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Thread: Angus v. Brian Burke

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    Default Angus v. Brian Burke

    Took part in a mock NHL salary arbitration a few weeks ago. I was the co-council for the player/PA, and Brian Burke was also involved on the side of the team.

    Did a little write-up on my experiences: http://www.anguscertified.com/a-behi...ation-process/
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    Very nice.
    I like the research.

    I'm surprised you took an approach to focus on PIM as a "good thing".
    Physicality and grit is hard to quantify. I probably would have touched on it as evidence to support something stronger.

    In the three seasons prior to acquiring Neely, Boston lost in the first round of the playoffs each time. Three seasons, three playoff series.

    In the three seasons since acquiring Neely, Boston played SEVEN playoff series. 1/4/2. Perhaps you could have referenced that contribution and the estimated income that brought to the team. (which I would think is a real, very valuable consideration).

    Overall, very solid arguments... just surprised you didn't make more reference to playoff performance by Boston - after all, that's the end goal of any club... and the key contribution of a player (statistically or not) is to improve the success of the team.

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    This is really fascinating read thanks for posting. The biggest thing I kept thinking as I was reading was that as much as some hockey minds hate statistics all the arguments seemed to keep coming back to them. I think you had to use PIMs to highlight Neely’s contribution beyond Goals and Assists given that Hits, TOI, PK time etc. were not statistics back then. Using SOG was also a solid positive for Neely. Pengwin’s point was one I wouldn’t have considered but I agree could only help, the team did better with Neely, although I suspect Burke would counter that the entire team around Neely improved greatly during that period.

    From a complete outsider’s perspective I would have mentioned the following additional factors, (feel free to explain why any of these are a bad idea or inadmissible):
    1. Neely had not had a major injury thus far in his career (74, 69, 75 GP out of 80). Perhaps you thought never having played a full season would work against you or this wasn’t all that relevant.
    2. Neely was 2nd Team NHL All-Star in 1988 and played in the 1988 and 1989 All-Star Games (I think this was all prior to the arbitration date). These seem to be solid proof that he was considered a top player in the league and more tangible than the other evidence available. Further, it may be possible to argue these awards improved his fan appeal?

    Ultimately I liked both sides’ arguments and given the limitations of the mock process (comparing eras) I expected Neely to get around $5.5-6 million/season.

    A couple thoughts:
    1. What are the credentials of the arbitrator(s)? I noticed that “testimonials, videos and media reports” are not admissible as evidence. Googling the arbitrators I saw they are both experienced in arbitration generally but may not be “hockey people”; it seems like this would make using key statistics that much more important to establishing your case.
    2. The fact that salary cap restrictions are not relevant is confusing; in a cap era it’s one of the most important elements for a GM to consider. I’m guessing the NHLPA put this provision in because it can only hurt players.
    12 team H-2-H 1 year league, daily roster changes, 3 goalie start minimum/week
    2xC, 2xRW, 2xLW, 4xD, 3xUtil, 2xG, 5 Bench
    G, A, P, +/-, PIM, PPP, SHP, GWG, Hits, W, SV%, GAA
    C: Malkin, Backstrom, Stepan, Ribeiro, Legwand
    LW: Vanek, Moulson, Carter, Rinaldo
    RW: Kessel, Vrbata, Seguin, Cammalleri, Zuccarello
    D: Green, Gudas, Zidlicky
    G: Lehtonen, Halak, Lack

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    Thanks for this.

    Learned a lot just by reading this. I'm sure it must have been really fun to be a part of.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LawMan View Post
    This is really fascinating read thanks for posting. The biggest thing I kept thinking as I was reading was that as much as some hockey minds hate statistics all the arguments seemed to keep coming back to them. I think you had to use PIMs to highlight Neely’s contribution beyond Goals and Assists given that Hits, TOI, PK time etc. were not statistics back then. Using SOG was also a solid positive for Neely. Pengwin’s point was one I wouldn’t have considered but I agree could only help, the team did better with Neely, although I suspect Burke would counter that the entire team around Neely improved greatly during that period.

    From a complete outsider’s perspective I would have mentioned the following additional factors, (feel free to explain why any of these are a bad idea or inadmissible):
    1. Neely had not had a major injury thus far in his career (74, 69, 75 GP out of 80). Perhaps you thought never having played a full season would work against you or this wasn’t all that relevant.
    2. Neely was 2nd Team NHL All-Star in 1988 and played in the 1988 and 1989 All-Star Games (I think this was all prior to the arbitration date). These seem to be solid proof that he was considered a top player in the league and more tangible than the other evidence available. Further, it may be possible to argue these awards improved his fan appeal?

    Ultimately I liked both sides’ arguments and given the limitations of the mock process (comparing eras) I expected Neely to get around $5.5-6 million/season.

    A couple thoughts:
    1. What are the credentials of the arbitrator(s)? I noticed that “testimonials, videos and media reports” are not admissible as evidence. Googling the arbitrators I saw they are both experienced in arbitration generally but may not be “hockey people”; it seems like this would make using key statistics that much more important to establishing your case.
    2. The fact that salary cap restrictions are not relevant is confusing; in a cap era it’s one of the most important elements for a GM to consider. I’m guessing the NHLPA put this provision in because it can only hurt players.
    We used his durability in our argument, too. Forgot to mention that I guess.

    League awards are definitely used, especially in a setting where people may not always be familiar with the players.

    Credentials - not always hockey people, which makes the argument so important. Stats can be spun so many ways. The woman on the panel was an MLB arbitrator (and huge Bruins fan), and the other arbitrator was a huge hockey fan - so in this case it was great. But it isn't always that way. That was something I asked Mr. Burke, actually.

    He said you have to present your argument assuming that the arbitrators know very little about the stats being used.
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