How to Get Rid of the Crickets
For all you guys who retweet anyone who fashions themselves to be an NHL insider, you can now stop being morons. There are about 6 guys who are reputable. Someone from the 4th period, or Eklund, or some stupid shit like that, learn your lesson. These people are looking for attention, they aren’t reputable. So when you buy into the shit out there and then cry that nothing happened at the deadline, that’s on you. I’m not surprised at all that next to nothing happened, because I don’t listen to what anyone has to say except the beat writers for each team and the ACTUAL inside guys.
While I rant about that off the top, the fact is that a slow trade deadline does suck, even if you have low expectations for it. So what can be done to improve what used to be one of the best days on the NHL calendar?
Make no mistake, this is a problem for the fans, not for the GM’s, and likely not for the league. It’ll never be a problem for the GM’s. The league will only feel like this is an issue until the ratings start to really fall. I doubt they did today. I would guess they fell off this morning, but at 1PM MST I guarantee with hardly anything having happened to that point the ratings went up a lot.
But at some point this show is going to get bad and people are going to stop watching. I would think that it would be good for the league to keep this going. I’m sure the ad dollars for Sportsnet and TSN must be good for trade deadline, otherwise why in the hell are they both starting at 8AM, 6AM MST?
The NBA has stumbled into something like NHL trade deadline used to be, their free agency. NBA free agency has become a major event for NBA fans due to a 4 year cap on contracts as well as the limitations put on extending contracts of players. And this gets the NBA a ton of discussion on sports talk shows, in newspapers and in blogs. It’s good for the league.
So with that in mind, I have 3 suggestions for the NHL to really free things up for trade deadline day and get it back to being a marquee day in the NHL.
1) Move the deadline ahead to mid March. This is where it was pre 2005 lockout, and we saw a lot more action then. Why? Other than there being no cap, more teams were officially out of it and more willing to sell off pieces. GM’s bitched about this because they said it didn’t give players enough time to implement themselves in the team. Well then do your deal a month before the deadline. But later on in the year will not only give you more sellers, it gives teams a little more cap space to play with.
2) This is something that can’t happen until the next CBA, so we are a LONG way off here, but what about a 10% cap increase on the ceiling, decrease on the floor kicking in around the deadline? In the offseason that is already the way it works, and it would really take the shackles off some teams. There would still be a cap, you would still need to balance your assets, but it would definitely make it easier to do things.
3) The last one I have is more of a full season thing than just for the deadline, and again is a CBA issue, but I still don’t understand why teams can’t just retain salary and not have to retain the cap space as well. What difference does this make to the owners? Jim Dolan or MLSE would GLADLY pay for a bad contract to get rid of his cap hit. And the small market teams could get better players without having to pay them. So while retaining cap/salary on a player does help moves, the option to simply just retain the money on a player and be able to move the cap hit to a team would be massive. It is still too restrictive right now. Allow teams to eat up to 70% (up from 50%) of a players salary, and have the option to eat just his salary, without having to retain any cap. And make it so that you can retain only for a certain amount of time on the deal. Right now, if the Oilers for example wanted to retain a million on Jordan Eberle, they have to for every season on the rest of his deal (3 years). If they had more flexibility on how long to retain salary, it would help. Bryan Bickell wouldn’t be a Blackhawk. Dustin Brown would no longer be an LA King. Keep the number low for how many players you can do this on (right now it’s a max of 3, MAYBE you go to 4), but there just isn’t enough wiggle room for these teams to correct their mistakes right now. That’s not good for the game. It’s like the intentional fouling of awful free throw shooters in the NBA. Yes I know, it’s pathetic. Learn to hit your free throws. But some players are going to be awful free throw shooters no matter how hard they work at it and that still won’t change that strategy. NHL GM’s need to learn not to be painfully stupid, but no matter what you do they’ll still do stupid things, they’re human. So help them correct the problem because nobody wins when they can’t.
Those are my idea’s. It’s funny, because the players in 2005 were open to a luxury tax system and not a cap. Just about all fans were dead set against this idea. But in hindsight, a luxury tax might have been best for the league. More trade action means more discussion about the league. And more discussion about the league will lead to higher TV ratings and ticket sales. Higher TV ratings and ticket sales obviously leads to more revenue.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m just a fan who is disappointed that what used to be such an intriguing day is now basically nothing. But I think and hope the league wants it to be more intriguing. At this point on what I suggested, other than the first one, their hands are tied until the next CBA. But hopefully one day they look at some of what I have suggested and I’m sure others will suggest as well to help free up GM’s to make moves.
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