2002-2003 Preview: How the West Will Rule

If the only thing more exciting than the playoffs is the race to the post season, then this year’s western conference showdown should be a doozy. Most likely more exciting than the finals, because we all know who wins that anyways. The west exhibits total domination annually. In case you have an argument to throw in here, I’ll throw a stat at you I’ve used many times before. 6 of the past 7 years, the west won the cup. 3 of those years the eastern team was swept. And the west is only getting better.By the end of the 2001-2002 campaign, there were 9 teams all within 9 points of eachother. And only two of those nine didn’t make the playoffs. Those teams who you could all call contestants in the playoff race were Colorado, San Jose, St. Louis, Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Edmonton, and Dallas. The list looks to grow this season with Nashville boasting its readiness for the post season, although hardly exhibiting it, and Anaheim is looking much improved. Minnesota is also looking to be rid of its expansion status and if Calgary can build on that amazing early season streak they had going last season, anything is possible.

In the east however, the only teams that have looked to show improvement are Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia, Jersey, and Washington. Boston, as a result of Harry Sinden refusing to shell out any long term deals, has not improved what so ever in this off season. Out: Guerin, In: Shields. You be the judge of that. Toronto did some wheeling and dealing but hardly improved. I can say though that they haven’t really weakened as much as I thought they may have. They lost Cujo but invested in the 37-year old Belfour who I believe isn’t finished yet. He’s got plenty more bars to knock over and get rowdy in. But besides that, he should play well under Quinn, especially compared to how he played under Hitch in his last year with Dallas. Yushkevich for Svehla wasn’t much of an improvement but still an attempt to address Toronto’s blue line woes. Carolina, Montreal, Ottawa, and the Islanders didn’t do anything to hurt their club but I wouldn’t call it improvement.

Atlanta, although looking to be much improved by adding depth to the front line and rear guard, likely won’t be making any sudden push for the post season. Once again, as it seems an annual thing now a days, New York has drained the pocket book in an attempt to buy their way into Lord Stanley’s reach. Its hard to say what will happen there, but Holik looks like a good investment and if they picked up Bure for scoring they definitely hit the nail on the head. Philly also will be hard to foretell. I only said they improved because they picked up Hitch but who knows how well Hitch, Bobby, and one of the most stubborn teams in the league will get along. New Jersey made some risky moves in the past few months and I’m not sure what to say about them. For now, I’ll say they’re improved but only the future may tell. Its hard to imagine they’ll do much worse than last year. Washington signed Lang on the advice of the world’s best active player, which is more than good enough to be considered an improvement.

In the West my list of movers and shakers include Dallas, Phoenix, Detroit, and Anaheim. That’s it, these are the only three teams that went out of their way to improve their hockey club dramatically. The rest improved with stability. Edmonton got Jiri Dopita, an under used asset from Philly, and they got rid of Hecht who was useless with the Oilers anyway. St. Louis, Chicago, San Jose, and Los Angeles just tried to keep the team they had the year before because they know what works so why mess with it. I’m not going to go out of my way to defend Nashville so I won’t. I just don’t get the Predators. They’re doing nothing to improve their hockey club. I guess they just thought why kick a dead horse if it ain’t moving. Think about it.

Dallas finally found someone who could keep up with Modano, which will make a deadly one-two combination on the first line and on the powerplay. Phoenix found what they really lacked during the playoffs, a bonafide scorer. And they found one at an affordable price (hard to think 6 mil is affordable). But really I guess its hard to say that Detroit did much spending though because the only thing they really did of any significance was get Cujo (money that would have gone to Hasek). Who by the way will not lead them to the finals. They managed to keep Chelios which was good and they made coaching adjustments from within just like the players asked. Anaheim bought long time vet Adam Oates as a quick fix for their front line problem. They also got Sykora which should make for an excellent addition to Anaheim’s scoring touch, or lack there of. The rest will pan out from within the organization. They got Mike Commodore in the Jersey deal and they have the likes of Stanislav Chistov and Joffrey Lupul to look forward to.

All in all, I just can’t wait for the upcoming season to get rolling. There’s so much to look forward to, and so much that could pan out. From Philly either falling flat on their faces or taking off under Hitch, to Roy avenging his memorable hot dog extravaganza in game 6 of the conference final last year. Whether Spezza will become the player Don Cherry once touted him as being or whether Bouwmeester will be able to gel with one of the weakest defensive cores in the league. If Lemieux’s hip can hold out or if Iginla will hold out.

