Long Term Contracts

As a general rule, I do not like seeing professional athletes getting long term contracts. In the NFL contracts are not guaranteed, so the term length is meaningless. In the other major sports contracts are guaranteed so if a player’s performance level drops over time the team is still contractually obligated to pay out the full price. Also, if a players performance level drops off the face of the Earth, you are stuck with the guy for years and no other team is going to take him off your hands. That’s why if I were a major pro sports league general manager no one would ever get more than a three year deal. I might have to fork over Fort Knox to get a player, but it’s better than paying a mint six years down the road and have the guy ride the pine, or play in the minors.

Having said that…

The Boston Bruins this week have given eight year contracts to Tuukka Rask and Patrice Bergeron. Rask gets 56 million over the full term and Bergeron gets 52 million. In both cases, I approve whole heartedly. I’ve made no secret that I am not the worlds biggest Tuukka fan, but given the way he played in the post season, he assuaged many of my fears. Bergeron, on the other hand… well… let’s just say that the only thing I am unhappy about in the announcements of the last two days is that somehow Bergeron is making less than Rask. If Rask makes 56 million over eight years, then Bergeron needs to make 60 million over eight years. He must have given the Bruins a home town discount.

Many hockey fans and pundits will think I am nuts for saying this, but there isn’t a hockey player on Earth right now that I would trade for Patrice Bergeron. You can keep Crosby and Ovetchkin and Stamkos and any other great player you can name. I would rather have Sir Bergy than any of them. Let’s face it, the guys does everything and has been doing everything for 10 years and he’s still only 28 years old! He’s the best defensive forward in the league. His offensive skills are off the hook, and don’t give me that he’s-only-a-20-goals-a-year-guy. He’s topped 30 in the past, and we all know that if the Bruins were an offense first system he would be reaching 40. He’s an animal. He played a game in the Stanley Cup finals with a collapsed lung. A COLLAPSED LUNG! He is matched up against the other teams best players, and he still finds the time and space to be one of our most productive offensive players. He’s the best. There. I said it. Patrice Bergeron is the best. When Zdeno Chara leaves us (hopefully via retirement) he will be Captain Bergy. I would not be opposed to giving him the C even before Chara leaves, and I am willing to bet that Chara would agree with the move.

While I stated that I am not a fan of long term contracts, here are two eight year deals that I am 100% behind. Congratulations Tuukka and Patrice. May you both enjoy long, long productive careers as members of the Boston Bruins. Keep up the good work.

Lecavalier Signs with Philly?

Vinny Lecavalier was bought out by the Lightning. He’s one of those guys who was scarily awesome while playing in a market that had about six total hockey fans, all of whom were actually transplanted fans of other teams. Vinny won a cup with Tampa Bay. He also had the honor of getting beaten by the Bruins in seven games in 2011 with the seventh game possibly being the single most intense game I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching.

But, Tampa bought him out. His contract was massive and long and he was too expensive at a time when the salary cap was dropping, so pack your bags Vinny and hit the road.

And he signed with Philly. Umm.. Philly? Most people thought he’d go home to Montreal, but only a true idiot would want to play there. Boston would have been a nice fit, eh? Especially with Nathan Horton taking his post season game winning goals onto the open market. But Philly? Philly had to buy out Danny Briere, but they have enough dough to sign Vinny? I can’t imagine the shift from Tampa Bay, where hockey doesn’t exist despite the presence of an NHL team, to Philly where the fans are psychotic is going to be a healthy one for Mr. Lecavalier. If he has a cold streak they’ll eat him alive!

This does not appear to be a good move on your part, Vincent. You should have gone to another small market team, or done a short term deal with a big market team and lit up the universe, and then signed with a small market team. Either that, or you should have gone to Boston.

I am still not going to talk about that damn game, or that damn series. It’s too soon. It hurts too much. Maybe some day the hurt will lessen, but it will never go away. A man can only witness so many colossal chokes before he loses interest forever. Know what I mean?

Anyway. Danny Briere would be a good guy for the Bruins to sign, but I hate him and I want to continue hating him so please don’t sign him. I don’t want anything to do with anyone who played for Philly in 2010. Ever. And the guy played for Buffalo too, which is even more reason to hate him. Don’t sign Briere. Thanks.

