Good read, thanks for the link. Interesting how Jacobs is lauded as a sort of hero in the coming age of hockey. Then at the same time there is mention of the "tenuous" relationship even some original six teams have with their fans, like Chicago and Boston.
It's good to see both sides. I don't blame Jacobs for wanting to instill fiscal responsibility within his organization - and even across the league, but I still hold him and his organization accountable for the results on the ice.
It was also interesting to read how some of the players privately acknowledge the situation. They have to keep in mind how their position effects the bigger picture. On one hand, I agree with them that it's the owners who need to restrain their spending, but on the other hand, it aint that simple. When you have key players like Keith Primeau who hold out and literally force a team's hand because he wants to get paid what he thinks he's worth, then the players also have to recognize their culpability in the problem.
And a big reason these guys want the money they do, besides their egos, is that they measure their compensation against what other players get paid. If you have a rich team handing out lofty contracts, that's a problem created by a an owner who is overspending. But if you have an RFA comparing his value to that of a UFA who has achieved a higher level of monetary standing by virtue of leverage associated with unrestricted free agency, well than that's a different story. Yet it happens all the time. Players hold out and don't follow the terms of the CBA, even when they get huge pay increases over the mandatory 10%.
You don't hear the NHLPA saying anything about that - and yet it is a significant driving force behind why the salary problem is spiraling out of control.
The bottom line is things DO need to change. No matter how it happens, there needs to be a different approach. The irresponsibility and overspending from a select group of owners needs to be curtailed, voluntarily or involuntarily, but just the same, the players have to abide by the rules set forth in the contract. Either way, one thing is definitely certain, the current trajectory path pf the annual salary increases is utterly unsustainable. Couple that with the $1.8M annual avg salary combined with the paltry TV ratings and drifting fan interest - and you have a league that's on course for a major correction.
Very interesting article Laraque, thanks for posting. It kind of puts the whole thing in perspective, quite well.
I think there is going to be a stoppage. I don't think the Players Union has the games best interest in mind right now and don't think they will. Even if they were to put in place a hard cap, you would have players defecting all over the place to find competetive salaries.
I don't think the new WHA2 is going to be very successful at all. With a 10mil dollar cap, that leaves the WHA2 competing with many other leagues around the world.
If there is a work stoppage, the only league that's going to benefit from all this is going to be the AHL. Even though they don't carry 30mil payrolls, I think that alot of FA's come 2004-2005 (not the big name players, I mean) will be willing to play in the AHL, for the AHL maximun salary temporarily, (I'm not sure if it's 400K or 700K) and not give the impression to their GM's that their "defecting" from the NHL team that had them under contract during 2003-2004 to play for a WHA team or other league. Therefor, if an agreement on the CBA is reached, the FA's are still in the organization and can be re-signed by the parent club. Besides, what will stop the parent clubs of AHL teams to throw a little money at the farm teams to support payroll?