Posts Tagged ‘office’

2010-11 Chicago Blackhawks: Big Buff Needs To Be Shown The Door

June 16th, 2010

Continued speculation revolves around what the Chicago Blackhawks front office is conjuring. The rumor mill is at max-power, while fans sit in mass confusion. Celebrating their first Stanley Cup in 49 years only lasts so long. The honeymoon period is not quite like a marriage.  While fans remain passionate to recent accomplishments, the realism is that hockey is business.

The Hawks have very little salary cap room to work with ($1.2 million). This would be the ideal amount to be at when the puck drops next season. Unfortunately, the Hawks are looking to fill five or six more positions with that little of money. It becomes more of who can we get rid of to save space, rather than who can we bring in to fill free agency voids.

So who is the number one candidate to trade?   

Dustin Byfuglien, the man that became a one-man, Stanley Cup-bound freight-train of destruction in Vancouver and San Jose.  While many know Big Buff for the final series match-up with Chris Pronger in Philadelphia, the Blackhawks front office has undoubtedly taken notice of his trendiness performance. In the playoffs, Byfuglien accounted for 11 goals and five assists. In addition, five of the goals were game-winners.

Unfortunately, the numbers weren’t as impressive during the regular season. He provided 17 goals and 17 assists, hardly the production you want to see for a player getting paid $3 million. While also having the capability to contribute on defense helps, what it does add is trade value. After the playoffs he had, his stock will never be higher. Trading him will demand a quality draft pick in return, and that is all the Hawks could ask for right now.

Filling in his ability isn’t the issue the Hawks will face.  he space on the rink is what may be hardest to fill. Prospects such as Kyle Beach and Brian Bickell have more than enough skill to optimize on rebounds. The height is there, but both will need to add weight to be effective the way Byfuglien was. They will demand less for ideally providing the same numbers as Byfuglien did.

While the future for Byfuglien could be bright, the Blackhawks don’t need to take any risks they can’t afford. Trading now would seem like the best option and would open up the much needed cap space. Power forwards can be replaced much more easily than the likes of a Patrick Sharp. The face-off circle can win or lose games, and I don’t see Big Buff throwing his weight into the circle anytime soon.

Cam Neely To Be Named Boston Bruins President

June 16th, 2010

Many years after finishing his Hall of Fame career, and after his three seasons in the Bruins front office as the team's Vice President, Cam Neely will be named President of the Boston Bruins today, a team official reported.

The Bruins have been without a President since 2006 when Harry Sinden stepped down from the position after 17 long years in the office.

This is great news for Boston—finally getting a competitor as the President of their club. Fans should be very excited about the change in personnel, because of Neely being one of the best power-forwards ever to play the game makes him a very influential person to have in your front office.

And after hitting the 50-goal mark in just 44 games in his early career, Neely is a very respected figure within the hockey realm. He helped the Bruins reach the Stanley Cup Finals twice in his short 10-year tenure with the team.

However, he never won a Stanley Cup. But I don’t see this as meaning he doesn’t know how to win; rather, he’s still hungry for a Cup.

Neely's "Big Bad Bruin" attitude should excite fans, because a team playing under him will now most likely be molded to that type of style—which makes for extremely inspiring play.

A "major announcement" is set for later today—details to follow.

Tom Brady, Can You Hear Me? You Deserve A Top-End Salary

June 16th, 2010

Money is the root of all evil.

Some people, however, are less greedy than others. They find goodness in their heart to make allowances for others.

In the 2000s, Tom Brady was that guy. With one last chance to cash in on big money, though, he may not be so charitable this time around.

I recently read a well-written article by Michael Schottey about Peyton Manning and his hunger for success, which goes above and beyond his desire for money. 

The same can be said for Brady, who has bowed to the Patriots' front office on more than one occasion in order to allow his team to sign better talent.

Forget about guys like Michael Crabtree and JaMarcus Russell, who know more about getting paid than playing in the NFL, and who don't have a shred of team loyalty when it comes to dollars and "sense."

Forget about the laundry list of players who are refusing to show up for OTAs until their contractual demands are met.

Better yet, keep them in mind when you remember that Brady has sweat and laid his body on the line for the Patriots week-in and week-out for nearly a decade, all without even letting out a sigh of frustration.

Hometown discount? He's so obsessed with winning that he was willing to give up money to allow himself to do that for a long period of time.

He has been the quintessential team-first guy from day one, so why shouldn't he expect to be handsomely rewarded for years of selflessness?

His altruism in contractual matters has earned him respect not just in New England's locker room and front office, but across the NFL.

Brady is making around $5 million this year, while other top-end quarterbacks are making closer to $15 million.

And we can't expect him to take the home town discount forever.

Sad, but true.

It can't help but to be looked at as a sick joke at times; last year alone, David Garrard and Jay Cutler both had higher salaries than the two-time Super Bowl MVP. Even the young padawan Matt Cassel was making more than his jedi teacher.

Like Manning, Brady has indulged in a few extracurricular gigs for extra cash flow, but we'll let that slide on the ground that he wasn't making as much as other quarterbacks worse than him over the years. 

So why not pay the man who has meant everything to the organization in the 2000's?

