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09-13-2004, 02:46 PM
  #73
Jag68Sid87
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Excellent post right back at you, Tom. Here's my rebuttal:

"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."

It has yet to be proven that a team that DOES NOT SPEND a lot of money can maintain a certain level of competitiveness over time, IMHO. Detroit, Colorado, Philadelphia, Toronto and even New Jersey have had to spend a lot of cash to keep their teams in the Cup contender tax bracket. The Carolinas, Buffalos, Anaheims and Calgarys are overnight playoff sensations, but what happens after the fairy dust has settled? What a salary cap does is FORCE teams to make difficult decisions on player personnel. This causes a shift in the balance of power automatically, and creates a far more balanced situation league wide--again, this is all in my humble opinion. Wouldn't it be neat if we could see how each of the 30 NHL GM's would decide to build their rosters if there was an actual range of salary they could spend? I, for one, would love to see how the Toronto market and Edmonton market would handle a similar payroll situation.

"The fans are wrong to correlate spending money and building a good team."

It may be wrong, but it's the truth. Gone are the days when fans paid a modest sum to watch their favorite team (and those fans didn't have to worry about who was on their team because teams remained virtually intact). Nowadays, there is a plethora of competition for joe fan's entertainment dollars. And, since there can ONLY be 1 winner in every professional sports team, you can't really market "Future Stanley Cup champions" because anything can happen in the world of sports. Ask Blackhawks fans, or Maple Leafs fans, or even worse still Red Sox and Cubs fans. Heck, I'm an Expos fan
It's far too idealistic to expect fans to simply be excited about having a competitive team. If you're shelling out thousands of dollars to watch a hockey team, I think you want MORE bang for your entertainment buck. And like it or not, not all the BEST players at the moment bring out the fans. Jeremy Roenick, for example, is a definite marketing coup for any team that acquires him. He sells tickets. He generates media excitement. So, to answer your question NO it's not ALL about winning. There are other factors for market survival in each and every pro sports city.

"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."

I know the term 'win the trade hands down' is subjective, and I know this is all semantics but...
1)When Jagr went to Washington for Beech, Lupuschuk and Sivek, the Caps won the deal hands down. No matter what happened afterwards, the deal was definitely advantage Washington all the way.
2)When the Habs traded Recchi back to Philly for Zubrus because they couldn't re-sign Recchi, Philly won that deal hands down. Canadiens did well to get something for Zubrus afterwards, but Philly won that original deal no doubt about it.
2)When the Red Wings traded for Chris Chelios, all the Hawks have to show for it is Steve McCarthy and Adam Munro. Advantage Detroit, no doubt.

I understand what you're saying about salary dumps in general, but sometimes the team buying actually gets a great player for several more seasons.


"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?"


The simple truth is SOME OWNERS ARE STUPID. Some are reckless. Some just don't care about anybody or anything else. To think that all 30 owners of a business like professional sports can act responsibly is like having a boatload of Hooligans in your bar and asking them to only drink your bottled water. Good luck with that. If it's an admission of stupidity that the players want, then I urge the owners to come clean. All it takes is 1 George Steinbrenner or Mike Ilitch and the entire house of cards comes tumbling down. THAT's why a salary cap is needed. This shouldn't be about ego, but it is. Players HATE the fact that the owners cannot keep their individual houses in order, but the truth is they CAN'T. They won't. Done. It's official. This just in. Sucks but that's the way it is.

The question now becomes, what are we going to do about this? Find owners to replace the reckless ones? Say what you will about Mike Ilitch, Tom Hicks, Dolan in NYC and others, but owners such as Jeremy Jacobs in Boston are probably worse. After all, at least Ilitch and co. have a REASON to raise ticket prices, what's Jacobs' excuse???

Bottom line: A salary cap is the best way to get the owners on the same page, for once. It's the best way to eliminate the two extreme ways of thinking that permeates within any ownership group of any pro sports league. Does anybody really think Jerry Jones, Daniel Snyder and Al Davis wouldn't spend bushels and bushels of money to improve their respective NFL teams if they COULD. Similarly, why doesn't Jacobs spend more to keep SOME of his talent? Or in baseball the same could be said of Carl Pohlad in Minny, or Steve Schott in Oakland. IF there was a cap in either hockey or baseball, along with a salary floor, they'd be forced to put some of their earnings back into their team...where it should be going all along.

The problem I have with the players association is that they constantly say things like, "Well, if the owners don't have the money, why are they still signing us to these contracts?", but deep down none of them want to see the owners smarten up now do they? It's easy to say that, because the players always know that if so and so won't sign him for what he wants, somebody else will. Must be nice. If the well runs dry, then what?

For me, it's simple. In the players' world, it's the owners who build teams. In a salary-cap world, it's the GM's that build the teams. Which do you prefer?

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