Posted on: October 25, 2010 8:39 pm

Small contracts can be bad contracts, too

There has been a lot of publicity about teams up against the salary cap and the large contracts that got them there. In Chicago, there was Brian Campbell and Cristobal Huet, with Huet being shipped overseas to dump his contract. Long time veteran Wade Redden is playing in the AHL with Hartford so the Rangers could clear his $6.5 million cap hit. And most recently, the Devils played with only 15 skaters thatnks in large part to the high contracts of Ilya Kovalchuk and Brian Rolston.

However, there have been a few contracts given out this season that were quite puzzling and, despite their relative low value, can be a significant contributor to a team having limited cap space with which to work.

While all the talk about the Devils player shortage earlier this year was about Kovlachuk and Rolston, I for one saw the contract that was given to Johan Hedberg this offseason as a contributing factor. While it is only for $1.5 million per season, had New Jersey signed a backup goaltender for a more appropriate price, they would have been able to afford calling up a player or two to help alleviate their roster shortage. I am not saying that Johan Hedberg is not good enough to earn $1.5 million, rather, the backup to Marty Brodeur, a 70 game per season goaltender, should not be one of the highest paid backups in the league. Of the 61 goaltenders on starting day rosters, Hedberg makes more money than 29 of them. For a position that will most likely play less than 20 games, that is way too much.

Another contract that was significantly too much money for the player acquired was the deal given to Derek Boogaard by the Rangers. Boogaard is nothing more than an enforcer, yet the average value of his contract is $1.825 million per season. This is three times as much money as was given to Raitis Ivanans, another enforcer that fulfills the same role for his club, the Calgary Flames. Most enforcers make between $600 and $800 thousand per season. That extra million dollars per season could be used much more wisely somewhere else on the roster, although the Rangers have never proven themselves as shrewd cap managers.

These are only tow of quite a few deals that, while smaller in value, can contribute to a team’s inability to field the best team possible in this new cap era of hockey.

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Posted on: October 21, 2010 4:59 pm

Send in the goons!

As most hockey fans already know, Rick Rypien reached into the stands, grabbed and pushed a fan that he apparently thought to be heckling him. Rypien has been indefinitely suspended until the league can determine the length of his suspension. 

In no way do I condone Rypien’s actions. He deserves whatever penalty the NHL decides to lay down and it is further justification of my feelings that, while fighting may have a place in hockey, players that can do nothing but fight do not. It further supports the non-fan’s idea that hockey is a league full of thugs and isn’t as sophisticated as other sports. 

Now, the league has wanted for some years now to eliminate players like Rypien from the league. In the last round of coleactive bargaining, the league wanted to have stricter penalties and suspensions for what were deemed staged fights, you know, like the one that left Raitis Ivanans dazed and confused after his beating at the hands of Steve MacIntyre. Neither of these players have any business being in the NHL and the stricter punishment for staged fights would make these players obsolete.

Unfortunately, the player’s union steps in and opposes these types of penalties in fear of job losses. That argument is purely laughable. No intelligent person would believe that eliminating the no talent goons would lead to actual job losses. The goons would lose their job, yes. However, the job itself would not be gone as the roster postion would be filled by someone that might actually be able to play the game.

It’s time for the union to wise up and stop fighting these types of things just for the sake of fighting the owners. Hopefully, the next round of collective bargaining will see these changes implemented. Without goons like Rypien, Ivanans, MacIntyre, and the rest of the talentless bar room brawlers on blades, we would be less likely to see ugly incidents like the one last night.

Category: NHL
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