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The Business of Hockey Discuss the financial and business aspects of the NHL. Topics may include the CBA, work stoppages, broadcast contracts, franchise sales, and NHL revenues.

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Old
12-05-2004, 11:02 AM
  #26
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A far better article

Reality bites for the NHLPA

Quote:
One thing is very different about these negotiations from a decade ago. In the 1994 lockout it wasn't hard to sell the players that if they stayed together and waited, the dumb-ass owners would cave. But that's almost impossible to sell this time. This time you only need eight votes to keep the padlock on the doors.

In 1994 the players believed whatever money they weren't making during the lockout they'd get back and much, much more in the years which followed. That turned out to be true beyond belief. This time it's the owners who are telling themselves anything they're losing now they're going to make up in savings down the road.

Forget this being Day 79 of the lockout. In terms of pay, to the players it's only Day 54. But every day which goes by - repeat every day - this is the exact amount of money, in U.S. funds, the Edmonton Oilers players, hardly the highest-paid players in the league, are losing:

- Marc-Andre Bergeron - $3,889.

- Eric Brewer - $14,723.

- Ty Conklin - $8,334.

- Cory Cross - $6,111.

- Radek Dvorak - $11,667.

- Todd Harvey - $3,750.

- Ales Hemsky - $6,278.

- Shawn Horcoff - $4,722.

- Brad Isbister - $8,056.

- Georges Laraque - $7,777.

- Jussi Markanen - $3,750.

- Ethan Moreau - $8,056.

- Fernando Pisani - $3,778.

- Marty Reasoner - $4,444.

- Alexei Semenov - $5,000

- Jason Smith - $14,444.

- Ryan Smyth - $14,444.

- Steve Staios - $11,111.

- Raffi Torres - $4,444.

- Igor Ulanov - $4,167.

- Mike York - $13,333.

That's the amount of money each player will lose from the time you read this until you read tomorrow's edition. Do the math. Multiply those numbers by 54. That's what each of those players has lost so far. And unlike 1994, this is money they're not going to get back.

Sooner or later this has to kick in with the individual player. In the meantime I don't really think many of them believe the NHL is going to do anything but reject the proposal which will be tabled next week.

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12-05-2004, 12:27 PM
  #27
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For the next century, the owners are going to be trying to get the palyers to submit to a cap. It isnt going to happen. Everytime they do it, the current players of the time are going to have to take a hit they personally will not benfit from. But those after them will. That is the price each generation must apparently pay. It is very effective extortion from the owners, and the players suffer and lose out. But the principle stands. Doubt their resolve if you must. There will be no cap.

If its important for you to think the players blinked, or a re caving, or end up caving, the players are fine with that. The PR war is conceded to the owners. But they are proposong their same framework. And this time the owners say they will sit and negotiate. We'll see who blinks.

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12-05-2004, 04:59 PM
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thinkwild
For the next century, the owners are going to be trying to get the palyers to submit to a cap. It isnt going to happen.
Funny, I remember all the basketball and football players saying that too. Then they realised what a stupid stand that was, and accepted caps. And of course, time has shown that there was nothing to fear.

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12-05-2004, 06:25 PM
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PecaFan
Funny, I remember all the basketball and football players saying that too. Then they realised what a stupid stand that was, and accepted caps. And of course, time has shown that there was nothing to fear.
Something that happened in those two sports also, was that the competative balance got better, the game got better and the TV revenue got much better... Correct me if I'm wrong but the NHL wants more TV revenue and would like for the game to get better...A cap doesn't mean that they are not gonna make big money, it just means that there will not be the huge doo-fuss deals that Sather gave Holik or Milbury gave Yashin... If they were to improve the game and TV revenue then we would be left to think that all the players and owners would benefit!

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12-05-2004, 09:48 PM
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bicycle Repairman
The real battle pitches owner vs. owner, so of course a reasonable NHLPA strategy is to attempt to drive a wedge between them. Gary Bettman may have orchestrated strong veto power, but by no means is that fortress inpenetrable.
Please. That's nothing more than skew. One might just as easily and accurately write that "the real battle is player vs. player" where the Bill Guerins of the league are set against the Rob Rays. Given the public statements made by a number PA members, we can just as easily and accurately state that Goodenow's fortress is just as flawed as Bettman's. Given how very few owners Bettman needs to keep in line in order to keep this thing going, the advantage clearly goes to him.