42 Responses to 2002-2003 Preview: How the West Will Rule

  1. mikster says:

    I liked this article, good job. It is about the Western Conference, and you threw in some Eastern spices.

    I think the West will be a lot tougher than it ever was. There are the teams who will make the playoffs, and the teams who can make the playoffs. The only teams who won’t make the playoffs are the Blue Jackets and the Flames. Dallas, Minnesota, Vancouver, Edmonton, St. Louis, and the Kings would fight for the lower playoffs seeds. So, it’s very competitive.

    As for the East, it has improved with more competition as well. Atlanta would be harder to beat, same with the Panthers and Lightning. There will be tougher competition between the Sabres, Penguins, Lightning, Panthers, and Montreal. It’s not an annual thing nowadays for the Rangers to spend money in the summer. Sather only signed defensemen before Holik. Holik is the only UFA forward (excluding Messier) that Sather signed. Before him, it was Ulanov, Karpa, and Malakhov. You can’t even blame the Rangers for paying such a high salary to Holik. With the Leafs offering $8.5 million, and then battling it out with the Rangers, in the end it came to be $9 million. I like the long-term deals because the player gets to become the team’s player. I think Kaspar’s salary was great, 6 years at 4.5 a season….this guy is stuck with that salary for 6 years and he won’t get a raise. So, i doubt signing Holik and Kaspar is an attempt to “buy” the Cup, it’s more like signing the needed players in order to fix the damn team.

    As for NJ, i think they made good moves. I can’t say they are the right moves, but they were good moves. I think Friesen will be a significant player in the East. They changed the team and as long as Gomez signs and proves himself a 2nd line center…then they are fine.

    I really cannot understand how Lang can be an improvement. He basically replaces Oates, and he should only add more points than Oates, and more points for Jagr. But, he doesn’t help the 2nd line, 3rd line….and the defense. Also, is Cassidy better than Ron Wilson? Stan Fischler was right, Jagr is a coach killer, and he killed another coach. I am very happy the Rangers didn’t get him now.

    It’s going to be a different season, with different expectations, perhaps surprises, but it should definitely be fun. Good article.

    Micki Peroni

  2. MossRocks says:

    Micki, why do you stick to this argument over Holik? The fact that the Leafs offered $8.5million (if they did, what is your source?) just makes them a stupid team also. You are arguing that the Rangers just played the market but the market for Holik was stupid.

    What happens in 2004 if the NHL ends up with a hard salary cap? Then Rangers will be stuck paying a second line player (Holik is a very good 2nd line player, but never 1st line material) huge money and will lose space under the cap. The NHL will have some type of cap no matter what happens and unless it is $70 million, the Holik signing is going to hurt in 2004.

    Konowalchuk’s return will improve the 3rd line in Washington and Halpern and Zubrus should get the second line going.

  3. Tony says:

    This is a good article. I too can’t wait to get this season going. The two stories I will be following is the Philly situation and how Cujo does.

  4. Glen says:

    Only a month until preseason, THANK GOD!! Baseball is really dragging out.

  5. mikster says:

    I’m arguing about it because people keep making the wrong statements. After the Rangers signed Holik, there were articles blaming Sather that he’s just overpaying players and so on, and making NHL’s problems worse. Look at the facts, Slats only signed Holik as the “big forward”, the other players were acquired via trade. It’s not Sather’s fault for the salary problems, it’s not any rich teams’ fault. I am not only defending the Rangers, but the rich teams in general. I think it is Holik’s fault for basing his price at $8 million a season. I mean, what are you supposed to do about that?

    Iginla talks so much about coming back with the team and helping the team win, and so on…that’s all bullshit talks. He wants money. How is he helping the Flames now? Sure he would help them on the ice, but he really isn’t helping the team financially. It would be because of him that the Flames cannot sign another player they need, why? Because of Iginla’s salary.

    If there is a salary cap in 2004, then the players and the agents are to blame. Look at how many players have rejected offers already. Imagine what Gagne would ask at age 31 when he is a UFA agent.

    If there is a salary cap, it would make no difference actually. It won’t make players ask for less money. All it would do is cause more trades, and more hold-outs. Let’s say the salary cap is 60 million. Ok, big deal the Rangers will let Bure go and they’d be down to 60 million. Once Richter goes, they’d be down to a bit less than 60 million.

