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Highest Paid Team

The highest paid team in the NHL so far this season according to its salary cap hit (from capfriendly.com) is the Detroit Red Wings.  They have a projected salary cap hit of $79.68 million this season.  This is despite the fact that the NHL salary cap this season is $73.0 million.  They are using longterm injured reserve to go $6.68 million over the cap. 

Johan Franzen, Darren Helm and Joe Vitale are all on the longterm injured reserve.  This allows the Red Wings to go nearly $9 million above the salary cap. 

Franzen is the most disturbing of these players.  He played two games last season and will probably never play another NHL game.  He is out with "concussion like symptoms" and will remain that way until 2020.  It has been an inequity in the salary cap that teams can hide bad contracts by leaving a player on the long-term injured reserve for years while they no longer try to play in the NHL.  Johan Franzen is a clear case of this.

Salary-wise it gets worse for the Red Wings.  They also signed Pavel Datsyuk who has a $7.5 million salary cap hit.  They have been fortunate to trade his salary to Arizona. 

For all this money in salary the Detroit Red Wings have struggled this season.  They have the third worst record in the East Conference.

What has gone wrong is their streak of playoff berths.  Detroit has made the playoffs every years since 1990.  In the past couple of years they have appeared to be more motivated with trying to keep the streak alive than with any longterm planning.  Moves are made to shore up today without concern for holes that may be there tomorrow.

Ken Holland has been an extraordinary GM for the Red Wings.  He managed to rebuild the team from the Steve Yzerman era Stanley Cup champions to the Nicklas Lidstrom/ Pavel Datsyuk era Stanley Cup champions with no lull in between them.  However he used longterm contracts that went longer than they should in order ot do so.  This created the current problems of Pavel Datsyuk and Johan Franzen's contracts when they are no longer in the NHL.  Henrik Zetterberg is signed until 2021 and is starting to show diminishing value on the ice.

It is hard for lightning to strike in the same place twice.  It is hard for a GM to build tow different Stanley Cup champion teams with different rosters.  When they succeed once, people watch and learn lessons from your success.  They no longer give you a relative edge because others are doing it too.  That isn't to say that Ken Holland is not a good general manager.  He probably can do a good job rebuilding this Detroit team.  Whether it is possible to build another Stanley Cup champion is to be determined.  However, right now Detroit is the least cost effective team in the NHL.

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bigdee89's avatar

What’s your source?  I don’t believe it.  I can’t believe you’d post these lies.  Ken Holland is not an extraordinary GM.

Yes, your reports of poor cap management is sadly true.

Posted by bigdee89 from The Great White North Eh? on 11/24/16 at 08:34 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

There are other teams using LTIR to go over the cap.  I am pretty certain Chris Pronger is in a similar situation as Franzen.  I agree that Holland needs to reign in the term of these contracts.  When he traded Datsyuks contract, Arizona used that pick to get a fantastic young Dman.  While the Wings have worked hard to maintain a competitive team, I disagree that they have sacrificed their long term prospect to do it.

Posted by w2j2 on 11/24/16 at 09:45 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

That isn’t to say that Ken Holland is not a good general manager.  He probably can do a good job rebuilding this Detroit team.

Really? How can anyone actually think that? The proof is always in the pudding and the pudding is the contracts he has given out.
Has his nine lives run out yet?

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 11/24/16 at 09:50 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

He is out with “concussion like symptoms” and will remain that way until 2020. It has been an inequity in the salary cap that teams can hide bad contracts by leaving a player on the long-term injured reserve for years while they no longer try to play in the NHL. Johan Franzen is a clear case of this.

Once again you prove a total lack of understanding about concussions. Or is it pure ignorance? You know concussions and CTE lead to some serious stuff later on in life, right? Like suicide?

Thats not enough for TPSH. Players should play until their brains are scrambled eggs. Doctors be damned.

Posted by ilovehomers on 11/24/16 at 11:21 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Everybody who has played pro hockey for several years has nagging pain.  Its a knee or a back or a concussion or something.

