|(New York Rangers)|
Not even a full week has passed since the reported first offer to players by the National Hockey League was leaked; here are the Flyers making the kind of offer that under the NHL's own proposal would be illegal in the next collective bargaining agreement.
I was not kidding when I said that I expect there would be a civil war among NHL owners but never did I expect it to start this way. The Flyers have put the Nashville Predators up against a wall with a 14 year $100 million offer sheet and the Predators are in a "no-win" situation here.
The Flyers have basically made Don Fehr's argument that the NHL needs a revenue sharing plan to allow teams like Nashville to compete against the Flyers and their deep pockets. The smaller market teams like Columbus and Nashville will jump to that idea.
Teams like the Rangers and Maple Leafs will want to take the Flyers into an alley and leave them there. The cheering you hear is the NHLPA as Thursday should be a lot of fun for them when the NHL and NHLPA meet to talk about a new CBA.
Getting back to Nashville; how can they not match this offer if they wish to be able to maintain credibility with their own fans? They have already lost Ryan Suter to the Minnesota Wild via free agency so lose Weber and what are their fans going to think?
How does Nashville go back to their fans if they fail to match this offer and take the reported 4 first-round picks that they would receive in compensation? Unless the signing totally backfires on the Flyers, then Nashville would be looking at 4 first-round picks towards the back end of the first-round.
That is not even close to fair market value for a player of Weber's talent. Nashville coming off one of their best seasons in the NHL are basically back to the bottom of the pile without Weber.
As for the Flyers, one has to wonder how they could basically undercut their fellow owner's bargaining position? How can Gary Bettman say with a straight face that they really need all the concessions that are reported to be in the first NHL offer to the players?
Oh to be a fly on the wall when Gary Bettman sits at the table with Don Fehr and the NHL players and tells them how financially bad a shape the NHL is in. If I'm Don Fehr then I am inviting Shea Weber to sit at the bargaining table with the rest of the NHL players just to rub it in on the owners.
As for how it affects the New York Rangers, the only ones who will overreact will be the fans as now many a fan will panic and demand that Glen Sather go after Rick Nash or Bobby Ryan. Don't bet on Glen Sather panicking over this move because he's not going to think he has to make a move to match what the Flyers did.
Part of that has to do with knowing that sooner or later, either the new CBA will force the Flyers to cut payroll or that Columbus is gonna run out of options trying to trade Rick Nash. Columbus won't trade Nash to Detroit and now Philadelphia has to be considered as out of the running, leaving four teams reportedly in the hunt but only one the Rangers, who still can afford Nash's salary.
If Rick Nash decides not to report to Columbus's training camp (not that there will be one) then that will basically remove any hope Columbus will have of getting anything of value in return for Nash. Glen Sather knows that and Glen Sather will take full advantage of it.
That has been the way Glen Sather has traded for star players as Rangers GM and don't expect the soon-to-be seventy year old to change when he knows Columbus is out of options. So it will be Glen Sather's turn to put the gun to the head of Columbus and he will make him an offer they can't refuse.
But at least Sather will be dealing with reality rather than making the stupidity of a move like the Flyers.
Removing a fantasy
For years New York Ranger fans have had the impression that James Dolan pays very little attention to the New York Rangers. I hate to be the one to break the news but that is not the truth but rather a nice fantasy,
James Dolan may not hang out at Ranger games as he does New York Knick games but he's actively involved with what Ranger do. I know for a fact that Dolan attends the annual organizational meetings where the Rangers plot strategy for the draft, free agency, and the next season.
Don't think for a second that when Glen Sather wants to go out and spend $50-$60 million on the player that he does not talk it over with James Dolan,
James Dolan to his credit, has pulled off a pretty good act about not knowing much about hockey but both he and his father were season ticket holders of the New York Islanders during the 1970s.
Let's face facts when it comes to Madison Square Garden and their marquee events that the New York Knicks are basically the top dog. Imagine being the person who gets to decide which celebrity gets a courtside seat for free?
That's one of the perks that James Dolan gets as the owner of the Knicks. Being seen with the stars has to be one of the nicer things about being the owner of the Knicks and any one of us in his position would do the same thing.
Not a knock on the New York Rangers, but the NBA is what brings out the stars. It's not that those celebrities are actual Knick fans, but rather just want to be seen attending a game.
The celebrities who follow the Rangers tend to be real fans of the game and for the most part of the Rangers. They also tend to purchase their own tickets, which kind of kills the fun for James Dolan.
But while we as Ranger fans would like to see the Dolans sell Madison Square Garden; considering some of their peers among New York City team owners the Dolans are starting to look better each day.
Now that's a scary thought.