NHL cap on the rise

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:15 AM ET

LANCE HORNBY

Toronto Sun

LAS VEGAS — Tuesday’s player vote to increase the salary cap to a reported $59.4-million US ceiling and $43.4-million floor did not come as a shock to many general managers.

“I heard from a senior player agent two days ago that they owed it to this year’s crop of free agents,” Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke said. “They’d done it every other year.”

Burke was asked in jest if he would’ve pushed his Leafs players to vote down the raise, not to give the players less risk of losing revenue, but to put the screws to teams with cap issues who would have to look at dealing with teams such as Toronto.

“That would be very Machiavellian of me,” Burke said laughing.

Before making his big trade with Atlanta, Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman tried to assure fans the cap crunch won’t turn the Cup champs into one-hit wonders.

“The core of our team is going to be identical to this year,” Bowman told the Arlington Daily Herald. “I’m not trying to diminish it. We are going to have to move some very good players out, but at the same time I think the fans can be comfortable in knowing the core of this group is going to be together a long time. Filling in with the depth is going to be the key, getting the guys to surround those core players. That’s where we have to rely on some young players coming in.”

VEGAS LINES

One fat contract Bowman can do without is backup Cristobal Huet, with a $5.6-million cap hit this year alone ... The Tampa Bay Lightning are playing down rumours they’re after 2009 Vezina winner Tim Thomas from Boston, but many teams are coming after Josh Harding, the No. 2 stopper on the Minnesota Wild. He will come at a price, however ... New Jersey boss Lou Lamoriello says the retired Scott Niedermayer has an off-ice job with his old team if he wants it, but the latter will likely be living in B.C. ... Another way to look at the Hall Of Fame selection flap: Cammi Granato is now in three Halls, the U.S., IIHF and the main branch, Angela James is in two, but 1,400-point man Adam Oates is in none ... Pittsburgh has settled on a hockey attendance figure for the Consol Energy Center, 18,087, with a nod to Sidney Crosby’s number. They’ve also hired 250 college students to flush the building’s toilets simultaneously to test the plumbing ... Among the quirks detected when the 2010-11 schedule was released, is that the Kings go almost a month in mid season without a home game.

lance.hornby@sunmedia.ca


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