Sunday, October 10, 2010

And Back In Portland, It's All About Sven

The games: Portland Winterhawks vs. Spokane Chiefs (WHL) and Pittsburgh vs. Montreal.

Why I chose them: Because I have nothing better to do on a Saturday night than watch hockey, chat with fellow fans over at oregonlive and reheat leftovers. And if that's not sad enough:

The math: Pittsburgh went down to Montreal in the waning seconds of the game 3-2. Ummmm....I thought the new season and new venue meant new luck?

Meanwhile back here in the Pacific Northwest: The Winterhawks' newest Euro draft pick is tearing it up. Sven Bartschi was chosen in this year's draft, after a trade that earlier this year brought fellow countryman Luca Sbisa to town to boost our playoff run. Sven is 18, grew up in a small town in Switzerland and likes burritos. And oh yeah, he scored two goals in last night's game and was very nearly headed for the hat trick. During the pre-season he scored 4 goals in a 6-2 win over Kootenay. When I met him around that same time, he said his only goal for the season was "I hope I get to play a lot this season." Really. Get ready NHL fans, this name will be at the top of your mock draft lists in the not-so-distant future.

And dudes, don't be high sticking my favorite LA player: Anze Kopitar took a nasty gash to the upper lip in last night's game against Vancouver. In the pre-game clip on CBC today, he was right back at it and looked like he was ready to go for tonight's game. Mini bummer alert, though. His brother was with the Winterhawks all of last season and our pre-season and earlier this week was reassigned back to the Des Moines Buccaneers of the USHL. We all wish Gasper the best in the end, and I truly do hope it means more ice time and more notice for him. He never got quality ice time here for whatever reason, so in the end it was for the best. But dudes, how am I supposed to have another quality Anze Kopitar sighting at the Memorial Coliseum now that you've sent his bro away? Mini bummer, indeed.

The rule: Article 11, Rules and Procedures Governing Standard Player's Contract.

So, don't even try to get yourself a better deal, then?: 11.1 Standard Player's Contract. The standard form SPC annexed hereto as Exhibit 1 will be the sole form of employment contract used for all Player signings after the execution of this Agreement. The standard form SPC may not be amended or modified in any manner whatsoever. Filed form 1995 SPCs will be considered valid and effective until their expiration, as deemed modified by this Agreement and the Compliance Rules attached as Exhibit 16 hereto, provided, however, that notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained herein, any previously, and still outstanding, rejected SPC shall not be deemed to be registered or approved pursuant to this provision or otherwise, and such rejected SPC shall be grieved in accordance with Article 17 of this agreement.

And I guess they don't pay players by meeting in a deserted parking lot with a briefcase full of cash: 11.16, Sale of SPCs. There shall be no cash transactions in connection with the Assignment of Players. Nor shall any Club be permitted to retain an obligation to pay or to reimburse another Club for a portion of any Player's Player Salary or Bonuses in connection with the Assignment of such Player, other than as set forth in Section 50.8 (b)(ii) of this Agreement.

Morals of the story:

The game: bribery, no changing the deal, no nothing. Well, at least the business of hockey is clean, 'cause darn sure the sport isn't. Nor would we want it to be. But still, it makes you wonder how teams like New Jersey get away with the things they do. This agreement has so many rules, caveats, arbitrations and grievance procedures, it's a wonder any business gets done at all.

Life: This made me wonder, can we do anything in life that doesn't come with a rule, contract, penalty or fee if you break said rules and contracts? Think about it, you need a contract for your cell phone, a mortgage and insurance for your house, a lease or loan for your car, a contract with the cable company to watch Center Ice and have high-speed Internet, a license to own your dog and go hunting on the weekend. And that's just a few. So here's a little food for thought: name a few things in your life that are rule, contract and/or law-free. It's a pretty small list, isn't it? Add our own gas to the fire in the form all the things we say we can't do, and it's toxic.

Here's the deal: This rule is proof that not even NHL superstars are truly free. It may come with restrictions and rules, but they don't allow that to stop them from living their dreams. Nor should we. One of my favorite inspirational stories comes from right here in Oregon, home of Rachel Scdoris, the first legally blind woman to complete the Iditarod race. If she can, there is no excuse for the rest of us. Enough said.

Next up: Collective Bargaining Agreement, Article 11, 11.5. Filing and Approval Process.

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