NHL fans have a lot to be angry about these days, but one of the more frustrating aspects of the lockout is that it comes on the heels of a mad dash by owners to hand out massive contracts during the summer's free agency period. The owners presented the NHLPA with a plan that would take a significantly greater cut of a $3.3 billion pot right after a spending spree. It's akin to some of the issues raised last year during the NBA's lockout -- that the owners were seeking a new CBA to protect them from their own wild spending and bad contracts.
SB Nation's Coyotes blog, Five For Howling, took a look at just a snippet of the league's most extravagant contracts this summer. Nashville's deal with Shea Weber comes in as the No. 1 sign of hypocrisy:
As a fellow sunbelt team, I love what the Preds have done, and respect the heck out of that organization and its fans. However, as with our beloved Coyotes, the franchise isn't going to be confused with the Maple Leafs in terms of their revenue stream; just check the Forbes valuation list. So the signing of Weber for a 14-year deal at a cap hit that exceeds the operating losses reported by Forbes for the franchise just might take the cake.
In addition to the Preds, Ellel highlights eight other teams who handed out big deals, including the Wild. Minnesota made the biggest splash in free agency, signing superstars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. But they were another team that agreed to deals that exceeded their reported operating losses. Even teams that are reportedly making money are not above reproach, as Ellel spotlights the Bruins, who handed out three large contracts just 10 days before the owners locked out the players.
Owners may have been doing what they felt was necessary to survive and compete, but it doesn't alleviate the hypocrisy or make fans feel any better.