Dollars and sense

DON BRENNAN, BRUCE GARRIOCH, CHRIS STEVENSON AND TIM BAINES

, Last Updated: 7:42 AM ET

BRUCE GARRIOCH: What's to debate? It will hurt. We know that. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out.

DON BRENNAN: I say it'll hurt, too. Next question?

TIM BAINES: You don't think Eugene Melnyk has a bit of sweat on his brow. In the space of a few months, he's lost 30 cents on every dollar. That's an $18-million hit on a $60-million payroll. That's not just pocket change, even to a guy like Eugene. That's genuine reason for concern about the way he does business. And don't think he didn't notice that the building wasn't full the other night.

GARRIOCH: Okay, here's my take: Canadian teams survived when the dollar was at 70 cents. They will survive this. Please don't start singing this tune that Canadian teams will be in trouble. They are the ones supported the most. Why does everybody overreact?

BRENNAN: Seriously, I'm stuck on this one. A collapsing dollar means Canadian teams can't afford to compete in free-agent bidding and means fewer people can afford tickets, and less corporate support?

GARRIOCH: I've been around a long time and I've seen a lot. We aren't going to see anybody follow in Winnipeg or Quebec's footsteps. Atlanta or Florida will disappear first. I just hate everybody making a mountain out this stuff.

BAINES I hope Florida doesn't disappear. I like vacationing there. But Bruce, Canadian teams charge excessive ticket prices. If fans are watching their budget, they're going to think twice about shelling out hundreds of dollars for a couple of hours in a rink. And that will concern the Canadian owners whose piggy banks have been jiggling through the good times.

BRENNAN: How many times have you gone to see a game in Florida, Tim?

BAINES: I don't care about the games in Florida. I care about Florida itself. If the state disappears, no more Magic Kingdom. What a tragedy that would be.

CHRIS STEVENSON: Forget the owners. The guys who should have sweat on their brow are the players. The rise of the Canadian dollar is what has been largely responsible for the rise in the salary cap. With a sub-80-cent dollar, I don't think there's any way the cap can remain where it is. Those escrow payments are finally going to be clawed back, I think.

GARRIOCH: Good point, Chris. Eugene Melnyk is dreaming if he really thinks the cap is going to go down. Revenues will stay high and then the players will have to pay out of their own pockets. The cap won't go down next year. Not a chance. We won't see an immediate impact.

BRENNAN: I agree with Chris. And I agree with Bruce. I can't see teams in the States surviving when nobody goes to the games. Or should I say nobody buys tickets for games. Sometimes they go when they get a free ticket for having a driver's liscence.

GARRIOCH: I just looked up: The sky isn't falling and there is no panic in the streets. The money has been spent this year and will continue to be. If you guys want me to agree that it will hurt, I will agree. But if you want me to buy into this panic-stricken attitude that Canadian teams will disappear, forget it. It won't happen.

STEVENSON: The Canadian teams have been pumping $50 million in equalization payments to teams like Florida and Nashville. The Canadian teams will be most affected by the plunging dollar. This is going to hit the weak revenue teams in the U.S. because the Canadian teams are going to have less to put in the pot. It's simple. Expenses are the same. Revenues decline.

BRENNAN: I agree with Chris.

BAINES: Did you even read what he said, or do you like agreeing with your buddy, Stevenson? Do you even know how to spell equalization?

BRENNAN: I do and I do. I just have trouble with liscence and occassion and restaraunt.

BAINES: So you're saying you can't spell. Good thing you're a journalist.

BRENNAN: : The one thing I am not is an economist. Therefore I cannot tell you what will become of the Canadian dollar, and therefore this discussion is mute.

BAINES: Don, the word is moot.

STEVENSON: But maybe you should be mute. What's that old expression? Better to keep your mouth closed and seem ...

GARRIOCH: I just laughed out loud.

BRENNAN: Put your laughter on moot, Bruce. I'm going to stop agreeing with Stevenson now. At least I can finish a sentence. I use the wrong word, but I don't have to dot dot dot the end of my thought.

GARRIOCH: Canadian teams don't give out complementary tickets like some south of the border. All you know in Fort Lauderdale right now is a Florida driver's licence to get a couple of seats. I've got an idea: Let's see what happens before predicting the end of world.

BRENNAN: I said that first, Bruce.

GARRIOCH: I was driving at the time. I am home now.

BRENNAN: You're not supposed to drive and text at the same time, Bruce. Cops are reading this stuff, you know.

STEVENSON: Anybody who doesn't think the falling Canadian dollar doesn't have dire consequences for the NHL probably thinks the Senators have a great chance to win the Stanley Cup. Sorry, Bruce.


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