Discussion in 'Fugu's Business of Hockey Forum' started by Dave is a killer, Sep 22, 2004.
YOUR SUSPICIONS WERE RIGHT
Funny....the Fourth Period swears it was the St. Louis Blues that caused all the problems.
Whoever wrote that article doesn't understand what he is talking about.
I guess you can throw them in their too
I think that argument the author uses is complete crap. Joe Sakic got 7 million a season because he was worth 7 million a season. If the Rangers were the ones screwing up the market and overpricing players then Colorado never would have matched the offer, they would have waved goodbye to Joe and spent the money saved on other players to replace him AND recieved 5 first round picks, but they didn't because they felt Joe was worth the money. All the Rangers did was cut out the B.S. and get to the fair market value of Joe Sakic.
All this talk about how the Rangers are to blame for everything is simply food for morons. The Rangers have never vastly overpriced their players. Look at Bobby Holik, who a lot of people love to say was overpaid, the guy got 8.75 from the Rangers because that is what the market dictated his worth. If the Rangers wouldn't of signed him, someone else would have for about 8.5. The labor market in the NHL is fairly competitive and no one team can be solely blamed for the inflation of player salaries.
Here's where the Blues had an impact: until the Blues, *no one* was going to pursue an RFA - the price was too high. The Blues were willing to give up 5 first-round picks for Scott Stevens, and the league just shuddered at the thought that some team would do that. (As we all know, the Blues tried it again with Shanahan and lost Stevens in the process....and the Caps by and large squandered those 5 first-round picks - the biggest player they drafted with them being Brendan Witt.) But...that just opened the door for players to be able to move between teams despite being restricted free agents. It did affect the salary structure to a point, but not that much.
Where the salary structure really got upset is with deals like the ones mentioned for Sakic, Selanne, Kariya, and Carolina's attempt to get Fedorov....but it *really* got screwed up when the Rangers offered Stephane Quintal, at best a #4 defenseman, $16 million over 4 years and Sylvain Lefebvre (a good defensive defenseman who was realistically approaching the end of his career) $20 million over 5 years. Also look to what Martin Lapointe got from Boston, and it's easy to see where $1.5 million players turned into $5 million players.
In the author's defense, he appears to make that claim based on the quote from an anonymous GM. So, the GM must the one who doesn't know what he's talking about.
I thought there were some pretty good points there - although it's all pretty obvious.
I wouldn't go so far as to blame the Rangers solely for it... there were a lot of teams that didn't take a hard stance on negotiating with group 2's... and it still happens.
the Kariya deal back then was absolutely insane... the team obviously caved, due to the pressure of losing games... but to give a guy without arbitration rights that much is insane.... the Sakic deal was also a clear cut indication to the rest of the league that money matters - how many teams could afford the front-ended contract like that... Colorado matched cause they had to, but if they weren't coming off a Cup a couple years earlier and weren't selling out every single game in their arena that signing might not have happened.
there were a lot of other teams though that need to share the blame... the Leafs also offered a contract to Ohlund - a rookie who had never played an NHL game before, that the Canucks matched... there was also the Fedorov deal with Carolina.
the idea behind the last CBA was that while there was no cap, there was a way of controlling salaries - those of younger players (group 2s specifically)... until a player had arbitration rights they couldn't do anything else than holdout, and even under arbitration, the sky wasn't the limit in salaries - the highest arbitration awards given was (and still is, year's later) $7mill/yr, which doesn't compare to the $10 mill rfa contracts that some teams gave out - or the $11 mill that went to Forsberg.
the problem was that teams didn't use the tools that the CBA gave them to keep salaries down.
The Canucks are very much to blame for the contract they gave Messier. The Bruins are to blame for the Lapointe contract. I can't believe Yashin's wasn't mentioned. Or the offer sheet Chicago gave to Tkachuk.
