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10-26-2003, 12:12 PM
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Oil in 9
The fact that the small-budget Oilers are more competitive than the big budget Rag$ is really fuelling Goodenows argument, I agree that an increase in the budget here does hurt the nhl's position in the upcoming battle.
One thing that I've always thought factored in large here (to the upcoming cba, which is largely the topic of discussion in this thread now)that noone else takes seriously is the money that european teams are spending nowadays.
A few years ago the Russian teams had old beaten up equipment, now they're paying some players $1M per season.
Even now players are choosing to stay over there instead of playing in minor pro here, and threatening to retire here early to go play shorter seasons for very decent money in their country of origin.
Is it only a matter of time before one of the weaker nhl sisters gets the first overall pick and finds themselves unable to compete for the services of a young Ovechkin or Ruutu? The rookie cap alone is becoming an obstacle, I would be surprised if no non-nhl team in the world has more than $1.025M to guarantee Ovechkin for his base salary after his draft year. That kind of signing doesn't just help his own team it gives the whole league a boost, just like the Winnipeg Jets did in the WHA when they signed Bobby Hull to the first ever $1M contract for any pro athlete anywhere.
I don't doubt that Ovechkin would wind up in the NHL very soon at any rate - worst case scenario his team trades his rights to a team that will have the wampum to sign him - but that's just one example. The top euro teams could be competing with bottom nhl teams very soon if there's no revenue sharing here.
Will that matter to rich American owners in the big markets?
IMO - Yes. The nhl has enough trouble selling their product in the tough U.S. market where bowling and tractor pulls get better ratings than the greatest game on earth. Just imagine what they'll be up against when some of the best players in the world are absent. I already hear the rumblings here in Vcr when fans are upset that 6 or 7 eastern teams don't even play here once next season - no Thornton, no Lecavalier etc, etc... Lucky for us (or not) the Avs are in our division and seasons tickets holders get to see them ad nauseum, some eastern teams won't see Sakic, Forsberg, Blake, Selanne, Kariya, Hejduk, Morris, or Tanguay at all, and if StL is off their list you can scratch Weight, Tkachuk, Pronger, McInnis, and Demitra too. Can you imagine if Jagr and Gaborik are gone? Now they're paying top dollar to see the Caps and Wild minus those guys?
If even some of the hockey superstars are over the pond for good Bettman's dream of a lucrative ABC or NBC contract will be officially over, and the overall nhl economy will take a huge hit.
Does anyone else here think this is a possibility, or am I the new chicken little?
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