Thursday, January 10, 2008

Not Going Anywhere Anytime Soon

As I said earlier today, it isn't very often that TSN/RDS get something wrong, and while they were wrong on the details, they were right that A.O. was signing an extension today. Ted Leonsis, ever the showman, held onto the news about the extension until the start of the Season Ticket Holder Meet the Team Party. As you can imagine, the news went over rather well with the STH's in attendance.

First and foremost, let's give credit where credit is due, Leonsis and General Manager George McPhee got this done and got it done at a level I think the team can live with going forward. The next big fish they have to worry about in their own pond is Mike "BEAM ME UP" Green, but like A.O., there is plenty of time to take care of that situation.

The contract is odd too in that according to the TSN report, it is backloaded in $$$$$. Most of the monster contracts we've recently seen have front loaded $$$$$ which of course creates "dead $$$$$" in the out years of the deal. The Caps will have some $500K of "dead $$$$$" for the next six seasons but will get some "extra space" in the last seven years. This is good work by the Caps management.

The nature of the contract of course means that A.O. could very well be a bargain in the out years. A.O. will also be 35 when it ends so the Caps have bought 8 years of his unrestricted free agency too. That alone could very well save the Caps a significant amount of $$$$$. Whether or not A.O. will get a raise is also something we won't have to worry about for another 13 years.

It also means that we get to listen to Larry Brooks and his ilk moan and groan for the next 13 years about a talent such as A.O. being in an NHL backwater like Washington, D.C. The funny part will be that there's nothing these clowns can do about it as the length and cost of the contract will also make it almost impossible for the Caps to move A.O. for the next decade. (So much for Rumor Boy and his fantasies of A.O. ending up in Nashville.)

This contract also makes Mary-OH! Lemieux and his Penguin Scum look like Pikers for the contract that they gave Canadian Diving Team Captain, Secondary Assist Cindy Crosby. Not only is A.O. going to have a higher average salary, he's also locked into the Caps for longer than Cindy is locked into the Penguin Scum. The Penguin Scum didn't buy any of Cindy's UFA years and it speaks volumes to me about their faith in their new arena to generate revenue. They're going to need that new building to generate revenue to pay Cindy come 2014 because I don't she'll be willing to take her jersey number as her average salary again.

The contract however is not without risk. A rollback in the salary cap could very well put the Caps in trouble. The cap won't be going down next season and it could be awhile before that drop occurs. A.O. could also turn into Jaromir Jagr on us. A.O. is going to outlast just about everybody in the organization save for Ted and the equipment manager. But I don't think that will be the case. A.O. is showing loyalty to this organization by signing a 13 year extension and this organization is showing him loyalty by making him one of the highest paid players in the league. It would be a real shock to see A.O. start pouting and poisoning the locker room.

Finally for you nattering nabobs of negativism, Ted and GMGM have once again shown that they are committed to building a winning NHL franchise here in Washington D.C. Yes, there is a long way to go but all these thoughts that the Caps were now gun shy after the Jagr fiasco should be put to bed. The Caps are still willing to pay great hockey players to play hockey here in Washington D.C. Let's start giving the Caps credit for that because this contract would have never been offered if Dishonest Abe Polin were still owning this team.

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