Messier's wasn't a good contract, but it was far from one of the worst... $6mill a year wasn't that bad considering he was still a top leader back then... it got worse because of the length of the deal, and paying him that much near the end of it.
either way, it's irrelevant... it was a UFA contract, not a contract for a group 2 player, who didn't have the option to sell his services to the highest bidder... those were the problem contracts under the current CBA.
when a player becomes a UFA, they have more rights then guys like Kariya who couldn't opt for arbitration, or Sakic, who was still a restricted free agent.
What about the Fedorov contract offer?
Because it is a transparent attempt to put the blame on a few things and clear the players of all responsibility, when they are in large part responsible for the mess we are in.
The article tells you early what it attempts to do:
All three deals did irreparable damage to a CBA that should have worked better. And don't blame the players, it's not their fault.
But no, this is lie and bull****. The players ARE to blame and the CBA could NOT work.
And trying to zero in on three meager examples is ludicrous. The fact is, there are PLENTY of ****ed up contracts. The bar has been constantly raised throughout the years. If there were only a few isolated incidents, I'd tend to blame a few owners but this isn't what happened.
-The Theodore and Iginla contracts.
-Joe Thornton's controversial rookie contract.
-Fedorov's offer sheet from Carolina (the true precursor of Sakic, contrary to what this ******ed writer seems to think).
-Holik and Yashin's demented contracts.
-Leclair robbing the Flyers
-Brad Richards making life a little more difficult for other GMs
-Leonsis bending down and begging Jagr for the big hurt
-Marty Lapointe's deal by the Bruins, normally seen as one of the fiscally stingy
-Bertuzzi's latest contract, while fans continue to be deluded into thinking Burke is such a bright guy
If I went chronoligacally, year by year, I would find examples every year that the bar gets raised by every team.You'll find a few writers who think they can isolate three or four events and "figure out" what went wrong.
They do not deserve anything but a good kick in the nuts if they can't see this CBA doesn't work. The little theories are all bogus. This CBA sucks. And the owners AND players share responsibility.
This is low quality NHLPA propaganda. Put the blame on a few teams and wash your hands. Yeah, right
I forgot about Messier and Tkachuk, good thing you named them!
I'm sure we could look around and find many more, if less spectacular.
of course... it's a given that you can't blame one side for the entire mess... although IMO a large amount of it goes to one side.
but what the article says is not all untrue... the article does go beyond that by only blaming one side exclusively, and that's somewhat wrong (not entirely though IMO), but the contracts it does point out to are bad contracts that did hurt the salary structure in the current NHL... sure there were many others that it failed to mention... I also think that ownership should shoulder a lot more of the blame than players in this situation.
at the end of the day though, I still blame the owners for it... hard to blame players in this situation, as in their situation I don't think I could have done it any differently.... from the player's POV when you negotiate a new contract you go for gold - everytime without a doubt... if the ownership is willing to pay it, even if they don't want to, I'm going to try my hardest to get them to pay.
A player or agent isnt' going to say, "no that offer is too much, I think we should take less..." they aren't going to turn down money, and they aren't going to ask for less than they feel they could get - nothing to do with what they deserve.
If Kariya sits out and wants $10mill a year, and he gets it, how can you blame Kariya at all for the process?? he got what the Ducks negotiated with him... he had every right to hold out and not sign... where the ducks screwed up was to cave in... they could have taken that $10mill and instead gone after replacement players and let Kariya sit on his ass until he caved - the CBA gave managment that card to play... Kariya sitting out for 2 yrs until he gets his arbitration rights hurts Kariya a lot more in the long run.
that's why I can't really blame the players in this... they are working in a market, and yes things are a mess right now, but at the end of the day, they are still assets out there peddling their work for the most they can get in the market that the spenders build.
now the owners - if they are going to dish out $20mill RFA offers, and give 23 yr olds $10 mill contracts, they shouldn't be complaining about the escalating salaries because they are the ones escalating the salaries.... if a 23 YO 99pt Kariya gets $10mill, then the next player that is around that age, and gets those kind of points, has every right to ask for as much... the players are demanding what they feel they can get, and that won't (and shouldn't) change. If I'm Kariya, and I think I can get $10mill from my team for sitting out for 30 games, while being in a situation where that salary gives me a minimum qualifier at $10mill, or I become a UFA, why the hell wouldn't I push every button to get it?? if ownership made it clear from the start there was no caving in - sign at a reasonable amount or spend your next few years not playing in the NHL - then as a player I might be more hesitant to ask for and holdout for that much.
