Wednesday, September 06, 2006
I always found it interesting during the lockout and postlockout as well to hear people bemoan the end of the non salary cap era. Now to be sure I am biased, being an Oilers' fan, but I'm not sure how allowing certain teams an advantage over others due to market size and revenue streams is good for a sport. Being a small market or mid market team (NJ) did not mean certain failure just as being a big market team (Rangers) did not mean success but allowing certain teams to have a better chance of success then others based on their population base and revenue streams (not to mention that the owner might be a pizza baron or some such) just seems foolish to me.
Surely smart drafting and development could help a small market team compete - God knows the Oilers wasted too many picks on the likes of Kelly and Bonsignore over the years - but the apologists (especially here in Toronto) who noted that Calgary and Tampa were in the finals in 2003/2004 also failed to note that both teams had struggled for years to get to that point and that without a Cap both would have been picked apart quickly, forced to trade players whose salaries ballooned in arbitration or who held out for bigger money and losing veterans to free agency. So a year or two of competitiveness and then back in the toilet while the Leafs, Flyers, Wings etc banked payrolls twice or three times that of competitors.
No guarantee of success but certainly an edge.
Without a cap would the Wings have seen Shanahan depart and replaced Legace with Hasek. Or would they have signed Gerber or Roloson as well as traded for Pronger and for good measure added Peca for some grit. Or maybe signed Chara? Or would they have added Khabibulin last summer?
Anyhow, I know the age of the dynasty is probably over and for many parity is a dirty word but I prefer a league where my team (inherent bias) has a chance to win the Cup or at least make the playoffs regularly if their management team is smart and where a team which neglects the draft and has a poor record of developing its own players will continue its 39 year streak of not only not winning the Stanley Cup but not even making the finals.
Which leads us to today's team - the Avs. Now, like the Wings, Stars and Devils I don't really begrudge the Avs their success of the past decade. They always drafted well and then filled the holes by trading youngsters (Robyn Reghyr) for the veterans they thought might put them over the top. Or not.
But I think they are about to join the Caps, Blues and Leafs as former big spenders on the post lockout scrapheap. First Forsberg and Foote, now Blake and Tanguay. I look at this team and they are a real mishmash which generally means a whole lot of trouble. They have a goalie who seems to have lost it, a pile of defencemen who, with the exceptions of Leopold and Vaananen, really leave a lot to be desired and up front, Heyduk, Svatos and Joe Sakic, who looks like he is going to end a terrific career (one of the best) where he started it. At the bottom.
Of course I thought they would be out of it last year too. Joel Quennville is one of the best in my book. And they have some other guys I like - Lapierre, Konawalchuk and good Sudbury (actually he's from the Valley I believe) boy Andrew Brunette.
But Brisebois? Turgeon? Arneson? Etc. Etc.
Lacroix got out when the getting was good.
Posted by Black Dog at 1:45 PM