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Monday, January 28, 2008
Hockey Pet Peeve #72: Walking in front of the Interviewer
Why do hockey players have to walk between the camera and the interviewer, while still on the air, immediately after completing an interview during intermissions? Sure, they are busy, tired, and important. But that busy or tired? Can't wait 12 seconds? What's going on in the lockerroom that they really can't miss?
TV networks can't position the camera in such a way that the player-in-a-hurry will walk away from the camera on his escape route to the lockerroom? They can't beg them to stay still until they go off-the-air? They need to make that part of the next CBA.
This is Hockey Pet Peeve #72: Players walking in front of the interviewer.
NHL hockey is a sport. It is also showbusiness. The players certainly master and understand the "business" part of showbusiness. After seeing the SuperSkills competition and the All-Star Game, it is clear that they need to improve the "show" part of showbusiness.
First, the SuperSkills competition and its last event, the Breakaway Challenge. This is a new event where a panel of judges award points on the artistry and creativity of a player on a breakaway. Scoring doesn't cut it. Fancy doesn't even cut it. We're talking about creativity, here. Something totally out of the ordinary. Kolvalchuk tried a little, shooting while on his knees. St. Louis at least tried something spectacular but totally failed. Getzlaf had faint attempts and once skated behind the net before shooting. Others barely tried to be fancy. Luckily, Alexander Ovechkin was there to spice things up. The bottom line is that the players generally didn't seem to get the point of that Breakawat Challenge and the NHL obviously didn't brief them properly. Next time, hopefully, they'll do better.
Second, the players' presentation before the All Star game and before each event during the Superskills competition. They barely cracked smiles, let alone show any emotion, acknowledge that they were being presented, or try to connect with the crowd and viewers. When they are presented during the playoffs, they have the excuse that they are in their zone before an important game. The All-Star game is a party, though. Wave at the crowd! Nod! Smile! Something. Anything. Again, you'd think that the NHL would give some directions to the players, asking that they at list show that they're alive when their name is announced.
Fortune Accumulated by 2008 NHL All-Star Game Players = $870 Million
Based on its extensive Salary History Database, HockeyZonePlus.com estimates that the aggregated accumulated fortunes of the players participating in the 2008 NHL All-Star game is almost $US 870 million.
The Western Conference players have a total of $473,670,000 while the poor Eastern Conference players tally up $395,920,000.
Nicklas Lidstrom leads the pack with $73 million, followed by Chris Pronger, with $66 million and Martin Brodeur with $52 million.
Paul Stastny will be the poor man on the ice with an accumulated fortune of $1.22M. Guess who'll be asking for a doggie bag at the All-Star Game VIP Dinner Party!
Details are provided below with 2007-08 salaries followed by individual accumulated fortunes. Clicking on a player's name will lead to his specific salary history. The HockeyZonePlus.com Database provides salary history information from 1989 to the present on over 2,600 past and current NHL players.
The Small Print: Salaries paid in Canadian currency by Canadian teams, in the early 90s, were converted to $US as per the January exchange rate of the given seasons. Some players have two-way contracts and have received lower salaries than those listed when playing in farm clubs. The listed salaries were gathered from different sources and while they closely reflect reality, they are not necessarily exact. Of course, that is from their NHL salaries only and it does not take into account any other revenue streams such as endorsements, summer jobs, business ventures, being a Mary Kay independent consultant to supplement revenues, etc. Base salaries are usually shown as bonuses are generally not made public. Totals do take into account the fact that players received only +/-58% of their salary during the 1994-95 season because of a strike (48 games played instead of 84). Some players possibly had contracts stipulating that they were paid despite a strike but we have no information in that regard. During the 2004-05 lockout, some players joined various teams in North America and Europe and were paid to do so. It is not included in the Grand Total because we have no information about the salaries they made in those leagues. Still reading? Tax season is coming up soon. How is your 401k/RSSP doing?
USA Today's Lifestyle section takes a peek at the Washington DC suburb house of Ted Leonsis, majority owner of the Capitals. The feature includes a little tour with 7 pictures. According to the Washington Post, the property was purchased in 1999 for $4.2M plus $565k for the house next door which was demolished instead of turned into a dog house. Poor Coco, she can’t get no respect.
