The NHL shouldn’t wait to fix the looming salary cap disaster

The pandemic made them do that.

Advertising on helmets? The pandemic made the NHL do just that.

Does the jacket flop down the logo while enriching the bottom line by selling advertising patches on T-shirts? The pandemic made the NHL do just that.

I know, you don’t have to tell me because Representative Bill Daly, in countless interviews, has already said to everyone, “It’s not the end of the world.”

Of course, nothing is the end of the world except literally the end of the world. But if I told my 13-year-old self to my mom that the 67 she got on her first chemistry test at Bronx Science wasn’t “the end of the world,” I’m not sure she played all the way supposedly with Daly and the Manhattan merchants.

(The truth is, she didn’t!)

Yes, I know that advertising money (don’t you like the way teams try to spin these sponsors as “correction partners”, or any other euphemism they can find just as much) will boost the salary cap, but there’s this annoying whole-end of thing to consider.

Should every sample of acreage in spirits be sold to the highest bidder of companies just because it can be? Is it possible for an outfit, even if it is just washing, to remain sacred?

The pandemic made them do that.

The NHL put these measures in place in order to help owners make up for the massive revenue shortfall caused by COVID-19. Now is the time for the NHL, in conjunction with the NHLPA, to tackle the flat cover, created by the pandemic that is stifling more than a third of the league.

The Oilers have taken over the short one-man ice, with a 17-plus-two line-up, due to the flat cover issues created by COVID-19.
USA Today Sports

It was Mickey Mouse’s time in Edmonton on Wednesday when the Oilers took the ice short man, with a 17+2 lineup, due to the flat cover issues created by COVID-19. And that won’t be unique to this club, this time around. This is the stuff of garage tournaments.

Teams that responsibly planned their business while anticipating an annual cap increase were brought to their knees under the terms of a Collective Bargaining Agreement extension crafted at a time of economic and psychological duress.

As of Saturday, according to CapFri Friendly, five teams had zero space and six more owned under $250,000, all with an injury or two away from disaster. This represents more than a third of the league. Thirteen teams are indulging in replenishing their long-term casualty reserve.

The system will come under more pressure next year, when the cap will be increased by only $1 million, as stipulated by the CBA. The system will explode at the seams if not treated. And there’s no reason not to address it right away. If the league can sell the uniforms to help the owners, it can certainly make CBA modifications that will help the teams’ front and blue lines.

Sako Minalanen of the Winnipeg Jets wears the Canada Life ad on his T-shirt.
NHLI via Getty Images

Here’s how: The NHL expects the cap to rise to about $9.5 million, from $82.5 million this year to $92 million in 2025-26. This predicts a $1 million increase next year, a $4-4.5 million increase the following season, and another $4-$4.5 million increase for 2025-26.

Rather than applying this formula, the league should (with advice and approval provided by the PA) split the $9.5 million increase over a three-year period equally, starting in 2023-24. Thus, an increase of $3.15 million for each of the next three seasons, which can be adjusted in concert with revenue forecasts.

why not? I can’t think of a single legitimate argument against giving teams that much rest next season. If an owner or two of the pipes arrive, people on Ninth Avenue can only say the pandemic made them do so.

After all, this wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Lindy Raff
Demons coach Lindy Raff

Does it surprise you to know that many of the Devils’ most ardent fans are hoping for something like a 3-7-2 start, so Lindy Raff will be fired as head coach and the club can go ahead with newly appointed assistant coach Andrew Brunet running the show?

Or will this not surprise you at all?

It seems implausible that the eight players on the Don Feer substitution search committee of the Players Association, Jacob Troppa is the youngest, at 28. Six of them are between 32-34.

I think institutional knowledge is imperative, but in a role dominated by children, was there no one in the crowd of 25 and under with enough interest in this volunteer endeavor? Or have the kids been ostracized?

Either way, it’s not terribly impressive.

Derek Stepan
Getty Images

Derek Stepan, who apparently wasn’t good enough to play in any of Hurricane’s seven games against Rangers in the conference semi-finals last season, made it into the opening night’s squad nearly five months later.

And by the way, did you pick up the Bruins and Capitals on Wednesday in this week’s AARP game?

In recognition of Braden Schneider’s move to fourth place, he ranked his top five blouse shirts to wear number: 1. Ron Greschner; 2 – Bill Gadsby; 3 – Kevin Lowe; 4 – Alex Shbeky. 5. Show me Brown. Honorable Mention: Michael Del Zotto; Recall: Junior Langlois. Shameful mention: Kevin Hatcher.

Seriously, can you imagine sending Peter Popovich to Pittsburgh – say that three times, fast – for 33-year-old Hatcher and somehow lost the trade?

Finally, with Mike Keenan on Friday appointed head coach of the Italian national team ahead of the 2026 Winter Olympics, which will take place in Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo, I wonder how long it will take him to get to, say, Denmark. See if he can get a better deal.

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