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3319Re: [hockeydisk] NHL: Not sure I agree, but interesting article

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  • Lyle Richardson
    Aug 8, 2005
      I say give this CBA a couple of years before we start singing the praises of the NHL owners.
      There's already two potential flaws emerging.  First is the length of the deals being signed, and second, the December 1 deadline for re-signing RFAs could result in more offer sheets, which under the cap system would force teams to match and then dump salary elsewhere or watch that player signed by another club.
      Lyle Richardson
      Spector's Hockey
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Dave Bole
      Sent: Sunday, August 07, 2005 8:29 PM
      Subject: Re: [hockeydisk] NHL: Not sure I agree, but interesting article

      This is EXACTLY what the game of hockey needed.   Some other sports
      should learn from the guts the NHL owners had by staying out a season
      and supporting each other in their cause.

      David Elkin <davidmelkin@...> wrote:

      Stu Cowan
      CanWest News Service

      Sunday, August 07, 2005

      MONTREAL -- Are you still angry at Gary Bettman? While the NHL
      commissioner took a lot of heat when the league lost an entire season
      because of the lockout, the flood of free-agent signings over the past
      week has definitely generated excitement with hockey fans. They might
      even be thanking Bettman in the future, especially in cities like
      Pittsburgh and Edmonton.

      While building the NFL into the most successful professional sports
      league in North America, former commissioner Pete Rozelle had a simple
      philosophy: you're only as strong as your weakest franchise.

      Well, the Penguins were the NHL's weakest franchise during the 2003-04
      season, losing 18 consecutive games at one point while finishing with
      the league's worst record (23-47-8). But that all changed in the past
      week, and Mario Lemieux -- and Pittsburgh fans -- can thank Bettman for

      Bettman did exactly what the NHL owners paid him to do and something
      many people, including former NHLPA president Bob Goodenow, thought was
      impossible: keep all 30 owners united in their labour battle.

      The cost was huge -- an entire lost season -- but the players eventually
      caved in to a $39 million US salary cap. The end result: small-market
      teams like the Penguins and Oilers can compete with the big boys.

      The Penguins lucked out when they won the draft lottery and selected
      phenom Sidney Crosby. But luck had nothing to do with the twice-bankrupt
      franchise signing free-agent Sergei Gonchar to a five-year, $25-million
      contract on Wednesday. Gonchar has been the NHL's top goal-scoring
      defenceman over the last six seasons, and I'm sure Penguins fans are
      already drooling about a power play that will include Gonchar, Lemieux,
      Crosby and Mark Recchi.

      "I think the Penguins have a real shot to win the Stanley Cup," sports
      fan Ron Carroll, who grew up in Pittsburgh and remains a die-hard
      Penguins fan, told me the day after the Gonchar signing. "This (labour)
      deal is bad for the players, but probably saved the game. Every team is
      on equal footing now."

      Oilers fans also had reason to celebrate Wednesday after the team
      acquired defenceman Chris Pronger from the St. Louis Blues. With the new
      salary cap, the Blues, who paid Pronger $9.5 million in 2003-04, simply
      couldn't afford to keep the 2000 Hart Trophy winner as league MVP. The
      Oilers will pay Pronger just over $6 million a season in a new five-year

      "This is what the hockey world is right now, and you know something,
      this is what the system is supposed to do," Blues general manager Larry
      Pleau told Associated Press.

      Pronger told reporters in Edmonton: "It seems like the Oilers have
      always been the team trading guys away. But with this new landscape,
      things are changing."

      Are they ever.

      What do you think the New York Rangers -- who had the biggest payroll in
      the NHL in 2003-04 at $76 million -- were doing Wednesday while teams
      like the Penguins, Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets (who signed
      defenceman Bryan Bedard) jumped into the free-agent pool?

      According to the New York Times, Rangers president and GM Glen Sather
      was telephoning season-ticket holders to thank them for renewing their
      subscriptions and promising to build a core of young players from within
      the organization.

      The Rangers, who were forced to pay Bobby Holik a $9-million buyout to
      get out of the ridiculous five-year, $45-million free-agent contract
      they signed him to in the summer of 2002, could have as many as 12
      rookies in the lineup this season.

      Are you shedding any tears for the Rangers right now? How about for the
      Toronto Maple Leafs, whose 2003-04 payroll was $62 million? They were
      outbid for the services of Gary Roberts and Joe Nieuwendyk by the
      Florida Panthers of all teams.

      Bettman has definitely left his mark on the NHL with this new salary
      cap, but if I was a team owner I'd be thinking about giving him a very
      nice golden handshake right about now. The players will always hate
      Bettman for breaking their union and I think a new commissioner (hello,
      Wayne Gretzky) would help soothe their feelings and help grow the game
      in the future.

      As for the fans, they may never change their opinion of Bettman.

      "I still think he's a jerk," Penguins fan Carroll said.

      © Times Colonist (Victoria) 2005

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