Just a little rant on players greed in the NHL. Yes, I know, this is a subject that has been beaten to death. But I needed to vent. Don’t bother reading if your just going to bash it or me.
First off, I know that hockey is a business, a capitalist industry, and as such, it isn’t strange that everyone goes for the almighty dollar over anything else. However, that still doesn’t make it right.
How many times have you heard a player say “I’d love to stay in (Name of City), I love it here, I hope the team can come up with something to keep me”. He’s basically saying “yes, it’s nice here, my team mates are good guys, this is where I became the player I am today, however, because the team is up against the salary cap, they may not be able to pay me as much as another team, so to hell with all the good, I’m going to abandon the team who helped me become who I am.”
Look at Teemu Selanne, who may not be able to resign with the Anaheim Ducks due to their cap limitations. It’s safe to say his non-Ducks career has been a shadow of how he performs in Anaheim. A consistent 30 (or more) goal scorer as a Duck, Selanne failed to crack the 30 goal mark in his two seasons with the San Jose sharks, and scored a measly 16 in a one year stint with Colorado (Not to mention that before he came to Anaheim, excluding his record setting rookie season, he only managed at most 25 goals). However after returning to Anaheim post-lockout, he has been a back-to-back 40 goal scorer, 88 goals in 162 games. The Ducks have 1.3 million in cap room left. It would be easy for Selanne to resign for 500k, and stay with the team that helps makes him great. Has he not made enough money in his career? And even if he hadn’t had a 14 season career that saw him be paid millions of dollars, is 500k not enough for a living? Is it not enough to live comfortably, and even fancy?
And it’s like that all over. In a recent interview, Jason Spezza stated that he would like to stay in Ottawa, would like to continue playing with Dany Heatley, but that the ball was in the Senators court, that they would have to come up with the number he is asking for. He almost won a Stanley Cup with this team. He still has the chance to do so. He is good friends with players like Heatley, Ray Emery and Brian McGrattan. And yet he’s willing to throw it all away for a bigger pay check. He already makes 5 million a year, does he need more? I probably won’t make 5 million over the span of my entire life. He makes 5 million a YEAR.
Other examples are Ryan Smyth, a self professed Oiler for life, who wouldn’t resign to a contract a little lower then his asking price. and eventually went to a division rival. Daniel Briere, who many thought was too small for the NHL, and was pretty useless in Phoenix. But Buffalo gave him a chance, and he blossomed into an All-Star and went to back-to-back Conference Finals. He left all that for the worst team in the league, who happened to offer him big money. I seriously doubt he thinks he has a better chance of winning the Stanley Cup with the Flyers than with the Sabres. Chris Drury, who once said (I’m paraphrasing) “Colorado said they liked me, and then traded me, Calgary said they liked me, and then they traded me, I sure hope Buffalo doesn’t say they like me”. That sure sounds like someone who is tired of moving. But, for the big money, he is willing to abandon the franchise that gave him a chance and wanted to keep him, a team that had a chance to win it all.
It’s different when a player moves because they’re careers are hindered in a city. If a player doesn’t have talented team mates, is on a losing team, and it’s holding back his development and chance to win, then maybe a move is justified. But to abandon the team that invested in you, gave you a chance to shine. All for the purpose of making your wallet fatter then it already is. It’s just sad.
Of course, GM’s are to blame as well. It’s them that offers up these huge contracts, it’s them that started it in the first place. But what happened to integrity? Honour? Loyalty? They are no more in today’s NHL, and that is truly tragic.