• I’ve seen this before

    by Tyler Dellow • September 15, 2010 • Uncategorized • 48 Comments

    If there’s one thing that you learn as an Oilers fan, it’s how to sniff out bullshit from management. The Capitals’ response to this Belanger thing smells like a textbook example of something we’ve seen the Oilers do time and again.

    Mirtle contacted the Caps and asked them for their side of the story. He got this from them:

    The Capitals declined to comment other than to say they never had a contract in place for Belanger.

    This is, of course, accurate, in light of how a contract is formed in the NHL – it’s signed and filed with the NHL. It also completely fails to address Belanger’s complaint about the team’s conduct. Then, this afternoon, a post appears on the blog of Mike Vogel, who writes for the Capitals’ website. Nobody is quoted in the post – it’s all “intel” that Vogel obtained. Vogel writes:

    During the week of July 12, the Caps checked in with the Belanger camp to see what was going on. Tacopina said he had some irons in the fire, but nothing his client was ready to jump on.

    Washington wondered what kind of deal Belanger would take at this point. Told that Belanger would accept a one-year deal, the Caps inquired as to the dollars. Tacopina mentioned the $1.85 million figure. Washington said it could do that deal, but that it would need to move a contract in order to make it work internally.

    Tacopina’s version, from his email, was as follows:

    On Friday July 16th at 9:45am Don sent me a text message stating, “george wants to offer eric a one year deal, please call me.” When I called Don he said that you were prepared to sign eric to a one year, 1.850million dollar deal. He told me that you didn’t want to sign the deal then because you were working on a trade and you didn’t want eric’s signing to get in the way of that trade by increasing the other team’s leverage.

    Vogel’s version doesn’t really contradict what Tacopina said. Tacopina goes on to say:

    Don did require that Eric commit to the deal at that time however, because he stated that you didn’t want to be in the position of making a trade and then finding out that eric changed his mind and wouldn’t accept the offer. I told him I would call him back shortly and give him an answer. After speaking to Eric, I called don back and told him that eric would agree to the deal. Don said based on that you would move forward with the trade.

    Vogel’s post says nothing about this – no denial that it happened. This is a rather critical point. Tacopina goes on to say:

    Upon my request and at Don’s direction eric has been in contact with your team manager, Ian Anderson, since the first week of August to assist Eric in the above mentioned tasks as well as moving his house belongings from Minnesota to DC. During the first week of August your organization sent a moving company to eric’ s house in Minnesota to size up and prepare for the move. The company scheduled a move for September 1. Because it was getting late in the summer eric and his wife had a tough time getting their children registered in a school in DC but ultimately prevailed in getting the last spot in one of the schools that came highly recommended by some of eric’s teammates. Ian had connected Eric with a real estate broker and Eric signed a lease on a house in DC for one year. School is scheduled to start on september 1st. Obviously, eric and his family need to be in Washington by then. Of course. Eric, who has been training hard all summer, need to continue to skate in the days leading up to training camp and had made plans with several teammates to start skating at the facility on september 1st. On July 29th, eric received an email from Ian Anderson with pre-training camp instruction and schedule. Ian told eric in the email that he had to send it to him under separately because the deal had not yet been “announced”.

    This is critical as well, because “announced” goes to whether the Capitals thought that they had made a binding deal with him or not. There’s an entire course of conduct here that simply isn’t dealt with in Vogel’s post.

    The suggestion that the Capitals couldn’t do anything because of a concern about money gets a lot more explicit in the next paragraph of Vogel’s piece:

    At that stage of the summer, the Caps still had a pending arbitration case with forward Tomas Fleischmann. Not knowing how much Fleischmann’s deal would be for the upcoming season – and whether they’d need to walk away from an unappetizing arbitration award – the Caps were unwilling to add salary and a contract without simultaneously taking a salary off the books.

    We do have an explicit contradiction set up here: Vogel is saying that the Capitals’ concern was to do with salary. Tacopina says that it was to do with leverage in a trade. It’s probably worth noting here that the Capitals have more than $5MM in cap room at the moment, with 21 guys on the roster according to capgeek.com. They don’t seem to me to be in any cap trouble. If there’s an internal budget that they don’t want to go over, that’s one thing, but, IIRC, they were pretty close to the cap last year. Tacopina’s version, that the Caps wanted to maintain leverage for a trade, seems more likely to me than the Caps’ version.

    This leads us to this, also from Vogel:

    A month passed, bringing us to mid-August. The Caps told Tacopina that things were really quiet on the trade front, and that if they had something else they wanted to do with another club, they shouldn’t wait. If Belanger had anything else on the table at that point, it probably wasn’t as lucrative as Washington’s offer. Tacopina told the Caps they’d wait. At that point, the Belanger camp opted to leak news of the “deal” to a Canadian media outlet. Which is rarely a good idea.

    According to Tacopina, this is how it happened:

    Up until that point it was never a question as to “if” the trade would take place but “when” it would take place. That was until I received a call from Don on August 17th in which he told me that you were still working on the trade but if we were getting “restless” then we should “move on.” I explained to him that at this point in the summer….5 weeks after our offer and acceptance, that there were no other places for eric to move on to. That all of the teams that we were negotiating with in early july had themselves moved on when I told them that eric would no longer be available to negotiate at that time.

    The timeline seems a little muddled here. I understand that Belanger’s rumoured deal turned up in the Canadian media on August 12, which is before mid-August. Vogel and the Caps put the leak after the conversation in which he was told that things were quiet and that they if they had something else, they should take it. That’s a pretty critical point, given that Vogel goes on to say this:

    If it was already hard for the Caps to make a deal, it certainly didn’t get any easier when the word got out that Washington reportedly had an agreement with Belanger, but couldn’t move forward without a corresponding subtraction from the roster and the balance sheet.

    Again, I’m not entirely certain that it’s correct to say that the Caps “…couldn’t move forward without a corresponding subtraction from the roster and the balance sheet.” If there’s an internal budget that they can’t go over, that’s one thing. It certainly doesn’t appear to be the case with the cap though. In any event, on Vogel’s version of events, the leak of the deal happens after the Capitals went to him and told him that, if he had anything else on the table, he shouldn’t wait.

    More Vogel:

    McPhee called Belanger personally – one of several conversations he had with the player in the last two weeks – to tell him that since a trade was not in the offing, the Caps would not be able to move forward. The Caps GM did offer Belanger an invite to training camp, giving the center an opportunity to skate and stay in shape while waiting for a firm and acceptable contract offer from Washington or another club in the league.

