OTTAWA - With a CBA skirmish upon us, it’s mind-numbing when you consider some of the ridiculous contracts owners are handing out to NHL players.
Guilty as charged, the same owners that commish Gary Bettman says are united in fixing the NHL.
Let’s go back a few years. How about the $87.5 million over 10 years the New York Islanders agreed to hand over to Alexei Yashin? That worked out so well, the Islanders gave him a golden handshake and $17.63 million to say goodbye with four years still remaining on the contract.
The same team, same owner, Charles Wang, decided to give goalie Rick DiPietro a 15-year contract worth $67.5 million. He’s been injured much of the time since, playing just 152 games in six seasons, winning 72 of them.
On the Island, there definitely is a right way and a Wang way.
And we’re supposed to feel sorry for these guys?
Fast forward a bit. The New Jersey Devils tried to sign Ilya Kovalchuk to a 17-year deal. After a slap on the wrist from the NHL, they settled in at 15 years for $100 million.
Knowing that a new CBA might derail long-term contracts, owners and some of the richer teams rolled the Brinks truck up to the curb this summer.
A Stanley Cup-winning goalie, Jonathan Quick, got a 10-year deal; the Minnesota Wild gave Ryan Suter and Zach Parise 13-year deals; the Nashville Predators felt they had no choice but to match a 14-year offer sheet doled out to Shea Weber; and Sidney Crosby signed on the dotted line for 12 more years.
While Bettman tries to protect the have-nots, the haves continue to wave big money in the faces of free agents. It’s not like the commish can shake his finger and wag his tongue at the offenders. That would be some kind of collusion and unions tend to frown on those kind of shenanigans. And besides, the financially strong teams don’t really give a rat’s ass about the others.
It wasn't so long ago NHL owners thought they had stabbed a huge knife into the back of the NHLPA, getting the players to agree to a 24% pay cut.
And with the elite climbing all over themselves to hand out big-money contracts, the NHL is back looking for more.
Fans should be thinking about training camps and hockey pools. Instead, we roll our eyes as we listen to the rich trying to deal with the richer. Again.
- Ilya Kovalchuk, 13 more years at $88 million (about $11 million each of the next five years)
- Vincent Lecavalier, 8 more years at $55 million ($10 million each of next four years)
- Rick DiPietro, 9 more years at $40.5 million
- Scott Gomez, 2 more years at $10 million
- Jay Bouwmeester, 2 more years at $13.2 million
- Wade Redden, 2 more years at $10 million
- Ville Leino, 5 more years at $22.5 million
- Paul Martin, 3 more years at $14 million
- Mike Komisarek, 2 more years at $9 million
- Keith Ballard, 3 more years at $12.6 million
- Dennis Wideman, 5 more years at $26,250,000