and no, I don't think that any one team can shoulder the blame for all this, it's a collective responsiblity.... what makes it hard is that you're not in one market where all teams have a fair chance at competing with one another, but that's another story.
as it is though, in the market that ownership and players collectively created, under the last CBA which both sides agreed to, the cards were in the hands of ownership and management to control the situation - not in the players... the players are sellers here, not buyers - it's the buyers that determine how valuable an asset should be... if no one buys at whatever cost the sellers want, the market wouldn't establish that cost for that particular asset, or other comparable assets.
and that's exactly what happened... the ownership side established asset value by how much they were willing to spend... that's why the main load of this blame - if you feel that blame needs to be assigned - should go to the buyers who are establishing how much an asset is worth - not the asset that is trying to get the most they possibly can.
Exactly why blaming the Rangers is utterly ******ed since all the big contracts were just that. UFA contracts.
your points here like 'the ducks shouldn't have caved if they couldn't afford it and they could have gotten replacement players for the 10 mil they gave kariya' have been argued and debated about time and time again here
the main argument with that statement is, would the ducks have gotten the same draw that kariya brings w/ those replacement players, and would they have had any more success with those replacement players, in truth who knows, as a thought, most likely no.... that still doesn't explain why a player such as kariya, or any player for that matter feels that they DESERVE high seven, or even 8 figure salaries
before anyone launches into 'the market dictates' garbage... we all know the market has been broken by mainly a few GM's, the market can't fix itself on it's own, it needs help from both sides... some people have said then the owners should just fire the GM's... well obviously the GM's have done enough good for the owner NOT to fire them so another scenario needs to be worked out, as i said it needs work from both sides, yet both sides are TOO freaking stubborn right now to do a damn thing about it
burke's original proposal that was aired during the WC final has been the best starting point anyone has seen yet, and still neither side has even tried to concede that there might be possibility there.... at least i haven't heard either side say it
edit: one last thought before anything is said to the effect: the players SHOULDN'T have to fix what the owners did, but on the flip side, the owners SHOULDN'T have to fix what the agents have done over the years... i believe if you set the agents cut at no more than a certain $ figure then you wouldn't see half the HUGE contract demands, yeah an agent may want what's best for the player, but make no mistake about it, while he's getting the certain % out of that contract HE wants what's best for HIMSELF as well
Just to show you it's not just the owners Tkachuk also held out twice in Phoenix for more $$$ even though he already had a valid contract.
no doubt the agents aren't in it for the players - no more so than the players are in it for the game... or the owners are in it for the fans... or even the fans in it for the love of the game!
it's all about themselves here... GMs do what they do to retain their job... agents do what they do to make the most for themselves.. the cycle goes on.
and why shouldn't it?
if I'm an agent I don't want a cap because it restricts my earning power... you say the game will suffer - let it... if I have a 20-30 yr (or whatever) window to earn as much money as I can for the rest of my life, what comes first - the game, or how comfortably my family and I can live for the rest of our lives?
same goes for the players... you think Kariya is worried that he wont' get a cheque anywhere being a hockey player?? no... his concern is about how much money he can make.
and we all do that... how many of you feel that you are already compensated well enough in the jobs you do, that you wouldn't want more?? I know that there's a huge difference between what a hockey player makes, or an agent, and what the average person makes, but in the end it's all relative.
whatever market I'm in, I will want to earn the highest possible $ out of it... if I can live well making $100K a year, I can live better making $200K a year, even though I may not deserve it, I will still want it, and if someone is willing to pay it to me, then I won't turn it down.
in the end that's what it's all about... why should the top end players worry about a salary cap... why would they care about a 30 team league?? Kariya could make twice as much in a 15 team biggest markets league than a 30 team all-over-the- map league.