    Obviously, Belanger would have preferred to make $1.85 million playing for a good team in a city he was a bit familiar with, and for a coach with whom he has a history. He and his agent chose the risk of waiting for the Caps to make a trade.

    The Caps did not make a deal. Belanger signed with Phoenix on Tuesday. Within hours, Washington offered the camp invite spot it had held for Belanger to Matt Hendricks.

    Again – this is not the critical period. The complaint that Belanger has isn’t with the period in which he waited after he was told that the Capitals weren’t going to move forward – it’s with the period leading up to that, when he stopped negotiating with other teams on the Capitals’ assurance that they had a deal with him. Vogel’s post doesn’t really address that.

    Coincidentally, Ted Leonsis, who cannot usually shut up when it comes to the slightest slur against the Capitals, explained the Capitals’ policy on people who unfairly criticize the team a few days ago:

    We are our own largest media outlet now.

    We will use all of the tools we have to protect our players and our reputation if and when we think we have been wronged by bad facts.

    If you write something that is incorrect, we will let the world know. The rules have changed. It is no longer a one way street where you write and we hide. We are now bigger as a media outlet than most of the media that covers us. So write away and blog away. Ninety-nine percent of the stuff is great. When there is a comment or fact that is wrong, I reserve the right to point out the wrong facts or state my opinion. What is good for the goose is good for the gander.

    With an opportunity to use this forum he has created just a few days later, after an agent spent an entire day slamming the team – Tacopina actually said that the NHLPA wasn’t surprised that this was the Capitals and that other GM’s were critical of them as well, what does Leonsis this? This:

    We need to respond and we need to be transparent.

    I am sad to have to point to this article. All of this is allowing you to see how sometimes sausage gets made. I honestly wish none of this had become public but this is our side of the story. I was fully briefed and I believe what is written here to be fact.

    You can and should make your own decision but it is just time now for us to put our side of the story out there.

    The link is to the article written by Vogel. The one with all sorts of holes and unanswered questions that fails to address a number of critical points.

    That is, in effect, three shots that the Capitals have had today to say that Tacopina’s version of events was materially wrong. If they had just left it with their first statement or refused to make any other comment or said that, in light of the potential for litigation, they couldn’t say anything, I’d understand. When they’ve obviously put some time into developing a strategy for this though and that’s what they came up with, it’s difficult to conclude that Tacospina’s version isn’t substantially right.

    About Tyler Dellow

    48 Responses to I’ve seen this before

    1. September 15, 2010 at

      Vogel’s points about the team needing to remove a contract either for budgetary or cap reasons are obviously nonsense. The Caps are a cap team, they don’t have an internal budget that limits their salaries, and they are obviously not anywhere near the cap for this season. That’s obviously something that Fishman just told him and Vogel either wasn’t smart enough or was too loyal a company man to report the nonsense of it. This had nothing to do with money or cap room. It does have to do with value and team needs, though.

      McPhee, unlike a lot of GM’s in the league (particularly those in Edmonton) has this strange affectation where he doesn’t like to hand out contracts for players whose contribution to a team won’t outstrip their cap hit. And Belanger at 1.85M on a team where he’d likely be a 4th center and where he probably wouldn’t provide much more value than players like Perrault and Johansson and would probably hinder their development certainly fits the bill. Remove Flash and/or Steckel, Belanger at that contract makes some sense.

      Regardless, I don’t think any of that makes much of a difference. It doesn’t matter why McPhee needed extra time to sign Belanger. Doing a solid for a colleague as a professional courtesy is one thing, and normal dudes usually will do that sort of thing all the time, but at a certain point that becomes ignoring the realities of the business and disadvantaging your client. (Although, I don’t think Belanger was disadvantaged because there were no other deals out there for him.) You have to agree that at a certain point Belanger’s reliance on Fishman’s “promise” went from reasonable to unreasonable. My understanding of the NHL UFA process and market – and I’d be shocked if my understanding of that period was less than first-time agent and former plaintiff’s attorney Joe Tacopina’s – makes me think that waiting anything after the initial first 2-5 day period the Caps requested would move me from the reasonable professional courtesy area into unreasonable reliance.

      I don’t want to dig too deep into defending the Caps here. Obviously, Vogel’s point doesn’t really address the important issues, though I do think it sheds a little bit of light and I do think the line, “Washington said it could do that deal, but that it would need to move a contract in order to make it work internally” does not necessarily constitute an “offer” that Belanger could accept and create a contract.

      I’ll also add that perhaps what’s most frightening is the letter Tacopina wrote. How seriously can we take this guy?

      And finally, I don’t think this even touches, in terms of fucked-upness and moral reprehension, what the Capitals did to Nylander last year. Again though, it was completely within the rules of the CBA, within applicable laws, and it helped the team. It made it hard for me to root for the team for a few months, we’re all big boys here, Nylander and Belanger included. At least Nylander got screwed while he was getting paid, I guess.

    2. R O
      September 15, 2010 at

      McPhee, unlike a lot of GM’s in the league (particularly those in Edmonton) has this strange affectation where he doesn’t like to hand out contracts for players whose contribution to a team won’t outstrip their cap hit.

      Qoui???

      Between known terrible players (Nylander, Theodore) and Ovechkin teat-suckers (Backstrom, Green) McPhee is one of the worst at giving bloated contracts to bad players.

      It kinda helps cover up a lot of your mistakes when you have a difference-maker like Ovechkin.

    3. September 15, 2010 at

      What was the cap hit to Nylander last year? What’s his cap hit going to be this year? Theodore was a terrible 2yr contract as a bridge to Varlamov and Neuvirth (neither of whom had ever played an AHL game at that point)? Yea, he’s what killed them the last two years? Backstrom and Green don’t outproduce their cap hits? I don’t know what to tell you. Not everyone can get a Duncan Keith contract, sure, and OV is a great player, but you’re dead wrong if you think Backstrom and Green are solely living off his largesse. I know we’ve been through this before w/ the Backstrom WOWY, but ask Tyler what he thinks of the 6.7 cap hit. That’s a beauty contract. Of course, Kopitar would be scoring 130 points a year playing with OV.

    4. Gerald
      September 15, 2010 at

      Regarding WASH’s lack of cap issues, Tyler, the article does indicate that WASH was trying to sign Willie Mitchell as well. Presumably they would be wanting to save some cap space for him, thereby putting them closer to the cap than they were. Mitchell was still on the market at that time, so that does lend a somewhat increased measure of credence to that part of the Caps’ version. Since he signed for $3.5/yr, that would have put a dent in their available space. Tack theat onto a $1.85M contract with Belanger.

