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OT: Salary Cap Threatens League Survival?

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10-25-2003, 12:17 PM
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OT: Salary Cap Threatens League Survival?

The thought just occurred to me as I was reading articles on Gaborik. Apparently his agent said that 3 teams in Europe have offered more than the Wild are offering him. Also there have been a few players like Jiri Slegr and Oleg Tverdovsky who went over to play in Russia for a while. The league is growing over in Russia and in the rest of Europe and the money is starting to come for the players there.

Jagr said that if there was a lockout he would go play in Russia because they'd be the best league out there then. Yes, even though he used to hate Russians. He said he's gotten over that.

Now if the NHL moves to reduce salaries and there's a lockout don't you think this could happen?

Around 150 players go play in Europe for a year. Then the NHL comes back the next season but with lower salaries. Now do these European teams buck up and start dishing out the money? Who knows? Maybe some players stay in Europe. The money being offered in Europe vs. North America is pretty close right now but the NHL probably offers a little more currently. There's also the massive media coverage that feeds their ego in North America and probably a better life than if they were to play in North America.

Even if the North American players don't abandon the NHL, losing 50% of the European players would hurt. No Kovalchuk....imagine Bure never played in North America...know that prospect in the Moose..Koltsov? He's gone to Russia.


I know it's a bit of a longshot but what do you think?

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10-25-2003, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JovOhlund
The thought just occurred to me as I was reading articles on Gaborik. Apparently his agent said that 3 teams in Europe have offered more than the Wild are offering him. Also there have been a few players like Jiri Slegr and Oleg Tverdovsky who went over to play in Russia for a while. The league is growing over in Russia and in the rest of Europe and the money is starting to come for the players there.

Jagr said that if there was a lockout he would go play in Russia because they'd be the best league out there then. Yes, even though he used to hate Russians. He said he's gotten over that.

Now if the NHL moves to reduce salaries and there's a lockout don't you think this could happen?

Around 150 players go play in Europe for a year. Then the NHL comes back the next season but with lower salaries. Now do these European teams buck up and start dishing out the money? Who knows? Maybe some players stay in Europe. The money being offered in Europe vs. North America is pretty close right now but the NHL probably offers a little more currently. There's also the massive media coverage that feeds their ego in North America and probably a better life than if they were to play in North America.

Even if the North American players don't abandon the NHL, losing 50% of the European players would hurt. No Kovalchuk....imagine Bure never played in North America...know that prospect in the Moose..Koltsov? He's gone to Russia.


I know it's a bit of a longshot but what do you think?
I don't see it. We are talking about premium players that clubs are trying to sign for small amounts due to the RFA strangle hold they have on them. Gaborik is now a premium player, he'd be worth paying $2.5m for in some Europe clubs, he'd be worth a lot more to an NHL club if he was a UFA too. What is causing the problem here is not the salary cap but RFA status. If every player is a UFA then the old guys (31+) will get less and the young guys will get more, players will be paid on production not reputation. When you see geriatrics getting huge UFA contracts for 5 or 6 years you have to wonder if the clubs have really thought about the long term ability of the player the just signed (see Lumme et al).

Maybe the league should look at UFA for any player over 23-25 years of age and a strong salary cap.

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10-25-2003, 03:21 PM
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The 2.5 figure you bring up isn't altogether very accurate. The Wild are offering him around 9.5 over 3 years. Gaborik's agent said that 3 European teams have offered more than that. So they'd probably be offering at least 3.5 per. I'm sure Abramovich or some other guy would give Forsberg or Naslund at least 5 mil (He owns Avangard Omsk of the Russian League).

I agree with you about older players getting long term contracts. However I don't know if lowering the UFA age to 25 is a good idea. It does work to get rid of the older players get huge contracts but how would teams like Edmonton and Calgary survive with that? Also I don't know if I'd like it if players switched teams even more. It doesn't happen much more that you get players who stick with one team for a long long time like Yzerman and Bourque.

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10-25-2003, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by JovOhlund
However I don't know if lowering the UFA age to 25 is a good idea. It does work to get rid of the older players get huge contracts but how would teams like Edmonton and Calgary survive with that?
It's called a salary cap. The owners will need to offer free agency after the rookie contract in order to institute a cap. Most leagues in the world have free agency pretty early, the important thing is to make a cap that all teams can afford to pay, this may include revenue sharing and things of that nature as well.

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10-25-2003, 04:26 PM
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Which brings me back to my original point.

If there is a salary cap that is low then teams like Edmonton and Calgary can survive. However, if it's low then won't European teams start pinching players from the NHL?

If the salary cap is high enough that European teams can't take players from the NHL, then how will Edmonton and Calgary survive?

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10-25-2003, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JovOhlund
Which brings me back to my original point.

If there is a salary cap that is low then teams like Edmonton and Calgary can survive. However, if it's low then won't European teams start pinching players from the NHL?

If the salary cap is high enough that European teams can't take players from the NHL, then how will Edmonton and Calgary survive?
Having a cap of some type might help... but really it's revenue sharing between clubs that would solve so many of their problems. However, I wonder if owners from the richer markets are willing, or even care enough to insure that the league as a whole stays healthy.

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10-25-2003, 09:19 PM
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Personally I think the cap is just another cop out by the owners who are really the inept ones. A market is only as good as the ones operating it. If the operators are a bunch of morons, then the market will not work. The owners were the ones offering huge contracts, driving up market values. I think a similar system to the NBA could work in that any team going over a certain salary range would have to pay a luxury tax. The owners of course don't want this because they'd have to pay a tax and it's no definitive restriction on how much an owner can spend(see the Dallas Mavericks...they go over the salary range because they can...Mark Cuban's rolling).

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10-26-2003, 05:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JovOhlund
I know it's a bit of a longshot but what do you think?
While your logic doesnt really follow, I do agree in the overall sense that a salary cap is not a good idea.

Its ridiculas to think the players would ever agree to it and trying to get them to is what will kill the league.

Look, we dont need a CAP. If VAN doesnt want to pay Bertuzzi 8m, no one can make them. If VAN wants to pay Bertuzzi 5.5m, then offer him that much. If he would prefer to not play hockey, thats his right. If someone else offers him 8m, then good for him ! Thats hte point, why should he agree to limit his earning power. If no one offers him 8m, whats his options ? not play ? ok, so be it. The Canucks and the NHL can live just fine without him if he chooses to not play hockey.

Just use the system and stop whining. Players come and go, no big deal.

DR

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10-26-2003, 10:48 AM
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The appetite for professional hockey is pretty strong in North America. Not as strong as the owners would like (i.e. billion dollar TV deal), but gates are still 90%+ sold out.

Consequently, it's hard to see why the NHL would be in danger of collapsing if star players are poached by Euro leagues. Stars go away by attrition anyway. In the last few years, we've said bye to Gretzky, Roy, Bourque, Coffey, Gilmour, Fuhr, Bure, AND Manon Rheaume. Life goes on.

A more interesting question is whether you think that turnabout is fair play. The NHL has sucked the stars out of the Euro leagues for a generation. Why shouldn't the tide turn?

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