Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Reality Checks

When a player specifically asks a team for an offer of a certain duration and dollar amount, the team makes that offer and the player walks away, that's not "hit[ting] a couple snags." It's something, but it's not that.

And when a player who has stated repeatedly that he doesn't want to be a back-up signs a deal with the League's mad scientists to be part of a goaltending tandem with an unproven young player, the jury's very much out on whether or not he's going to be "a terrific mentor."

Just sayin'.

39 comments:

Tyler said...

Agreed. On both counts.

billy said...

Yeah, I'm with you, JP.

JJ said...

J.P., my thoughts exactly on the Huet situation. Thanks for the sane coverage as always, as DMG commented on the last post, it's a scary world out there.

dcrock said...

Smart post, JP.

Biff said...

JP, you wouldn't possibly be implying that NHL goaltenders are headcases, would you?

Will said...

I'm Colorado transplant to the DC area but still root for the Avs first.

Not being able to laugh that someone paid that much for Theodore because I'm also a caps fan has really taken the joy out of my free agency euphoria.

But at least it's only a two-year deal, so he could be good in 09-10 when his contract is up for renewal.

Stella said...

Well said, JP, particularly paragraph #1. But what does it mean?

Mike in SF said...

This is one of those moments where, as a negotiator, you have to remember there will be other negotiations. McPhee would have lost a lot of credibility if he'd started bidding against himself for Huet. If someone says they'll sign 3 yrs for $15 M, and you make that offer and they don't sign it, I think you have to walk away. Otherwise, you'll be taken advantage of later.

I keep wanting to believe that it's not smart for agents to play stupid games like this. But I hardly ever see any repercussions affect agents who behave unprofessionally. I suppose maybe I wouldn't. Still, it seems like it can't be a good idea to make an offer to a GM and then walk away when he says he'd take it. That's got to affect your credibility the next time around. And not just with that GM -- word has a habit of getting around when something like this happens. On the other hand, maybe everyone just chalks it up to "Good for him -- he got his guy an extra year and an extra $600,000 per..."

Icebat said...

1. location location location?

2. whether we are to believe it or not, Kolzig did say in a video interview at de end dere dat he would prefer to start but would have talked about it if he had been asked to take a back-up role for the Caps.

Anonymous said...

Agreed JP. Also, I guess Huet really was full of it when He said he wanted to be in a place where he was the Undisputed #1. What a disingenuous little prick.

bigonetimer said...

amen; time to turn the page, quickly, on the goaltending situation. If we net Feds because of this (or get Brooks Orpik, etc.) it'll turn out fine for us.

we nailed the most important move of the day. h/t GMGM

Jenn said...

It's kinda disheartening about Olie. But that's life. He felt slighted by the Caps and picked up and left. But I think McPhee did the best we could've hoped for after reading how things were going down in talks with Huet.

JP said...

I just got off of GMGM's conference call and basically, the team went to Huet the day after the season ended with $3.7m per year for three years. Huet said $5m. Team came back a month later at $4.2m. Huet said $5m. Team came back with $4.6m. Huet said $5m. Team came back with $5m. Huet decided to see what else was out there.

[Note: I think those were the numbers, but even if they're slightly off, you get the point]

Andi said...

@biff:

You'd have to be to wear that many pads. XD

bigonetimer said...

JP, thanks...was wondering about the prolougue to all of this.

I think it sends a good message to the team and to our future negiciants that we are playing ball.

Scott said...

If that's the case, as JP says, I think we got the best we could do. No way Conklin comes to DC for the price he went to Detroit for. I really don't think any of the other 'tenders on the market were any better, and I don't think that Theodore is that much of a downgrade from Huet.

We have a rose-colored view of Huet because he came in and played like we needed a goalie to play. It was a visible upgrade over Kolzig, therefore we all fell in love.

I give GMGM props for making this happen. Is Theo worth 4.5 for 2 years? I dont know...but I'd rather give him that than Kolzig or Huet 6 mil for a few more years. All things considered, this was the best thing that could happen once Huet said no thanks when we gave him what he asked for.

