It’s been a long July afternoon for the NHL – comparatively speaking, at least – but it’s beginning to look and feel as if little will be done to the Blackhawks as it relates to the NHL’s investigation into the team’s long-term signing of Marian Hossa earlier this month. Here’s why:
- ‘Cuz everyone says so! Hell, even the NHL gave the contract its blessing 30 days ago.
- The Blackhawks are hardly the only team to have entered into these long-term cap friendly– didn’t that use to be an oxymoron? – contracts. Detroit’s Ken Holland signed Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen to deals in which the players’ pay takes huge drops during the final years of the respective contracts; Chris Pronger’s seven-year deal with the Flyers sees his pay fall to $525,000 in years six and seven; and Vinny Lecavalier’s fairly new deal includes a drastic dip in pay for 2020. Unless the NHL is prepared to undo nearly every long-term deal signed since last summer – not to mention the shackles on my soul – it stands to reason the league will eventually back off penalizing teams for deals already made.
- The portion of the NHL CBA governing circumvention requires an agreement or understanding between two parties. In this instance, the NHL will have to show at least an informal understanding between a team and its signee. Needless to say, that will prove difficult. (To make sure no information regarding negotiations is leaked, teams may even begin extending and reassigning exiting members of management involved in negotiations, rather than just firing them. All the pieces are starting to come together…)
- The teams implicated so far include three of the NHL’s bedrock franchises: the Hawks, Wings and Flyers.
- The current CBA expires after the 2010-’11 season. Though it may seem a little early for posturing in advance of negotiations, keep in mind the last negotiations were, well, less than quick.