Monthly Archives: June 2012

Better Get It Right

Apologies for not writing recently, but I’m back.  

Tomorrow marks the opening of the free agent period for the NHL and NBA and the Rangers and Knicks have some intriguing decisions to make. 

The Rangers have to decide if they want to chase after Zach Parise.  On the surface, Parise makes a lot of sense.  He has played in the NYC market, so he knows the territory.  He can put the puck in the net, something the Rangers definitely need.  But, he is going to cost a ton and his production has decreased each of the last three seasons.  In 2009-10 he scored 45 goals. In 2010-11 he scored 38 and last year he scored 31.  Now the Rangers could certainly use someone who scored 31 goals, but look at Parise’s +/- ratings over the last four years.  It has gone from +30 to +24 to -1 to -5. Now there are some problems with +/- data, but the trend isn’t good.  Ultimately, while I think Parise would be a big boost, there are two many questions I have about him to justify the eventually cost.

The Knicks have two questions hanging over them before they get to free agency shopping. First, what do they give Jeremy Lin and second, do they bring back J.R. Smith and Steve Novak?  I’m assuming that Lin is back because no matter what he does on the court, he translates into a lot of dollars off of it.  The Knicks are going to keep him because of that impact.  

The problem is Lin is going to be vastly overpaid for what he has done.  Lost in the Linsanity is the fact that he only played in 35 games and while he was certainly impressive at times, his shooting percentage and assist totals dropped over the final 13 games he played.  Maybe that’s a statistical blip, maybe it’s because the league figured out how to stop him.  Whatever you think, it’s worth remembering that the Knicks were his third NBA team and they came very close to cutting him.  It is possible that the Rockets and Golden State made a huge mistake, but it is also possible that they were right and Linsanity was simply a player getting hot for two months.  If I were the Knicks, I would try and keep whatever deal they give him a short one, just in case the case against Lin proves to be true. 

As for Novak and Smith, I say bring them back as long as you don’t break the bank.  Both of them were very good off the bench and as long as they get paid as bench players, there is no reason to let them go. Once you get those deals done, the Knicks will still have to find another guard to come in and join the rotation.  I don’t think Steve Nash is going to take their mid-level exemption, but there are some other interesting names out there.  

The madness starts at midnight, expect some dominos to start falling by the end of Sunday. 

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Don’t Kid Yourself

I heard a Rangers’ fan today say that what is currently happening to the Devils (utter destruction) would not have happened if the Rangers were in the Cup.  That ignores the brutal truth that the Devils are merely the latest victim of the hottest team in hockey.

Giants’ fans should recognize what the Kings are doing because their team did it five months ago.  LA struggled to get into the playoffs, but once they made it they dominated. They swept through the top two seeds in the West before needing one extra game to beat the #3 seed. If they win tomorrow, they will have run through the Stanley Cup playoffs in 17 games or three less than the Rangers played in three rounds!  Has a team ever gone 16-1 in the playoffs before?  I can’t think of one off the top of my head, can you?  The closest thing I can think of is that Bulls team that went 72-10 in the regular season.  They lost three games in the playoffs.  The 1998 Yankees lost only two, but baseball isn’t as physically demanding as hockey or basketball, so I don’t think it is equivalent.

And the Bulls and Yankees were teams that had dominated the regular season, something the Kings clearly did not do.  Probably the closest parallel would be the 1987-88 Oilers who went 16-2, but they were the #2 seed in the West that year, had won Cups before and had guys like Gretzky, Messier, Kuri and Anderson playing for them. Maybe one day names like Quick, Kopitar and Brown will be as familiar to us, but for now this is one amazing run.

Smart or Stupid?

Congratulations to Johan Santana for pitching the first no-hitter in Mets’ history last night. No-hitters are always great and this one gave Mets’ fans a well-deserved chance to celebrate. But, was this a smart move?

Santana missed all of 2011 thanks to shoulder surgery.  When the 2012 season started, he was given an extra day off each time through the rotation.  The Mets owe him $25 million this season and next as part of a $137-million dollar contract he signed.  Unfortunately, they have only received 99 starts from him over that deal which means he has to stay absolutely healthy if the Mets are to to avoid paying him an average of over $1 million per start.

And that’s my concern from last night.  It was certainly a jolt for the team and fanbase to pitch a no-hitter, but it required Santana to throw 134 pitches- the most he has ever thrown.  For someone who recently recovered from shoulder surgery, this doesn’t seem smart.  With an 8-0 lead, the Mets didn’t need to send Santana out there for the 9th.  Allowing him to complete the no-hitter was a risk.  Hopefully, the Mets are not forced to pay for it in the future.