Sunday, July 06, 2008

Boyle vs. Barrie

"I understand business is business and I would not have taken it personally if it was done the right way, and when threats are involved and my personal character and work ethic is questioned; when those things get personal, that's not the way to do business."
I find it very hard to believe that the fact that Dan Boyle and Lightning owner Len Barrie played together has nothing to do with what's transpired the past few days.

Barrie entered Boyle's life on March 10, 2000, when the Panthers claimed the then 30-year-old Barrie off waivers from the Kings. At that point, Barrie had played a total of 110 NHL games, and was little more than a year from retirement.

Boyle, on the other hand, was an up-and-coming prospect for Florida, a small, undrafted defenceman in the days when clutch-and-grab were king. In 1999-2000, he played just 13 games with the big club, but jumped up full-time the following season to play with Barrie under coaches Terry Murray and Duane Sutter.

Then 24, Boyle played about 17 minutes a night that year as the team's fifth or sixth defenceman, a power-play specialist who finished third-worst on the team at minus-14. Barrie was more of a plugger, skating in just 12:34 a game in his final season.

Boyle's said in the past he was never given much of a chance with the Panthers, something that came to a head when "Iron" Mike Keenan arrived as coach midway through 2001-02 and benched him for good. He was dealt to Tampa Bay for a fifth-round pick 25 games in.

The 2000-01 Panthers team that Boyle and Barrie played on was an incredibly dysfunctional one, finishing with just 22 wins and near the league basement, and it was in that environment that the two last met. There were never any disagreements, or any interactions at all, that played out in the press seven years ago, but the pair spent that one toxic season together.

If they'd become buddies, I have a hard time imaging the situation playing out the way it has seven years later.

Here's what Boyle told the Tampa Tribune: "When my work ethic is questioned, my offseason work ethic and the way I get ready for games and what I do is questioned, and it gets personal and I'm threatened, that is absolutely the way not to do business."

Boyle wouldn't specify who in the ownership group criticized him, but really, who other than a former teammate or coach would have any knowledge about something as specific as how he gets ready for games?

It's Barrie, plain and simple.

The Lightning are out of their minds if they think this won't affect which players want to come and play for the organization. If Boyle's calling the situation "an absolute joke" in public, one can only imagine what the rendition given to fellow players will sound like.

The sideshow continues.
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21 Comments:

At 3:10 PM, July 06, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When is the CBA going to step in and say something about owners treating "no trade" clauses as though they don't exist.

I hope the people who cheered the owners during the lockout are proud of themselves.

 
At 3:13 PM, July 06, 2008, Anonymous Hockey Checks said...

I dont think the CBA is ever going to step in bro, they are above the law :)

 
At 3:13 PM, July 06, 2008, Blogger Lowetide said...

Well, one good thing: Fletcher is probably getting some good ideas about how to push McCabe.

And on another note, my goodness the NHLPA is a powerful organization. Short of an owner committing a drive-by shooting I can't imagine the McCabe and Boyle situations being topped this summer.

You know, I'm old enough to remember when teams would humiliate players (R. Hull vs. Chi, an example) and this is going to bite people in the ass.

Don't want to honor a no-trade or NMC? Don't offer the damn thing.

 
At 3:33 PM, July 06, 2008, Blogger Djlethal01 said...

Boyle getting traded must be a record in terms of a player who JUST received a no-trade clause.

 
At 4:19 PM, July 06, 2008, Blogger NotLeeFogolin said...

The NMC/NTC thing needs to be addressed. The process for asking a player to waive his respective clause should be formalized to remove the threats/emotion etc. from the act. I.e., the team submits a request-to-waive document to a third party and the player/agent responds accordingly. If the player/agent declines, that should be the end of it.

 
At 4:45 PM, July 06, 2008, Blogger therealdeal said...

The NMC/NTC thing needs to be addressed. The process for asking a player to waive his respective clause should be formalized to remove the threats/emotion etc. from the act. I.e., the team submits a request-to-waive document to a third party and the player/agent responds accordingly. If the player/agent declines, that should be the end of it.

That would never work. Too many subtle ways to punish the player.

I feel sorry for Stamkos and Lecavalier. What wastes of careers.

 
At 5:37 PM, July 06, 2008, Blogger Down Goes Brown said...

Well, one good thing: Fletcher is probably getting some good ideas about how to push McCabe.

Or some ideas about how not to handle this situation.

