The NHL was first formed in 1917, with six teams composing of players who played the sport for their enjoyment. Since then the sport evolved and the league expanded. Each decade had their share of greats who played the sport with enjoyment every game. The Game covers Ken DrydenÃÂs point of view about this topic. He also states that heÃÂs angered by how the sport that we know of today, is a business rather than a means of entertainment. I agree with him and support his view on how NHL players today are player for the salaries, not the sport.
The Game is not necessarily about this topic. It mainly focuses on the career of Ken Dryden. Although, he gives deep insight to players who he played with. He mentions characteristics of his teammates, but what makes things unique is that he makes us share similarities with the Canadians, and makes us feel that their normal people too rather than celebrities.
He gives examples of how players loved to play the game in their own special way.
Guy Lafleur was a teammate alongside Ken Dryden. He is known today as the Canadians all-time highest goal scorer. He played with speed, skill, and talent. Born in the town of Thurso, Quebec, he played on a street with only 1 light as a child. As an adult, Ken Dryden says that he saw the eyes of a child, filled with excitement, every time Lafleur had the puck. In 1988, Lafleur returned to play the sport that he loved with the New York Rangers and Quebec Nordiques and had outstanding seasons for a player his age.
Or how about Bobby Orr? He is considered the greatest defensemen of all-time. After playing an outstanding career for the Boston Bruins, his contract was finished and was offered a renewal from Boston, worth 925,000$ for 5 years OR 18.6% ownership of the Boston Bruins. His agent Alan Eagleson never mentioned about the details of the offer but simply stated that Chicago was offering a higher amount. Orr told Eagleson that he just plays for the sport, not the money, and that he chooses the best amount. This was a great scandal when news about this reached out. When he signed, OrrÃÂs injury restricted him to play only 26 games over 3 years. He never cashed a single paycheck from Chicago, saying that he is only paid to play hockey and wonÃÂt accept any money if heÃÂs not playing.
Nowadays players have lucrative contracts; the highest paid player is Dany Heatley of the San Jose Sharks with 10 million dollars per year! Considering that the salary cap system is 56 million dollars per team, Heatley takes up 18% of the total space. HeÃÂs a skilled player, but being paid 10 million dollars is a little overpayed.
The solution? Simple, support players who take long term contracts with salaries at about their skill level or lower. This shows that they want to play the sport rather than for the money, or support players coming from retirement to play again. In the past two seasons, the San Jose Sharks have given Jeremy Roenick and Claude Lemieux a chance to come back out of retirement to play the game again. These two players are, respectively, 38 and 43 years old. They deserve some acknowledgement for this feat, as well as other players. So simply jeer at the huge signings you hear on the news and cheer for the players who lower their salaries to stay with their teams that they love to play with.
Sources used: www.nhl.com/www.wikipedia.com/"The Game" by Ken Dryden