UFA a Player's Perspective

Stop Crying Already

Time and time again I end up reading blogs and opinions from angered hockey fans expressing resentment towards top end players not signing with their teams. These sentiments are even more highlighted in hockey cities such as my hometown of Montreal. Now, here is a different perspective for you. Life as a Player. I’ll focus formost on the Canadiens only because I’m most familiar with their situation. The whole city was outraged when the city couldn’t land Daniel Briere or Ryan Smyth. Well lets look at factors for them deciding their futures.

Briere just came off a carreer season where he notted 95 points after arbitration for a one year contract. He signed with Philly for Eight years. Everybody in Montreal couldn’t believe that a French Canadian player refused to sign with the bleu blanc and rouge. But isn’t it obvious why he didn’t. How much pressure would he have to endure on a bad game, how much of the 7 million dollars would he see after taxes. What happens if he fails to produce in the 4th or 5th year of his contract? He will be hung by the media that’s what. At 7 million, in Montreal, he will only net 3.6 million dollars. As appose to say.. ummm Alberta where taxes are lower and he’ll net 4.3. Now the States, or philly, its pretty much estimated that he’ll clear about 5 million dollars. Isn’t that more attractive. But die hard ignorant habs fans will say “why would he snub the opportunity to play for his boyhood team”… come on.. honestly, do you think he really cares, this is a man with a family, in the best position possible for his carreer, he’s no longer that boy in his driveway hoisting an imaginary Stanley cup for his beloved Habs (if he ever was). This is a grown man, with grown up decisions. And if it doesn’t work out in philly after 4 years, sure he’ll hear about it.. but lets face it.. not as much as if he was in Montreal. He just secured his future good or bad for eight years, that a great deal for an individual. He’ll be on a team that was last place last year, the fans will be content with a playoff appearance or with an 8 or 9th position at the end of the season. If Montreal got him at that contract, we’d be angered if we weren’t a contender. Please.

Briere Never Wanted Montreal!

And why is it that people automatically assume that any French Canadian has this desire to play for the Habs. And as soon as one is on the market, either the trade market or via free agency, all of the habs fans assume that for sure this player will come home. Get real. The glory days are long gone, and to be honest, I think all these storied French Canadian legends like the Richards, Beliveau, Cornoyer, Lafleur, Plante etc, living in this time frame where there is 30 teams, and they have a chance of making great money after taxes somewhere else… they wouldn’t stay as loyal to the Habs… OH no.. That’s right I said it… I’m a habs fan whos admitting that these guys would explore options in other cities! I see it now… “how could you say that” .. Be quiet… you know its true…. besides that, in their time, the habs had first choice on French Canadian players.

Drafting well our only hope

Montreal, as I’m sad to say, we’ll always have a problem getting markee talent. Not many players want to play here. They’re only hope is to draft well, and through the trade market from teams wanted to shed salaries. I thought that Gainey was Risk adverse, but lest face it, he came in at a horrible time in organizational history, and now he’s got nobody to dance with. They’ll have to focus on developing players, and drafting well. Everybody is saying we shouldn’t be afraid to trade draft picks. Well guess what, it’s the only way to get decent players.

Sheldon’s got to secure his Future

Now my next man. Sheldon Souray. I’m a big fan of him, I liked his leadershipe ability, how he’d stick up for his teamates.. He’s presence on the Power Play, that big shot. But let’s face it, hockey players only dream of the position he got into. He had a career year, where he broke a record for PP goals by a defencemen. Yes he was a -28, but still, he’ll get at least a 4-5 yr deal for 4-6 million. Good for him, he lucked out. Though I don’t think his season was a fluke, but I’m not at all convinced he’ll be able to post those numbers again. And I’m sure, Souray is unsure if he can do it again either, how could he be! But he’s in a good position to take care of himself and his family for 4-5 years for big money, regardless if he doesn’t produce. I would do it! Would you? Loyalty doesn’t mean anything, this is a business, would you hold out on getting more money and better benefits at another company just so you can be loyal to your present employer and your present co-workers? Probably not!