I'm tired with McCabe and would like to see him on the next flight out of town, but the Leafs signed the deal and they need to treat him with at least a little respect.

 
At 5:38 PM, July 06, 2008, Anonymous jkrdevil said...

Lowetide, as for McCabe he has a no movement clause not a No Trade clause. This means he can't even be waived. Thusly the Leafs can't can't threaten to waive him like Tampa did Boyle.

That said I agree if you don't want to honor the the no-trade don't give it out.

It's one thing if it's toward the end of a players contract and your a losing team at the deadline and you ask them to waive it it's another though to ask a player to waive it just after you signed them to a new contract.

 
At 6:42 PM, July 06, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Simple mistake by Boyle's agent not to ask no movement. If Tampa gave him no trade how hard would they fight for no movement? Come on.

Feaster: "No friggin' way! We need to have an option to put your client to the waivers for whole six year term. No trade is ok but no movement only over my dead body!"

I think Boyle should shut his yap and collect his huge pay in California. Funny how Leafnation was upset with players not willing to move and now people ur up in arms because Tampa found a way to get rid of overpaid player.

 
At 9:34 PM, July 06, 2008, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

The market will always decide these matters.

Players weighing UFA offers will - other things being equal - insist on a No Movement Clause to help them decide whether to sign.

Teams - if they feel that'll be the tie-breaker for bringing the guy to town - will gladly offer it.

And owners - who in the future will be stuck with multi-millions in bad contracts - will whine about how they can't make any money.

And fans - being suckers - will believe it, and proclaim the players to be greedy and blame them for the latest "strike" even when it's actually a lockout.

 
At 10:24 PM, July 06, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

Anyone else notice that the Lecavalier extension hasn't been approved yet?

 
At 10:40 PM, July 06, 2008, Blogger Adam C said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 10:43 PM, July 06, 2008, Blogger Adam C said...

The no-trade clause was certainly 'honoured' - Boyle was asked to waive it and he did so. He wasn't asked nicely, but then he didn't negotiate a 'must be made to feel welcome at all times' clause, did he?

I'm not defending what Barrie has done; as James said, treating a respected player this way is quite likely bite them on the ass. But I can't see what the NHLPA would have to get all up in arms about. From what I can tell, Boyle did get to more-or-less pick the team he got traded to, which is all anyone should really expect of a no-trade clause.

 
At 11:18 PM, July 06, 2008, Anonymous Ryan said...

So I spent the last hour or so trying to piece together a time line to figure out just what has been going on.

August last year, the original group of Koules, Doug MacLean, and some others (rumoured to also have involved Barrie) announced a deal to buy the team. That deal fell through by November, when MacLean filed a lawsuit against Koules for failing to put up some cash and dealing with the team behind his back. By December, the lawsuit is settled, but each part of the group is still interested in buying the team individually, until Koules secures exclusive negotiating rights.

Then in February, Barrie is rumoured to have met Koules in Tampa and be a part of the ownership group. He's also rumoured to have met with Lightning executives to discuss the team's future direction. Around the trade deadline, there are rumours that the Lightning will trade Boyle. But shortly after that, Boyle is signed (with Feaster citing a "commitment from current and prospective ownership"), Richards is traded, and a public commitment is made to keep Lecavalier.

The earliest I can peg the Melrose rumours is Apr. 26, on HNIC's Satellite Hotstove, when Al Strachan said Koules and Barrie finally have enough money to buy the team, will keep Feaster as a lame duck GM, fire Tortorella, and hire Melrose. All those things happened in June. Around the draft, there are more Boyle trade rumours, but they're denied by both Koules ("I'll answer anything that's important") and Melrose ("the guy I'm counting on to play 25 minutes a night"). Then in July, with UFA season, the Boyle rumours come back, but Boyle is apparently told he won't be traded--a day before he's "asked" to waive his no-trade clause.

It seems like Barry Melrose was the only one who didn't have a say in Boyle's signing, so is he the one who wanted him gone? He doesn't strike me as the type, and surely even with his outdated coaching pedigree, he would want a defenceman like Boyle. But if Len Barrie is the one who wanted Boyle gone, why was he re-signed in the first place? Koules obviously had influence at that point, as Feaster acknowledged, and Barrie was supposedly to be working with him. It seems like they always wanted to trade Boyle, and were just waiting until they got an offer they liked. But if that's true, they negotiated a NTC into his contract that they were fully planning on forcing him to waive at any cost.

It's almost unbelievable.

