Friday, June 24, 2005

Can you two just get along... ?

I suppose the answer to my own question is no. Tom Benjamin and I, we differ on many things. Often I wonder if it's best for us to agree to disagree and continue on our merry way, both producing content for our blogs and, I'm sure, being read by many of the same ardent hockey fans. Tom, the vitriolic voice of the anti-Bettman masses, and myself, a humble rookie scribe who has come to accept the business-comes-first side of pro sports.

Still, for all our bickering, once in a while, I feel the need to comment on what old TB is up to. Here we have, from 'Idiot Proof':
The ideal from the ownership side will be a hybrid - teams will be forced into that range with the above average teams tending to be in the big markets and the below average ones in the small markets.
The ownership side being the owners? Half of which (or, debatably, more) are small market owners? So... half of the ownership side want their own teams to be the below average ones. Interesting premise.

Now, while I jest often with the man, I have a great deal of respect for TB. He's been at this blogging deal for a good deal longer than myself and has built quite a following. He also, if I may say so, is amazingly adept at out-of-the-box thinking. An NHL columnist would do well to stop by Tom's burg on a slow day and mine for material.

That said, I really, genuinely disagree with 80 per cent of what's on his site. That's certainly not a problem, as opposing views are what makes the debate go 'round, but perhaps I'll table what constitutes my final offerings on the matter. (Consider my sacrifice people, knowing how rarely I choose to sully myself with talk of CBAs and such)... cue the 'I believes'...
  1. I believe the NHL needs a salary cap.
  2. I also believe that almost the only way in which to achieve this goal was by missing at least a significant portion of a season, if not the whole year.
  3. Final belief... Considering where the NHL is and where other pro sports leagues are, it seems a cogently rational idea to follow their lead when it comes to business dealings and CBA issues.
The old idiom is: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Without a doubt, the NHL's financial system was broken. And while the soon-to-be-completed new CBA will undoubtedly be flawed, it's my belief that it'll be an improvement over the free-for-all of yesteryear.

That said, this is the NHL first crack at instituting a salary cap, and it will not be a seemless transition. TB's warnings about capologists ring true.

In other words, don't be surprised if, upon the expiration of this new CBA, talk of a lockout resurfaces. Six years from now, we very well could be, as they say, back where we started.

At least, however, the NHL will have moved in the right direction (if only momentarily).

Top referrer: Tom Benjamin

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