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NHL Insider: Jagr rolling in the money
Published February 1, 2004
Who, you ask, is the richest of them all, the player with the greatest fortune amassed over an NHL career?
That would be the newest Ranger, Jaromir Jagr, of course. In fact, four players on the current New York payroll rank among the top 10 in aggregate income since 1989.
Jagr's total compensation figures to -- parents: keep driving the kid to peewee hockey practice -- $74,694,851.
Colorado's Joe Sakic comes in second at $68.9 million, followed by New York's Pavel Bure ($68.3 million), Detroit's Steve Yzerman ($64.8 million) and the Rangers' Mark Messier ($62.2 million).
At No. 6 overall, St. Louis' Keith Tkachuk has earned $59.8 million, more than any American-born player. Next comes Dallas' Mike Modano, seventh at $58.5 million, followed by retired goalie Patrick Roy ($57.8 million), Colorado's Paul Kariya ($56.9 million) and New York's Brian Leetch ($56.4 million).
The people at hockeyzoneplus.com did the complicated -- and relatively complete -- math, checking with newspapers and team resources. Unfortunately, the totals do not include bonus money, which for someone like Marian Gaborik can amount to millions in additional earnings.
All figures, it should be noted, include the current season's pay in full.
Mario Lemieux, in case you're curious, ranks 25th, at $47.6 million. He earned $2 million in 1989-90, the year the tracking begins. Wayne Gretzky clocks in at $43.3 million. He earned $1.72 million in 1989-90. Neither, given the relatively low wages earned early in their careers, would crack the top 10 even factoring in the seasons before 1989.
Look no further than former No. 1 pick Alexandre Daigle for the richest player wearing a Wild uniform. Daigle has amassed $12,503,870. He's followed by waiver pickup Jason Wiemer ($8.8 million). Proving that it pays to be tough, pugilist Matt Johnson has pocketed $6.6 million. Former No. 2 pick Andrei Zyuzin's total earnings compute to $6.5 million. Then comes Jason Marshall ($5.9 million), Manny Fernandez ($5.7 million), Sergei Zholtok ($5.2 million), Dwayne Roloson ($5 million), Andrew Brunette ($4.9 million) and Brad Bombardir ($4.4 million).
If the site's calculations included bonus money, Marian Gaborik would vault past Daigle to about $13 million in earnings through season's end.
Get a new move
In addition to vision training and the butterfly, add tireless evaluation of opponents' tendencies to Roloson's bag of tricks. Take Roloson's penalty-shot denial of talented Detroit sniper Pavel Datsyuk on Nov. 15.
That week, Roloson caught a clip of Datsyuk embarrassing Dallas' Marty Turco -- the Western Conference's All-Star Game starter -- on a breakaway. Datsyuk had thrown a wicked forehand deke, kicked it into reverse and dragged the puck back while Turco dropped out of position.
Roloson knew the move would be coming. He stayed true to the angle, slid laterally and sealed off the portion of the net Datsyuk sought.
That night, Detroit coach Dave Lewis called Datsyuk into the office, showed the video clip and told the kid to "come up with something else."
A point well made. Entering the weekend, only 12 of 37 penalty shots league-wide this season resulted in goals, often because players are one-move men. Consider the Flames' Shean Donovan.
Just last week Donovan enjoyed his second penalty shot of the season. A righthanded shot, he faked to the backhand, dropping Sean Burke, then went forehand to score. The move won the Flames the game. It was the same move, in fact, that Donovan used to beat San Jose's Vesa Toskala on a Dec. 2 penalty shot.
"If [Burke] didn't bite, I was in trouble," Donovan said. "I just rushed into it and went blank. It's pretty easy for my mind to go blank."
Goalies, take notice.
Duck duck goose
From Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals to not even being on TV. Tough break for the Ducks. When the Kings traveled down Interstate 5 last week, the Ducks could not find a station to pick up the game. Fox Sports Net opted for NBA basketball between the Lakers and Seattle. FSN 2 picked up UCLA-USC men's basketball. KCAL, which sometimes shows the Ducks, ran "Hollywood Squares," even though the Ducks reportedly "sweetened the deal" for the station.
"Somebody made a mistake," said Kings coach Andy Murray. "I get no time to be disappointed about it or worry about it, I just think somebody made a mistake."
Following a electric playoff run that ended in Game 7 of the Cup Finals, the Ducks are averaging a 0.4 rating (22,000 households) on KCAL, according to the L.A. Times.
Dallas' string of 238 consecutive sellouts ended in October when the Bruins came to town for the second game of the year at American Airlines Arena. All told, the Stars have sold out fewer than half -- 12 of 25 -- of their home games, including a showdown Wednesday with powerhouse Ottawa.
Reports suggest the team could lose up to $10 million if it fails to make the playoffs.
"It may not be that high, but if we miss the playoffs that wouldn't be that far off," Dallas President Jim Lites said. "To break even, we need to win a round of the playoffs. That's just to break even.
"Yeah, it's not pretty."
• The Los Angeles Kings have lost 415 man-games to injury entering the weekend. The NHL record is believed to be 573 lost by the 1991-92 Boston Bruins. The league does not keep this statistic, so its accuracy cannot be validated with complete certainty. The Tampa Bay Lighting, meanwhile, have lost a league-low 14 man-games to injury or illness, none since Dec. 20.
• Team USA's gold medal-winning game in the World Junior Championship will be rebroadcast Saturday on ESPN Classic at 6 p.m.
• A true sign of contract shredding -- three NHL captains could be traded this season. Back in November, Washington shipped beloved veteran Steve Konowalchuk to the Avalanche. The Flames, even with a real shot at the playoffs, will listen to offers for high-scoring winger Jarome Iginla. And, provided teams don't shy away because of lingering back troubles, Chicago's Alexei Zhamnov is all but certain to be moved.
• When asked if New York would be Jagr's kind of town, Alexei Kovalev of the Rangers told the assembled media -- "He's from Prague, so he should like Manhattan." Immediately, all of us nodded in agreement, as if we'd all actually been there.
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