News broke yesterday that Kevin Bieksa and the Canucks had agreed on a long-term deal that would see the defenseman sticking with the team for the next five years. The people (a year removed from trading him out of town for Nikita Filatov) rejoiced.Funny how things change, huh?

Anyway. After the Canucks’ non-disclosure policy bought them five quiet minutes to eat their lunches, the cap hit eventually leaked and, at $4.6 million a year, reactions varied.

Especially in light of that thing Bieksa said about taking less:

I think everybody takes less to play here. It’s such a great organization that you want to be here, so if you want to be here you have to take less, that’s just the culture.

But it would seem the hometown discount at which Bieksa had hinted still allowed him to become the Canucks’ highest paid defenseman. For many, this didn’t seem to mesh. I think I speak for the majority when I say the most does not feel like less.

However, I believe this is because most of us don’t understand how the hometown discount actually works. Here’s a short explanation:

Unrestricted free agency is the hockey equivalent of that classic cartoon trope where a sexy cartoon lady in a sparkly red dress with a slit sticks her leg out, and the horny cartoon man (usually a wolf in a zoot suit) goes nuts and hits himself on the head with a hammer and his eyes bug out. It doesn’t particularly matter if the cartoon lady is, to use a colloquialism, hot in the face (and the joke is usually that she isn’t). She has sexy legs and she’s there right now, so the guy falls over himself.

http://youtu.be/lVN1Apz45AE

In other words, unrestricted free agency is where GMs, blinded by sudden availability, get stupid and sign players to contracts they can’t possibly live up to.

Nothing is reasonable on July 1. It’s just a bidding war. So if Bieksa’s 2010-11 worth, say, five million, you can bet someone will offer him six.

But, if money is less important than loyalty to a specific organization, he could take less, forgo the bidding war that’s gonna get him hecka paid, and stay with the organization at a more reasonable salary. It’s still gonna be fair, but it’s not gonna be as much as he could have made.

That’s a discount.

From a distance, it’s negligible, but leaving a million dollars on the table is a fairly substantial settlement.

Still, if you like the organization, it seems like a simple decision, right? Wrong.

I love the Canucks, but I can tell you, with absolute resolve, that if the someone paid me sweet coinage to renounce Vancouver and blog for the Chicago Blackhawks, I’d be running Pass it to Burish by tomorrow morning. I just want to make a living writing. For the right price, I’d be Barry Rozner. You have no idea how quickly I’d sell out.

Kevin Bieksa, however, appears to value the Canucks organization more than I do.

I’m glad he’s back. He and Hamhuis are a dynamite pairing, and while neither is a Norris calibre guy on their own, their union basically summons Captain Planet. Now we’ve got one of the league’s top pairings in Ham-Juice (otherwise known as Hot Ham Water) locked up for almost half a decade.

Also, now I’ve got five more years to pester Bieksa into joining Twitter (Twitter Needs Juice!), provided Twitter is still current in five years, which it probably won’t be.

In closing, I agree with Puck Daddy. If Bieksa knows what’s good for him, he’ll make sure to float a few bucks the stanchion’s way, as a sign of appreciation. We’d hate to see an out for blood stanchion next season.

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25 comments

  1. BECanucks
    June 28, 2011

    Pass it to Burish

    OMG, I was gigling like a schoolgirl on that one!

    And in a cap world era, I could argue that it’s your part of the cap which is important… and with the cap going up 64.3, one can argue that Bieksa takes less cap space than Hamhuis at the time of signing… (7.58% for DH, 7.15% for KB3)

    The question now is what about ‘Hoff, Salo and Ballard?

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  2. PetriSkriko
    June 28, 2011

    Someone’s been watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

    God I love that movie.

    I really can’t wrap my head around why they’d agree on $4.6 instead of $4.5. In light of his comments, it would have looked so much better if he had signed for the same as Hamhuis. I really don’t understand this at all.

    Is it just me, or does it seem like the NHLPA stepped in and insisted that Bieksa signed for higher than Hamhuis, just to keep the salaries going in the right direction? Is that being paranoid?

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  3. ChiBlackhawks
    June 28, 2011

    I love the Canucks, but I can tell you, with absolute resolve, that if the someone paid me sweet coinage to renounce Vancouver and blog for the Chicago Blackhawks, I’d be running Pass it to Burish by tomorrow morning.

    >> I’ll have to keep this in mind, especially if both our teams meet again for playoffs next year. The results could be hilarious.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      June 28, 2011

      Ha! Now that would be a sight to see.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      June 28, 2011

      I’ll do it, too.

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  4. Kent Basky
    June 28, 2011

    When I read the words ‘Captain Planet’, I heard it in the Ted Turner voice from Robot Chicken…

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  5. bergberg
    June 28, 2011

    I love when I put my mouse over the leading photo it says “grumpy bieksa”. You guys are the best.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      June 28, 2011

      Ha! Just you wait for tomorrow’s post.

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      • bergberg
        June 28, 2011

        Excited!

