Friday, January 10, 2003
Glad to see I'm not the only one bothered by the issue of shared ownership transactions. The deal in the CHL is, trades between dually owned teams are illegal. Third-party swaps and waiver claims are not.
That's a sharp contrast from the ECHL, which allows none of those things. Once a player appears on the roster of Team A, even in training camp, he cannot play for a club with the same owner at any point in the current season. Doesn't matter if he's traded seven times -- any team that picks him up does so knowing they can never trade him to Team B. The only exception is if a waived player gets passed over by every single team, making him a total free agent.
In our league, the affected clubs are New Mexico/Corpus Christi, Wichita/Indy and (I assume, because of the Express management takeover), Wichita/Oklahoma City. Next year, Lubbock/Rio Grande will join the list.
Now, I doubt Scorps/Rayz ownership had anything to do with getting David Bourque to Corpus. Using two teams instead of one wasn't required, nor did it fool anyone, so there is probably a legit futures payoff for the Thunder. And only Bill MacDonald and Doug Shedden know for sure if the RiverKings agreed to flip Bourque as a condition of the Currie acquisition, or the Margeson-for-Gorewich-and-Alcombrack deal.
I also have no clue if Fort Worth promised to send someone to Albuquerque when they got three Rayz for Tilson -- but there Jeff Cameron goes. And who knows, maybe Oklahoma City got Mike Payne because Wichita did Corpus a favor.
What I do know is according to CHL rules, all these scenarios are on the up-and-up, thus opening the door for speculation. It's not that I question the integrity or intentions of the teams involved. But as in journalism, appearance of conflict of interest is the same thing as actual conflict.
Ditto the appearance of competitive advantage. It's unfair to the rest of the league's teams -- how would Amarillo, Tulsa and Memphis feel if, the day before the trade deadline, Wichita sent Vladimir Hartinger and Travis Clayton to El Paso, then the former ended up a Blazer, the latter on the Ice? Or, less dramatically, let's say Indy loses a defenseman to injury at a time when it's fairly high up on the claim list, then the Thunder "coincidentally" waive a guy?
The punch line is, fans of the dually owned teams could get it even worse. Thunder fans wouldn't be happy with what I just suggested. Or let's say Bourque scores the power-play goal that clinches a playoff berth for Corpus... and eliminates the Scorps. Tires have been slashed for less. (Ah, the "Plaman Cup" year. Good times. Good times.)
So why have the rule at all? Salary cap and vet/rookie issues already limit trading flexibility, and the league approves every transaction anyway. If Bill McDonald calls and says, "Bourque wants out, and I don't want him. We're happy to give him up for futures and going back to Corpus is his wish," the league can say, sure, go ahead. If Joel Lomurno calls and says, "we're trading Clayton, Duda and Stachniak for Jamie Morris," nix the deal.
Of course in reality, the last thing the CHL hockey ops bunch needs is another reason for conference calls with coaches (they've got suspensions and the refs for that). So close the loophole. Give the rule some teeth. People already view the ECHL as the more credible league -- why give them another reason?
Holy lack of players, Batman! The Buzzards faced the Rayz with 3 defenseman, and 12 skaters overall. Maybe Mahar or Gray helped on the blue line? That would also explain why a team that averages 30 PiMs a game had 11 tonight.
Bryce Wandler has a New York Rangers contract, but did anyone tell him his new team plays 'D' about as well? And hey, let's hear it for another stellar performance from Brent Scott -- some ex-players wish they could still score goals. He just wants to keep on taking penalties. I'm sure you'll find further details, along with mucho griping from certain rightly pissed-off Saints fans here.
Two wins in a row after starting 2-6 -- we'll see if "the Macker Effect" is finally kicking in.
Austin's win over Laredo and Indy's edging of the Thunder were both business as usual. The Bats have been in 19 one-goal games, the Ice in 16.
And finally, congrats to the Blazers, and not just for first place. 16,873! It really sucks that the All-Star Game is on a Thursday.