Contracts, budgets, etc.

You might have taken note of the fact that the Kings have yet to officially announce the signing of Jarret Stoll. The reason? There’s a question about how much money Stoll will actually earn each season. His salary-cap hit will be $3.6 million over each of the next four seasons, and that won’t change. The question is, how much cash will Stoll actually pocket each season?

The difference? Dean Lombardi operates off a “cash” budget each year, rather than simply the salary-cap figure we’re all familiar with. The Kings are operating on a cash budget of roughly $40 million this season. The salary-cap number can, and almost certainly will, be higher. Because of the way the Kings’ roster is structured this season, and because players such as Kopitar and Johnson will soon be due significant raises, the Kings are looking to “front-load” Stoll’s contract, and give him more money in the first year, so that they can conserve budget space over the next three years. I hope that made sense…

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  • cristobal

    Thats just pathetic.

  • Anonymous

    Not pathetic at all, sounds like a very smart move. Allows Kings to front load his contract – and then later on we will have more cash for our young stars.

  • Sydor25

    Running an NHL franchise in a major market at $40 million? Disgraceful.

    Does anybody believe that Lubomir wasn’t a salary dump?

  • Pat McGroyn

    Actually, a contract that is “front-loaded” would be to Stoll’s benefit. When you take into account inflation, time value of money, and expected rates of return on investments, one dollar today is worth much more than one dollar in 2012.

    I love it when I can drop some financial science on a hockey blog!
    ;-)

  • anthony

    He wants to save more room under the cap, in order to blow it (or waste it) on players like Handzus, Blake, McCauley, Cloutier, Nagy etc, etc. etc.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  • Quisp

    Yes. I believe it was not a salary dump.

  • Irish Pat

    I respectively disagree with the pathetic remark and I do believe the Lubo trade was more than just a salary dump. Take the longview people. Lombardi is stacking this team with youth so Kings fans will enjoy success for the long term.

  • BallPointHammer

    Makes sense to me. People need to remember that there’s the cap number and the actual salaries number. I’m sure every owner in the league is concerned with the latter number just as much as, if not more than, the former. Also, the cap number has to be ‘maintained’, if you will, throughout the season (injuries, guys back and forth to Manchester, guys back to juniors, all the various bonuses, trades, waivers).

    People comment all the time that AEG just wants to make money. Well, apparently they’ve lost money on the Kings. They can subsidize the team however much or little they want. I would much rather see the Kings at least break even each year. That way the franchise is self sufficient, which is the way it’s supposed to be. I’m sure AEG would rather make money than lose it and I doubt they wouldn’t rather win than lose. If the Kings become really good and the revenue is there, why wouldn’t ownership allow DL to spend up to the cap number.

  • Anonymous

    since the Kings finished near last place last year it seems reasonable to anonymous me that this years total salary hit should be near the league floor. That is, relatively cheap is the way to go with our current record. Here’s to hoping next year’s total salary hit is performance based and near the cap.

  • Quisp

    As far as the “cash” budget thing goes, of course it may well be that AEG has DL on a short leash and that if he had a more wiggle room he could improve the team short-term. It’s possible. It wouldn’t be the first time that a business owner did such a thing to management. I imagine you would have to be at DL’s dinner table to get the truth on that one.

    But it sounds to me like people think “if only we could spend more all our problems would be solved,” when it’s just not the case.

    The Kings are rebuilding. They are not building through free agency. They are growing their own.

    Everybody knows that the A level free agents have no reason to sign here. If he could, would you have liked DL to sign Hossa? Again, what happens when the kids’ contracts come up? Game over. And if you aren’t going to go after the A list UFAs, all you’ve got is the Handzuses of the world (and I like Handzus), and we’ve seen how that works out most of the time. So the Kings are going with the kids. If you’re doing that, why would you have a cash budget of $50 million?

    If you think the rebuild is a good idea, then the cash budget shouldn’t bother you. It’s common sense.

