Is it just me or is it every week that I leave you with the impression that Matt will have a contract within the next few days? I’m starting to feel like a Major League closer who just can’t get that final strike in his first big save opportunity – just when I think I’ve got him with a knee-high fastball that dots the outside corner, this guy at the plate somehow manages to foul it off and stay alive. It’s starting to get a little frustrating. As I know I admitted to you in the past, a lot of these things are new to me as well, so sometimes I just need to be patient and learn as I go along.
As I’m sure you can gather, I’ve still yet to receive a contract offer from Louisiana for Matt. The good news is that Matt was able to get on the ice for the last few days and his shoulder has held up pretty well. I’ve talked to him pretty much every day he’s been down there and it sounds as though he’s been skating well, too. While his health and solid on-ice performances help to ease a lot of the tension surrounding the situation, I still just want to get him on this team and move on already.
Yesterday in Louisiana, the team had the day off. Most of the guys went out to the local shopping mall while others were at the hotel packing – a second wave of cuts had just been made. Matt hasn’t really been getting much information from the coaching staff down there, but I suppose at this point no news is good news. With the team having its first game this coming Thursday, though, I would imagine we’re going to hear something very soon. In fact, I’m going to be calling the GM in just about an hour, so maybe we’ll get something good then.
In other news, recently I met up with and had lunch with another player who might be looking for an agent. His name is actually Matt also, and he heard about me from my Russian “brother,” Oleg. At first, when Matt asked if he could have lunch or dinner with me some night to discuss his options, naturally I was a little skeptical – I mean I had never heard of the kid before or seen him play. But realizing that I was going to eventually have to pitch myself and my company to “can’t miss” prospects, I figured I’d go and get some good experience. Worst case scenario, I waste an hour of my day…and I need to eat lunch somewhere right?
The one major difference between the two Matts and their situations is that the Matt that I recently had lunch with hasn’t played in college yet. Seeing as how the NCAA is a group you don’t want to find yourself in trouble with, I decided to play this one very carefully. First off, I bought a digital voice recorder to bring along with me at our meeting. I figure that by recording the entire conversation, if the NCAA ever comes at me or Matt for violating regulations I can always produce the tape. Next, I wanted to be very upfront with Matt in explaining that I couldn’t buy his lunch or agree to represent him until he was absolutely sure that he didn’t want to play hockey at the NCAA level. His eligibility is important and is something can easily be lost. Instead, I let Matt know that I’d be there to answer any questions for him and try to advise him the best that I could. Matt explained that he wanted to play NCAA DI eventually but needed to get his grades up first. Naturally, I told him that I thought that would be a good idea.
Before I go any further, I should probably point out one thing (or I guess another thing) about hockey that makes it a lot different from other sports like football, basketball, or baseball. With hockey, if a player has the talent and makeup of a potential NHL star, he probably won’t be suiting up for a North American university any time soon. Instead, most of the players who make it to the show get drafted straight from Canadian Junior Hockey leagues like the Ontario Hockey League (the “O”), the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (the “Q”), and the Western Hockey League. Sidney Crosby, Patrick Kane, Rick Nash, and hundreds of other current and former NHL players are all products of Canadian Major Junior Hockey. And while there are always a few NHL Draft picks playing in the annual NCAA Frozen Four, most of these players were selected before they began their collegiate career. Just as it is with baseball, entering the draft doesn’t compromise a hockey player’s NCAA eligibility.
Anyway, as I was saying, my meeting with Matt wasn’t really an attempt to get a new client – it was more of an opportunity to further develop my ability to sell. With this year’s hockey season officially underway, hundreds of potential stars out there, and all the competition I can handle, I’m going to need all the practice I can get.
As always if and when I get some up-to-date information regarding Matt’s contract status I’ll be sure to post it to my Twitter page at www.twitter.com/scott_deady.