Daniel Alfredsson now… that’s something else entirely. I don’t particularly want to see him in a Bruins uniform either, but I think he would be a good addition in the way Mark Recchi was a good addition, and Jaromir Jagr could have been a good addition. He’s a great player on the down slope of his career who probably has a mountain of knowledge to give to the Bruins youngins. I doubt he’ll leave Ottawa, but never say never. Today there is talk about Jagr being resigned after the team announced that he would not be coming back. I kinda hope they do resign him. He was a bust in the scoring department, but he was fun to watch. He was also the source of many a laugh around these parts. He’d be fun to keep around.

One final thought. Patrice Bergeron needs to be signed to an extension that will make him a Bruin for the next 100 lifetimes. We can never let this guy go away. Zdeno Chara needs to step down as captain so Bergeron can wear the C as he was always meant to. That’s not to be taken as a slight against Chara at all. Chara is a beast and I hope he spends the rest of his NHL days in Boston as well. I’ve just had Bergeron marked as the team captain since his rookie year. You could see it all the way back then, when he was a whopping 18 years old. I saw him on the ice with Joe Thornton and I somehow knew that the number 37 would be hanging in the rafters long before Thornton’s 19. I had no idea Thornton would be gone so soon, or so painfully, but I just knew that Bergeron was the guy. Bergeron was the Bruin. Sign him forever. Sign him, his kids, and his grandkids. Sign him now. Never ever let Patrice Bergeron get away.

Bruins Win Game One

The Bruins won game one of their second round series against the Rangers last night on an overtime goal by Brad Marchand.  Here’s the highlight video.

The game seemed pretty even to my untrained eye through three periods.  The two goals Rask let in looked a touch on the soft side.  The first one more so.  Shockingly, the first goal that Lundqvist let in was just plain bad.  If Heinrich is going to be letting soft goals in then the Bruins have a chance.  If he brings his A game each night then… well… let’s say that Bruins chances will be significantly slimmer.

In overtime the Bruins were dominant.  They had one power play where they were able to set up in the Rangers zone and blitz them with shots for nearly the full two minutes.  The Rangers had a few chances in OT, but for the most part the Bruins had them on the heels the whole time.

The game winning goal was a thing of beauty.  It was Marchand’s first goal of the post season, and it came on a perfect centering pass from Patrice Bergeron.  Bergie is your MVP kids.  Don’t ever forget that.

Game two isn’t until Sunday.  Why?

Go Bruins!

The Bruins Win Game Seven

I don’t know what to say…

Here’s the highlight video from NHL.com

Just… what the hell happened?

I had the game on the radio.  I listened intently and felt very distraught when Kessel made it 3-1.  When the Leafs went up 4-1 in the third I shut it off.

I posted the following on Facebook:

God damn it I hate being right sometimes. I knew this was coming as soon as I saw the match up. Friggin Bruins.

I guess I was wrong.  In this case I am very, very happy to be wrong.

They came out with serious energy in the first.  I was pleased by that.  They did not have that kind of energy in games five or six.  I thought they were going to be different in game seven, but instead of playing with the necessary intensity they went overboard and took bad penalties.  That took them out of the game, and then it was back to the blah blah blah of the previous two games.  They uninterestedly floated their way into the third period and the Leafs lit them up.  It’s the same garbage we’ve been seeing from them for more than two months now.  At 4-1 I was done.  I couldn’t take it anymore and I shut the radio off.  The hell with them.

That’s when they started playing for real.  Three goals in the last 10 minutes.  Where the hell was that Bruins team for the previous 2.66 games?  They had sucked like no 4th seed should ever suck and then, boom.  They are playing like contenders again.  What the hell?  Why didn’t they play that way all series?  What’s wrong with them that allows them to coast their way to the brink and then suddenly play like an all time great team?  I don’t get it.

To recap though, I have to give Tuukka Rask a break.  He did make some gigantic saves last night, and they did win a must win game with him in net.  I am not going to let him off the choke hook until they win a Cup with him as the number one goalie, the choke against Philly in 2010 will not be forgotten so easily, but he came through when we needed him to hold it together in a big game.  Granted, four goals against is a crappy game for any goalie, but he did what was necessary.

Also, Patrice Bergeron is the best player we have, and he’s been the best player we’ve had since the day he was drafted.  No offense to Joe Thornton, or Marc Savard, or Zdeno Chara, or Tim Thomas, or anyone else.  Patrice Bergeron is our best.  Watch that highlights video.  You can see it in his face.  He just decided the bullshit had to end, and he scored the game tying and game winning goals.  As we move forward in these playoffs it will be how Bergeron goes, the Bruins go.

Bring on the Rangers.

Go Bruins.