Friday, July 29, 2011

Examining The NBA Lockout After 29 days

As we are sure everyone knows, the NBA locked out it's players July 1st. The owners locked the players out because they had structural concerns about revenue allocations (payroll and revenue sharing). While the NBA players themselves charge that there is no problem because the league is making money, the owners feel that, while the league is making money, most of that revenue is coming from a handful of markets, and there is fear about the viability of many of the teams in many of the markets.

Admittedly, it's all so much hearsay when it comes to either sides position. Allow us to present a quick guide to the issues affecting the negotiations, so that you may get up to speed on this issue.

29 days into the NBA lockout, here is what you need to know:

  • After weeks of speculation, Kevin Kolb has been acquired by the Cardinals for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second round draft pick. Kolb might not be the best fit behind Arizona's suspect offensive line, so view this move in the light of the Cardinals trying to appease Larry Fitzgerald, who is a free agent at the end of this season, and has yet to sign a contract extension.
  • The New England Patriots took a big swing this week, acquiring malcontents Chad Ochocinco from the sinking ship that is the Bengals, and Albert Haynesworth from the career graveyard that is the Washington Redskins. While these moves seem controversial, Patriots coach Bill Belichick has a history of winning with other teams headaches.
  • The running back carousel continues to turn. Reggie Bush is now in Miami, and Darren Sproles is now with Bush's old team, the Saints. Willis McGahee signed in Denver after being released by his old team, the Ravens, while another released running back, Tiki Barber, is trying to catch on with a new team.
  • Plaxico Burris was recently released from prison, and reports are circulating he is in talks to return to the team he won a Super Bowl with, the New York Giants. The pending return of Plax is just the start of Giants coach Tom Coughlin's headaches, as word out of Giants training camp is that stud DE Osi Umenyiora has yet to report.
  • The biggest impact free agent on the market, cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, has yet to decide which team will give him the biggest deal of the summer. Will it be the Jets, to team up with Darrelle Revis? Or perhaps he will sign with the Houston Texans, a team with a worst secondary than the BC Lions. Of course, the dark horse team in the Asomugha sweepstakes are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a good, young team that has over $20 million dollars in cap space.
There you have it. Now you are up to date on the latest on the NBA lockout. Impress your bar buddies with your knowledge about this complex labour relations issue.

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias Ken King should be fired.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Email Ken King

Since the media in this city won't do its job, why don't we fans do it for them?

Domebeer-aholics, do us a favour, if you will. Send Ken King an email, and ask him just a couple of questions.

1) It is public record that you (Ken King) sat in on the Flames war room at trade deadline day. It is also public record that you (Ken King) assisted in the getting various players, Curtis Glencross and Alex Tanguay as examples, to sign contracts. How long have you been involved in the administration of the hockey operations of the Flames?

2) What are your qualifications for being in hockey operations?

That's it. Be polite. If you want to be an asshole, just ask him who gave the ok to the Matt Stajan contract.

We sent one, but we doubt we get a response. And if we do, who wants to bet it's from Rollie Cyr?

(kking@calgaryflames.com if you didn't figure out the link)

Furthermore, I think Peter Loubardias Ken King should be fired.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

D'oh

Shorty:

So the Flames had the STH's come down for the lunch/dinner thang, and something came out that we thought was pretty funny.

Ken King said that the Flames would almost everything it took to win, but they would not bury a ton of money (we believe the number thrown out was $8 million) in the minors.

Jay Feaster said that it made him sick to see how the Oilers were building their team by drafting first overall year after year.

Get that? The Flames are committed to winning, so long as it doesn't include spending money they aren't forced to through the CBA, and so long as it doesn't include building through the draft.
...

The other thing that was a little silly is that Dumb & Dumber put out the story that they offered Brad Richards more money than was reported. This is what we call bullshit. Why would the organization tell the media that they offered $65 over 9 if in fact they had offered $70, or $75 million? The main reason we thought the contract offer was a marketing ploy was that it was too cheap, that they offered essentially $500,000 more a year than the Rangers did. It looks like the organization is trying to inoculate itself, after the fact, from this charge. Who knows, but this whole 'Well, we actually offered him more money than was reported' thang doesn't ring true to us.

Besides, even if it is true, why the hell are they coming out and telling people that? It makes the organization look worse, not better. It makes the organization look like the Oilers, to be honest. And Feaster is the guy telling the STH's that running a team the way the Oilers do 'makes him sick'.

