Monday, September 20, 2004

This just in... to counter Fort Worth's signing, the Austin Ice Bats have signed Ken Hitchcock. Not to coach... just to heckle Lukowich.

Oh wait. That didn't work at all during the Conference Finals.

Something doesn't add up regarding this whole thing?

I don't think so. I spent 10 minutes on the phone with the guy today and what really struck me -- as someone who has interviewed Stars and Astros and Rockets as well as Ice Bats and Brahmas and Bugs -- was how it felt a lot more like interviewing someone from the latter group. That's true of all hockey players to some extent but in an NHL environment, surrounded by playoff media, they do put on the armor. I think the guy sincerely wants to do this for the reasons that he says he wants to do this, not because Stuart Fraser is secretly pumping up his stock portfolio.

The money issue's not that hard to understand -- you make a million dollars the year before a lockout everyone knew was coming and you probably have a couple of hundred thousand socked away, at least. Hell, the OSHL players, including the likes of Hasek, aren't making anything unless there's profit at the end.

Sure, Lukowich could maybe pull in $80,000 in the AHL, but AHL teams aren't necessarily lining up to clear out their vet spots for players they might not be able to keep. Luckily for him, he has the financial luxury of deciding that spending this year with his family is worth $70,000.

The only issue is, he's essentially a ringer. His actual player value is, if not a million bucks, at least the value of his insurance. It would not be out of line if the league voted on Friday to make all NHL players count $625 against the cap (the highest number affiliated players count) regardless of what they make. On the other hand, despite recent rule changes, the general philosophy behind affiliations has been that they are good no matter what, regardless of fairness or cap loopholes. That same logic would apply here.
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