Monday, August 14, 2006


*The Red Wings have signed unrestricted free agent center Greg Johnson to a contract today. This is Johnson's second stint with the Wings. TSN reports that he will play on Detroit's fourth line, as they are pretty deep at center.
Johnson has 369 points in 785 games. He probably won't score more than 15 goals, especially with limited ice time, but is a decent role player nonetheless. His strengths are faceoffs,
playmaking ability, and his speed.
Johnson was claimed by Nashville in the expansion draft in 1998 from Chicago and was a long standing Predator since the team first arrived in the NHL.

*I really get a kick out of how Gennady Velichki, the head of Malkin's former team Metallburg Magnitogorsk, calls the actions of Pittsburgh taking Malkin "sports terrorism." That is a great line, but I don't really agree with it. In some ways I feel bad for European hockey teams losing their players to the wealthy NHL, but it really is just a business. It's the rich feeding off the poor in some aspects, and it is survival of the fittest. Throw dignity and honor out the window when it comes to the almighty dollar. And that is just the way society is.
Malkin wants money, he wants alot of it, and I can't blame him. His agent is no doubt paving the way for him. Do you think Malkin should honor his 1-year contract in Russia?
At the end of the day, Metallburg will probably get their $2 million in compensation and move along.


At August 14, 2006 at 3:31 p.m. , Blogger Ingmar "W" Bergman said...

I agree with you on the "sports terrorism" and how thats the way society is.

It might suck from a European perpective, but what can you do unless you feel like going Commando on them or something.

But it's nice to bitch and moan a bit isn't it?

At August 14, 2006 at 4:33 p.m. , Blogger Zanstorm said...

I feel greedy that I want all the skilled Europeans to play in North America, but it still is unfortunate that they lose their players like that. I mean, they bring them up in the system only to lose them when they are 18 years old.
All Europe gets from us is the NHL castaways that don't fit the salary structure of NHL teams. It's sad.
Why won't hockey sell more in Europe? Is it because of the soccer craze?
The value of their money? Both?

At August 14, 2006 at 5:09 p.m. , Blogger Temujin said...

In some ways I feel bad for European hockey teams losing their players to the wealthy NHL, but it really is just a business.

I'm not entirely sure this simply has to do with money. Hockey players can make a really good living in Europe, especially in Sweden and Russia where the contracts are close to comparable to the NHL. Look at the advertising during International play and it's obvious they are generating a heck of a lot of revenue that way. The fact is, the best players in the world play in the NHL. It is the best league in the world to play with, and it gets the most attention because of that. Hardly anyone pays attention to the Swedish Elite League over here, but you'd better believe that Swedish fans pay attention to the NHL. In some cases, I suspect that money comes into the picture, but the NHL is de facto the top of the hockey mountain. It's mostly about advancing to the pinnacle of your career

Markus Naslund stated publically that he wanted to finish his career in Sweden. This guy ain't hurting for money at all, and he could command whatever salary he wanted from Modo. But he stayed in the NHL because of all the reasons I listed before. Oh, and that thing called the Stanley cup, too.

At August 14, 2006 at 5:46 p.m. , Blogger reality check said...

I can't wait to see him play in the NHL also, but I assume the point of all this, is that Malkin signed a contract, as recently as last week. Now if I shake your hand and make a promise I intend to keep it. A contract ought to work the same way. It is supposed to.

I'll reverse thescenario some, using Naslund as an example since he was mentioned. Now suppose he doesn't agree with the Canucks did over the summer, and Modo matches his NHL salary and he bolts, with complete disregard for the already signed deal. What would be the take on that.

The bottom line is, there should be a little more honor in a person. A little more gratitude and consideration on behalf of Malkin to the hockey system that groomed him would be advised. Maybe the Pens have another Alexei "I signed a contract, so what!" Yashin on their hands. Malkin will make millions in the NHL thanks to his hockey prowess. His reputation as a person has just gotten it's first dent.

I understand the Russian coach's use of the word "terrorism". It is laying it on a bit heavy. If refers to the American way of stepping into places beyond their boundries and taken whatever they feel like.

All they wanted outof Malkin was one more season. They even nogiated the deal down from three seasons to one to suit him. This is his way of saying thank-you. A shame!

At August 14, 2006 at 6:45 p.m. , Blogger Zanstorm said...

"he could command whatever salary he wanted from Modo"

no he can't. They won't pay him 6 million in Sweden!

You are giving people too much benefit of the doubt maybe? Money is a HUGE factor.

The NHL and Stanley Cup is the pinnacle I agree. But I really wonder how much that is the case with these players. Pay Malkin or the Bure's of the past 5 million per season in Russia and I bet not as many of them come to North America. The championships in Europe are pretty big too!

At August 14, 2006 at 7:06 p.m. , Blogger reality check said...

The owners of these club team have very deep pockets. There is one such arene in Germany that packs 20,000 fans per game. Their payrolls are nowhere near the NHL cap and much of the money they take in is pure profit. Notice the tricl\kle of NHLers heading back there the past two years. If an NHL star were to be interested, it is not unlikely they could fetch salaries in the 3M range. It is belived many owners would go for one big star per team. Among the many allures they have is playing for their home country. The player reaps it in big time with endosement deals and such. What they cannot provide is the opportunity to play in the worlds biggest league and chase the cup you rightfully call their pinnacle.

It will happen eventually though. A player will see more lucre there at the end of their career. With their skills slowed, they'd be an even better fit there. Watch guys such as Jagr, Naslund, and Forsberg consider it in a few years. I doubt that one would head there in their prime though.

At August 14, 2006 at 7:46 p.m. , Blogger Zanstorm said...

RC I agree. Right now Europe can be a North American hockey player graveyard of sorts.
Yeah the allure of playing for one's own country...but mostly if it pays well!
I wonder what the dollar amounts are for player endorsements in Europe.
20,000 German fans at a game is news to me..impressive!

Temujin, were you referring to players living well in Europe with $3 million salaries?
There's just not alot of exposure either. Also, if European games were televised, I'd definitely watch! I wonder how many others would.

At August 14, 2006 at 8:01 p.m. , Blogger Temujin said...

Temujin, were you referring to players living well in Europe with $3 million salaries?

I suspected Markus Naslund could fetch at least 3 million to play for Modo.

Okay, maybe not Markus, but definitely Mats :-)

Here is a bit of information, albeit a little dated:

"The average monthly salary is estimated to lie between SEK 30,000 and SEK 35,000, but there are large variations, with young players often receiving less and top players commanding higher salaries."

30-35,000 Seks per month is a little less than $5,000 US per month. That isn't much compared to the NHL, but the article says that top players commanded higher salaries.

At another board,

a guy says "the average salary in the swedish league is 75-80,000 a year. There are 15-20 players that make more than $150.000 (but not more than 250K)."

So, perhaps I'm quite a bit off base.
That seems quite a bit less that what I would expect. Perhaps the owners of the clubs in Sweden aren't complete jag-offs, willing to pay exorbant amounts for lacklustre players.


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Waiting For Stanley was created in June 2006.