    If you don’t like the rebuild, and you think the Kings were doing all right before DL came in, and just needed a couple more pieces to be cup contenders, then the low cash budget is not your friend either, but it’s the same criticism twice.

  • Jet

    yes, it is to the players benefit, good point, but it is also to the Kings benefit as they will be able to over value against the cap in future years. Also, some players will even take less overall money if their contract is front loaded. Look, it is going to be a tough yet necessary year to have the boys gain experience.
    The Kings might as well make money this year. Two years from now they will be close to the cap, and likely losing money again.

  • Pat McGroyn

    Quisp, I believe the proper plural expression of Handzus is Handzui.

    Just looking out for you…

  • Mike

    Plain and simple, DL is microanalyzing the way the money is being spent now because of the amount of homegrown talent he wants to keep. $40M isn’t a bad investment when you consider that it’ll be more easily tradeable (if he wishes to go that route) in the future, it’ll free up space the next few years for the extensions of Frolov, Johnson, Kopitar, etc… and it creates a balance so that we’re not in panic mode in the offseason like Anaheim will be when they finally make their salary cut and like Detroit will, as well. I’m sure both teams wish they had a way to keep everyone currently under contract.

  • Paul

    Of course the Kings are on a shoestring budget. They have to pay the moving vans for that trip to KC.

  • 28 KINGS

    It’s pretty obvious that DL has no intention of fielding anything but a bottom 5 team and has no reason to spend anymore than to the bottom of cap. This will be a learning year and might also be the most painful to watch.

  • Shakes

    i guess if you wanted to be cynical about life we’d have the Kings backload contracts to pay as little as we can now…which they’re not doing.

    @ Pat McGroyn: PV’ing cashflows and talking about hockey gets me excited too =)

  • Anonymous

    What happened to the fiscal autonomy discussed when Lombardi was hired? I thought the deal was that he was supposed to have free reign up to the salary cap?

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  • willie Welsh

    cristobal…. whats pathetic?

  • Captain Material

    First off, the “pathetic” comment seems silly to me. No matter what you think of the team’s current state or direction, managing your money so you have the option to put more into payroll when the team improves a couple years down the road makes tons of sense.

    Now it would be silly if the “cash budget” kept you from signning the kids whose contracts will come up, I’ll give you that, but there is nothing “pathetic” about spending money today when you have all kinds of room in your budget so you can fit more talent in later for less real dollars.

    Second, anthony, it’s tired and old and you aren’t even talking the same language here. This has nothing to do with cap space. Nothing. No matter how the payout is structured, it’s the same cap hit. You show zero understanding of anything but your desire to complain. Please, at least make the effort to credibly pretend you’re trying to comment on the current topic instead of just using every post as a excuse to further complain. I won’t ask you not to waste other people’s time with crap like that, but I do wonder why you bother wasting your own.

    Third, I got email confrimation from the team on the Stoll signning, so I assume that makes it “official”. Assume other people have too now.

    Lastly, I’m not even a finance guy, and as an engineer, time value of money considerations perk my interest. No pun intended…

  • Rex

    Why is everyone forgetting that the Kings also got a good young mean defenseman in this deal in Matt Greene?

  • Deelo

    It makes perfect sense.

    With AEG’s history how do we REALLY know that next year’s operating budget won’t be 42 million? We’ll just get rid of the highest paid player next season for some more filler.

    I knew Dean Lombardi didn’t have the free rein that he had when he initially took over.

    Sell the freakin team already.

  • Anonymous

    The problem with such a low cash budget is that Lombardi’s hands are tied. He has to try and sign Kopitar, Johnson, Frolov, O’Sullivan in the next couple of years and he only has about $8 million to do it.

    Hopefully, AEG has already told Lombardi that next season’s cash budget is $50 million so that Kopitar and Johnson can be extended long term.

    I just don’t believe that AEG will increase the budget when the Kings finish out of the playoffs again next season and “lose” millions of dollars.

