A University of British Columbia law review article suggests the NHL can improve financially without a blanket salary cap. Professor Stephen Ross writes that revenue sharing and team-specific salary caps can fix the NHL. Oh. And allowing players to be bought for cash. But that already happens in the NHL. It’s just sort of spun so it doesn’t seem like men are being sold instead of traded. I’m not sure I understand how you could justify a team-specific cap, either. Like after a team wins the Cup, you tell them ‘You’re done, guys. You can’t sign anyone else.’ That seems punitive.
The UBC article looks like it’ll eventually be found here. Am I the only one who didn’t realize law reviews have sports sections?
Oh. And Tim Panaccio’s Sunday column makes a very good point: the contracts of elite players aren’t the problem with the NHL. The problem is the contracts of the marginal players (login info.). Panaccio goes through a laundry list of third- and fourth-liners who have scored huge deals because GMs and owners don’t know any better. It’s a really good point.
The sad thing is, I don’t even think salaries are the NHL’s biggest problem right now. I wonder how many players are actually going to come back when the lockout is over. How many European players will go to the trouble of moving to the States if the money they’re making here is comparable to what they could make playing in front of their countrymen? And how many American and Canadian players will just find something else to do? Like Capitals goalie Ollie Kolzig is going to coach in the Western Hockey League during the lockout. He’s 34 and coming off a rough season. I imagine there’s a chance he won’t return to hockey when the lockout ends. And even if Kolzig does, there are probably at least a few other notable NHLers who’ll decide to stay where they are instead of coming back to salary caps and luxury taxes and clutching and grabbing. So the NHL’s real challenge isn’t surviving the lockout.
It’s surviving the end of the lockout.