      It seems like WASH’s basic story is that they made it clear to the agent that they could do a deal IF they move a player to make Belanger’s contract a trade-off by moving someone ahead of time. Who knows, really?

    5. Tyler Dellow
      September 15, 2010 at

      McPhee, unlike a lot of GM’s in the league (particularly those in Edmonton) has this strange affectation where he doesn’t like to hand out contracts for players whose contribution to a team won’t outstrip their cap hit.

      Meh. He’s had his bad contracts too. Basically everything up until 2006. Kolzig. Theodore. He’s not without sin.

      In any event, it turns on what happened on July 16. Vogel’s story is pretty carefully worded and the Caps have had ample opportunity to address the critical point. All Leonsis (or someone) has to do to counter the charge is say “We did not tell Belanger that we had a deal and that we would sign it once we had made a trade.” Leonsis is commenting publicly. The only reason I can think of that he won’t say something like that is that Taco is telling the truth.

      Doing a solid for a colleague as a professional courtesy is one thing, and normal dudes usually will do that sort of thing all the time, but at a certain point that becomes ignoring the realities of the business and disadvantaging your client.

      If you’ve been told that you have a deal but that it just can’t be signed yet for leverage purposes, I’m not sure how waiting longer disadvantages one’s client. He isn’t getting paid until October. Whether the deal is signed July 20 or September 20 makes no difference, once you’re satisfied that you’ve made a deal. You’re assuming that there was always risk that the Caps would simply decide not to do what they’d assured him they’d do.

      You have to agree that at a certain point Belanger’s reliance on Fishman’s “promise” went from reasonable to unreasonable. My understanding of the NHL UFA process and market – and I’d be shocked if my understanding of that period was less than first-time agent and former plaintiff’s attorney Joe Tacopina’s – makes me think that waiting anything after the initial first 2-5 day period the Caps requested would move me from the reasonable professional courtesy area into unreasonable reliance.

      Nah, I don’t. Not as long as they were assuring me that they were still working on a deal and that everything was fine. It’s only if a) training camp started, b) they started doing things that indicated they’d changed their mind or c) they made the trade and then had some other reason that they couldn’t sign me yet that I’d think it started to get unreasonable.

      In any event, and I meant to make this point in the other thread, the test is whether “…the promisor should reasonably expect [the promise] to induce action or forbearance of action on the part of the promisee.” The Caps would literally have to argue that, despite what they were telling him (assuming his version to be accurate) and all the other steps they took, they could not reasonably have expected that he would act on their request. That strikes me as an absurd argument to be making.

      You said in that thread: “I think the focus should be more on the behavior of the promisee (Belanger) than the promisor (the Caps).” As authoritative as I find you to be, I prefer the American Restatement, until one of us digs up case law to show that your preference is how it works.

      I do think the line, “Washington said it could do that deal, but that it would need to move a contract in order to make it work internally” does not necessarily constitute an “offer” that Belanger could accept and create a contract.

      I agree. It’s not a denial of his version of events though. Considering that Vogel is in tight with the team and Leonsis scours the internet for slurs against the Caps’ good name, however slight, I’m surprised that they suddenly don’t know how to effectively rebut something.

      Unless, of couse, it’s true, and they don’t want the risk of a companion defamation action.

      I’ll also add that perhaps what’s most frightening is the letter Tacopina wrote.

      Yeah, it’s terrible. It reads like he was seriously pissed off and not waiting 24 hours to write the letter.

    6. Tyler Dellow
      September 15, 2010 at

      It seems like WASH’s basic story is that they made it clear to the agent that they could do a deal IF they move a player to make Belanger’s contract a trade-off by moving someone ahead of time. Who knows, really?

      Well that’s the obvious defence and that’s what they hint at. I don’t know if you read Leonsis’ blog but he is nuts about protecting the Caps from the slightest hint of criticism. It baffles me that their denials are so equivocal in this case.

    7. September 16, 2010 at

      What was the cap hit to Nylander last year? What’s his cap hit going to be this year? Theodore was a terrible 2yr contract as a bridge to Varlamov and Neuvirth (neither of whom had ever played an AHL game at that point)?

      You just went from “McPhee doesn’t hand out bad contracts” to “McPhee does hand out bad contracts, but he can ditch them in one post”.

      Well done on the self-contradiction in such a short time. It’s impressive.

    8. roddie
      September 16, 2010 at

      Nah, I don’t. Not as long as they were assuring me that they were still working on a deal and that everything was fine.

      I think you’d make that mistake exactly *once*, Tyler.

      I guess to my zero-legal-background mind, this is all covered by the CBA; which is the agreement already in place between Belanger (by way of the NHLPA) and the Caps (by way of the league), and spells out exactly how the contract process works and what a contract is and isn’t. I’m not sure we can ignore it here, but it does sound like Belanger (or more likely his agent) certainly did and got bitten for it.

      I’m also not sure the lack of a detailed response or denial by the Caps is necessarily proof that Tacopina’s version is gospel. Perhaps they just don’t want to get into a pissing-match with a player in the media. Maybe in this case, they believe the less said in public the better, and the faster it goes away.

      While Leonsis has usually been defensive of his club; this is a specific player issue, not “us vs. them”, and I can understand if they don’t want to make all of the details public. I know I certainly wouldn’t.

      Having said all of that, if we believe Tacopina’s version of the events, it was definitely a douchey move by the Caps with the moving trucks etc., but I have to agree with Rajeev here that there had to be a point where Tacopina decided the waiting period was unreasonable.

    9. roddie
      September 16, 2010 at

      Oops.. the first paragraph should have been in blockquotes.

    10. September 16, 2010 at

      @Roddie: If the Taco version of events is true, and the Caps sent movers and set him up with a DC real estate agent and the whole nine yards, it seems to me that one can reasonably expect an SPC to be pending. You don’t move a guy to the city and then tell him it might not happen.

    11. September 16, 2010 at

      Pretty much what Doogie said – Upon reading the story, I had thought pretty much what Rajeev was saying, that it was kind of unreasonably on Belanger’s part to sit and wait that long, thinking that everything was hunky-dory. But if the club is making all these other actions in the meantime to help get you all set up for the year you’re going to spend in DC… That makes it much more reasonable. What kind of asshole helps you move so he can employ you, and then refuses to hire you after you’ve already committed? Apparently George McPhee and Ted Leonsis.