The Peerless said...

It occurs to me that the Huet camp just waited to long for the last best offer, that perhaps the clock ran out on the Caps' willingness to wait on Huet to weigh those other possibilities.

There comes a point when a party in the Caps' situation has to say, "we can't wait any longer" and cut its losses.

Is Theodore an ideal solution? Probably not. But if the Caps didn't sign him, and Huet still left for bigger money (assuming that the order of events as the occurred was, "Caps sign Theodore," "Huet signs with the Hawks"), the solution might have been Ray Emery or Brent Johnson.

Daniel said...

Well, that timeline makes me thing that the Caps could have gotten something done a while ago if they hadn't lowballed out of the gate and took their sweet time getting to $5M. Maybe Huet's didn't feel like the Caps were negotiating in good faith and decided not to take the discount... Maybe he realized that the 4th year was really important to him. If it's the latter case, yes, that's a pretty scummy thing to do -- but I don't know if I could blame him that much if it were the former.

-d

JP said...

In my book, if one side of a negotiation is doing all the compromising and eventually comes to the place where the other side - who hasn't budged an inch - is, then the second side says, "Thanks, hold on and let me see what else is out there," I don't see how the first side can be culpable in any way.

And I couldn't agree more with Peerless (as per usual).

exwhaler said...

Actually, according to Huet today, they went back to the Caps with Chicago's offer and asked if they could match. McPhee said no, and went out and got Theodore.

JP said...

@ exwhaler: Right. The Caps met their demands and Huet went and got new ones and gave the Caps the opportunity to match the new demands. Maybe if they had done so, he'd have gone back and gotten a new offer from Chicago (who just threw WAY too much money at Brian Campbell) and given the Caps another chance to meet his demands.

I'm perfectly happy with the way the team handled this situation.

Scott said...

Geeze Campbell for 7.1/year. Glad we got Green done before that came out. I think Green has more upside and potential than Campbell.

Chicago is going to have a rough time in 2 years when it's time to re-up Kane & Toews with those Huet & Campbell deals today.

exwhaler said...

>>>"Maybe Huet's didn't feel like the Caps were negotiating in good faith and decided not to take the discount..."

Problem with that theory is that Huet's agent went out of his way to praise the Capitals for the way they went about their negotiations.

exwhaler said...

>>>"Maybe Huet's didn't feel like the Caps were negotiating in good faith and decided not to take the discount..."

Problem with that theory is that Huet's agent went out of his way to praise the Capitals for the way they went about their negotiations.

Brian said...

Rockford, Illinois, meet your new goaltender, Nikolai Khabibulin. The first 2,000 fans who can say "I'm screwed" in Russian get an official "I Heart the KHL" cap and t-shirt.

Daniel said...

JP -
It seems obvious that Huet's numbers all along were way more in line with market value, and I can't fault him for drawing a line in the sand there. He knew it was market value, and probably knew it was a discount (in either years or dollars). When you give a team 10 weeks to come to a market discount, and they do it on the eve of you being able to shop yourself... itsn't it [i]possible[/i] that it seemed to him like he wasn't being taken seriously? Isn't it [i]possible[/i] that the 3/$15 offer made a week ago would have gotten done?

I'd envisioned that when Huet turned down the Caps, then the Caps got Theo -- so I'll agree that coming back to the Caps after getting another offer is a little sketchy -- though he could be seen as giving them first right of refusal, like an RFA without compensation.

I'm not upset about the way the McPhee et al. handled it (obviously they have way more experience in this area than all of us combined), but there's just a lingering doubt in my mind that it could have gotten done.

Also, I think people are talking themselves into Theodore a bit much. He's not the same as Huet and hasn't been "elite" in years. He's decent, and the next best option out there, but let's not go fooling ourselves. On the other hand, let's not cry too much over Huet, who hasn't played a full slate of games in the NHL until this year.

exwhaler -
You can't trust anything GMs or agents say during a negotiation. Nothing. Neither are going to burn bridges or tip their hand. Huet's value goes down if word of the Caps talks breaking down gets out.

