Numerous players have already signed extensive deals for the 09-10 season. However, one starts to wonder how much these players are just playing for money, instead of love of the game.
One of the perks of going to a division III college was Friday and Saturday nights at the hockey rink. I was the play-by-play broadcaster, and had the chance to get to know the players. These were players that had been at a division I school and never had a chance to play, along with guys who were playing in the junior leagues, but couldn't get drafted. The goalie was the first to admit that he just wanted to play hockey. He had attended Michigan State University and was the third string goalie. He never played. He came to my college his junior year in order to be a starting goaltender, and get playing time. That was more important than being on a national team. The chance to suit up nightly and play was more important.
The best thing is that was what went on regardless of what school was playing, the players were just trying to get a few more years on the ice. Players were not trying to get to a more competitive college, and weren't offered incentives to play. Every night, players would put forth 110% for the pride of the school and themselves. There were no scouts patroling the stands. No general managers trying to offer someone a contract. It was just hockey.
Unfortunately the NHL, as long with any sport, has players wanting to make more and more money. I understand that regardless, numerous players will want to make more and more money. Is the money and having your name engraved on the Stanley Cup important? Of course. But in the end, wouldn't you rather play for love of the game, and a little less money?