Saturday, July 07, 2007

Kevin Lowe: Villain or Competitor?

After taking some time to think about what Kevin Lowe did yesterday with Thomas Vanek, I think I have come to a few conclusions.
First of all, there is nothing in the rulebook that states Lowe did anything wrong.
Instead, it becomes a moral issue. Larry Quinn fired back at Lowe yesterday basically saying "heads up, we could do the same thing to you someday." Darcy Regier made it clear that matching Lowe's offer was a message to the rest of the NHL GM's that they are not going to get away with shopping for Sabre RFA's in the same fashion that Lowe tried to.
However, that statement from Buffalo comes at a heavy, if not more, a risky price. Vanek, 23, scored 43 goals and 84 points in only his second NHL season. The Sabres now will hope and pray that Vanek is the real deal, as they will be paying him $18 million in his next 2 seasons, and over $6 million per season for the remaining 5 years. If Vanek falters, the Oilers will always to be to blame for the financial hardship put on the Sabres.
Lowe said it was "nothing personal" against the Sabres, but really, it becomes personal in a sense. Shit, the Sabres have been through enough in the past week already, losing Drury and Briere. I'm not saying I feel bad for Buffalo. I'm saying that this is dirty pool, and the vast majority of NHL GM's won't do such things.
Sure, Lowe is desperate, and no players want to play in Edmonton right now...blah blah, but Lowe violated a code of ethics, whether it was legal or not. And really, he's opening a can of worms that should remain shut.
No, I would not do what Lowe did. Karma is a bitch. And Thomas Vanek, who was suprised by the lucrative offer, is not worth that kind of money at this point in his career, in my opinion. Not after only 1 great season.
It really was Bobby Clarke-like. And now the Sabres, who thought Lowe was bluffing, have a few less million to spend for the next 7 years. For their sake, hopefully Vanek earns it.

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18 Comments:

At July 7, 2007 at 9:32 AM , Blogger James said...

The sabres gotta man up about that though, and not scream bloody murder when a GM tries something that is perfectly legal in the rules of the league! Ditto with the canucks whining when Clarke tried his thing..

Anything that increases animosity between teams/GMs/Owners is fine by me because it is entertaining :D

It's a business and sometimes you gotta step on someone's face to make a move!

 
At July 7, 2007 at 10:20 AM , Blogger Zanstorm said...

Sure, the soap opera is entertaining, but Vanek for $10 million next season???? That's a little much.

I think Oil fans/K-Lowe have to face the facts that the team is in rebuilding mode and is starting over again. Leave the RFA's alone and stop being such a dink, ruining it for others.

Oddly enough, Lowe was really willing to surrender 4 first round picks for Vanek??? He isn't really in rebuild mode in his mind is he?

 
At July 7, 2007 at 10:20 AM , Blogger Zanstorm said...

Actually, I don't want to know where he is in his mind right now.

 
At July 7, 2007 at 11:10 AM , Blogger jimbuff said...

Lowe feels that the league screwed him b/c of Nylander and in the bigger picture b/c of the rapidly increasing salary cap. Edmonton is becoming small market unable to compete again and the priciple of the whole lockout and losing a season seems to be for naught. The salaries are becoming outragous again (as proven by Gomez and Vanek). Lowe was using Vanek as a means to show the league he is not happy with the leagues situation now and also to piss off Betman. He knew Buffalo would match (they told him before he did it) so he had nothing to lose. The Sabres were just innocent victims in this game Lowe played with the league (they also matched the salary so they are not total victims).
Thge only real winner out of all of this is Vanek - an undeserved 9 million dollar raise next season - he must be Edmonton's biggest fan right now.

 
At July 7, 2007 at 12:25 PM , Blogger Zanstorm said...

"Edmonton is becoming small market unable to compete again.."

Is it? Maybe players don't want to play there. That makes them an 'unattractive' market. Not Bettman's fault....Lowe's fault.

 
At July 7, 2007 at 12:45 PM , Blogger jimbuff said...

A bit of both:

Cap went from 39 mil to 50 mil in 2 years - what was the lockout for - 2 years later we are back to small market teams (like Edmonton) going to be struggling again.

Yes Lowe has made Edmonton a place where it seems like nobody wants to play - he is at fault for this.

But back to your post - he is being a jerk legally (although unwritten as unexceptable) to stick it to the rest of the league. He is frustrated and wants to show it. Some of his frustrations are his own fault but some are b/c of the way this league is being managed now.

I think in the next couple of years there will be alot of this crap going on. I disagree with it but 2 taems have done it now in 2 years so it becomes more acceptable for other to try it.

