…AND so Pat Quinn was heavily fined by Gary Bettman, for last week publicly promising a 2004-2005 lockout, but that hardly matters, not when a lout like the Toronto GM and his buddies such as Vancouver GM Brian Burke continue to spread smoke under the NHL imprimatur that big- market teams such as the Rangers and Stars are imperiling the foundation of the league.
It’s a Big Lie, nothing less, that Group III contracts such as the ones earned by Bobby Holik, Billy Guerin and Darius Kasparaitis are at the root of all financial evil. Once and for all: contracts signed by unrestricted free agents have virtually no impact at all on the cost of doing business for those teams that choose not to enter the marketplace.

Group III contracts cannot be used in salary arbitration cases. General managers have no obligation whatsoever to consider Group III contracts in negotiations with their respective restricted free agents. Fact is, while Burke last week called the three aforementioned contracts, “asinine, insane and inflationary,” he had more to do with across the board Group II increases last year than the Rangers or Dallas (or Philadelphia and St. Louis.)

A year ago it was Burke – who held all of the leverage – who increased Markus Naslund’s salary from $2.35 million to $4.33M per in a three-year Group II contract registered early enough so that it became the primary comparable established in the arbitration cases of Guerin, Petr Sykora and Alexei Kovalev that ended with huge increases for the wingers. That’s right – it was Vancouver, not New York, not Dallas, that raised the bar on Group II free agents.

How about Quinn professing outrage over Holik’s and Guerin’s five-year deals, and Kasparaitis’ six-year deal?

“What blew everyone away was the length of the contracts . . . we had no clue that was going to happen,” he claimed.

Well, Quinn may not have a clue how to dress the requisite number of eligible players for a playoff game – the Leafs twice had to go a man short in the tournament – but he sure had a clue about the length of those contracts, seeing how it was Toronto that first offered Holik a five-year deal and first offered Kasparaitis one for six years.

It’s time for Quinn, whose team is an ugly smudge on the league, to stop distorting the record, in addition to stop making outrageous statements such as “. . . there are ways to run a business and that’s why we’re going to have a lockout . . .,” one that earned him a fine believed no less than $100,000.

There’s no comparison between the NHL and any other sport – in the NHL, teams have complete control of their players for the first 13 seasons of their respective careers. Let’s face it. If there was legitimate free-agent bidding rather than the collusion obviously in place and orchestrated by NHL headquarters, if super-revenue teams really were interested in flexing their financial muscles, then the Flyers would be tendering an unmatchable offer sheet to Montreal’s Group II Jose Theodore, the Rangers would be maneuvering to sign Calgary’s Group II Jarome Iginla and the Red Wings would be preparing an offer for New Jersey’s Group II Patrik Elias.




  1. burky says:

    Brian Burke and Pat Quinn rule! go toronto and V-town!

  2. YingYan says:

    Ahem… Ok you have pts with the group III but i think it still affects salary, how can tough two-way forward not ask for a hefty raise after Holik’s ridiculous 9 millions a season for 5 friggin’ years?

    I say the RANGER$, RED WING$, DALLA$ and such teams’ owners are destroying hockey like the Yankees in baseball, no team salary roof in 2004 = no cup for small/middle markets team.

  3. NewYorkRangers says:

    The article is pretty much calling Quinn and Burke hypocrites. They complain that the big budget teams are overpaying UFAs while they give their restricted free agents double and maybe triple their original salry.

  4. Seattleaf says:

    The problem in baseball with Steinbrenner’s Yankees is that in addition to the salary cap that that went on strike for, he has bottomless spending money from source around the Big Apple. I personally hate what Steinbrenner has done to baseball, that’s why I got into hockey. Now I’m seeing that it’s beginning again. I think the NHL should add up the salary of every signed player and average it out over 30 teams and eliminate the barriers of small/big market teams. It won’t be who can afford who, it’ll be who can spend their money the wisest. Coming from a Leaf fan that’s a statement that may make the Leafs strike out because of Quinn’s lack of knowledge on how to spend money and how to attract players. Could you imagine an NHL where Columbus and Atlanta would be contenders for such stars as Holik, CuJo, and Guerin? It would certainly be more interesting.