I do believe that this is what it's all about in the end... notions on what's fair for everyone is a pipedream... the most financially weak teams in the league will want a level playing field - because it works best for them... the strongest teams, in the end why would they want this? similarily the best players in the league - the top 50% of the players, will want what's best for them... while cutting the league from 30 to 15 teams costs 350 jobs, the PA might not even be worried about this (since it's usually vocally dominated by those that are at the top end)... the best players will get what they want in $$, the worst will have to find work in other leagues, and make less money.
this isn't about finding perfect solutions IMO... it's about working within reality.. we aren't in an utopian society here - rather a capitalistic one, where survival of the fittest is part of real life... expecting players to give up money because it's best for the game, while it may not be best for them or their families, isn't a realistic expectation... expecting Kariya to say that "I don't deserve $10mill a year, so I wont' ask for it" is living in a dream world.... he feels he deserves it because GMs paid it.
in the end everyone here wants what's best for themselves.. that's the reality of the world we live in.
and if you believe that fans don't, you're deluded too... fans want what's best for them... that's why you'll have fans in small market teams that have no problem with a lockout because they feel there is a problem with the NHL economics, while the biggest markets aren't going to recognize that... fans want hockey and their teams to be as competitive as possible in the league, they don't care about how much players make, or what owners can walk away with - they want what's best for themselves.
to criticize a player for this same thought is stupid IMO... forget about the love of the game... forget about making it fair for everyone out there... forget about utopian notions of completely level playing fields - there are way too many parties involved that are all thinking about themselves, and will want what's best for them.
and really, who can blame them... reality is, I doubt I would be any different in any of their situations... as a player I would be looking out for me and my family above all else... I would recognize a 10-20 yr window I have to earn my living for the rest of my life, and would want the most out of it... as an agent I'd want the same thing - to get the highest % of every contract, and try and get the highest $$ in every contract, because it directly would benefit me... and of course as an owner I would again want what's best for me - to run an organization with as little left to chance as possible - where there are ceilings on how much I can spend - which leads directly to ceilings on how much I can lose... where my organization's success is as little related to how carefully I spend my $$ or how "well" I run my organization as possible.
it's always all about "me, myself and I" and every side thinks that way, in every business around the world... that's reality.. the NHL isn't run by mother theresa living on a kabuitz, it's not played by socialists and enjoyed by fans who are solely in it for the "love" of anything.
and players like him - and Yashin, who did the same thing - I have no respect for.
as an owner I would refuse to sign him... why can't an owner refuse to pay a player, when a player can refuse to honor his contract?
that's not remotely the same thing as holding out for more money... when Kariya sat out, he wasn't under a legit contract... he did what he felt he could to get the money he wanted... and every player around the league saw Kariya benefit - not just that year - but pretty much throughout his career, for the move he made.
nothing wrong with that... what Tkachuk and Yashin did though was wrong... when you're under a contract you have as much an obligation to fulfill it as an owner does... if an owner is forced to pay you, when many times, players haven't earned what they are paid even relatively to the salaries around the league, then a player should be forced to play.
the NHL should have suspended them both, and made an example of them for what they did.
Another fine print detail for the new CBA, IMO... Explicit and severe punishment for those who do not honour existing contracts...
From the article:
...[Sakic's '97 deal] more than doubled his salary from the $3.1 million he earned in 1996-97....Suddenly, the benchmark for a top player under the age of 31 went from $3 million to $7 million....
Oh really? Why was that? Answer: because other teams subsequently allowed it to become the benchmark.
"...And then there was Kariya...He was looking for a big raise, but as a Group 2 restricted free agent with not enough NHL experience to qualify for salary arbitration, he had very little recourse...Under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, all the Ducks had to do is offer him no more than a 10 per cent raise. Kariya rejected his qualifying offer and did the only thing he could do: he skipped training camp and missed Anaheim's first 32 games. He wanted Sakic money....Disney...caved in and gave Kariya a two-year, $14-million deal in December 1997, a monstrous raise which changed the Group 2 market forever...."
