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Dan Ellis on Twitter, BizNasty on Life

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Goooood morning folks!

Today begins the five-columns-a-week schedule I’ll be keeping up over the course of this NHL season, which means a change in protocol for Bourne’s Blog.

Posts will now go up close to 3:00 p.m. MST (it was usually between 9-10 a.m. before), as the mornings will be spent researching, writing, etc.  Just thought I’d keep you informed.

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Wearing his specialist clothing.

Dan Ellis’ soon-to-be-deleted Twitter Account

The twitter feed of Dan Ellis (@33dellis) has become the topic of conversation in the last day or two because A) there’s not much else going on in the NHL and B) he had the audacity to complain about money while making $3 shmill over the next two seasons, while having summers off.  (And yes, those summers are off.  You can lift, do cardio and be done skating by noon.)

To be clear, I like two things about his mistake: one, he broke away from the cliche-spewers, earning him a spot on my two-day old Top Seven NHL Quote-Givers list, which is in the right sidebar of this page below the ad.  And two, his complaint about escrow isn’t all that silly.  That’s a lot of money to give up.  That said….

WTF, man?  You don’t complain about having to share your massive Thanksgiving dinner to a starving family. 

There are certain things that’re hard about being a professional hockey player.  I’m fairly certain it’s harder to be an ECHLer than an NHLer (buses and minimum wage puts it over the top), and I can attest that the ECHL lifestyle is actually pretty damn good.

He seems to imply college was a tough financial time, and this is just as bad.  I’d bet a month of my life he was on college scholarship as I was (he started every game at University of Nebraska-Omaha, of course he was). I had tuition/books/room and board and stipend, all provided.  I had no extra money, but I also had zero debt from college, as I’m sure was his case.  Which means it’s never been all that hard (cash-wise) for the guy.

Has since moved on to Tampa Bay

Taking his current money stresses to the public - some whom are dealing with foreclosure, bankruptcy, etc. and saying “my money situation is no easier than those tough college days” makes it smell like he simply doesn’t get it, and takes him out of the “he’s just a normal guy” status so many fans enjoy.  Did he expect a bunch of “boy, that does seem tough, Dan” style responses?

I’ve written plenty of columns that bitched about certain aspects of playing pro hockey.  But at the same time, I’ve done my best to stop short of saying “people don’t get how tough athletes have it”, because frankly…. c’mon, Bourne.  It was never that hard.

I think back to how much guys complained about certain promotional events (the worst part of being a minor leaguer), and compare it to the worst parts of other people’s jobs…. and holy shit, you can’t even compare the two.

Anyway, before this gets away from me, just thought I’d say: I’m okay with him being open and honest – in fact, I really enjoy it, even when guys say stupid things.  But with their right to say those things, comes my right to point out the idiocy in them.  …There just has to be a bit of a filter there, a little social grace, some tact.

Predicted next Ellis problem: “Man, I hate how all these girls in Florida want me for being a millionaire in the spotlight. Can’t a guy get a little down time?”

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BizNasty Thoughts:

So, for the Quote-Standings on the right, we contemplated taking Biz out of the running, the way Gretzky used to get taken out of scoring pools cause it was so obvious he was going to win.  But I have a theory why he might not….

Biz Nasty and his lady friend.

That twitter feed of his, at some point, is going to bite him in the ass.  Who knows if he’ll be able to maintain having it all year long.  So let’s say he loses it:

He plays in Phoenix, which doesn’t get the most coverage in the league.  Also, he’s a fourth line guy who gets in about half the games.  So he’s not exactly the first guy reporters look to for an interview in the dressing room (though he’s definitely moving himself up the queue).

So if he loses twitter, we lose the majority of quotes from Biz.  And then what?  He could be beaten!

My other Biz thought:  Could his spiel get tiring?  He reminds of a certain breed of guy in the locker room that’s a blast 90% of the time, but to be avoided the other ten.  As Crushasaurus was the first to say…. we’ll see if the Biz-love last the whole season and beyond.  For now: lovin’ it.

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Here’s a fun one to bat around.  From a reader email, Hobbit says:

Here it is:  IF the NHLPA had a strong leader and Bettman and Co. offered the 40 year old cut-off date, what should the response have been?

