Could Bobby Lose Again?

With the ruling on  Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract being felt league wide, other deals that have been given to certain NHL players are being investigated now as well.  In looking for ways to circumvent the salary cap (only an allegation and not yet proved), players were given deals that were heavily front-end loaded for long lengths of time (10 years or more).  These contracts would then have significantly diminished salaries at the tail end of their deals.

Chris Pronger, Marc Savard, Marian Hossa and Roberto Luongo are the contracts that the NHL is looking into.  Click here for the story from TSN. While Hossa’s deal started last season, the other three have not officially begun paying, and could potentially be voided as the players head into this season.  The problem the NHL feels is that these players will be into their 40′s by the time the contracts come to an end, and most likely won’t be playing, which is one of the reasons for the significant drop off.

Let’s take a closer look at Loser Luongo’s deal that Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis signed the world class completely overrated goalie to.  A 12 year contract (what were you thinking Gillis) that ends when Louie is 43.   The contract averages approximately $7,000,000 dollars in the first seven years, with this coming season paying Bobby Lose $10 million.  The contract then reduces to $1.2,000,000 in each of the last three seasons, which represents 5.7% of the total package.

Arbitrator Richard Bloch isn’t buying into the theory of why and how these deals came to be and doesn’t seem to care that the NHL already approved them.  He’s digging in and don’t be surprised if at least one of these deals is voided.  While I don’t think the Hossa deal will be touched, as this would put a huge damper on all the manuevering the Chicago Blackhawks have done this summer, I could see the Luongo deal voided and maybe even Pronger’s.

Face it kids, everyone knew exactly what they were doing here.  Player, agent, general manager,  owner, and the furor himself Gary Bettman.  In taking another look at Louie’s deal he has an out clause after five years and the Canucks have an out clause after seven years.  I don’t think I could wait seven years, but it’s not up to me!  People in Vancouver are screaming already that the deal never should have been made, and they are wondering how they can possibly live with this contract for even five years if they can’t get past the second round of the playoffs.  Hint:  Stop throwing parades after your first round victories, and try to keep your emotions in check when playing the Blackhawks.  Old habits die hard I guess.

In all seriousness, this issue must be resolved someway somehow before the next CBA agreement and before we continue to lose the best players in the league to the KHL.  The salary cap hasn’t really done what the original intention was.  Remember when the owners said, “We don’t have money”?  Yet year after year since the lockout, contracts are getting bigger, longer and more ridiculous.  In addition because of the cap there’s so much movement year to year as fringe players are starting to sign contracts for less money and shorter terms, in hopes of having a breakout season, and getting the next big deal the following season.  Each year this seems to be backfiring more and more. This is being most noticeable this season as there remain a number of NHL players who don’t have a home yet.

It’s approaching mid August, and we’ve seen Maxim Afinogenov go to the KHL, Lee Stempniak still without a team, and grinder, yet well respected player Glen Metropolit going to Sweden.  No one can use these players?  Or have they just priced themselves out of the market by greed?  Maybe the next agreement should have an excise tax for teams that spend over the limit.  Maybe the Stanley Cup winner should get a cushion the following season so they aren’t forced to break up their team.

This is a great game.  The excitement that has been built since the lockout has grown fanbases all over the U.S. and Canada.  The sport is at the height of popularity as shown by the ratings of this past season’s playoffs.  C’mon everybody, let’s pull our heads out of our arse’s and get this all fixed.  There’s no way we can have another lockout, but if you don’t watch yourself, it’s going to happen.

Well, at least we won’t have to watch Louie self destruct in the playoffs!

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Tags: Chris Pronger Marc Savard Marian Hossa Robert Bloch Roberto Luongo

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