The Other Side Of A Rusty Coin
Ken Campbell (Or is it Cambpell?) of The Hockey News wrote a nice piece about everyone’s favorite topic of discussion late last night, proving that the point Ryan Lamb-po-boy-ert was struggling to make yesterday can be put forth intelligently and without the unpleasant crusted beard trimmings of a troll.
Let’s go through it, shall we?
Judging by the comments on most hockey websites concerning the impasse between Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings, the overwhelming sentiment seems to be that Doughty is nothing but a petulant, snot-nosed young man with an overinflated sense of entitlement.
First of all, I resent this. To generalize the feelings of so many is folly. No one ever said the kid was nothing but those things, they also said he was fat and personally, I decline to comment on the amount of mucus in his sinus. What’s more, most people don’t use fancy words like petulant. If you are going to paraphrase people, use the proper terms, such as asshole, schmuck and prick. I got told several times yesterday that real and respected journalists do research and proofread, and this debasing of perfectly good and oft used curse words leaves me confused as to what level of respect to give to Mr. Campbell. Next paragraph please.
That, of course, comes largely from people who believe if they were in the same position as Doughty is right now, they’d be thrilled to get a fraction of the money he makes to live the dream of playing in the NHL. Coincidentally, those people, for the most part, have no clue of the enormous sacrifices and level of commitment that were required for Doughty to get where he is and the fact he is among the best in the world at what he does. Ever wonder why hockey players never settle for less than what they believe they’re worth? Can it be that every single one of them is a greedy, self-absorbed jerk? Don’t think so.
Most of the world is extremely fucking greedy and as a cynic I have no problem believing that the majority of hockey players, or better yet, athletes in general, are greedy, self-absorbed jerks. If I feel this way about most people, I don’t see what excuses athletes. In some semblance of seriousness (not my strong suit), Ken makes a good point about the enormous sacrifices and commitment required for wunderkind to reach the level he is at today, even if part of that is integrally imbued talent. So of course its perfectly fair, since we are talking in a relative sense of compensation here – Ken’s point presumably that an obscene level of work put in justly demands an equally obscene level of pay – that we then also pay the ballet dancers who commit their entire lives to the perfection of their craft millions of dollars to prance around on stage. When I was 13 I believed I had perfected the art of masturbation. I would now like my millions, please. What was my lifetime commitment for, if not for my millions of dollars? But of course I kid, partially. What good are our passions in life if not to be backed up by the ability to buy a yacht or three.
As is the case with most high-profile contract disputes, there is a tendency to portray one side as evil and the other as good. Most have Doughty in the evil camp at the moment. But the fact of the matter is Doughty is fully within his rights to demand whatever amount of money and term he wants and the Kings are fully within their rights to tell him they have no intention of paying it. Doughty has no contractual obligation to take part in training camp and the Kings have no contractual obligation to allow him to do so.
Now we get to one of those good points I mentioned earlier. If I were a sarcastic man, I would thank Captain Obvious at The Hockey News, but since I am of a more subdued, humble nature, I will simply say that he is correct in his matters of fact, even if those facts have nothing to do with the grouping of He Who Shall Not Be Paid into the less altruistic “evil camp”.
Will Doughty stunt his development by missing valuable training camp time during a crucial year in his development as a player? Perhaps. But there are also those who believe training camp is overrated in terms of preparing a player for the season. Is Doughty really going to get better playing scrimmages against guys who will probably never share an NHL ice surface with him? And the days of players using training camp to get into game shape went away with horsehair goalie pads. Players keep up a high level of conditioning when they’re not playing hockey and the fact is Doughty is probably in better shape right now than he will be at mid-season.
Holy shit, I had no idea that playing hockey deteriorates your fitness and that vacationing brings it to its pinnacle. Is training camp overrated in terms of getting into ‘game-shape’? Probably, if we used the strictest terms of being in shape, limited only to the physical. However this being a team game, and systems always being adjusted, training camp is about far more than simply getting your endurance level up and improving your bench press numbers. It is about adjusting to new teammates and finding comfortable sparks with the old ones. It is about getting yourself into the group mindset and setting some of your individuality aside so as to better act as a synergistic digit of the arm of the team. So no, Ken, training camp is not overrated, though it is not to say it is irreplaceable. It is a time to work out kinks without the high stakes of points that affect playoff seeding. The fact is that if our boy were to miss camp he may be in fine physical form, but he will be a few steps behind finding his rhythm with the team. He will have to learn how to play with Richards and Gagne on the fly. He will have to learn how to play Jamie Kompon’s new and wholly improved power play system when the games matter. OK, that last bit was wishful thinking.
There’s a perfectly good reason why Doughty wants more than the $6.8 million annually the Kings gave Anze Kopitar on a seven-year deal two years ago. It’s because Doughty thinks he’s worth more than Kopitar. He might be right. Or he might be way off base. But he has every right to think it and to demand to be the highest-paid player on the Kings.
Once again, congratulations on refraining from having an opinion.
