FanDuel - WFBC

July 11, 2013

SportsFilter: The Thursday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 30 comments

Mr. Kraft, it's Mike Brown on line 1 again.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:22 PM on July 11

It's not just Corey Dillon anymore. Now, any Bengal would feel right at home in Foxboro.

posted by beaverboard at 01:26 PM on July 11

Now, any Bengal would feel right at home in Foxboro

Probably not. Too many fucking criminals back there.

Oh, were we talking about the 2006 Bengals? I get it.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:41 PM on July 11

That's not to say the Bengals (or any other team) is as pure as the driven snow, but the Patriots "we draft on character" bullshit has run its course.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:46 PM on July 11

the Patriots "we draft on character" bullshit has run its course

This is an interesting debate that's been going on in the local media. Essentially the question is this: did the Patriots ever claim that? The local media turned "The Patriot Way" (which was about focusing on the task at hand, ignoring distractions and just winning, according to Michael Holley's book, at least I think that's where it came from) and turned it into a thing about high-character guys. The only real evidence of that I remember was Myra Craft demanding the Pats cut Christian Peter.

I also found it amazing at lunch that Adam Schefter went off about Alfonzo Dennard and how stupid he is (and suggesting there were more incidents at Nebraska than just the arrest-- is that the case?) and then turned around and praised the Broncos for their handling of two executive DUIs in spite of the fact the first only came to light because of the second.

posted by yerfatma at 01:51 PM on July 11

That's not to say the Bengals (or any other team) is as pure as the driven snow, but the Patriots "we draft on character" bullshit has run its course.

When was that ever the case? Going back to 2001 (draft #2 for Bellichek), they drafted Kenyatta Jones who'd been arrested multiple times in college and was released when he scalded a team-mate.

They've drafted character guys but have also drafted talented but troubled guys regularly. They usually have enough character guys around where a Randy Moss or Corey Dillon can be handled, whereas the Bengals seemed wholly unconcerned for a while about leadership or personality mixes.

posted by dfleming at 02:10 PM on July 11

whereas the Bengals seemed wholly unconcerned for a while about leadership or personality mixes

Wholeheartedly seconded. For a pretty good stretch, Mike Brown thought either that he could rescue every troubled cast-off, or that talent was a determining factor regardless of any character issues.

However, it's just this Bengal fan's opinion that that particular meme is played out. Obviously, others disagree with me. But there's been a shit ton of arrests in the NFL for the past 3 or 4 years, and they have not been disproportionately Bengals recently. It's not like the Vikings ever achieved such butt-of-all-jokes status.

And maybe it's just my perception, but it sure seems like Boston-centric sports fans take particular glee in throwing around the Bengals/Criminals meme. I just feel slightly vindicated in light of recent events, that's all.

posted by tahoemoj at 02:56 PM on July 11

I know a lot of people who still carry around the bad boys Cowboys meme, despite the fact they're in the bottom 1/4 of the league since 2000.

I mean, the Bengals are still second during that period and have Pacman (the poster child for getting arrested for a while until Titus Young came along) on their roster, so it's not like it's that unreasonable for people to still hold that perception. Reputations are hard to beat.

posted by dfleming at 03:44 PM on July 11

it sure seems like Boston-centric sports fans take particular glee in throwing around the Bengals/Criminals meme

I think you're seeing what you want to see. The Bengals really aren't a team on the radar for Pats fans: it's AFC East teams, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Denver, the Giants and maybe Houston. I used to root for anyone in the AFC North except Pittsburgh; now it's anyone but Pitt/ Balmer. The only thing I remember posting about the Bengals recently was the original line from Mike Brown wich still seems like stones in glass houses to me.

posted by yerfatma at 03:56 PM on July 11

I think you're seeing what you want to see.

There is a distinct possibility that you are right.

But you're only saying that because you're in New England and I'm from Cincinnati. Oh yeah, and I still agree that Mike Brown's stone throwing was from the vantage point of a glass abode-dweller. My post was intended to play on yours.

posted by tahoemoj at 04:06 PM on July 11

Fair enough.

