NHL Lockout: Red Wings' Fine Shows True Disagreement in Management League-Wide

Isaac SmithAnalyst ISeptember 23, 2012

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 21: 2009 Lester Patrick Trophy recipient Jim Devellano poses for a photo during the Lester Patrick Trophy Celebration at Gotham Hall on October 21, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Andy Marlin/Getty Images)
Andy Marlin/Getty Images

The NHL has fined Detroit Red Wings organization a reported $250,000 for comments made by senior vice president Jim Devellano regarding the ongoing lockout.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly called Devellano's comments "neither appropriate, nor authorized, nor permissible under the League's By-Laws," per ESPN.com.

Obviously the NHL League office has fined players and coaches this past season, but none of these fines have been in the neighborhood of a quarter million dollars!

Devellano called the players "cattle...at the ranch" and said the owners "allow the players to eat there."

While that may seem like a personal affront to players, the players ultimately depend on hockey and life in the NHL to pay the bills, as long as they aren't playing, they aren't making money.

But these comments alone are merely opinion. What the Red Wings vice president went on to say shows that there are serious fractures existing between teams. These fractures are a direct result of the attempted Philadelphia Flyers' offer sheet to Shea Weber.

Devellano argued that although the Flyers "operated within the CBA...there is an unwritten rule that you don’t [make offer sheets like the Weber offer sheet], but they did, and just like everything else in life, some people are great to deal with, some aren’t."

Weber received a 14-year, $110 million offer sheet from the Flyers this summer as an attempt to use the cap space acquired from the Chris Pronger long-term injury relief.

The offer sheet was matched by the Predators, but the offer sheet still turned a lot of heads with the dollar value and the length of the contract.

The irony behind this whole $250,000 fine is that Devellano is an "alternate governor" on the NHL Board of Governors and is speaking out about the actions of fellow "alternate governor" and GM of the Flyers, Paul Holmgren.

Devellano may have a point however, because although the NHL seems pretty intent about limiting the length of contracts, Holmgren (hypothetically siding with ownership as GM and alternate governor) offered Weber the 14-year offer sheet.

Because Holmgren is not alone in giving out these cap circumventing-contracts, NHL executives need to get on the same page so that teams don't get penalized later on by attempting to ditch contracts with excessive salary cap hits when the player retires.

The NHLPA seemed to be the more disorganized in the 2004-05 lockout, but this time around, it seems to be the owners that are sending mixed messages.

The league better find a way to clear up any misunderstandings quickly, or else "life-time" contracts will start to look very questionable to players.

These misunderstandings will not be cleared up by the NHL fining teams hundreds of thousands of dollars.

These kind of conversations and accusations will go on for as long as this lockout continues.


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