    12. NovaCath
      September 16, 2010 at

      Thanks for a very good analysis of both sides of the story. Mike Vogel is a good writer but he is an employee of the Washington Capitals so I am sure that his blog entry was reviewed by all interested parties inside the Caps organization before it was published. As a Caps season ticket holder, the part of this story that I found most distasteful was Belanger saying that the Caps helped him with finding housing and schools,which is leading him on that a deal would go through, yet Vogel did not address this point at all. Belanger’s agent appears to be new to the NHL. To me, it appears that the Caps took full advantage of this as a more experienced agent would likely not have agreed to just a verbal agreement and have gotten a written commitment. Vogel’s comment about how it was already hard to make a deal is something that we constantly hear from the Caps as an excuse. It is always just so hard for them to a trade, yet other NHL teams seem to be able to make trades. And your comment about how Ted cannot shut up about the slightest slur is just so spot on.

    13. David
      September 16, 2010 at

      “Between known terrible players (Nylander, Theodore) and Ovechkin teat-suckers (Backstrom, Green) McPhee is one of the worst at giving bloated contracts to bad players.”

      Nylander was signed to play under a different coach and in a different system – one where he did pretty well. Not a great contract, but not terrible.

      Theodore was the best free agent option in net at the time. The only other NHL caliber starter was Huet and, lemme tell ya, the Caps are a lot better off without that contract.

      Green and Backstrom, really? Green’s cap hit is 5.25 million (and he’ll still be an RFA at the end of the contract) and he’s the best offensive defenseman in the NHL. Backstrom’s put up 101 points last year, at age 22, and is a good defense player, and his hit’s $6.7M. Neither is overpaid in the slightest.

    14. Gumpper
      September 16, 2010 at

      Fully agree with NovaCath here. And while Vogs snarkily says that Belanger may have a lawsuit against his agent, Vogs is right. But that does not excuse the Caps conduct in this. Seems pretty clear that GMGM thought he had a deal (probably for Flash), saw Belanger as his replacement, and then strung Belanger along until the deal could not get done for Flash.

    15. Matt
      September 16, 2010 at

      You glanced over the Cap and Roster issue a little too fast. While there is a limit to active players on an NHL roster, there is also a number-of-contracts limit. I believe that limit to be 50. I also believe they are quite close to that 50 contract limit. Looking at NHLs Cap which lists some minor league players, the Caps are at 43 contracts (it includes Belnager’s…so 42…) However, that site is missing quite a few guys in Hershey who I know have contracts and are currently Capitals property. While there may not be any salary cap issues or active roster limits, the closer you get to that 50 contract max, the less room to move you have. This issue can’t be ignored in this debate.

      To me, this whole situation ends on the 12th of August, when the deal was leaked to the media. Willie Mitchell was still available and it was still “rumored” that the caps were trying to move Flash for Souray or a Canuck D man. August 12 that all changed. If EB leaked to the media, shame on him. If his agent did, EB will probably be his only and last NHL player he represents.

      The house-moving stuff is a fun one. It seems they started the process the first week in august according to EB’s Agent, but the move was not scheduled until Sep 1. Again, after Aug 12. After someone in EB’s camp screwed the whole deal. After it can be reasonably expected that the Caps would dork around with them. Loose lips sunk this ship.

      One final comment. The e-mail sent to G&M was supposedly unedited. If I am a lawyer representing a client, I am going to write like a professional. Not some informal blog comment like this. I’m going to form proper sentences and punctuate/capitalize where appropriate.

    16. September 16, 2010 at

      You just went from “McPhee doesn’t hand out bad contracts” to “McPhee does hand out bad contracts, but he can ditch them in one post”.

      No. You can’t evaluate the merits of a contract after the player has performed on it. You have to evaluate the reasonable expectations of the player and the team at the time the contract was signed. Obviously, you’re gonna over pay for a UFA, and you’re gonna over pay for a player who traditionally puts up scoring numbers (as opposed to someone like Martin Hanzal who may be the best value player in the league right now), and you’re gonna over pay for a center who just came off a fantastic year and who was paired with Jaromir Jagr. But, the Caps could afford to over pay back then. Nay, they needed to over pay. They can’t afford to over pay now because they’re a good team and close to the cap. But the team that signed Nylander was terrible, not anywhere close to the cap, had no established scoring centers, didn’t know yet what they had in Nik Backstrom, wanted a player who could mentor and babysit Backstrom off ice, needed to make the playoffs that year, and had a coach who liked Nylander’s game. Each of those factors changed dramatically in 12 months. It’s pretty easy to sit back and say today that that was a terrible signing, but it ignores the realities of team needs at the time. Adding Nylander to the Oilers at the same time, however, made less sense, to me, because Nylander was a player that fit less on that team. The obvious passer-shooter pairing of Nyls-OV (which unfortunately didn’t really work) wasn’t present on the Oilers, and a Nylander-Hemskly combo, while possibly producing a ton of dangles and circling along the boards, wouldn’t obviously seem like a natural match.

      I will note, not because it’s particularly relevant but because it doesn’t get mentioned enough, the symbiosis between Jagr and Nylander those two post-lockout years was both really beautiful and ridiculously effective. Ask your new boss Renney what he things of those 2 players. I don’t know that we have CORSI rates for those years, but their goal differential on-ice v. off-ice were great. Nylander was old at that point, but he was a beast in the regular season and the playoffs his last season in NY.

    17. September 16, 2010 at

      While there is a limit to active players on an NHL roster, there is also a number-of-contracts limit.

      That’s a really good point, but how hard could it be to move Jake Hauswirth’s or Josh Godfrey’s contract? I can’t imagine this had much to do with the hold up.

    18. Triumph
      September 16, 2010 at

      If I may play devil’s advocate – I mostly agree with you, Tyler, but I do think your argument about Leonsis doesn’t really hold water, especially when a lawsuit has been threatened.

      How about this scenario – Eric says, look, I loved playing in Washington, I’d really like to go back there. Tacopina says, okay. Capitals say if they make a trade, Belanger’s welcome back, Tacopina misinterprets, and tells Belanger they have an agreement in principle once the Caps make some deal. Belanger, excitedly, tells Tacopina to stop negotiating with other teams.

      The problem with this story is sending the movers and sending the information about camp. Seems like there’s a real communication problem in the Caps’ front office.

    19. September 16, 2010 at

      No. You can’t evaluate the merits of a contract after the player has performed on it. You have to evaluate the reasonable expectations of the player and the team at the time the contract was signed.

      Stop. Don’t go any further. People openly laughed at the Caps when those deals were signed. Full stop.

    20. September 16, 2010 at

      People openly laughed at the Caps when those deals were signed.

