Dustin Penner: five years, $21.5 million. Pavel Datsyuk: seven years, $47 million. Patrice Bergeron: five years, $23.75 million. It's easy to point to these contracts and conclude the the NHL's CBA contract is not working the way the owners had expected. However, Allan Muir argues otherwise in his piece in SI. Muir says that these salaries are just fine, and teams are finally paying for what a player will perform during his contract years, and not what they performed in years past.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated
I'm not sure about your neighborhood, but there have been no signs of plagues, pestilence or frogs raining down from the sky in mine. Maybe I'm just spending too much time indoors listening to talk radio or reading through my mail because going by all that, it sounds like some fans think the hockey world is rapidly heading toward end times.
In the wake of the Dustin Penner deal (five years, $21.5 million), I'm repeatedly hearing phrases like "rampant salary escalation" and "two-tier league" and "can another lockout be far off?" I haven't seen this kind of panic since the Tim Horton's at Air Canada Centre ran out of maple donuts midway through the second period.
It's time to tap on the breaks there, sports fans. The Penner signing was not the seventh sign of the impending apocalypse. In fact, we're not seeing salary escalation so much as salary re-allocation.