Modern day NHL has developed into a business more focused on dollars and cents, than it is hockey. In the past decade alone, we have seen several lockouts as a result of a couple million dollars. Both players and owners have become so engulfed in greed that they forget how lucky they are to be in their position.
These men and women make outstanding salaries for taking part in a business they love. Since when has money been more important than the game itself? As fans, it is amazing that these millionaires can withhold a sport from the very people who fill their wallets. Year in and year out, fans suffer because players and owners argue over money we pay them for the sport we all love.
It has come to the point where players will not play unless they are paid unbelievable salaries. If a General Manager does not meet these demands, the player will simply leave and play elsewhere. Young players coming up into the NHL have become so narcissistic that money is more important than their team, and the game itself. In 2011, L.A. Kings defenceman Drew Doughty, re-signed with his team. His new contract is worth 56 million US dollars, spanning over eight years.
At the tender age of 22, Doughty refused to play until he got the contract he desired. The team reportedly negotiated several contracts with the young player, only to have him refuse the offers. In January, 2013, Montreal Canadiens Defenceman, P.K. Subban played a similar card. He sat out the first two weeks of the season because he could not come to terms with the team. At 23 years old, this young, unproven player reluctantly signed a 2 year, 5.75 million dollar deal.
“The NHL’s have-nots often struggled to meet the salary floor under the previous CBA, which had a fixed salary cap and salary floor $16 million apart. This deal will calculate the salary cap and salary floor as a 15 percent variance from a designated midpoint, which will be based on the league’s revenue growth formula, making it easier for poor teams to fill a roster without inflating contracts.” – Katie Carrera, Washington Post
At this point in time, I do not know what is more important to the NHL, money or the game of hockey. It seems like everybody is taking every last cent they can. If this keeps up, it will not be long before we see a change. The most likely candidate is NHL commissioner, Gary Bettman. Not to say this is his fault, but there is always one guy who takes the brunt of the blame in any problem such as this.
I would not be surprised to see a new commissioner in the next 5-6 years. Expect some serious negotiations to come up when this latest agreement is over. If the NHL cannot afford to keep salaries this high, players will likely move and play in European leagues if they can offer more money.