    I see no point about this salary cap, and all it would do is make things worse, and it’s my opinion. You see, you are a fan, and you look at Holik’s salary and you say it’s stupid. I agree with that, i think he is not worth 9 million dollars, but hey….shit happens, the Rangers needed him and they got him. The Leafs did make offers to Holik, and it was mentioned on i think a radio station in Ontario…probably Toronto, that the offer was around $8.5 million. But, you be Bobby Holik….coming from a different country, you’re dream is to win the Cup and especially make money. If you know there are teams who would offer you money, then you’d do the samething that Holik did. Would you complain or even care about the league if you were Holik now? I wouldn’t, hell i am getting paid 9 million dollars a season…..i could retire after season’s end.

    So, in a way, there shouldn’t be any arguements about this, because logic takes in…..but people wanted to argue about it, and they argued incorrectly.

    I think the NHL is good right now, no need for a salary cap because that will do nothing. Big deal, if there is a salary cap of even 50 million dollars, small market teams won’t get better. Small market teams won’t get the Kariya’s, Bure’s, Lindros’, Tkachuk’s, Holik’s…..they’d remain the same. The only thing a salary cap would do is make the big market teams better and more competitive against each other.

    Anyway, Halpern is a 3rd line center….give me a break, this guy is nowhere near being a solid 2nd liner. Konowalchuk will help, but come on…this team is not that much improved….would you rather have Wilson or Cassidy as coach? Knowing Wilson brought your team to the finals?

    So, my point is…don’t blame the rich teams for signing big money players…blame the players, they are the ones demanding the money.

  6. mikster says:

    Baseball is not even a sport…..how could we complain about the NHL salaries when baseball is a disgrace? At least we get to see a variety of teams making the finals. In baseball….it’s Yanks and another top team.

    I am a Yanks/Twins fan, but i’m hoping Twins will make the finals.

  7. lrdstanley says:

    I have to suffer through baseball season with the EXPOS, GOd I can’t wait for the hockey season to begin.

  8. YingYan says:

    Rich owners eliti$e their league in order to CONTROL them, they make it impossible for small and middle markets to succed, not good for the entertainment if you don’t happen to be a rich team’s fan.

    Ba$eball Steinbrenner recently had the guts to ***** about the Expos NOT trading with him, the guy is the #1 Baseball destroyer with his $elig friend.

    Boy i used to be a Baseball fan but was disgusted from it when they went to strike and the Expos lost their unique opportunity to win.

    If they strike again it’ll be a strike out for Baseball who’s demise seem more imminent than ever.

  9. YingYan says:

    You seem to be somewhat in denial of the precarious state of the NHL. No salaray cap & revenue sharing = no competition.

    Ranger$ suck and are certainly not beyond criticism and you know it.

  10. mikster says:

    Not true, there is competition.

    Salary cap won’t solve a thing….all it would do is make the big market teams more competitive against each other. Salary cap will only force high prices team to give up a couple of high priced players, big deal. To me…that doesn’t help a small market team win.

    You’re just a Rangers basher….oh well.

  11. mikster says:

    So you basically want the Wings, Blues, Rangers, and Stars to share their money with other teams?

  12. MossRocks says:

    Yes that is exactly what fans want in the other 26 cities in the league. Look at the NFL that is the most successful league in pro sports and that is exactly what they do. Owners need to realize that Hockey is their business not the Wings, Blues, Rangers, and Stars, etc. Hockey is competing against all the other entertainment options out there. Only strong competition and a successful LEAGUE (not four successful teams) will allow hockey to grow in popularity.

  13. MossRocks says:

    “I think it is Holik’s fault for basing his price at $8 million a season. I mean, what are you supposed to do about that?”

    It’s easy Mick, don’t pay them. Go walk in and talk to your boss and tell him you want to quadruple your salary. He will say no and tell you to leave. (No disrespect, but nobody in reality gets paid like pro athletes, unless you are a CEO but that is another argument)

    “So, my point is…don’t blame the rich teams for signing big money players…blame the players, they are the ones demanding the money.” This is no point at all. I can’t even say too much about it because it is ridiculous. The players aren’t forcing owners to take out their wallets. Did Holik demand at gunpoint that Sather pay him $9million? NO. Its not only the rich teams tha tare at fault, nearly everyt owner in the league has made at least one move to propagate this insanity. It is clearly the owners’ fault and now they have to put rules in place so they don’t spend themselves into oblivion.

