Free Agency and the NHL

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.


Wrath of Sanity said...

FA has been getting ridiculous in all sports. I can't believe how much money is being throw around for average players. Case in point: Jeff Finger.

william Peace said...

Hockey is rapidly becoming like the other major sports such a baseball and football. Ticket prices are soaring and the average fan can no longer afford to attend games. Corporate tickets and luxury boxes determine "success". Without a connection to corporate culture people like me cannot afford to go to a game. When you throw in the fact I use a wheelchair and have severely limited seating options getting tickets is not the problem--I could have seen the Rangers play the Devils in the playoffs in NJ but tickets cost $250 each. To bring my son would have cost $500 plus parking, gas, tolls, and $10 beer. I do not know many people that can afford this sort of single night expense.

Kotsy's Korner said...

wrath of sanity: Wrath, if the money is there to spend then spend it. I just feel like the NHL is heading in the same direction as 4 years ago (a possible lockout in the future?) I hope I am wrong.


william peace William, thanks for visiting my blog. Your comments could not be more true. Sports in general has blown up into a full scale business. With football and baseball teams worth over a billion dollars, it looks like the NHL is trying to play catch-up with some teams now worth nearing 500 million (Toronto and New York). Without a bigger tv contract revenue, the cost is made up by the corporate world. I guess as a business you could justify the costs, but in the end the real hockey fans are the ones who pay the heavy price.

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