    I sure hope that I’m wrong, because if AEG gives Lombardi the budget to keep these players together for a few more seasons, we may finally have a legitimate shot at the Cup.

  • cristobal

    willie, captain material.
    Its pathetic that there is a “cap” for the GM. It is pathetic that Lombardi wastes money like its going out of style on “free-agents” like the ones we repeat over and over, but he sours on Cammalleri, takes him to arbitration, and trades him because they won’t afford him. Its also pathetic that a multi billionaire, the 89th richest man in the world, who just paid D. Beckham 250 million to play 5 years for the Galaxy, whine’s like a b1tch about profits, and that he wouldn’t pony up the money for Boucher back in the day, and that he fired Taylor for missing the playoffs 3 years in a row. Well, what have the last 2 years been like? What will this year be like? Lombardo must have one hell of a long tongue. I think i’m done with this entire fiasco. They make me sick.

    What’s the use in front-loading Stoll? Why didn’t he keep Vis. and Cammalleri, the home-grown talent ( a one-time all-star, and a potential all-star) and front load them? What is Stoll really going to help? This team is a mess.

    Captain Material – when the team improves? They can only be 1 place in the standings worse. Do you know why they will tank this entire season???? Because of Tavares. He will give them the star power they need to sell tickets and market the team. I can see it now. Those horrid as hell 3rd jersey’s with “Tavares” on the back. Wall clocks for $250 a pop. Beer – priceless.

    And if quisp brings up one more unheard-of prospect, my head is going to explode. You know, you can’t play with nobody on the ice. I’m sure AEG would like to, but you can’t. Just because Zeiler has 59 NHL games and a whopping 4 points, doesn’t mean he’s an NHLer.

  • JDM

    wait…

    “cristobal said:
    willie, captain material.
    Its pathetic that there is a “cap” for the GM. It is pathetic that Lombardi wastes money like its going out of style on “free-agents” like the ones we repeat over and over,”

    Didn’t he specifically NOT do that this off season? Over and over? More like – used to.

    Only thing I really agree with in your post is about Beckham. That makes me sick.

    Who cares about wall clocks? I wish I had $250 to spend on a clock.

    If I had that kind of cash I probably would. So long as tickets in the nose bleeds are $250, I could care less what is.

    I thought you wanted Tavares?

    None on quisp’s list are unknown if you follow up on the Kings depth chart.

    Rich made this post specifically to explain why the Kings front loaded Stoll. If that explanation isn’t good enough… well then, atleast say “what’s the use” and present us a reason why it’s wrong to front load Stoll and why it would be better to do otherwise.
    P.S. – Cammy and Visnovsky don’t count as reasons.

    Otherwise, my comment for Rich’s post is first of all thank you Rich for clearing that up. Better not to waste questions that you already know the answer to on DL.

    If there is going to be an internal cap, which kind of sucks but isn’t the end of the world (unless it stops us from signing Kopitar and JJ, then it might as well be the end of the world), atleast they are forthright about it and the actual number or somewhere close to it.

    I can see the logic in saving money this season, it doesn’t really bother. Like I said though, if they don’t bump it up as our young guys come up for new contracts then all of this is completely moot and I will be riding on a black steed with a sword doused in oil on fire to bash down Phil’s door.

    Again, I’m totally on board. I see the plan. I like the plan. All that’s necessary is to stick to the plan… easier said than done, but I have faith.

  • JDM

    whoops, amendment – “…as long as tickets in the nose bleeds are NOT $250…”

  • Quisp

    “And if quisp brings up one more unheard-of prospect, my head is going to explode.”