  14. YingYan says:

    Yes that would contribute to more fans watching more interesting games, the % of cool games would dramatically improve and in the end all teams would benefit FROM A LEAGUE THAT CARES FOR ALL HER FANS.


  15. YingYan says:

    Oh and the question is SERIOUS so don’t simplify it by stating teams would bleed for others without reason. ;p


  16. mikster says:

    Well, then what will happen is that there would be too many players not playing. I mean, the Rangers needed Holik…and unfortunately that’s how it turned out to be.

    If the owners don’t pay, then too much talent will be missing and there would be a strike.

  17. mikster says:

    If i owned the Rangers, and i made 20 million dollars from tickets, food, products, items, and whatever…..now why the hell would i want to share that with other teams? I’d say it’s tough luck for the other owners if they didn’t make as much as i did. If i worked hard to be the owner of a huge company, and my company is strong and improving, why the hell would i want to give other owners and their teams my money? It’s like communism….everyone shares but in a way….it’s unfair. Why should i give Minnesota 3 million dollars while all they can give me is like 300 grand.

    There is competition in hockey. Look at the Hurricanes…they made the finals. Sabres made the finals. Devils made the finals, and they won a Cup as the underdogs.

    There is no reason to complain, back in the 70’s it was all Habs and Flyers….was that fun? Not really. Was it fun to see the Canadiens win 5 straight cups? Isle’s 4? Oilers 4? Not really.

    I am totally against a salary cap in the NHL. NFL is different than the NHL….because only a few teams make the playoffs. So, in that case it is tougher to make the playoffs in footbal and in baseball. But in hockey….there is the chance to make the playoffs. Once you make the playoffs…then it is up to the team to play at their best. Habs beat the Bruins, number one seed. Buffalo used to beat the Flyers and they were the underdogs.

    There is competition, and i think this season when you look at the standing after every team played 65 games….you’re going to see the competition.

    The salary cap will not change a thing. Rich teams will remain rich teams, and poor teams will remain poor teams. Hey, let it be a 40 million dollar salary cap, and the Oilers will remain the same….they won’t be able to sign high priced players. All the high priced players will still go to the richer teams….giving more competition to the richer teams.

  18. mikster says:

    Salary cap will only force rich teams to trade their high priced players to the other rich teams….and you will still see the same hockey games for the small market teams. Anything that is similar to communism i reject…and it’s not fair to see rich teams give money to other teams.

    I know football has it….but only a few teams make the playoffs and it is a lot harder to make the playoffs in football than in hockey. In hockey you do have a chance to make the playoffs. And as you can see…not all rich teams are successfull….so no need for anything. I like hockey this way….putting a salary cap will do nothing.

  19. YingYan says:

    You are biased and extremist in your view$ as in not seeing the big picture but rather projecting your small picture, i’m not a communist by any means BUT THE LEAGUE SHOULD STEP UP FOR HER FANS IF SHE WANTS MORE OF THEM.

    The name of the game is STANLEY CUP -NOT- I REPEAT -NOT- THE $TANLEY CUP.

    In honor of the greatest competition of the past and for the small and middle market teams AS WELL AS THE RICH ONES it is preferrable to invest in fair competition, that’s marketing at his best and don’t forget that for ex. when Mario came back they sold tons of PENS/MARIO stuff that benifited the whole league so it’s not like the league can’t progress either.

    I may not like the Ranger$ but think any team that wins the cup should get proportionate merit to it’s value, i find the RedWings more interesting and less irresponsible than the Ranger$ because THEY DID NOT F*** THE MARKET LIKE THE RANGER$ DID. ;p

  20. bruinsfan12 says:

    I think the West standings will basically be the same, except Chicago will be at the bottom again, and Colorado will probably be the best team in the NHL. The East is what I think will change a lot…Toronto, Ottawa, the Islanders, and Boston will all drop siginificantly in the standings, and I think Montreal, Carolina, New Jersey, and even Atlanta will do better than last year.

  21. Flyers_01 says:

    This is directed at Mikster and his view that even with a $40 million Salary cap .. all the high priced players will still go to what he considers the high priced teams with teams like the Oilers getting NO BENEFIT from it.

