Hey, George McPhee, when you lose every single marble you have, does it happen one at a time or in one big dump?
Yesterday, McPhee decided to sign centre Nicklas Backstrom to a ten-year, US$67-million contract. TEN YEARS – for a 22-year old who’s been in the league just three! Backstrom’s salary went from $850,000 to US$6.7M per. Hey, George, did you watch your Presidents’ Trophy-winning Caps tank in the first round against Montreal? Dude, you’ve officially lost it.
Here’s my favourite McPhee quote from yesterday’s signing, “It sends the right message to our fans and to this franchise that we have outstanding young players (Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin) who are ready to commit for the rest of their career. You win championships with these kinds of players.” Do you, George? Name the last Stanley Cup champion that had two non-North Americans leading the squad to the promised land. I can think of a big, fat uno. One, in 93 years of NHL hockey.
That would be the 2008 Detroit Red Wings behind Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg. Both savvy veterans who work their tails off. Strangely, Backstrom and Ovechkin fit into neither of those categories. Ovechkin works if he feels like it – if then. Perhaps you recall Russia’s quarter-final game at the Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver. That would be the one where Ovechkin simply disappeared against Canada. Then, after the game, decided that breaking a fan’s video camera would be a good way to complete the day. Is that a leader to you? I bet Caps fans feel great knowing that Ovechkin – signed through 2020-21 – is now Backstrom’s role model.
Ridiculously long NHL contracts have a history of going very bad, very fast. How about goaltender Rick DiPietro’s absurd deal on Long Island? He also becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, 2021. Islanders’ owner Charles Wang (and then-new GM Garth Snow) thought this would be a super idea in September 2006. Hey boys, how’s it workin’ out? Rick done anything for you in the past three years? How about ever? Charles Wang has a mighty big ego. Hey, what a coincidence! So does Washington Capitals’ owner Ted Leonsis.
Didn’t anyone learn anything from the Wayne Gretzky trade almost 22 years ago. Oilers’ owner Peter Pocklington figured out that old Wayner was a diminishing asset, and he had to get rid of him. Now that is precisely what’s already happening to Backstrom and Ovechkin. Why would they work their a**es off every game? They already have the dough in their pockets. And, if you think these two money-grabbers care about bringing a Stanley Cup to D.C., you are as delusional as McPhee. Capitals’ fans will come to HATE these two contracts. But, by then, McPhee will be long gone. Likely onto another GM’s job, where he can purvey his incredible contract wisdom and judgement.
As Tiger Woods exemplified, George, you should have kept your pen firmly inside your pocket. You just wasted almost $70-million. And you are never, ever going to have anything to show for it.