Tuesday, July 26, 2011

On The Defensive

More tears have been shed in the past few days over a signing that some disagreed with the terms of than I remember for a long time.

The injustice: Josh Gorges, offered a mere 1-year term at double his previous salary. It's easy to see why that would be more troubling than the non-tendering of a contract to the second-longest captain in team history.

While we expect there to be factions of fans that attach themselves to one idol or another, what so surprised me was the response of the beat journalists on this one.

Eric Engels spent a whole weekend trying to work this one out (so he claimed). Glad I didn't give it a second thought now that I hear the turmoil it created for him:

Habs Refuse to Commit Long Term to Gorges

The always level Arpon Basu was nearly capsized by the sounds of it. Puzzled he said by the result of this affair:

A head scratcher

And Pat Hickey warns the Habs of stormy times ahead without the "ultimate team guy" they just signed for double his previous salary.

Short-term Gorges deal may end up hurting the Habs

Really? Really?

I don't mean to belittle the real anguish that fans and reporters alike felt for #26, but really?

Josh Gorges just signed a contract for double his former salary. He signed in a summer where other good team guys were just let go without so much as a wave: Halpern, Auld, Hamrlik, Sopel. He was the only Canadiens player to sign for a raise over qualifying. He got a raise despite his injury, despite his decisions about that injury (not getting surgery in an offseason).

If not that, I guess what we're beating ourselves up about is the term. A year. What an insult. For a team that hands out exuberant contracts to all of its up and comers every year. Oh wait...

So, if a year is in fact in keeping with the short length of many previous signings of similar nature (Koivu, Plekanec, Price), then what is all the fuss about?

Josh Gorges is back and there's nothing to say he won't be signed again and again and again. If he plays well, the Habs still get the first option. If he doesn't then they get the luxury of not having a Gomez clause factoring into their decisions about their future with Josh. It's good for the team and their prospects at improving their personnel. It's good for the chance of signing Subban and Price and maybe others next summer. It's good for the young guys to see an opportunity. It's even good for Josh who doubled his salary, did I mention?

In the end, it's salary cap world guys. No lifetime franchise players, maybe one or two. It might be painful, but "ultimate team guys" who play the role Josh Gorges has played will come and go, and keep coming and going, for as long as this league operates under this system.

No need to get defensive any about defensive defencemen.

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