Should Player Salaries Dictate Expectations?

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With High Player Salaries Are Hockey Fans Getting Their Moneys Worth?

Being a sports fan today is drastically different than it was 25-30 years ago.  Back then when I watched hockey I didn’t care how much  player salaries were, I just assumed the best players got paid well and the rest just fell in line. Below is a list of the top 20 player salaries in 1989.

June, 1989

1. Gretzky – Kings – $2 million

2. Lemieux – Penguins – $1.5 million

3. Trottier – Islanders – $950,000

4. Taylor – Kings – $700,000

5. Dionne – Rangers – $600,000

6. Liut – Whalers – $550,000

7. Goulet – Nordiques – $510,000

8. Messier – Oilers – $510,000

9. Savard – Blackhawks – $500,000

10. Coffey – Penguins – $485,000

11. Duguay – Kings – $475,000

12. Hawerchuk – Jets – $467,500

13. Stastny – Nordiques – $446,250

14. Carpenter – Bruins – $425,000

15. LaFontaine – Islanders – $425,000

16. Gustafsson – Capitals – $410,000

17. Stevens – Capitals – $400,000

18. Pederson – Canucks – $400,000

19. Bourque – Bruins – $380,000

20. Fuhr – Oilers $340,000

A list of “Hall of Famers” to say the least and the laughable thing is that 17 of those players made what an entry player makes today.  How times have changed, starting in 1990 the PA decided to introduce salary disclosure.



Today most fans that follow hockey have access to info that never existed before thanks to the internet and intense media coverage that has now become common place.  We definitely know more now than we need to or probably want to.  I don’t know about you but I can’t watch today’s game without looking at it like a “Fantasy GM”, especially with my 2 favorite teams.  I’m not ashamed to admit that I actually dislike certain players because of how much money they make.

I will concede that not one of us would blame a player for accepting money that was offered to him and we would definitely do the same if we were in that position.  When a team like the NYR sign players like Scott Gomez and Wade Redden to those horrendous contracts they impact how other GM’s conduct their business.  Atlanta with Ron Hainsey and Toronto with Jeff Finger did the same and it goes on and on.

We are now in another lockout and I don’t blame the owners for trying to negotiate a CBA that’s  GM proof and don’t kid yourself because that’s exactly what they’re trying to do.  The current crop of GM’s have created a market where a 50-55 point forward makes $3.5 to $4 million a year. Really?

I’m starting to wonder if this lockout is about a 50-50 revenue split or about bad General Managing?

Now everybody has their own opinion of a players value and I’ve given a couple of my favorite bad contacts, but I’d like to hear a few of yours.  I also wonder if we link a players performance too much to their salary ??


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