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12-05-2004, 10:29 PM
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dedalus
Please. That's nothing more than skew. One might just as easily and accurately write that "the real battle is player vs. player" where the Bill Guerins of the league are set against the Rob Rays. Given the public statements made by a number PA members, we can just as easily and accurately state that Goodenow's fortress is just as flawed as Bettman's. Given how very few owners Bettman needs to keep in line in order to keep this thing going, the advantage clearly goes to him.
I would have to disagree. Proportionately, keeping all 30 owners on the same page will be a much more difficult challenge as this dispute drags on. It's an uneasy coalition held together with a flimsy veto deal handed to Gary Bettman that is by no means carved in stone.

The NHLPA knew going in there'd be a handful of dissenters, and they've successfully countered them. Notice how all that talk has virtually dried to a trickle? Solidarity in the NHLPA is the least of their worries at the present time.

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12-05-2004, 10:37 PM
  #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bicycle Repairman
I would have to disagree. Proportionately, keeping all 30 owners on the same page will be a much more difficult challenge as this dispute drags on. It's an uneasy coalition held together with a flimsy veto deal handed to Gary Bettman that is by no means carved in stone.

The NHLPA knew going in there'd be a handful of dissenters, and they've successfully countered them. Notice how all that talk has virtually dried to a trickle? Solidarity in the NHLPA is the least of their worries at the present time.
well it only takes 8 votes to stop anything. And we know Wirtz won't vote for anything less than indentured servitude.

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12-05-2004, 11:07 PM
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bicycle Repairman
I would have to disagree. Proportionately, keeping all 30 owners on the same page will be a much more difficult challenge as this dispute drags on. It's an uneasy coalition held together with a flimsy veto deal handed to Gary Bettman that is by no means carved in stone.

The NHLPA knew going in there'd be a handful of dissenters, and they've successfully countered them. Notice how all that talk has virtually dried to a trickle? Solidarity in the NHLPA is the least of their worries at the present time.
Really, is that why Goodenow was forced to put a substantially better offer on the table, in spite of his frequent claims that the next offer would come from the owners?

Just because the dissent moved behind doors and told Goodenow to get a better deal on the table, it doesn't mean it ceased to exist. The rank and file have finally figured out that they were being given poor advice in expecting the owners to crack.

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12-05-2004, 11:15 PM
  #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderstruck
Really, is that why Goodenow was forced to put a substantially better offer on the table, in spite of his frequent claims that the next offer would come from the owners?

Just because the dissent moved behind doors and told Goodenow to get a better deal on the table, it doesn't mean it ceased to exist. The rank and file have finally figured out that they were being given poor advice in expecting the owners to crack.
Gamemanship. You don't seriously think the first NHLPA offer was to be the final one?

Naturally, there's nervous players out there. No one's claimed that there isn't. Suffice it to say, though, the strength of the NHLPA is severely underestimated. That strength will begin to be felt should the dispute moves to the legal arena.

Things can be made very, very nasty.

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12-05-2004, 11:35 PM
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dedalus
One might just as easily and accurately write that "the real battle is player vs. player" where the Bill Guerins of the league are set against the Rob Rays.
That's not player vs player. That's player vs retiree.

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12-06-2004, 06:29 AM
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bicycle Repairman
Gamemanship. You don't seriously think the first NHLPA offer was to be the final one?
No, but it was supposed to be the final one until they heard from the owners. Hmmm...how did that work out for the PA?

Quote:
Naturally, there's nervous players out there. No one's claimed that there isn't. Suffice it to say, though, the strength of the NHLPA is severely underestimated.
Proportionally, there are far more nervous players than owners. Having the players blink first simply reinforced the message to the owners that if they just stick to their plan, the players will cave. The owners know that they are losing money they will make back once the PA is firmly under control. The players know that they are losing money they will NEVER make back. Both sides know that it is not a matter of IF the players will lose, but how badly the owners want to punish the players.

The PA strength is crumbling now that they realize that the owners meant what they said about shutting down the gravy train until they get the deal they want. Goodenow will be looking for a new job by the time this is all said and done.

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That strength will begin to be felt should the dispute moves to the legal arena.
Things can be made very, very nasty.
I'm sure the billionaires are shaking in their boots.

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12-06-2004, 06:31 AM
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bicycle Repairman
Gamemanship. You don't seriously think the first NHLPA offer was to be the final one?