When that player on a longterm contract is no longer worth keeping around he goes to the LTIR and effectively retires.  Its predictable when a bad longterm contract is signed.  That guy won’t finish it as an active player - people were just beginning to catch the pattern when Franzen signed his lifetime deal in Detroit but it was a prediction at the time that he wouldn’t be worth keeping around until it ended.

Franzen is far from the only example.  Chris Pronger, Mike Rathje, Mattais Ohlund, Marc Savard, Darien Hatcher, Nathan Horton, Alex Mogilny, Stephane Robidas all fit the bill - and that is no exhaustive list.

These players are hurt.  They could have play hurt if they wanted.  They could rehab and return if there is an injury now in shape good enough to fill a roster spot.  At the same time, no doctor who doesn’t want to get sued will say this guy is 100%, so the doctor agrees he is hurt and the player retires.  His retirement frees up valuable salary cap space in almost all cases and that motivates the team to push the player toward it.  Except the player does not retire.  In some cases he stays active for the better part of a decade making no effort to ever play again.  He is retired - except for salary cap purposes it is better if he doesn’t retire and just goes away indefinitely to the LTIR.  It is a salary cap fraud.  If you want to have a meaningful salary cap, the player shouldn’t be able to be hidden indefinitely when he gives up trying to ever play again for nothing but salary cap purposes.  In some cases the player isn’t officially retired but he takes another job in scouting or in Pronger’s case working with the NHL.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 11/24/16 at 11:43 PM ET

bigdee89's avatar

Its a knee or a back or a concussion or something.

They could have play hurt if they wanted. 

Probably the dumbest shite you’ve ever said.  And there’s been a lot.

So you’re trying to tell us that Franzen, Pronger and Savard could come back and play anytime?  And the only reason they can’t is because doctors don’t want to clear them out of fear of being sued?

Now you’re just trying to get hits.  Nice work.


Posted by bigdee89 from The Great White North Eh? on 11/25/16 at 12:39 AM ET

StayClassy's avatar

I can’t tell if this is a troll or not, so I’m honestly trying not to get upset. Detroit would love to have Franzen back. Same with Savard and Boston before they traded him. With franzen especially, his play never skipped too far from his prime for them to want to try and and try and slope around the contract and rest him when he can play. I wonder how many games this poster has actually watched for some of these other players as well. Once again I’m probably wasting my time as this is probably just a a troll.

Posted by StayClassy from Wings fan in Columbus on 11/25/16 at 07:15 AM ET


These players are hurt.  They could have play hurt if they wanted.  They could rehab and return if there is an injury now in shape good enough to fill a roster spot. 

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 11/24/16 at 10:43 PM ET

Well that’s one of the dumbest things i’ve heard said about Franzen, congrats for that distinction.

I mean, you’re spot on….other than those pesky minor details about him not being able to function as a human being after vigorous workouts….

Posted by MZ2215 on 11/25/16 at 08:43 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Congrats, you succeeded. You got more clicks on this article than your entire blog has since last year.

You did NOT just compare concussions/CTE to knee and back injuries.Atrocious. Let’s read about Marc Savard, shall we?

It ended with a jarring but clean check into the glass delivered by Colorado Avalanche defenseman Matt Hunwick in Denver nearly six years ago. Marc Savard’s head snapped back and he crumpled to the ice, his hands over his face.

“I got down on my knees there and I just saw pitch black with my eyes open,” said Savard, an All-Star center for two of his five seasons with the Bruins (2006-11). “And I can remember Donny [trainer Don DelNegro] coming out.

“I said, ‘Donny, I don’t know what’s wrong here, but I’m dying. I can’t see anything.’ And my eyes were open, so I was quite scared there.”

Savard, who had already missed the first 23 games of that 2010-11 season with postconcussion syndrome, struggled to his feet. He clutched a towel to his face as teammates, including captain Zdeno Chara, guided him off the ice. Players on the Bruins bench tapped their sticks against the boards in support.

