Capped in the Head

I’m not sure if Brendan Shanahan has political aspirations, but if he doesn’t, he might want to consider it as a second career.
The guy is pretty smart.
He’s in yesterday’s Times, talking about what a good deal the new CBA is for players. Is he serious or just trying to make everyone feel better? I’m not sure. The thing is, though, that for all the player complaints about their new deal, everyone seems to be doing really well under the new deal.
Over in Philadelphia, GM Bobby Clarke had to give goaltender Robert Esche a two-year deal at an average of $1 million per year (login info.). Esche was actually due less money, but Clarke told the Philadelphia Inquirer he felt guilty about it. Hmmm. Possible. Or maybe Clarke realized if he underpaid Esche this season, he’d have no goalie next season. And because while the players were locked out, the owners didn’t take the time to workout any honor code, Clarke knew there would be no shortage of teams lining up to pay Esche a fortune next season. So he had to give him a raise this season.
Newsday’s Alan Hahn quotes some GMs as even thinking about signing the restricted free agents of teams close to the cap to high contracts. Under that scenario, if a team is too close to the cap, they can’t re-sign their player. Since one would imagine a team wouldn’t horribly low-ball a restricted agent, this would drive up the market value of players even more. And since arbitration is usually tied to recent contracts, salaries would edge up even more.
Steve Simmons sums up a closely related issue in less than 50 words: “If the Edmonton Oilers couldn’t make money pre-lockout spending less than $31 million on salaries, how exactly are they going to make money spending basically the same amount in an NHL that will bring in less revenue than before?”
You’ve got to love those long-term thinking GMs.