    I find that stance totally unsupportable. If a $40 million cap was introduced, The Rangers would only be outspending Edmonton by $3-5 million or so instead of the $30+ million the Rangers will be outspending the Oil this year. Sure the Rangers would be able to keep Bure, Holik, Lindros and Kasparitus, all they’d need to do is each play 60 minutes of hockey and one of them would have to play goal.

    A reasonable salary cap would disperse the talent better around the league, there’s no question about it. If you don’t have the cap room to bid for a player, they aren’t going to sign for minimum salary just because you are a “rich” team. I don’t think Holik went to the Rangers for the love of Sather or the Rangers tradition. He went for the dollars and the fact that Sather was buying every FA he could get his hands on.

  22. rrudd says:

    i’ve said this before: every time i bet against patrick roy, it comes back to haunt me.

    but will he continue to improve his numbers every single year, this late in his career? i don’t want to put money down, but surely he will not have as good a season as last year. thus, colorado may not be as good as last season. you subtract kaspar, add a full season of forsberg, expect slightly less output from roy. its so hard to say, but i won’t pick them for the president’s yet.

  23. MossRocks says:

    “If i owned the Rangers, and i made 20 million dollars from tickets, food, products, items, and whatever…..now why the hell would i want to share that with other teams?”

    Easy question. Because nobody shows up to watch the Rangers practice. They have to play somebody. Next year, 7 out of every 10 games the Rangers play will be played against a “poor” team.

    Is it communism if one division of the same company diverts some revenue to another division of the company? That is the relationship between the NHL and its teams.

    Hockey has not reached baseball levels yet but it is getting close. It is not healthy for a league to have teams with $25million dollar budgets while others have $65-70 million dollar budgets.

    In your world, the NHL will become four Harlem Globetrotter teams playing 15-20 versions of the Washington Generals. It will turn into baseball, with many teams with no chance at a championship before the season even starts.

    “Hey, let it be a 40 million dollar salary cap, and the Oilers will remain the same….they won’t be able to sign high priced players.”

    Yeah make it a $40million dollar cap and let’s see what happens. You are not doing the math, because $9million dollar players don’t exist in those conditions. That would completely change the game and every player would be affordable to every team. Look at the game and stop worrying about your team. Are you worried that your Rangers are so inept that if they had to compete at the same level as every other team they might fall through the bottom of the standings? Over $50 million for a team that can’t make the playoffs? Imagine if you cut another $10-15 million out of their budget?

  24. PanMan says:

    There’s been a lot of talk about salary caps and such lately, so I just want to voice my opinion on it. I heard somewhere that the NFL does revenue sharing, which in turn keeps small market teams competitive. This seems like a good idea for the NHL since there are big market teams and small market teams which are clearly defined (as a non-football fan I cannot tell you very many small market teams, but I bet I could tell you a lot of NHL small market teams if I weren’t an NHL fan). However, they should not share 100% of their revenue. I think that each team should put 25%-40% of their annual revenue into a pool and then split it up evenly 30 ways. This way, the big market teams will have less to spend and the small market teams will have more to spend, thus somewhat balancing it out while still keeping the big market teams happy by letting them have some benefits of being a big market team. This way, for example, the Rangers would be allowed to still get Holik and the Flames would be able to sign Iginla by now.

  25. DTheEagleT says:

    Hockey isn’t like football. There are a completely diffrent set of rules for a contract. You can’t just release someone in Hockey like you can in football

  26. garry1221 says:

    i’d have to agree…. cept for the avs being the best in the league, even though i do have some bias there lol, the east has crumbled a little, montreal… with or without gilmour is not gonna be on the same level they were on last year, hell…. call me crazy, but with the moves atlanta’s made i’d say they could have a possible playoff spot…granted im not sure they’d make it far….but then again who would’ve though at the beginning of the season that the canes woulda been in the finals

  27. mikster says:

    “Yeah make it a $40million dollar cap and let’s see what happens. You are not doing the math, because $9million dollar players don’t exist in those conditions.”

    I seriously doubt players will want to take pay cuts. Players will end up going on strike because of it…and it would suck if they do that.

    I am not worrying about the Rangers, even if there is a salary cap. It could acually be a good thing for the players who are 2…3 years from making the NHL. I’d accept a $60 million dollar salary cap….i won’t mind that. If it goes to $50 or lower…then i’d be upset.

    There is competition in the NHL….and it’s not even close to being like MLB. There are 16 teams that make the playoffs….the competition is there.

