Long Term Contracts. You know, the ‘cap busting’ 13 year deals? That’s what this is all about.
Look at it this way, with those contracts guys like Ryan Suter and Zach Parise …. guys that are excellent players but NOT KNOWN AT ALL OUTSIDE OF THE HOCKEY WORLD, both got 100 million dollar contracts. Baseball money. Ask your friend who is a sports fan but doesn’t follow hockey except maybe during the playoffs if he knows what team either of these guys plays for, or better yet, ask him what position they play.
Can hockey afford to play “baseball” money to hockey players? Well, lets see. Baseball generated over 6 billion in revenue at the gate and in the souvenir shop, plus over 5 billion in TV rights – and that doesn’t even include LOCAL TV rights like the Yankees and Dodgers sell for hundreds of millions a year. The NBA? Forget about it, TEN BILLION A YEAR JUST IN TV RIGHTS!
The NHL? TV rights? 120 million to Versus. Not TEN BILLION, 120 million. For you King fans let me put it this way. That’s 3 extra zeros:
A million minutes ago is about 2 years ago.
A billion minutes ago was just after Jesus was born.
The gap between revenue in the NHL and the next closest of the big 4 sports is something like 5 to 1.
Yet the salaries are about the same.
And the reason is that loophole – the “salary averaging” loophole in the CBA which the owners want to eliminate with MAXIMUM 5 year contracts. And why wouldn’t they? Imagine Corey Perry, Hart Trophy, 40 goal seasons, stanley cup. He’s 27. Will be an unrestricted free agent as soon as the lockout ends. Do you think HE would have got as much as Parise? HELL YES. So lets give him 110 million if he was a UFA before the lockout. Now, after the lockout, with a 5 year max and a maximum of probably 11 a year the most he can sign for is 55 million.
You just lost Corey Perry 55 million dollars (and saved if for the owners).
Parise gets 22 million his first year! He collects sixty million in the first three years of his deal!!
Trust me I’m not crying for Corey Perry. I’m pointing out the problem. If Parise gets 22 million a year, then the whole thing is screwed up. Some guy that gets 20 goals a year can argue he’s worth 15 million a year. A 4th liner argues for 8 million a year. An arbitrator listens to an owner tell him Corey Perry is only worth 6.2 a year when Parise just got 22 million? LOL!
All the salaries are driven up each time one of these long term, “cap busting” deals gets signed.
The owners will be able to find agreement with the players on every other issue. But the smart money knows THIS issue is the big one. Salary averaging has made the NHLPA filthy rich. And both the NHL and the NHLPA think they can and will sit out a whole year to keep it or get rid of it, depending on your perspective.