Ken Campbell's (THN) atrocious reasoning for being anti salary cap

Nothing screams phony to me more than someone who always goes against the establishment.  But in writing as in life, the loudest people in the room are seldom the smartest or the most honest.

Good reporting expands our knowledge of already popular topics and calls bullsh*t when people and their opinions are deserving of it. Bad reporting is when homers do nothing but sing the praises of the home team (like YES Network) or are overly critical just for the sake of trying to be controversial (Mike Milbury).


Ken Campbell seems to be the latter.  He is conveniently one of the few anti-fighting writers in Canada, he was against Cooke getting suspended for the cheapshot on Savard (who 8 months later is still having post concussion syndrome) and in a recent article, Campbell seems to be blaming the salary cap for some of the financial misfortunes that some organizations are currently facing.

Now the idea that the cap is to blame is a stretch to say the least, but what really bothered me about this particular blog is that as – one commenter put it - the leaps in logic he used to try to prove his point.  

For instance, one example of why the cap system is flawed is because, “first-year players in the NHL will spend thousands of dollars this season on rookie initiation dinners for their millionaire teammates, while millions of others try to scrape by on low-paying jobs or social assistance. How about donating the money you would have spent on a rookie dinner to a worthy charity, fellas?”

If that isn’t the most condescending thing I have ever read about professional athletes, I don’t know what is. If his problem is that this treatment towards rookies is unfair, I’d like to remind him that many rookie NHL players are still making $500K-$1 million dollars this season at the ripe old age of 20. These young kids are swimming in money I can only dream of and I am sure they can afford to purchase a few dinners for some of the old timers. If his problem has to do with generosity, I think it is entirely fair to say that NHL players donate just as much of their time and money to charities as any other athlete...and if they didn't I am sure we'd be hearing about it ad nauseam.

Hmmm, I have an idea. With all the money credentialed journalists save by going to sporting events for free all the time; they should donate part of their salaries to charity as well. I mean it’s only fair right? See, I can come up with snide comments too.

Seriously though, who the hell is Ken Campbell to judge what athletes do with their money anyway?

Ken also writes, “The NHL locked out its players five years ago to presumably get spending under control, then spends more than ever because it chose to give the players almost 60 percent of revenues.”

The league spends 57% of revenues on players’ salaries, which is actually down from 75% of revenues pre-lockout. I mean Bobby Holik was making $9.6 million a year pre-lockout and the guy was a defensive forward! That’s more than Crosby is making. Need I say more?

What else do you got Ken?

“The Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup and lose $14 million in the process. There’s a good chance they won’t win it this season and their losses will be much less.”

The Blackhawks lost money not because of the cap, but because their previous owner Bill Wirtz almost ran that team into the ground. Among many things the guy did wrong, he refused to televise Blackhawks’ home games. Last time I checked, selling TV rights is one of the biggest revenue streams for professional sports teams.

Perhaps my favorite example of his is when he claims, “The NHL really locked out its players to enhance franchise values and has watched them plummet over the past two years.” Right, I suppose the global economy tanking over the last couple of years has had no ill effect.

By the way, most franchise values have actually increased since the lockout. There are a few that haven’t, but it’s not because of the salary cap, it’s because certain teams have had some atrocious GM’s with an unlimited amount of get out of jail free cards. Also, certain markets just shouldn’t have professional sports in their cities, let alone the NHL.

All jabs aside, I seriously don’t understand how anyone could be against the salary cap. It has created competitive parity for teams that have a clue. Is it perfect? No of course not, but if the NHL was still operating the way it did pre-lockout, we would only have a handful of teams making money as opposed to a handful of teams losing money.  

Additionally, the fact that the cap has been going up since the lockout is a good thing. It simply means that revenues are on the rise. If revenues are on the rise, you could pontificate that there is an increased interest in the sport, and an increased interest in hockey means more pageviews for everyone!

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