      And DamoCox is questioning the signing of Marc Staal as an overpay. Stupid people who don’t understand the FA market or specific team needs will openly laugh at all kinds of things, they’ll do stupid things, and they’ll write articles suggesting the Capitals are interested in Sheldon Souray. I can’t control any of that.

      You think Nylander was a terrible signing in the summer of ’07. I’d suggest you didn’t know much about how he played the prior season and what the Capitals organizational needs were at that point and going forward. I thought the Tom Poti signing was a terrible one that summer. I was dead wrong. I didn’t realize how much better a player he had become with the Islanders than as a Ranger.

    21. exwhaler
      September 16, 2010 at

      Vogel’s fudging of the timeline of events in comparison to the Tucopina’s is strange, considering that Tucopina (a) stated the Caps told him the deal was contigent on a trade, (b) stated the Caps requested he keep the arrangement quiet, and (c) Tucopina leaked and then confirmed the trade in the press by August 12 (he actually talked about it to a French-Canadian media several days before but didn’t mention the name fo the team). Just by going off Tucopina’s story, it seems a clear breach of trust on his part that possibly sunk a trade deal that was required for the Capitals to bring his client on board. Tucopina, incidently, never mentions in his email to McPhee that he leaked the Capitals” arrangement with Belanger. Vogel only had to point out Tucopina’s own timeline and the one important fact he left out, but instead, he places the leak after their conversation with him and isn’t clear whether a deal went up. Which brings us to the fact that Vogel works for the Capitals and Tucopina doesn’t.

      Team management, as a general rule, do not like current roster players being named in trade rumors. It creates uncertainty in the locker room and lowers morale. When word got about the players talked about in the Oilers’ proposed deal for Heatley last year, Kevin Lowe was less than pleased. It’s entirely possibly that Vogel is changing the facts to make it appear the Capitals were not deep in trade talks and that Fleischmann (who was named by Mirtle as the most likely trade bait) was not being actively shopped.

      This is the difference between “transparency” and “protecting our players” (as Leonsis says in his missive about unfair media criticism).

    22. Triumph
      September 16, 2010 at

      rajeev:

      whatever the capitals’ needs were, i don’t think signing a 35 year old player to a 4 year deal, the first three of which contain an NMC, is particularly prudent, especially when most of the rest of your team is young players on ELCs. it’s similar to the hot water the blackhawks put themselves in. i watched nylander have a very good season in 06-07, and if they could’ve gotten him for 3 years, it might’ve been a good deal.

    23. R O
      September 16, 2010 at

      Yeah, Coach, don’t you remember in 2007, how the blogosphere discussed Nylander playing the tough minutes the previous season in NYR?

      If you’re like me, you probably forgot because those discussions never happened, because Nylander playing tough minutes never happened.

      Rajeev is an expert though, because he was fucking there for the discussions that actually happened, the ones about Nylander getting pimped by Renney against scrubs.

      So if you just read Rajeev’s posts, you’ll quickly realize tha… wait, what? What’s Rajeev trying to tell us now?

      That Nylander was some sort of useful player in 06/07?

      That those of us who saw what happened, wrote about what happened, and read about what happened, in fact do not know what happened, because the sole determinant of the facts are what comes out of Rajeev’s imagination?

      That Nylander isn’t yet another bad player in the long list of bad players employed by the Capitals, a veritable basement team without one Alexander Ovechkin, who was a stroke of good fortune for the Caps by any reasonable interpretation of “luck”?

      That he, Rajeev, in fact admires the anaylytical stylings of one Damien Cox because he, Rajeev, thinks much along the same lines?

    24. September 16, 2010 at

      You said in that thread: “I think the focus should be more on the behavior of the promisee (Belanger) than the promisor (the Caps).” As authoritative as I find you to be, I prefer the American Restatement, until one of us digs up case law to show that your preference is how it works.

      Well, I just did a very quick search, but I think the elements for promissory estoppel in New York (it’s not going to be very different in other US jurisdictions) are as such:

      “a clear and unambiguous promise, reasonable and foreseeable reliance by the party to whom the promise is made and an injury sustained in reliance thereon.” Braddock v. Braddock, 60 A.D.3d 84 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dept. 2009).

      Putting aside the points that Vogel’s article casts some doubt on the “clear and unambiguous promise” requirement, and I highly doubt there are was any injury suffered because I don’t believe Belanger had another deal he was waiting for, I think one of the elements of estoppel that is most relevant here is whether Taco’s reliance was, in fact, reasonable?

      The Restatement’s point about the promisor reasonably expecting forebearance is certainly accurate, but I think it leaves out the element that the reliance itself by the promisee must be reasonable. There’s a question of fact as to its reasonableness here, and I think all sorts of factors such as the context of UFA negotiations and the signing process and what forms a binding contract under the CBA would come into play.

      I’ll also note that NY courts have found that “[e]ven if New York law fully embraced the doctrine of promissory estoppel, that doctrine would only be applied to the limited class of cases where the promisee, in reliance upon a promise, has suffered unconscionable injury.” Klein v. Jamor Purveyors, Inc., 108 A.D.2d 344 (N.Y. App. Div. 2d Dept. 1985). I’m not so sure that this was unconscionable injury, but that’s a totally different point.

    25. September 16, 2010 at

      If you’re like me, you probably forgot because those discussions never happened, because Nylander playing tough minutes never happened.

      Of course, teams loved running out their fourth lines against Jagr and Nylander. I like to get as many AHL’ers on the ice as possible when 68 jumps over the boards. Jagr generally got the checkers on the road and Renneey went power v. power at home. Classify those as tough or soft minutes as you want.

      That Nylander was some sort of useful player in 06/07?

      Nylander was a stud in 06/07. He was consistently brilliant that year and no Ranger center since has come close to being as effective.

      That Nylander isn’t yet another bad player in the long list of bad players employed by the Capitals, a veritable basement team without one Alexander Ovechkin, who was a stroke of good fortune for the Caps by any reasonable interpretation of “luck”?

      Do you realize that OV was on the ice for about 30% of the Caps season last year?

      That he, Rajeev, in fact admires the anaylytical stylings of one Damien Cox because he, Rajeev, thinks much along the same lines?

      I’m pretty sure you misunderstood what I was saying about Cox. Either that or I don’t understand what you’re saying. To be clear: Cox is a fucking idiot who has basically never said anything intelligent about hockey.

    26. RSL
      September 16, 2010 at

      I don’t particularly care about hearing that a guy is only going to make 750K….it’ll take me 10 years to make that much.

