The Ehrhoff Signing: a Vancouver Perspective

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“Don’t hassle the Ehrhoff.”

There’s your banner for the 300 level.

Fans in Buffalo were pleased and shocked when the Sabres traded for the rights to negotiate with and then signed Christian Ehrhoff – pleased because a player of his caliber decided to come to Buffalo, and shocked because a player of his caliber decided to come to Buffalo. He didn’t come cheap. From the Vancouver Sun:

Ehrhoff, 28, was seeking a huge raise on the $3.1 million he made in 2010-11 and Vancouver Canucks GM Gillis apparently couldn’t entice the German to accept Kevin Bieksa-type money of $4.6 million per season.

Ehrhoff was a mainstay on the Canucks’ No. 1 power-play unit and collected 50 points last season. He had 42 points in 2009-10, his first with Vancouver.

“Playing on this team is more important than individual compensation and that’s our expectation with everybody,” Gillis continued. “It will work with some and it may not work with others. If he [Ehrhoff] is unwilling to accept what we think is fair and allows us to be competitive, then we’ll move in a different direction.”

A player with Ehrhoff’s puck-moving and power-play ability should command north of $5 million.

Ehrhoff was thusly dealt away to the New York Islanders, who then failing to sign him, dealt him to Buffalo, where we now scoff at phrases such as “Bieksa-type money,” and even the surly Golisano-esque “Playing on this team is more important than individual compensation.”

PelleyEhrhoff 300x203 The Ehrhoff Signing: a Vancouver Perspective

The 'Hoff getting hassled. By a New Jersey Devil. Rod Pelly, you better stay on the bench the next time we see you.

In Buffalo, “should commend north of $5 million” translated into $10 million for Ehrhoff, along with a $8 million signing bonus, for the 2011-12 season. 2012-13 will award him $8 million, with another “signing bonus” $5 million. From there, he’ll make $4 million until the 2017-18 season, where he drops to $3 million, and then to $1 million through the 2018-19 to 2020-21 seasons. All told, that’s $53 million over ten seasons – but hey, if you do your “Pegula Math,” that averages out to $5.3 million per season, and with a cap hit of $4 million per.

Turns out, over the long, long, long run, the money is right where it should be. Right? How much can we really expect as a return on our dollar?

Here’s more from Vancouver, from the Sun’s Sports Blog, which at least touches on his past accomplishments:

Ehrhoff will be greatly missed for his dynamic offense. While the German-born defender wasn’t much of a shutdown guy, his mobility, offensive awareness, and his shot made him a threat to score from just about anywhere. Seriously, anywhere. Ehrhoff has a tendency to put himself out of position on occasional forays into the untold depths of the O-zone, but he also has a tendency to score beautiful goals from those same spots (and don’t you worry: all these clips have happy endings).

Ladies and gentlemen: let every goal Christian Ehrhoff scored last season be his swansong.

Bang on the link above, to check out video of all of Ehrhoff’s goals from last season (though it may take you a little while to watch all 14 of them).

We’ll close with some quips from “Lighthouse Hockey,” who brings some perspective from Ehrhoff’s home in Long Island for all of 20 hours (and also adds some more insight into the Sabres current cap crisis):

Ten years, huh? TEN years for a defenseman! Here that team goes again. They never learned from that Alexei Yashin deal and they never learned from that Rick DiPietro deal.

‘Cause here those crazy Islanders go again, with a 10-year contract — to a non-star defenseman, no less. And they’re paying him EIGHTEEN MILLION in just the first two seasons alone.

Now granted, it tails off in the final four years to lessen the cap hit and dance around the salary cap (which all NHL teams should do, if they are in the blessed club that can get away with it).

Wait … what’s that, you say? …

You say the contract are actually between the Buffalo Sabres and Christian Ehrhoff…?

Fantastic deal then. What moves! Such guts and commitment to winning! You can tell this franchise really cares!

Boy, they’re really doing some great things in Buffalo, what with adding Ville Leino for six years at $4.5 million per to a collection that already includes Tomas Vanek for an eternity at over $7 million annually, and Jason Pominville at $5.3 million annually with a no-trade clause(!), to go with $6.25 million for the star goalie, and the $4 million still left on the contract for that 17-goal scorer who scored 40 goals that one time, long before they spent a draft pick to add him.

