The effort to save the 2012-2013 NHL season received some much needed reinforcement yesterday after the NHLPA decided not to file a disclaimer of interest at the supposed 11:59 pm ET deadline. Reports suggest this is because a deal may in fact be in sight. Meetings lasted late into the night, and one of the more interesting topics to arise was the idea for teams to buy out a maximum of two contracts that will not count against the cap.
The NHLPA isn’t too crazy about this idea because it will count against the players’ share of the beloved HRR – a term we’ve come to know and love throughout the lockout. If some variation of this idea does somehow land in the new CBA, some teams are sure to take advantage of this clause before the ink dries.
I wonder how long it will take Charles Wong to send a thank-you card to the NHLPA if they in fact agree on this proposition. The New York Islanders are still paying for Alexei Yashin’s contract for another three years and one’s got to think that Rick DiPietro’s days on the Island are definitely coming to an end if it’s possible to take his contract off the books. His injury-plagued career doesn’t ease the pain of the $4.5 million the club owes him until 2021.
Philadelphia Flyers’ GM Paul Holmgren would surely consider using one of his buyouts on future Hall-of-Fame defenceman Chris Pronger. At 38 years old, Pronger has won everything that matters – a Stanley Cup and an Olympic gold medal just to name a few. There’s no need for him to return to risk further injury. He is arguably one of the best shut-down defencemen of my era, and Holmgren would only be doing him a favour by buying him out. A hockey career eventually comes to an end, and when it does, the player’s life must go on. I wouldn’t want to see the rest of his life ruined for another kick at the can.
Bringing the issue a little closer to home, I wonder what the over/under is on time it’ll take Montreal Canadiens’ GM Marc Bergevin to pull the trigger on Scott Gomez. This last choice was a bit more difficult, I’m not sure who’s in a worse situation because I could picture Toronto Maple Leafs’ GM Brian Burke also wanting to relieve Mike Komisarek of his duties. But when you have a website counting the days since your last goal, you know times are tough. With only two goals on the year last season, and on contract for another two years after this season, Gomez’s $7.3 million cap hit can finally be a thing of the past.
The owners dug themselves into these holes with these ridiculous contracts and are now looking for the easy way out. But the blame, however, doesn’t solely rest on their shoulders. Yes, you’re obligated to uphold the terms of a contract you signed a player to, it’s only fair, but it’s also the responsibility of the player to prove he’s worth that massive contract.
Nicholas Carafa is a third-year journalism student at Ryerson university. He credits his pursuit of a journalism career to Ray Romano because it was his character on Everyone Loves Raymond that got him really contemplating a career in sports journalism. His main interest lies in radio or television journalism but feels it’s necessary to be a jack of all trades.