In unrelated news, Andrew Ference departs Boston with just as much class as he showed during his time here. I know hockey players being Good Guys is old hat, but I'll be rooting for Edmonton a little more next year (they were already my Western Conference fling team).

posted by yerfatma at 05:27 PM on July 11

Ilya Kovalchuk retires from Devils

posted by tommytrump at 06:05 PM on July 11

Ilya Kovalchuk retires from Devils

In the words of the lovely and talented Mrs. Braden, "Well, fuck him, too." Was he just waiting for Parise to leave? The Devils mortgaged their entire franchise to sign Kovalchuk, and agree with the deal or not, he was intended to be the centerpiece of the organization for the next 10-15 years. So they lost their best player in Parise because of Kovalchuk's contract, they have no draft picks to load up on young talent, and their Hall of Fame goaltender is nearing retirement. I guess now we get to see just how talented a GM Lou really is.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:12 AM on July 12

So they lost their best player in Parise because of Kovalchuk's contract, they have no draft picks to load up on young talent, and their Hall of Fame goaltender is nearing retirement

He didn't have a gun to their head - Lou didn't have to do any of those things. Lou made a decision that he knew wouldn't allow him to sign Parise down the road. Most people thought it was a horrible deal and it turned out horribly.

Kovalchuk wants to be closer to family and may actually get paid more in the KHL, and as a regular joe who moved for exactly those two reasons, I can't really fault him for it. It's the business of hockey.

posted by dfleming at 12:39 PM on July 12

Don't the NHL and KHL have the same contract-honoring relationship as other sports do? Real Madrid may want Gareth Bale but they can't just sign him without regard to his Spurs contract.

posted by billsaysthis at 12:48 PM on July 12

They do, but there is no longer an NHL contract that the KHL has to honor:

*Kovalchuk, 30, is permitted to play in the KHL (or some other league other than the NHL) because his contract with the Devils was officially voided after he signed his voluntary retirement papers today.

posted by MrFrisby at 01:42 PM on July 12

Also, Kovalchuk probably figures the KHL is less likely than the NHL to lock him out of a job for the first half of every season. Can't blame a guy for wanting to be a professional hockey player.

posted by Hugh Janus at 01:53 PM on July 12

He didn't have a gun to their head

What does that have to do with it? A contract is supposed to be an agreement between two parties. In this case, one agreed to play hockey for a certain team for a certain amount of time; the other agreed to pay that player to play hockey. The Devils made a business decision, whether it was perceived as horrible or not, to sign Kovalchuk to a large contract to be the face of the franchise for the foreseeable future. He agreed to assume that role. As a result, the Devils understood they would need to part with Parise and others; it was a trade-off they chose to make. So what Kovalchuk did is nothing short of pulling the rug out from under them. Understandable or not, it's a low class move.

It's the business of hockey.

I'd like to see a similar instance of this happening before I'll accept it as "the business of hockey." Players get traded, players retire, but this is pretty extreme, no?

posted by tahoemoj at 02:07 PM on July 12

The Sharks are not amused with ESPN's stupid questions.

posted by bender at 02:57 PM on July 12

What does that have to do with it? A contract is supposed to be an agreement between two parties.

Teams buy players out all the time and void their contracts when it suits them. Why should players not be able to do the same?

I mean, even getting traded is a team changing the terms on a contract when it suits them. If a guy signs with a team an expects to with them for three years, getting traded is against that agreement. Yet it happens.

Players get traded, players retire, but this is pretty extreme, no?

Tim Thomas walked away from the game in his prime last year. Gil Meche in baseball decided not to play and left $12m on the table a couple of years ago. Barry Sanders walked away in the middle of a contract in his prime. It's not normal to walk away from millions of dollars, but people do it.