    – Cristobal

    “Jonathan Bernier, Drew Doughty, Thomas Hickey, Ted Purcell, Trevor Lewis, Oscar Moller, Brian Boyle, Wayne Simmonds, Andrei Loktionov, Peter Harrold, Matt Moulson, Jeff Zatkoff, Jonathan Quick, David Meckler, Scott Parse, Bud Holloway, Marc-Andre Cliche, Alec Martinez, Colten Teubert, Vyacheslav Voinov, Geordie Wudrick, Joe Piskula, Daniel Taylor, Niclas Andersen, Justin Azevedo, Drew Bagnall, Constantin Braun, Bryan Cameron, Andrew Campbell, Richard Clune, Robert Czarnik, Vladimir Dravecky, Davis Drewiske, Matt Fillier, Gabe Gauthier, Josh Kidd, Dwight King, Josh Meyers, Brady Murray, Martin Nolet, Garrett Roe, Linden Rowat, Joshua Turnbull, Kevin Westgarth, John Zeiler.

    Ka-BOOM!”

    – Quisp

  • cristobal

    JDM – I guess I lost my head for a while. It makes me nuts to get sucked back in to rooting for this team when I can’t stand these owners.

    That said, building is done with good free-agent moves, too. Lumbo has shown little skill in this area. Like I said, he’s not picking the right free-agents for the team. He compounds his mistakes by overpaying. I kinda see Stoll as a free-agent move. Regardless of what Visnovsky does, Stoll needs to shine the light kindly on Lumbo on this. If he doesn’t, its one more nail in the coffin for DL.

    The wall clock for $120 is pathetic. Kinda like the kings banner I have from the ’04 season that states, “we are the los angeles kings: brought to you by THE LEAGUE OF EXRAORIDINARY GENTLEMEN.” Pimping.

    I do want Tavares. Let’s at least get something out of all this. I think my reasons differ from those of management, at least at the CEO of AEG management level.

    Frontloading Stoll…why is that necessary now? Is it for the “real” cap, or the Kings? It will be at least 3 years before the Kings need the space. Do you see Stoll costing much more in 3 years?

    Lubo and Cammalleri DO count, to me.

    Forthright about an internal cap? I haven’t seen any press releases about it. All we are going on is inferences and one report. The ‘internal cap’ has been rumor up until now, or am I just out of the loop?

    Black steed, huh? That would be epic. I wonder if you’ll get the provocation or not?

    I just don’t understand why two good players were sent packing when all this jive is going on. Who’s next? Dustin Brown? What if he only scores 21 – 22 goals? Is that good enough?

  • cristobal

    Classic Quisp. That was a good one. Maybe better than that “he said, she said” comment by wavesinair. Although my relationship with that man deteriorated shortly thereafter.

    cheers quisp. i see your keeping the faith. I’m still having fun too.

  • Quisp

    Pat McGroyn –

    Plural of Handzus. Handzai? Or, ought we consider the unthinkable: Handzus is already plural.

    It’s like that joke:

    “Where are the baby pigeons?”

    “Those ARE the baby pigeons!”

  • Anonymous

    This site is deteriorating. Same folks still crying about the same crap they were crying about 6 weeks ago. Those Canadian teams could always use more fans.

  • Pat McGroyn

    Quisp,

    Well played, sir! Hat’s off to you!

    Cristobal,

    I of course would like to see Tavares in Purple, Silver & Black in one year, too. But at that cost? I’d like to see some progress made this season, amigo.

  • -J

    “but he sours on Cammalleri, takes him to arbitration”-Lest anoyne forget- Cammalleri, not the Kings, elected for arbitration. Carry on…

  • andre norway

    Cristobal you must get tings straight before you write something. Cammy elected for arbitration (as J said in his post), beckham does not cost AEG 250 mill dollar – most of his “salary” comes from sponsors like pepsi/adidas and so on. By frontload stoll now and give him 6 mill this season will free up cashmoney next season to sign kopi and jj. Pittsburgh has an internal cap that no player will get more paid than crosby on the team. At this point I fully trust DL in what he is doing. Cant wait to see the opener in san jose:-))

  • cristobal

    You know, i’ve never seen such a happy group of lemmings when their team is on the verge of the 3rd humiliating season in a row. Much like blind faith, the overlords promising future salvation have the full support of the citizenry. Much like Wimpy from “Popeye”, I’d gladly pay Tuesday for a hamburger today…

    How’s it gonna feel getting suckered by the billionaire again?

