Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 08/21/05 at 06:39 PM ET
Popular mythology about sports teams is that championships are built in the off-season. Voluntary conditioning, weightlifting and meetings, the theory goes, lead to bonding and team-building. It might be true. But in most professional sports today, there exists another aspect of off-season, off-the-field activity that may be as important: business management. Managing the salary cap in the National Football League and National Basketball Association -- and now in the National Hockey League -- has become as important as drafting the most-skilled players. Think of it as the revenge of the accountants, those pencil-wearing math students in high school who were often the targets of abuse from the jocks. Managing the salary cap, and general franchise management, has become the coin of the realm. Teams with savvy front offices are often the same ones pouring champagne into trophies at season's end.
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