-d

Ogre said...

HOW DARE YOU, GEORGE MCPHEE AND TED LEONSIS! HOW DARE YOU MAKE THE BEST OUT OF SITUATIONS THAT ARE NOT IN YOUR CONTROL!

I'M GOING TO SELL MY SEASON TICKETS NOW BECAUSE I DON'T LOVE YOUR TEAM ANYMORE BECAUSE YOU COULDN'T SIGN SOME FRENCHMAN WHOSE NAME I CAN'T EVEN PRONOUNCE TO A DEAL AND NOW HE'S IN CHICAGO.

I am reading Tarik's blog comments, and I'm laughing my ass off.

JP said...

I hear you, D. Maybe if they'd moved the offer timelines up a week or two, Huet would have signed two weeks ago. Maybe not.

Frankly, none of us could believe it when we read that Huet wanted a three-year deal, remember? Maybe he talked himself out of it because he was given so much time to think about it.

Bottom line, though, is that he's still a guy who has never played more than 52 games in a season and was traded for a second-round pick by a team with Cup aspirations and a rookie goalie... and one I would have gladly seen resigned at 3-yrs/$5m, but that just didn't happen, so when life gives you lemons, etc.

Daniel said...

JP -

Totally agreed. They made the best of the situation. I'm not jumping up and down with excitement about the Jose Theodore era, but I'm still looking forward to next season.

-d

DMG said...

Ogre, I think that was a very effective way of summing up the comments both from Capitals Insider (poor Tarik) and the Capitals message boards.

Ogre said...

I try, dmg.

Caps Nut said...

Agreed with JP and Peerless but also consider how much the Caps overpaid today for Green, it certainly makes sense that they wouldn't even consider matching Chicago's offer for UA.

As for Kolzig, you kind of saw this coming, there was no way the guy was landing a starting job on a true contender and when he didn't announce his retirement, it became a question of where was he going to be a backup.

The only bad news is that when he plays in the Phone Booth for the first time, he's going to play the game of his life.

Scott said...

How much the caps overpaid for Green? I think it will turn out to look like a decent offer. Better than 7.1 for Campbell I think.

JR said...

Osgood won a (second) Cup. If we're good enough, Theodore won't stop us either.

Lisa said...

Since I got nothing done this afternoon, I may as well post. The bottom line is, we needed a goaltender and we got one. Our situation wasn't ideal to begin with and when negotiations fell through with Huet, the Caps were able to put together a deal with, arguably, the best available option and they didn't tie up cap space over the long-term. It could have been a lot worse (read: Emery) and if our defense takes a step forward next season (reasonable assumption) we should be okay. And seriously, did anyone think Huet was taking us to the Finals in 2009?

Either way, we all know that very few goaltenders in the NHL can carry a team on their own so what most teams are looking for, including the Caps, is for their goaltender to give them a chance to win. It's a cliche but true.
Not sure what to say about all the comments being bandied about (he's inconsistent, a whiner, prone to sniffles, whatever) but I'll try to reserve judgment, especially until we see him play in BB's system. Hell, forget about goaltending for a second, if overall team defense improves a bit and the Caps give up fewer of those breakaways and juicy chances in front of the net, that alone could mean a handful of wins or at the very least, fewer losses. Easier said than done but not unrealistic given where we ended the year. All in all, I think Green and Theodore represent a decent day's work for GMGM and now we'll move on to speculation over the remaining cap space and RFA/UFAs. As always, looking forward to the insights from JP and the gang.

tg said...

Hey, wasn't there a bet somewhere along the way between JP and Faux about the Huet and the contract he would sign?

luke said...

for the record...now that i have read that article about how GMGM as treaded...i admit i have completely reversed my feelings on this situation...

not about theodore per se...he still isn't remotely as good a goalie...

but i dont feel the capitals made a huge mistake either

exwhaler said...

>>>"Neither are going to burn bridges or tip their hand."

Like Winter did with Bondra a couple years back? Just sayin'...

Gustafsson said...

Amen, Brother JP!