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Abel to Yzerman

Do We Need An NHL Owners Relief Fund?

I’m a big proponent of staying in your lane.  Talk about what you know, or shut the hell up because you run the risk of proving to many people that you are dumber than they believe you already are.

That’s why I tend to restrict my comments to the Wings.  I don’t talk NHLPA stuff because I don’t care and therefore don’t know much about the legalities of the Saskins, Klatts and even Chelios’ of that world.  I don’t talk Cap issues because numbers higher than $9.95 (twelve pack of Rolling Rock) confuse me and make me get dizzy and scared.

And typically I’ll stay away from league-wide topics that the Big Headed Bloggers like Mirtle and Benjamin and McErlain tackle because, well, they’re smarter than me and better equipped to open the scope wide enough to handle those discussions.

So I offer the following with hesitation, but with conviction:

Any NHL owner who claims they can’t afford to reach the Cap limit due to finances is a lying liar or needs to sell that team immediately.  What prompted that you ask?

Thank you for asking.  First: Bubba.  Personally, I could care less whether the Predators stay in Nashville.  Actually, I do care.  Having lived in Tennessee and seen first-hand the apathy of that state toward hockey, I can tell you that placing a team there was stupid beyond belief.  I lived on the west side of the state.  Nashville’s to the east.  And in three years there, I never once saw a Predator jersey.  Never heard a single mention on the country-ass sports radio station in Memphis.  Never a single headline on the front page of the sports section and overheard zero conversation anywhere…and I listened.

Now the Blackberry guy is going to buy the team.  LG says “Bubba’s not moving.”  Then we hear Kitchener, Ontario as a potential location?  I have no idea what a Kitchener is, or who lives there. But I can tell you this: I like it, because it’s cold and it’s Canadien (an) which means they love them some hockey. 

Sell them. Move them. Disband them. I don’t care.  Just get them out of Nashville.  And while they’re moving, do me this favor: don’t try to tell me it’s because ownership’s losing money, that corporate sponsors won’t shell out the bucks.  A lack of corporate sponsorship for a hockey team in a state that’s never heard the word before is something LG should have considered well before placing Bubba there.  But, don’t for one second tell me the team is being sold and moving because the owner can’t afford them.

If that’s the case, LG should have looked at that too.  Any owner buying a team should be vetted to ensure their financial situation is one akin to Mark Cuban’s.  You buying a team? Why?  Because you’re passionate about the sport, or your city, hopefully both?  Good.  Check that box.  How much money you got?  Double the amount of the franchise price tag?  Why am I asking? Because you may not make a profit for a while.  Do you care about that or are you in it for the long haul?  You are? Good. Check that box.  Let me be clearer:  When the team loses money, are you less rich than you think and are you going to stress about that?  Or are you so frigging rich that losing some cash is acceptable to build a winner and sustain it? 

Those are the questions the league needs to ask each and every potential owner.

Like, say, the owners in Buffalo.  Saw this on the Emperor’s page this morning.

The cap is expected to rise from $44 million to at least $48 million. Judging from the comments by owner Tom Golisano, there’s a greater chance that the Sabres will spend less in payroll next year than in the season just past.

Man, that just pisses me off.  The gist is that Drury and Briere are probably gone because they “can’t afford to keep them.” If Golisano can’t “afford” to bring back their two most marketable players, can’t afford to reach the cap, then get the hell out.  Those fans deserve a committed owner.  No, those fans deserve an owner who is fan enough to shell out the bucks he has to keep that team competitive.

Oh, yes, I know.  I know I’m naive and I know there are financial things that I “just don’t understand.”  I’m aware.  But, my point is this:  in my perfect little world where puppies and children frolic in sunshine and sprinklers and the turtle I found yesterday will stay in our backyard because he’s happy, an owner will buy a team because they LOVE THE FRIGGING SPORT and they want nothing more, have no greater passion, than to bring their home town a winner.

If an owner can afford a damn team in the first place, they’re so rich that they can lose cash in the process and still stay so rich that it’s inconsequential. 

None of these thoughts are original.  And they’re coming from a guy who has had the luxury of following a team supported by an obscenely rich owner.  But I think that gives these views a little more credibility because I have no legitimate, personal stake in a team like Buffalo.  But, as an NHL fan; reading that garbage, than an OWNER CAN’T AFFORD (fill in the blanks), despite a base of rabid, starving Sabre fanatics, is just too much to take.

Buying a team? Are you rich?  How rich?  Do you care if those riches diminish a bit?  If you do, there’s the door.


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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com