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Member Since 09 Oct 2007
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#2334865 Sheahan arrested for "superdrunk" driving

Posted by StormJH1 on 28 November 2012 - 12:34 PM

Wow, weird timing on how this thing blew up all of the sudden, ESPN.com has it as one of their 11 "headline" stories on the front page (right below the breaking news that Hope Solo is happy in her marriage).

Guess it's all about an "angle". NHL news rarely makes it on that page for actual game events, but if some unknown prospect gets arrested wearing a Tellytubby costume during a lockout - now that's news!

#2334732 [Retired] Official Lockout Thread

Posted by StormJH1 on 26 November 2012 - 01:38 PM

This issue so complicated because of the polarizing figure that is Gary Bettman. A New York lawyer running the most popular sport in Canada. 3 significant work stoppages in 18 years.

@Nightfall is partially right when he says that Bettman was not the "cause" of the lockout. Admittedly, that would be an oversimplification. I heard a TSN podcast today where one guy wondered if this isn't just the "new normal" given the fact that salaries were so constant for so many years and then shot up exponentially in the past 20 years. He wondered if the underlying problem isn't just that nobody knows "what anything is worth" in the NHL.

But I refuse to give Bettman a pass on "causing the lockout" for this reason: He DID create and stubbornly support the environment that caused this lockout to happen in the last 2 CBA's. When you a situation where you can make $3.3 billion in profits AND it can also be true that (allegedly) 18 franchises are operating in the red, you have fundamental problems. If I honestly believed that setting HRR at 50/50 and just telling the players to give a little more back would solve those problems, I would turn on the NHLPA and Fehr in a heartbeat.

But here's the thing: I have zero confidence that Phoenix, Dallas, Nashville, Florida, etc are suddenly going to become profitable simply because you cap player contracts at 5 years, lower the salary cap, and take money out of the players' share. I have zero confidence because we were told that everything in '05 CBA was necessary to save those bottom-feeder teams, and it didn't work.

The problem is the structure of the league, and the freedom of the owners to continue spending even with a hard cap in place. The deeper problem is that the league is badly overexpanded into places it doesn't belong. Phoenix is not going to start drawing 15,000 a game just because you made it so the Parises and Suters of the world only sign $40 million deals instead of $98 million ones. And when ownership in Phoenix or any other city in Bettman's "Grand Sun Belt Experiment" tried to sell to owners/cities with actual money and an interest in hockey, Bettman blocked it.

Unless you are willing to dramatically revise how revenue sharing works and commit yourself to having the Tornto-type markets carrying the struggling teams (which is obviously problematic), this will continue to happen. And Bettman (who whoever represents the owners) will continue to ask for additional money every CBA simply because they can.

#2334503 [Retired] Official Lockout Thread

Posted by StormJH1 on 21 November 2012 - 04:35 PM

Not that the PA's offer was the be-all-end-all, but from the reporting it sounds like the League is sitting back waiting for the PA to come up with some kind of offer that will fix all the League's problems for them.

I think the league is sitting back because after their "3 up, 3 rejected" response within the course of an hour to the NHLPA's counteroffers in October, they'll look like absolute clowns if they reject this thing immediately again. Still, as this portion of Pierre LeBrun's article hints, I find it hard to believe this approach will gain a significant foothold for the NHLPA:

For the first time, the NHLPA offered a framework based on the league’s preferred system of a percentage linked to hockey-related revenue, instead of a system based on guaranteed dollars. In this case, the NHLPA agrees to go to 50 percent of HRR right from Year 1. However, a key line in the proposal bears underlying: "There are no guarantees or fixed targets, other than a requirement that, beginning with the second year of the Agreement, players’ share, expressed in dollars, may not fall below its value for the prior season."

Essentially, it means the players are guaranteed to make no less in total dollars than the year before. The league won’t like that.

The NHL have to be nuts to guarantee the players that their share of revenue will not go down in subsequent years. What if the fans revolt and attendance is down? What if the world economy takes a massive dump and people just stop spending money on the NHL?

Let's say HRR is $3 billion next year (randomly selected #). In Year 1, you have a 50/50 split, so $1.5 billion each for owners and players. Let's say in Year 2, HRR drops to $2.2 billion for some reason. Under the NHLPA proposal, the players now have over 68 PERCENT of HRR b/c the CBA says that they can't make less than $1.5 billion.

