Two dudes blogging and podcasting about the San Jose Sharks, straight from sunny California.

post Sharks Owners Do Their Part In CBA Negotiations

July 18th, 2012, 1:43 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

First of all, listen to the podcast if you haven’t already.

Kevin Kurz has a post about a Q&A session Kevin Compton and Stratton Sclavos (two of the Sharks owners) had over the weekend about the state of the franchise. They revealed some (alleged) information about the Sharks’ financial situation, stating that they lost around $15M last year. In fact, here are the main points of the article as I read them:

  1. The Sharks owners lost money last year, even through every home game sold out.
  2. The Sharks consider themselves at about the midpoint of teams in terms of market size and revenues.
  3. The cap has gone up a lot since the cap was first put in.
  4. The Sharks owners don’t care about making money, they just want to win.

Reviewed in this easy, albeit jaded format, this could be a blueprint for the PR strategy of any ownership group in the NHL this summer. We lost a lot of money, even though we are doing everything right.  We sell out the building, we work hard to ice a competitive team, but our P&L looks like a horror show. But hey, that’s ok, we just want to win. It looks like this is the owners doing what owners have always done when labor negotiations happen, cry poor, but save personal face with their customers by saying it’s all just part of the deal, and they’re fine with it. In this context, the headline (“Should Sharks owners be allowed to profit?”) and the first three points are brilliant in serving those purposes. This makes me want to launch into a whole argument about the nature (and type) of profit the owners are in fact making, but that will have to wait for another day.

Frankly, I have no concrete reason to doubt Mr. Compton’s and Mr. Sclavos’ sincerity on any of this. However, it’s worth mentioning that only statement #3 above is proven. All the others either burnish the owner’s own reputations, or further the NHL’s bargaining position. It think it goes without saying that these points should be taken with a grain of salt.  Plenty of the commenters on the article noticed correctly that this loss number is not audited, and not present in any public disclosure statement, because SS&E (Sharks Sports & Entertainment, the entity that owns the Sharks) is not a publicly traded company, and therefore not required to release any such numbers. In fact, during the lockout in 2005, there was quite a row made over the players’ claims that they wanted to see the real financial statements of the teams, and they were not being provided the information requested.

The fact that this conversation took place less than a week after the owners submitted their initial bargaining position is not a coincidence.

post Ahead of the Curve Again

January 6th, 2010, 2:50 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike

It’s been only a matter of days since Doug and I went up to Stockton to check out the Thunder of the ECHL, and reported glowingly in a recent podcast.  Today, the Sharks announce they have entered into a working arrangement with the Thunder for the rest of the season.  This coming on the heels of Jason Demers being sent there recently- here’s the always-thorough Sharkspage rundown.  Can it be merely coincidence that the Dudes plan a trip, publicize said trip, go to the game, report positively on the quality of the arena and franchise, and have the Sharks enter into a business agreement only days later?  Of course it’s a coincidence, what are ya, nuts?

Because I’m crazy like that, I remember something about the ECHL from reading the current CBA, here’s a passage that applies to Demers:

Loans to East Coast Hockey League. Players who are party to an Entry Level
SPC may be Loaned to the East Coast Hockey League (“ECHL”) without the requirement
of Player consent, provided the Player will continue to be paid the stated amount of the
AHL portion of his two-way SPC in the Native Currency of the NHL Club.

9.7 Loans to East Coast Hockey League. Players who are party to an Entry Level SPC may be Loaned to the East Coast Hockey League (“ECHL”) without the requirement of Player consent, provided the Player will continue to be paid the stated amount of the AHL portion of his two-way SPC in the Native Currency of the NHL Club.

Here’s a corollary, implied by the above:

13.11 No Loans to East Coast Hockey League. A Player who is not in the Entry Level System may not be Loaned to the East Coast Hockey League without his consent.

So the moral of this story is that Demers, McLaren, and McGinn could all be easily sent to Stockton instead of Worchester for the rest of the year with little fuss.  And since the Sharks seem to be fans of sending players places for single digit days, it’ll be easier (and cheaper) to make them drive 75 miles than fly 3000.

post Juggling Vesce and Leach

December 3rd, 2009, 12:33 pm

Filed under: blog — Written by Mike
Goddam it, shouldn't I be the one starring in that stupid George Clooney Movie?