Answer:  No problem Mr. Commissioner, in return we only ask that each team be allowed one players salary be exempt from the cap hit.”

Whaddya think?  I think I kinda like it.

Comments

27 Responses to “Dan Ellis on Twitter, BizNasty on Life”
  1. KForbes says:

    Let me be the first to say: Justin Bourne hates the East Coast.

  2. Louis says:

    Justin Bourne hates Europe even more :)

  3. Dave K says:

    Isn’t the one-player exempt thing the same thing the NBA does? Larry Bird rule I think? (Not an NBA fan, so could be wrong on this.) Maybe it’s soccer and the Beckham rule.

    Anyway, not a fan of that myself because cap management should be part of the “game”. I don’t mean the game on the ice, but rather the game the owners and GMs play in building their team. Giving them an “out” card just seems like it makes it easier on them. As for the cut-off for the age thing, well, would it be better to have a maximum contract length, or maximum player age?

  4. pete says:

    maybe i’m crazy, but i don’t have much of a problem with what ellis said. all things are relative, i mean, i hate my job but i’m currently listening to bob marley while i draw office cartoons. could always be worse.

    (finally read “in the hot zone” (per a mention in Bourne’s Blog) – good book, but i did have a hard time getting past his arrogant tone. was it just me? thanks.)

  5. crushasaurus says:

    I could have SWORN Florida was a tax haven?

  6. jtbourne says:

    pete – Again, I don’t really have a problem with what he said, he just has to know his audience (you can’t bitch about money to people you have more than) and approach it better. It’s something I’m still learning on my blog. Even posts like the one above find ways to get me in trouble, which is why twitter is tough to figure out if you’re just starting. People are se-re-us.

    Glad your read “in the hot zone”…. and yes, I know the tone you’re talking about.

  7. jtbourne says:

    Crushasaurus – Hahahaha, that didn’t even occur to me. Well played, sir.

  8. Kennedy says:

    Tone is the key. Saying you are worried about money – interspersed with pictures of your new goalie mask and pictures of the new rims you are putting on your tricked out Jag – makes it tough to take seriously. It’s not quite Sprewell’s “my kids need to eat” but I’m sure the post about how his kids have to eat hangar steak every night and not filet is only a tweet away.

  9. Casey says:

    I guess Ellis is part of the “buyer beware” clause of asking for athletes to be “real” in social media. I can’t fault him for being honest, but his honesty has revealed that he’s just not all that self-aware, and probably not a guy I’d enjoy a conversation with. I suppose for every quote-machine like BizNasty, or normal-guy (with surprisingly interesting taste in music) like Bobby Ryan, there are going to be plenty of guys like Ellis who come across as just being not all that likable. He certainly doesn’t deserve to be demonized for what he said, but I can’t say that I like the guy very much after all that.

    Something that I haven’t seen mentioned (which I find more telling than the people calling him out for being insensitive) were the people who dug up the photos he’d posted previously of his new car and the plans for his pool. Aside from the obvious fact that these things make him look even worse, the only way people would know and remember those older tweets is if they’d been following him from the beginning. Dan Ellis didn’t get attacked by some amorphous mob, collectively known as “Twitter,” he got attacked by his own fans, via the medium. This is something that I don’t think he’s grasped yet (and maybe never will). He didn’t just lose public goodwill over this incident, he’s probably lost the support of people who actually cared about his career beyond the reach of his twitter account. I can’t imagine that the market for Ellis t-shirts and jerseys was huge to begin with, but I’d imagine that it’s smaller now, and that’s not Twitter’s fault – the blame lies solely with Ellis for that one.

    Here’s something that I’ve noticed about some of the people defending Ellis’ statements: lots of them seem to think that a pro athlete only has x number of years to make *all* of his or her money. I’d be interested to hear your take on this line of reasoning. I’m sure it would suck to go from making a couple million a year (or even league minimum) to pulling in “regular joe” money at a 9-to-5 job, but is the idea completely foreign to most of these guys? Is there really a sense that if they had a career ending injury tomorrow, they couldn’t or wouldn’t earmark a little bit of money to earn a degree and have a second career?

  10. jtbourne says:

    Casey – Great comment. I really like the “he doesn’t deserve to be demonized, but he seems more and more like someone I’d avoid eye contact with if they were looking for somewhere to sit with their lunch tray” type of stuff.

