Archive for September, 2011

40 Gets You WHAT!?!?


I guess Carter and Richards taught him well...before they left.


We are all led to believe that life works the same for everyone. Go to school to learn a trade, and then eventually, after proving your self worth to a company willing to hire you for said trade, you will be paid accordingly, based on your worth to the company and your proficiency at the chosen craft. But wouldn’t it be nice to leave school and get paid for what your employer thinks you’re capable of, instead of the base salary amount?
It’s simple to change the path, all you have to do is become a professional athlete and that dream will become your reality.

Professional sports stars are paid in such a way that undermines the basic ideology of how our country works. Highly touted rookies’ contracts routinely crack the multi-million dollar figure despite the fact that they’ve proved nothing, and with incentives and endorsements it’s a guarantee that the pockets in their soon to be sewn custom suits will need to be made bigger than normal, along with their credit limit.

The recent signing of James VanRiemsdyk can be lumped into this category as well. While JVR is not a rookie, one good postseason, consisting of 2 series, coupled with an average regular season campaign, in which he scored 40 points total, does not add up to a six-year, 25.5 million dollar extension. Well it doesn’t for everyone but the Philadelphia Flyers.

What do Eric Belanger, Sergei Samsonov, Simon Gagne, Lauri Korpikoski, David Booth, and Mike Knuble have in common? That’s the offensive company that JVR has in the 40-point club this past year, none of which jump off the page. So how did JVR earn such a lucrative contract in the new penny-pinching, salary cap stricken NHL? Potential? Possibly. If he comes out this year and scores 50 goals while leading the team deep into the playoffs the Flyers front office will look like geniuses. Paul Holmgren could write his own checks at that point. More of a probability is the fact that the Flyers looked into their crystal ball and realized that they don’t have a legitimate, youthful, big-time scoring threat on their roster besides the hopes of JVR.

The deepest team in the league last year has gotten slimmer and older rather quickly. Leading goal scorer, gone. Second place is 33. Third is more of a playmaker than a sniping threat. Fourth leading scorer is just plain lucky, and fifth place is gone. They already gave massive amounts of rubles to the new goalie, what else are they going to do with money that seems to be burning a hole in their bank account? Overpay for a right-winger seems to have been high on their summer to-do list.

The move still urges fans to jump on each side of the proverbial fence; are you a fan of the deal or are you not? If you are, chances are high that it is because you have been drinking the same kool-aid as the front office, effectively drilling the belief that JVR will grow into one of the strongest scoring threats that this league has to offer into your mind. If you are skeptical, you are not alone. With a bigger cap hit than Claude Giroux, who is widely viewed as the Flyers most talented player, the deal comes with question marks. However, Giroux’s deal does not bypass his immediate year of eligibility for unrestricted free agency the way JVR’s does. Translation, Giroux’s next contract will come sooner, be much larger, and may include more bidders than just the Flyers.

While it is a lot of money for a presumably unproven high draft pick from a few years back, the fact of the matter is that the money is there, and with no where else to put it why not take a roll of the dice? With the departure of Richards and Carter the management has successfully proven that contract amounts and lengths do not matter to them in the slightest, and will undoubtedly try to rectify their potential mistake by shipping him out of town if the need eventually arises.

Translation, a JVR jersey is just as safe as a Richards one was.