Goddam it, shouldn't I be the one starring in that stupid George Clooney movie?

Ryan Vesce, along with Jamie McGinn and Logan Couture, has been on the short end of the stick when it comes to the Worchester shuttle this year, and I heard a rumor that’s he’s being called up for the game tonight:

Oct 17 Ryan Vesce RW Called up from minors (from Worcester-AHL)
Nov 14 Ryan Vesce RW Sent to minors (Worcester-AHL)
Nov 21 Ryan Vesce RW Called up from minors (from Worcester-AHL)
Nov 22 Ryan Vesce RW Sent to minors (Worcester-AHL)

But unlike McGinn, Couture, Joslin, McLaren, and the rest of the crew that are accruing frequent-flyer miles at a fantastic rate, Vesce is a veteran player.  Some people may know a bit about the waiver rules in the NHL- they are based solely on age and years of experience.  Young guys like the ones I mention above are exempt from waivers, a process where any other team in the NHL can take a player for free and assume their contract.  But Vesce is 27 years old, way too old to be exempt from waivers, which he would need to clear to be sent to Worchester, and re-call waivers, which he would be required to clear to come back to San Jose.  How come we never hear about him clearing waivers, like the recently demoted goaltender Stephen Valiquette of the Rangers?

It’s because the Sharks are being extra careful  with Vesce, and taking advantage of some CBA minutia.  As some of you might know, I’m oddly fascinated by the various obscure rules of the CBA, and none may be more confusing than the waiver process.   The Sharks are manipulating his time carefully so that he’s not subject to either regular waivers (which is how he would be sent down) or recall (which is how he would come back).  This is a pretty neat trick.  The harder thing to get around is the recall (or re-entry) waiver process, and the Sharks are taking advantage of section 50.9(g) of the CBA:

The Re-Entry Waiver procedure will not, however, be applicable to Veteran Minor League Players defined as follows: (i) for goaltenders, Players who have:
(A) played in 180 or more professional games in North America (NHL, AHL and ECHL), and
(B) not spent more than 80 NHL games on NHL roster over the prior two (2) seasons or more than 40 NHL games on NHL roster in the immediately prior season; and (ii) for defensemen and forwards, Players who have:
Neither the salaries nor signing bonuses paid to minor league Players shall be counted against a Club’s Upper Limit or the Players’ Share. For a Player on a One-Way NHL Contract or a Two-Way Contract with a Minor League Salary and compensation that could be earned in excess of the following amounts:

2005-06: U.S. $75,000
2006-07: U.S. $95,000
2007-08: U.S. $100,000
2008-09: U.S. $100,000
2009-10: U.S. $105,000
2010-11: U.S. $105,000
2011-12: U.S. $105,000

the following rules shall apply:
(i) To the extent the Player does not require Waivers to be Loaned to a minor league affiliate, he can be freely Loaned and Recalled

Vesce makes $105k, right under the wire, so this first rule doesn’t apply- Vesce is not subject to recall waivers.  Now what about regular waivers- how does he get around that, being 27 years old, with NHL experience last year?

13.5 Waiver Expiration. The rights granted under this Article to Loan a Player(s) who is otherwise required to clear Regular Waivers to a minor league club expire for any Player(s) who, after clearing Regular Waivers:

(i) is not Loaned to a minor league club, or is Recalled from a minor league club (except on emergency recall); and

(ii) remains on an NHL roster for thirty (30) days (cumulative) or plays ten (10) NHL Games (cumulative).

So looking at the above chart, we know know why Vesce was sent back down on the November 14.  Because his waiver exempt status was about to expire.   Now with the new addition of Jay Leach, the Sharks are taking advantage of another waiver wrinkle – since Montreal got Leach on re-entry waivers, they only had to pay half of his salary, the Devils the other half.  And now that the Sharks got him on regular waivers from Montreal, they are required to pay the amount the Habs did, about half the league minimum.  Leach may or may not have been “a guy that our guys (scouts) have liked” as Pollak reported, but more likely it’s that “he’s a guy that our guys (accountants) have liked”.