Gary Bettman

Player Salaries: The Real Problem

by Steve Giacobello

So, the NHL last week announced that the 30 teams in the league suffered a combined loss of $273 million. Is anyone really surprised at this? I’m not.

What surprises me is how the NHL is trying to fix the problem by saying that they need to “improve the game.”  Sorry guys, but the game isn’t the problem.

Ask anyone who has been watching the game as long as me and I’m sure they’ll tell you that we were just fine with the game the way it was before Gary Bettman came along. Those of us who know and love the game don’t need things such as more space behind the nets, smaller goalie equipment, no fighting, shoot-outs, non-puckhandling goalies, bigger nets, Olympic size ice surfaces etc…etc…..to make the game more enjoyable.

The problem is that the NHL and the owners are trying way to hard to make the NHL something it can never become.

No matter what rule changes you add or subtract to the league, the bottom line is that the NHL will NEVER be able to compete with the NFL, NBA, or MLB here in the States.

The NHL is trying so hard to compete with these other pro-sports and attract newer and larger audiences, but in the process they are hurting the game and turning away the true, hardcore, longtime fans of the game.

The game to us longtime hockey fans, was just fine. In our opinion, there’s no use trying to fix something that’s not broke.

The quicker the league and the owners understand that the NHL will never produce the money, audiences, ratings and overall numbers that baseball, basketball and football does, the better off we’ll all be in the long run. This constant comparison by the NHL to these other professional sports is hurting the game.

This brings me to my next point, which is the REAL problem with the NHL, and that’s PLAYER SALARIES!!!!!!!!

The salaries that these NHL players are receiving today is the #1 problem and it’s what’s killing the sport, and it may eventually cause the NHL to fold completely. Why do you think teams, even after coming off a winning season, continue to lose millions at the end of the year? It’s because they can’t cover their payroll no matter how well the team does on the ice, at the gates, or at selling merchandise.

The league is scrambling around like crazy trying to come up with all these insane and idiotic ideas and rule changes to try and change the game in order to improve it and attract a larger audience for the game, thus generating more money for struggling franchises.

Sorry, but a 7-6 win decided in a shootout after 65 minutes isn’t going to miraculously save the game overnight.

The problem lies on both sides of the fence. Players are to blame for demanding these inflated salaries, and owners are to blame for agreeing to pay them.

These owners insist on paying NFL/NBA type salaries to players of a game that just doesn’t gererate the revenue that these other professional sports produce every year. Baseball and football can afford to pay the player salaries that they do without a salary cap because the game generates enough money. The market for these games are huge and teams can handle supporting the payrolls that they have.

Bottom line is this: The NHL needs a salary cap…..not rule changes.

The players need to understand and respect the fact that their salaries are what’s killing the game and accept a pay cut.

Both sides say that they are prepared for a long lockout…..It’s quite possible that the entire season will be lost.

I doubt it…..The players greed will eventually take over and after missing two or three pay periods and they’ll announce that they’re ready to accept a salary cap.

They’ll say that they “miss playing the game”, or that they’re “doing it for the fans” or because of their “love of the game”, but the truth is that the players of the NHL today are greedy, and their greed must be laid to rest before the NHL is.

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