It was the sixth concussion of Savard’s career, and it came just 10 months after the one he suffered as a result of a blind-side hit to the head by Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke.

After the hit in Denver on Jan. 22, 2011, Savard never played hockey again.

“I remember going into the room and shedding a tear there because it had been a long battle, you know,’’ said Savard, who played a total of 13 years in the NHL and was finished at age 33. “And it just wasn’t getting anywhere, and that’s when I knew.”

His brain had been jarred one too many times.

“I saw probably 10 doctors, and nine of them said it ain’t worth it,’’ he said. “So it ain’t worth it. And that was it.”

Savard went from being a jovial, point-a-game playmaker to a broken man in great pain. He had headaches, memory loss, vision problems, dizziness, exhaustion, anxiety, and worst of all, depression.

According to Savard, a psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital once rated him as suicidal, although he says he never had actual suicidal thoughts.

He knows people look at him differently after his multiple concussions and doctors don’t have all the answers.

“People don’t understand it,” he said. “That’s what makes it tough.”

But the smile is coming back.

“Getting better,” said Savard, who is now 39 and head coach of the Peterborough Minor Bantam AAA Petes and proud father of 13-year-old forward Tyler Savard, who like his father wears No. 91.

Savard still has health issues — anxiety and short-term memory loss — but he’s back in the game he loves.

“I feel pretty good,” he said.

He’s also counting his blessings.

“The good thing is that I’m helping kids today — earlier than I should have — get better at the game that gave me everything I have.”


Posted by ilovehomers on 11/25/16 at 08:57 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

I’m going to post half the article here, since you clearly show how uneducated are about concussions, so I doubt you’ll actually click the link.

He credits his wife Valerie with being “phenomenal” in his recovery.

“If there’s a 7 o’clock practice,” he said, “I probably ask her several times a day, ‘Is it 7 o’clock?’ Just to double check.”

But that’s better than having panic attacks, when he thought he was dying and his wife had to calm him down. He’d stand in front of the TV, watching the game he once starred at, just trying to do one simple thing.


Medication has eliminated the panic attacks, but he still has some anxiety issues.

“A lot of stuff that I never dealt with before I wound up getting from all [the concussions],” he said.

Posted by ilovehomers on 11/25/16 at 09:01 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

“That’s the main one, because I never felt like that in my life,’’ he said. “I’ve had concussions; I remember in Calgary I slept for a week straight. But the one from Cooke was a nightmare. I went through a lot of dark days there. For a good three months I was a zombie.

“I was living in a backward kind of world. I was sleeping from 5 a.m. till 10 p.m. or midnight and kind of getting up in the nighttime, and I was very irritable, unbelievably irritable. Didn’t want to talk to anybody. I was alienating people that were trying to help. It was a tough time.”

Posted by ilovehomers on 11/25/16 at 09:02 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Savard is a board member of the Canadian Concussion Centre headed by brain injury expert Dr. Charles Tator of Toronto Western Hospital. His friend and former NHL teammate Steve Montador, who also suffered multiple concussions, died at age 35 in 2015 and had his brain donated to the Centre. Tests confirmed Montador had extensive CTE damage.

“That was tough,” said Savard.

Tator, in a telephone interview, could not discuss Savard’s case but said that postconcussion syndrome does not necessarily lead to CTE.

“We do see people recovering from postconcussion syndrome,” he said. “We’ve seen total recovery. It can take years.”

Posted by ilovehomers on 11/25/16 at 09:05 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

From 05/06 to 08/09, Savard amassed 359 points in 320 games. Now you want to tell me that the Bruins wouldn’t have wanted to keep him on even if he had diminishing returns?

Garbage. Pure. Garbage.

Posted by ilovehomers on 11/25/16 at 09:08 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

That is some first class trolling from I love homers

Since he wants to talk about Marc Savard, lets talk about Marc Savard.  Savard has worked as a scout in the OHL several years ago now.  What he hasn’t done is absolutely anything to try to return to the NHL as a hockey player.  He retired in all but name.  It would have salary cap consequences if he retired so his teams are purporting a salary cap fraud.  Boston doesn’t want him.  Neither do any of the teams his salary gets passed around to in trades.  Savard is retired.  There is nothing he is doing now that is inconsistent with that statement.  He isn’t even trying to play.

