Danton is cut loose by Devils

For those of you outside the NY Metro area here is another article about a fourth line rookie and his agent screwing up their careers.

Mike Danton, nee Jefferson made the team, whined about being scratched from a game, and after playing an undisciplined and sloppy game against the Red Wings Wednesday cried about his playing time.

I loved this kids on-ice demeanor, but it appears he and his useless agent have a lot to learn about being professionals in the NHL.

I usually don’t like to take out other people press pieces but I thought this was the perfect example of how agents are ruining the game of hockey.

Please read and let me know if you agree:

–MantaDevils: Saga ends as Danton is cut loose by GM

Star-Ledger (New Jersey)

NASHVILLE — In the eyes of Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello, Mike Danton could change his name, but he could not change his knack for getting under the skin of management.

Uncomfortable with Danton’s outspoken style, Lamoriello yesterday sent the rookie center back to New Jersey and announced he would not play another game for the Devils.

“He won’t play for us again,” Lamoriello said. “I like the way he plays, but I don’t like his decisions. After awhile it becomes a distraction.”

Danton said he was “quite shocked” by the decision.

“I worked my butt off for this team. I did everything Pat (Burns) told me to do,” Danton said. “I haven’t done anything wrong. This comes out of nowhere. Obviously I don’t fit in here. Maybe I have to cut my hair a different length or shave more. I was told there woul.d be no punishment, no grudge, but it was evident that Lou and I were never going to get along. Things were never going to work out.”

Although Danton was assigned to Albany (AHL), Lamoriello said he would not play any games for the River Rats so as to not take any ice time away from other players. Instead, he will eventually be sent to another American Hockey League team while Lamoriello tries to trade him.

One of the teams that could be interested in Danton, 22, are the San Jose Sharks. Scout John Ferguson is a big Danton supporter. Another possibility is a deal with the Vancouver Canucks and GM Brian Burke.

“I think we’ll find out now if there is a vendetta,” agent Dave Frost said. “If Lou clearly tries to make a trade and if going to the minors is a short-term solution, we’d look at it. If it’s for any length of time, no. There are tons of teams that want him. I’ve been told that this was planned from day one because Mike wouldn’t march to Lou Lamoriello’s drum. They played him 20 games just to drum up interest.”

Lamoriello denied that was the case and claimed that Danton’s performance on the ice had as much to do with the decision as his recent complaints about a drop in ice time.

“I made the decision after watching the Detroit game,” Lamoriello said. “It was a culmination of a lot of things. He’s just not ready to play, in my mind, with reference to his decisions on the ice. And his thought process is he doesn’t want to play in the minors.”

This is the second time this season Danton was sent back to New Jersey during a road trip. When he complained to The Star-Ledger about sitting out a game in Raleigh, N.C., on Oct. 19, he flew to Atlanta with the rest of the team but was then sent home as punishment. After a meeting with Lamoriello, a tight-lipped Danton rejoined the Devils in Buffalo.

Things seemed to be looking up when Danton played part of the Nov. 21 game against the Rangers on the Joe Nieuwendyk line. However, when he was demoted to the fourth line for the next game while seeing his ice time diminished, Danton once again went public in The Star-Ledger with his unhappiness.

Lamoriello did not accompany the Devils to Detroit earlier this week. The GM flew to Nashville, where he called Danton on the player’s cell phone after breakfast yesterday morning. Danton was on a plane by the time Lamoriello addressed the media at the morning skate, put on an inconvenient connection through Cleveland back to New Jersey.

“The last two months, I’ve been told I haven’t done anything wrong,” Danton said. “All I’ve heard is praise from Pat, Bobby Carpenter and Jacques Caron. At one point my ice time was up to 12 minutes a game and now this comes out of the blue. He just told me he’s going to trade me.”

“Mike is absolutely shocked,” Frost said. “How many times did he complain about ice time? He didn’t say one word directly to Pat (Burns) or Lou. This was preconceived, without any question.”

Danton, who changed his surname from Jefferson this past summer to distance himself from family problems, was suspended all of last season. After suffering an abdominal tear during the 2001-02 preseason, he flew to California for a second medical opinion rather than report to Albany. Frost initiated a reconciliation between Lamoriello and Danton during the summer and the suspension was lifted.

A strong preseason earned Danton a spot on the team, but the relationship between the strict GM and the outspoken player was shaky at best.


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