Naturally, there's nervous players out there. No one's claimed that there isn't. Suffice it to say, though, the strength of the NHLPA is severely underestimated. That strength will begin to be felt should the dispute moves to the legal arena.
Free advice to those reading this guy's posts. As soon as you see the word legal, or the issue turns to one of law, stop reading. He has no idea what he's talking about.

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12-06-2004, 06:46 AM
  #38
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We all know that, BR is just stirring up things. He knows he's fighting a losing battle but just keeps it going. He's in a very small minority as proven by all polls so far.

NHLPA blinked first, they had to make a real offer instead of that joke they presented 3 months ago.

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12-06-2004, 06:47 AM
  #39
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I'm actually coming around to the idea that I might prefer what the NHLPA envisions as opposed to what the NHL envisions. That said, I'm not going to pontificate about issues I know nothing about-BR clearly has no problem doing that.

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12-06-2004, 06:50 AM
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudcrutch79
Free advice to those reading this guy's posts. As soon as you see the word legal, or the issue turns to one of law, stop reading. He has no idea what he's talking about.
Ya but pricking the arrogance balloon prevalent amoung the pro-PAers is so much fun.

Just look at the last post with the "very, very nasty" quote. I mean that is pure comic gold. Does he really expect anyone to be afraid of the PA's power, least of all the best lawyers billionaires can afford?

For sheer entertainment there's no matching the preposterous musings of the pro-NHLPAers on this board. If they weren’t so arrogant in their foolishness then they’d be worthy of pity, but their attitude means they deserve everything they get. Fitting, considering that is exactly why I feel no pity for the players. They brought this on themselves.

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12-06-2004, 06:59 AM
  #41
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I think that the union has a much stronger case than people realize. The NHL blames every crappy team on the financial situation, when, as has become evident to me upon reflection, in many cases it's piss poor financial management that's to blame.

The league-wide losses that Bettman keeps pointing to are meaningless. Why does it matter that St. Louis, Washington and whoever are losing a boatload of money? If that's where the vast majority of the losses are, and it certainly appears that that's the case, then who cares? Teams CAN make money under this if they're run properly. I can see where some form of revenue sharing would be nice in a way, to minimize the ability of rich teams to prey on poorer ones, but really, the setup now isn't that bad for small market teams.

There's a fair point to be made that we haven't seen any championship teams broken up yet for financial reasons. I'm not sure that that's always going to be the case, but no one here can say for sure. I think that with a certain percentage of revenue sharing, the NHL could ensure that that doesn't become the case. But Bettman isn't fighting for revenue sharing, he's fighting for cost controls.

The PA supporters here do have a certain degree of arrogance, but the refusal of the vast majority who are pro-owner to acknowledge that the facts are in many overwhelmingly stacked against the owners is baffling.

None of that is to say that BR should take this post as vindication. Being ignorant and correct on something is no great shakes-even a blind dog finds a bone every so often.

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12-06-2004, 07:08 AM
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudcrutch79
I think that the union has a much stronger case than people realize. The NHL blames every crappy team on the financial situation, when, as has become evident to me upon reflection, in many cases it's piss poor financial management that's to blame.

The league-wide losses that Bettman keeps pointing to are meaningless. Why does it matter that St. Louis, Washington and whoever are losing a boatload of money? If that's where the vast majority of the losses are, and it certainly appears that that's the case, then who cares? Teams CAN make money under this if they're run properly. I can see where some form of revenue sharing would be nice in a way, to minimize the ability of rich teams to prey on poorer ones, but really, the setup now isn't that bad for small market teams.
There's a fair point to be made that we haven't seen any championship teams broken up yet for financial reasons. I'm not sure that that's always going to be the case, but no one here can say for sure. I think that with a certain percentage of revenue sharing, the NHL could ensure that that doesn't become the case. But Bettman isn't fighting for revenue sharing, he's fighting for cost controls.

The PA supporters here do have a certain degree of arrogance, but the refusal of the vast majority who are pro-owner to acknowledge that the facts are in many overwhelmingly stacked against the owners is baffling.

None of that is to say that BR should take this post as vindication. Being ignorant and correct on something is no great shakes-even a blind dog finds a bone every so often.
Teams can make money in many markets, but can they compete on a regular basis at the same time?

Fans support the owners because they want all teams to have a fair chance and level playing field. The previous CBA did not offer that, one hit wonders and notable exceptions notwithstanding.


