Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What is it with the Big Sports Media Outlets?

Thanks to Off Wing Opinion to tipping me off to this utter garbage from Sports Illustrated.
After all, this is a country where the minimum wage has remained static at $5.15 for nearly a decade.

Ok, could somebody please explain to me why that line was put in there? I know I said I would keep politics in here to a minimum unless circumstances warranted. But this is a case where the wages of the working teenagers of America has absolutely, positively, nothing to do with the demands of the Russian Ice Hockey Federation. First Rick Reilly got me to drop my subscription to SI, then Peter King turned me off to them as serious journalists. Alan Muir has just further justified my opinion of that waste of paper.

While the "taking" of players like Evgeni Malkin and A.O. for a mere $200K looks like highway robbery, you have a long list of much ballyhooed European players that NHL teams paid the transfer fees for an got darn little in return. Jiri Dopita, Kristian Huselius, Petr Sykora, Roman Cechmanek all of whom at one point were branded (like Malkin currently is) "the best player not playing in the NHL." And yet each and every single one of them fell flat on their faces in the NHL and didn't even come close to living up to the hype. I admit to being old enough to remember the arrival of Dmitri Khristich and Mikhail Tatarinov to the Caps in the early 1990's. They didn't do much, but it was more than what Alexander Kharlamov did for the Caps.

If the Rooskies want a FIFA style transfer system, fine, all that will mean is that marginal players will be left behind in Russia and the superstars will still be brought over one way or another. For every Sergei Fedorov, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Dominik Hasek there's a Dopita, Tatarinov, and a Cechmanek. These things have a way of evening out over time so with a low transfer fee there's not a whole lot to worry about on the NHL's side. Or maybe the NHL should demand their money back?

Furthermore, what Muir forgot to point out (probably because he was too busy making irrelevant political points) was that the NHL does not have the revenue streams that the NFL, MLB, and NBA do. Do you think that the MLS would pay $18 million for any international soccer player? The NHL can't afford that price either. While the RIHF has every right to get the most money they can for their players (and they should not be denied that right) the NHL also has a right to demand the lowest cost for every player that they can get (and they shouldn't be denied that right either). I could be wrong, but I believe that is called free-market capitalism.

But beyond capitalistic motivations, one of the real reasons why the Rooskies are holding this whole thing up is because of the Russia Mafia. Anybody who seriously followed the Alexander Semin saga knows that the whole system over there is flat out wacko. How much does somebody want to bet that just before Malkin's new one year deal ends that Malkin will receive his draft notice?

SI needs to stick to photography.


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