Parise, Suter signings prove hypocrisy of NHL owners

Zach Parise Devils

The signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter should help the NHLPA in the CBA talks. (Mark Goldman/Icon SMI)

“We’re not making money and that’s one reason we need to fix our system. We need to fix how much we are spending.” – NHL owner, April 11, 2012

Those words could have been spoken by any number of NHL owners. As a lifetime resident of Massachusetts, it sounds like typical Jeremy Jacobs speak, but it just as easily could have come out of the mouths of owners in Miami, Tampa, Carolina, Columbus, any Canadian city, or just about anywhere but Detroit, New York, and maybe Pittsburgh.

However, those words were spoken, ironically, by Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold. Ironic because 84 days after saying his team was losing money and the league had to get a handle on spending, Leipold shocked the NHL by handing out a pair of 13-year, $98-million contracts to top free agents Ryan Suter and Zach Parise.

Now, I have no problem with the Wild going out and improving their team, and by signing Suter and Parise, they did that. Just with those two players, the Wild went from a non-playoff team to a top contender in the West. In reality, the signing is good for the NHL, as a small market team was able to snatch away the top two free agents from the big market teams like Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, and Detroit.

The issue I have with these signings is the hypocrisy of many of the owners in this league – Leipold specifically in this case. How can he go from crying poor and asking for owners to fix a spending problem to overpaying (and he did overpay, for Parise specifically) for two free agents 84 days later? Did the Wild suddenly start making money? Did he win the lottery? Was there a rush in season ticket sales? No, no, and no. The answer is quite simple …

Leipold lied.

He lied about his team losing money and he lied about feeling the NHL had a spending problem. He lied because the CBA was up and he was looking to get everything he could from the players. He may have even lied to make the big boys think the Wild would not be players for a hometown hero (Parise) and perhaps one of the top 5 defensemen in the NHL.

The lesson? Do not believe a word any NHL owner says while the CBA is being negotiated. The Suter and Parise signings were not just a win for those two players, but the entire NHL players association. It will give the union leadership something to point to every time an owner “claims” they are losing money and/or the league to needs to curb spending.

 

 

 

Steve Kendall

Steve Kendall

Steve has been a writer for 20 years, and has covered the NHL, NCAA, and amateur hockey for the likes of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, the Boston Herald, and New England Hockey Journal. Follow me on twitter @stevekendallthw

5 Comments

  1. Geez, if owning an NHL Franchise is such a losing proposition…than how did we ever find 30 billionaires to buy those teams? I don’t believe for one second that over half the league lost money. A lot of the teams are owned by investment groups. The one thing investment groups like to do is make money. Why would they ever get involved in an NHL franchise if they knew the team they were buying had never before made a profit?

    Hmmm, you don’t think those buggers are cooking the books do you?

  2. DaRelle, how can you believe any of the Forbes reports (based on info provided by the league and its owners) when one of the guys crying poverty spends (overspends) $196 million on two players? I don’t believe their words any longer — their actions prove otherwise

  3. Dont know where this guy gets his facts from…Forbes.com…buisness of hockey has 18 teams that lost millions…Only 8 teams made more than 3 million dollars…4 teams made 3 mil or less…the rest lost millions. Now GM’s are forced to give out bad overpriced deals to players cause they know someone else will and they will lose their fanbase. NHL does not get big TV money…its gate driven…they need to cap contract length and force revenue sharing…this is a league of haves and have nots…only 6 teams make big money(TO,Mont,Edm,NYR,DET,VAN)…they must share revenue. Dont lower the cap floor either…or it will go the way of MLB…where only the rich teams can compete because of outrageous payroll. Follow NFL model…revenue sharing. And save the GM’s from themselves and bring down the cap. Right now players get a
    57/43 per cent revenue split…thats RIDICULOUS!!! NO ONE GETS THAT!!! Must bring that to 50/50.

  4. Excellent, open-minded observation. The players made some considerable concessions the last time the CBA was negotiated, now it’s the owners’ turn.

  5. Excellent, open-minded observation. The players made some considerable concessions the last time the CBA was negotiated, now it’s the owners’ turn.

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