Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Step right up, the NHLPA has a deal for you

*queue circus music, dancing clowns, a man on stilts and the bearded lady*
Bob Goodenow: "Step right up, I have got a deal for you. 24% off all players! Bargains for any taker!

"Looking for a centerman to start your franchise? Look no further than our sporty Yashin model... this 31-year-old has averaged 58 points the past three seasons and his club has bowed out in the first round of the playoffs in all but one year in his career. He enjoys long holdouts and playing hard when it suits him. Get him now for the low, discounted price of $7.6 million a year.

"Don't need a center? How about a filling a spot on the wing with coveted 'power forwards.' Our very own Leclair has been marked down to $6.84 million, a bargain for a 35-year-old who hasn't cracked 60 points since 1999-2000. I'll even throw in a Lapointe, who had 18 and 25 points the past two seasons. Only an additional $3.04 million.

"On defense, why not have a look at the Kasparaitis and Hedican, who combined last season for eight goals. Today you can own the pair for the low price of $5.77 million.

"In goal, a Dunham can be had for $2.74, a great price for a subpar starter who boasts one winning season.

"This whole starting lineup is yours for just $26 million.

"But that's not all... There are plenty of deals: Guerin. $6.75-mil, Turgeon. $5.32-mil, Ozolinsh. $4.18-mil, Savage. $2.85-mil, Devries. $2.36-mil, Richardson. $2.09-mil, Irbe. $2.09-mil, Salei. $1.82-mil, Cullimore. $1.75-mil, Brashear. $1.67-mil, Ward. $1.52-mil, Skrastins. $1.425-mil"

The NHL is a farce, and it has been for far too long. Many, many players are still overpaid even with a large slash to their salaries (24%, as proposed by the NHLPA), and under the deal proposed, there would be very little to significantly curb spending.

Teams like the Edmonton Oilers are struggling to survive with a $30-mil payroll (a measly number by the standards set recently) even as their building routinely sells out. Oilers GM Kevin Lowe has worked wonders within a flawed system, but he has said that without a workable CBA under which to work, he will resign as GM. Lowe has reached his breaking point after years of operating under maddening conditions, and I can't say I blame him. No GM should continually make prudent financial and hockey decisions only to have his team trounced by those with bloated payrolls.

No hockey at all is better than limping along under such conditions.


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