Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Marian's white knight

Marian Gaborik's agent Ron Salcer has come out in defence of his client (what good agent doesn't?) and issued a statement denying some of the outrageous numbers being thrown out there regarding his negotiations, or lack thereof, with the Minnesota Wild on a contract extension.

Here's what Salcer said, courtesy of Russo's Rants:

"Unfortunately, Marian has been absorbing a character assassination on the premise of misinformation that has circulated like gospel.

"Lets be clear, no matter what Marian eventually signs for, it’s all a lot of money. Special athletes make lots of money. The important part of this process is recognizing the various dynamics of sensitive negotiations for both the player and team that transpire. Making some effort to maintain integrity for the principles involved should be considered.

"Based on what’s voluminous speculation and propaganda, people are inappropriately judging Marian. It should be based on the facts. The facts are this is his eighth year in Minnesota and the loyalty he has shown fans, the city, his teammates and the organization should not be disregarded or overlooked.

"The offers that have been thrown at the wall of 10 years, $85 million, $90 million and $100 million are wrong, as are what I now hear — seven years, $70 million and eight years, $80 million. They’re also wrong.

"When and if they do get offered, something certainly may happen."

Salcer is obviously correct in pointing out that, no matter what, Gaborik will be signing for a lot of money. But I would certainly hope he wouldn't reject any of those hypothetical offers he just denied, because some of them would make Gaborik the highest paid player in the league. He's good, but he's not Ovechkin good.

If indeed Bob Gainey is talking to Doug Risebrough about Gaborik, which he might not be, it has to be somewhat encouraging that the rumoured numbers are being denied by his agent. Gaborik will be getting paid $7.5 million this year and, considering his injury history, I don't feel he's worth much more than that.

Furthermore, a 10-year deal is way too big of a risk with this guy, as is a nine, eight, seven, six or five-year deal. Unfortunately, the nature of unrestricted free agency being what it is, a six or seven year deal is probably the starting point of any contract negotiations with Gaborik. Wild beat writer Michael Russo believes the offers from Minnesota are anywhere between seven and 10 years for $8-8.5 million per.

This is why I feel Gainey should stay away from this guy. He's likely going to cost Chris Higgins, at least one A-list prospect, plus at least two more roster players. Not only does that make no sense for the long-term, it makes no sense for this year either. At that price and term, I'd take a run at Marian Hossa or Jay Bouwmeester in July before looking at Gaborik.

Speaking of Higgins, he skated alone today, away from the glare of the media watching the rest of the team practice in Verdun. I'm wondering how Higgins went from "98 per cent sure" to be playing Monday night to being a scratch to not even being able to practice with the team?

Is his injury more serious than initially believed (likely)? Is he being shielded from the team because he's about to get dealt (far less likely)? Will he be able to play Saturday (who knows)?

I think this is a situation where Guy Carbonneau should break away from his newly acquired right to wrap every injury in a shroud of media speculation and just come out and say what's wrong with Higgins. The way the situation is being handled is just fuelling a rumour mill that doesn't really need the extra ammo right now.

Meanwhile, Andrei Kostitsyn was kept away from the ice and I'd be surprised to see him play Saturday.

Finally, a happy 70th birthday to Habs owner George Gillett, who's looking to unload Liverpool FC in the midst of a global economic crisis.

He and Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks are apparently looking for £550 million (or about C$1.1 billion). Good luck.


Yves said...

Arpon, I totally agree with you on Gaborik.

In contract negotiations and the over paying teams have been doing.... I believe Gaborik would be looking for a long deal... 6-7-8 years.

If I was Gainey and I had to move a few guys and pick or prospect for this guy with his injury history... that's a gamble I wouldn't make.

I think Gaborik is fabulously talented and if you put that talent with say Koivu, Tanguay, a Kostitsyn, Kovalev, Plekanec or Lang..... possibilities possibilitis...

But in light of the injury history... the longterm $$$$ and assets lost just wouldn't be worth the risk for me.

If Gainey was looking for Gaborik for this year... in attempts to win it all... I wouldn't give up big assets for him.

As for Higgins... I'm really getting paranoid... like you said.. from 98% to obscurity (again).... I'm starting to think there is something that's a bit more serious then previously thought.

Anonymous said...

maybe i'll stop worrying about the scouts that were at the panthers game and hope the wild are looking at bouwmeester instead because, as you said, i have no interest in disrupting chemistry, the future and paying a fortune for a guy who might well, no matter how talented, spend half his time with the habs on the ir list. it sounds to me like he and his agent are looking for those ridiculous nos. and they just haven't received them yet. no thanks.

as for higgins, i thought the groin injury was a cover for something more serious but laraque is shelved again for the same reason so it's possible management is being cautious - though i also thought i heard someone (on the radio?) report that it was a hip flexor?

Sliver24 said...

Wonderful Blog as usual Arpon. I’ve got two comments for you:

I’m not in the habit of defending gazillionaire athletes, no matter how “special” their agents think they might be, but I couldn’t help but see while reading your blog how athletes in Gaborik’s situation really can’t go right in the minds of many fans and media. How many times have we heard some sports pundit deride as greedy a player who’s holding out for free agency? “Where’s the love of the game?” they wonder.

Now Gaborik seems to be in a situation where he’s unhappy, so he decides he wants to leave despite being offered outlandish amounts of money. Maybe he feels like Minnesota will never provide him the chance to win it all. Maybe he doesn’t like their stifling style of play. Maybe he doesn’t get along with the boss (he ain’t the only one in the world with that problem). Maybe he simply doesn’t like snow. Whatever the case, Gaborik is being taken to the cleaners and he hasn’t done anything wrong and greed certainly doesn’t seem to be the deciding factor. I’m willing to concede that I would likely be a lot less understanding if he was a Hab, but I’d be making that assessment based on emotions, not logic.

Why should Carbo put to bed any trade rumours? If I ‘m him I’m using this to my advantage. Here’s how:

Let’s first assume two things; a) that Higgins’ injury is still the reason that he’s not playing and b) that his teammates all know that is the case. Carbo can easily achieve two things by going out of his way to do absolutely nothing (not hard to do – I do it all the time!).

First, he lets you media types and the fans fill papers, blogs and airwaves with noise that will not be a distraction to the players. We all know that space will be filled either way, so why not jam it up with something irrelevant to ensure focus stays away from something potentially more relevant and harmful.

Second, he uses the misinformed tempest in a teapot to demonstrate to his team (and especially his youngest players and those new to Montreal) how “ridiculous” these types of rumours are and how wrong the media and fans can be. That will come in handy in February when some young player reads his name in the paper or on a blog. Carbo will be able to calm that player down (whether the rumours about him are true or not) by saying to that player “Remember the Higgins rumours in October and how unfounded they were?”

Third, if Carbo comes out and gives Higgins the vote of confidence I’ll be forced to read hear, for the billionth time, “ know what a vote of confidence means.”

Whether Carbo denies it or not the speculation will continue until on e of three things occurs; a trade is completed, Higgins plays or Gaborik signs.