If you picked up yesterday’s edition of The Province, I’m obligated to advise that you bought the wrong paper. Also, you might have seen an editorial about a proposed solution to the well-publicized relationship problems between Roberto Luongo and a certain segment of the Canucks fanbase. If not, you can still read the editorial on The Province’s website. I encourage you to do so, if only to marvel at the absurdity.

This is a news editorial by “The Province”, not a columnist’s take. It represents the paper, not one particular thinker, which basically means I’m going to hold all of them responsible, particularly since it uses plural personal pronouns throughout: “Here’s our solution” and “we need a power forward.” So what’s their solution? What power forward are they targeting? Their proposal:

Trade Luongo straight up for Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Let’s ignore for the moment that it seems incredibly inappropriate for a mainstream media source to call for a trade, let alone a very specific trade. In fact, let’s not even address this as a newspaper article, especially since it barely manages to rise above the level of a hastily thrown together and ill-considered blog post. So let’s judge it at that level: as a blog post.

I’d like to address a few of the problems with this trade proposal, which would even get laughed out of the HFBoards Trade Rumours forum.

Vincent Lecavalier is a centre. In case you haven’t noticed, that’s not really a need the Canucks have, with 5 centres on the active roster and Cody Hodgson playing on the wing on the second line. That in itself should make this proposal dead in the water, but that’s just the beginning.

Lecavalier has a no-movement clause in his contract and Luongo has a limited no-trade clause. Lecavalier has expressed no interest in leaving Tampa Bay (in fact, just the opposite) while Luongo’s first escape clause doesn’t kick in until 2015.

Lecavalier is the captain of the Lightning. While teams have, in the past, traded their captain away, it’s an extremely rare event and one not likely to happen in Tampa Bay.

The Lightning went all the way to the Eastern Conference Final and went to 7 games with the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins. They’re in no rush to trade away their third leading scorer in the regular season and second leading scorer in the playoffs as they aim to go deep again into the playoffs. Likewise, the Canucks came one game short of winning the Stanley Cup with Luongo in net: as much as some fans blame him for the loss, I guarantee you the Canucks’ management does not.

If those reasons aren’t enough, here’s the kicker: “The Province” suggested that this might be a good deal because Luongo and Lecavalier both have similar contracts. They suggest that Luongo’s “12-year, $64-million no-trade contract” is “similar” to Lecavalier’s “$85-million, 11-year no-trade deal.” You don’t have to be a mathematical genius to see that 64 is not a similar number to 85. The only similarity is that they are both numbers.

The two contracts are 21 million dollars dissimilar.

What’s worse, Lecavalier’s deal is one year shorter than Luongo’s, making the cap hit even higher. Luongo’s annual cap hit is $5,333,333. Lecavalier’s annual cap hit is $7,727,273. That’s an annual difference of just under $2.4 million. But the two contracts are evidently “similar.”

The problems don’t end there for this editorial. “The Province” suggests that since Lecavalier is “no longer top dog” in Tampa Bay, he “could use a fresh start.” Well, he certainly wouldn’t be “top dog” in Vancouver. Henrik Sedin has scored 82 more points over the last two seasons than Lecavalier, though to be fair, the Lightning captain was injured for part of last season. How’s this: Henrik has scored 0.41 points per game more than Lecavalier over the last two seasons. And all for a cap hit over $1.6 million lower.

It gets worse: over the last two seasons, Ryan Kesler has scored more points per game than Lecavalier as well.  Kesler’s cap hit: $5 million, over $2.7 million lower than Lecavalier’s. That would make Lecavalier the third best centre on the team for a cap hit just a million dollars lower than Sidney Crosby’s. And that contract would run through 2020.

Me? Seriously? You didn't think this through, did you...

“The Province” suggests that this trade would be a “win-win-win-win solution” as it benefits Luongo, Lecavalier, Schneider, and the fans. Let’s ignore for the moment whether it actually would benefit any of those four parties: what about the team that’s backed Luongo all the way? What about those members of the fanbase who have no interest in seeing one of the best goaltenders in the NHL leave town? What about poor Laurence Gilman, who would go into conniptions at the thought of fitting Lecavalier’s monstrous contract under the salary cap for the next 9 seasons? Is it a win for them as well?

