May 18 2011 11:28PM
Everyone's favorite malcontents Domebeers agreed to stop by and share a rant or five with the Nation. Enjoy!
GOOD FOR CURTIS
You know what players we cheer for? Undrafted free agents. Undrafted free agents are, to the true sports fan, one of the purest expressions of the simple desire to play the game. It's because they are closer to us, the normal mortals, then to the inhuman immortals who inhabit Halls of Fame. Undrafted free agents do it (play the game) for money, of course, but they don't do it for the massive fortunes.
They do it for pride, for compete, for the corny love of the game. As a sports fan, you feel good about cheering these players, rooting for these players. Because they are there at the major level not because they were drafted high, or have a contract that can't be buried in the minors, or have the ear of the coach. Undrafted free agents are there on merit, and the sports fan likes that. And when undrafted free agents do make it, and stick in the bigs?
Well, then you have a real player you can cheer for. Because you know that at some level they care. Really, we like them because in the super-stratified world of sport, the undrafted free agent represents, in our minds, the common man. And we all cheer for the success of the common man, who has never tasted the silver spoon. Curtis Glencross is an undrafted free agent who bounced from team to team until he finally found a home here.
He was able to stick in the NHL, and has been rewarded for his hard work with a contract. Good for him. We are happy for Curtis Glencross.
But we have the ability to take a step back. And while on a general level we are happy that an undrafted free agent was able to get his in the NHL, that doesn't mean we are terribly thrilled that the Calgary Flames decided to give said undrafted free agent a four year contract and a No Movement Clause. First off, four years is insane term to give any player that is replaceable.
Sarich is an example of what happens when you give too many years to player types that are invariably on the free agent market every year. Second, NMC are insane to give to any player not integral to the organization. Jarome Iginla gets a NMC because at the time he signed his contract, he was one of the top players in the world.
So if he asks for one, and you want him on your team, you give it to him. But to give one to a player the caliber of a Glencross? On top of a four year term? To save $500,000 a year?
No, we are sorry, but that isn't a smart move. It's just too much risk to assume.
It speaks directly to the mediocrity that inhabits the upper echelons of the Flames organization, that they would construct a contract so poorly. But who does it speak about?
In other words, what are the roles? According to published reports, Ken King took Curtis out on a horsey ride, and convinced Curtis to stay with the team, hammered out the contract, and more importantly, hammered out some of the contract details (specifically, the NMC).
Well, we are pretty sure that's the job of the GM, who is supposed to be Jay Feaster. Optically, it appears that Ken King is the real GM, and Feaster was installed to deal with the media, and look bad and take the blame when Ken King makes a stupid hockey decision. And while this arrangement is great for Ken King, we don't know how great it is for the Calgary Flames.
Look, Ken King has said in the past his job is to manage. He can manage any business, he says, but you might not want him operating them. Well, Ken King managed the Herald into a news-floor strike, and the Calgary Sun into a joke fishwrap, and then he managed the Calgary Flames into a high spending also-ran. And now he wants to take a crack at the operations side of things. Something he himself is quoted as saying he shouldn't be allowed to do. And nobody says a word.
Why would they? Ken King has made it clear that access to the team is dependent on how the media treats the team. The media in this city has also made it clear that they don't mind this arrangement one bit. And who suffers? Us, the fans. Anecdote time.
We are sitting in our office yesterday, when we get a phone call from a Domebeer-aholic. "Are you listening to this?" he said. "Listening to what?" we replied. "To the press conference! Curtis just called out the FAN for saying the NMC wasn't a good idea. Kerr is talking to him one on one right now, listen!". So we had to change the dial of the radio off of AM1060 and switch it over to the propaganda on 960.
And what we heard was absolutely shocking. A groveling Rob Kerr is apologizing to Curtis Glencross about ruining his big day. Apologizing for what? On behalf of whom? Apologizing that people on the station gave voice to an opinion?
A sports radio talk show host was apologizing to a player because someone on that station offered an opinion.
Really, that is a symptom of the slow death of sports journalism in this city. The players are deciding the editorial content that will air on the FAN now? Can we all say 'conflict of interest'? Can we all say 'salesmen, not journalists'? Can we all say 'whitewash'?
Most importantly, can we all say 'loss of credibility'? At least it is good to know that the knee-pad salesmen in this city have a reliable customer.
THE DAMAGE DONE
At the end of the day, what do you get? You get a fanbase that is underserved by a mewling, jock sniffing media. Because the media is cowed and complicit, you get an environment where Murray Edwards feels there is no heat on the team, and therefore no reason to make real, substantial changes. You get Ken King for a GM.
You get apologies for the temerity to express opinions.
And eventually, if this goes on much longer, you get cirrhosis.
Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias should be fired.