The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/26/11 at 07:43 AM ET
KK readers had a spirited and plain old smart discussion regarding yesterday’s quips from the Hockey News’s Ken Campbell, pegging the NHLPA and the players as the bad guys because the NHL’s salary cap floor has risen far past its initial post-lockout ceiling, with many comments stating the obvious—that a salary cap based upon league-wide revenues with a narrow, $15 million payroll range is never going to make it easier for the “have not’s” to compete, nor is it the players’ fault that they agreed to a fixed percentage of revenues that’s increased past the league’s projections—but the New York Post’s Larry Brooks brings us a declaration wrapped up in a, “Why the Rangers shouldn’t sign Brad Richards to an inflated contract” frame, suggesting that no matter what happens over the course of the NFL or NBA’s lockouts, we should expect the NHL to demand nothing less than both a rollback in salaries and a reduced “players’ share,” and that “creativity” or logic won’t hold sway. Instead, Brooks believes, the NHL and Gary Bettman will simply try to roll back the clock and bail out his owners’ mistakes on the players’ backs:
Gary Bettman’s utopia proved nothing of the sort. The entire concept of “gross revenue” in the NHL is fraudulent. Teams do not pool their revenue under any circumstance other than to arrive at a figure that’s then used to calculate the cap.
The entire premise of linkage the commissioner posited through the last owners’ lockout—that would all but ensure every franchise would be in position to make a profit—is counterfeit. It never made the slightest bit of sense the Islanders’ minimum payroll would be dependent on the Rangers’ revenues or the Hurricanes would have to spend more because the Maple Leafs make more money year after year after year. But common sense doesn’t matter. Percentage of the gross is Bettman’s baby. It is not going away. It is, however, going down, and if the owners have their way, it is going down dramatically, to somewhere in the range of 48-to-50 percent.
Beyond that, there will be a push to include minor-league contracts under the cap, to impose stringent term limits on deal, to transform the mid-point into the ceiling; to, in effect, claw back everything with which the tattered union emerged in 2005.
This isn’t a screed about the owners or the league or the relentless push in this society for the wealthy to become wealthier. This isn’t about the players. Not today, anyway. This is simply about pointing out the way of the future. The cap is going down. Club maneuverability is going to be limited. Mistakes will be far more difficult to erase. Big market fans will prop up the small market franchises.
The only way to prevent chaos—anarchy!—under a dramatically reduced cap is to effect a rollback accompanied by amnesty buyouts. But it is inconceivable Fehr, who is earning $3 million per as head of the PA (three times more than he earned as head of the baseball players’ union) would preside over a rollback in his one and only negotiation with Bettman and the Board of Governors.
Continued, and I sure as hell hope not, because we’ll be right back where we were in 2005, and on course for a fourth owners’ lockout in the latter part of this decade…
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About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.