Well, when we look at the NHL lockout, one of the first tendencies as humans that society has is to look for the source of the problem. This is where the blame game starts. I usually stay away from this, but the way that money has been thrown around in the NHL in the last year or so has become ridiculous. How many of us paid any attention to the Minnesota Wild before they signed two exaggerated mega deals during this summer? And what about Shea Weber? The man who shoved Henrik Zetterberg’s face into the boards during the first round of this year’s playoffs is now having money shoved into his face. Right, because that makes sense. Maybe it’s only a one-time offense, but it was an offense that, in my opinion, was so terribly gross.
This isn’t an article on Shea Weber’s hit, but I must address it to help support my point. How is it that Shea Weber can punch Zetterberg in the back of the head, and then slam it against the boards and NOT be suspended? With all of the talk going around the league of trying to eliminate head injuries, Weber’s actions should have been labeled as sacrilegious. Instead, Weber was fined merely $2,500. Now, after watching the video of Weber’s actions, would you really want a man with that sort of judgement on your team? I really don’t care what sort of talent a player has, that is by no means the type of player I want to represent an organization. Of course, it seems that integrity and morals have lost their value in society. Shea Weber was fiercely pursued in the off-season, and Weber finally resigned a ridiculous 14 year, $110 million deal with the Nashville Predators. I guess Weber will definitely not have any fear of shoving players’ heads into the boards anymore if he’ll only be fined a couple thousand dollars. I have one simple question for the Predators’ General Manager David Poile: Why did you resign Weber?
Let us continue the theme, which as you may have guessed, is players receiving exorbitant amounts of money. Why is it that Minnesota is suddenly paying two players a total of $196 million in the next 13 years? Since when does Minnesota pay any one player that much money? Ryan Suter and Zach Parise each signed 13 year, $98 million dollar deals with the Wild. In this case, neither of them has really made an egregious decision as Weber did, which should make everyone feel a little better. However, does either player really deserve that sort of money? No, a better question: does any player in the league deserve that much money? My answer: no.
My point here is, all of these players are being labeled as greedy and selfish in the lockout situation, but maybe they have been conditioned to behave in such ways by General Managers such as David Poile and Chuck Fletcher (Wild). If there wasn’t a lockout this year, wouldn’t it be fair to assume that next year’s free agents that are labeled as superstars would ask for the same, if not more money? Is this the National Hockey League’s version of economic inflation? The more desperate these General Managers become to buy these all stars off the free agent market, the more likely they are to overpay these players. I can guarantee you that Weber, Parise, and Suter did not ask for deals anywhere near $98 million for 13 years, much less Weber’s $110 million for 14 years. Of course, after this off-season, we may see players hunt for these sort of deals purposely. In all fairness, they have every right to. A player with equal standing and talent as any of the three players mentioned in this article can only expect to receive something near the inflated contract of Weber, Parise, or Suter once he hits free agent status. Of course, player agents understand this, and will drive the price as high as they possibly can as long as the General Managers are willing to pay. The longer the General Managers are willing to overpay, the higher player agents will drive the free-agent market prices.
So in the end, the blame for this lockout may be found in two smaller groups that everyone tends to overlook: player agents, and General Managers. Both of these groups must stop raising the prices, or players will continue to expect more money, leading us to believe that they are greedy.
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