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09-11-2004, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Jag68Vlady27
The problem is if an owner doesn't go out on the market and spend, fans label them as cheap. Fans also tend to respond by NOT buying tickets to the games. Agents call these cheapskate owners out, even--or at least praise those that actually pay. An owner that doesn't spend is ALWAYS deemed cheap and unwilling to pay for a winner. Those are terms ALWAYS used by the NHLPA, player agents and players themselves. THEN, if they do spend they're labeled as dumb--eventually--when it's revealed just how badly the owner overpaid for said player. So, the owners really can't win, can they?
This was a good post, but I think you are mixing up the issues. One issue advanced by the owners and many ignorant fans is that there is a competitive balance problem in the NHL. There is not a competitive balance problem. The second is a financial problem which may or may not exist.

I think there is a lot of truth in this first paragraph, but I think it is still fundamentally wrong. The fans are wrong to correlate spending money and building a good team. Lots of teams have boosted sales temporarily by acquiring a star like Jagr or Messier. But it does not help the team and when the team loses the fans bail. That's the only thing that really works to jam a hockey rink. A winner. Win and nobody gives a rat's ass about payroll. Lose with a high payroll and the fans are left disgusted with the players. Lose with a low payroll and they are disgusted with the owner. Losing leads to disgust and low sales. Winning leads to losts of sales, and high prices whether the team is expensive or not.

The rest is media bunk and message board fluff. It doesn't mean spit. Fans won't spend on a loser and they open wide for a winner. That's true in every market.

If the highest salaries belonged to the BEST players in the league, REGARDLESS of age and experience, the league would be thriving right now.
I disagree entirely. That is the best thing about the NHL CBA. It is what assures competitive balance when the revenue generating ability varies so much. It means teams buy winners. I can't see why the owners have not been able to figure out this system. Players start out being underpaid, relatively speaking. The poorest market can afford Sidney Crosby. The average wage doubles when players acquire arbitration rights and then doubles again as they approach free agency. The players are no longer worth it. It's crazy.

You mentioned John LeClair, who is an excellent example. When he won that contract, I said the Flyers were crazy. No way he could mean that much to any hockey team. The best player in the league can't help a team enough to pay him that much. The owner's can't have it both ways. They can't complain the rich teams are ruining competitive balance by signing LeClair when an idiot can see he is not worth it. The typical player starts deteriorating at age 32, and on average, lose 25% every year thereafter.

Ray Whitney! I had bitter arguments with Canuck fans when I said that the Canucks would be crazy to sign him. Palffy? I wouldn't pay him $6 million unless I thought he could lead me to a Stanley Cup and I don't think that.

These guys are lousy investments. There is ample evidence that this is the case. Nobody can name three "salary dumps" where the dumping team did not win the trade hands down. If it sells tickets in the short run, the manager still has to take a pass if he wants to operate properly.

Before player's hit free agency, costs are tightly controlled and the CBA tilts in the owner's favour. Rick Nash and Ilya Kovalchuk are worth more than what they got. A Jovanovski is a bargain when he is half the price of a Pronger. I'd rather have Ed at the same price because I think he is more likely than Pronger to win a Norris in the next three years.

Why do the owners spend so much on players in decline? Because of fan and media pressure? That's a silly reason to do what is so obviously the wrong thing to do. Why did Ted Leonsis decide to ignore the advice of George McPhee and go after Jagr then sign him to a $50 million contract?

Then to turn around and blame the players? That's crazy, but never mind that. It was obviously stupid to sign Bill Guerin to a $45 million contract. It was so stupid, Hicks was trying to sell him the following summer. Why did he do it? Why do any of them do it?


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