All Habs Mailbag: Black and Gold, Bulldogs Staff, Signing Bonuses, Beer


by Chantal, Managing Editor, All Habs Hockey Magazine

MONTREAL, QC — It’s mid-July. As we all sit here, melting, counting the minutes until training camps open, why not chit-chat about hockey? You know the drill; you send the Qs, we try to answer. You’re getting creative, I’m impressed!allhabsmailbag

Do you have a question or a topic you would like us to discuss? Okay, here’s what you can do.

Let us know:

  1. who you are
  2. where you’re from
  3. if you wish, send us a photo of you in your favourite Habs gear
  4. who’s your favorite player, present or past
  5. and of course, your question

You can contact us via Twitter, our Facebook page or email at info (at) allhabs (dot) net

We’ll feature you, and your question, in the All Habs Mailbag!

Here’s this week’s batch of questions:

Why are all Pittsburgh sports teams colours black and yellow?

Michel, Lachine

Hi Michel. First of all, Pittsburgh is indeed the only city in the US in which all professional sports teams share the same colours. The city’s first NHL franchise, the Pittsburgh Pirates, were the first to wear black and gold (or yellow, that’s really up to you) as their colours. They were then adopted by the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers, in 1933.

In 1948, the Pirates (baseball) switched their colours from red and blue to black and gold. In 1979, after the Steelers and Pirates both won their respective league championships, the Pittsburgh Penguins (the city’s second NHL franchise) altered their colours to match, despite objections from the Boston Bruins. Haha. Suck it, Bruins. Before switching, the Penguins wore blue and white, apparently due to their General Manager, Jack Riley, who grew up in Ontario.

The flag of Pittsburgh is also coloured black and gold, based on the colours of William Pitt’s coat of arms. So in the end, I think they’re all the same colours because they’re all copy cats.

Hi. Can you sum up all staff changes to the Hamilton Bulldogs? Thanks.

Anonymous, Montreal

Hi Anonymous! What a peculiar name, very quaint. As usual with these questions, I turn to our resident expert on all things Bulldogs, Dan:

“The Canadiens began a major restructuring of their AHL affiliate under Marc Bergevin a year ago. The club brought in Sylvain Lefebvre as bench boss, adding Donald Dufresne as an assistant and Vincent Riendeau as a goaltending consultant. Just one year later, they are three of the few members of the organization’s staff still in place following a second consecutive disappointing season.

Ron Wilson undertook last season as an assistant coach, but was fired early on, citing differences in views with Lefebvre. He was never replaced, but player development coaches Patrice Brisebois and Martin Lapointe frequently alternated as temporary assistants behind Hamilton’s bench, something we’re likely to see repeated this year.

The changes continued this summer, as the Bulldogs let go of virtually their entire medical, training, and equipment management staff. Certainly it’s important to hold the players accountable for the team’s performances – and simply put, the club often didn’t have the personnel to perform much better than they did – but Bergevin and his team seem to have felt that the group of youngsters at that level could use better surrounding, with this being an important decision considering the quality and quantity of prospects that will be coming through there in the next couple of years.

There was a report earlier this off-season that the Bulldogs’ staff would be replaced by the personnel who had worked with the Rimouski Oceanic, a club both Dufresne and Montreal assistant coach Clement Jodoin are very familiar with, having coached there in the past, but nothing has been made official by the Canadiens or ‘Dogs as of yet.

Lastly, the Bulldogs are also attempting to appeal to a greater number of fans this season in hopes of increasing attendance. Despite the high quality of hockey that one can take in for a great price, drawing spectators was a challenge at times for Hamilton, and the club most recently announced the appointment of a new in-game host and other marketing staff in an attempt to increase the exposure the team gets.”

The Montreal Canadiens did announce today that they appointed Stephan Lebeau as an assistant coach with the Bulldogs.

Who is your favorite Canadien, past or present? Why?

Derek Felix, New York

Hi Derek! That’s a very personal question, and a tough one to boot. Although I’m very familiar with the Canadiens’ history, I grew up a Nordiques fan (ducks from flying projectile tomatoes). That said, I always had a thing for Patrick Roy. I was always afraid to play against him because I felt he gave his team a chance to win every night. I also have tremendous respect for Jean Beliveau, as we all do here I think.

On the current Habs roster, my favourite player would have to be Tomas Plekanec. He was drafted and developed by the organization, is the consumate professional and can be relied upon in any game situation. He’s still underrated in this league, and by many Montreal fans, but I appreciate what he does on the ice, every game, and he has always kept a low profile off the ice. Very humble. I like that.

I’ve noticed that David Clarkson’s contract (and a few others) is mostly signing bonuses. Why?

Jason, Vancouver

Hey Jason. According to our friends at Cap Geek, a signing bonus can be assigned to any individual season within a contract. They can be paid up front on July 1 prior to the league year but can also be doled out according to a pre-determined payment schedule that is written into the contract. Since you mention David Clarkson, let’s use his contract as an example:

He recently signed a seven year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs that will pay him $36, 75M. Of that, $27, 75M will be paid in signing bonuses. Now, depending on the language of the contract, signing bonuses can affect buyout amounts. If Clarkson has specified non-refundable signing bonuses in his contract, it means he would receive them in addition to his buyout payments. This is what happened with recently bought out Vincent Lecavalier. It’s essentially guaranteed money, if the player has that specific clause. Otherwise, contracts specify that the bonuses are contingent upon the player fulfilling the contract.

It should be noted that signing bonuses are included in the NHL salary (sum of basic salary plus signing bonus) and impact cap hit.

If I have a 55 gallon can, with 10 lbs of ice in it, how many bottles of beer can it hold?

Peter, Long Island

Hello Peter. If I understand this correctly, there are eight pounds in a gallon. Your can could therefore, in theory, hold 440 pounds of beer. On average, a 12-ounce glass bottle weighs between 180 and 200g. That being said, it all depends on what your can is made of, and the density of your ice and bottles. It’s a very complicated calculation so I say chuck the ice, drink the beer and pee in the can. Simple maths.