    Andre, I wouldn’t believe anyone on earth should be making more playing hockey than Sydney Crosby. And, Beckham was guaranteed 250 million as far as I know. AEG can bend MLS rules all they want, but I’m sure he doesn’t care where the money comes from.

    J – Does one person in a couple decide to get into a fight? Electing to go to arbitration is the last option of the person in the weaker position. Do you think Cammalleri would have elected for arbitration if they’d have front loaded him at 6 million for 2 years, then dropped him to 3 for 2?

    Anonymous – If I switch teams, it wouldn’t be to a Canadian team, it would probably be to watch just the playoffs. I’m well experienced in finding a new team to root for once the “real” season begins…I’ve been doing it pretty much 11 -12 seasons out of the last 15. If I jump ship, it would be to watch “quality” teams, just like when I pulled for Selanne and the Ducks a couple years ago, Edmonton, and Calgary. (would you be happier if I chimed along with the “wow, Westgarth sure is big” crowd?)

    Oh yeah, Andre. Do you know that as we speak, AEG Galaxy is the absolute worst team in a crap, third-rate, AEG created league called MLS? They’re bottom-feeding with the new expasion team: The San Jose Earthquakes.

  • EJ

    cristobal said:

    “How’s it gonna feel getting suckered by the billionaire again?”

    And cristobal, aka DebbieDowner, WOYOYOY is it that you are still here, thread after thread, sucking up more bandwidth than anyone else??? If you hate being depressed, disappointed, disillusioned, and disenfranchised by this organization, well for god’s sake, just step off the ledge. I promise you, you’ll feel better. Freefall is a beautiful feeling.

    Being a fan of a sport is supposed to be fun. When you start having angst in your pants over a hockey team, you need to re-examine your emotional priorities.

  • Duckhunter

    Quisp- Now that was funny. I agree with Cristobal, you took over top spot on the humor meter, over “he said, she said.”

    Cristobal, I’m not getting “suckered” by anybody, because I have a choice to either watch the game at home for free, or spend my money on a team I enjoy. Key words are, I have a choice. I know what I’m getting into each year when I root for the Kings, so nobody is pulling the wool over my eyes or “suckering me.” Now if you talking about car insurance, house insurance, dealing with cell phone companies, car dealerships, cable companies etc. then I would agree whole heartidly I’m getting “taken.” They rip us off, because we don’t have a choice in most these cases. With the Kings we all have the power to support them, or not. I CHOOSE to root for them.

    I agree with you on AEG. I can’t stand them, and many things you say, when comparing the the NHL and MLS further my dislike for them. But in the end, I support the players, not management or ownership.

    When you live in this country you have to take both the good and bad of Capitalism. It brings many good things and opportunities as well as not so good things. In the end there’s more good than bad.

  • cristobal

    Cheers Duckhunter – You’re right. I can’t help but want the Kings to win and root for the team, though, when I turn on a game. For the past 2-4 seasons I’ve been attempting to not pull for the team when its playing. I’m just too deep, though. Like this year, I’m not going to sit down, watch a game, and pull for the other team. I just can’t. I’ll be hoping Kopitar takes his game to levels we haven’t seen here. I’ll be hoping Brown turns his 30 goals into 50. I’ll be hoping O’Sullivan shows that money isn’t a concern, scores 40 goals, and starts to rally his teamates around him. I’ll be hoping Jack Johnson shows that he’s head-and-shoulders better than Tim Gleason and that he’s going to be comparable to a Scott Stevens or Chris Chelios (on the ice). I’ll be hoping Doughty is like freakin Paul Coffey, or that Tavares is going to be a King and that the future really will be incredible. I just can’t help it.

