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It’s about to get silly

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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Comments

Bugsy's avatar

1. The owners need protection from themselves.
2. This isn’t going to stop fans from demanding some sort of purchase, because being seen doing something looks better than staying put.
3. Given the article talking about how teams trying to trade for cap space aren’t finding willing partners, those w/cap space should try to take advantage now and see if they can’t get some bargains from those teams who need the space.
4. Some owners/GM’s will dive in just at least partly because of 2. above, if not just on general behavior/philosophy (re: the Flyers)
5. There are probably going to be some VERY disappointed players, wishing they didn’t have their free agency year this year, which makes me wonder if they’ll aim for a 1 or 2 year contract, hoping the cap does go back up next year as predicted, and take their chances they’ll cash in more later (e.g., if they’re under 30 y/o?).

Posted by Bugsy on 07/05/13 at 02:20 AM ET

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Theres more game behind the game than the game itself.  Always fascinating; the dancing behind the scenes.. MONEYBALL (Great Film).

Posted by LauraRestum on 07/05/13 at 02:32 AM ET

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Calling out the PA on this business is silly

Not really.  The PA, being full of guys who will take every dime that is offered to them (and they should), were and are just as much at fault for the financial state of the NHL as the owners, who regularly hire GMs which are overaggressive in trying to make their teams ‘good’.  As we are seeing this year and as we have seen in almost every year for the past 20+, it’s not like there are (m)any NHL players who for the sake of the game turn down a couple million bucks per.

The PA is full of guys who care about the game second (if at all), and about their personal interests first.  So is the ownership group.

That the PA is (occasionally) called out for their own naked profiteering coming off a lockout wherein they described their opponents at the negotiating table as naked profiteers isn’t silly in the least.  I’m sure it’s not a terribly comfortable criticism to behold for those who were or who are still full-throated supporters of the PA, but such is life.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 07/05/13 at 05:57 AM ET

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Yes, but calling out the PA because one team bought out one player and his skill set meant he was coveted by a dozen other teams is silly.  Vinny’s was made offers by plenty of teams, so how is “the PA” to blame for him taking the best one?  It was the teams competing against one another that drove up the price.

Posted by Garth on 07/05/13 at 07:48 AM ET

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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.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

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