Nonis speaks out about free agency and the schedule.

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Nonis speaks out about free agency and the schedule.

Postby Tukaram » Mon Oct 30, 2006 9:04 pm

"Pittsburgh is going to put seven years of development money into him and he can leave when he's 25," Nonis told a B.C. Chamber of Commerce meeting.

"I think if you assemble a good team, fans want to see that team stick together for more than one or two years. Our current agreement does not lend itself to that."

Nonis also criticized the NHL's current unbalanced schedule.

"I hate the schedule," he said, answering a question from the floor. "It does nothing for us.

"We should play every team in the league at least once. We all pay the same dues and right now the western teams are getting it right in the teeth for no good reason. We fly as much as we ever did and the eastern teams don't do a bloody thing."


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Postby Mr. Bure #10 » Mon Oct 30, 2006 9:54 pm

The East teams do have an unfair advantage. I personally would prefer that each team plays each other at least once per season. It was mentioned on the Caps/Flames game that the Caps will no longer play outside the east time zone for the remainder of the season after tonight's game. It is only October for crying out loud.

The Western Canadian teams should benefit from seeing players like Crosby, Malkin, Staal and Ovechkin more often.

Hopefully the league takes note to Nonis' comments.
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Postby Island Nucklehead » Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:59 pm

Eastern teams have advantages in most sports, the only way to get around it is to mix up the conferences so that there are both eastern and western teams in the conference. I aggree we should see every team at least once, so that would make it playing each Eastern team twice in a season. That still leaves plenty of games. It's been said before...4 home games against every NW team is too many, we could cut that in half and I'd be perfectly satisfied seeing teams like Pittsburgh, Carolina, Tampa Bay and Montreal come here more often.
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Postby Cornuck » Mon Oct 30, 2006 11:02 pm

Unless the league adds a franchise in Anchorage, the Canucks will have the most brutal schedule no matter what the league does. But for now, the difference is just greater.

As for not seeing the new talent, that will easily be fixed when they change the schedule to include more east-west games (which I'm guessing they will do next year). It also sucks that all the new stars seem to be in the east. But if they were in the west, then they wouldn't be stars, would they ;) But looking at it another way, when the Caps came to town, only 18,000 people got to 'see' him.

Fortunately, the Canucks are selling out their games and don't have to rely on visiting teams to bring the fans in.
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Postby yammi » Tue Oct 31, 2006 1:01 am

Much more irksome and unfair than the travel schedule is the imbalance introduced by playing 32 divisional games against strong opponents (e.g., northwest division) as opposed to weak opponents (e.g., central division).

Does anyone really think Detroit would have won the President's trophy last season if they had to play in the northwest instead fattening up their point total with so many games against the injury-decimated Blue Jackets, the always hapless Black Hawks, and the fire-sale Blues?

Were the Predators really a 106-point team last year, or did they also benefit from playing 32 games against Columbus, Chicago, and St. Louis? And if Nashville and Vancouver swapped schedules last season, how surprising would it be if Vancouver was the 106-point team and the Predators were the ones in a fight to make the playoffs because of many more games against northwest division opponents? That, I think, is the worst of the many problems with the NHL's ridiculous schedule.
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Postby tantalum » Tue Oct 31, 2006 5:27 am

It took this long for Nonis to realise what the new CBA says...the same CBA he praised when it was signed? Wow. Sounds like a comment someone made while having a bad day. In a nutshell, yes Dave there is a price to pay for having all those top draft picks. It's the same price Pittsburgh would have had to pay under the old system as well.

Travel...it just makes it more imperative that the nonis puts together a younger more fit team than most teams in the league.
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Postby Linden Is God » Tue Oct 31, 2006 7:32 am

tantalum wrote: Sounds like a comment someone made while having a bad day


I was thinking the same thing, seeing as I don't know what prompted this outburst.
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Postby Fred » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:15 am

I have to believe that after the lockout there was a mandate issued by the NHL to all partners in the CBA. Fundamentally a collective brave face, this is good, this is what we needed AND say it while dispaly a broad grin, and nodding in unison.

That time interval required of the league ha now passed and GM's etc can now say what they really think. Bob "I'm tired" Clarke basically did that when he made the Kesler offer and now DN is saying what he thinks, wait for BB to join in, Dean Lombardi and other West Coasted sheaftee's
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Postby Larionov » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:21 am

I'm not sure what prompted the outburst either, but regardless of the inspiration he had better get ready to open his wallet. No way does a rip on the new CBA like that go without a fine. His whining about the schedule is something he might have gotten away with in isolation, but not the CBA. Those comments simply have to be made behind closed doors at GM meetings, and not out in the open like that.

Besides, I think he's wrong on both counts. First, the unbalanced schedule:

For years and years, Vancouver GMs bitched about the schedule, in particular the long, brutal Eastern road swing that always took place in January, and always took a terrible toll on the team. That is now gone, with games in Atlanta and New York replaced with games in Calgary and Colorado. If the unbalanced schedule was going to benefit anyone, it should have been the West Coast teams who had the farthest to fly. Well, guess what? Another Vancouver GM is AGAIN crying about the schedule. You would have to excuse the other GMs for thinking that there is no way to ever make Vancouver happy.

How can Nonis say with a straight face that the team travels just as much? They may have to get on airplanes just as much, true, but when a flight to the southeastern U.S. gets replaced with a flight to Calgary, then the number of air miles simply has to be down. If someone can show me an actual miles flown breakdown of the old schedule vs. this one, and the numbers are the same, I'll gladly eat my words, but for now I'm not buying.

As for not seeing Crosby and Ovechkin often enough, let me ask you this -- as the team comes down the stretch in late March, fighting for Conference playoff seedings, who would you rather see at GM Place -- a four pointer against Calgary or Colorado, or Atlanta? Kovalchuk or no, I'm taking the divisional four pointer every time.

