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09-25-2003, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Feb 2002
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Originally Posted by Smail
Why would they do that, the WHA has a salary cap at $10M + 1 player unlimited... This would mean $300M for all the NHL players + $xM for 30 other players (let's assume $10M each). This would give them a total of $600M. At that rate, they're better off signing with the NHL at a salary cap that's anything above $600M...

Imo, the fact that other leagues don't pay anything close to the NHL (for the mass of players, the NHLPA doesn't represent only the well-paid players) is leverage for the owners, who can point out that their "lowest" offer is still better than anything anyone else would offer.
They might have a cap now but that would change once they negotiate with the former NHLPA. Once they get the players, they can easily get the revenues to pay more. If the WHA has all the current NHL players which league are you going to watch?

The NHL owners are going to have to make a decision at some point when all the players are in the WHA.

Do they try to sell minor league hockey in their big rinks and try to pass it off as the same as what they used to have?

Do they try to outbid the WHA for their players?

Or do they get out of the hockey business?

In the first case, they have little hope of success. The fans will know where the best players will be and they won't pay major league prices for minor league talent.

In the second case, things get interesting. The NHL would probably end up paying out more to the players then they would under the current CBA. Who knows how things would play out but the players would probably try their hardest to keep the WHA viable just to use as leverage against the NHL.

In the third case, what do the owners do with their big buildings? They'll have to give up control of them. And who would be looking to take over? The WHA which could probably get many of the buildings at rock bottom prices. Some which have an NBA tenant like the ACC, MSG, and Staples Centre would be able to get a decent return but the others would have no bargaining leverage.

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