It's been a little while since I've posted a blog... and I have a number of ideas and thoughts on the current state of the Calgary Flames that I would like to address when I find the time...
For now, I want to focus on the tampering allegations toward the Toronto Maple Leafs in regards to the Sedin twins.
I really feel these allegations by the Vancouver Canucks have some legs. I'll provide some of the details, although I'm sure most of you are more than aware of the circumstances...
YOU BE THE JUDGE
Should the Toronto Maple Leafs be punished for Ron Wilson's comments in regards to Daniel and Henrik Sedin's impending free agency?
My answer, having dug up some information.
Yes. Absolutely yes.
NHL Bylaw 15 states tampering as such (as taken from the National Post):
"The making or causing to be made through any medium, public or private, any statement indicating any intention or desire of or interest in acquiring the services (of a player on another club)."
Having read that, regardless of your allegiances, don't you have to believe that Wilson broke this rule? It sums up exactly what Ron Wilson said on the radio in Toronto that day.
Some will argue that since Ron Wilson is only the head coach, and not the general manager, that these comments should hold no barring.
I couldn't disagree more.
Ron Wilson is an organizational employee of the Toronto Maple Leafs. He may not be considered "management" by fans and the media, but the head coach of a franchise is certainly up there in the ranks of Team President and General Manager etc. He may be technically at the bottom, but that's really here nor there.
If you were the twins or their agent, J.P Barry, and a premiere team (regardless of actual recent success) announced their intentions to pursue you or your client when the time came, don't you think that gives you an instant upper hand in negotiations with your current franchise? And how about that fact that if your current team is not meeting your needs, you know a rich franchise will be ready and waiting to back the truck up to bring you in? This statement by Ron Wilson, however small and regardless of intention, possibly made a world of difference in the negotiations of the Sedin twins. It should also be said that it's possible this statement made little or no difference to what was happening between Mike Gillis and Barry.
For any of you who haven't actually seen what Wilson said, here it is...
“There's a real possibility, I would think, that we would be going after the Sedins."
Yes, it seems small. But that, to me, clearly announces the teams intentions.
There is some precedent when it comes to tampering in the NHL.
In 1994, the St. Louis Blues extended an offer sheet to Scott Stevens of the New Jersey Devils. Lou Lamoriello filed tampering charges against the Blues because he felt some contact or intentions had been made previous to the allowed date to extend offer sheets. The NHL later forced the St. Louis Blues to open their books and it was discovered that the offer sheet had been in the Blues books since well before the end of Stevens contract.
It took more than four years for this to be settled, but the Devil's ended up receiving their choice of 1 of the Blues' next five first-round choices and $1.4 million... the Devils also received the ability to swap first-rounders with the Blues once, while the Blues could defer that option once as well.
It's pretty clear that what Wilson said on the Fan 590 is not nearly as severe as what the St. Louis Blues did in their pursuit of Scott Stevens (whom they had just signed from the Washington Capitals the previous season and gave up 5 first-rounders as compensation!), but it's also pretty clear that what Wilson did falls under the NHL's tampering bylaw.
So what should happen here?
I would think the Maple Leafs will likely lose a first-rounder to the Vancouver Canucks in the next few years at the very least. Either that, or a considerable financial sum.
The punishment should not be as severe as compared to what the Blues received, but the reality is; there should be some sort of punishment, and the loss of a first-round pick will not help Brian Burke in his efforts to restore dignity and success to the Toronto Maple Leafs.