Tuesday, July 8, 2008
With Free Agency down to a simmer and some teams holding their breath over Mats Sundin's decision whether to play or not (Take your time Mats, it's all about you), I look at this year's FA period with shock, excitement, and some huge "are you kidding me?" thoughts.
The shocks to me are Marian Hossa turning down multi-million dollar deals for a 1 year deal with the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings. This one smells a little... some verbal agreement must be in place or this one doesn't pass the laugh test. Brian Campbell's deal with Chicago, simply a "wow" is needed (he's gonna have to live up to it). Wade Redden's 6.5 Million a year deal with the Rangers opened up some eyes - big time. He's going to have to regain his earlier form of hockey, rather than his latest (that whole team in Ottawa took a quick downward spiral last year). I hope the change of scenery will help him, but he's gotta live up to his deal - just like Campbell!
There's plenty more around the league we could discuss, digest, and debate - but one thing's for sure: the NHL's top money teams: spent and the weaker teams (financially): did not. This is bothersome to me. A gap of 16.5 Million Dollars between the "haves" and the "have nots" is huge in the NHL. If the weaker teams don't spend to the max, how can you expect the fan base to support them? What you are saying is, come spend your hard earned money and we'll give you a 2nd rate product. I sometimes wonder how they're going to sell the game of hockey better in America, I don't have all the answers... I wish I did, but one thing is for sure - the money spent this year in Free Agency was enormous by the financially sound teams.
This is the same league that shut it down 4 years ago, isn't it? The league in general, plus owners, probably did a good thing then by trying to keep the spending down and give every team even footing. Wasn't that the goal of the lockout? 4 years later, the money has magically appeared and the spending is reaching that critical point, is it not? Some teams are not on even footing and let's face it - some are in quicksand.
*Pictures in all blog posts are taken from Yahoo! Sports & Getty Images, also Google images.