    I’ll also keep poking in my little way at AEG, and criticizing Lumbo until he makes me eat my words. I don’t hate Lumbo, I just want him to prove me wrong.

    If Teubert and Zatkoff turn out to be the All-Stars, I’ll be content, as long as the menatlity of the entire team changes. Then, I’ll be ok with Taylor being gone and just say, “it had to happen.”

    cheers

    btw – did you play hockey at usc?

  • Duckhunter

    I agree, I hope all these young kids succeed in the Kings organization. We deserve a team that’s fun and exciting to watch.

    No, I did not play hockey at USC. Matter of fact, I’ve never even played a game of ice hockey in my life. Grew up here in So. Cal, so hockey wasn’t really an option. I would have played, if I knew then, what I know now. I was a multi-sport guy in high school, than went on to play football and basketball at a JC. Then went on to play football at a WAC school, known as the Aggies. No, not A&M. Was good enough to play, but not good enough for a full scholarship, so I left after two years, due to finances. Coached at my high school Alma mater for a few years, now I just help coach the teams my daughter participates in. I attend Mt. Sac at present time, taking a radiology course. I lift with the boys sometimes at Sac. and give pointers when I can, but time is an enemy of mine right now. I thought things were suppose to get easier when you got older.

    Cheers

  • wavesinair

    Maybe this has been asked and answered, but Rich, how do you know what DL’s cash budget is? When did you find this out? Is that common information? What was his cash budget the last two years? This is very interesting to me because it sheds light on how the strings are being pulled in this multi-leveled corporate game known as the NHL.

  • Quisp

    Cristobal –

    re: “I’ll also keep poking in my little way at AEG, and criticizing Lumbo until he makes me eat my words. I don’t hate Lumbo, I just want him to prove me wrong”

    But you’re not having a conversation (or debate or whatever) with AEG or “Lumbo”. You’re having it with the people commenting on these threads. And to treat the other commenters as though they/we are the proxies of AEG and/or DL is, well, it’s insane.

    You know, i’ve never seen such a happy group of lemmings when their team is on the verge of the 3rd humiliating season in a row. Much like blind faith, the overlords promising future salvation have the full support of the citizenry…How’s it gonna feel getting suckered by the billionaire again?

    You’re directing your anger at the wrong target.

  • Joey

    I’d like to know who “set” the $40 million budget goal. Rich, is that imposed by Dean Lombardi or AEG? Also, in reference to the front loading of contracts, I think that provides Dean Lombardi with less trouble if he has to do buyouts later on. This, I believe, is because buyouts are based on how much is left on the contract and not the salary cap hit.

  • cristobal

    quisp – “to treat the other commenters as though they/we are the proxies of AEG and/or DL is, well, it’s insane.”

    I’ll answer that with your own words quisp:

    Quisp said:
    Eric, re centers:

    I realize I’m not DL, but it’s still not hockey season, and I can’t stop myself…

    Kopitar, Stoll, Handzus, Boyle are the four centers. Armstrong is a spare, might play wing, might get traded, might go to Manchester (a la Klemm; but I doubt it kind of, since injuries have a way of affecting things). Richardson, I believe, also plays wing and so will be looked to on the right side of the third or fourth line, along with Ellis. The pipeline of centers is, more or less in order: Trevor Lewis, Bud Hollway, David Meckler, Bryan Cameron, Robert Czarnik, Brady Murray, Andrei Lokitonov, Kevin Westgarth, Gabe Gauthier, Garrett Roe and Justin Azevedo — of which maybeLewis is ready this year, probably next year (he can play wing, as well, I believe).

    It’s reasonable to assume that at some point in the next two years, Handzus will move on — sooner if he has a great season this year; I can see DL trading him in order to maximize return. This would be an especially good idea if Lewis is ready and Stoll pans out.

