Friday, August 12, 2005

How to anger your franchise player

One of the new elements of the CBA allows teams to take restricted free agents to arbitration (though they are limited as to how often they can do so). Of the players summoned yesterday, Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo was, by far, the most high profile.

Many wondered what players would think of being put in that situation. Now, we know.

After two days of fruitless negotiations with Gilles Lupien, the agent for Roberto Luongo, General Manager Mike Keenan said Thursday he had filed to take Luongo to arbitration.

The move clearly upset Luongo, who called it "disrespectful," and could move him closer to choosing unrestricted free agency when he becomes eligible in two years.

"In a way it's kind of disrespectful for a team to send you to arbitration after you've worked so hard for them over the last few years," Luongo said.

Gentlemen, start saving your pennies now.


At 11:50 AM, Blogger v said...

An interesting question comes to mind: who would your rather the Sens aquire: Roberto Luongo, or Mike Keenan? I ask this because I can see a scenario 2 years from now where Luongo is a UFA and Keenan is GM\Coach of the Sens.

I realize at first glance Keenan may not seem like a good fit with the Sens organization but...he is the Anti-Jacques Martin (yeah, I know Keenan hired Martin, but they go back a long way and are still as opposite as can be as coaches, I think), and I think that since The Sens may broadly be described as soft and underachieving team he would be the perfect guy to light a fire under them and take them to The Cup.

Iron Mike may not win a Mr. Congeniality award, and ego seems to be a problem, but he is a winner, a motivator, and he commands respect.

One lasting image of Keenan: seconds after the Panthers announced their draft selection of Bouwmeester, young Jay comes up to the podium to don the Jersey and shake hands with Iron Mike. Keenan shakes the slender young-dman's hand with one hand, and instantly squeezes J-Bo's bicep with the other hand, on national TV. Poor kid's on the job for ten seconds before his boss is putting him to the test. As the TV commentator noted "That's just how Mike works." Machiavelli had nothing on this guy...

At 12:04 PM, Blogger CMcMurtry said...

I would take Luongo over Keenan. In a heartbeat.

Luongo being a UFA doesn't scare me because if we did get him we could rid ourselves of two of the core (Hossa, Alfredsson, Havlat, Spezza, Chara, Redden, Phillips), take on whatever Luongo makes, and still be a better team.

You say that Iron Mike is a winner, but where's the recent evidence? He's won one Stanley Cup coaching six different teams. John Muckler has a Cup ring too, and I don't want him behind the bench either.

He's had some success to be sure, but I'm of the opinion that his time as a top coach has come and gone.

As far as Keenan as GM, his track record in that area is hardly sparkling. I'll be interested in seeing how he does in Florida, but it's not a choice I'd go with either.

The one upside to Keenan would be it would be great for P.R. locally, as I don't think I've ever listened to a post-game show and not heard some drunk caller say the Sens need a coach like Keenan (and less "Euros"). But what's good for optics and what's good for the team are often two entirely different things.

This isn't to say I'm convinced Bryan Murray's the man for the job either. Jury's still out on that one as far as I am concerned. But I'm pretty sure Keenan's no better a fit.

As far as the Sens being "soft", I'm not sure I agree. Underachieving, for the most part. As tough as they need to be? Maybe not. They probably have to learn to step it up a notch. But they've developed into a team that can at the very least hold their own, as proven by the brawl in Philly last season.

Two years ago, they would've rolled over and played dead.


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