    I TOTALLY think these guys should make as much as possible while they can. An NHL career could finance a lifetime, but it has to be hard to see it as “lifetime money” when you’ve ALWAYS made bank. But, my Dad’s a great example – he’s on job ten since retiring, and wishes he’d save more when he played.

    But still, I don’t see how that’s an arguement for defending the Ellis tweets. If he’s feeling ANY financial stress NOW, good luck when he’s 55. Most guys just try to live off their name from their playing days, and flow slows considerably.

  11. AiH says:

    So James Sheppard busted his knee cap on an ATV. Perhaps a topic for a column: when a player is under contract should he avoid ATVs and in some cases, golf carts (glancing in Erik Johnson’s direction), during the off season? What was your experience with this Bourne? Were there times when you thought, “better not do that, training camp is next month.”

  12. Sandwiches1123 says:

    The “one exempt contract” clause is not a terrible suggestion but it should still obey the “40-year old rule” as well. Teams need to be able to build around a superstar. The team can identify that superstar and then use the remainder of the money to build around him. The only thing you then need to worry about are the escrow payments. That exempt player’s contract should not count towards the annual average salary of the players and therefore not affect escrow. I think the NHL should be moving to a hybrid of their current CBA and add clauses from the NFL and NBA. I actually don’t mind the “max terms” clause the NBA has where a team re-signing a free agent can sign him for a maximum of six years or signing another team’s free agent for a maximum of five years.

  13. Keriann says:

    Considering the CEO at the company where I work (who expenses everything from his cars to his dry cleaning on a company account) told our mostly hispanic work-force they were getting a $100 Christmas bonus so they could go out and buy an extra can of beans for Christmas dinner, I didn’t really find Dan Ellis’s comment all that offensive. I do, however, wonder how much his car payment is.

  14. KForbes says:

    AiH: I believe that there might be clauses in a standard player contract that deal with insurance (who pay the value of the contract if the player can’t play) and non-hockey injury. But that might be wrong. For some reason, I thought I remember this coming up before for a player who broke his foot on a street curb or something, but maybe it was a different sport. In any case, not the luckiest thing for a player who has yet to score more goals in a season than his draft position (9th overall in 2006!).
    I remember watching Sheppard play pre-season in the Q for Cape Breton a couple of weeks before he went down to Minnesota and made the team in 2007 and thinking that there was really nothing left for him to accomplish at the junior level, he was simply a man against boys. I really expected more from him, but he’s never delivered. A prime candidate for a change of scenery, I think, but this injury really sidetracks even those hopes.

    I agree with the suggestion on the exempt ‘superstar’ contract, but I also agree fully with the caveat “IF the NHLPA had a strong leader”. Anyone else feel like the NHL was more than happy to take on this fight right now, knowing that it’s pretty much a slam dunk at this point?
    I almost feel bad for the PA at this point, because the NHL seems able to pretty much have their way with them.

  15. crushasaurus says:

    1. Casey, please start a blog. I’d read it.

    2. Golf carts are perfectly safe, unless they’re being driven by Alex Ovechkin. That’s when problems occur.

    3. I wrote a pretty negative piece on Ellis, but I was just playing devil’s advocate. Everyone is prone to hypocrisy on small and large scales, and it’s just an unfortunate incident. My own dear mother pointed out that Ellis probably isn’t the sharpest tool in the box, and I’d like to put it down to that as opposed to any genuine personality flaw.

    4. I’m thinking of investing in a 4 week intensive sports law course — most of this CBA and salary cap talk passes me by. It makes me feel more inadequate than if I had to house-share with a naked Dennis Rodman.

  16. Dunc says:

    Think Ellis biggest mistake was underestimating the amount of people that would bite at his deliberate attempt to ‘stir the pot’. After the whole specialist thing I can only think either he really is a complete tool that’s clearly out of touch with the real world or he was sat there pissing himself at the shit storm he created before he realised he best apologise cos it got out of hand.

  17. AiH says:

    How much would you pay to attend a 4 week intensive sports law course if it is taught by Dan Ellis? How much do you think he would charge? I’m willing to wager the numbers are quite a bit different.

  18. Raj77 says:

    Seriously, some form of voluntary work should be much more routinely pushed on these guys by their teams. Give ‘em a sense of proportion, especially when they’re ‘demoralised’.

