Thursday, 10 January 2008

Alexander Ovechkin is Richkin, Bitchkin!

by Jes

So, the bomb has dropped and Alex "1d8" Ovechkin is now the proud signer of the most lucrative contract in NHL contract. $124mil over 13 seasons. Yes, 13!!! Alexei Yashin must be fuming in a jealous rage right about now.

Now, any time you start talking about a contract for 10+ years, you are pretty much going into insanity territory. Locking yourself to a player for that long of a period just has so many fricking risks, and we've seen how such contracts have blown up on the teams that signed them. Alexei Yashin, Rick DiPietro (it will), and Alex Rodriguez (who wiggled his way out to get more $..geezus).

Of course, Alexander Ovechkin is one of two rare talents that you could consider signing to such a deal and not be considered to be smoking BC's finest export plant. (If you can't figure out the other player, please put on a tinfoil hat so we know who you are)

When two parties sign a contract, both parties *should* assume half of the risk if the contract is truly a fair one.

In this case? The vast majority of the risk is with the Capitals.

"But Jes, Ovechkin could have earned like $15mil a season if he had waited"

That's valid, but Ovechkin, barring a Capitals bankrupcy, is guaranteed to make $124 million!! No matter what happens to him tomorrow, he'll be set for life. When you get those kind of numbers, what else do you have to worry about? Male-pattern baldness?

What if 1d8 gets injured himself next week, or gets paralyzed in a car accident next month and can't play again, or has to retire due to concussions some time down the road? No matter what, Ovechkin is going to make more than me, you, and all the visitors to this site combined for our entire lifetimes.

"But Jes, Ovechkin may be caught with a crappy team for the next 15 years, thanks to him eating up a mondo chunk of cap space"

The risk that the Caps could suck is valid, but I expect the Caps will eventually make a regime change and not suck the entire 13 seasons. Ovechkin obviously likes where he is, or he'd bolt the first chance he got. Forget all of these dumb rumours you hear about unhappy he is in Washington. It's obvious he's having a blast.

The fact is that the risk is really with the Capitals.

1. Look at Ovechkin's style of play. Doesn't he remind you of Pavel Bure? Bure was a dynamic goal scorer with an edge, and paid for it big time. Bure's knees are basically dust.

What happens if Ovechkin runs into a string of injury problems? Guys like Bure, Forsberg, Neely, and possibly Ovechkin, have shorter shelf lifes than the guys who hold back a bit on the physical play.

2. What happens when the North American economy collapses, and people can't afford to pay insane prices for tickets? What happens if overall NHL revenues tank? Then the Caps are stuck paying a very high salary no matter what happens.

3. 13 years is a fricking long time ... longer than most career. Ovechkin is already in his third season. If he finishes this contract, he'll have played 16 seasons. To perform at such a high level for such a long time is a rare feat, indeed. Bobby Orr couldn't do it, and Mario Lemieux certainly miss a lot of time during his trek.

Now, I understand perfectly why the Caps did what they did, and I don't think it's as god-awful as what the Isles did, but any such long deal certainly has more risk than reward. Look at what happened when the Caps signed Jaromir Jagr to a long-term expensive deal? I figured they'd be more careful after that.

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