Friday, June 29, 2012

Stop the insanity

Irony Design
It's more of a tragedy than a comedy but somehow along the way, expect the New York Rangers to become the bad guys during the contract negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA. They'll get blamed because when in doubt, blame the team in New York for all that is wrong with hockey.

Thursday saw Sidney Crosby signed a 12 year contract extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins worth 104.4 million and Jonathan Quick, a 10 year 58 million dollar contract extension with the Los Angeles Kings. Rumor has it that Carey Price of Montréal will be the next person to get one of these obscene contracts.

Remember back in 2004 how Gary Bettman swore that the NHL needed the salary cap in order to have some kind of fiscal restraint? Bettman said that unless the players agreed to a salary cap that the average NHL fan would be priced out of being able to purchase tickets.

Does anyone want to bet on what will be the very first thing that the NHL owners will demand from the players union? Why, of course it's going to be a limit on how long a contract can be.

See the NHL wants the players once again rescue them from their own stupidity. It's not the players who were going up and demanding these contracts who are to blame, but rather the owners and general managers who willingly give these contracts out.

The NHL talks about record revenues but yet why are there teams like the New Jersey Devils that are facing a serious financial crisis? How was does the league force the city of Glendale, Arizona, to cover the losses of the Phoenix Coyotes when they are making these kinds of revenues?

Of course it's going to be the New York Rangers who Gary Bettman is going to blame even though other than the Brad Richards 9 year contract, the Rangers haven't been giving out monster contracts since the lockout. If Gary Bettman really wants to blame somebody, he should look no further than his loyalists of supporters.

And do you know what is the most frustrating part about all of this? It's always these cute little disclaimers that unless you look really close most people won't see. Take, for example, the announcement that the NHL has raised the salary cap to $70.2 million for next season.

Looks great doesn't it as everybody's going to have money to spend but in the same announcement is this cute little disclaimer:

The cap, which will only be in effect until a new collective agreement is signed, will be used by teams as they negotiate contracts through the free agency period this summer.

Does anybody want to guess what item number 2 on the NHL's agenda is going to be? All of you who guessed that the NHL wants to cut the percentage of revenue paid to the players from 57% can buy themselves a ticket to a Ranger game next year that will have seen its price tag increased by 73%.

How can you cut the percentage of revenue paid to the players and honestly expect to see this 70.2 million dollar cap number to remain in place?

I will freely admit that I do not trust Gary Bettman and his gang of eight not to try something that will cause a shutdown of the league come next September. It's ironic how the biggest offenders when it comes to exploiting loopholes of the CBA are the very members of Gary Bettman's hand-picked executive committee.

Want to know when the hope of avoiding a lockout will end?

Probably the moment that Don Fehr and the players union ask to see the NHL's ledgers when the NHL claims poverty. NHL teams don't even want the other teams in the league to know what they are making.

Watch Don Fehr further get the NHL owners fighting among themselves when he proposes an increased revenue sharing program. Don't think for a second that teams like the Rangers or Red Wings would want to share money with the smaller market teams.

But that is OK, it will give Gary Bettman another reason to blame the Rangers.

Justin Schultz

Reportedly 5 teams are in the running for the rights to the former Wisconsin defenseman. The Rangers and surprisingly the Canadian teams are Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto, and Ottawa. It is also interesting that Calgary, Winnipeg and Montréal are not in the running.

The rumors that say the Rangers are supposedly in it is because of their Wisconsin connection (Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh)but I kind of disagree because Schultz only played for one season with the two Rangers.

I think the Rangers are actually in it to guarantee that Schultz gets the maximum amount of money allowed via the rookie salary cap. Supposedly Schultz is demanding almost instant playing time and I for one can't see Glen Sather or John Tortorella as willing to say "sure, you're a top four defenseman" just like that.

If I was a betting man, then I would place money on Vancouver mainly because Schultz comes from Kelowna, which is just up the road from Vancouver. Mom and dad are longtime Vancouver season-ticket holders as Schultz grew up playing in the BCHL.

Vancouver and Edmonton are both able to absorb the $3.875 million cap hit as well as the demand to be almost given his roster spot without having to earn it. I have to admit it but it is that demand for instant ice time that turns me off to Schultz.

Real hockey players say they want to earn their spot on the team not have given to him.

That's not to say that he wouldn't help the Rangers but more the more I see, the more I feel that the Rangers are being used here. Wouldn't be the first time, and doubtful it would be the last.

But if I was Justin Schultz, I would make sure that I always skated with my head up when playing against the Calgary Flames or Winnipeg Jets. Call it a hunch, but not including the other two Western Canadian teams might anger those teams.

If you don't want Parenteau or Jurcina

Then let's hear your options for a two to three-year player while the Rangers kids develop. My main thing in looking at these two is that I see them as short-term solutions that can be easily dumped when the kids are ready.

I just don't want to see the Rangers signing guys who are in their mid-30s because of that stupid stipulation about salary cap hits for those 35 and older. The majority of free agents are that old and that bothers me and makes me very nervous.

And I bet it does you too.

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