According to Michael Farber over at SI.com, the dealing of Ryan Smyth from Edmonton to the New York Islanders is just more proof that Gary Bettman’s salary cap and whole lockout ordeal hasn’t helped the league, and is failing.
And it’s just more evidence that Bettman is on a mission to completely Americanize the NHL and hockey, and to push Canada out of the picture. The only two good pick-ups for Canadian teams at the trade deadline were Yanic Perreault by Toronto, and Oleg Saprykin for Ottawa. All of the big name changes were on the American teams.
Columnist Steve Simmons also brings up some good points about how the trade deadline is negatively affecting the league, and how the deals are being based solely on money, and aren’t permanent. He also points out the fact that fans of the teams who are losing their star players at the trade deadlines are being ripped off. They’re paying the same price for tickets, for a team that isn’t as strong as it was, and has no hope for the rest of the season. I would think that attendance for those teams will plummet after the trade deadline, and this will end up hurting those teams even more.
However, it seems to me that if Ryan Smyth really wanted to stay in Edmonton, he could have. I don’t know the details of the contract negotiations that he was trying to work out with the Oilers, but it seems like he was being greedy too. I think both sides are to blame in this case… the new NHL and Smyth. But, I also can’t blame a veteran like Smyth for changing teams, for the chance of winning a Stanley Cup with another team (the Islanders).
I can only hope that the Canadian teams can somehow regain some ground over the off-season and pick up some of the big name players, and help Canada dominate the league more next year… but based on the way things are shaping up due to the new financial system of the NHL, I’m not too hopeful