      The ENTIRE STORY here is that Belanger is the only client of Tacopina, and this is going to KILL Tacopina’s hopes at becoming a real NHL agent.

      There was nothing signed, Tacopina is clearly a terrible agent if he is going on the word of an NHL GM whos only job is to make sure his team is better off….not to protect the feelings of a rental player who had ZERO impact with the team as the bowed out in the first round of the playoffs.

      Semin needs a real center. Belanger is not that player.

      Nothing will come of this fiasco except tha Tacopina will never get another player to represent because he is clearly a terrible agent. Good luck with the frivolous lawsuit, it’ll get you no where, and Belanger is still gonna be paying you less than half of the commission you could have made with the bloated contract you thought the Caps would offer.

    27. RSL
      September 16, 2010 at

      Also, one other thing about law….this is I guess at Rajeev and the Nylander situation (that came back to really F us Caps fans over)….

      When you enter into a union or collective bargaining agreement, you forfiet rights of the commoner. Although verbal agreements may be nice in the real world, they have no precidence in the NHLPA as you sign those away in favor of what the rulebook says.

      So as for Edmonton fans in the Nylander case or Tacopina in the Belanger case….read the rule book, and then good luck getting anything in return. You signed your common laws away, much the way a private school child isn’t subject to the same rules a public school child is subject to.

    28. September 16, 2010 at

      I’d just like to interject one thing here that’s been glossed over, and that’s Boudreau’s very vehement public outburst that Flash wasn’t going to be traded. When that story came out, I remember I was like “WTF is he talking about this for?” This was while the negotiations were still supposedly taking place for Belanger – it had already been tentatively announced that Belanger had been signed, the question was at that point where. I wonder how much of the motivation behind the Belanger thing was Bruce’s love affair with Flash and wanting Flash to be center again (with horrendous results most likely, since we all know how the Flash at center project went before). Bruce has said in the press that he loves Flash because Flash reminds him of how he was at that age. It’s almost ridiculous how much Bruce loves his Hershey folk to the extent that they get 15 bajillion chances and screw them up most of the time and guys who have legit skills have to suffer because they won’t get the call up from Hershey.

      And I say all of this as a Caps fan since 1989 – just so no one thinks I am a noob, here.

    29. RSL
      September 16, 2010 at

      Ha, Bumper, it’s true….Flash gets so much love from Bouds…why can’t Fehr get any of that same love?

    30. Caps Nut
      September 16, 2010 at

      What about the contention from Vogel that the Caps offered Belanger a two-year $3 million contract before June 30th?

      That changes the game some, so why did you leave that out?

      The simple fact of the matter is, Belanger and Tacopina gambled twice and they lost twice. Whether you believe Belanger/Tacopina or the Caps, Belanger was told that his contract would be finalized after a trade was completed. A trade wasn’t completed so neither was the contract.

      Why is this so freaking hard to understand???

      Finally keep in mind that the Caps have Alexander Semin, Brooks Laich, Mike Knuble, Semyon Varlamov, and Michael Neuvrith among some others as Free Agents next summer. If the Caps want to extend them before this season ends, they need cap space this year in order to get those extensions registered.

    31. September 16, 2010 at

      I think that ultimately, there’s plenty of blame to be shared here between Belanger, his agent, and the Caps organization (with particular people bearing more of the burden). There’s two sides to the story, and the truth is often to be found somewhere in the middle.

      For me, I think it boils down to this: B’s agent is in over his head and screwed B out of $$$’s by not being a legit sports agent, B screwed himself by not being more proactive and trusting his agent too much, and the Caps screwed B by making what seemed like an offer to him but pulling it back after other plans fell through (after making it seem like it was a legit deal that B signed a lease and got his kids in school based on the help/word from the Caps org).

    32. Tyler Dellow
      September 16, 2010 at

      What about the contention from Vogel that the Caps offered Belanger a two-year $3 million contract before June 30th?

      That changes the game some, so why did you leave that out?

      I don’t think it changes anything. Why do you?

      The simple fact of the matter is, Belanger and Tacopina gambled twice and they lost twice. Whether you believe Belanger/Tacopina or the Caps, Belanger was told that his contract would be finalized after a trade was completed. A trade wasn’t completed so neither was the contract.

      I think you’re mischaracterizing Tacopina’s version of events. He says that they were told a deal was done and that they didn’t want to sign it yet because it would affect their leverage in a trade that they were trying to do. There seem to be two versions:

      a) “We’ll sign you for one year at $1.85MM IF we are able to make this trade.”

      b) “We’ll sign you for one year at $1.85MM. We want to delay the signing because it will affect our leverage in this trade but the deal is done.”

      There’s a legal term called a “condition precedent” that comes into play here. Some agreements contain for them. For example, I’ll buy your house subject to me getting bank financing. If I can’t get financing, there’s no deal.

      This distinction is very clear and it’s critical to this. The Capitals have not denied Tacopina’s version, which is that there was no condition precedent. All they’ve done is run with this Vogel thing, which quotes nobody and is vague on the point.

      Why is this so freaking hard to understand???

      If you aren’t a Caps fan, things look a little different.

      Finally keep in mind that the Caps have Alexander Semin, Brooks Laich, Mike Knuble, Semyon Varlamov, and Michael Neuvrith among some others as Free Agents next summer. If the Caps want to extend them before this season ends, they need cap space this year in order to get those extensions registered.

      That’s not true.

    33. Tyler Dellow
      September 16, 2010 at

      For me, I think it boils down to this: B’s agent is in over his head and screwed B out of $$$’s by not being a legit sports agent, B screwed himself by not being more proactive and trusting his agent too much, and the Caps screwed B by making what seemed like an offer to him but pulling it back after other plans fell through (after making it seem like it was a legit deal that B signed a lease and got his kids in school based on the help/word from the Caps org).

      There’s room to say that Belanger’s agent screwed up, I suppose. The thing is, if the Capitals want to rely on that, they have to say “You never should have trusted us.” Do you think that they want to make that argument? Who looks worse?

    34. Tyler Dellow
      September 16, 2010 at

      When you enter into a union or collective bargaining agreement, you forfiet rights of the commoner. Although verbal agreements may be nice in the real world, they have no precidence in the NHLPA as you sign those away in favor of what the rulebook says.

      So as for Edmonton fans in the Nylander case or Tacopina in the Belanger case….read the rule book, and then good luck getting anything in return. You signed your common laws away, much the way a private school child isn’t subject to the same rules a public school child is subject to.

      Thanks for the treatise. Are you a lawyer?

