Commentary, opinion and news on the world of hockey.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year!! - pass the whine


I don't normally venture into the world of baseball but, my God, I feel I must now. It is being reported that atfer the Randy Johnson deal finally goes through, the Yankees 2005 payroll will top out at about $205 million. Excuse me while I reattach my lower jaw.

The Yankees will have to pay out $25 million in luxury tax (for last season). Does it seem to matter to anyone that the Tampa Bay Devil Ray's total payroll last year (roughly $24.5 million) was less than what the Yankees will pay in tax alone?

I find it funny that good 'ol Bob Goodenow and Ted Saskin have consistently claimed how well baseball's CBA works. But come on, with a payroll disparity and complete lack of any long term parity such as they have, I say...what are they smokin?

Granted, the luxury tax proposed by the NHLPA would have more teeth than what is currently the standard in baseball, however, I think that the Yankees have proven that a luxury tax may not have the necessary constraints required by the NHL. If a team wants to buy a player, it would seem that those with deep enough pockets to do so, will get their man every time.

Perhaps I'm reaching a little bit here and speaking more out of shock, but maybe I'm starting to warm up a little more to Bettman's "cost certainty". And I admit that you cannot compare baseball to the NHL, for various reasons. But the question that I find myself asking now is that what would really stop a team like the Rangers, Flyers, etc., from out-spending the lower echelon teams if they really had to? I'm not so certain that even a luxury tax with the teeth of a barracuda could seriosuly stop them.

In the end, I'm disheartened by the fact that almost every sport that I used to enjoy has become more about business than the actual sport itself. I find it difficult to watch any game and not think about the insanity of player salaries. Can anyone seriously tell me that during a regular season game between the Avalanche and the Red Wings, for example, that not once does the fact that Peter Forsberg and Niklas Lidstrom make between $10 and $11 million per season enter one's mind?

In regards the the NHL lockout, both sides are more concerned about money than they are about anything else. The fan loses out big time here - no matter the outcome. Ticket prices are already beyond the reach of the average Joe and they are not likley to ever come back down from the upper stratosphere. I guess I just wish that the NHL was accessible to the fans who covet the sport the most. But I suppose I best be going back to my w(h)ine.

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