Martin Lapointe and why Jeremy Jacobs is the George Costanza of NHL Owners

The Bruins skated to a 6-2 defeat last night. Opening Night was a disaster for Boston, whose salary cap situation has left a thin roster and a downright laughable D corps. The 2015-16 team, brutal as it will likely be, is no accident: the Bruins have a  history of free agent acquisitions  akin to the New York Jets’ draft history:

MartyLapointeTwo signings of the past fifteen years stand out,  perfectly exemplifying the knee-jerk, ill-conceived, panic-button-pushing manner with which this roster has been historically replenished: forward Martin Lapointe, whom they signed during the 2001 offseason, and centerman Alexi Zhamnov, who came to Boston after the 2004-05 lockout.

The case for Lapointe:

  • The official story, which came out in the aftermath of the deal, was that Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs found himself in a lengthy shouting match with Red Wings owner Mike Illitch at the league’s annual Board of Governors meeting.
  • Illich repeatedly called Jacobs a cheapskate, and in a Jerk-Store-esque comeback, Jacobs responded by giving Lapointe, at that time a free agent from Detroit, a 4-year, $20 million deal, just as Lapointe was coming off his most productive season. In his only 20-goal season, Lapointe scored 27 and chipped in 30 assists for the high-powered  Red Wings offense.
  • As with so many high-priced free agents, Lapointe reverted to the mean in Boston. His first year, 2001-02, was his best for the Bruins. He pitched in just 17 goals, and tallied 40 points. He pitched in 18 points the following year, and 25 in ’03-’04.
  • The only silver lining for Boston, insofar as the Lapointe deal was concerned, was that they never had to pay the final year of the contract, because of the 2004-05 lockout. Lapointe made $15 million for the Bruins, and tallied 83 points, working out, by my calculations, to $395,000 per point. All because someone picked the wrong day to call Jeremy Jacobs a cheapskate.

Stay tuned later for Part 2: The Case for Zhamnov.

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2 thoughts on “Martin Lapointe and why Jeremy Jacobs is the George Costanza of NHL Owners

  1. The post reminded me of Flyers Owner Ed Snider, who allegedly wants so bad to win a Cup…it has been forty years now I guess that’s admirable. We all do here. He has a national reputation of win-now and taking big swings at buying players to change fortunes immediately. But all he’s done by hiring former players to be GM’s is give those fortunes to the wrong guys. Your comment about what normally happens with high price free agents reverting to the mean is so true…whether the player re-ups with his former team or moves along in many cases.

  2. Pingback: Jeremy Jacobs is the George Costanza of NHL Owners: Part 2–Alexi Zhamnov | Obscure Athletes

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