Many of the same fans who rip Kariya for taking the obcene money were likely ripping the Ducks for not quickly giving into his demands back in '97. And you know what? The Ducks were stupid for doing so! Bet if they could turn back time, Kariya would today be in his 7th year of his '97 contract holdout. Lousy management decision by the Ducks...replicated by many other teams across the league in subsequent situations. NYR is a wonderful target for all that is wrong with the NHL. Unfortunately, to lay blame on one organization for the pathetic decisions of other businesses (teams) is a simplistic and incorrect notion. NYR has made enough stupid decisions of its own. Don't blame them for the stupid moves of others. Some GMs (e.g., Lamariello) to this day show discipline and the ability to say "no" to unrealistic player salary demands. The good GMs know when to dish out the $$$ and when to walk away.
"Those deals [Kariya; Selanne] would not have happened without the Sakic signing in '97."
They didn't have to happen, regardless of the Sakic deal! If Anaheim exhibited patience and stuck to their principles, their own limits on salaries, then those contracts would not have been handed out (at least by them). No one held a gun to their head. They chose to offer the contracts, wriote out the checks. But let's blame that on NYR. Yet another misleading thread title here.
If it were that simple, the league wouldn't have a problem right now. And I think we can all agree that there is a problem.
One particular set of incidents does not, on its own, cause such a large-scale problem (at least in this case). There are many other pieces of this puzzle. Maybe this is larger than some others but it still doesn't give the entire picture of the problem. You can't then reason, for one side or the other, that is the actual cause. Well, I suppose you could but it doesn't follow a chain of logic that well. But then again, what around here really has?
Too many other factors played their part. Some we know and understand, some we know but don't really understand, and others that are completely out of our realm of knowledge. It's a fairly lofty pronouncment to say that this one particular set of circumstances led to this particular outcome, and that it's true. Very lofty since we're missing or we misunderstand the information that fits into those large gaps. Now you see why I read like a fortune cookie sometimes; I have so few real specifics that all I can spout is a generalized view.
Sakic was an RFA.
The Avs were still in McNichols and the revenue wasn't as good. Comming up with the money was a close call. The Rangers specificaly frontloaded the contract to try and break the Avs grip. During the season teams were making noise about signing both Sakic and Forsberg to offersheets under the assumption the Avs wouldn't be able to match both, the figure being bandied about was $5 million a season. Milbury was dropping hints (he thought he had cash then.) Forsberg took a new contract before the season which aleiviated the situation somewhat.
I think it's visibly easier to blame the players, and more fun too, because after all they're the one getting paid millions to do something that we all love, and would do for free, or at least minimal compensation.
However the owners are just as much to blame, if not more, than the players. In a supply/demand marketplace, demand controls cost and inflation. The players exploited the current CBA into making the owners believe that supply was limited, when in fact it wasn't, and hence raised their salaries. To be honest, I'm currently in Thailand, and don't really give two ***** about how long the lockout goes for, but there's no immediate resolution unless the players give up a little (perhaps a salary cap, bonus incentives not included) and the owners give up a little (perhaps lowering the UFA age drastically, to say 26, and making qualifying offers 15% or so). I understand why the league wants to restrict free agency, but if you take away that restriction, your franchise players aren't going anywhere, they're just going to be signed to longer deals. Every team has a player they want to keep a long time, so they'll try to sign them to a deal as long as possible.
I personally would rather see the NHL crap out and start over so long as it meant a semi-level playing field. Watching football where every team (more or less) has a legitimate shot at winning a game is more exciting than watching Pittsburgh play Toronto, or Chicago play Detroit (a matchup that's supposed to be exciting). Parity in the league is all I want, and if that means removing restricted free agency, then so be it. Mats Sundin will still be in Toronto so long as they want him. If someone wants him more, and is willing to dedicate more cap room to him, then so be it. Let the rangers have Joe Sakic, Carolina have Federov, Chicago have Tkachuk etc. Your favorite player doesn't have to be on your favorite team.
Ahh, nonsensical rambling. Excellent way to start off a semi-productive day of outsourced programming.
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