Now that is what I call putting your money where your mouth is, in all the right pl… well in some places, anyway.

Why, that franchise is so committed to winning, they even brought back Ales Kotalik and his $3 million salary — never mind that he hasn’t performed like an NHLer in three seasons and has been rejected by every team from Alberta to Manhattan. It’s just great to see such commitment and dedication in Buffalo.

Money, money, money. All the dollar bills in the world won’t make a lick of difference if these signings help bring a Stanley Cup to Buffalo. And that’s where most of the criticism tails off.

Yes, the Sabres have over-paid on contracts, but that is not unusual for NHL teams in this age that are aiming to be more than just competitive. The Sabres “only reason for existence is to win a Stanley Cup,” as every Sabres fan knows very well by now. Let Regier toss his Pegula Bucks around.  Let the green fall where it may.

And let Lord Stanley fall right in our laps.

That’s the only thing that matters to us now.

Go Sabres.

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In the Heat Wave, “Thou Shalt Have Reinforcements” (From Hockey Heaven)

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Baby, it’s hot outside.

Almost as hot as the dollar bills burning holes in Terry Pegula’s pocket. While we swelter away here in WNY on one of the hottest days of the year, let’s all sit back and try to cool off with a little reminder of good things to come in Autumn, courtesy of “Hockey Heaven.”

Grab an iced Tim Horton’s, drop a spoonful of Perry’s into it, hit play, and enjoy.

 

 

Actually, I don’t know about you, but that video made me sweat a little bit more. That’s ok. I’ve got plenty of Perry’s ice cream in the freezer.

sabrestopshelfsundae In the Heat Wave, Thou Shalt Have Reinforcements (From Hockey Heaven)

Everything is tastier in Blue and Gold. Even that "Banana" flavor.

And plenty to look forward to.

Go Sabres.

 

 

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High Projections for the 2011-12 Sabres Have Begun, but Don’t get too Excited yet, Billy

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Always the bridesmaid.

4 Superbowls, 2 appearances in the Stanley Cup Final – and 6 second best ribbons.

Prognosticators and the media haven’t been kind to Buffalo for quite a while, and who can blame them? Having an “internal cap” and “spending budget” never did scream “Cup or bust” here for the Sabres.

Still, now that Pegula and Regier have busted through the Cap ceiling – leading all NHL teams in salary – the hockey world has no choice but to at least raise an eyebrow. Bookies are salivating, ready for the bets to start pouring in from over-excited Buffalonians.

Um, it’s Billy Brown calling. l’d like to bet on the Super Bowl. On Buffalo. To win. Right.

-(Billy Brown on the phone with his bookie. From the script of “Buffalo 66.”)

Take a breath, folks. And please, take your bookies off speed-dial. Yea, the offseason has been a thrilling ride, but we haven’t ever won a dang thing when it mattered most, and we haven’t won a single game in the 2011-12 season.

High projections have started to come to print for the 2011-12 Sabres. The core of our Blue and Gold roster that barely squeaked into the playoffs last year is still here, but with the additions of Robyn Regehr, Christian Ehrhoff, and Ville Leino, expectations have vastly risen for next season.

Excited? You should be. We’re in uncharted ice, here.

SabresBanners 300x199 High Projections for the 2011 12 Sabres Have Begun, but Dont get too Excited yet, Billy

Those banners look awfully lonely up in the rafters - but there are some who are saying the HSBC might be adding another banner or two by the time the 2011-12 season is finished.

“The Hockey News” published their list of the “Top 10 Offseason Winners” recently. Though the offseason is not yet over (and certainly not over for the Sabres, who are already over the cap with Marc-Andre Gragnani and Jhonas Enroth yet to sign), Adam Proteau had this to say about how things have changed at the HSBC:

The Sabres received enough of a boost this past season when new team owner Terry Pegula assumed control of the organization. And Pegula put a lot of his money where his Sabres-loving mouth is this summer, ponying up for D-man Christian Ehrhoff, outbidding numerous teams for left winger Ville Leino and adding rugged blueliner Robyn Regehr from Calgary. If the Sabres don’t challenge Boston for the Northeast Division title, it won’t be because they don’t have the players.