Also, the language makes no sense to me. If Year 2 has to be as high as Year 1, then does Year 3 have to be as high as Year 2? In other words, it could never drop below whatever number it was in Year 1. However, it could go up. The NHLPA is basically proposing a unilaterally fixed MINIMUM for the players. No way in hell the league agrees to that, and I don't blame them in this instance.

#2334356 Sheahan arrested for "superdrunk" driving

Posted by StormJH1 on 20 November 2012 - 02:16 PM

Drunk/impaired driving is wrong, make no doubt about it. But people get on their high horse about this issue like none other, when virtually EVERY person who has ever drank at a bar and then driven home has probably broken DWI laws to some degree. And if you don't drink, but use your smartphone while driving every once in awhile, don't try to tell me you're any better than a drunk driver, either.

Sheahan did a bad thing, and the law will punish him for it to the extent sorted out by the system. If it happens again, we can start to talk about a pattern. But the way people "discard" people with a DWI as if they must be "alcoholics" bothers me, even if the underlying offense IS wrong. You don't have be an alcoholic or chronic screw-up to make a mistake.

#2333579 [Retired] Official Lockout Thread

Posted by StormJH1 on 06 November 2012 - 11:35 AM

So, with the NHL/NHLPA apparently set to talk today, do we really have any idea what was said in these recent meetings. They seemed to be productive (or at least not counter-productive), and this came on the heels of the 11/1 news that the owners were willing to "chip in" somewhat on the "make whole" provision.

Even though the media is slightly pro-players in their coverage, I was surprised how many people gave Bettman the benefit of the doubt on his 10 minute consideration of the three counter-proposals by the NHLPA. I think that Bettman's barely-even-perfunctory review of those offers, coupled with distrust over the 48-hour "owners can talk to players" window really tanked what should have been an ongoing process leading up to 10/25. I never believed that the full season could be saved (or perhaps even the Winter Classic), but it was disgraceful to see that progress completely fall apart due to (IMO) the stubbornness of the Union to make ANY concessions on their proposal.

#2333321 NHL Officially Cancels 2013 Winter Classic

Posted by StormJH1 on 02 November 2012 - 03:27 PM

I am so ANGRY right now. Knew this was coming for weeks, and it just gets worse and worse. The 2012 lockout, for me anyway, is so much worse than the 2004-05 lockout. At least during THAT lockout, I felt like the game had serious problems that needed to be addressed. Also, we didn't know what the loss of a full season would feel like, and there was hope (until January) that it could be saved.

This time, I KNOW what a lockout feels like. And this lockout has NO purpose that means anything to a fan. All the people telling me that the owners need a bigger share of the pie so that the 18 teams losing money can be back in the black...shut up. Please shut up. There was nothing in the owners' proposal that would do anything to keep idiot GM's from circumventing their own rules they asked for, and generally doing an awful job running hockey teams in markets that don't even really want hockey.

If I hear the phrase "new NHL" one more time, I might have a nervous breakdown. What did we accomplish in exchange for losing an entire year? Take back your stupid salary cap, cap floor, trapezoid, regular season shootouts, and obstruction calls and give me back the old NHL. If you had to completely blow up the system to get what you want, and having gotten what you want (plus $3.3 billion revenues), and you STILL can't figure out how to divide up all the money you collected from the fans?!

#2333257 NHL Officially Cancels 2013 Winter Classic

Posted by StormJH1 on 02 November 2012 - 10:21 AM

It's going to be today, I would think. The tough part of this is as that as much as a win the "trap" 50/50 proposal was for the owners from a P.R. standpoint, somebody with the NHL now has to stand up and explain that they're cancelling this game. While people understand that this is a negotiation and both sides are at fault, there's still the mental association that the league decides its lockout is more important than this extremely popular and ridiculously anticipated event. And it's not just the event, it's like the cancellation of a TV mini-series with the HBO 24/7 angle, as well.

This sucks. I've talked to casual sports fans who didn't even know there was a lockout two weeks into the season. I don't think you can even measure the damage of taking this event off of TV on January 1st, just when it was getting to the point where it was an annual event people might have looked for.

