Vulgar Opinions: The Cause Behind The Lockout No One Is Talking About
European players. Don Cherry is many things. Outspoken? Most certainly yes. Out of touch? At times. But he is absolutely right about one thing: European players are a pox on the NHL, and the cause for the lockout lies not in the addled brains of Gary Bettman or Donald Fehr, but on them.
A key point of contention has been inflating player salaries, the fists full of dollars being thrown at the likes of Thomas Vanek and Alexander Ovechkin who don’t have a single accolade to their names. The latter has gotten numerous coaches fired and the former is so pathetic he can’t even manage that feat. And that doesn’t even begin to address an overrated piece like Evgeni Malkin whose ridiculous salaries have pushed the much better Sidney Crosby’s pay to astronomical levels. In what world does Evgeni Malkin deserve to even sniff Sidney Crosby’s pay scale? Crosby has surpassed Malkin at every opportunity, and especially on the grand stage of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The NHL was fine and dandy until players of Malkin’s ilk started infiltrating its ranks. Classless acts like Teppo Numminen and Nik Lidstrom began ruining this league for good. Need I remind you that Lidstrom’s Conn Smythe trophy, the first for any European, preceded the previous lockout by only three years? You’d think that would have sated the pillagers from across the pond, but no, shortly after Malkin and Henrik Zetterberg followed suit with Conn Smythes of their own. Three European winners in 47 years of the trophy…is that not an absurd amount?
The plot thickens with Marcus Vinneborg, who became the NHL’s first European official in 2010, a remarkable coup. We’d never let Europeans ref before, why start then? Is it a coincidence that Vinneborg has since retired, sprinting from the mess his presence left behind? Of course not. The facts of Vinneborg’s presence in the NHL are preposterous. A first that came at entirely the wrong time. Good riddance to Marcus I say.
Noble institutions like our own Buffalo News have tried to drive these Euros from our homeland in favor of underrated, under-appreciated scrappers like Shane Doan. If we all had our way, Thomas Vanek and his inability to get this team into the playoffs consistently would be out and players like Doan would be in, but the efforts were in vain. The Vaneks and Sekeras have had their day, and our beautiful league has been left in shambles.