Red Wings Update: Locked Out Players Bolting for Europe; Did Holland Prepare for Lockout Last Year?

With the NHL players being locked out for the third time in 20 years many of the players have started to sign with teams in Russia, Finland, Czech Republic, Germany and Switzerland.

Pavel Dasyuk has signed with CSKA Moscow, the team run by Sergei Fedorov that will most likely be the best team in the KHL this year.  Jakob Kindl has signed on to play in the Czech Republic and Valteri Filpula has bolted for Finland.

Many of the younger players the Red Wings were counting on this year are eligible to play with the Griffins so they are able to stay state side during the lock out and still get some good experience in.  Thomas Tatar, Brendan Smith and Gustav Nyquist are a few of the players that will be in Grand Rapids to start the year.

Taking a quick peak at the fantastic capgeek.com the Red Wings are below what the salary cap level was in 2010-11.  The NHL asked the NHLPA to freeze the cap at that number before 2011-12 started, knowing they were going to ask for salary roll back a full year in advance, but the players declined, wanting to honor the CBA that was in place at the time.

Ken Holland was criticized by many (maybe I just yelled about it so much it seemed like many) for not spending and getting the big, flashy names this off season and at the trade deadline but he may have been working with the imaginary salary cap of about $64 million, knowing that the teams that have gone over that are going to have a very tough time getting back under if/when the lock out ends.

If the league does get its way again, which at this point you’d have to believe the owners won’t be the ones caving, then the Red Wings could be in a much better position due to Holland’s frugal summer than teams like the Minnesota Wild who went out and spent like an 18 year old at college with their first credit card.

On a different note: the NHL says Gary Bettman is good for the game because he has increased revenues every year.  But he has also been in charge of three lock outs that have slowed the growth of the game.

Imagine if the NHL wasn’t locked out those three times how much revenues would be.  Imagine if they didn’t have teams in such financial distress, where the game could be.

Think about all the things that have contributed to the growth of revenue and the game that are in no way Bettman’s doing:

  • Inflation
  • Ticket Prices increased
  • New Stadiums
  • Slapping a team’s logo on ANYTHING and selling it (wallets, teddy bears, boxers, etc…)
  • HDTV made the game SO MUCH better and increased interest because it is easier to follow for “non-fans”
  • The Internet, watching games online when out of market, being able to follow your team while across the country
  • Cell Phones, tracking games on the move, watching on your phone

That list accounted for an increase in revenue and it would have happened if no one was in charge of the league, so Gary Bettman could actually be slowing the growth of the game but due to things outside of everyone’s control, revenue has grown and the owners attribute this to the Commissioner no matter what.

I could only imagine the number of fans and growth the game could have seen if it hadn’t been slowed multiple times by the Owner’s greed and claims of poverty from certain teams.

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