My prediction is that not too long after his contract expires, he plays in an oldtimers game of some sort.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 11/25/16 at 09:42 AM ET

Canucklehead's avatar

Why would any of these guys officially retire before their contracts are up?  Seriously.  I know I wouldn’t.  They’re getting paid millions of dollars per year.  Millions.  Who’d walk away from that kind of money?  There’s nothing a team can do to force a guy to retire.  So, teams are doing what they can in order to help their salary cap situations.

And, even if a guy wanted to retire, he’s not going to want to screw his former team over by killing their salary cap with cap penalties.  Pronger’s cap hit of $7M (or whatever it is) stays with Philly whether he’s retired or not since he signed the contract when he was over 35.  Franzen, I believe, has one of those contracts that could trigger cap recapture penalties for the Wings.  By not retiring, these guys are helping out their old teams.

Posted by Canucklehead from Ottawa, Ontario on 11/25/16 at 09:54 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Trolling??? TROLLING? Did you not read ANY of those excerpts, even after I posted the LINK TO THE ARTICLE written in The Boston Globe???

I KNOW you didn’t read it, because the article clearly says that he is a coach now, but you go back to the scout thing. Good job on that.

The fact that he has a job that wont WRECK HIS BRAIN like a scout, coach, or even if he played in an “old timers game” with NO HITTING, he is avoiding hits that jar and bruise his brain that cause depression, short term memory loss, SUICIDAL THOUGHTS that we have seen athletes act out on from the NFL to the NHL. You don’t get knocked around by grown men in a scouting position like you would in professional hockey.

Are you stupid or ignorant?

Come on Paul, are you even reading what this guy posts and comments?

Posted by ilovehomers on 11/25/16 at 10:05 AM ET


That is some first class trolling from I love homers

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 11/25/16 at 08:42 AM ET

The irony! You’re either trolling, extremely uninformed, or negligibly ignorant on the subject you are trying to report on.

If you’re trying to get people riled up, then good job I guess. If you truly think Savard or Franzen are purposely being buried for cap reasons when they could still perform safely in the league then you need to do some research. Point out the flaws in the system if you want, but you should be ashamed of the way you’ve framed this story.

Posted by MZ2215 on 11/25/16 at 10:10 AM ET

w2j2's avatar

The teams and players are just following the rules on LTIR.

If the NHL does not like it, they can change the rules.

Posted by w2j2 on 11/25/16 at 10:12 AM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar


The problem here is the NHL likes the way this is happening.  There is a salary cap so owners can maximize profits and despite the cap teams have an out if they sign a bad contract.  They effectively retire and send a player to LTIR if dealing it through more legitimate means was too damaging to them.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 11/25/16 at 11:08 AM ET

TeamDub's avatar

I am loathe to give tpsh any attention whatsoever, but this is so fantastically stupid, even by tpsh standards.

Again - why, Paul?

He beclowns an otherwise great site.

Unreadable garbage.

Posted by TeamDub from The gratch. on 11/25/16 at 11:49 AM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

We all assume Cleary had/has pictures of Ken Holland that Holland doesn’t want out. What does this anonymous blogger have on PK?

Posted by ilovehomers on 11/25/16 at 12:05 PM ET

Paul's avatar

To answer some of the emails and comments here.

You as a KK member have the right to question topics such as this, not questioning topics like this and question me too.

While I don’t agree with the blog post like many others, he can write whatever he wishes (within reason and somewhat good taste) and again you can question what is written.

I don’t agree with some of the click bait references, hell he posted this on Thanksgiving evening for many of you.

Again, my opinion of the post is not even something I would even approach, he did and you do too.

