I would like to begin with saying congratulations to the Ducks of Anahiem, their players, organization, staff and their 20,000 fans. It was a heart wreching experience to see our old GM (Brian Burke) and our old minor league coach (Randy Carlyle) and our free agent gaff (Scott Niedermayer) and our old fan favourite (Brad May)...well you get the point...it was a heart wrenching experience to see those guys hoist the cup in a different city.
In my recent followings of the NHL and its future, I have come across a rather disturbing find. The answer to my question may actually be rather simple however I have decided to raise the point to my fellow bloggers to get a sense of what others may be thinking. It could very well be that no one really cares or that no has yet to really examine the point. But here it is...
In February of 2005, NHL Commisioner Gary Bettman announced the cancellation of the 2004-2005 NHL season. With the announcement the NHL became the first professional sports league to cancel a season due to a labour dispute.
The reason for the dispute in one word was 'linkage'. Linkage was the word that I heard most for the entire lockout, and linkage was the reason that we all lost an entire season of NHL hockey. Linkage was the linking of NHL player salaries to the NHL owners revenues. At the time it sounded like a legitimate arguement and one that I don't think the players were going to win regardless. Let's face it, there isn't one player in the entire league that isn't overpaid but that is an arguement for another day.
In the end we got our hockey back and the players accepted an agreement that gave them 54% of the owners revenue. During the first season back the league put into place a $44 million dollar salary cap which seemed like a reasonable mark for many teams to field a competitive line-up.
The 2005-2006 season brought in record numbers in many cities and with the advertising money from young stars the league appeared to be returning to its old early-90's fame when Sports Illustrated marked it in the 'Hot' category. With that strong support in most markets the NHL was able to increase the salary cap for the 2006-2007 season to an impressive $47 million dollar mark.
And now I hear that for the upcoming 2007-2008 season the NHL is considering a salary cap that may hit $52 million dollars. I says, pardon?
Don't get me wrong if they figure that most of the teams can afford a threashold of $52 million, I for one am all over that one. My problem lies with this...for example, during the 2003-2004 season the Vancouver Canucks operated at a budget (as set by then owner John McCaw) that would only allow $47 million dollars in players salaries. That was prior to the lockout, now after losing a season the team will venture to a salary threashold that is higher than they have ever been in franchise history, and this is post lock out!
WHY DID I LOSE AN NHL SEASON!?!
I know you're going to argue that they had to write it in stone that the players would only get 54% of league revenue, fair enough. From my perspective looking around the league, I don't think that it is terribly healthy, NBC cut a overtime playoff game short, the Ducks of Anahiem are going to have a parking lot party not a street parade, the Nashville Predators may move to Canada, the Phoenix Coyotes can't draw flies to their games and ....where else do you want me to go.
I also understand that there is money placed in escro that the players only see once the league has reviewed its books and it is determined where exactly the 54% threashold lies.
In order for the lockout to serve it purpose the league's owners must also learn for their mistakes. My initial reaction to the lockout resolutions was that Gary pretty well had the players bent over but if the salary cap continues to jump as reported, I got a feeling that there may be a few more unhappy owners in the coming seasons.
Maybe I have answered my own question, but I just wanna know ...if we are headed to a situation where the cap hits $80 million dollars and some teams can only afford to touch the cap floor and we lose all parity that was also suppose to come of the lockout....then WHY DID I LOSE MY 2004-2005 SEASON, WHY DOES MY NHL RECORD BOOK NOT HAVE A STANLEY CUP CHAMPION LISTED? WHY GARY, WHY?