Why we should never give the media much credit for anything – Reason #283

I’ve criticize the main stream hockey media (particularly the Toronto one) here many times and I will continue to do so every once and a while. One of the reasons I started this website was to counter some of the pure nonsense that some in the media choose to write. Today’s target is Al Strachan.

He writes an article about big spending teams still winning (Colorado, Philadelphia, Detroit, NY Rangers) but cites two previously big spending teams who aren’t winning this year (St. Louis and Toronto) but justifies St. Louis no longer being a good team because they chose to dismantle their team (trading Pronger and more recently Weight, Sillinger and probably soon to be more). But the real crux of the article was to give him a reason to bash the Leafs.

I’ll get to his Leaf bashing later but let’s me mention two things so far. First, while the Rangers were one of the top spending teams in 2003-04 and sucked, they probably aren’t this year and are doing great. Probably not the best example of a big spending team *still* winning. Second, yes, the St. Lous traded Pronger but they are still a big spending team and if you bash the Leafs for spending big and not playing well then you have to bash the Blues as well. You can’t just let them off the hook because they let a big priced guy go because the reality is that they let wrong big price guy go.

He cites four players that the Leafs have over spent on.

1. Tie Domi – ” The two-year deal to Tie Domi had the rest of the league snickering.”

2. Jason Allison – ” Jason Allison has played well, but you simply cannot, under any circumstances, tie up $4.5 million of your cap room for a player of that calibre.”

3. Ken Klee – ” Ken Klee is another useful player. Under the old order, his $1.9 million would not be out of line. But it is in today’s game.”

4. Antropov – ” The same can be said of Nik Antropov, who earns a salary almost identical to that of Sillinger. Which one would you rather have? To help you make your decision, you should know that Sillinger has 24 goals, Antropov seven.”

I agree on Jason Allison. He’s been decent this year but not worth $4.5 million. Tie Domi making $1.5 million wouldn’t be bad if he was the Tie Domi of 2003-04 but he seems to have lost some of the edge he used to play with. It’s fine that he doesn’t fight as much as he used to but he doesn’t crash and bang as much either and that makes him not worth what he is being paid. But, I would not be surprised if someone traded for him so I wouldn’t classify him as hugely overpaid. Ken Klee is just rediculous though. $1.9 million is probably a bit high for a player of his age/skill level but not vastly over paid and since it was a carry over contract it was probably not worth buying him out. If he was an unrestricted free agent he’d have probably gotten $1.5+ million anyway.

But the one that really irks me is saying Antropov is over paid and comparing him to Sillinger because Sillinger has 24 goals this year. It is a rediculous statement to make because you are comparing Antropov to a very mediocre player having a career year and who benefitted greatly by playing a ton of minutes on the Blues top line because the blues lacked any depth. But the Blues sucked in a big way and Sillinger was a part of that. In St. Louis, Sillinger was a -17 3rd worst on the team. In 9 games with the Predators he has just 2 goals and is a -5. Over his careere Sillinger is -186 in 886 games and has only had a single + season when he has played more than 30 games (+2 in 1993-94 with Detroit). Had the Leafs given a $1 million contract to him last off season coming off an 8 goal 2003-04 season the Leafs would have been ridiculed by everyone in the Leafs media, including Mr. Strachan. One more Sillinger stat for you:

Blues record with Sillinger: 11-20-8
Blues record without Sillinger: 6-2-1

Predators record without Sillinger: 31-14-6
Predators record with Sillinger: 4-5-0

Read into that what you want.

Antropov on the other hand is a +4 (3rd on the Leafs), kills penalties pretty well and has never had a – season when he has played at least 12 games.

The sad thing is that there is a message that can be clearly be read into the records by the Rangers, Red Wings, Flyers, Avalanche, Leafs and Blues. Goaltending wins. This is most evident by looking at the Rangers. They had the talent in 2003-04, but they didn’t have the goaltending. This year they have the goaltending and they are winning. When Aebischer was struggling earlier in the year the Avalanche weren’t winning, now that Aebischer is playing well, they are winning. Detroit has had very good goaltening and Philadelphia has been mostly good. The Blues and Leafs haven’t. Extending it further, Los Angeles won a lot of games early because they were getting good goaltending.

All this is interesting because the most over paid Leaf (based on performance) is Ed Belfour, who Strachan for some odd reason chose not to put him on his list. He is far more overpaid than Klee or Antropov and is a far bigger reason why the Leafs aren’t higher in the standings. If the Leafs had good goaltending they would easily be in a playoff position and probably not far behind Philadelphia in the standings. But, for some reason Antropov and the Leafs defense as a whole (hence Klee) are the whipping boys of the Toronto media (and they have never really liked Domi either) so they get criticized over the more deserving.