#2333117 [Retired] Official Lockout Thread

Posted by StormJH1 on 31 October 2012 - 12:15 PM

So, that being said, with salaries increasing over the course of the CBA leading us up to where we are today, I would say that the players have made out very well. Back in 2011, the average salary was $2.45 million. In 2006 after the lockout, it was 1.4 million, which was at 1.8 million before the rollbacks. Looking at the contracts that have been signed in the last two years, its feasable to believe that the average salary continues to go up.

The owners on the other hand have also done well for themselves but much less. Each team made about $4-$5 million per team the last couple years when you look at $120-$150 million in profit each year. These are the same owners that take the business risk. I firmly believe that the ownership is entitled to a little bit more, but not at the rate they are asking for. Still, in the end, I can make 3% on an investment by throwing all my money into a interest baring checking account. 1.5% average return on investment, and thats if there were no problems that needed to be addressed, is very small for a year.

So I guess that, based on that evidence, how can you not say that the players have made out better than the owners in the last CBA? Furthermore, how can you expect the owners to continue to run their businesses with those kinds of margins? The players had no motivation to negotiate a new CBA when they have the keys to the car. They would have played under that current CBA for the next 5-10 more years. It really is a no brainer to me why there is a lockout going on right now.

Ha, right. The players are the ones with the keys to the car. They're in control. Which is precisely why the league has locked them out from the ability to do their jobs twice in seven years, forcing hundreds of the better ones overseas, while the more average players sit on an absolute loss.

First, we need to understand that the idea of a 50/50 split is totally arbitrary. There is no logical reason that hockey related revenues have to be "equally" shared between players and owners, except that it's the type of logic that makes sense to 4-year-olds, or people who barely pay attention to hockey.

Real-life businesses don't work like that. Companies and management have the power. Say you are an attorney in a law firm and you bill $300 an hour. At the end of a 1900-hour year, you have generated $570,000 for the firm. Your salary is not $570,000. It may be $100,000, or something in that ballpark, but the revenue has to go to cover costs, pay for staff, benefits plans, etc. The attorney looks at that and says "Not fair! I'm only taking home 18% of what I generate for the firm!" But of course it isn't that simple.

Attorneys are very replaceable. There are thousands of law school graduates every year, and lateral hires available from other firms and other markets. But NHL-caliber hockey players are much more rare, and the differences between the really good ones and the really average ones are much more noticeable. Moreover, if you staffed most teams with all the same facilities and resources, but ONLY average players, demand for your product would dry up very quickly.

The 2005 CBA was a unequivocal win for the owners at that time, which became a net win for the players in the coming years due to the growth of the game and the owners own stupidity. The owners found every way possible to spend additional money beyond the CBA constraints they themselves negotiated to put in place. They circumvented the cap, buried NHL-level salaries in the minors, and paid out huge bonuses to front load deals well beyond the what the CBA appears to allow. And yet, teams like Minnesota, Detroit, Toronto, Pittsburgh, etc. can afford to do this and still operate. Teams like Nashville and Phoenix cannot.

The solution to this problem has nothing to do with what percentage of HRR the players take. Increasing the owners' share is just throwing good money after bad. The root cause of the problem is in the lack of revenue sharing to benefit the overall health of the league. That's an owner vs. owner issue, but since all the owners can seem to agree on is taking more money from the players, that's all we ever debate.

#2332614 [Retired] Official Lockout Thread

Posted by StormJH1 on 24 October 2012 - 12:14 PM

The thing is too, Bettman and Daly refuse to negotiate unless the Fehr brothers are nogotiating on their terms, off their proposal they tabled Tuesday and willing to make only minor changes. That is not negotiating, not at all. At least the Fehr brothers have tried to get in a room and hash it out, but the evil twins refuse to listen unless fehr says we want to accept your proposal but negotiate the "make whole" issue. That is why I am against Bettman, he consistently refuses to negotiate, while Daly says there is nothing to discuss. There is plenty to discuss.

This. I was so infuriated by Bill Daly's statement this morning suggesting that there was "nothing to discuss". The NHLPA presented 3 counter-proposals, and they were rejected within the course of an hour. I took the NHLPA about 2 days to put those together, which is really quite remarkable considering the size of the union and the fact that the NHL has been dictating the terms of this debate and creating artificial timelines. If the owners' position is that there's nothing to discuss unless the player's accept our exact proposal, that is NOT "negotiating".