Challenge the Bruins? The team that just won the Stanley Cup? Yep. Those Bruins.

The NE Division crown and the Stanley Cup are a long, long way off, and there is a lot of hockey to play before we can back up our bold new hopes, but at least we can enjoy some realistic dreams for once.

Then again…

Buffalo66 300x168 High Projections for the 2011 12 Sabres Have Begun, but Dont get too Excited yet, Billy

"Oh, and, Billy. lf Buffalo ever makes it back to the Super Bowl, bet against them."

We’re still Buffalo – that snake-bitten town that has never won a thing (apologies to the Bills of the AFL and our beloved Bandits). We’re all pretty excited to be bringing players in – very good players – but hopes are still tempered around the Queen City.

This past season, the Sabres went on a remarkable run to make the playoffs after Pegula took over on February 22nd. They posted a 16-4-4 record down the stretch, before running out of gas and Pegula magic in a hard fought first round series against the Flyers. It remains to be seen how much gas these new additions will bring to the squad, and if that Pegula magic still holds any lionizing power over the locker room.  This time, it’s a stretch of 82 games instead of just 24.

It’s still about surviving that long regular season, it’s still about making the playoffs – and then winning 16 of those extra and bloodiest games before anyone else does.

That’s a tall order.

That is a lot to hope for, and we’re all a little rusty on hope here in the Rust Belt.

But at least, for once, we can have some realistic hope. Even if we do keep our hopes a little quiet.

Go Sabres.

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The Pominville Injury: Update

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Pominville is on schedule.

Thanks again to Abby Corsun Sims (MS, PT) of “AthletiSense.com for her advice on what poor Pommers has been going through during the summer and what to expect throughout his recovery. In case you missed it, we had a conversation with her here on Buffalo Sabres Nation a little while ago.

Pommers1 300x217 The Pominville Injury: Update

It's been a long road of recovery for Jason, but things are looking up for him now.

We concluded that post by reminding folks that with this type of slow-rehab injury, the best news is no news. Well, he’s progressed to a point where we’re now getting updates on his recovery. During a press conference addressing the signings of Matt Ellis and Andrej Sekera, Darcy Regier had this to add about Pominville (compliments to Black and Blue and Gold for wrapping up the presser on their site):

Probably the most important comment of the night came when the general manager was asked about Pominville’s progress rehabilitating from his horrific injury. Asked if he expected the forward would be ready to go at the beginning of training camp, Darcy said, “We do. Everything is on course and we expect him ready to go.”

For more on the Sekera and Ellis signings, bang on that link to BBG.

Go Sabres.

See also: “The Pominville Injury,” Regier Chats about Contracts, Coaches, and Pominville’s Rehabilitation (from Black and Blue and Gold)” (more…)

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When Sports Fans Go Bad

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Ever get so pissed off at a game at a fan cheering or doing things that you want to take a swing at them? I have.

Buffalo sports fans can be loud. We take a great amount of pride in this. Our boisterousness can also be taken as rudeness in other teams arenas.

I’ve seen it, and it happens in our barn too (damn Leafs fans jump to mind). You have a couple beers, you want to root for your team and sometimes it gets taken a little bit too far. It happens, it’s sports. And it’s alcohol. Mix the two and people can easily get carried away.

thursdays dar 281 202x300 When Sports Fans Go Bad

Sports energy and cheering gone wrong. Way wrong.

I’ve written before that I’ve attended lots of Bluejackets games in Columbus. I’ve been to every regular season Sabres game at Nationwide Arena and each time it seems like Sabres fans own the place. Of course we’re louder than the home team and it makes sense: the more “determined” fans are the ones who will travel to away games. The hardcore if you will.

Plus those hardcore fans feel like they have to represent and make noise in the opposing arena. I get it, and I actually like it. I love making noise myself. As a Buffalo sports fan, I’ve made a science out of being able to produce as much noise as I possibly can. (A good shout comes from the diaphragm.)

But some fans take it too far. Case in point was the last game of the 2010-2011 season, Buffalo at Columbus. During the national anthem there was a guy several rows behind us who was making fireworks sounds … during the entire anthem. (more…)

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