When things get emotional, as they have in the case of the Doughty negotiation, rational thought sometimes becomes a casualty. Case in point was when Kings GM Dean Lombardi declared he the Kings were considering docking Doughty $25,000 every day Doughty missed training camp. Lombardi was quoted as saying players sign up for 275 days of work. “That was the one thing that changed during the CBA, that players were paid during training camp.”
Not sure when Lombardi dug up that nugget, but suffice to say he had to clarify himself after saying it. First, players are not paid during training camp or the playoffs. They are paid on a per-day basis based on the exact number of days during the regular season, which is 185 in 2011-12. Lombardi was referring to a provision in the CBA that allows teams to dock players for each day they don’t take part in training camp, but that applies only to players who are under contract. Doughty is not and the only way his salary will be pro-rated in any way is if he signs his contract after the regular season begins Oct. 6.
Now we are into the good stuff. Campbell schools Rich Hammond in CBA knowledge (and subsequently the rest of us who shot our mouths off based on Rich’s interview and comments). I am no CBA master. Most of the time I just go with what I believe to be common sense, which often times has nothing to do with legal language and minutia of bloated rule books. Assuming that Ken has done his research properly, as we will see in the following chunk of quotes, Dean’s comment about docking HWSNBP’s salary per diem comes off as specifically a threat, though again, this does not affirm Byran Rampart’s (Nylan Balmpert? I forget now, the guy who I blasted yesterday) assertion that the average cap hit of any contract offer goes down every day. That notion is still just as ludicrous today as it was yesterday. Let’s read the rest of Ken’s good stuff.
Lombardi acknowledged later that “things got out of hand,” after he made his comments and said the Kings were only considering imposing some sort of financial penalty against Doughty for each day he missed camp. “If you can deduct a day’s pay for a guy with a contract and a guy doesn’t show up and then you do a contract, would the same provision apply?” Lombardi said.
It only would if the Kings declared they were reducing their contract offer by a certain amount, say $25,000 for each day Doughty misses training camp. The reality is, though, Doughty will be paid how much or how little he and the Kings ultimately agree upon when they come to terms.
OK, now that you read that, let’s read the next part, something that came up in our comment section yesterday as well.
And while we’re talking about semantics here, can we all finally dispense with the notion that Doughty is a holdout? He is not a training camp holdout. Holding out is what guys like Keith Tkachuk and Alexei Yashin used to do. There’s a huge difference because those players had valid contracts and chose not to honor them, opting instead to withhold their services until their existing contract was renegotiated. Doughty does not have a contract, so how could he be holding out on the Kings? He’s a restricted free agent without a contract, not a holdout.
I’m sorry. Let’s go back a minute and not read that part. This seems to be a big issue with many people, and usually I am a stickler for semantics as well. However, unless we just want to say “is not at camp because he doesn’t have a contract yet” in place of the several thousands easy usages of ‘holdout’, I’m fine with sticking to the single word term until a better euphemism for this specific situation is formed. In the interest of the greater good, I will try to help out here. Wunderkind is not holding out, he is holding his dick. That’s just one more word and more appropriate describes the situation. Then again… well nevermind, moving right along. Last bit of the article.
When you strip away all the white noise, what you basically have here is a negotiation, plain and simple. The only problem is the two sides don’t agree on the terms of the deal and the fact it involves a high profile and talented young player has ramped up the attention, intensity and emotion.
This deal will get done one way or another. If a rival team was going to present Doughty with an offer sheet, it almost certainly would have done so by now. And when the contract does get done, this impasse between the Kings and Doughty will be nothing more than a blip on the screen.
First paragraph, for the third time, didn’t need to read that. In other news the sky is still blue, unless you’re blind, in which case it’s the same non-color as everything else.
Second paragraph, I agree. An offer sheet is not really a worry, although Bobby has told me that he thinks the longer this goes on the more likely it becomes I can’t really agree with that logic here. The trade phone probably rings more and more the longer it goes on, but with the Kings’ ample cap space, someone isn’t going to suddenly decide the Kings will let their franchise defenseman go to an offer sheet. Dean may do everything in his power to hold to a contract line, perhaps to a point beyond reason and to the detriment of the season, but he won’t outright lose the kid over half a million bucks in cap space or a year or two of term.
Now the big point, perhaps the biggest of all and the one Ken leaves for last, simple and elegant, becomes about what happens after this gets done. We virtually all feel that the deal will get done, either before the season starts or reasonably shortly thereafter. However what are the ripple effects, if any? Lombardi has said that he holds no grudge. I am willing to believe that, but as usual I am also willing to believe he is lying. I firmly believe his teammates won’t give a shit. Maybe if there are one or two holier-than-thou douche bags in the locker room, there could be a small rift, but I doubt it. That leaves us, the fans. Will we remember this and hold it against the kid? Well, I can’t say, only you can, the mob. Will this be just a blip on the screen, or will it be that one paint chip in your new car that catches your eye every damn time you get into or out your extremely large purchase? Sport fans are fickle, but we are also ruthless.
Let’s hope this question remains unanswered.