August 8, 2005
Costly overspendingSome of NHL's big markets are shackled by poor decisions
By RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun
So NHL fans in Denver, St. Louis, Detroit, Toronto and New York aren't too happy about the new CBA.
Cry me a river.
In years past, those teams spent and spent and spent like there was no tomorrow -- to the detriment of the league as a whole -- and are finally paying the piper.
(In Colorado's defence, at least the Avs weren't constantly adding to their muscle by over-paying unrestricted free agents.)
Colorado, and to a big extent Detroit, benefitted from strong drafting and trading over the last decade but never had to face the problems clubs like Calgary and Edmonton had: The knowledge those players brought along would eventually become too pricey to hang onto.
St. Louis, Toronto and the Rangers were all too happy to give away what young players they had in exchange for those veterans priced out of the league's smaller markets.
It's poetic justice those clubs are facing problems now.
The Avs will be fine and in a couple of years will be retooled to the extent Milan Hejduk and Alex Tanguay will be their top two forwards -- as opposed to Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg -- while the Red Wings will base their team around the immensely talented Pavel Datsyuk.
Philadelphia, another big spender, at least had the sense to jettison some big contracts and bring in young talent -- though the Flyers will be a study in salary cap tight-rope walking for the next while.
St. Louis, Toronto and the Rangers are in trouble because of their short-sighted game plans.
However, before those teams and their fans whine too loudly, they must know the circle will turn. A year from now, Tampa Bay and Ottawa are going to be hurt because of the salary cap, a shame because they've built those teams from the ground up.
Even the Flames may face problems of their own in a couple of years. Success always comes at a price in a salary cap world. It's just those heavyweights that lacked the foresight to see what would transpire are the first to be hit by that reality.
RINK RAP: Don't you wish you were like Rob Niedermayer and had an older brother who could give you such great career stability with their clout? Paying $2 million US per season for a player who hasn't topped a dozen goals in a season since 1998-99 is bizarre ... Speaking of rich, there's Tie Domi telling the media to stop dumping on Leafs GM John Ferguson Jr. for his inability to do anything substantial. Funny how somebody from a dressing room considered among the worst in the league in terms of helping the media can have the audacity to spout the "we need you on our side" line ... Found it interesting our good friend from the Heartland of Hockey Terry Jones said the addition of Chris Pronger makes the "Oilers a guaranteed playoff team." The Oilers have a good shot to be back in the playoffs but with the improvements throughout the Western Conference we're not sure any team has a guaranteed spot in the playoff chase as of right now.
GLOBETROTTING: Not that Fox Sports broadcaster Carolyn Hughes cares but her alleged affair with Derek Lowe of the L.A. Dodgers, the team she "covers," and the subsequent breakup of the pitcher's marriage is a huge step back for all the legit female sports journalists out there ... Hopefully Jason Giambi is indeed clean while cracking all those homers. No matter what he does, though, the Yankees slugger will always be looked at with a crooked eye.
LAST RITES: It's great for the game and will help sell the Coyotes in Phoenix but it's hard to picture Wayne Gretzky as a head coach, which apparently will be announced today in Arizona.
However, with all the success The Great One has had in every other capacity around hockey, it's certainly too early to said he'll fail.