Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


From Seth...

Um....what are they pissed about again?

Here's some things said about Hossa since he signed with Detroit:

Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province: "[Hossa would] step into Detroit for one fun-filled season, pick up his ring, and then go for the big financial score the following season, when some poor team will lay out a huge wad of cash for some guy who's already invited himself to the championship dance by joining a team that may well have gotten there whether he'd been involved or not."

First of all, he's wrong -- Hossa and Holland wanted to work out a long-term deal but couldn't because they don't know the cap situation in 2009-10, so the one-year deal was basically a way to make sure that the Wings wouldn't get into a bad cap situation. Right now, I'd say the chances of Hossa re-signing with Detroit next year are over 50 percent. If the cap goes up to $60 million, it's a sure bet. Second, what the F -- are we just going to forego playing next season and give the cup to the Wings now? What if a deadly virus kills every person with Swedish blood in December? Joining a contender is one thing. Nobody gets to join a sure-fire bet to win a championship.

Damien Cox of the Toronto Star: "[Joining a loaded team] is the only way to understand the decision ... to accept a 25% discount on his services for one year, to go and live in Detroit and play out of crumbling, smelly Joe Louis Arena."

Crumbling? Smelly? My home this is!

-The Stanley Cup.

Also, Cox's figures are way, way off. A 25-percent discount that ends up at $7.45 million would be $9.93 million. The extravagent rumor that was coming out of Edmonton was just over $9 million per season for 10 years. So the most you can say is that Hossa took a 17-percent discount from the number that his agent was asking from the agent's hometown team. The highest confirmed figure was $8 million long-term from Vancouver. What Hossa walked away from was long-term money, which is still a huge deal. He was offered less in annual money ($7 million) by Pittsburgh, but again, it was a long-term contract. This was just under market value for this player in annual dollars, but WAY under in length of contract.

Michael Rushton of TSN: "Hossa managed to slap the faces of both competitiveness and logic with one sweep of the pen."

Actually, the fact that got slapped was Ritch Winter (no, I didn't misspell that), Hossa's agent. Winter doesn't have a ton of clients. He's never before had a guy who's 29 years old and the top free agent available in a given season. Winter was looking for a huge pay day, and the first team he wanted to get it done for was his hometown Oilers. He fielded calls from Ken Holland because Hossa said he was interested in Detroit, but there was no way Holland was going to offer the kind of long-term deal Hossa could get. Then Hossa told Winter to turn around and march right back to Holland -- and put Marion on the phone call -- and offer a one-year deal. Winter said "okay, I've got Marion on the line and he wants to sign a one-year deal with you guys, but I need big money," and Holland said "Well, we probably can't pay him more than Nick Lidstrom -- I'd hae to call Nick first," and Hossa piped up and said "don't call Nick -- I sign at just under him."

I'd hate to be Winter's dog when that whole thing went down.

So why did Marion Hossa want to sign with Detroit?

"I wanted to have the best chance to win the Stanley Cup. I think the team in Detroit is something special. It wasn't easy, and there were a few (big offers), but I know it's right."

Pretty simple.

I know these Canadian columnists have a tough job, all living in hockey-mad cities that can't understand why they can't even overpay for a top guy. But after all the talk from so many of these same columnists that criticized players for going only where the money is, why hasn't anybody said "geez -- isn't this what we want from players, that they care more about winning and having fun than whether their W2 has seven digits or eight?"

Really, that has been a criticism of players from the day a few ballplayers, frustrated with the reserve clause that kept stars in poverty while owners got rich, tried to start their own league. It became part of the national discussion when sportswriters again sided against the players in the Reserve Clause arguments of the '70s. The sentiment has gained momentum with every massive contract in professional sports.

So if we're quick to diss the man who, pressured by his agent, follows the dollar signs wherever they may lead, why aren't we quicker to praise the guy who demonstrates, without a shadow of a doubt, that his goal is to win and have fun? Hossa joined the Wings because he likes their system, and because by returning almost all of a cup-winning team, Detroit is in a good position to compete for a championship, and because he has friends there, and because the organization is run well and treats their players right.


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