Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/25/11 at 12:29 PM ET
from Kevin Clark of the Wall Street Journal,
Last spring, goaltender Michael Leighton led the Philadelphia Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals. One month later, he cashed in with a two-year, $3.1 million contract.
On a recent night in January, however, Leighton was minding the net for the Adirondack Phantoms of the American Hockey League at the Glens Falls Civic Center in upstate New York. The crowd of 3,889 was a little bigger than normal, but not on his account. It was Girl Scout night. “It’s tough just to think about it,” Leighton says.
There’s nothing unusual about a millionaire baseball player doing a stint in the minors to retool his game or come back from an injury. But hockey’s minor leagues are a different animal: They exist mostly as a holding pen for journeymen and fringe prospects. Future stars like Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin never set foot in them and the facilities and accommodations tend to be considerably more spartan.
This season, thanks to a little-known loophole in the league’s labor deal and a growing pileup of phenomenally bad contracts, the AHL has seen something new: an influx of millionaires making as much as double the NHL’s average salary.
thanks to a KK member for the pointer
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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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