Negative Stanley had been preaching to his disciples in the chiropractor waiting room.

I do use the word disciples a tad loosely. The definition referenced is a-follower-and-student-of-a-mentor-or-teacher. I can not claim for certain the degree of loyalty his followers have. He imposes his “selective data” upon them. I only question if they choose him or if their horrible back pain, a dire need for the Doctor’s treatment and inability to run and hide, prevent them from choosing to not listen to his doom and gloom view of the world.

I mean I do not see him up on a soapbox in his senior living complex. I do not hear him ranting to his fellow mall-walkers. He often walks into Tim Horton’s and while he is in line ordering his “double-double” a group of acquaintances of his who were sitting by the fireplace, seem to all look at their retirement watches suddenly scrambling out of the establishment with a sense of urgency. Places to go. people to see.

The poor posse of Stans at the chiropractor’s office can not leave until the doctor sees them. They may need assistance or, perhaps, they were driven there by a family member. Bottom line, they had nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide.

His rant was rooted in his hatred for the salary cap. The one put in place following the lost season of 2004-05. Prior to that the big market teams just spent with every effort to buy a championship. He was firm in his opinion that the salary cap in hockey would eventually water down the talent simply by ridding the league of the middle class. He may not be that far off.

He had claimed that slowly over the years the big-name draft choices or franchise players would get a contract extension partially through the affordable rookie contract. This contract would be ridiculously high but fitting in the market based on peers. He claims that the elite players rookie deal is replaced by a franchise player level contract or a bridge contract to the third signing. Either way, these players will be a select few per team holding the majority of the salary available between them. Unlike the NFL, these contracts are guaranteed. So cutting the player to save money when they aren’t living up to the high cap number really does no good unless a buyout is instrumented.

Stanley had to interrupt a couple of guys who were engaged in the topic. If only to make sure his view stays as the main point. He pulled out his hockey news magazine pointing at certain rosters throughout the league. The way he presented it made an awful lot of sense. Young players get more of an opportunity to start in the NHL sooner these days. So the teams are constructed with a handful of elite players with monster contracts. They then have roleplayers on rookie deals or league-minimum contracts. Not much money is left under the cap for those $4 million players.

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Once he explained his ideology, Stanley’s salary cap theory didn’t seem that crazy. At first, he had a couple of the boys fired up claiming “the league minimum players are not poverty cases working in a factory in bad conditions for 13-hour mandatory shifts”. So they pointed out that “the low-end players are extremely wealthy” and “the franchise players are filthy rich, so no-one in the middle could be compared to the middle class”.(A couple of his fan-club members take everything a bit too literal.) When explained in the proper context keeping the total comparison simplified, it does make for a nice fan-friendly explanation to the average Joe.

In Stan’s analogy, once the elite players are paid, it leaves little to no salary cap space remaining for those middle-class players. The rare occasion comes to mind where that level player ends up extremely overpaid like Matt Molson. In that case, that move was made by the Sabres in order to hit the salary cap floor during the tanking days. They also overpaid several free agents when the Pegulas first acquired the team as it was the first time where money was not an object. Especially after Thomas Golisano’s specific spending limitations.

Stanley is negative. He does not like to admit being incorrect or in need of more information. He can ruin a positive mood or upbeat room quicker than Nate Peterman played himself out of the starting quarterback job. Twice.

However, Stan will use his knowledge and wisdom (while still being negative) from time to time to present a well thought out case for his stance. This may have been one of them, although I won’t tell HIM that. I did not listen to his rant because I have heard this since the canceled season every couple of years. A standstill involving several players across the league not signed early and often gave Stanley the perfect opportunity to resell his elite sporting intelligence. No way is the middle class in analyzing and presenting in a way that may come across as a rant. Not Negative Stanley.

It is all rainbows and unicorns as he preaches to his disciples.

Things we know about the Buffalo Sabres this week:

  • The NHL Network has Jack Eichel in the leagues top 50 players once again. He ascended three spots to number 42. The network also has him as the number 15 center on the top NHL center list. He is really really good. Now win.
  • Dylan Cozens had surgery after he injured his thumb during the 3-on-3 tournament as part of development camp. The Sabres first-round pick this year is already back on the ice. Many expect him to go back to juniors for one more year, however, Cozens believes due to his size and speed that he could transition right away to the NHL. If he is to burn a year of his professional rookie contract, I want him to be a difference-maker like Eichel, Dahlin or even Tyler Meyers were. If he is rarely utilized and even in the press box, a year returning to the juniors could be the best possible action.

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