 
At 1:33 AM, July 07, 2008, Anonymous MikeP said...

Adam C, I'm pretty anti-union, but I can't believe you really don't see how disparaging a player's character in the way Boyle's was isn't cause for a grievance. The way McCabe has been treated is even worse, and the repeated questioning of Sundin last spring has to have something to do with his lack of desire to make a decision now. Everything with a union is a negotiation; Boyle left something on the table to get that NTC - *which the current ownership agreed to*. Just because you pay somebody doesn't make them your dog to kick to the kerb when you decide you gave him too much.

If I were a player nowadays, I don't think I'd want a NT/NM clause, given how cavalierly ownership seems to treat it. I'd say put the money on the table, all of it and then some, I don't want you (or the press) taking potshots at me in a few years or a few months just because I actually want you to honour the terms of the contract *you signed too*.

 
At 2:16 AM, July 07, 2008, Blogger Adam C said...

I can't believe you really don't see how disparaging a player's character in the way Boyle's was isn't cause for a grievance.

Well, you may very well have a point there. OTOH, from what I read they questioned his work ethic behind closed doors, and then he went to the press. Is the union going to claim that they threatened to go public with accusations that he didn't work hard? Is that actionable now? Yashin left too soon...

Regardless, any grievance would have no relation to the no-trade clause. They followed the rules; he waived his clause.

As for McCabe, fans have been laying into him since October, but the union can't grieve that. What has management said that is so reprehensible?

 
At 10:12 AM, July 07, 2008, Blogger J. Michael Neal said...

Regardless, any grievance would have no relation to the no-trade clause. They followed the rules; he waived his clause.

He waved his no trade clause because Tampa threatened to put him through waivers. From Boyle's perspective, that's worse than trading him, since he has no leverage where he goes. It is true that Boyle got a no trade clause rather than a no movement clause, but threatening to put him through waivers this soon after signing the contract is acting in bad faith. I can see a grievance there.

 
At 11:36 AM, July 07, 2008, Blogger Jeff J said...

Here's what Boyle should have done:

- refused to waive the NTC
- released a statement saying that he's not waiving the NTC and that he'd be willing to join the Sharks if waived, and encouraging bottom-feeding teams (LA, Atl etc) to work out a potential trade with the Sharks in case he was waived.

If TB ownership is bluffing about waivers, Boyle plays out his contract in TB. If they're not bluffing, there are a few possibilities.

1/ Boyle is claimed by a team he's willing to play for. He plays out his contract for them, and TB ownership loses him for nothing.
2/ Boyle is claimed by a team he's unwilling to play for. He sits out (suspended if necessary) until a trade can be finalized between the claiming team and the Sharks (or another team he's willing to join). The claiming team has no motivation to keep a suspended boyle when they can immediately flip him to the Sharks for free assets. End result: He plays out his contract for the Sharks (or other team he's willing to join, and TB ownership loses him for nothing.
3/ Boyle goes unclaimed. This is pretty much an impossibility, considering what he fetched in the trade.

Taking these steps, the end result for Boyle is the same or better than what transpired. The upside for Boyle is he can screw over the new ownership because they don't get any assets back.

Maybe I'm just a vindictive SOB.

 
At 4:32 PM, July 07, 2008, OpenID tersa said...

MikeP said: If I were a player nowadays, I don't think I'd want a NT/NM clause, given how cavalierly ownership seems to treat it.

I always liked Jonathan Cheechoo's answer to that. When he signed his extension a couple of seasons ago, someone asked him why there wasn't a NTC in his contract. His reply: "If a team *wants* to trade me away, then I don't want to stay there." Maybe more players should realize that and take it to heart. Certainly wouldn't be causing all the boo-hoo'ing and bad feelings, would it?

I think the NTC works in principle, but the ability to put a player with an NTC on waivers really takes some of the power out of it from players.

It's a Pyrrhic victory: the player once again has no say on where he goes, and the team gets nothing in return. Nobody really wins.

 
At 10:58 PM, July 07, 2008, Anonymous Steve said...

And the craziness continues - Lightning signed Recchi earlier tonight.

That's... 14 forwards (2 of whom are over 40), 6 middling to sub par d-men, and a past his prime goalie, coupled with a not quite there yet goalie.

That's the stuff Stanley Cup Dreams are made of.

SO CRAZY!

 
At 5:02 PM, July 08, 2008, OpenID jimmyjazz14 said...

that boyle comment sure didnt stop mark recchi! when will this guy give it up?

 

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