    35. September 16, 2010 at

      The thing is, if the Capitals want to rely on that, they have to say “You never should have trusted us.” Do you think that they want to make that argument? Who looks worse?

      I think this is essentially what this whole thing boils down to, and I think this is Tyler’s big problem with it (and I think that’s completely fair). Frankly, I’d rather be the Caps in this situation and I think Taco looks a lot worse. (Nevermind the pathetic ramblings and un-nuanced, self-servicing exhortations of blow-hard Leonsis. I don’t pay any attention to anything he says and I suggest those who are already angry enough with the world do the same.) The Caps were probably disingenuous and I think other GM’s and agents should take notice and interact with them accordingly. But they acted purely in the best interests of their team, they made the right decision with respect to their team, and I think they did so in a way that did not create a great probability of being liable for any damages. It’s not necessarily how I would do business, but there’s a difference between best practices and civil liability.

      At this point, I’d really like to see Taco file suit and it go to trial just so I could see how the facts come out and what kind of arguments are made. I’ve learned more about the law following the NHL than I ever did in law school.

    36. RSL
      September 16, 2010 at

      It won’t go to court, if Tacopina tries that he runs a huge risk of losing his agent status.

      With only one client who’s completely pissed, it’s unlikely he’ll get anywhere in the future, but he sure isn’t going to kill his career by taking this to court.

      I hardly classify that as a treatise, but no I’m not a lawyer, in law school for what that’s worth.

    37. Tyler Dellow
      September 16, 2010 at

      Excellent, you’re a law student. What year?

      It won’t go to court, if Tacopina tries that he runs a huge risk of losing his agent status.

      Some questions.

      1. What document have you read that permits you to conclude that, if Tacopina tries to take this to court, he runs a huge risk of losing his status as an agent?

      2. I assume that you’re at least somewhat familiar with the duties that a lawyer owes to his client. Do you think that a lawyer would be permitted to agree to something that would fetter his ability to give his best advice to his client? To, in effect, assume a duty (not to litigate something) that conflicts with the duty that he owes to his client?

      Given that you’re a law student, I’ll ask a few more questions about your previous comment.

      When you enter into a union or collective bargaining agreement, you forfiet rights of the commoner. Although verbal agreements may be nice in the real world, they have no precidence in the NHLPA as you sign those away in favor of what the rulebook says.

      So as for Edmonton fans in the Nylander case or Tacopina in the Belanger case….read the rule book, and then good luck getting anything in return. You signed your common laws away, much the way a private school child isn’t subject to the same rules a public school child is subject to.

      A hypothetical. Say that George McPhee was really angry about this. Phoenix comes to town next year and he sees Eric Belanger. He punches Eric Belanger in the face.

      I’ve read the CBA and assault by a team employee is not an issue that was collectively bargained. Can Eric Belanger sue him for that?

    38. R O
      September 16, 2010 at

      Of course, teams loved running out their fourth lines against Jagr and Nylander. I like to get as many AHL’ers on the ice as possible when 68 jumps over the boards. Jagr generally got the checkers on the road and Renneey went power v. power at home. Classify those as tough or soft minutes as you want.

      Nylander was a stud in 06/07. He was consistently brilliant that year and no Ranger center since has come close to being as effective.

      Yeah, see, I remember you cranking out some bullshit back in the day about the Rangers and being completely refuted based on simple icetime data.

      So I looked it up today and it was something about which Ranger played with which other Ranger. If you can’t even keep that in line, I seriously doubt you can judge a player’s context of icetime.

      Also you’re from the “shots +/- sucks because of all those shots from centre ice!!!” school of thinking. Which says more about you as a hockey fan than I ever could.

      I’m pretty sure you misunderstood what I was saying about Cox. Either that or I don’t understand what you’re saying. To be clear: Cox is a fucking idiot who has basically never said anything intelligent about hockey.

      I think you nailed it. If it wasn’t clear, I’m comparing you to Cox.

    39. RSL
      September 16, 2010 at

      This is just copied and pasted, don’t have time to read the CBA and find where it came from:

      “They don’t have a legal leg to stand on,” one agent said Wednesday. “The entire situation is governed by the CBA. An agent and the player are obligated under the CBA to not take individual legal action or you can lose your certification to be an agent … The sole remedy would be a grievance.

      “The grievance precedent is 100 per cent crystal clear: Unless you have a signed standard player contract on file, registered with the NHL, you have nothing.”

      As for GMGM punching Belanger, well he is a pretty tough guy. Not huge, but I’ve seen him a bunch of times at local rinks (his son plays on a younger squad of the club I coach) and he’s always got a pretty nasty scowl, not a guy I’d want to cross. Anyway, I would bet regardless of who punched Belanger off the ice, he could sue, and definitely if that person wasn’t a player or part of his union.

      But I guess the point here is that suing a team WAS collectively bargained and that’s the only thing that matters. So no, Tacopina will NOT be taking this to court.

    40. Gerald
      September 16, 2010 at

      Tyler:

      The Capitals have not denied Tacopina’s version, which is that there was no condition precedent. All they’ve done is run with this Vogel thing, which quotes nobody and is vague on the point.

      This is not accurate at all, Tyler. Qouting from the Caps version:

      “Washington wondered what kind of deal Belanger would take at this point. Told that Belanger would accept a one-year deal, the Caps inquired as to the dollars. Tacopina mentioned the $1.85 million figure. Washington said it could do that deal, but that it would need to move a contract in order to make it work internally.”

      Clearly, they dispute this aspect and assert that there was a “condition precedent”, which is of course not permitted by the CBA, as well.

    41. Tyler Dellow
      September 16, 2010 at

      Gerald –

      I don’t read that the same as you. It’s ambiguous. They seem to say that they had to make a trade, which is basically what Tacopina was saying. They don’t explicitly say that the deal was contingent on the trade, or deny that they told him that they had a deal. Their version could very easily be: “OK, we have a deal, take yourself off the market etc. We need you to commit to us. We need to make a trade before we sign this.”

      In any event, there’s also the point that it doesn’t look to me like they actually had to make a trade to take on this pact, at least capwise. “Make it work internally” is weaselly language. The leverage point makes me more sense.

      Plus, if you’re right and this is the case, why don’t they just issue a one line statement, quoting someone (I hear Leonsis likes to talk) and saying: “We told Tacopina that our offer was contingent on our making a trade.” I suspect the reason is that they can’t.

    42. Tyler Dellow
      September 16, 2010 at

      RSL –

      Out of curiosity, what year of law school are you in?

