CBA benefits small markets

KEN WIEBE -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 10:47 AM ET

Ron MacLean enjoys movies, but he can't wait to get back into Coach's Corner on Saturday night's.

MacLean is thrilled the NHL lockout appears to be over and ready for Hockey Night in Canada to return.

With the new collective bargaining agreement expected to be ratified next week, MacLean says there are going to be huge challenges for general managers in terms of putting teams together.

"For all the talk about how this is going to show what general managers are all about, their hands are also going to be tied," said MacLean, in town for the Canadian Track and Field Championships. "The trade deadline will be a whole different kettle of fish. Teams will be in a real jam when they have injuries at the deadline because of cap concerns. The game is going to change and players are now going to pick teams by what places they want to live."

MacLean reiterated the new economic order may one day bring the NHL back to Winnipeg, but cautioned that roadblocks remain.

"The salary cap does give Winnipeg the chance to get back in, but the only flaw in that is that Carolina and Nashville and these teams in the south we were hoping would fold and come to Winnipeg are also benefiting from the new CBA," said MacLean. "The other concern I have is that if you're a player right now, the only thing you have to look forward to as a free agent is a better choice of environment. You used to be able to look for the money. And if you were a player right now and are kind of public enemy No. 1, you're almost looking to get out of Dodge."

MacLean fears this belief could cause an influx of players to go to places like Florida or Phoenix where they can stay out of the limelight and avoid the scrutiny they could face in Canadian markets.

"That's not good for us in Canada and I think there's going to be a bit of a two-year fallout," said MacLean. "But at the end of the day, hockey is going to go where hockey is loved and this is a great market."

As for the proposed entry-level salary cap, MacLean says a guy like Sidney Crosby will simply have to make his money elsewhere.

UNDER THE BUS

"Sidney Crosby is one of the victims," said MacLean. "They threw the young guys under the bus and that will always be the way, unfortunately seniority rules. But like Tiger Woods, most of the money will come outside of his salary. And that could depend on whether he goes to Buffalo or Columbus or New York."

As it pertains to Thursday's NHL draft lottery, MacLean has been experiencing a sense of deja vu.

"One of the first was back in 1971 when Gilbert Perreault went to Buffalo," he said. "I've get a hunch Crosby might be going to Buffalo. It's a funny feeling that I have."


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