What about their families? These guys have the security of long-term contracts and no-trade clauses and their families have laid down roots. They aren’t just going to uproot on a whim or because The Province says they should.

If this trade was proposed in a blog, the writer would be laughed out of the blogosphere. He or she would have to resort to writing for Bleacher Report, where he or she could suggest as many trade proposals as they want. And put them in a slideshow. With pictures of the player’s wives, if they’re attractive or scantily clad enough. Even then, it might not get accepted with their recent tighter restrictions.

If this editorial isn’t fit to publish on a blog, what made the Province think it was fit to publish in their paper?

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30 comments

  1. John Andress
    October 21, 2011

    Great stuff. Far more informative and productive than my response which was “Stick to doing what you do best – making toilet paper.”

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    • Blaine
      October 21, 2011

      Dude, your comment was hilarious and spot-on. I would like to add that the Province editorial board seems to know as much about sports as they do about politics.

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      • John in Marpole
        October 22, 2011

        Calling 5’5″, 155 pound Lecavalier a “power forward” should have clued any and all readers of that editorial that the writer(s) haven’t clue 1 about hockey.

        Lecavalier is roughly the same size as was former Canuck “power forward” Bobby Lalond. (Although many gazzillion times better skilled, for sure).

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        • Terry
          October 22, 2011

          Uhhh, Lecavalier is 6’4″ and 208lbs. Not 5’5″ and 155lbs. Are you confusing him with St.Louis?

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          • John in Marpole
            October 22, 2011

            He rarely plays like it. The joke didn’t work.

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  2. JDM
    October 21, 2011

    Dude I’m pretty sure that article was sarcastic. It had to be.

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    • John Andress
      October 21, 2011

      If it was a sports guy’s column I would perhaps agree with you but for the editorial department to weigh in like that? I am not so sure. I didn’t read it as sarcasm never-the less I think that we are both agreed that in no way could it possibly be considered as a serious proposal.

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  3. Mark
    October 21, 2011

    Can we hold you responsible as well? Since you’re all owned by the same corporate entity? Will you give more lectures about journalistic ethics then?

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    • Daniel Wagner
      October 21, 2011

      Go for it. We want to be held accountable. Harrison and I have made a commitment to never call for something to be fired or for a player to be traded: it’s not our place to make personnel decisions and, as I mentioned, these are people with families and real lives. We’ll certainly criticize when it’s called for, but we won’t call for someone to lose their job or be shipped out of town. The most we’ll do is speculate if a substantive rumour comes up.

      So yes, hold us responsible and keep us accountable.

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  4. Nth of the 49th
    October 21, 2011

    “and their families have laid down roots.” is the only part I disagree with.
    Luongos’ family lives in Florida and his home is there.

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    • JS Topher
      October 21, 2011

      I can’t believe a woman wouldn’t move with her husband to the city he plans on playing in for the next decade. I know its nicer down there but, is there no love? “No no Lu, I’m happy down here. Just make sure you pay all the bills though.” Pffft! Gold Digger.

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      • Nlee
        October 21, 2011

        Ummm….the whole family lives in Vancouver during the season, just like any other players family on the team. Lu’s kids play with Keslers kids since they live by each other.

        So this is false.

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  5. The Olde Coot
    October 21, 2011

    Luongo for LeCavalier?
    I’d say that’s really stupid, eh!
    The proposer should be henceforth
    Banished to the Great White North.

    As in Siberia I mean
    Where he can drive the ice machine,
    And beg the Russian Mafia
    To let him bootleg Tafia.

    And just how dumb can one man be,
    Then hide behind the plural “we”,
    Presenting this as “our solution”?
    His is a mind that’s Lilliputian!

    Cory Schneider for St Louis
    Now there’s a trade appeals to me

    The Olde Coot

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  6. madwag
    October 21, 2011

    A “provincial” proposal!

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  7. peanutflower
    October 21, 2011

    I read that article in the Province several times, convinced it was sarcastic. I still don’t know if it was intended to be so. Honestly, my sarcaso-meter didn’t pick up anything. If that’s true and it was intended to be A Modest Proposal, it was a really poor choice of subject matter and only serves to further ignite the fervor of those no-minds who call themselves fans. God, I hate those people. Good rebuttal, though, PITB, as usual.

