Monday, September 14, 2009


"Stupid" is the word in all the Rangers headlines, and "stupid" is the word I'll use in mine. This is fucking stupid.

The one and a half of you who regularly read this blog are aware that I have been panicking about the Brandon Dubinsky situation far less than the rest of the Garden Faithful. Everyone has been crying "Sather's doing something stupid again!" and not entirely unjustifiably: no doubt, Dubinsky is worth more than the $522,500 qualifying offer (less than he made last season). And yes, we have a history of giving orders of magnitude more money to people less deserving. My response has consistently been that it ain't really about being fair: Dubinsky is a restricted free agent unlikely to receive an offer sheet, so let's sign him for the minimum possible to get him to play for us. He's up for arbitration next season, anyway, so we'll sign him to a bigger contract then (like we did with Callahan) or mid-season this year (like we did with Lundqvist). You'll recall me telling everyone to chill the fuck out.

Well, this weekend, some things happened. Friday night became Saturday morning (as it so often does). With Saturday morning came the start of training camp (officially). With Friday night came no news of a new contract for Dubinsky. And so, with the start of training camp came no Brandon Dubinsky.

Today is day 3 of training camp (full updated roster can be found here), and Dubi, still not under contract, has still not reported. Now, we have a problem. And honestly? I'm starting to blame Dubinsky.

At the end of the day, it is Dubinsky (or, more correctly, his agent) who is rejecting an invitation to come play for a hockey club. News came out today that he has been offered at least $700,000 by the Rangers, and is still rejecting it. This is stupid. He just doesn't have the clout to hold out for a few hundred thousand dollars at this point. It's just a waiting game: he has nothing to gain here. He keeps saying "I expect all this to get worked out and I want to be there on the Rangers," but how badly can he want that at this point? His agent (theoretically) is now making a power move to keep him out of training camp? For what, a few hundred thousand dollars the year before he's up for arbitration anyway? It just doesn't make any goddamn sense. Sign the contract, reneg next year, and meanwhile, get your ass to training camp.

It's easy to blame Sather here - "just pay the guy his money and get him started!" - but really, Dubi's the one being stubborn into foolishness here. I think, as I usually do, that Torts put it best:

Stupid. It's stupid. I'm not going to get into negotiations, but it's stupid. He's a young man who needs to be in camp with his teammates, who needs to go through the process of understanding what a pro is. I'm not sure where the thinking's coming from, but I still think players need to think for themselves. I think we blame it on agents all the time - I think his agent's stupid. I'm hoping he realizes that there's teammates here, too. So I'll leave it at that.

Where do we go from here? Hopefully, the stupidness ends soon, Dubi signs a deal (for $700,000 or whatever else is on the table), and we get a first-line center to camp in time. But meanwhile, every day of camp that goes by without him is another day harder it is for Dubi to actually do what's necessary to fill that role. And do you really think Torts's training regimen is on hold until Dubi gets his shit together? Torts, any chance of Dubi coming to camp anyway?

He's not under contract, he doesn't want to be with us. He's not coming to camp until he signs a contract. I think Dubi understands my feeling, and I think he understands how Glen feels about it too. Glen - and I was privy to the conversation - I thought was very honest with Dubi the other day as a general manager, man-to-man, and as a friend - all different options. I thought it was terrific what he did with the kid. But whoever has decided not to do this at such a young age, I think it's - it's not my decision. So we move on.

Surely as Fridays become Saturdays, day threes of training camp become day fours, and day fives. 15 players on the training camp roster (so, Dubinsky notwithstanding, 14 players actually AT training camp) are listed as centers. How long do you really think the Rangers are going to put up with this bullshit, Brandon? Yeah, you're home-grown. Yeah, you're good at hockey. So is Evgeny Grachev. So is Artem Anisimov. And they remembered to come to work on time.


  1. I'm sorry, but Dubinsky is being lowballed here. Up until training camp started, Dubi was being offered a one year 500,000 dollar contract. That was an EIGHTEEN PERCENT decrease in salary.

    Yeah, Dubinsky is partially to blame. He could have taken the QO and went with it. But Sather is playing hardball with Dubi when he hands out the big bucks to strangers with no work ethic. I think it's shameful we expect Dubinsky to play for 700,000. Apparently, he's only asking for 1.2-1.4ish. There is NO REASON we can sign Matt Gilroy to 1.75 mill and not offer Dubinsky one million. There is NO REASON Aaron Voros or Donald Brashear deserve to be making more than Dubinsky.

    This is a two way street, and I see a lot of people letting Sather off the hook for this. How about we give Dubi a decent raise and not embarass ourselves or him by offering him pennies compared to what we pay those of less importance to the club?

    I know Dubinsky doesn't have much leverage, but that doesn't mean you should hang him out to dry. We should be treating our hardworking players with decency and respect, not by lowballing them and forcing them into a contract that they certainly don't deserve.

    And Tortorella should re-take that media class he claimed to take over the summer, because calling the agent "stupid" isn't going to help his position.

  2. Well, I think your last comment on my blog was much more fair. I agree with you. Sather is in the wrong, there is no reason for him to be treating Dubinsky this way. Dubinsky really needs to be at camp, one way or another, and yes; I am disappointed that Dubi cares more about the dollars than the game, or the team.

    I partially think this is because initially, Dubinsky wasn't even offered the 700,000; the QO was 500,000 and change, which was an eighteen percent decrease in salary, which Sather offered until the night before training camp started. So now we're seeing Dubinsky and his agent feeling bitter that 1) the offer was such a lowball and 2) Dubinsky was never a priority for Sather until the beginning of August because he had to work out the Zherdev and Callahan arbitration stuff.

    Which really is what it comes down to. Callahan is elligible for arbitration because he signed his entry level contract being one year older than Dubinsky when he signed his. So Callahan gets a payday (that IMO, I don't think he deserved. My personal favorite-and maybe yours too ;-)- Petr Prucha signed for 1.6 mill after coming off an identical sophomore season as Cally 22-18-40, and coming off a huge rookie season of 30 goales, whereas Callahan didn't play half that season and only got a couple goals, and he now makes 2.3. I love Cally, but IMO he doesn't deserve that money.

    In a perfect world, I'd give Cally and Dubi about 1.5-1.8 each, and let them earn the bigger bucks by becoming more consistent goal scorers. Unforunately, Callahan had leverage and Dubinsky does not. But that doesn't mean we should lowball him... at all. All this does is say we don't appreciate him, he's not of value to us; at the end of the day, we want him to feel valued and lucky he's a Ranger. He's got to feel undervalued and annoyed, and I wouldn't be surprised to see him bolt as soon as he can, which is a huge shame.

    But you're right. Dubinsky has to be in camp, so he should just sign the offer. But IMO, Sather comes out worse, because we are ruining our relationship with a talented young player over what, in that world, is like pennies.

  3. (For the curious, Kerri is referring to her post here, at the fantastic NYR Devotion - Some Like it Blue)