As for the CBA, Nonis's comments completely ignore the realities of supply and demand. The more free agents that are out there, the lower the price gets, particularly once the run on the top names has ended and teams start running out of cap space. Bargaining power is a two way street, and after the initial free agency gold rush on July 1 that power swings back to ownership. Teams with good pro scouting operations should clean up in early free agency, whereas late free agency just diminishes the crop of potential free agents. Scarcity = higher prices.

Finally, I hate whiners in general, and on this one, Nonis sounded like a whiner. It was like the worst of Pat Quinn, who had the pity party routine on the schedule, injuries, and officiating down to a science. I don't want my GM to give a whining speech to the Chamber of Commerce, telling everyone how hard his job is and why everything sucks. I want him to tell them how he is using the new rules to his advantage, and why the future for his team and the game is a bright one.
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Postby Meerschaum » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:50 am

yammi wrote:And if Nashville and Vancouver swapped schedules last season, how surprising would it be if Vancouver was the 106-point team and the Predators were the ones in a fight to make the playoffs because of many more games against northwest division opponents?


Yeah, but then we would have lost eight games to the Blues, instead of just four . . . ;)
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Postby mband » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:52 am

Finally someone has the guts to say what I've been thinking all along about the schedule and the free agency situation.
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Postby Fred » Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:55 am

I have to support DN and although selfish here's why

I would like to see at GM place the following players turn up for a game
Malkin, Crosby, Jagr, Gange, Sundin, Stall (x 3 ) Bertuzzi, et al Certainly the cost of my tickets warrant it.

The Canucks still fly regularly to Detroit, Dallas,Columbus, Chicago, Nshville, St Louis and Minnesota. Many of these cities are just a hop skip and a jump from the major Eastern teams ie they have already done the tough bit checking in or ctaching an after game flight and for another 30 mins in the air they'd be in TO or Ottawa or Pittsburg. Of course this is without the flights to LA. I don't doubt DN when he says he's still flying as much. They stil and I repeat still flying more, likely double the miles of an eastern team. Let them do some tough swings and wipe the smurk off their collective faces.

I believe I heard Tom Larscheid say that last year the Flyers had 9 nights when they were not in their own beds NINE, the Cnucks don't get 9 continuos days at home all season .

The Eastern Team have little to gain by travelling out here with the exception of the Wings all the orginal 6 are on their schedule reularly and the current crop of Super Stars are for the most part in their own back yard.

It sucks, big time and I agree with Davey boy
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Postby Larionov » Tue Oct 31, 2006 11:52 am

Fred wrote:I believe I heard Tom Larscheid say that last year the Flyers had 9 nights when they were not in their own beds NINE, the Cnucks don't get 9 continuous days at home all season


He's probably right but you know what? That is never going to change. Vancouver is where it is on the map, and given that 22 of the league's 30 teams are on the Eastern side of the continental divide, West Coast teams are always going to have it tougher than Eastern teams. About all you could do to even it up is force every eastern team to hop a flight to Moscow for practice once a week.

What I am hearing people say is that the unbalanced schedule, while helping Canuck travel a bit, gives more relative advantages to Eastern teams, so therefore it should be cancelled. I find that to be strange logic. We don't compete with Eastern teams for playoff spots, so what does it matter if the unbalanced schedule gets them a few more nights in their own bed? Regardless of what schedule the league cooks up, the Eastern seaboard teams in particular will always have a better one, as there are so many teams close by.

Nice as it would be, the Canucks simply can't sit back and cherry pick their own schedule. Any schedule has to accomodate all 30 teams, all of whom have their own favourite nights, favourite teams, etc. If the Canucks really do want to go back to a more balanced schedule, that's obviously their right, but I don't want to hear any crying about tough Eastern road swings or a lack of rivalry games with Calgary and Edmonton. The current schedule has taken away that awful January Eastern road swing, and given us plenty of good rivalry games - we need to understand what we will be throwing away here...
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Postby MarkMM » Tue Oct 31, 2006 12:12 pm

I agree with Nonis on one and a half points...

First, I do think it's ridiculously much to play at eam eight times in a season, run for the playoffs or not, it really does just lose the novelty after the FOURTH time or so. I'd be happy to play six times max, actually four would be preferable, and let every city see each team in the league at least once.

Second, while it's true that lower free agency ages does in theory help each team in the end, the idea of building an identity and branding your team is lost. I do like the proposals some have put out where a team can get a discount on the cap value of free agents they drafted or have had for a long term as a way of helping teams hold on to their own.
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Postby hoopsjunky » Tue Oct 31, 2006 1:01 pm

This outburst isn't new from DN as I know I've heard it previously, most recently at the State of the Franchise in June.

The travel argument from the NHL is stupid. Nonis said that the Canucks only travelled one less mile or spent one less hour in the air (or something ridiculously insignifcant like that) last season as they did in previous seasons.

The schedule argument I completely agree with. As a STH, I'd prefer to see every team in the league at least once rather than watch Minnesota, Calgary, Edmonton and Colorado 16 times.

My suggestion:

5 games each against divisional rivals = 20 games
3 games each intraconference = 30 games
home and home interconference = 30 games
plus two "rivalry" games

Advantages:

- Crosby, Ovechkin, Jagr, etc. every year in the West; Thornton, Naslund, Iginla, Niedermayer, etc. every year in the East.
- That's almost 2/3rds of a team's schedule against teams they're fighting with for a playoff spot.
- Five games against divisional rivals is plenty to not diminish the importance of finishing first in your division, and it also takes away some unfair advantage of being in a "weak" division (ie. see Detroit and Nashville playing Chicago and St. Louis 8 times each)

My 2 cents. :)
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