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    • peanutflower
      October 21, 2011

      Did the Province pull that column? I can’t find it…

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      • Daniel Wagner
        October 21, 2011

        The link is at the top of this post if you can’t track it down on their website.

        I read it a dozen times trying to decipher if it was meant to be sarcastic or humorous or satirical (A Modest Proposal indeed!) but there was not a trace of wit or sarcastic edge to it. I tried so hard to view it in as positive a light as possible: no luck.

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        • Nlee
          October 21, 2011

          Since Moriarty, the Prov editor, went on TEAM 1040 to defend it, that puts to bed the thought that it might have been a joke.

          The Province is a terrible, terrible newspaper. It continually makes Vancouver sport fans look bad (which says something, since some of our fans do a bang up job on their own).

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  8. anon
    October 21, 2011

    Can’t believe you’re taking The Province to task, considering YOU WORK FOR THE SAME NEWSPAPER CHAIN. I’d tell you to check your paycheque for the “Postmedia” watermark but I’m not sure you’re getting one. Hopefully someone at the Pacific Newspaper Group has a word.

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    • Harrison Mooney
      October 21, 2011

      Right and wrong. We work for the same parent company. However, we work for a different newspaper. And even then, we’re technically freelancers. We could and would take the Sun to task if they did something like this.

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  9. PeeSeeGee
    October 21, 2011

    I didnt read the article and I don’t plan to. Did they suggest bringing Eddie Lack up as a back up? I can totally see the Canucks going to the final on a Lack/Schneider pairing. Also, who did they suggest we trade to get under the cap? Sturm , Sammy?

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    • PeeSeeGee
      October 21, 2011

      Or as well as being crazy was it also half baked?

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      • Daniel Wagner
        October 21, 2011

        The writer didn’t even seem to notice that Lecavalier had a higher cap hit than Luongo, so I don’t think they’re aware the salary cap exists. And no, nothing about Lack.

        While I’m sure there are people in the Canucks fanbase who would be comfortable with a Schneider/Lack tandem going into the playoffs, I sincerely hope they’re in the minority.

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  10. Michael
    October 21, 2011

    The Hockey News did a really good piece last playoffs on how Vincent Lecavalier, despite the fact he won’t be the team’s leading scorer in the future, is still contributing in a big way and happy about his role. I don’t think they post all their articles online, but it was in this (http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/40330-This-Week-in-THN-May-30-2011.html) issue, which might be available if your local library carries the magazine if you’re interested. A good read, unlike certain other pieces of writing, of which the one in question here is pretty clearly just link-grabbing, controversy-stirring non-journalism.

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  11. Michael
    October 21, 2011

    (Not for comment approval)

    I see my comment hasn’t been approved, and that may be due to the vagueness of my wording. Wasn’t referring to PITB as non-journalism, but the article discussed in your post. Also not attempting to push THN, not affiliated, just thought it was a good read for those unfamiliar with how Lecavalier’s lack of production fits into the Lightning lineup.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      October 21, 2011

      Sorry about that, sometimes a comment takes a while before someone pops online to approve it. It’s been approved now, no worries.

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      • Harrison Mooney
        October 21, 2011

        Yeah, unless it’s spam or full of vile, hateful blather, your comment’s gonna get approved when we see it.

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  12. peanutflower
    October 21, 2011

    And Gillis weighs in on this horrible article on team 1040: http://www.teamradio.ca/news/mike-gillis-on-team1040/

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  13. Chris
    October 22, 2011

    This isn’t a ridiculous notion at all to suggest it. It would be unbelievable if the Canucks could dump him. However, it most likely isn’t at all possible with his crazy bad contract. Considering Mike Milbury is now analyzing and Richard Wang already has a 15 year goaltender, I can’t see any GM in his right mind take on Luongo at this point. It’s getting pretty bad in Vancouver, so it’s going to be tough to imagine that 11 more years of Luongo is even liveable at this point. But the Canuck fans are stuck with him and are going to have to find a way to fight through it. He isn’t going anywhere and that’s the sad reality of it. It’s even worse knowing a very capable, much less expensive Cory Schneider is waiting in the wings.

    http://chrisross91.wordpress.com/2011/10/22/luongos-struggles-are-incomprehensible-for-world/

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  14. Doug
    October 29, 2011

    I wonder if anyone considered the question: If Lou is so bad, why on earth would Tampa even consider trading Vinny for him?

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