The state of the NHL, seems to me, like it's headed in the wrong direction yet again.  All current actions are taking place under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, which runs out on September 15th.  As the sides continue to try and get a new one in place by then, the old remains in place.  That old agreement set the rules of a salary cap.  I can't remember the exact date and time that commissioner Gary Bettman made a statement praising the current CBA and the parity it had created in the league amongst all of the teams.  I'm guessing about 2 years ago. 

      Well, that was then, this is now.  How would you like to be a Nashville Predators fan today?  They lost Ryan Suter to free agency and are on the verge of losing Shea Weber just 2 weeks later.  Why?  Because the Flyers sent an offer sheet that they knew the Predators basically couldn't match.  The offer sheet i believe includes a 1st year, $27 million dollar signing bonus.  The total value of the contract is $110 mil over 14 years.  Thats right, 14 years.  Ryan Suter and Zach Parise both signed in Minnesota.  13 years, $98 mil...... each.  These contracts are ridiculous.  Did anyone ever hear of a goaltender named Rick Dipietro?  Signed a 15 year deal, hurt his knee bad enough to never get back to old form, and is now nothing but a rotating, yearly problem with a cap hit.  These GM's are handing out contracts with so much length that the GM's will probably not be around to see those contracts end.  And why not.  By then, it's likely to be someone elses problem.

      It's clear the inmates are running the asylum.  The Rangers just won the Rick Nash sweepstakes.  In my opionion, Columbus was robbed.  Why were they robbed?  Because Nash gave them a short list of teams.  The Rangers just happened to be on it.  In reality, he handcuffed the Columbus organization.  I'm sure there were 20 something other teams in the league that would've parted with more than what they got.  Anisomov is a 3rd liner at best.  Dubinsky was overpaid by the Rangers and is nowhere close to worth the $4 mil cap hit.  He also is no angel off the ice.  Erixon may develop into a nice role player.  And the #1 draft pick of a team that will be picking between 21-30 to me, isn't truly a 1st round pick.  So, Mr. Bettman.  Where is the parity now? 

     Now, I'll revert to the rules on the ice.  Rules that had been changed to "create more scoring".  Well, while it seems those rules may have applied during the season, they clearly did not during the playoffs.  I don't have all the numbers from the playoffs but i can only imagine that scoring has to be way down.  Pick 1.  Either make the rules apply in the offseason, or dump them.  I can't think of 1 obstruction call during the playoffs and my count of illegal picks set in the playoffs without an interference call was around 18.  While i watched a ton of playoff games, i can tell you missed a few.  So add to the count.  This year was the year of the shot block.  The Rangers success was based on throwing as many bodies in front of shots as possible, which is kind of ass backwards with an all world goalie.  I'm all for player safety but it's possible we're seeing what I call "The Barry Bonds Effect".  They have so much gear that guys barely feel the blocks anymore.  You know why guys didn't jump in front of slapshots by Mario Lemiuex, Brett Hull, Wayne Gretzky etc....  Because it freakin hurt.  And now, in todays game, guys go down knowing the only 2 spots that are real vulnerable are sides of the skates, and the face.  Good shot blockers get the block with their legs.  I'll use a Ranger as an example so Rag fans don't think i'm picking on them.  Ryan Callahan is a fantastic shot blocking forward.  He always gets down and gets his legs to the shot.  But i saw other teammates not even sliding.  Just crouching down and turning their head.  That's a little too comfortable.  Change it.

     All in all, there are a lot of problems with the NHL right now.  From the game on the ice, to making a new CBA that can keep the small market teams breathing.  After all, what the Minnesota Wild accomplished this offseason was more than the Calgary Flames could ever hope to do.  Big markets are rising.  Small markets are falling.  And the players clearly hold the power..... for now.

Copyright 2012