This article has 6 Comments

  1. Well said…although it’s not hard to pick apart Strachan. He is truly an idiot (refer to any episode he has been on the hotstove segment on HNIC)

  2. I live in Toronto and I am a true die hard Leaf fan, my step dad rents out his condo to Matt Stajan and i know Carlo Coliaicolvo personally, so I have no choice but to be a Leaf fan.
    Aside from that, you gotta understand somthing. The Leafs SUCK THIS YEAR!!!!! We dont have a good team and I’ll be the first one to admit it. We have many problems on our team, in my opinion biggest problem is Pat Quinn. Get him out of town, his stay is long over due. 7 seasons in Toronto and he hasnt done anything. His system DOESNT WORK!!!! He proved that all too well this year in the Olympics for Team Canada. Next biggest problem is Ed Belfour, say what you want about him, yes he had a great career but his time is done. Eddy is not at all consistant this year, giving up 4+ goals in over 20 games this season. Time for the Leafs NOT to pick up his option for next year, and go with Tellquist as the starter and bring up Justin Pogge from the minors and get him to be back up. Next problem is Nik Antropov. This year is absolutely useless on the ice. He may be a plus 4 but the amount of times this guy misses open nets or an easy scoring oppourtunity is much more important and it brags the Leafs down. What Pat Quinn see’s in this guy I have no idea. Tie Domi is a bag of pucks as well….he used to be a good scrapper but now all he does is shot off his mouth on the ice, no fights, no nothing! He dumps the puck and changes lines. He doesnt even produce…..Its brutal. Time for him to go as well. Jason Allison may be pricey at 4.5 million/year but you know what? He’s been one of few constistant Leafs next to Tucker, McCabe and Sundin. Allison deserves every penny he gets this year, Im pleased with him so far….he produces, but at minus 11, his defensive game needs improvements.

    Play Kilger, Wellwood, Steen, Wozniewski, Tellquist and Czerkawski more often and the Leafs will win more games.

    Get rid of Quinn, Belfour, Antropov, Domi, O’Neill (a dismal minus 19) and already we have a much stronger team.

  3. Oh by the way David Johnson. Just so you know, I have lived in Toronto my entire 25 years and Tie Domi, believe it or not is a fan and media favourite. Please get your facts straight before posting fiction on topics (Toronto hockey) you do not know about.

  4. I lived in Toronto for most of my life too but currently live in Ottawa. I still go back to Toronto often and am a huge Leaf fan. I am pretty sure I know as much about the Leafs as pretty much anyone reading this blog so don’t tell me what I do or don’t know.

    Yes, Tie Domi is a fan favourite, and because he speaks his mind he is a media favorurite. But the media has never been one to dole out praise for his non-hockey on-ice, non-fighting ability. He isn’t your typical goon. He is a very good skater and is capable of scoring 10-15 goals (on limited ice time), is pretty good in the dressing room and won’t hurt you defensively. He is a high energy player that will go out and energize the team if the team starts foundering. He hasn’t been a whipping boy like some other players but he never really got much credit for being a pretty useful hockey player (fighting aside). Until this year that is. The Ottawa Senators desperately needed a guy like Tie Domi while they were losing all those playoff rounds to the Leafs. And while most Ottawa fans love to bash the Leafs, including Domi, for being goons and whiners I am sure most of them if they are being truely honest with themselves would admit that a Domi-like player is exactly what they were (and maybe still are) missing.

  5. I am always in favour of picking apart articles or stories done by the sports media, I think they mail it in 99% of the time. the sports media to me, seems to give sports info like Jon Stewart reports the news, focusing on extreme recency and turning it into entertainment, rather than anythign with substance

  6. David I like your arguements on this Domi issue. I have to admit I disagree for the most part. Your right in saying the Leafs need a “Domi-like” player, but that player isnt Domi himself. For the 1.25 million dollars Domi is due to earn this season I can name you handfuls of players who would fit into the Leafs line-up a lot more nicely, starting with own very own Chad Kilger. Big fan. Many players can score 10-15 goals that you say Domi “can” score, and doesn’t. Domi is not even a goon anymore. He yaps his mouth off on the ice, and gets stupid penalties at crutal points of the game. Remember when the Ottawa Senators were losing all those playoffs series year in and year out? Or, how about the 2000 playoffs when Domi hit Niedamayer and changed the momentum in the series the Devils way? I sure as hell do. Im a Leaf fan thru and thru and I’ll be the first one to tell you, removing Domi from the Leafs, is one of(and there’s many)the best moves the Leafs can make to improve this hockey club. The 3 out of 16 season’s Domi scored more than 10 goals are finished, his playing abilities are no longer an asset to the Leafs, and his departure from Toronto is long overdue. I want the Leafs to make the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup more than anything. I can see a much better Maple Leaf team without Domi. Why can’t you?

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