The @33dellis Fiasco

The past 24 hours has brought trouble to Dan Ellis’ Twitter paradise after some poorly worded tweets and some overly-sensitive people came together to create chaos.

In case you’re behind on the whole situation, Ellis - former Nashville & new Lightning goaltender - followed up on a tweet from Reggie Bush who was talking about upcoming labor negotiations.

Bush’s tweet was:

Ellis followed up with:

And apparently this is what caused all hell to break loose. Fans reading his tweets were outraged that any pro athlete could complain about money. I don’t see harm in Ellis’ follow-up comment to Bush, but I can see where some people were disgruntled with it. So let’s look at both sides:

Team Normal People: 
The economy still blows. Unemployment is still high. And here is a professional athlete with a multi-million dollar contact complaining. There’s just no way that gets received well. Plus his follow up reaction was this:

Ellis’ comment on being more worried about finances now than he was in college is ridiculous. There’s no way he’s in rougher shape now than he was in college. Sure, there are less worries in college because really all you’re there to do is play hockey, go to class and booze. For a lot of students, other people take care of the finances (parents, scholarships) or you worry about the loans moreso after school than anything else. Even so - very, very few people have a solid income in college. DEFINITELY not an income of a couple million bucks.

I also think his, “If you don’t make a lot of money, I don’t expect you to understand ...” came off a little bit snooty.

Team Ellis:
He was right when he asked if we would like getting 18% cut out of our salary. I know I sure as hell wouldn’t - and their 18% is a lot more cash than my 18% would be. 18% of $3 mil is like $540,000. Yikes.

There’s also a lot more to player finances than meets the eye. On top of escrow and all that CBA goodness, there’s agent fees, higher taxes (which can include residency depending on the player’s situation) and probably some more I’m not even aware of. Careers are short-lived; players can be out of a job by 35-40 years-old - not quite the retirement age the rest of us are used to. Don’t get me wrong, these guys still have plenty  of comfort room, and no one’s losing their home anytime soon. But for those not making the millions, it can add up.

Finally: relax, people. Do you really think this guy was trying to say he is bitter about his paycheck? I don’t think so.

Bottom line is he took some heat for poorly chosen words. The unfortunate outcome of this is that we will lose some candidness from Ellis going forward. The great thing about athletes on Twitter is that fans get to see their personalities and who they are while getting the chance to interact with them one-on-one. It’s a huge boost to the fan experience. I think people would prefer someone who tweets like his true self (like a Paul Bissonnette and a Dan Ellis) as opposed to the more canned accounts (like Rob Schremp - no offense, but that guy is tweeting what he's told to). But why should Ellis go back to being uncensored if he just takes heat for it? Not saying he didn’t deserve it, but he has no reason to do it anymore.

So @33dellis - I’m on your team. But for God’s sake, let it go. I think we may have gotten a tiny bit over-defensive yesterday. The best move is to close it out and move on from it. Or write up a guest blog post. I’m sure a site like Puck Daddy or From the Rink would host it without a doubt. I’d be really interested in reading that. You’d have to be careful because if you misword things again, then you could end up in hotter water than you already were in. But it gives you a platform of more than 140 and can help some people understand a bit more.

Just my two cents.


Duffrie Heads to Pittsburgh

Latest news coming out of the 'Burgh is that Hilary Duff has signed with the Pens. And by Hilary Duff, I mean Mike Comrie. Comrie signed for the league minimum of $500,000. I'm indifferent to him -- he won't hurt, he won't help, and he's cheap. I agree with Puck Daddy here:
"If nothing else, he'll serve as a place-holder for Eric Tangradi as he continues to mature as the forward-of-the-future."
Although I don't know the progress Tangradi's made this off-season, he could use a little more time in the A just to fine tune some things. I think this will be good for him, and I'm sure he'll have plenty of opportunities to strut his stuff in the show this year.

Hope ya like Pittsburgh Hil. You never know, you just might get to see good old Wilkes-Barre, PA someday!


Antero & Antii

I figured the Niemi signing was a good start to kick back into gear with blogging and get into the groove before the season starts. Can you believe it's almost here again?

So, San Jose signed Antii Niemi. We know him as the Stanley Cup winning goaltender for the Chicago Blackhawks. He was on fire during the 2010 postseason, and that earned him a nice little arbitration award of $2.75 million. But Chicago had about $5 left in cap space, so they let him walk.

Now he finds himself on the Sharks. I mean, for God's sake Doug Wilson had to do something this off-season, and he sure as hell wasn't going to try and sign a D-man to help out his Rob Blake-less defense. I shouldn't say that - he tried to nab Niklas Hjarmalsson, but Chitown was having none of that.

So after signing Antero Niittymaki earlier in the summer and feeling fine with him being their go-to goaltender, they decided to pick up Niemi. Both Antero & Antii are good goaltenders. Both are capable of getting hot at the right times. But I personally am not 100% comfortable with these two. First of all, both of them are decent regular season goaltenders -- averaging pretty close stats: 

Niittymaki: 49 GP, 2.87 GAA, .909 SV%

Niemi: 39 GP, 2.25, .912 SV%

But are they enough? I've seen people say, "The regular season doesn't matter." Except it kind of does because you need it to get you into the post-season safely. The Sharks are without a doubt going to make the play-offs. I'm not crazy. They're going to be a good team. But I have to believe that neither of these guys will be as strong of a force that Nabokov during the first 80.

The plus side: they are both cheaper than Nabby, and by no means are they going to be awful for the Sharks. And at least one guy won't be starting 70 games a season and getting nice and tired just in time for the play-offs.

As far as play-offs go, all I have to say is, just because a guy was hot during one post-season doesn't mean he will get hot again in another. It's a clean slate. And do you want either of these guys as your lead play-off goaltender if they're not hot during that stretch? I don't know. After sleeping on it, I feel a little better about it ... but not much.


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