      As a general rule, it’s best not to take positions on things without seeing the source documents. When you wrote:

      It won’t go to court, if Tacopina tries that he runs a huge risk of losing his agent status.

      It would seem that what you meant was “An agent and the player are obligated under the CBA to not take individual legal action or you can lose your certification to be an agent … The sole remedy would be a grievance.” As I told you, I’ve read the CBA and it doesn’t say that.

      I’ve asked around, because I was curious about that, and I’m told that there’s some sort of certification program. Now, as I said, I happen to know that there are limits on the things that lawyers can agree to that will hurt their clients. You kind of slid past my second question on this point – do you think that a lawyer could agree to do something that would fetter his duty to put his client’s interests first? Knowing what you know about the duties that lawyers owe their clients, does that seem likely to be something that the PA or the NHL could enforce?

      Anyway, I would bet regardless of who punched Belanger off the ice, he could sue, and definitely if that person wasn’t a player or part of his union.

      But I guess the point here is that suing a team WAS collectively bargained and that’s the only thing that matters. So no, Tacopina will NOT be taking this to court.

      It seems to me that the first sentence I’ve quoted from what you said contradicts the second. In the first sentence, you recognize a limit in terms of the right to sue that’s been taken away by the CBA. In the second sentence, you seem to suggest that “suing a team WAS collectively bargained.”

      I’ll break the applicable section from the CBA into two parts:

      17.1 Grievance. A “Grievance” is any dispute involving the interpretation or application of, or compliance with, any provision of this Agreement, including any SPC.

      First question: is Belanger’s potential action against the Caps a “grievance”? It would depend on what he wanted to sue for. If he wanted to sue for breach of contract, I would think that it is. In that case, he’d be saying that he had a contract. That requires a determination as to whether a contract was formed, something that is covered by the CBA.

      Promissory estoppel is a different doctrine though. It’s not covered in the CBA. He would expressly be saying that they didn’t have a contract, if that was his cause of action. There’s no interpretation of the CBA or the SPC involved in that question.

      I’m no expert in labour issues so I won’t say I’m absolutely certain one way or the other (I won’t even say that on things I am expert in). With that said, I have a hard time seeing how this dispute, if it’s framed as a promissory estoppel case, falls within the jurisdiction of an arbitrator. In order to get it there, Washington would have to take the position that there was a contract. I’ll bet Belanger would accept that admission. ;)

      All Grievances will be resolved exclusively in accordance with the procedure set forth in this Article, except wherever another method of dispute resolution is set forth elsewhere in this Agreement.

      If this isn’t a Grievance, then I don’t see how the exclusivity paragraph applies.

    43. September 16, 2010 at

      Promissory estoppel is a different doctrine though. It’s not covered in the CBA. He would expressly be saying that they didn’t have a contract, if that was his cause of action. There’s no interpretation of the CBA or the SPC involved in that question.

      This is completely accurate. Gerald and RSL’s suggestions to the contrary are wrong – though not nearly as wrong as anything R O has said in the last 48 hours. The only way in which the CBA generally and the conditions creating an SPC specifically have any relevancy to the promissory estoppel claim is in determining the extent to which reliance on statements that are ontologically inconsistent with the creation of an SPC can be reasonable.

    44. R O
      September 17, 2010 at

      “Nylander played tough minutes for the Rangers… alongside Jagr lol”.

      “Nylander played a bunch with guys like Dawes, even though time-on-ice data says didn’t happen”.

      “McPhee doesn’t sign bad contracts… technically if they’re UFA now or demoted for being awful, it doesn’t count”.

      Keep on keepin’ on Rajeev. The world needs more Damien Cox types, not less.

    45. RSL
      September 17, 2010 at

      And if anyone is still reading this…man do I wish the caps had taken Eberle instead of Gustaffson. That was a terrible, terrible choice.

      I grew up with Bengt as a favorite player, but passing on Eberle was a major fail.

      I don’t read a lot of Edmonton blogs and may not post here much again, but this seems like a good one though and I’ve had a good time with the back-and-forth, but to end this A) Nylander was a fine choice for the Caps to go after that turned out terrible for us. I was happpy we tried to get OV a center, and Nylander was supposedly gonna help young Backis learn the league and B) Belanger seems like a good guy and I think most Caps fans would be on his side when it comes to improper dealings…but just because his agent is an idiot, don’t blame the team management for his naivety.

    46. September 17, 2010 at

      BTW Vogel has a new Dump’n'Chase.

    47. September 18, 2010 at

      Nylander was a fine choice for the Caps to go after that turned out terrible for us. I was happpy we tried to get OV a center, and Nylander was supposedly gonna help young Backis learn the league.

      I’d call it a somewhat necessary choice to help them in the short term at the expense of the long term. Nylander specifically wasn’t necessary, but a top 6 PP point producing center from the UFA market; Nylander was as good a choice any of the other (not many) options. Plus, he’d been there before. You’re always going to overpay for that type of player. But the team was brutal the prior two years and didn’t have that kind of player, or so they thought.

      Belanger seems like a good guy and I think most Caps fans would be on his side when it comes to improper dealings…but just because his agent is an idiot, don’t blame the team management for his naivety.

      I basically agree. I feel bad for Belanger, but it’s hard not to think Tacopina had no idea what he was doing and got what he deserved. If he really gave up similar offers for his client once the 2-5 day window closed, he’s a fool. I’d be shocked if any team was offering Belanger 1.5M back in the middle of July. Belly has no damages and specific performance is not an option.

    48. Caps Nut
      September 20, 2010 at

      You clearly have something against the Caps but whatever…

      From page 214 of the NHL CBA (emphasis added):

      “A Club shall only be permitted to sign a Player to an “extension” of the existing SPC in the Amount of: (A) the SPC of the Player to be extended (then included in the Club’s Averaged Club Salary); (B) the Club’s Payroll Room in the current year; plus (C) the aggregate Average Amounts of any other SPC or SPC’s that expire at the end of such League Year (to extent the Club has other such SPC’s which are currently counting in the Club’s Averaged Club Salary); minus any previously Tagged Payroll Room. The Taggingg Rule referred to in paragraph (e)(iv)(C) above will thereafter apply.

      Now since I’ve clearly proven that you have no clue as to what you’re talking about, I’m done here. The facts are Belanger and his agent gambled twice and lost twice. They could have gotten a two year deal with a team that the player wanted to stay with for twice the $$$$$ he ended up getting in the end. They were then told that the contract was contingent on a trade being made. The trade never happened and the contract then never came through. You can sit here parse words and play all the semantical games that you want but the facts are facts and you can’t change them.

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