Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 08/17/05 at 02:58 AM ET
"Everybody now feels they have a legitimate chance," said former Panthers General Manager Rick Dudley, now a scout with Chicago. "Owners who have a lot of money don't mind spending it as long as it's not a fruitless effort. But before, the top end of some teams' budgets was half of what other teams were spending. Now they're on equal footing." Said Panthers broadcaster Denis Potvin: "It's been strange. You've got teams like Edmonton, Calgary and Nashville, who no one expected to be particularly active, who have been. And other teams that have always been involved in everything — Colorado, Detroit, Toronto — have been out of it, just trying to sign their own players. "A lot of what has happened has really been unexpected." Longtime ESPN analyst Bill Clement said the "new NHL," with its salary-cap range, has simply returned to some basic principles of doing business. "There are two realities under this model," Clement said. "One, every team is now allowed a fair chance to succeed, and two, winning is going to be based on your organizational model instead of who's the most wealthy. "You have to earn excellence — you can't buy it. You have to draft well, nurture well, trade well and plan well financially.''
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