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.
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.Tags: Bieksa, featured, hometown discounts, Twitter Needs Juice