    Lokitonov is a bit of a wild card. I’m interested to see how he is at camp.

    As far as defensemen: there’s obviously the Schneider situation; Anaheim may have to move him and the Kings are one of the few teams (though there are others, e.g. Montreal) that can afford him and need someone like that right now. And there was just a story recently that had Ken Holland saying he was probably going to have to move a defenseman. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one or both of those situations impact the Kings in the next week or so.

    I would be shocked if DL would say anything about who he would like to have or who he is pursuing.

    Again, sorry for responding to your DL question. Like I said, I’m suffering from withdrawl. I keep clicking on the tsn link hoping to see Kings new and I’m getting nothing in return…

    —————————————–

    Why do YOU find it necessary to be the PROXY for THEM? Azevedo? Why don’t we reaquire Papineau? Brady Murray? Trade him to St. Louis. Garret Roe? Row Row Row your boat Roe? doesn’t he play tailback for Georgia? Quisp, i thought you admitted to your own insanity? I will claim mine. We’re on opposite ends of the optimist/pessimist spectrum. How else can I spend my time without spending money in this economy. I despise AEG. Big Phil = The Man. Sell, Phil, Sell. SELL SELL SELL SELL SELL SELL SELL SELL SELL SELL SELL SELL SELL SELL SELL!!!!!!!!

  • Quisp

    There’s a difference between being a proxy for someone (not to mention being a dupe of someone) and simply understanding what they are doing in a given situation. Why are you harping on Azevedo? Read the thread. The guy asked who was in the pipeline. He’s in the pipeline, as is Brady Murray, etc..

  • cristobal

    I’m not harping on Azevedo, I just don’t care… He’ll likely never play an entire season in the NHL, especially for the Kings. If Detroit brought him in, possibly, but not for the Dings. Quisp, i’m not harping on you either, just pointing out that the guy asked a question for Lombardi, and you felt like you could answer it with full Lumbo Spin-power.

    50 points this year.

  • cristobal

    Duckhunter – Very cool that you played football at a WAC program. I quit football too early, or early enough, depends on how you look at it. I didn’t start playing ice-hockey til I was already 18 but athleticism and playing on feet as a kid helped. Really, I never knew any hockey fans growing up. I got into it through watching the playoffs in the early 80′s and late 80′s. I played for UCLA in the Pac-8 and despised SC, especially the fans. It was a blast, though. The skill level was poor, but the experience was quality. Even got to do the road trips to Washington and No Cal. Aging bites, that’s for sure. I can’t even go without stretching in the morning or the body just kinda locks-up on me. I can still run and skate and do most of the things I enjoy if I can work up the energy to do it. What about you? Football is tough, but a bit of age doesn’t have to stop you, necessarily. Did you become an SC fan because you admired their football program? I have to say, if I were a young player and wanted the best opportunity to go pro and make some dough, I’d go there if they asked. They have the best exposure in NCAA football right now. Its just too bad that there are so many that play the game that never get to make any money for it. Seems rather corrupt to me, but you know i’m a nut. Did you ever see Hoopdreams? I will never get over that line that goes something like, “people ask me if I’ll remember them when I make it, I ask them if they’ll remember me if I don’t.” That says a lot about the American sports scene. So much money at the top but the majority that go for it end up falling through the cracks. There was a guy I knew, have lost touch, but he played hockey at Michigan and was a very good player – easily better than Craig Johnson and some of the spare parts the Kings had a few years back. He played in the IHL and ECHL for a while, but really didn’t make that much. I’d guess 30 thousand a year was a decent, or possibly the best, year he had. Football seems to have even fewer opportunities for capitalizing on the dedication to the sport. It would behoove those college players to take their education seriously while they have the chance to do it free or inexpensively.