Furthermore, I think Ken King should be fired.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Support Unbiased, Local Journalism

(There is a local paper down here who uses that as its tag line. We liked it. We, of course, are not journalists.)

One of the reasons that people read us, we think, is because we are not beholden to the organization that we cover. You don't see advertisements on the site, and we don't politic for jobs in the media. We don't write stories on the basis of how many hits it will get the site, because if it gets 1 or 1,000,000 it doesn't affect our wallet, and because you don't know our names, it doesn't affect us in a personal way either. We don't wait until the USA Today (or the Sun, or the Herald, or the NatPost, or the Globe & Mail) to come out to form our sports opinion. We don't lemming. We don't promote spin, we don't do propaganda.

One of the main problems we have with the general Flames universe is that the people who cover this team in the MSM are actively engaged with the Calgary Flames front office, and that should read Ken King, in promoting spin, and in giving the fans of the team half truths. They eat dinner with the man on game days (and don't underestimate what a free dinner with a 'somebody' can do to boost ones ego, and grease wheels), they watch the games for free in the press box, and they get to sniff the jocks of the players in the locker room after the game.

The people who work in the MSM covering the Flames are dependent on access. The Flames control access to themselves. This, of course, explains the current situation. The local papers know that the Flames are extremely popular. They want to make sure the people they pay to cover the team get to keep their access. The writers themselves want to keep a job, so they have to make sure they stay employed by the paper. It's easy to so how and why an incestuous relationship between the team and the people who cover it can and has developed.

This type of situation extends throughout the MSM that cover this team. The tentacles of propaganda extend not just through the newspapers, but into the radio station that covers the team, The FAN960 (where we have seen that if you are willing to play ball, you get to call Flames games, qualified to do so or not), and apparently, increasingly into the brave new world of the internet.

The people who lose in this relationship are, of course, the fans. They get painted for them a picture of the team that is not necessarily true, and they have to base their perception of the team on incomplete information.

There are numerous examples of the incestuous relationship manifesting itself in the way this team is covered. For example, at the start of the last season, it was widely acknowledged, but never reported, that Darryl Sutter had lost his influence within the organization. He had been a lame duck at the start of the off season. The media never reported that because Ken King wanted cover for himself if some of the moves he made, like signing Tanguay off the scrap heap, did not work out. And the media has an interest in pleasing Ken King. Again, because of access. This is just a small example of the spin that the media employs on behalf of the organization it purports to cover for the fans.

There are more, of course. The media gets access to the players when they go into get fitness tested. They know who shows up to camp out of shape. Do any of you ever wonder why nobody in the MSM talked about Matt Stajan (a Ken King signing) showing up to training camp out of shape until after the season ended? They all knew, because they were in the locker room and could see Stajan showed up pudgy. Odd, no?

 Or why there were no stories about Darryl Sutters kid getting a roster spot on a NHL club (Ken Kings favour to a friend) until after Darryl got fired?

Why there has been no inquiry by the MSM as to why the Flames were willing to pay a 31 year old centre $65 million dollars but unwilling to offer a 21 year old an offer sheet of $100 million?

 Or why the Regehr trade, which was clearly a salary dump, was being spun as a hockey move?

Why there were no stories about Jay Feaster having to get permission from Ken King to sign the teams first round draft pick, and what that said about the roles in the front office?

The lack of stories regarding Ken King acting as the GM, and using Jay Feaster as cover (send an email over to Dean Molberg like we did, and he will probably admit it to you like he did to us, just not in public. Or a certain Flame scout who once played in Montreal)?

Why nobody in the MSM dares put a microphone in Jay Bouwmeesters face (after all, he is only the second highest paid player on the roster and was brought in to be the missing piece of a Cup run)?

There are more examples (like the broadcast booths constant whitewashing of the events taking place on the ice, or the famous Alex Tanguay did not ask for a trade (his first time through the organization) when everyone knew that he in fact did), of course, but what connects all of these stories is that it comes down to access, and the way the organization uses it as a muting force. And as the organization gobbles up more and more of the voices that cover this team, the fans lose more and more.

For a clear illustration, let us share this anecdote. The most...salacious news story about the Flames that was reported this year was reported by a blogger, not a member of the MSM (although Azevedo should probably be, because he, at this point at least, doesn't seem to be interested in spinning for the organization). We are talking about the Flames attempt to trade Mikka Kiprusoff at the draft.

Oh, you didn't read that in the Sun or the Herald; you didn't hear that on the FAN960? We rest our case.

Furthermore, I think Ken King should be fired.