the financials of San Jose, Calgary and Tampa. They're going deep into the playoffs and off low payrolls. If they're still losing money, there's little hope. And with the records they tallied during the regular season, they should be making money. Again, if not, this is a lost cause.
I posted the following on another board, in response to some who were ripping Brooks' article and chanting the tiresome mantra of how a hard cap is needed to "save the NHL":
Leafs, Avs, Flyers, Wings, whoever...You wish to "inflict pain" on them (hard cap), arbitrarily, since you do not like them and their ability to win more frequently than the hometeam, by virtue of having resource$ and the capacity to spend it wisely. Crushing the wealthy, the successful. An uprising of the NHL's bourgeoisie, as it were.
Once again, playoff envy is just fine, though petty, IMO. Please just stop perpetrating the myth of a corelation between budget and on-ice success....Unless one is prepared to explain, among others:
Calgary Flames (Conference Finalists, '04)
San Jose " " "
Tampa Bay " " "
Minnesota " " '03
Pittsburgh " " '01
Anaheim (Cup Finalists '03)
Carolina ( " " '02)
Buffalo ( " " '99)
While on the other side of the coin, the following "big budget" franchises have one Stanley Cup among them in the last decade (two in the last 29 years): Flyers, NYR and Dallas (formally Minn.).
Oh, the lack of parity!
Point being, "hard cap" is synonymous with "my franchise is incapable of winning, so let's even out the playing field by putting restrictions on successful franchises, and thus tearing them down. All in the absolute baseless claim for the need of greater parity."
Actually I disagree with several points by Brooks:
1) He links a hard cap with a lower UFA. Who says so? There's many options out there: hard cap, soft cap, luxury tax, lower UFA, fewer games, rookie salary cap etc. What if the owners threw out an idea of a soft cap of $40 million combined with fewer games?
2) A lower UFA age. 25? C'mon. That's ridiculously low. There would be no point in developing a player at 19-22 and then having that player start to really grow into their own. The lowest I can see is maybe 28. That would definitely not fly.
3) Do you actually think Larry Brooks knows the plight of small market teams? The reason why small market teams want a cap is to lower the player salaries, because it is obvious that certain owners lack the smarts or the willpower to do so themselves. In Edmonton here, we've seen the departure of Doug Weight, Billy Guerin, and Curtis Joseph over the past decade, for the sole reason that the Oilers could not afford to sign these players. So we've been left with making do with less. Brooks cites San Jose, Calgary and Tampa Bay as examples where the CBA has worked for. These teams aren't in the Final Four because of the CBA, but IN SPITE OF the CBA. San Jose made a commitment last year to do a revamp by letting go of some of their veteran and hence more expensive players - what's the point in not making the playoffs at $60 million when you can at $40?
Calgary has a $36 million payroll with $7.5 million sunk into one player: Iginla. Turek is #2 at 4.5 followed by Gelinas at 2.4 and Conroy at 2.2. Iginla represents 21% of the entire Calgary payroll. What if he got hurt? Where would Calgary be? Do you think any team would want to sink 1/5 of their payroll into one player? But they've had to in order to retain Iginla and in so doing, they've had to trade away other players (Rob Niedermeyer, Bob Bougher, Derek Morris) Calgary didn't get into the top four because they were able to sign the players they wanted, they got into the top four because of team chemistry and they were able to pull off a shrewd trade for Kiprusoff.
"The NHL is refusing to negotiate a deal with the union that isn't based on a hard-cap concept."
Scary stuff. Such a statement makes me think that perhaps the rumors of the league being shut down for, not 1, but 2 years could be true.
"Bettman and the Board will blame it on the union. Bettman and the Board should be ashamed. "
Again agreed. He is determined not to let any teams fold and to ENSURE that the Canadian teams have equal footing. That equal footing, to him, is an under $40m hard salary cap.
We can talk rebuild all we want, but by the time the next season starts, we may have 2 years worth of #6 draft picks and such.
i think if there is no hockey next season the union will cave in. players need to get paid and losing one year of salary will hurt most of the union. if players are looking at two years of not getting paid they will never stand for it. i am certain that there will be no hockey next season and its really sad.
What the NHL needs is laying somewhere between the points that Brooks made and the points that Bettman and the NHL will make.
Brooks is right in that the current CBA is very effective in one way: it rewards the smarter teams who develop their players. The CBA allows those teams to retain the rights to those players until they are 31, thats 13 years after being drafted. Basically any team that drafts smart or makes smart trades for young players is in good shape, which is the way it should be.
However Bettman is right in saying that those 13 years are often cut short because star players in small markets sometimes can't be resigned because of money, which isn't right. Like someone said Cujo and Weight in Edmonton are a good example.
The only thing that seperates small market from big market right now is the ability to keep star RFA's. Small market teams can draft well, but might end up having to trade a star player they drafted when he's 26 because they simply can't resign him and pay him for 5 more years until he can make his own decision. Thus they trade him to a big market team who can resign him. The way to prevent this is to take away as many options for a trade as they can. How they do that is by creating a salary cap, soft not hard, but making it at around $50 million. This way the players are still paid what they deserve, but RFA's are more likely to stay with their team and sign for less simply because there aren't as many teams that can afford to trade for them.
The way I see it, what's going on here is just a lot of posturing. The NHL is trying to make the NHLPA think that it cannot afford to get anything less than a hard cap, and the NHLPA is trying to make the NHL think that they'll go on strike forever to prevent a hard cap. In the end, they'll compromise and hockey will probably start around the new year, like in 1995. I understand that the NHL is in a worse financial state than they were pre 1995, but the game of hockey is also at a worse state. Bottom line is the league knows that right now its product is pretty much garbarge, and they cannot afford to alienate anymore fans. Therefore, there's no way that a strike lasts more than a year. If it did, hockey would fall even further off the chart.
There probably will be a hard cap, but it won't be the 30 something million that the owners want, it will probably be in the mid to upper 40's.
The way I see it, the real solution to the NHL's problems is not to cut costs, but instead to improve the way hockey is played in the NHL. Compared to the other professional leagues, the revenues that the NHL takes in is laughable. The league needs to open up the game, put the excitement back into the hockey, and put the NHL back on the track it was on in the early 1990's. The increased revenue would soften the hit teams take when they have to pay the players. Combine this with equitable revenue sharing, and this small market B.S. goes away.