It is safe to say that this off-season has been classed as one of the most expensive and money dropping summers around the National Hockey League. With teams spending far too much on players that have passed their peaks in their careers, and teams signing and moving players without the player even playing for the team, has caused a lot of people, fans and players alike wondering, "When is enough enough?”
Several teams really went shopping this summer, one that stands out more than others would have to be the New York Rangers. Have the Rangers fallen into the same category as the New York Yankees, spending and acquiring big name players, but in the end not producing a championship team?
The Rangers have acquired Wade Redden from Ottawa, and former Vancouver Canucks Captain, Markus Naslund, just to name a few. Is this the answer to the problem in New York, signing big name players and hoping the players have chemistry with each other to produce a championship team?
The Rangers haven't realized that its not who you have on your team, it’s the connection that the players have with one another to produce a team. You won't see teams like the 1980's Oilers, or the 1990's Chicago Bulls in our future again, but that doesn't mean that teams won't be as competitive, or as entertaining as these teams were.
It simply means you won't see players like Wayne Gretzky playing with Mark Messier, or Michael Jordan playing with Scottie Pippen. Teams that try to acquire top name players and actually land them on their teams, have the least likely chance of producing a championship team as the past two years have proven.
What teams are doing now is signing these players to long-term multi-million dollar contracts so the player will remain with that team indefinitely. Is this what we can expect from all teams within the next few years? Players signing with a team and playing a huge majority of their career with one team? It looks like it.
Look at the Tampa Bay Lightning, signing Vincent Lecavalier to a $88 million contract over the next 11 years, that means he will be nearly 40 years old before his contract is over. In Chicago, landing defenseman Brian Campbell for 8 years, and again with Redden in New York for 6 years.
It looks as though teams are trying to buckle in a group of veteran players and make a solid run at the Cup, but will this hurt our game of having players play merely for the money? On the other hand, will the players actually realize that this a game for the fans, and play their heart and soles out for the people that show up at every game?
Will they show their support for their beloved teams? Time will only tell how this season plays out, lets hope its one that the fans will always remember.
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