  5. DG says:

    This is a comment supplied by Hockeyman93 in the duplicate article, since my server made me post two of the same article. My computer must be going crazy or something (it’s been that kind of day for me)…anyway I’ll have it figured out eventually. -DG


    Larry Brooks is a moron. After developing false rumors that make cory cross for paul kariya look tempting, based on the issue that the Rangers have pockets that never end, he tries to defend the Rangers moves to no avail. He will find that in 2004 the Rangers, like every other NHL team will be given mandatory salary restraints and will have to “give up” some of their current players to meet the cap. If that doesn’t happen, you will see near 15 teams fold within 5 years. It is inevitable. Its the same situation in baseball. And then what does Brooks say if this Ranger team doesn’t make the playoffs? First, he will blame it on Sather, then call for all the big money players to be traded. And as for the Leafs being an ugly smudge on the league, that they may be, but no more than the free spending Rangers, where in a league where pride was always taken in paying players what they were really worth, the Rangers, along with a few other teams, have only helped to drive other teams out of business and the NHL towards a lockout. Unfortunetly for the Rangers and Larry Brooks, the owners who actually want a salary cap grossly outnumber those who don’t, and they will get it. Larry Brooks is a disgrace to journalism, and anyone who buys into his bullshit should never be allowed to follow the sport of hockey. (Hockeyman93)

  6. Leb_Boy says:

    Why are the red wings destroying the league??

    Who did they buy?? brett hull came and took less money, as did cujo, lucky only came to wina cup.

    Everybody else was either a trade of drafted!

    ill just give it time though, everybody called the red wings old.. weren’t they wrong, now they are saying they destroyed the league, that will also be proved wrong!

  7. YingYan says:

    Ok but don’t tell me they’re helping it!!!

    It’s obvious the rich owners are keeping the cup away from poor ones, simple as that, sport, any sport has to be fair ’cause else who cares about the small bunch of teams that can win it all?

    Happy for the Wings but they had better win it all or else they would have… sucked! 😉

  8. titans says:

    Again Captain Obvious Thanks!

  9. NewYorkRangers says:

    No problem.

  10. aaron says:

    Ok, let’s get something straight here. Detroit has NO ONE overpaid on their roster, except maybe guys like Kirk Maltby and Steve Duschense. But no one who makes over 2 million dollars is overpaid. Hell, Fedorov makes 2 million dollars.

    Next, we’d rather have player salaries low, and this article is about player salaries being driven up, not overall payrolls. We’d be able to sign more of them then. They all want to come here, that’s not our fault, nor is it our fault we’re rich, good drafters, and good traders. While you’re at it, why don’t you complain about Colorado having such a good youth system and not caring about bad drafting teams, upsetting the competitive balance of the league?

  11. titans says:

    Man you Ranger fans certainly are “special” aren’t you?

  12. aaron says:

    And we ALL know Marcus Naslund isn’t worth 4.3 million dollars. Jesus Christ, is HE overpaid. And dammit! Sergei Fedorov for 2 million? What the hell? Just throwing money away, they’re destroying hockey w/ those flagrant salaries! Man, I don’t know how the Rangers can compete in a league where the second leading point scorer of the league and captain of the team makes 4.3 million dollars! Its absurd!

  13. nskerr says:

    I am convinced Larry Brooks is on the Rangers payroll. Signing these players has no impact on the teams that do not bid? How about the restricted free agents who will not sign with their team when their stats are as good or better than the UFA’s. They will sit out hurting the team. I am an Islander fan and both Peca and Yashin came to the Islanders in part because these players felt they were underpaid compared to league standards which are set by the free agent market. Buffalo and Ottawa would not pay them what they felt they were worth and therefore, these players sat out forcing a trade. And don’t put it past the Rangers to bid on a restricted free agent. I believe it was Joe Sakic a few years ago that they tried to pry from Colorado and Colorado ended up matching which was a surprise. In fact, before the signing period there were rumors the Rangers might attempt the same BS move with Igilna. They would give up 5 1st round picks, but the Rangers are never about the futute. It’s always about now.

    So Larry, get a clue. When 2nd line players get ridiculous contracts, you can assume the best will want more. And as that hapens, the smaller markets will be squeezed even further.

  14. Leb_Boy says:

    yo i got a question…

    in 1994-1995, is that why there was a lockout? becuase of that Meeting thing.??

    wat exactly is it all about?

  15. ManillaKilla says:

    “…the rich owners are keeping the cup away from poor ones…”

    LOL. Man, the owners really have you fooled. Look at the owners of some of the so-called small market teams. They are some of the richest guys in the league. Don’t blame an owner like Mike Illitch because he would rather win championships than turn big profits. He could just as easily cut payroll and fill his pockets with revenue, making the wings a “small market” team.

  16. ManillaKilla says:

    Yeah, but Holik is a complete player. His defense has got to be worth an extra 4.7 million a year. And while Fedorov is a complete player too, he doesn’t give you the grit Holik does. Clearly, that’s worth an extra 7 million.

  17. thebestteamiscanucks says:

    i understand Burke complaining because our canuck onwer ( whos from seattle) wont pay no one nothing.

    but toronto is a big market team like dallas ney york and others. quinn is just a dumbass who pays domi 2 million. BERTUZZI makes 2 million. Sundin’s no better than Naslund. Then whys he getting 4million more than naslund. quinn is just angry cause no one wants to sign with them. toronto fans suck ass. toronto got like 20 million more than canucks and just finish 3 points away from them.

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