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Big business and spending to the cap

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Starting with next week’s Tuesday mailbag column, we’ll delve into as many trade deadline related inquiries as possible.

For now, it’s the usual mash-up of wide-ranging questions.

Hey there Adam,

Absolutely love your coverage! How is it possible that teams right up against the salary cap, like Philadelphia, are always cited as frontrunners for big trades and big additions, a la Peter Forsberg? From various websites, albeit unofficial ones, Philly has roughly $193,000 in cap space. By my calculations, without shedding significant salary via trade, Forsberg would have to agree to an average annual salary of less than $580,000 to fit the pro-rated salary under the cap this year. Granted, he could sign for this year and then sign another contract at season's end to avoid the average, but that still leaves him signing for a miniscule amount for the balance of this season. Does the cap really have any relevance if teams can circumvent it somehow? Thanks!

Tim Ermlich, Portland, Maine


I wouldn’t say teams are circumventing the cap – at least not in the case of Forsberg (or Teemu Selanne, or Scott Niedermayer) returning to the game in mid-season.

As Red Wings assistant GM Jim Nill told me last week, if a team has the cap room to spend, and they can convince a player to sign for what some may say is below market value, they should have that right.

The NHLPA might not be overly thrilled to see Forsberg sign for a relative pittance, but he’s made enough money over the course of his career to make winning, and not a giant payday, his biggest priority. And I – like the citizens of the NHL town Forsberg eventually chooses to play in – don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.


I'm trying to figure out what brand name gear I should wear. CCM? Nike? Or Easton? What do you think I should wear?

Michael Thomas, Renoldsburg, Ohio


Considering my grandmother used to work in the CCM factory in Toronto, I’m tempted to give that brand my stamp of approval.

But the truth is, it shouldn’t be about anyone’s endorsement, including one from an NHLer. If you can get to a store and try on the equipment yourself, you’ll find the brand that’s best for you.

Hi Adam,

I look forward to your columns every week; most of what you have to say about the game of hockey resonates with me. My question has more to do with the focus the media, THN and yourself included, place on "marketing" and "selling" the game. I don't know how many articles I've read about league wide revenues or American television contracts or "getting people to love the game in a non-traditional hockey market". Other sports don't do this. I read articles about hockey because I want to know how many goals the experts think Ovechkin will score; or if Montreal can keep up their pace for the rest of the year; or if Tampa is going to get rid of one of the big three. You get the picture. It seems like hockey journalists are often really insecure about the business side of the game and its popularity in the States. I would assume most readers of THN or any hockey journalism are fans from Canada and traditional hockey markets and they (me) don't care about marketing the game or the "business" of hockey. We think hockey is really cool. So, yeah, why does the media place so much focus where it does? Thanks for your time.

Jacob, Winnipeg


Thanks for the compliment, and the interesting question.

I don’t know that I’d call the hockey media’s interest in marketing and the off-ice development of the game a reflection of our “insecurity.”

Ultimately, it’s our job as reporters and columnists to cast some kind of light on that area of the game, because, thanks to Gary Bettman’s expansion blueprint for the U.S. – a blueprint I’ve always said I more or less agree with – it is an important issue, both for hockey’s present well-being and the sport’s long-term future.

Believe me, there’s nothing I’d like more than to write solely about what happens on the ice. But there are a number of people both within and outside of the industry that are extremely interested in the business of hockey.

It’s really a balancing act between the on-ice and off-ice stuff. My idea of balance may not jive with yours, but for me, that disagreement is a big part of the fun of pro sports debate.

Hey Adam,

Could you please tell me how the NHL is going to allow the winner of the “Southleast” division to be slotted in as the third seed in the East when they don't have more points than the ninth place team in the conference? After this year, could we see a change to this rule?

Dawson I., Halifax


Since the most recent NHL board of governors meetings didn’t address the potential disparity of which you write, I doubt we’ll see any changes next season.

And knowing the glacial pace at which the league responds to pressing issues, I’ll bet you won’t see a change to a more equitable playoff ranking system for at least two years.

Depressing, I know, but likely true. After all, this league still doesn’t understand the importance of all 30 teams playing in every NHL city. If they don’t get that, sensible playoff rankings will be even lower on their to-do list. (Read more on the playoff system HERE)

Hey Adam,

I read your column every week, and you are one of my favorite sports writers. I am absolutely crazy about hockey, either I am checking stats, or reading about players, and I always want to learn more. Soon I will have to pick a career, and I was wondering, what path did you take to become a sports writer? What university did you go to? Keep up the great work.

Jacob Pearman, Saint-Hubert, Que.


You’re too kind. Well, maybe not too kind. If you’d included an attached gift certificate with your email, you’d be too kind. So I guess you’re just plain old kind. I’m digressing again.

I took the long road into sports journalism. After high school, I attended the University of Toronto for a couple years and planned on a degree in criminology. At the same time, I moonlighted as an improv comedy student at the famous Second City training center.

I then was accepted into drama school in New York City and lived in Manhattan (79th and Columbus, for all you Gotham-philes) for a year. Then I came home, did the auditioning thing, and went back to U of T to study film for a year before I realized I was much better at writing than I’d ever be at acting.

Once I came to that conclusion, I entered the journalism program at Toronto’s Ryerson University at the ripe old age of 26 and began working at THN as a summer student a year later. The rest, as some say, is bleeding-heart, liberal, pacifist, neo-sissy history.

I always tell those who ask that, despite the length of time it took me to find the right path, I’m happy to have traveled it the way I did. I still use skills learned from the other periods of my life, and I think my writing is better for my varied experiences.

Ask Adam appears Tuesdays and Fridays only on The Hockey To send us your question or comment, click HERE.


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