I can already sense fans starting to turn on the players a bit, and I really wish they would put this into some perspective. You can't simply say "Oh, these guys are all millionaires that get to play a game for a living, just give a little money back". Aside from the fact that most players are "thousand-aires", not millionaires, and may only get a few years a professional contract before they have to retire (or get hurt), it's easy for FANS to give back the players money that they've earned. Heck, fans would love the product just as much if Crosby made $200,000 a year, and the entry level salary was $25,000. But I'm sorry, that's just not realistic for the scope of this business and how much money these players (which ARE the "product") generate.

This is a cash grab by the owners, who basically were caught betting against the future success of their own league when they agreed to the 57/43 split. The contracts already signed were limited once by the rules of the 2005 CBA (salary cap and other provisions), and are now being asked to be reduced AGAIN by the terms of a new CBA that didn't exist at the time the deals were signed. And, oh by the way, all of this is against the backdrop of a league that has made absurd amounts of money over that same period of time.

A lockout is much harder on players than it is on owners. I find it comical that fans actually believe these players want to be wearing suits instead of playing the sport they dedicated their lives to AND earning lucrative contracts for so doing.

#2332392 Best pure goal scorer for the Wings

Posted by StormJH1 on 22 October 2012 - 11:20 AM

Yeah, I voted for Datsyuk, but I absolutely hate the question in the poll. I don't know what a "pure" goal scorer means. I think that people hear that and think of a super-talented player who is singularly focused on putting points on the board. Marian Gaborik is a "pure goal scorer". So is Ovechkin. Pavel Bure and Ziggy Palffy from back in the day.

The Red Wings don't really employ guys like that, or at least they haven't recently. If you took Datsyuk's innate ability and gave him the "personality" of Ovechkin, I feel like he scores 45 goals a year, but I can't "know" that. And he'd probably be a less valuable player to his team, whether people want to believe that or not.

None of the guys listed are "pure" goal scorers. That label is reserved for elite snipers like Stamkos and Hossa. Hudler was probably the closest thing we had to a goal-scorer last year, and that was mostly because he didn't do anything else very well.

Again, though, I was really surprised by how much of a two-way game Hossa actually had when he played for us. Yeah, he was a terrific goal scorer that carried the Wings at times during the 08-09 regular season, but he's also a very large, strong individual who would back check and put a body on you in the corner.

Nothing irks me more about (some) Wings fans that the revisionist history applied to Hossa's one year with this team. But that's a topic for a different thread.

#2332389 The Next Wings Captain is...?

Posted by StormJH1 on 22 October 2012 - 11:10 AM

I'm not sure I even like the tone of that guy's article, let alone the aimless speculation. His whole point was that naming Kronwall would send a "message" to the organization of fans - basically by picking a "tough guy" as a captain, we'd be adopting a "tougher" mentality. Is he saying the Wings stagnated because we had a captain like Lidstrom (who, by the way, won us a Cup and barely missed time despite almost losing a certain body part in '09...yeah, real pansy).

I have always heard/thought/expected it would be Z. Datsyuk's the better player, but that's not what a captain is. That'd be like saying Fedorov should have been captain because he skates faster than Steve Yzerman.

#2332384 [Retired] Official Lockout Thread

Posted by StormJH1 on 22 October 2012 - 10:44 AM

That seems to be the owner's plan. They'll force the players to take a cut one way or another. They'll lose revenue this year, possibly strangle future growth, probably win again. Then when the next negotiations come around, and the league is in the exact same place, they'll do it all again.

The only place I find blame on both sides is that neither actually addresses the real problem. They need to solve the revenue disparity, and I don't think revenue sharing is the answer. They have to change the payroll range system. $16M is too small. And some teams have to move. If they don't, whether the split is 50% or 52% when this CBA ends doesn't make any difference. Either will still see a handful of teams that can't reach the floor, 10-15 more teams that could get themselves in trouble if they don't spend wisely. The top teams will add another $100M in profits on top of what they're already not allowed to spend, but the situation for the rest of the league won't be any different than it is now. The owners will come out talking about how unfair a 50/50 split is, and lockout again until they get 45%.