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  6. keithisonfire
    June 28, 2011

    ahh ham-juice… im glad il be waking up to that balanced breakfast for the next couple of years…

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  7. Dave
    June 28, 2011

    He didn’t leave a million on the table – no way he would have signed for less than three years and probably 4-6 – which means he left between three and six million on the table for the Canucks.

    That’s a lot of money to leave behind.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      June 28, 2011

      Good point. I was thinking per year, but when you think about the accumulative amount he left behind, it’s a much, much larger total.

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  8. PATIENCE
    June 28, 2011

    Let’s wait and see what Ehrhoff gets on the open market. Then we can compare it to Bieksa’s so called “negligible hometown discount.”.

    Kevin is a battler in all hockey ways and a fighter (when necessary) and that is very valuable to a team that needs to toughen up next season. Losing Bieksa’s spirited play would be a huge loss but I wondered if he folded under the added playoff brutality and pressure..

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  9. PATIENCE
    June 28, 2011

    Correction on my previous 2:06 blunder:
    I was referring to Ehrhoff when I surmised that “he might have ‘folded somewhat under the added playoff brutality and pressure.”

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  10. showMEthemoney
    June 28, 2011

    I never understand when an athlete (usually, but could be a CEO, too) says that he had to “do what’s right for my family” while signing a deal for $4.5m per. When the other offer is $4.1m per, the difference makes absolutely NO difference to the athlete’s family or way of life. In either case the athlete is rich beyond all reason. But in neither case will he be rich enough to, say, own his own jet.
    On the other hand, like you, Harrison, if another employer offered me 10% more than I currently make, I would jump so fast it would make your head spin. That 10% is real to me, and does make a difference.
    Loyalty in your world (and mine) is not the same as it is the life of a professional athlete. If he truly believes the organization is deserving of his loyalty, he can make that decision with no impact to his life whatsoever. In our case, as in the case of the average fan, 10% is a big difference…enough that loyalty is put aside. My family comes first, and that 10% is enough to pay for my daughter’s braces (so long as I get good dental benefits in the jump as well).

    God forbid you should be as stupid as Rozner, though….

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    • J21
      June 29, 2011

      These were my thoughts as well about Harrison’s analogy. Once you surpass a certain threshold of wealth, I can’t see how it makes that much of a difference.

      And the same applies to Christian Ehrhoff — is he really going to be better off making the extra million per year on the open market than he would be making $5 million or so in Vancouver? I can’t see how — he would be stinking rich either way.

      I remember when Alex Rodriguez signed his $252 million contract with Texas and a commentator noted, “Why two hundred and fifty *TWO* million?”

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      • Harrison Mooney
        June 29, 2011

        I think both of you guys are thinking too short-sightedly, and you’re also thinking about the money in relation to your current standard of living. Yes, considering my current mortgage and bills, half a million isn’t going to make a difference. But if my expenses are all higher, if I’ve got designs on certain amenities and dream expenditures, if my family’s standard of living is different, and if I know I have a few years to make as much money as I can before I have to retire at 32 and I’m too beat up to work anywhere else, I’m getting all the money I can now, while I’m saleable.

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      • Daniel Wagner
        June 29, 2011

        $1 million per year on a 5 year contract is $5 million. That’s not a piddly amount. Look, Ehrhoff has every right to go for a big contract this year. The free agent market is particularly weak and the salary cap (and floor) just went up by a massive amount. This is the ideal year for him to enter free agency and look for a deal that will enable him to live comfortably after he retires. I don’t begrudge him taking that opportunity at all.

        The idea of a threshold of wealth is a little silly. If you have a roof over your head right now, drive a car, or own a cell phone, you are rich by the rest of the world’s standards. Someone from a third world country barely scraping by would look at my annual salary and would be utterly boggled. I look at it and wonder how I’m going to support my kid that’s coming in November. If someone offered me a 25% raise to switch jobs (approximately the difference between a $5.5 million salary and a $4.5 million salary) I would leap at the opportunity, but that person in the third world country might see me as incredibly greedy and lacking loyalty. I’m over a certain threshold of wealth, but it makes a big difference.

        Everyone’s standards of “rich” are different, but it usually equates to “more than I have right now.”

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  11. reallyme
    June 28, 2011

    People who think he didn’t give a discount (total 5 yrs @ ???) are about to be blown away when they see what guys are going to be paid on the open market over the next 2 months … this will be a year like no other … supply is very low and demand is very high with almost every team having cash to spend (with some mandated to spend substantial amounts to the floor).

    Pay scales league-wide about to go whacko!

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  12. Rituro
    June 28, 2011

    Wait, isn’t the stanchion already out for blood? My (regressed) memories of the Final seem to be telling me that a favourable bounce led to a Bruins breakaway goal.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      June 28, 2011

      Different stanchion.

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      • benny
        June 28, 2011

        So, what you are saying is that the Stanchions twin brother is Out For Blood?!?!?!?!

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        • Anonymous
          June 29, 2011

          HA

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  13. Baijiansi
    June 29, 2011

    Bulis? Jan Bulis? I’d rather not, he’d miss the net or fall on his ass.

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  14. sareddy
    June 29, 2011

    I miss Arrested Development…

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