    I seriously don’t see a need to bring in a salary cap….i disagree with it.

  28. mikster says:

    Hehe, well tough! I look at it this way. I want the league to continue like this. Salary cap will NOT SOLVE A THING. I will strongly keep that opinion to myself.

  29. mikster says:

    PLAYERS WANT MONEY. Besides…then the Avs would have to give up on Blake, Sakic, Forsberg, and Roy. That can’t be good.

    Players want money, and they would disagree with the salary cap. Teams would still have to trade players who want money. Let’s say there was a salary cap right now. The Sens would have to give up Bonk if they can’t sign him. The Flames would have to gie up Iginla if they cannot sign him. Salary cap won’t help the smaller market teams as much as you think. Players want money, they will do as much a spossible to get the most money they can get.

    Holik is a money man, that’s what i told to everyone before July and they said “oh no…he will stick with a winning team” yeah surrrre…..

  30. mikster says:

    Gary Bettman gave $29.5 million dollars to European hockey clubs. If he can give that, then he can give that to the small market teams as well…..which are WAY MORE IMPORTANT than the European clubs.

    I wouldn’t mind if the Rangers gave some of their profits to the NHL, but some….not a lot. But, no salary cap…..i totally disagree having a salary cap.

    Football is a totally different sport and it shouldn’t even be compared to the NHL. Football needs competition because they only play 18 games and only 8 teams in total make the playoffs. The NHL has 82 games and 16 teams make the playoffs. I think that there are too many teams in the NHL. Less teams would give more talent to other teams.

  31. MossRocks says:

    Mick are you aware of what will happen in 2004? There will be a strike or a lockout. You can bet the farm on it, because it is going to happen. If the players disagree with a salary cap, we won’t be watching hockey, the players will watch valuable time knocked off their playing careers and the owners will run out of money.

    You still don’t get the cap. Yes, teams will still have to make trades (and keep this site alive) but players like Holik can’t get paid $9million/yr. It doesn’t matter if they want it, it won’t happen.

    What happens with a cap is the question: “Do you want to win?” or “Are you committed to winning?” get shifted to the players rather than the owners. If you are a player under the cap and you want to win, you accept less money so that your team can sign better players. This sounds silly in the NHL but it happens all the time in the NFL.

    When you turn them around they sound like unfair questions, don’t they? Well, those are the ***** questions that pro sports owners have had to answer the past five years and they have been answering whether they have the money or not. Some owners (NHL, MLB, NBA) are spending money they don’t even have, while players run around to the highest bidder.

  32. bluntman says:

    i hope that Calgary pulls up the slack and makes it to the playoffs. the town really needs to see that team in the playoffs

  33. lindros_sux_big_ones says:

    Ok here is what I believe would happen with a 40$ mill cap. The league will go on strike and everyone will switch their whining and complaining from needing a salary cap to wondering why the hell the players are striking. A cap like 40$ mill would help…after the players got done their whining and moaning and completed their now 10 game season. Here is where the completely unfair problem comes in. Say a team has an incredible Gm and scouts. A decade after this cap is put in place the team has drafted and worked up 7 players currently worth (in today’s current value since im not sure what the proportion would be for a 40 mill cap) worth 7 mill. How is it fair that a team that drafted well has to ditch all their home grown talent? A cap would be good but there would HAVE to be exceptions to players like draft picks, etc for this to work.

  34. lindros_sux_big_ones says:

    Although i do somewhat agree with mikster in saying that football is a completely different sport where a good team very often doesnt make it for the simple fact that so very few teams make it. I too would rather see contraction *cough*tampa*cough then a salary cap for teh reasons i mentioned above.

  35. MossRocks says:

    You bring up some valid points. I think current caps are either too restrictive (NFL – ditching homegrown talent) or not effective.(NBA-too soft, the rich teams just break the cap) A good set-up will have to be more complicated with exceptions for homegrown talent. There is not point in having one if it doesn’t work.

    What about using a luxury tax for the big spending teams? A team can spend $5mil to add a player over the cap but then they have to put the same amount into the general coffers for redistribution to teams that are under the cap. I think this is good revenue sharing, the idiots can still spend the money, its just going to cost them double once they are over the cap. This is similar to the NBA, so it would have to be modified in some way so that it works a little better.

  36. Habfan1234 says:

    I think there should be a soft cap. The salary cap will not come into effect when trying to sign your own players. This will reward teams with smart management.

