Thursday, August 7, 2008

One-way ticket to jerktown: the holdout


...angry yet? If there's one word that gets Ottawa Senators fans pissed off, look no further than the team's former captain. During his eight years in Ottawa, Alexei Yashin held out three times (including the entire 1999-2000 season) and fans began to hate him for it. Over the course of five years, Yash also demanded a new contract on three occasions. To top off his application for asshole sportsperson of the decade, he donated $1 million to the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa, but on the condition that half of it be funneled to his parents as consultants. The NAC then rejected the offer.

He was traded in 2001 for Zdeno Chara, Jason Spezza and (which name doesn't belong here...) Bill Muckalt. I think Muckalt sells hot dogs outside the LCBO on Rideau street these days.

Enough of the history lesson, now to the present. Andrej Meszaros is weighing his options after receiving what some have called Bryan Murray's "final" contract offer. After a golden rookie season, Meszaros' play has dropped somewhat in the past two seasons, receiving a C+ for this past season in the Sens Army defence corps evaluation.

He can accept the Sens' offer, take the rumoured lucrative offer from a Russian team, or refuse to play for Ottawa until he gets the contract he wants.

But let me advise you this much Meszy, DO NOT HOLD OUT. If there's one way to piss off fans in Ottawa, it would be to do anything remotely Yashin-esque. Don't even drop a buck in the NAC collections bin. But if you hold out, it will be your one-way ticket the "On Notice" sidebar.

If you want the money, go to Russia. If you want to be hated for the rest of your career in Ottawa, hold out for half the season. Do what Antoine Vermette did: sign a reasonable contract, make nice with management and the city, and just be thankful you're on a team that believes you're work $3 million per year.
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