Paul Kariya: under the radar underachiever

Kariya.jpgPlenty of hockey players take a beating from the media and fans when they fail to live up to a huge contract. Players such as Scott Gomez, Chris Drury, Wade Redden – and even guys who weren’t signed by Glen Sather – tend to get the lion share of the lampooning.

Yet it seems players like Brad Richards ($7.8 million annual cap hit, more than Nicklas Lidstrom) and Paul Kariya ($6 million per year cap hit) are spared quite a bit of the mockery. After flopping at least to some degree, Richards has (sort of) justified his contract but with Kariya it’s a big news story if he does anything.

While St. Louis Blues-oriented blogs often give Kariya the business, you rarely see his name pop up in worst contract lists. Here are a few of my guesses as to why Kariya might be flying under the radar.

1. He’s a nice guy: Again, the guys at St. Louis Game Time think he’s a jerk but I’ve always gotten the feeling that Kariya gets a free pass for being a nice guy.

2. He’s been injured: Injuries can explain a lot of problems, but also-fragile Daniel Briere (only a half million more per year for much better offensive numbers) is a serious punching bag for satirists. They’re both smallish, soft and decidedly one-way players yet the mockery ratio is out of whack. Briere’s contract is a bit worse because it’s longer, but I get the feeling that’s not the reason he is lambasted.

3. He’s irrelevant: For the last five seasons, Kariya has been in nontraditional market Nashville and the only-made-the-playoffs-without-him Blues. Even some serious hockey fans who don’t follow the Central division may simply forget that Kariya even exists anymore. This theory, to me, is both the most realistic and the most palatable reason why he skates by with limited critiques.

So what do you think? Have I overlooked plenty of mainstream criticism of Kariya? Has he somehow been good according to some hare brained stat? Or did he buy a shelter’s worth of puppies so journalists just cannot bring themselves to point out his struggles? I’d love to know.

Scroll Down For:

    As far as Benning is concerned, ‘the Sedins are going to retire as Vancouver Canucks’

    Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin
    1 Comment

    You may recall over the summer when the Sedin twins were asked by a Swedish news outlet if they’d ever consider waiving their no-trade clauses and playing for a team that wasn’t the Vancouver Canucks.

    Their answer? They had no intention — none whatsoever — of leaving Vancouver, even if they were presented with an opportunity to join a Stanley Cup contender.


    Yes, there was a but.

    They didn’t definitively say they’d refuse to waive. If, for instance, management were to approach them during the final season of their contracts (2017-18), well, maybe they’d have to consider it.

    And, so, because it was the summer and there was nothing else to talk about, and because it had only been a short time since the Flames had made the Canucks look so old and slow in the playoffs, it became a topic of conversation among the fans and media.

    Today, GM Jim Benning was asked if he’d put an end to the rumors.

    “As far as I’m concerned, the Sedins are going to retire as Vancouver Canucks,” Benning told TSN 1040.

    Daniel Sedin currently ranks fourth in NHL scoring with 25 points in 23 games. Henrik is tied for 14th with 22 points. Even at 35, they’re still excellent players.

    “I don’t know if they’re getting better, but they’re not getting any worse,” said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville on Saturday, after the twins had combined for nine points in beating the defending champs.

    It’s also worth noting that there’s far more optimism in Vancouver about the Canucks’ youth. Last year, there was only Bo Horvat to get excited about. This year, there’s Horvat, Jared McCann, Jake Virtanen and Ben Hutton.

    True, the youngsters still have a ways to go. And yes, there are still some glaring holes in the Canucks’ lineup — most notably on the blue line, a tough area to address via trade or free agency. 

    It may be in Vancouver’s best long-term interests to miss the playoffs this season and get into the draft lottery. 

    But you never know, if they hang around a few more years, with a little luck and some good moves by management, the Sedins might not be done chasing the Cup after all.

    NHL has no plans to change waiver rules

    Manny Malhotra Ryan Stanton
    Leave a comment

    Even with all the young players that have been healthy scratches this season, don’t expect the NHL to change its waiver rules.

    Deputy commissioner Bill Daly told PHT in an email that it’s not something that’s “ever been considered.”

    “For better or worse that’s what waiver rules are there for,” Daly wrote. “They force Clubs to make tough decisions.”

    Today, Montreal defenseman Jarred Tinordi became the latest waiver-eligible youngster to be sent to the AHL on a two-week conditioning loan.

    Tinordi, 23, has yet to play a single game for the Habs this season. If he were still exempt from waivers, he’d have undoubtedly been sent to the AHL long before he had to watch so many NHL games from the press box.

    In light of situations like Tinordi’s, some have suggested the NHL change the rules. Currently, the only risk-free way for waiver-eligible players to get playing time in the AHL is via conditioning stint, and, as mentioned, those are limited to 14 days in length.

    So the Habs will, indeed, need to make a “tough decision” when Tinordi’s conditioning stint is up. Do they put him in the lineup? Do they keep him in the press box and wait for an injury or some other circumstance to create an opportunity for him to play? Do they risk losing him to waivers by attempting to send him to the AHL? Do they trade him?

    Your call, Marc Bergevin.

    Related: Stanislav Galiev is stuck in the NHL

    Ortio clears waivers, assigned to Flames’ AHL team

    Joni Ortio
    Leave a comment

    Joni Ortio has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Stockton, the Calgary Flames announced today.

    The 24-year-old goalie was always likely to clear, what with his dreadful numbers this season (0-2-1, .868),

    But we suppose there was always the chance he’d get picked up, so it’s a relief for the Flames all the same. With a little more time to hone his game in the AHL, Ortio could still turn out to be a quality NHL netminder.

    In a related move, veteran goalie Jonas Hiller has been activated from injured reserve. Hiller and Karri Ramo are the only goalies on the Flames’ active roster now.

    Price placed on injured reserve; Yakupov to miss 2-4 weeks with sprained ankle

    Leave a comment

    Two injury updates in one post.

    First, the situation with Montreal goalie Carey Price, who was hurt last night versus the Rangers.

    According to Canadiens coach Michel Therrien, Price has been placed on injured reserve with a lower-body injury. That means he’ll be out at least a week, though no exact timeline was provided.

    “We don’t know how long Carey will be out, but for us it’s business as usual,” said Therrien.

    Mike Condon will get the start tomorrow in New Jersey.

    As for Oilers forward Nail Yakupov, he’ll be out 2-4 weeks after spraining his ankle last night in Carolina while getting tangled up with a linesman.