Put another way - is it that he's walking away that bothers you, or that he's walking away and playing elsewhere? The former is very common. The latter - well, the NHL has not had a competitor for a long time, so that really wasn't an option until recently.

posted by dfleming at 09:55 AM on July 13

This falls under that employer/employee double standard that's always existed. The employer doesn't have to show any loyalty to the employee when laying off or firing employees, but God forbid an employee quits without giving a two-week notice...

posted by MeatSaber at 03:51 PM on July 13

In most professional sports (AFAIK, IANAL) retiring means you're not going to play any more professionally. Fake retiring to sign with another team hardly fits that bill and one would think the player would be open to a fraud case for doing so. Otherwise why wouldn't any player pull this move any time another team offered more money?

posted by billsaysthis at 12:43 PM on July 14

Teams buy players out all the time and void their contracts when it suits them. Why should players not be able to do the same?

NHL contracts are guaranteed, with buy out options for teams to get out of them. A player retiring when he isn't really retiring isn't analogous to that, because the player pays nothing for the right to leave.

The Devils have the option of preventing him from playing in another league and have not exercised it.

posted by rcade at 07:45 PM on July 14

A player retiring when he isn't really retiring isn't analogous to that, because the player pays nothing for the right to leave.

It's hard to find examples because there are very few professional league competitions, but what about MJ retiring from basketball and playing baseball? He was 30, retired to play in another league, then returned a year later. I don't think anyone seriously believe MJ was done when he retired the first time.

It seems what the NHL is going to need rarely if the KHL continues to be a thing is a European soccer-type transfer system.

posted by dfleming at 08:44 PM on July 14

Put another way - is it that he's walking away that bothers you, or that he's walking away and playing elsewhere?

The latter. But the surrounding circumstances add to it. The examples you brought up were similar, but nowhere near as extreme as Kovalchuk's. Maybe the closest was Thomas, but think of how different it would have been if the Bruins had signed Thomas to a huge long-term deal to be the centerpiece of the B's for the next decade. In order to accomodate Thomas' contract, they'd let Chara, Lucic, and Bergeron leave via free agency. And Thomas didn't leave the game, he just basically quit the team to go play elsewhere. That's why Kovalchuk is bullshit. And I hope he blows out a knee in his first season in Leningrad.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:21 AM on July 15

When MJ unretired from the NBA he was still a Bulls player so the comparison doesn't really hold.

The Devils choosing not to insist on compensation for their rights seems a bit poor judgment, surely they could've gotten a prospect or maybe an exhibition game in exchange. Or 30 kilos of sausage.

posted by billsaysthis at 12:27 PM on July 15

When MJ unretired from the NBA he was still a Bulls player so the comparison doesn't really hold.

Kovalchuk can't return to the NHL before 2018 without unanimous approval from NHL owners, so the idea he fake retires to become an unrestricted free agent to sign with another team scenario you offered doesn't work either.

So yeah - he can sit out four years and return, but if MJ had've done that in baseball, he'd have been an unrestricted free agent too, as far as I understand NBA contract rules.

The Devils made an absolutely shitty, circumventing the cap deal and got burned. Nobody expected Kovalchuk to play the entire term of the contract, so I don't really get how the Devils were duped here any more than any other player retiring earlier than expected.

posted by dfleming at 01:24 PM on July 15

Nobody expected Kovalchuk to play the entire term of the contract, so I don't really get how the Devils were duped here any more than any other player retiring earlier than expected.

Because the reasonable expectation was that he would play more than 3 years? And, as I noted, because the Devils made him the focal point for the entire organization going forward to the exclusion of other top-tier talent and he knew that? Because he waited until most top-notch free agents were already off the market to announce his decision?

so the idea he fake retires to become an unrestricted free agent to sign with another team scenario you offered doesn't work either.

Isn't that exactly what he did? Take out the word "unrestricted" and it is. He fake retired to get out of a contract so he could sign with another team. The only restrictions he faces are within the NHL.

posted by tahoemoj at 02:52 PM on July 15

... what @tahoemoj said ;)

posted by billsaysthis at 03:34 PM on July 15

Anybody that screws over the Devils is a good egg, in my book...

posted by MeatSaber at 07:14 PM on July 15

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