Monday, June 23, 2008


I opined last week on the Brian Rolston negotiations, hoping loudly that the Wild would pull the head out of the posterior and get the deal done.
The history of this organization suggests that a loss like Rolston will not come with any kind of corresponding move. Same for Pavol Demitra, who is (thankfully) almost a lock to depart. While I won't mind one bit if Demitra leaves (especially if he goes to screw up division rival Vancouver's offense), but that's another hole somewhere on the Wild's top two lines (depending on the result of Jacques' most recent line juggle).
Upon further review, I may just be an idiot. Maybe.
Negotiations with the Wild’s Brian Rolston is at a sensitive juncture.

The Wild has grown frustrated with Rolston’s agent, Steve Bartlett. GM Doug Risebrough says the Wild has not received a single counteroffer from Bartlett.
I still think the Wild should bend the budget a little bit to get Rolston in the fold. He's got 96 goals in three years, and he's willing to play the style Jacques Lemaire demands. These kinds of players don't grow on trees, and they do have tremendous value in the "new NHL".

However, if this is all true, the dummy here might be Bartlett and not Risebrough. Actually, the real dummy could end up being Rolston.
Asked if the Wild has made its final offer, Risebrough said: "Probably, because the other thing is, [not receiving a counteroffer] doesn't motivate you to want to do anything else, either. When you've made three [offers] and haven't got one, it doesn't motivate you to make four."

Reached Saturday, Rolston said: "I haven't reached my agent as of late. I'll get in touch with Steve, but we've been talking all along. I don't have much to say. We've been here the whole time listening to offers."

Rolston said Bartlett's philosophy is not to make counteroffers. He said maybe that needs to change, but he maintains the Wild needs to offer him "market value" or he will go elsewhere. Risebrough has said there's a difference of opinion in Rolston's "market value."
This is the part about professional sports that I despise, and I wouldn't miss it for a second if pro sports simply vanished one day.

First off, I think it's ridiculous that Risebrough wouldn't be motivated to re-sign Rolston because the agent isn't presenting any counter-offers.

They said "No", Doug, and that means your offer wasn't good enough. Or maybe it just flat-out sucked.

However, if Rolston feels that a counter-offer would be productive in the talks, and he were truly serious about staying in Minnesota, wouldn't he call his agent and demand that one be made?

Maybe I'm wrong here, since I am just a fat, unathletic guy who never played hockey, but doesn't the agent work on behalf of the player? If Rolston wants to stay in Minnesota, doesn't the agent have a duty to make that happen, even if it means making a counter-offer?

Reality is probably closer to this:

Brian Rolston doesn't give a crap if he ever plays for the Wild again. He just wants to make sure he maximizes the potential of what could be his final significant NHL contract. In a year where the free-agent pool is painfully thin, he's right to hold out for the right offer.

Whenever an athlete comes out and makes a comment that infers a lack of communication with his agent (i.e. "We haven't spoken much in the last couple weeks"), it's usually done in a way to suggest that he's letting the agent get the job done with little interference("We're listening to offers"). The reality is that the average professional athlete doesn't sincerely care where he plays. He just wants to get paid what he thinks he's worth. Time as an elite performer in any sport is severely limited by Father Time, after all.

I have no problem with this. Why do they think they have to lie about it?

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