It’s Friday, it’s mailbag, it’s me. Thanks to all who submitted a question – and if you’re new to this process, be sure to read THN magazine to see if I answered your inquiry there.
Hi Adam, with six outdoor games scheduled for this season that will clearly boost NHL revenues and the salary cap, will this become the norm? If so, will the cap dramatically go up every year? If not, will the cap go down a year from that since the league won't make as much money?
Eric Barriault, St-Constant, Que.
There is no guarantee the NHL will continue staging as many outdoor games as they will this year, but as a high-ranking league source explained to me earlier this year, it’s the interest from the markets that is driving this phenomenon. Mayors and businesspeople in many NHL locales have seen how fully an outdoor game has been embraced and want a piece of the action, so why wouldn’t the league exploit that desire?
Now, that said, the league has yet to experience a complete outdoor game disaster that illustrates the risk that’s taken when you partner up with Mother Nature. They came close in 2011, when the Winter Classic in Pittsburgh had its start time delayed from 1 pm to 8 pm and nearly was canceled due to inclement weather. Obviously, the more games that are scheduled, the more likely we are to see a cancelation. And the outcry that would follow such a scenario might temper interest.
As far as your salary cap-related questions go, I can best sum up my answer this way: the cap is not tied primarily to outdoor games and there are numerous additional revenue streams (including the league’s European licensing and digital rights) that are being focused upon in order to boost the NHL’s profits. The combination of all those efforts is what ultimately will determine where the cap ceiling sits.
Miikka Kiprusoff: Hall of Fame worthy or not?
Joe Cordova, Burnaby, B.C.
Not. Definitely not. Yes, Kiprusoff has a Vezina Trophy on his resume, but he simply did not function at a high enough capacity for a lengthy stretch of time to warrant Hall of Fame consideration. When you look at his best years (including Calgary’s run to the Stanley Cup final in 2004) Kiprusoff was clearly at the top of his game. However, his save percentage dropped every year after that until the 2009-10 campaign and the Flames never won a single playoff series again during his tenure. He earned a special place in Calgary’s collective heart, but he isn’t an all-time great.
Hi Adam! I have just gotten back into my hockey fix by watching some KHL action via the internet (Go Dinamo Riga!) and have already come to one very major conclusion: the 'touch' icing rule needs to go!
In the KHL they have the 'no-touch' icing rule, and it is just so simple! The puck crosses the red line, the whistle blows, play stops. How much simpler can it get? Why must the NHL continue to make 220-pound men hurtle into the boards chasing a puck that should have been blown dead five seconds earlier? It speeds up the game, it saves injuries, and it just makes the game so much easier. Why has the icing rule been kept the same for so long? Gary Bettman & Co. seem to want to make the game more 'viewer friendly'. Does that include players hurtling into the boards and shattering limbs?
My question to you is this: When (if ever) will the NHL adopt a 'no touch' rule? Forget the 'hybrid' nonsense…no footraces for the puck…no referee speculations…just blow the bloody thing dead and line up in the other end. End of story. Thanks for your time!
Tom Walker, Perth, Australia
I’ve argued for a change in the NHL’s icing rules for years, but like many things associated with this league, positive change has been slow to come – and indeed, has been fought tooth-and-nail by the usual suspects who think the game has only been played one way for centuries and shouldn’t be tinkered with whatsoever.
That attitude has led to calamitous injuries to a number of players, including Pat Peake, Kurtis Foster, Taylor Fedun, and most recently, Hurricanes blueliner Joni Pitkanen (who will miss the entire 2013-14 campaign and may lose his entire career to a severely broken foot). The league maintains it doesn’t want to lose the “excitement” of a puck chase, but I don’t know too many people who ever leave a game screaming, “Hey, did you see that puck chase? Incredible!” The tradeoff in injuries never has been worth it.
With that in mind, I’m OK with a move to hybrid icing. It may not be ideal, but it’s better than the status quo.
Adam, Thanks for your insight and perspective, I look forward to your posts each week. It is always kind of assumed that teams running over the cap will shed salary to get in compliance by trading away players but I was wondering what is the penalty if they can't do it? Do they have to cut players and play with less than 20? I know there is a deadline before the season that they can no longer be over, but as things change with injuries and acquisitions is there a deadline to be compliant for each game?
Jon Sobieski, Newbury Park, Calif.
There is no stated penalty in the collective bargaining agreement for teams exceeding the cap ceiling. And while I get this question semi-frequently, it’s more or less a moot point, as no league GM would presume he could get away with blatant cap circumvention.
The NHL went ballistic when teams tried more subtle ways to use the system to their advantage (e.g. front-end-loaded contracts), so there’s no chance they would allow a team to take the ice if its management lost its marbles and tried to force the issue.
Ask Adam appears Fridays on THN.com. Ask your question on our submission page. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Adam on Twitter at @ProteauType.