Why the media has a bad name: When we last left the Flyers they had just swept back to back home and home series against one of the toughest rivals in Flyers history (the Devils) and then against the Canadians. I have already recapped these four games in an earlier blog. However, since then I have become aware of some comments made on a Montreal newspaper blog site. I have no problems with a strong passion against any team in the league as a fan. However, equating the Flyers to Nazis is flat out irresponsible. Is he calling Ed Snider Hitler in this analysis? I understand that with the Flyers eliminating the Canadians in a recent playoff matchup and passing them in the standings, that he might dislike the Flyers. I have a deep dislike with how the Penguins have done business in the NHL as well. But those feelings are on the ice, not the team, the owners, etc. I also would never equate them to a group of people that were responsible for genocide. I will not quote the article, but you can read his comments here: http://habsinsideout.com/boone/29193
Looking forward to the CBA: In the near future renegotiation of the CBA between the Players Association and the NHL will begin, and I sure hope that all sides look at this with open eyes. This is the best professional league in my opinion. The game is great, I love the new open rules and the players have embraced them. The one major problem that I see with the league is the contracts between the players and the teams. I understand the need for the players to have certainty with their money and why the contracts are guaranteed, however the teams need some leverage with players that stop performing on the ice. The team needs a mechanism to move a player that is not performing. My suggestions are the following:
• Players that are injured and cannot return to the ice must retire. The prime example here is Mike Rathje. He signed a contract when he was not 100% and has basically taken money for services he was unable to supply. Unless he can produce a doctor that approves him for full contact he must be forced by the NHLPA and NHL to retire. There should be some mechanism in the CBA that pays the athlete a buyout percentage and the contract goes away.
• Each team can only provide a no trade or no movement clause to 3 players at any time. This means that players with a NTC that waive it for a trade forfeit the NTC for the life of the contract. The NTC has become a status symbol in contracts. They are hurting the league when movement is required by a team to rebuild and hurting the player when the team begins to pressure them to waive the clause.
• The salary cap should be for the exact amount of the contract that year – not an average over the life of the contract. This just creates funny business with numbers. While I am glad that Philly signed Pronger long-term, the last 2 years at the league minimum do look pretty funny!
• The waiver process must change. Players that are not producing must be able to be sent to the minors without going through waivers. There should be a periodic draft of any player in the minors with an NHL contract. This would help players like Denis Gauthier or Randy Jones. These players were signed to NHL contracts, had to go down to the minors to let the team fit into the salary cap, and were buried in the minors. Every month a team could lose a NHL player in the minors through a draft process. The team claiming the player would be responsible for 100% of the player’s contract.
Here is hoping for a quality game between USA and Canada. I hope the game is a barn burner, close and down to the wire, nobody gets hurt in any way and we get the game of our dreams! Good night and good hockey!