It's one thing to appreciate Brady while he's a Patriot by verbally handing him the credit for New England's recent success, and overstating the obvious in terms of how lucky we are as fans to have a quarterback of his historic caliber; it's something different entirely to put your money where your mouth is, which should be located somewhere close to Brady's bank account.

There's no reason why Brady shouldn't be comfortably compensated for his help in keeping his team in contention for the past decade.

That's likely to be the case, with his new contract being at least slightly dependent on Manning's future record-breaking contract extension.

And boy, it's about time.

It's understandable that he would want to be competitive with Manning in terms of their respective contract extensions. The two are compared time and time again in every other way.

After all, that's just the competitive nature we've come to expect from Brady.

Cleveland Browns Sign All Five Restricted Free Agents, Rookies Next

June 15th, 2010

In the matter of a few hours on Monday, all five of the Browns restricted free agents signed their tenders, avoiding the possibility of having their contracts significantly reduced.

Jerome Harrison, Lawrence Vickers, D'Qwell Jackson, Abram Elam, and Matt Roth all signed on the dotted line prior to the June 15 deadline, meaning all five will be reporting for training camp next month.

The most laughable aspect of this whole situation stemmed from comments made by agent Drew Rosenhaus, who said players signed these contracts "under the gun," are "unhappy" and that this could translate to under-performing on the field.

That's a great statement because nothing makes a front office want to renegotiate your contract more than a threat to not play at peak level during the season.

When it comes to the Browns RFAs, it can't be said enough that these guys were given very generous offers, and the fact that no other team bit on their second-round tenders prior to the draft should tell these players all they need to know.

If any of these five guys were worth a second-round draft pick, or a multi-year deal, some front office somewhere in the league, would've picked up the phone and made an offer.

You can't blame the guys for waiting to sign a contract after the draft to gauge if there was any interest, but once none was shown, they should've signed their contracts and gotten on the practice field.

But they didn't, and the reps were given to other guys—some of them rookies.

Speaking of rookies, none of the Browns eight draft picks have signed yet, which isn't anything to get alarmed about. It could be the front office has been concentrating on the RFAs to this point. Negotiations with the rookies should begin in earnest now.

The low-round draft picks contracts pretty much are slotted, and they'll be the easiest to sign.

Colt McCoy wasn't taken until the third round, so he'll be easier to sign than if he was a first-round pick.

Joe Haden is an enigma as he may wait to see how guys around him sign before he settles on his contract, or he may be one of the first to get a deal done.

Either way, the Browns front office has shown they'll play hardball, and don't expect anything to change moving forward.

Heisman Trophy Could Mean Gold for Temple and Bernard Pierce

June 15th, 2010

More than anything else, the Heisman Trophy is the by-product of an excellent and deserving candidate playing under the right circumstances with just the right level of promotion.

Temple's Paul Palmer was that back in 1986 (pictured).

The Owls' Bernard Pierce, who broke all of Palmer's freshman rushing records last year, certainly is that now.

People told Palmer he could not make a serious run for the trophy because he played at Temple.

Yet there he was at the New York Athletic Club on the day Vinny Testaverde got the trophy, right there as the deserving runner up. Palmer wore a neat brown suit with an Owl lapel pin and he was as deserving of the recognition as was Testaverde.

Not bad at all.

It was a great day for Palmer and for Temple University.

The only advantage the Palmer of 1986 had over the Pierce of 2010 is that Palmer played against what was then the No. 10 toughest schedule in the country and helped the Owls of Bruce Arians finish 6-5 against that schedule, beating the likes of Virginia Tech and East Carolina.

Yet Pierce will be on the field against Big East contender Connecticut and Big 10 contender Penn State, so he will have those kinds of chances, too.

What I'd like to see the university do for Pierce right now is nudge him toward the Heisman the way the SID office nudged Palmer. Get him into the conversation now, not after he rolls up, say, 514 yards and seven touchdowns against Villanova.

Back in 1986, the SID office put out a comic book with Palmer depicted as Superman. Back then, the SID office put Palmer on the cover of the 1986 Media Guide with the caption "Heisman Trophy candidate Paul Palmer" and the headline: Temple: the Philadelphia Team America's Watching.

Page Two included quotes from Don Nehlen, Joe Paterno, Dick MacPherson and others touting Palmer's ball-toting ability.

Clever stuff.

The only promotion I've heard for Pierce is a free schedule magnet.

As Derrick Coleman once said mockingly after being fined for missing a practice, "Whoopty damn do."

I don't see the same level of promotion right now for Pierce a couple of months before the season, but maybe the school is working with a couple of illustrators in New York City.



Then again, maybe not.

Don't give me any grief about this not being in the budget. Budget schmudget.

Do you know how much having a serious candidate for the Heisman Trophy does for the university's coffers in terms of attendance, TV revenue, etc.? This is a gold mine. Gold.

The 49ers (the gold-miners, not the football team) didn't walk away from Sutter's Mill because they didn't have the money for a pan.

That's why I'd like to see the university set the table for what I expect to be a terrific year for Pierce and the Owls by mounting a serious campaign now. Bang the drums hard.

Set off smoke signals.

Do something.

If Pierce leads to the Owls to an upset win or two and helps them dominate the MAC, he will be right there in the conversation up until December.

If he does it after the kind of campaign Al Shrier's excellent SID office ran leading up to Palmer's senior season, he might have to start shopping for brown suits.

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