Also, if you feel he has ‘something on me’, that is an insult directly to me and you are way off base.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 11/25/16 at 12:06 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

Also, if you feel he has ‘something on me’, that is an insult directly to me and you are way off base.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 11/25/16 at 11:06 AM ET

Amen, Paul.
Who gives a crap about what people blog or post for that matter. It’s all about opinion and discussion no matter how silly you all think it is. There’s plenty of posters I don’t agree with and plenty who don’t agree with my feelings about my favorite sports team as well. That’s no reason to get butt hurt.


Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 11/25/16 at 12:13 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Kuklas Korner….

Where we have a good community of RW fans, good RW Blogs, National and individual team coverage from some of the most respected writers and personalities in hockey. Videos? You got it. Insightful, informative, etc.

And then theres TPSH ,who picks an “early season MVP” 1 week in and clearly only looks at stats pages/doesnt watch any games.

Posted by ilovehomers on 11/25/16 at 12:26 PM ET

w2j2's avatar

I enjoyed this post by TPSH.
He brought up some issues worth talking about, and he took a look at the Red Wings payroll from a different perspective.
I like that.
By raising the questions, he forces me to think objectively.
If I do not agree, then I have to think about why I do not agree.
Good for him.

Posted by w2j2 on 11/25/16 at 01:03 PM ET


You know what the funniest part of this fail blog is? it’s not even a new take, he tried floating this same garbage in 2014 and it went down like a lead balloon then.


Any more warmed over garbage you’d like to retry?

You want to call these players “retired”. Why?

Because they no longer play hockey. They no longer are attempting to play hockey.  They would be officially retired were it not for their salary cap situation.

It isn’t uncommon historically for a player to retire because of injury.  What is uncommon and unethical is for a player to effectively retire and be called “active” when he is making no further attempts to ever play an NHL game.  It is unethical because this gives a team a benefit that retirement wouldn’t.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 10/09/14 at 03:00 PM ET


Posted by MZ2215 on 11/25/16 at 01:16 PM ET


Come now PuckStopsHere!  A concussion is a serious brain injury.  Given the quality of your piece here I’d expect you to sympathize with brain damage of any sort.

Posted by BarryKlob on 11/25/16 at 01:50 PM ET


Dustin Byfuglien is a big physical defenceman.  His playing style has to be tough on his body.  Historically many big physical players have had shortened careers due to injury issues.  That may be in Byfuglien’s future.

So Byfuglien’s career trajectory being terminated by injury = okay

Franzen’s career trajectory being terminated due to injury = great big fraud perpetrated to help the Wings get under the Salary cap.  Gotcha.

Posted by BarryKlob on 11/25/16 at 02:21 PM ET

PuckStopsHere's avatar

Barry Klob

Reading comprehension is not your strong suit is it?

Let’s make a Byfuglien prediction.  He is signed until 2021 with a $7.6 million salary cap hit.  By that point he will be 36. 

Should Winnipeg (or whatever team Byfuglien plays for at that time) need cap space if when there is a year or two left in his contract he may be retired to the LTIR with whatever nagging condition he has at the time.  It is a possibility that we can see this far in advance.

Posted by PuckStopsHere on 11/25/16 at 03:18 PM ET


Nice try.  But you clearly weren’t implying any form of shelving in that piece.  You distinctly said:

His playing style has to be tough on his body.  Historically many big physical players have had shortened careers due to injury issues.

That’s not insinuating “a team that needs cap space will shelve him,” that’s very much stating that he will be sidelined due to genuine injury issues.  Issues you attribute to his playing style.  Unless, of course, that style involves a catastrophic brain injury, as you seem to believe, and indeed you may be living proof of, that the brain is somehow an unessential part of the professional career.

Posted by BarryKlob on 11/25/16 at 04:22 PM ET

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About The Puck Stops Here

imageThe Puck Stops Here was founded during the 2004/05 lockout as a place to rant about hockey. The original site contains over 1000 posts, some of which were also published on FoxSports.com.

Who am I? A diehard hockey fan.

Why am I blogging? I want to.

Why are you reading it? ???

Email: y2kfhl@hotmail.com

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