Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 07/04/13 at 11:04 PM ET
Readers take note--this is George rambling, not Paul: I had to smirk when reading the Toronto Star's Damien Cox's open growl at the supposedly shameful tactics of the NHLPA in demanding that contracts be "made whole" in light of the Lecavalier buy-out and the fact that he got stupid money from the Flyers.
Over the past two days, I've been ill, and the boss has been putting in 18-hour days mostly following GM's and player agents dropping significant hints as to which teams have been "wining and dining" players under the new courtship period (if you will), and while the salary cap is indeed dropping from $70.2 million to $64.3 million this season...
Does anybody believe that Nathan Horton won't get $6 million for at least 5 years today, that David Clarkson won't find a $5 million payday three seasons removed from being a "shift disturber" and little else, or that, as is customary at this time of year, defensemen who can do little consistently other than skate in a straight line will sign anything less than $4+ million-per-season deals?
Calling out the PA on this business is silly given the amount of money that's already been paid to Lecavalier, Briere, the players who've been bought out and/or given contract extensions, and things are about to get "sillier" today, as Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika suggests (and sometimes the end of an article is a perfect place to start):
Somebody will do something dumb. Somebody always does.
It’s free agency. One of the quirks of the salary cap system is that the age for unrestricted free agency went from 31 or 27, which led teams to lock up their best players, which led to fewer top players hitting the UFA market, which led to too much demand for too little supply – too much money for too many guys.
“I don’t think that’s a good tool to build your team,” said Stan Bowman, GM of the Chicago Blackhawks, the Stanley Cup champions. “You can sort of fine-tune it through free agency, but the term and the dollar amount and everything, it just gets crazy, understandably. Our goal is to not have to really be a player in that market.”
It is what it is and always will be. Just keep in mind that because of the lockout and the new labor agreement, it won’t be as crazy as it could have been. Don’t be fooled. Imagine what a team like the Flyers would do in a free market. We talk about mistakes in terms of salary cap space more than in terms of blowing budgets.
The owners can be dumb sometimes. But they’re smart enough to know it.
His article sets up an excellent contextual background for the "dumb" that we're about to witness, and it's more than worth your time.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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