    Crushasaurus- as another hockey fan in the UK, I like your blog mate! However, I can’t believe you referred to Hall of Famer John Vanbiesbrouck (on the cover of NHL ’97) as ‘that terrible Florida goalie’! He’s a racist dick (got fired from his OHL coaching job for using a racial slur to refer to future Dallas wrecking ball Trevor Daley, his own captain) but he was a very fine goalie.

    For bonus WTF content, the quote Beezer gave at the time:

    “I used the ‘N’ word instead of calling him Trevor,” Vanbiesbrouck, who owns 25 percent of the team, told the Sault Ste. Marie Star on Sunday. “I used it just not thinking.

    Classy.

  19. Hooks Orpik says:

    I could see how The Biz might become tiring, but I’m all in. I’ve been a fan since he caught my eye in his first training camp in Pittsburgh back in 2003 when he was among the final cuts back to junior (as a defenseman with pretty nice wheels, believe it or not). Then when he wore a pro wrestling championship belt during warmups in a Coast league game, it was over. I’m all in, it’s the season of the bums, baby.

  20. Derek says:

    I really don’t know what I can add to the Ellis conversation that hasn’t already been said elsewhere.

    Regarding Biz, I think so far it has been good as he has just been his strange self. The problems will come when one of two hings happen. 1) He continuously repeats himself, making the same jokes over and over again. I don’t know if the 275th pic of him in a speedo, or of a bum will have the same comedic effect. 2) It becomes shtick. It’s great now because it feels so honest. If he runs out of new material, and he just starts posting strange stuff just to post it. He doesn’t strike me as the brightest guy ever, and I don’t know if he has the ability to come up with new stuff on a consistent enough basis.

    But in the meantime, it is glorious.

    As for the salary cap exemption, I am not really a fan of it. It takes away from the hard cap that the NHL employs, and makes it closer to the NBA’s soft cap. The Bird rule mentioned earlier is that an NBA team can go over the salary cap to sign a player who had been with the team (or they traded for him) for X number of years. It basically allows teams to keep their homegrown talent and avoid purges like the one the Hawks just had. The problem with the soft cap is that it limits the intent of a salary cap. It basically allows teams with the ability to fork out a ton of cash to go way over the cap. The hard cap in hockey is a much more even playing field. The idea is great for the PA though, as that helps the top guys on each team get their money, but opens up a lot more money for the mid-level to low-end guys, the ones who have been getting below market value (or what their market value should be).

  21. The Franchise says:

    I don’t understand the hate on Ellis that followed his comments. I was chatting with a buddy the other day about how much more fun we had in high-school, or just finished, cashing in our bi-weekly $500 pay cheques and feel like we owned the world.

    Sure I make multiple times more than that now, but a larger salary doesn’t make balancing the books any easier. It is easy to sit back and criticize a millionaire complaining about money (especially one with no state income tax), but you never really know until you walk a day in their shoes. I liked Ellis’s outspokenness and his standing behind his comments.

    Where is the line drawn, is a family that has an income of $60,000 allowed to complain about the rising expenses and making ends meet when other families are getting by on the poverty line?

    Mo money, mo problems. And I don’t think anyone would be happy about tossing away nearly 20% of their pay.

    Dan Ellis = Franchise’s new hero

  22. Blake says:

    A question for the quote rankings…

    Is there a chance that players could move ON to the list and others off throughout the season? I could see a couple players that aren’t on there move into contention under the right circumstances.

  23. jtbourne says:

    Blake – Oh, absolutely. Those are just place holders til guys start saying awesome and ridiculous stuff.

  24. crushasaurus says:

    Only just seen your comment Raj. To explain me calling Beezer “that terrible Florida goalie”, he let in a total fucking clanger in the playoffs for me and I never actually forgave him. 7 year old grudges still grating.

  25. lynn_alaska says:

    Geez, I haven’t followed Dan Ellis since he was with the ECHL Idaho Spuds. LOL!

    Speaking of the ECHL though… Justin, pretty cool about Jack Michaels (radio PBP guy) going directly from the Aces to the Edmonton Oilers, huh? I think he’ll do a great job for them.

    BTW, we still miss you up here! :-)

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