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12-06-2004, 07:16 AM
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderstruck
Teams can make money in many markets, but can they compete on a regular basis at the same time?

Fans support the owners because they want their team to have a fair chance and level playing field. The previous CBA did not offer that, one hit wonders and notable exceptions notwithstanding.
Sure they can. The way the system works, if you can find good young players, they're bound to you at less than market rates until they're 23-25, and bound to your team until they're 31, giving you assets you can move. Hell, Edmonton has managed to stay competitive despite having an apalling record in the draft, because they've consistently won many trades. I don't know that you can consistently do that, but you can't draft that poorly and expect much. Personally, I'm worried that this will be lessened in a new CBA.

I'm not as sold as the rabid pro-union people that massive revenue sharing is such a bad thing, but the PA would go for that in a heartbeat. I don't see where the case is that a salary cap solves anything, other than putting controls on the stupid owners.

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12-06-2004, 07:19 AM
  #44
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What I'd really like to see is sharing of all revenues derived from government subsidy, whether that be through people getting to write off 50% of the cost of their tickets, or arenas being handed over to teams or sweet tax deals. That'd remove a lot of the incentive for governments to offer those deals, and it would go a long way to leveling the playing field.

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12-06-2004, 07:30 AM
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudcrutch79
Sure they can. The way the system works, if you can find good young players, they're bound to you at less than market rates until they're 23-25, and bound to your team until they're 31, giving you assets you can move. Hell, Edmonton has managed to stay competitive despite having an apalling record in the draft, because they've consistently won many trades. I don't know that you can consistently do that, but you can't draft that poorly and expect much. Personally, I'm worried that this will be lessened in a new CBA.

I'm not as sold as the rabid pro-union people that massive revenue sharing is such a bad thing, but the PA would go for that in a heartbeat. I don't see where the case is that a salary cap solves anything, other than putting controls on the stupid owners.
Edmonton has not been anywhere even close to competing for the cup. Bad drafting is a major factor in that, but so is the constant removal of PROVEN players for prospects. Ask Mike Comrie if a player is really bound to your team till they're 31.

Revenue sharing should be part of any solution.

Most pro-owner posters realize that the owners simply are greedy and need protection from themselves. They also know that a cap gives the best chance for competitive balance by putting controls on the stupid owners. If the players were being forced to make a substandard living by a cap that limits their earing potential then the public would have a different view, but they can still make ridiculous amounts of money for their skills, so the public is happy to limit their earnings.

It isn't good vs bad, right vs wrong, simply the solution that provides the best league for the fans.

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12-06-2004, 07:38 AM
  #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderstruck
Edmonton has not been anywhere even close to competing for the cup. Bad drafting is a major factor in that, but so is the constant removal of PROVEN players for prospects.
I just don't buy that. So what if they've had to trade/lose guys like Cujo and Weight? How many Cups have they won elsewhere? The beauty of the current system is that you own a guy until he's 31. At that point, he's on the downslope of his career anyway. So if they'd kept those guys, what then? How would that have got them any closer to the Cup? You need to produce more than one talent every other year to have a crop of players who can win.

I do think it's a little harsh to label the Oilers fans as whiners, as some do. They're the only NHL fans who've seen a legitimate team dismantled for financial reasons. It wasn't due to the team though, it was due to the owner. I can understand though why Oilers fans would be a little more willing to buy the line that they can't compete financially.

I've explained on the Oilers board how I think that the GM in Edmonton spends his money poorly, particularly on mid-range talents. The problem in Edmonton is that he won't **** or get off the pot, so the team is mired in mediocrity.

Quote:
Revenue sharing should be part of any solution.
Bettman and Co. don't believe that. I've also made it clear that I'm for revenue sharing, and think that a substantial part of the revenue inequity in the NHL is due to governments.

Quote:
Most pro-owner posters realize that the owners simply are greedy and need protection from themselves. They also know that a cap gives the best chance for competitive balance by putting controls on the stupid owners. If the players were being forced to make a substandard living by a cap that limits their earing potential then the public would have a different view, but they can still make ridiculous amounts of money for their skills, so the public is happy to limit their earnings.
I think the part about the public thinking hockey players make too much is bang on. Show me a stupid owner who's won a Cup through spending.