    Anyway, I’d better cut it off now or the knives will be drawn on me.

    cheers

  • Duckhunter

    How did I become an SC fan? Out of spite! My dads second wife had a family that absolutely loved the Bruins. Every year when SC and UCLA played, they would throw a party that was bigger than any Christmas gathering you’ve ever been to. I’m talking 100-150 heads of all Bruin fans. So when me and my dad started going around, we stirred the pot a little and rooted for SC. It was all in fun, but some of them got pretty nasty, so as the years went by, I became a bigger and bigger fan out of spite. That’s how it began 28 years ago during the John Robinson days. Have a really cool autographed Charles White, Heisman Trophy picture. I also got married, and my Father-in-Law’s best friend is an Assistant Dean at USC, so that only made my ties stronger.

    Football is a great sport, and yes many people are not rewarded for the sacrifices they make. I have more replaced body parts than the Bionic man, but it made me the person I am today and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Everything I give back to society is through sports, and the opportunity to help people out is very gratifying. It’s interesting, because I teach the parents just as much as I teach the kids. The parents are the delusional ones, expecting great things from not such great skills. I teach sports, but I try and teach life a bit more and a big part of that is education, as you say.

  • cristobal

    Duckhunter – Thats funny that is was out of spite. I think that’s why I hate USC so much. I didn’t care before I played hockey there, but the fan’s were unbelievably nasty, and one player on their team was a real jerk. That did it. So it’s really out of spite. I grew up loving the NFL and didn’t really start watching college until Miami and Forida St. and Florida were dominating in the early 90′s. My dad loved Notre Dame solely because were of Irish heritage. He’s funny like that. But I loved the Rams as a kid, and them shamed by their move and my dad’s criticism of Georgia, became a fan of the Vikings. I was lured in by their stylish play and some of the unbelievable players like Tommy Kramer and Ahmad Rashad. Remember how incredible Rashad was? It’s hard to picture him even playing now. But he was like Lynn Swann in my eyes.

    Its cool that you can give back through sports. I’ve been in love with so many sports, its amazing. From NFL, to skateboarding, to NHL, to climbing, to football of the English variety. I’ve done all these and felt I am better for it. Climbing El Capitan was a bit like going Pro for me. The rewards were all internal, but I’ll never forget it.

    What are you intending to do with your study of radiology? What’s your career now?

    cheers

    ps – what positions did you play, and did you see hoopdreams?

  • Duckhunter

    Wish I was able to play Hockey like you did, that would have been great. Funny thing is, I was born in one of the few cities here (Norwalk) that had a ice rink. I used to watch my cousin take lessons, but was told ice skating was for girls, so I never participated. Ignorance at it’s finest!

    Spite will make you do funny things.

    I to love all sports. I like the human element the best. I played SS in baseball, shooting guard in basketball, wrestled 154′s and played QB and free safety in H.S. Didn’t have strong enough arm to QB in college, so I mastered the free safety position. Easy to play that position, when I know what the QB is going to do. You talked about the Rams. Cromwell is who I tried to play like. Ronnie Lot is my favorite, but my skills were more like Cromwell.

    Climbing El Capitan must have been a great experience and an even greater accomplishment. That must have taken some big ones. I climbed the Swiss Alps. Just kidding:-) I took a train and people movers to the top. That was good enough for me.

    I, like you, was a labor worker, Started off working the docks, then started driving tractor trailers, then went to heavy equipment, like water trucks and backhoes. all my injuries and bouncing around in the heavy equipment took it’s toll on me. Have three bulging or herniated disk in my back. That’s why I’m in school again. Start as a x-ray tech then go to MRI’s and CAT Scans. I plan on doing that till I can’t get out of bed anymore:-)

    Why on earth are you a carpenter or framer when you have a degree in English. Different ends of the spectrum aren’t they? Do you know what I like best about school and the field I’m studying? The air conditioning!!!!

  • Duckhunter

    Oh forgot, I have not seen hoopdreams, but I love the quote you mentioned earlier. I will start using that one.

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    Cristobal
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    Kings if you want action. In fact to make it fair I
    will go over 60.

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