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Wednesday, May 16, 2021

pay daigle
It seems that having Alexandre Daigle on your side — even in spirit only — produces a too-familiar “L” for the Ottawa Senators.

I’m as shocked as anyone to learn that he’s still playing, albeit not in North America:

After 616 NHL games and 327 points (129-198) with Ottawa, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh and Minnesota, Daigle may end his pro career in the Swiss League.

“The hockey is really good,” said Daigle. “The lifestyle is way different because you only have a 45-game regular season. You only play on weekends in the regular season, which also makes it different.

Most hockey observers seem to have forgotten Daigle’s central role in starting the salary-level boost in the National Hockey League. Here’s the rundown, by my recollection (feel free to corroborate via other sources):

When the Senators selected Daigle as the Number 1 overall pick in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft, the team was so sure it had snagged the second coming of Mario Lemieux that it promptly locked him up with a five-year, $10-million contract. Those were eye-popping dollars back then, when the top tier of NHL annual salaries was established at the $3-million range (with the exception of Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky, who, owing to their star power, were earning about twice that during this period). In effect, paying a rookie $2 million led, eventually, to a process that threw the league’s salary structure out of whack (or toward equitability, depending on your outlook).

The Sens were justified in committing to that package. Daigle seemed to have it all: Credentials as an offensive wizard in Canada’s most competitive junior league; camera-friendly looks; French-Canadian heritage, which, owing to Ottawa’s location on the Ontario-Quebec border, would bring built-in popularity. And ultimately, Daigle’s skills would be a major asset (along with the team’s previous-year first-rounder, Alexei Yashin) toward pulling the Senators out of their expansion-team doldrums quickly. It made sense to ante up early for a player who would be the franchise savior. When Daigle didn’t develop into anything close to the dominating playmaker everyone expected, his contract seemed like a folly.

But by then, the acceleration in salaries had begun. Even with two collective bargaining agreements designed to curb entry-level contracts, payrolls around the league began a sharp increase that wasn’t rolled back until the 2004 lockout.

The irony, of course, is that the years of salary inflation were always presumed to come from big-market, free-spending teams like the New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings and Detroit Red Wings. In reality, a team often cited as a small-market club — in currency-conversion-challenged Canada, no less — initiated the league-wide ramp-up by making a bet that didn’t pay back.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/16/2007 11:30:23 PM
Category: Hockey
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If you searched on Google today, and you had to sift through an unusual number of results from YouTube and Google News, here’s why: The search engine has rolled out “Universal Search”, which integrates indexing from specialized Google sources.

Universal Search means that standard Google searches will draw results from separate Google properties that target information about books, local information, images, news and video, [Google vice president of search and user experience Marissa] Mayer said.

The combined search includes any site indexed by Google’s services. For example, it will include YouTube, Google Video and an independent video site, Metacafe.com…

“It’s breaking down the silos of information that have been built up. It’s a broad, long-term vision that will unfold over the next few years,” Mayer said.

Well, there was a reason for that siloing: So you didn’t get flooded with a lot of tangentially-related results.

Now? I ran into this Universal effect earlier today, when some search term or other yielded a bunch of Google Book Search listings. And I have to say, I considered them so much clutter. They weren’t particularly relevant to what I was hunting down, not the least because I was looking for fairly recent material. So why should I have to deal with it on the first page of results?

This tweak in the search algorithm will be presented as an enhancement of Google’s services, which brings previously under-accessed information sources to the fore. But really, I wonder how many others are going to see this as cluttering, and little more than an attempt to drive more traffic to Google’s proprietary sites (all for the sake of boosting AdSense performance, ultimately). Because that’s how it’s playing with me.

If that’s the case, and it turns enough people off, the stage is set for a search-engine usurper to swoop in, offering as clean an interface as Google’s once was, with more targeted query results. Maybe it’ll be Clusty, maybe it’ll be some just-gestating site. Regardless, it’s a familiar cycle in the Web ecosystem.

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/16/2007 10:17:31 PM
Category: Internet
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With summer fast approaching — and with it, the customary human stench that becomes so prevalent on and below the mean streets of New York — I thought this was noteworthy:

During both my morning and afternoon train rides today, I actually had the good fortune each time of sitting next to a woman who smelled good.

Good, as in whatever perfumes/lotions etc. they had on were pleasant to the senses, instead of overpoweringly sweet, or else nonexistent. To my nose, they applied just the right amount, rather than dousing themselves. So it was a pleasure being so necessarily close to them in a crowded car, instead of something to endure for several minutes.

Hey, you take the small pleasures where you can. Like I said, within days, the smells emanating from my fellow passengers will be distinctly less pleasing. So I’ll have to appreciate today’s olfactory goodness.

(As for the women’s remaining features: The morning lady was an older woman, sort of motherly. The afternoon woman was more remarkable: Tall (6 foot 1 inch, I asked her), long legs, brunette with medium-length hair, sparkling blue eyes, nice smile, fair skin. We swapped comparisons about our iPods, how her height was hereditary, and what was considered “average” height (she was surprised when I recalled it was only 5 foot 6 inches for men). I would have gotten her phone number, but she was ridiculously young, so I let it end at my stop.)

by Costa Tsiokos, Wed 05/16/2007 08:44:06 PM
Category: New Yorkin', Women
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