• “Is the President 90 feet tall?”

    by  • December 13, 2009 • Uncategorized • 12 Comments


    Jim Matheson’s article on Nikolai Khabibulin doesn’t sound too positive.

    Starter Nikolai Khabibulin, who hasn’t been on the ice in about three weeks, continues to rehab his sore back and he is not close to being ready to stop shots. The Oilers have released no solid information on his condition while he has been in for treatment during the Roar of the Rings and to do some light exercise.

    I’ve seen whispers elsewhere that the injury might be serious. I’ve been kind of wondering whether this back injury is pre-existing, the extent to which a recurrence could have been predicted and the extent of the Oilers due diligence on the guy – remember, he was signed pretty quickly on July 1.

    As it so happens, Khabibulin’s agent is on Twitter. I figured I’d ask him some questions. The following exchange ensued:

    mc79hockey: @jay_grossman How does UFA work with respect to physicals? When we hear that someone has been signed, does it mean “subject to med review”?

    Jay_Grossman: @mc79hockey exc.Q. Players subject to full physical at camp or contract suspended until healthy, subject to 2nd opinion etc

    mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman Thks. Oilers review any meds on Khabby before signing? Or do teams risk signings with bad med history who can pass physical?

    Jay_Grossman: @mc79hockey ahh, get it. Trick Q. He will be fine for you guys, see Chicago, Tampa. Bit of a slow start/injury,strong finish is what counts

    mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman Not a trick Q – thought you did a great job for your client; Tambo, uh, less so. I can hardly wait for 2012-13!

    Jay_Grossman: @mc79hockey don’t blame tambo. GM 101says you get a coach,102 a goalie. He got best on market. Lots of others can’t say the same. Be patient

    mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman I don’t expect you to criticize a guy who paid your guy. I wouldn’t. Hope it works out. Did he review any meds b4 signing?

    Jay_Grossman: @mc79hockey full physical at camp required. If I were you, be a lot more critical of those that didn’t sign Bulin wall than did. Look it up.

    mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman If med history indicates chronic groin/back problems that aren’t bothering him at camp, can team declare physical failed?

    mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman If you’re interested, I wrote a piece on July 1 explaining why Khabby was a bad fit for OIl: http://www.mc79hockey.com/?p=3163

    mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman As far as teams that passed him by regretting it? Anderson, Roli and Niittymaki all look good. Plus, less $ and term/risk.

    Jay_Grossman: @mc79hockey you probably spoke to soon, but I will read it and get back to you for sure!

    Jay_Grossman: @mc79hockey analyze their career and 08-9 stats and get back to me. I’m big on experience, pressure, Cups. Only #Brodeur bests this decade

    mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman Khabby’s 08-09 is outlier – 1 year sample too small. 5 goalies won 1st Cup in last 8 years. Plus, Oil didn’t get 2000 Khabby.

    mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman What he did in last decade relevant insofar as it predicts future. Big dif between 26 year old goalie and 36 year old.

    mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman Oh – If med history indicates chronic groin/back problems that aren’t bothering him at camp, can team declare physical failed?

    Jay_Grossman: @mc79hockey a) does not have chronic back/ groin probs. B) no.

    mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman Will take you at your word, but if I was handing out $15MM, I’d want to see the med records. Insane risk for Oilers to take.

    mc79hockey: @Jay_Grossman Particularly where guy has missed 40 games w/ back/groin problems in last 4 years.

    Developing, as they say, although I’m pretty sure I know what inference I’m drawing with respect to the review of medical documentation prior to signing him. I would bet that Grossman gracefully avoids the question, as I would if I was in his position.


    12 Responses to “Is the President 90 feet tall?”

    1. December 13, 2009 at

      This is great. Look forward to the rest of the conversation. Also: great picture.

    2. Kyle M
      December 13, 2009 at

      Well done, graceful with out pulling any punches.

      I wonder if Grossman believes the conventional wisdom he espouses or he just says it to justify/save face the position both Khabby and Tambo are in now.

    3. mc79hockey
      December 13, 2009 at

      I would assume he’s being truthful, although if I was in his position, I would think that it’s irrelevant what I think. His job is to get his client the most happiness he possibly can. Sometimes that takes the form of money, sometimes security of tenure and sometimes an opportunity to win the Cup. He has no other job and owes nobody no other duties. Saying anything negative about the GM who signed his client would be counter-productive and might impact his ability to help his clients find happiness in the future.

      Personally, I was more interested in figuring out the degree of due diligence done by the Oilers from a medical angle. At present, my thinking is that the answer is “0″.

    4. Triumph
      December 14, 2009 at

      some consolation; the ruling on alex mogilny in 2006-07 means if khabibulin is continually hobbled, the oil won’t be on the hook for his cap hit when he’s on IR

    5. Hawerchuk
      December 14, 2009 at

      I’m impressed that you got twitter to do that. I can’t get anywhere with it.

    6. December 14, 2009 at

      A bit aggressive, imho (only because I can’t say I blame Khabi or his agent for the signing), but at the same time, I agree. The Khabibulin contract makes Kevin Lowe’s Horcoff contract look like pure genius. I can only assume that Tambellini suffered severe head trauma that day before going into the contract negotiations. Injured back or not, it’s still a poor signing.

      Don’t get me wrong though, singing Khabibulin was a great idea.. just the length of the contract was a horrible decision.

    7. December 14, 2009 at

      Actually after reading your comment, makes a bit more sense, although it at first seemed as though you were backing him into a corner. But I can’t say I’d be surprised if the Oilers didn’t do a very thorough investigation of Khabibulin’s medical history.

    8. December 15, 2009 at

      I very much enjoyed the reading of this exchange. Great work here.

    9. OilW30
      December 15, 2009 at

      Can someone clarify whether there are any circumstances under which the cap hit would come off the books?

    10. December 15, 2009 at

      Oilw30: I’m wondering about this quote from the CBA:

      All Player Salary and Bonuses earned in a League Year by a Player who is in the second or later year of a multi-year SPC which was signed when the Player was age 35 or older (as of June 30 of the League Year in which the SPC is to be effective), but which Player is not on the Club’s Active Roster, Injured Reserve, Injured Non Roster or Non Roster, and regardless of whether, or where, the Player is playing, except to the extent the Player is playing under his SPC in the minor leagues, in which case only the Player Salary and Bonuses in excess of $100,000 shall count towards the calculation of Averaged Club Salary;

      Specifically, the “second or later year” part. This might be taking the CBA (which is like Nostradamus’ writings as far difficulty of interpretation) too literally though, but I wonder if that actually means that if he were to retire before the end of this year that the cap hit would be gone.

      Wishful thinking, probably.

    11. Pam
      January 6, 2010 at

      FAIL @ 1st comment…

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