This league has gotten off track and needs management to straighten it out. I would love to be The League Commisioner - I know I could do a better job - Betman does not see the big picture and what is best for the league.

I will stop now as I could go on forever about league management (or mismanagement). Sorry to go on and on but this league is getting worse instaed of better and that pisses me off b/c hockey is perhaps my favorite thing in life.

 
At July 7, 2007 at 1:26 PM , Blogger Zanstorm said...

Vanek's agent said there were a few other GM's that were asking about him as well, not just Lowe. Not sure if I believe that.

How is Edmonton a small-market team? Can you explain that to me?
The Cap was to even out the playing field. It still will for the most part won't it? The Rangers can have Drury and Briere, but the rest of their roster will suffer for it if the Rangers have not drafted well.
Guys like Shanny are either going to take a pay cut, or leave to another team that can afford him.
Teams need to build themselves to be competitive and attractive to free agents. Because Edmonton, Columbus, Phoenix are not doing that, that doesn't make them 'small market' teams does it?
Those fan bases just need to be patient until the team is more competitive has a stab at a playoff run.
Am i off base here?

 
At July 7, 2007 at 2:44 PM , Blogger Zanstorm said...

It also seems that players are always going to want to play in New York no matter what the rules are. Oh well. The Rangers' success since 1994 speaks for itself!!! haha

 
At July 7, 2007 at 4:42 PM , Anonymous RumeursDeTransactions.com said...

Funny picture ! LOL

 
At July 7, 2007 at 7:23 PM , Anonymous Temujin said...

It also seems that players are always going to want to play in New York no matter what the rules are

well, yeah, it's always been that way. media attention is BIG in NY, so it's no surprise people want to make that their first choice. I'd play in NY too!

 
At July 8, 2007 at 2:58 PM , Blogger Jibblescribbits said...

I don't see anything wrong with what Lowe did, well ethically. That's the way the system is set up, and the compensation is there so only an idiot would hand out a huge contract offer to a restricted Free Agent.

Well an idiot DID offer him, but the Buffalo GM was too shortsided to know a good deal when he sees it. Reiger is upset because he felt that in order to save face he had to sign Vanek to a ridiculous offer sheet and is blame shifting towards Lowe. What he should have done is said "Thomas Vanek is a great player, and we respect him very much here in Buffalo. We are unable to match the offer set forth by Lowe of the Oilers. I know our fans will be upset at the loss of three quality players, but the saved salary and 8 first round draft picks over the next 4 years should help us with our ultimate goal, which is to bring a Stanley cup to Buffalo".

Basically Regier is mad cause someone forced him into making a stupid decision

 
At July 8, 2007 at 4:37 PM , Blogger Marius Adomnica said...

I'm still trying to figure out how u can complain about being a small market team and go around offering 2nd year players 7 million dollars a year.

 
At July 8, 2007 at 5:42 PM , Blogger Zanstorm said...

Jibblescribb- good point. The 4 first rounders are there as compensation. Regier could have walked away with that. Perhaps the loss of Vanek would put the Sabres 1 more year away from even competing again and he didn't want that.
There is a lot of talk that the Sabres should have re-signed Vanek or Drury a lot earlier, but who say that was even possible? Maybe their agents refused...

Marius: Exactly.

 
At July 9, 2007 at 8:41 AM , Blogger Jibblescribbits said...

FYI Zan:

there's been reports that Drury and the Sabres had agreed on a 4-year deal, but the Sabres basically never sent the contract over...



So it looks as if he could have signed at least Drury, but royally screwed that one up

 
At July 9, 2007 at 8:49 AM , Blogger Zanstorm said...

OOO, if that's true, then that's bad...

 
At July 9, 2007 at 1:48 PM , Blogger PPP said...

Regier is an idiot. As per BoA, he had 371 days (365 as the only team) to negotiate with Vanek.

He screwed up three times and is trying to shift the blame to Lowe who made a smart move. RFA offer sheets are a valid tool for improving your team and smart GMs should be using them more often.

 
At July 10, 2007 at 9:16 AM , Blogger Jibblescribbits said...

ppp

I wouldn't say Lowe made a smart move, he tried to give up 4 first round draft picks for a young gifted player.

 
At July 10, 2007 at 3:09 PM , Blogger Zanstorm said...

I would say Lowe's actual offer to Vanek, being sky-high, was an insane gesture.
It's almost like he had an agenda to fuck Buffalo to prove a point.

 

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Waiting For Stanley was created in June 2006.