For someone who has a reported net worth somewhere between $5.78 and $1B, depending on the source, when it was written, and the state of the stock market, it really isn't a big deal. Most of the days anyway. Although, with the upcoming recession, maybe - just maybe - he's starting to be afraid of the repo man?
1999 is also the year he purchased the Caps for $85M.
The 22,000 square-foot house on 5.5 acres is described by Leonsis as "...a nice house, but not ostentatious."
In its 2006-07 edition, The Hockey News' Ultimate Fantasy Guide -- "Pool Guide" for the Canadian version, eh -- presented its annual High I.Q. (Intimidation Quotient) ranking based on some formula they came up with ([goals x 3] + [PIM minus 10-minutes penalties]) many years ago. To be eligible, a player must have a minimum of 20 goals and 80 amended penalty minutes in order to weed out guys with a boatload of goals and no PIMs or the other way around.
After the 05-06 season, only 20 players qualified and Sidney Crosby was first, followed by Brenden Morrow, Eric Staal, and Brendan Shanahan. To justify Crosby, the Bible of hockey went out of its way to explain that there was a power shift underway in the NHL. The term 'power forward' used to be reserved strictly to guys with hulking frames and fine hands. Not anymore, apparently. Really?
Now enters Marc Savard, former Atlanta Thrashers who joined the Bruins in July 2006. Savard was ranked 9th right after Iginla, Arnott and Bertuzzi. Time to rethink the formula! Savard can be described in lots of ways but the words "power forward" and "high intimidation quotient" just don't cut it.
Why not! There's a sucker born every minute, right?
The league generates $2.53 billion for the season, hundreds of “employees” make millions per year, owners sit on their sound investments and the league doesn’t have the decency to pay people $10/hour to work during the All-Star game festivities!
Why would they, though, given that people apparently line up to work for hours for free (or a cap and a shirt) for them? Ever seen people react to t-shirts thrown in the crowd during a sports event? Obviously, a free t-shirt goes a long way.
Rubbing elbows with the rich and famous? Maybe. There’s nothing like being the dork working for free, wearing a NHL shirt, driving Sidney Crosby from the Airport to a restaurant you can’t afford. Or showing Ovechkin’s dad where the bathrooms are at some All-Star game party. Or having a glimpse at Vincent Lecavalier walking the red carpet, far away, while you keep the autograph seekers away.
"Ovechkin's mom is special, she comes across as a real typical Russian. I don't want to be racist but she has this look," said Stéphane Fiset of Newport Sports Management when interviewed by Montréal-based CKAC Sports radio station after Alex Ovechkin signed the richest contract in overall dollar terms in NHL history with the Washington Capitals ($US124-million for 13 years).
Fiset was commenting on Ovechkin's new contract and the fact that he dumped Newport Sports Management in late 2006 to have his mom Tatiana, a former basketball player, negotiate his contract. At the time, his mom apparently explained that they didn't need an agent and could get the maximum allowed by the CBA themselves.
Fiset, a former NHL goalie for Québec, Colorado, Los Angeles and Montréal, added that Ovechkin himself is a nice guy who likes to have fun. The grudge appears to be against the mom-turned-agent.
Who wouldn't hold a little grudge at someone who dumped you and took away a 3%-5% commission on $124M?
September 2006, a few months before firing agent: Alex, girlfriend, dad, Caps' owner Ted Leonsis, Mom, brother. (Picture Source)
Who's Better - Roy or Vanbiesbrouck? 20 Years Later, Numbers Speak for Themselves
Twenty years ago, in the 1986-87 edition of the Superstar Hockey Yearbook, there was an article from Norm MacLean entitled "Who's Better? Patrick Roy or John Vanbiesbrouck!"
While it was a legitimate question back then, the answer is quite obvious now that both goalies are retired. Let's just say that the numbers speak for themselves. Hindsight 20/20!
Both Junior hockey team owners, they became coach and general manager of their respective teams: the Québec Remparts of the Québec Major Junior Hockey League for Roy and the Sault Ste.Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League for Vanbiesbrouck. In Vanbiesbrouck's case, it ended in turmoil in 2003 after he made racist remarks about one of his players, the Greyhounds' captain Trevor Daley. He was suspended by the league, apologized, and quit his job. As for Roy, while the junior hockey adventure had its ups and downs, his team won the Memorial Cup in 2005-06.