Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/19/05 at 10:13 PM ET
Some people look at a salary cap and see a limit. Irwin Mandel, the Chicago Bulls' senior vice president for financial and legal affairs, sees a challenge. "You have to be very aggressive and creative," said Mandel, who has worked for the club for 32 years. "I try not to take no for an answer and I sort of take it personally if the salary cap prevents the Bulls from doing something the Bulls want to do. "That's not to say that in 100 percent of the cases you can get around the cap legally. My philosophy is that it doesn't do any good to say, 'Darn, this can't work.' If alternative one doesn't work, go to alternative two. You try to figure out a way to get done what the general manager gets done." Mandel's philosophy should be duly noted by his counterparts in the NHL, where crunching numbers will soon be as important as crunching opponents. With the NHL and the players' association set to vote this week on a collective bargaining agreement that includes the league's first salary cap, club executives are warming up their calculators. They're about to learn what their NFL and NBA brethren already know: A good capologist — someone who knows the cap rules and can utilize them to his club's advantage — can be as valuable as a first-team All-Star.
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