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Has the NHL salary cap affected the league's on-ice quality?
Thu, October 14, 2010


When Sidney Crosby began the hockey season, he was skating on a line with Eric Tangradi and Mike Comrie.

Which is a lot like putting figure skates on Georges Laraque and expecting him to be elegant.

Ginger Rogers should dance with Gene Kelly. And Crosby, the most accomplished centre in the National Hockey League, should not be forced to carry around plodders, also-rans, wannabes, and those who can't possibly comprehend or take advantage of his immense talents.

And how do I say this nicely? This is what the salary cap era has done to the National Hockey League. It has stepped all over the toes of the greatest players in the game. It has, in a very serious way, choked the life out of hockey, at least in the big picture, out of the game I love.

What effect has the salary cap has on the NHL's on-ice product? Have your say in our forum.

Cap stifling NHL's brightest stars?


This comment is FULLY MODERATED.


I'd say the cap has definitely helped the NHL. It's not perfect, but at least every team now has a chance of getting at least one marquee player and competing. There's still room for sound management, teams like Detroit seem to be able to get players to sign for less because they want to play there. There also will be the inevitable Edmonton factor where good players don't want to go there because of the city and the increased travel. Overall I think the cap is better and although I am a Hab fan, I don't really care that there will be "no more dynasties", as people are alleging.

The downside to the cap that I see are that second tier players or older players are being squeezed out. Once the team has the Kovalchuk's locked in for ridiculous money and the rookies locked in at the league minimum, it's a race to sign because once the cap space is gone, it's gone. They either sign for $1M just to have a job or they sit around hoping an injury opens up a slot. Guys like Shanahan who could have added 50 more goals to his career total in the good old days, now have to sit, sign on for a year and show he can contribute, sit again the following year, and then quietly retire a year or two later. This to me seems a lame way to end a great career and almost seems disrespectful of the contributions that players like this have made to the game. I wish there were a way around this.

The other problem with the cap is that it goes up insane amounts each year, almost making it meaningless. The insane contracts are partially a result of the fact that they won't seem so nutty when the cap goes up more than 10% a year.
Rick W., 2010-12-12 20:21:34

If we were talking politics the salary cap would be called communism.

If Brian Burke can fill the building every night with the smartest hockey fans in the world to watch Ronnie Wilson pinch off a loaf at center ice then they should send money to Tampa Bay.

Your money Leaf fan. (nice helmet)

If Steve Simmons wasn't an idiot there'd be 2 responses to this question.

If I had all the answers I'd be Gary Bettman and you still wouldn't like me.

Just my opinion.
Gordie, 2010-10-15 11:55:06

As others have already pointed out, it isn't the cap that's hurting some teams, it's the idiotic ontracts tossed out to a precious few that forces teams to round out their rosters with guys named Joe. Using just 4 examples, Washington spends $27,488,462 of their cap on 4 players and next year face 8 UFAs (including Semin and Laich) and 1 RFA; Pittsburgh coughs up $30,400,000 for 5 players with 8 UFAs coming up along with 2 RFAs; Jersey forks over $31,678,660 to 5 players and face 7 UFAs and 1 RFA next year, among them Langenbrunner, Arnott, Pandolfo, Greene and Paris - good luck there); and Chicago spends $34,455,875 on 6 guys with 5 UFAS and 5 RFAs up for contracts next year (including Seabrook). Do the math.

I've said for years that the teams best situated to win consistently from now on will be those who have the best rosters of middle-range ($2.5 to 3.5 mil) players for a stronger line-up throughout. Right at the moment, as much as I hate to admit it, the Leafs are one of those teams far more balanced than any with high-priced stars. Even the best can be stymied by good forechecking.
Pragmatic, 2010-10-14 22:35:47

The salary cap isn't hurting the League. If Pittsburgh decides to put all their eggs in three baskets that's their decision. Crosby plays with garbage wingers sometimes because he relatively makes lots more money. After Crosby, Malkin and Fleury get paid, the team doesn't have much to spend on the rest of the team making it a boring team to watch. I hate the Penguins. When they won the Cup I think it's because they got lucky. Why does FANTASTIC Steve Simmons care about the Penguins anyway? Is he a traitor?
Rick the Simmons hater, 2010-10-14 22:25:56

Are you kidding, Simmons? You are kidding, right? We're supposed to feel sorry for some individuals paid millions of dollars a year to play a game? Are you kidding? The only thing wrong with the salary cap is that the neanderthals running Major League baseball have not embraced it.
pudge4, 2010-10-14 21:10:25

the salary cap has killed all chances of any oncomming dynasty. remember the oilers of th 80's, habs of the late 50's and 70's, the ilsanders of early 80's or the maple leafs of the early 60's. the nhl works under a redistribution system that sends the profits of wealthy markets like montreal to poor teams like tampa or phoenix. money is gathered and redistributed evenly throughout 30 teams, therefor the wealthy are limited so that the poor can survive. that may work in a human society, but this is a professional sport and fans are paying. it is not up to the wealthy teams to pay for the nhl's mistakes of trying to set up franchises in poor markets. especialy when tickets are sold a fifth of the price in cities like tampa bay. example: montreal regular games-30$-230$, tampa bay regular game-4 Tickets, 4 Hot Dogs, 4 Sodas 56$. kinda s!cks!
stanley, 2010-10-14 20:22:34

for starters, i'd like to point out that the canadiens haven't been near any danger of folding at all. as a matter of fact it's franchises like them that keep other teams like tampabay and phoenix from folding. in case you didn't know , the nhl is built around a redistribution system. when the habs sell out 41 games a year at the bell centre and just give their profits away to the league so that it can be redistributed evenly throughout 29 other teams, it seems to me that it is just a little unfair! especialy when tickets are sold fifth of the price in the non favorable market teams. fans should be getting what they pay for. if toronto (or any other team for that matter) fills up every night then why shouldn't they be able to buy the players they can afford. the cap has definately killed the chance of any team ever having another great dynasty such as the oilers of the 80's or the habs of the late 50's and 70's or even the islanders of the early 80's and the leafs of the early 60's. it's not up to the richer teams of the nhl to suffer the consequences of american expansion in markets that don't sell. as a habs fan, i tell you, there is nothing more that i'd like to see than tampa bay being shipped to quebec city and winning a few cups. but with a cap, obviously they will have to limmit their expenses and share their wealth with the slow markets.kinda suuuuccckkkkkss!!!!!!
stanley, 2010-10-14 20:03:38

If Crosby and Malkin didn't hog one-third of the team's payroll, the Pens could afford a better supporting cast.

If they want better linemates, perhaps Sid and Gino could help out by giving back some of their ridiculous $9 million they're each getting this year. With all of his endorsement deals, Sid can easily afford it.
Grossly Overpaid, 2010-10-14 18:59:39

Oh great. Let's go back to the days when the cup contenders were the same 5 teams every year and no one else has a chance.

Bob, 2010-10-14 18:53:31

Lets look at Mario Lemieux shall we? He made everyone around him (plodders, pluggers, and mediocre players) Better than they were, and a few of them even scored more than 40 goals in a season. Take the salary cap argument to the dumpster, where it belongs. Write good stories, not bogus crap like this ne please.
ROB, 2010-10-14 18:43:22

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