canadian market for the NHL, for hockey, will always be there. The league can’t succeed off the back of just Canada, otherwise it would have happened a long time ago. The league needs America to survive on the level that they want to play at. Why? Because if the NHL left America and went to just a Canadian league…the American investors will realize that there is money to be made in America, make it with the best hockey talent and the Canadian league will play second fiddle.

    As for the rest of what you put, I think there should be less games, but clearly like what you wrote more than the current system.

    Oh, that last part, what the hell does this mean…

    “From here, the NHL should be encouraging the WHA to complete its rebirth and have it similar to the NFL and the AFL/CFL.

    This will ensure that the league remains strong and profitable for many years. ”

    I assume that these are unconnected, but, uh, just clarify for me.

  8. i’m only going to respond to the last part Doug because i’m busy preparing for my New Column.

    But the WHA actually used to exist in the late 70’s, Gretzky was actually going to play there. It challenged the NHL during the 70’s. The WHA wanted to reform and start making franchises for players not good enough to play in the NHL.

    Consider it a feeder system for those players older than college/juniors but still talented. Similar to the AFL and CFL for the NFL. It gives players a chance to continue to improve and have a shot at making the “big line leagues.”

    By continuing to be affiliated with talented players through subsequent leagues, the NHL will not be filled with mediocre players; that was the inference i was implying, and a better game makes it more fun to watch; which leads to profitability.

  9. By CFL, do you mean COLLEGE FOOTBALL LEAGUE? Or Canadian? I mean, they’re not really feeding a high percentage from the Canadian Football League or the AFL and if those leagues went away, the NFL would be fine.

  10. I think a big point that is missed with the NHL regular season being meaningless is that regular season success seems to have no bearing on post season success. Home ice advantage also doesn’t seem that important so it makes the regular season games less important where you know that as long as you don’t truly suck you’ll make the playoffs and have as good a shot as any other team.

  11. i mean Canadian Football League. Although the CDNFL doesn’t put out a lot of players it is still a feeder system which helps get players in the NFL that belong there.

    Players who have gone to the NFL that are known names:
    1. Jeff Garcia: Played for Calgary and then SF, Cleveland and the Lions.
    2. Doug Flutie: Played for a ton of CFL teams and played for Buffalo, SD and NE.
    3. Mike Vanderjagt: Played for Toronto and then for Indianapolis and Dallas.

    I could include more but really have to buckle down for my column.

  12. Shawn, I don’t know if we can count Flutie since he was a big time college quarterback and did play in the NFL prior to his days in the CFL (Another GREAT draft by the Bears by the way). Kickers aren’t really football players either, especially drunks like Vanderjagt. And given the rumors that flew around Jeff Garcia and your often vocal displeasure with homosexuals I find it odd you’d be citing him in an argument supporting Canadian Football.

  13. Not a fan of any of them actually, just trying to reference a point. None of them played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, so all is good.

    I guess a better example would be Rocket Ismail.

  14. Raghib Ismail would be a better argument for the other side of what you’re arguing, Shawn. The Rocket was drafted in the NFL, if there is no CFL, he plays in the NFL just fine. Maybe has a good career.

  15. what about Warren Moon? That is the best argument to make. He went undrafted, came up through the CFL to the NFL.

  16. While I think the whole 15-year thing is crazy, I wonder what the real effects of it are. In professional sports today, do contracts even mean much anymore? I mean, sure, it avoids the whole free agency thing. But, it certainly doesn’t lock him into being an Islander for 15-years like a lot of the talking heads on TV keep saying. Hello people, we have something called TRADES. And, that happens a lot in the NHL.

  17. Hello, champ, we have something called PEOPLE NOT WANTING TO TAKE ON A 15 YEAR CONTRACT. Yes, trades exist, everyone realizes that. The problem is that if in 6 years he doesn’t pan out as a goalie…who is going to trade for him?

  18. Umm, forget six years what happens when he puts up the same numbers he did last year. He was 31st in GAA, 24th in save %, and tied for 25th in shutouts with a measley 1. So yeah, not only is dude guaranteed all that money over 15 years, but evidently you don’t even have to be very good to get it.

  19. Well what happens is he gets traded to one team who takes on the contract for a few years, then to another team who takes it on for a few more.

    Hell, he could be traded 5 times in that 15 years.

  20. Also, to play devil’s advocate, the deal is for $4.5 million a year. I think its reasonable to ponder the question as to whether Dipietro might be worth that down the road if the salary cap increases. I think there is a very good chance that the salary cap increases significantly over the next 15 years, and that a $4.5 million/year might not be all that bad a deal for the Islanders, or another team, to take on.

    However, I still think the contract was a crazy idea, and overall, not a smart move. I just think there are two sides to every story, and that the overall effects of this are not what many are making them out to be.

  21. “Well what happens is he gets traded to one team who takes on the contract for a few years, then to another team who takes it on for a few more.

    Hell, he could be traded 5 times in that 15 years. ”

    What happens when he hits the brick wall and NO ONE wants him, let alone his 15 year contract. What if he’s not good enough to start in the league? Someone is just going to instantly TRADE for him? Trades aren’t automatic. This isn’t fantasy sports here. No one is going to want to trade for that contract with the hope that MAYBE they can trade him elsewhere. That’s just silliness.

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