In the ever changing economics of hockey, one thing has started to become very clear, some play for love and others play for money.
Clearly its easy to see both types of players in the NHL today, but in my opinion, its the ones that play for the money that have caused the biggest problem with salaries in today's NHL.
Let's look at a single statement that we hear over and over when FA time comes around, 'Test the Market'. We hear this time and time again and really don't ever get too upset over it, but shouldn't we? All that player is saying is that they are going where the most money is, regardless if its their current team or not.
I understand that every situation is different, and that not all players that go to free agency do it for the money. There are plenty of players out there who need a fresh start, the team they are on is going in a different direction, or the team just simply does not have enough to offer them the type of money they really deserve. I have no problem with these players, and generally these are not the guys getting dealt the huge contracts and are certainly not the problem.
The ones I am talking about are the Scott Gomez's of the world. We all know NJ had the money and the space to give Gomez a contract that he deserved. We also can assume, based on reports, that they wanted him back. Scott, however, wanted the money. The subsequent bidding war ending up landing him a contract worth well above what his value was and thus will drive up subsequent contracts for players with similar stats and ability to him. Thanks Scott, thanks alot.
Everyone says don't blame the players, and maybe we shouldn't, but there has to be a good portion of blame put on these type of players for the reason we are seeing 10mil contracts again. There is plenty of money to be made in the game and still be playing it for the right reasons. One of the best examples of this is Iginla. Here is a player who re-signs for what can be easily said to be far less than he could have made but did it because of his team, and his love of the game. Iginla wanted to stay in Calgary, he wanted to win a cup for the fans of Calgary, and he was willing to do it for less money than he could have made as a free agent......wow, doesn't that feel good to see from time to time, a guy that is more concerned about the game, the fans, the team, than he is about the money.
Gomez is talented, and so is Iginla.....but its the guys that play for the love of the game that deserve the money we pay to see them, because its those guys that are giving everything they have and earning it.