Maybe if this lockout causes revenues to take a hit, we might be lucky enough to see the kind of labor peace MLB has had since the strike, but I think for that to happen players have to "win" this negotiation.

Great post, though I'm not entirely clear why a league that generated this much revenue in the past 7 years couldn't have some workable form of revenue sharing. The NFL does, and it's not like Dallas and Jacksonville are even in the same arena in terms of the money they bring into the league.

But your other points are all well taken. I've had people telling me that the players should cave in some more because "the teams in bad markets are still struggling". Well, great, but the lockout does nothing to solve that problem. There's no new revolutionary money-sharing arrangement that come out of it - the owners as a whole are just trying to grab as much as they can.

I've never seen much evidence that Bettman and the well-to-do owners want real parity in this league. I find it ironic that the Stanley Cup matchup in 2004 was Calgary and Tampa Bay, but the Cup winners from the past several years in the "new NHL" have been LA, Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and Detroit. All of them either large markets, or at least solid hockey markets with ownership that can easily spend up to the cap and beyond. (Well, the LA Kings are a more complex story, but they've definitely had money to spend in the past few years, and the ability to acquire expensive contracts from other teams).

Can anyone honestly say that the players have done more to unreasonably drive up costs in this league than the OWNERS since 2005? I think everyone knows and expects that Crosby and Ovechkin are going to want gigantic 10-year deals, or that marginal players like Ville Leino and Scott Gomez are going to ask for $30 and $50 million deals that they never deserved. Somebody has to agree to PAY these stupid deals, or it doesn't happen. Heck, baseball doesn't even have a salary cap, and yet you see free agents like Jermaine Dye sit on the free agent market because they think they're worth multi-million dollar deals, and 30 MLB teams wisely disagree.

Then you look at what teams like Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minnesota have done to take advantage of their healthy financial situation, and pay out MASSIVE long-term deals that are completely antithetical to the spirit of the CBA. And if Minnesota hadn't done it, Detroit, Pittsburgh, New York, or any number of other "have" teams would have. And then Buffalo or the Islanders goes out and overpays some run-of-the-mill veteran way too much money, either because they need to keep up or, even worse, because they have to overpay some guys to even get to the salary cap floor.

Yeah, I want an 82-game season, but if we leave all this crap unfixed and have continued labor unrest through the next CBA, how is this game going to fix any of the serious problems facing it in the coming years? EVERY other issue gets swallowed up by the money debate, even ones that everyone would benefit from, like realignment and player safety.

#2332232 [Retired] Official Lockout Thread

Posted by StormJH1 on 19 October 2012 - 11:33 AM

Here's the truly sad part of this (and the fans are guilty of it as well):

I've been moderately anti-NHL (and pro-NHLPA) for this whole thing, and despite the NHL's brilliantly evil PR tactic of placing an arbitrary negotiating deadline on the PLAYERS to acquiesce to the demands of the owners and end a lockout that the OWNERS created, I'm not losing sight of how this entire dispute started, and how ridiculous it is. Even if no deal gets done before 10/25, and there's no 82-game season. Most people assumed that was a foregone conclusion once we started losing preseason games anyway.

But while I still largely agree with the players, and view the lockout as unnecessary, I'm getting the sense from the NHLPA that "honoring current contracts" is an issue taking precedence over all. And that's terribly short-sighted. There are MANY other significant issues that severely compromised the fairness of the game and the safety of the players from 2005 to 2012, but the fans heard "82-game season" and "50/50" and suddenly all they care about is "Accept! Accept! Accept!".

There's some good elements in the NHL's proposal. I like the 5-year deals, and the third-party arbitrator for discipline decisions is probably a good thing. But the $12 million drop in salary cap will cripple some franchises, and the provisions retroactively punishing teams for signing mega-deals are barbaric and certain to cause horrible unintended consequences.

If you would've asked anyone in 2011: "What are the major issues affecting the long-term viability of this game?", here are a handful that come immediately to mind:
  • The safety of the players, caused in large part by the 04/05 rule changes and the increased speed of the game
  • Circumvention of the salary cap, including the new "Minnesota Wild" tactic of offering absurd signing bonuses to pay players nearly double what the CBA supposedly allows in one year
  • "Revenue sharing", or the complete lack thereof
  • Proper scheduling/realignment (such as the plan proposed last year and rejected by the NHLPA as a bargaining chip)
Notice that none of those were "what percentage of hockey related revenues go to the players and owners", though that issue is obviously tied to players salaries and the bottom line of the 30 teams. If you fixed those four things (and I think all four of them COULD be significantly improved), we'd have a much better game and a more viable business model going forward.

