Tuesday, September 11, 2007

An unwanted comeback

As for the Flyers' predicament of fitting Rathje onto the roster and under the salary cap, Rathje said he completely understands Holmgren's concerns.

"He told me what he had to do (by adding Timonen and Smith) and I understand that," Rathje said. "He was shocked when I told him after the surgery that I wanted to come back. But he never discouraged me. He told me straight up if I'm healthy I'd play."
Mike Rathje is due $3.5-million this season, but his actual value at age 33 and coming off major back surgery?

Less than $1-million, certainly.

It's a huge concern for Holmgren, really, that this ill-advised signing from the Flyers' postlockout buying spree is still lumbering around the practice sheet, an unfortunate description of a guy who used to be a pretty effective player. And, who knows? Maybe he still can be.

But not at that salary, and in that condition. Not when this is a team that got young and quick quickly and is looking for a rebirth.

They can't afford Rathje's comeback to be successful — and I mean that in more ways than one. Especially when he's under contract for another two seasons after 2007-08.

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At 3:31 p.m., September 11, 2007, Anonymous Anshu said...

Isn't the answer obvious? Have him sit out the first part of the season pondering retirement, and then only bring him back on a pro-rated basis for the last portion of the year to minimize the cap hit.

He still gets above market value for his services, the team isn't as unduly burdened as they would otherwise have been given his contract, and maybe he even contributes a little.

For multi-year contracts, lather, rinse and repeat.

At 3:40 p.m., September 11, 2007, Anonymous Kevin Forbes said...

Rathje is willing to just give up 2.5 million bucks?
Wow, what a guy!

There's no incentive at all for Rathje to go along with your "deal". He loses money and if the team pressures him into it, he could just as easily get the PA involved and open a whole can of worms.

At 5:37 p.m., September 11, 2007, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

The alternative is to demote him to the Phantoms (at that wage he'll clear waivers, obviously). If he refuses to report, suspend him. When he gets sick of riding the AHL bus and leaves the team to ponder spending time with his family, suspend him. Problem solved. If he still won't quit, dress him as a goaltender for a few games.

At 6:28 p.m., September 11, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kimmo Timonen told Finnish media that he expects to play with his brother so maybe he has a side deal for that;)

Pretty growded defence with Timonen x 2, Rathje, Hatcher, Smith, Picard, Jones, Gauthier...

Trades? Rathje, Hatcher and Gauthier are way overpaid and too slow to be traded.

Younger Timonen can't play. Picard and Jones are marginal NHLrs.

Tough luck, Homer! AHL is your only option.

At 8:33 a.m., September 12, 2007, Blogger Chemmy said...

It's things like this that make me laugh when people say Philly's going to the playoffs.

Daniel Briere and Simon Gagne will not cover up the Flyers complete lack of goaltending or defense.

At 9:37 a.m., September 12, 2007, Anonymous S said...

Thanks for the post on this James. A friend and I were arguing about this earlier this week.

The Flyers defense has been a stumbling block for quite some time. Apparently, the NHL doesn't need massive, slow-skating defensemen. Who'd have thunk it? Not Bobby Clarke. The multi-year deals are what make me nervous. I'm not so sure I even want Dannny Briere around here in eight years, but that's putting the cart before the horse.

I bet Holmgren is stabbing the back of his Rathje voodoo doll as we speak.

I do think the Flyers will make the playoffs, but they will probably be around 6th place. This is the first team that almost comes close to the type of team you need these days.

At 10:12 a.m., September 12, 2007, Anonymous Anshu said...

Rathje is willing to just give up 2.5 million bucks?
Wow, what a guy!

Well, his alternative would be demotion to the minors as Art pointed out, where they could make him play 35+ minutes a night.

The player doesn't hold all the cards, unless he's a hot commodity with value to other teams.

The "Niedermeyer" option works out to both Rathje's and the team's advantage, and lets him preserve a modicum of dignity in the process.


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