Hockey Headlines

Friday, 7 March 2014

This Bothers Me

I'm embarrassed. I'm embarrassed to be a fan of the NHL today. If I'm any of the twenty-nine teams not based in Newark, New Jersey and not named Devils, I'm furious. If I'm any of the Board of Governors, I'm disappointed by the people running the show over at the NHL Offices. If I'm a general manager outside of Lou Lamiorello, I'm bothered immensely. In what seems to be the most idiotic of rulings lately, the NHL has decided to reduce the penalty it handed the New Jersey Devils for circumventing the CBA rules when they signed Ilya Kovalchuk to the insane contract they proposed a couple of years ago. I cannot understand how the NHL can be so short-sighted on this, and it bothers me a great deal in how the Devils are escaping a chunk of their punishment for doing something they knew was wrong.

The Devils recently applied for reconsideration of the penalty assessed to them by the NHL for the deal they offered Kovalchuk, citing changes in circumstances that would make the sanctions levied against them too harsh. In response, the NHL decided that the Devils will keep the first-round draft pick they were scheduled to forfeit this year, and the league will reduce the $3 million fine assessed against the team for the CBA circumvention. Because that makes sense, right?

Here's an example that might make this more clear. I stab a man repeatedly. The man is left in critical condition on life support. I am found guilty of first-degree murder and am sentenced to 25 years in prison. The man I stabbed makes a full recovery and is living a healthy, productive life. I go back to the judge and ask him to reconsider because, well, look at the circumstances: he didn't die and he's living a productive life.

Do you think he'd reduce my penalty? BWAhahahahahaha. That's the sound of the judge laughing at my request.

This decision makes the NHL look like a bush league. The punishment is not based on the results of what happened, but on the INTENTION of what the Devils were trying to do. I don't care if Kovalchuk walked away from the team after playing one season in the New Jersey swamp. The penalty was assessed because the Devils tried to screw with a loophole in the CBA, and they got caught red-handed.

The penalty wasn't assessed because the Devils signed Kovalchuk a week later to a new contract. The penalty wasn't assessed because Lou Lamiorello made a mistake in the napkin he was doing the math on. It was assessed because Lamiorello tried to screw the NHL's CBA process by exploiting a loophole! The NHL warned teams that these penalties would be assessed if they continued to push their luck as the CBA was designed to prevent GMs from giving idiotic contracts out, and Lamiorello got caught.

You do the crime, you do the time. Except in the NHL, I guess.

You know what this is, readers? A load of horsepoop. Complete and utter horsepoop.
I'm not sure if Lou Lamiorello has incriminating picture of people at the NHL Offices, but how anyone in the NHL Offices can figure that it's a good idea to reduce the penalties handed out to the Devils for the very thing they were fighting for - GM sanity during contract negotiations - is absolutely idiotic. I'm ashamed to be a hockey fan in this case.

You wouldn't see Roger Goodell reduce penalties that he hands out. David Stern would never back down on penalties he imposes on teams that break his rules. Bud Selig? Well, he's another story altogether, but I doubt he'd be willing to reduce a penalty for something that nearly brought the game to its knees. Gary Bettman and his cronies had better start giving their heads a shake down in New York.

Karl Kraus once said, "The devil is an optimist if he thinks he can make people worse than they are." Like the quotation, the New Jersey Devils are quite the optimists in the NHL. They have made the NHL worse in my eyes.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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