  37. mxianieri says:

    The vast majority of the NFL’s money comes from the national TV contracts. That money is split evenly, which gives everybody an equal start. Some other revenues are shared as well, but they aren’t as significant.

    An NHL team gets the majority of its money from attendance and local TV contracts and those sources vary. The national TV contract is not a significant factor in a team’s revenue.

    Revenue sharing is a must, but is harder to accomplish when you are actually taking someone’s money away.

    If you have unequal revenues among teams, you need to have a salary cap (and a floor) to maintain competitive balance or you end up with baseball.

  38. mxianieri says:

    The soft cap doesn’t work. You can check the mess that is the NBA for proof of that.

  39. mxianieri says:

    Once you have defined what constitutes “big spending”, you have defined a cap. You would end up with very little revenue shared. I don’t see how this would help anybody other than the owners of large market teams. They would become extremely profitable because their revenues would outstrip the cap number. Small market teams and players wouldn’t get anything out of that.

  40. mxianieri says:

    Good article. I think the West is actually going to step back a bit as they have gone from 4 Cup possible teams to 2, in my opinion. Colorado and San Jose look to be at least as good as they were last year, if not better and are the favorites to be in the Finals. Detroit won’t be as good without Yzerman until January and without Bowman at all. Dallas has to put in a new system and mix in a couple of new players, so they may end up better than the way they played last year but I don’t think they will start out that way. Besides I am not yet sold on Turco. Vancouver should improve with experience, but didn’t add anybody to make a big step up. The Kings, Chicago, St. Louis and Calgary didn’t have enough before, still don’t. Anaheim, Phoenix and Edmonton improved some, but was it enough to really challenge?

  41. Flyers_01 says:

    The home grown talent eventually get’s to walk away at the age of 31 anyway under the current deal. If a cap is put in place look for UFA age to be lowered even further. It is extremely rare for a player to play with the same team his entire career at this time. I think the NBA has shown us that soft caps do not work as it once again comes down to who is willing to spend the most money.

    The better GMs and scouts will be able to keep what they deem as their best talent longer by wrapping them up in long term contracts at a younger age. To better evaluate talent they will have to play their younger players more at an earlier age or risk losing them before knowing what they are capable of. This will in turn force many 30+ marginal, grind line players out of the game while bringing more youth to it.

  42. Modano_Fan says:

    I’d say Detroit will fall slightly this year, because as good as Cujo is,he’s not Hasek. But “falling” for Detriot only means falling to 2nd or 3rd place.This leaves the door open for Colorado to slip into first place,and possibly San Jose to move up to 2nd.Dallas has the team to do very well this year,assuming they get used to their new system and Turco can handle the load. Even so, a good 2nd half after they get used to the new system should put them into the 4th or 5th spot.

    St.Louis is always consistant in the regular season,as well as consistantly choking in the playoffs.But we’re talking season here, so as usual they’ll be playoff bound,falling between 4th and 6th place. Phoenix made the playoffs last year to the surprise of many,and they kept that team intact with the addition of Tony Amonte which helps them out alot. They now have a proven scorer that can lead the team on the ice and off. Again, they could fall between 4th and 6th,depending on where Dallas and St.Louis fall. LA will land about 7th,and have a good season. They didn’t add alot to their team,but they do have some great scorers along with a goaltender who can be brilliant at times.7th seems pretty low to seed them,but its because the teams ahead of them seem so good. LA are the 7th best team in a pack of great teams.

    Vancover will probably battle Edmonton for the 8th spot. I’d give it to Vancover,but they’ll have to learn how to not suck ass for the first few months of the year and leave it to the last month to play playoff hockey just to make the playoffs.Chicago and Calgary won’t make it.

    Quickly in the east,Boston,Islanders,Leafs and Devils will drop,either to a lower seed or out of the playoffs all together. Islanders will depend on Yashin for the first few months of the season.Montreal will do better than last year with their full line up on the ice. Carolina doesnt strike me as a team that’s going to go away,seeing as how they have a team of young guys that have a taste of winning now. Washington should have a good year this year,should make the playoffs. Rangers could really go either way. I’m just not as impressed with their signings as others seem to be,but we’ll wait and see. Ottawa should make the playoffs again,as they seem at least consistant at doing that. Philly will have a good year,and will give some team a better fight in the playoffs because bowing out as usual this year. Philly just doesnt have it to win.

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