End the Cap

This deal between the Devils and Ilya Kovalchuk is just flat out wrong.  Back in the early 1990’s Lou Lamoriello was screaming for salary controls on the players because he had a rubbish arena, a terrible local market and a cheap owner.  Fast forward to the labour negotiations during the devastating player’s strike and Lou is one of the Govenors leading the negotiation for the Board.  His fingerprints are ALL OVER the CBA.  Now he goes and signs a deal that is entirely designed to circumvent the average salary measures and forces players with legitimate salaries to have higher amounts in escrow.  Disgusting.

I am a supporter of a salary cap system that ensures the players get 55% – 60% of the revenue the league generates on the gate, TV, merchandise and sponsorships.  If the team owner has taken the risk and built the arena too or has managed to get parking rights or concession rights, then I don’t think the players deserve any of that because frankly, the owner is taking risk outside hockey.  I think the escrow is unfair – the league should set the salary cap and if the revenues don’t meet expectations then move teams to regions where they will be successful or run the businesses better.  I think the players are paying for the fact that Bettman wants teams in stupid locations who are then giving away tickets, whereas if they moved those teams to real hockey markets, you’d get 15,000 fans per game paying real money.  

What I’m not in favour of is a system that “protects” the owners from being crazy, caps the players’ income, makes them subsidise bad franchise decisions and then still allows the clubs to make ridiculous deals like the Kovalchuk contract to dodge the cap.  I’d rather the players make as much as they can, have failing franchises all over the place and clubs like Toronto and the Rangers be able to spend whatever the hell they want.  That’s the most fair way.


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