If you leave those issues untouched, rush into an agreement arguing primarily over grandfathered contracts, AND expand the league to 32 teams (as is heavily rumored today), we're going to be right back here again in 7 years or so. And in the meantime, we'll see even more BS like what Chicago and Philadelphia did to become Cup contenders, plus a whole assortment of NEW problems. I want hockey back worse than anyone, but if we're going to have a lockout that the NHL tells me we sorely need, then I want to see some evidence that there was a purpose to that lockout other than playing with revenue numbers. Say what you want about the 2004-05 Lockout, but we did emerge with a notably different (and, in many ways, better product) after that horrible experience.

#2332231 NHL Fan Lockout Pledge

Posted by StormJH1 on 19 October 2012 - 11:16 AM

I really struggle with this. I live in Minnesota, and even here, I talk to some casual sports fans and they don't even know about the lockout going on. The REAL hockey fans are already suffering. We're suffering right now. I don't want sign some pledge or get up on a soapbox about buying NHL merchandise or tickets to further punish myself (one of the select few that actually cares) AFTER the lockout is over.

I don't buy Lidstrom or Datsyuk jerseys, watch NHL games on TV, or eat Little Caesar's Pizza because I'm "supporting the league" or even because I want to put more money in Mike Illitch's pocket. I do it because I ENJOY those things. I'm sorry, but as much of a power trip as Bettman and Fehr might be on, they don't own this game. And when people try to make me feel guilty for loving the game of hockey because of a bunch of lawyers in a boardroom, I'm sorry, but that's seriously screwed up. You're GIVING ownership of the game to people who don't deserve it when you do that.

#2331992 Who was the better Wing/Player? Yzerman or Lidstrom

Posted by StormJH1 on 17 October 2012 - 03:43 PM

It would be extremely foolish to think that Yzerman (or any player for the matter) could have kept a consistent scoring pace in the first half of his career and his second half. I think you are overestimating the impact of him putting his team first. You could probably take any player in history and you will likely see some signficant declines in later years.

If Gretzky maintained the same pace in his last 10 years as he did in his first 10 years, he'd have scored 3,674 points, not 2,857. Injury + age, same for Yzerman, is the main reason for decline.

There are other reasons. People tend to forget (or didn't witness it firsthand if they are under, say, 30 years old) that NHL scoring fell off a cliff after roughly the 1992-93 season.


If you only talk with Red Wings fans, you grow up with the impression that the 90's and early 2000's were this golden age of hockey. And they were...for a Red Wings or Avalanche fan. Everyone else refers to it as the "Dead Puck" era - the first time in this history of hockey were goaltenders were absolutely fearless in net, when they wore absurdly large (and since outlawed) jerseys, pads, and chest protectors that took up the whole net, but still benefited from trapping defensive schemes, no two-line passes, and unmitigated obstruction that slowed the game down. There's a reason Teemu Selanne scored 70 goals as a rookie and never got close to that total again. If Gretzky's career started in 1991 instead of 1979, he'd still have been a great player, but I'm almost certain he doesn't break Howe's goal record. It wasn't even the same game in the 1980's, and blocked shots are a huge difference even between the 90's and 2000's.

I want to say Lidstrom in the poll (who won an extra Cup, and did so as the leader of a Salary Cap-limited team), but my heart knows that it's Yzerman. However, I do think that the praise for Yzerman swings a little too far at times, and people forget that that those 80's Wings teams where Yzerman was an offensive beast were still basically the likable losers. It wasn't until Fedorov and Lidstrom came along that this became a perennial playoff team, Bowman got the star players to play defense, and even then, they still couldn't beat the other great teams of the day ('95 Devils, '96 Avs) until they added Shanahan and some other "spare parts". But if you look at Yzerman's first half of his career compared to Lidstrom's, he was a much more important player to his team, even if the team wasn't doing much at the time. Lidstrom may well be among the Top 5 or Top 10 defensemen of all time, yet Yzerman's importance to the Red Wings is somehow much more complex than that.