Quote:
It isn't good vs bad, right vs wrong, simply the solution that provides the best league for the fans.
I want a competitive league where my favourite team can win if things go right. Right now we have that. I'm not sure about down the road.

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12-06-2004, 07:43 AM
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderstruck
Ask Mike Comrie if a player is really bound to your team till they're 31.
Lowe dropped the ball on that. As soon as he realized that he wasn't going to get anything back to help the team immediately, he should have played hardball. If I was the GM in Edmonton, I'd have just flat out said: "We made an investment in this guy when he used the Van Ryn loophole. You didn't hear me complain then. Trading him for futures is bad for this hockey club. The QO is withdrawn, and he's free to take me up on a 4 year offer for a million per, provided he does it in a summer, as I'm not giving out a year of service time for 10 games at the end of the season. Other than that, he's a free agent in 10 years or so. I'm sure his old man will employ him until then."

I bet you'd find that guys in the future would know that they were bound to the team.

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12-06-2004, 07:56 AM
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudcrutch79
I just don't buy that. So what if they've had to trade/lose guys like Cujo and Weight? How many Cups have they won elsewhere? The beauty of the current system is that you own a guy until he's 31. At that point, he's on the downslope of his career anyway. So if they'd kept those guys, what then? How would that have got them any closer to the Cup? You need to produce more than one talent every other year to have a crop of players who can win.
That's not a valid argument, the fact is that Oilers had to trade them because they couldn't afford them. They had no choice but to trade them. I want a system where no team has to trade their best players because they can't afford them. If they can't pay them because of salary cap, then it's bad management. If they can't pay them because they don't have as much money as rich teams, then it's a fundamental problem with the league structure.

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12-06-2004, 08:03 AM
  #49
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Originally Posted by Pepper
That's not a valid argument, the fact is that Oilers had to trade them because they couldn't afford them. They had no choice but to trade them. I want a system where no team has to trade their best players because they can't afford them. If they can't pay them because of salary cap, then it's bad management. If they can't pay them because they don't have as much money as rich teams, then it's a fundamental problem with the league structure.
The thing is, the Oilers could've afforded to keep those guys. They just made the decision that the cost of keeping of them could no longer be justified in terms of the revenues they generated. If they'd felt otherwise, they would have replaced other players with lower cost players. I'd say that the decisions were correct-Joseph was ably replaced by Salo, and Weight would have been quite nicely replaced by Comrie. Obviously, that threshold is going to be lower in Edmonton than it is in a place like Toronto (where they have all sorts of tax dollars funding the team). That said, is the threshold so low that it deprives the team of the opportunity to develop a Stanley Cup contender? I don't think so. The Oilers didn't have enough talent around either one of those guys to be a legitimate Cup contender. If they don't have the other talent, they're smarter to turn those guys into future players, adding to their talent. In a sense operating under financial constraints makes it easier for a team to win-they have to confront these issues. The Rangers pissed around with Leetch and Co. for how long? And why? Because they can afford to.

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12-06-2004, 08:22 AM
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mudcrutch79
The thing is, the Oilers could've afforded to keep those guys.
No they couldn't, that's why they had to trade them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mudcrutch79
They just made the decision that the cost of keeping of them could no longer be justified in terms of the revenues they generated.
You know what? You just described "can't afford them", just used different words.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mudcrutch79
If they'd felt otherwise, they would have replaced other players with lower cost players.
In other words they would have had to trade away other players to afford them. Rangers don't have to do that and that's the problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mudcrutch79
I'd say that the decisions were correct-Joseph was ably replaced by Salo, and Weight would have been quite nicely replaced by Comrie.
Hindsight is 20/20, if Oilers have had a choice they would have kept BOTH Weight and Comrie. They didn't have that choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mudcrutch79
That said, is the threshold so low that it deprives the team of the opportunity to develop a Stanley Cup contender? I don't think so.
Question: In the past 10 years, how many bottom-15 (budget-wise) teams have won the cup? From the top of my head, there's only one (Tampa) and their budget is going to balloon next year even with the new CBA.

So you can be a contender but chances of winning the cup are marginal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mudcrutch79
In a sense operating under financial constraints makes it easier for a team to win-they have to confront these issues.
Very weak argument IMHO. I know that teams with smaller budgets have to be more careful with their spending but they are ALWAYS disadvantaged by the financial limits. Whereas Wings can go for the best talent, Oilers will have to settle for best talent/price ratio so they will ALWAYS be compromising.

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