Rick Jeanneret has seen it all during his 34-year career in the National Hockey League, so when the NHL’s free agency period became a bidding war for the best talent available, he was not too shocked.
"(Contracts) seem to be going back in the direction I thought they were leaving, but on the other hand, I guess the superstars in the game - the best players in the game- should get paid a lot of money", stated Jeanneret
Jeanneret has always believed in a "the cream will rise to the top" philosophy concerning unrestricted free agents.
"If this free agency thing that we just went through for the last couple of weeks reflects the best players in the game, then we shouldn't be surprised," he continued.
Contracts for such players as Peter Forsberg (Philadelphia), Glen Murray (Boston), Brian Leetch (Boston) and Adam Foote (Columbus) have reportedly exceeded $4.0 million each. Although each is an extremely gifted athlete, their individual contracts would equal at least 10 percent of their team's total salary.
"I just think that a lot of teams have eaten up a lot of their salary cap and have really not left themselves much wiggle room to make any moves in the near future, which could turn out to be at the trading deadline," stated Jeanneret.
Predicting the Team's Success in 2005-06 Jeanneret would not even venture a response when asked his thoughts on the Sabres success in the 2005-06 season. He believes the mass personnel, schedule and rule changes in the NHL this season make it nearly impossible to speculate on the upcoming season.
"I honestly have no idea," stated Jeanneret. "I just don't know, because of all the changes that have been made by other teams. Now the team has to play less against the West and more against the East, staying more with the teams you have to beat out in order to get to a playoff spot. Ask me this two months into the season and maybe I'll have some kind of an inclining. But at the moment, I'm a dumb dodo."
Fewer Frequent Flyer Miles One area of change that the Sabres broadcaster likes is the NHL's new schedule format. Buffalo travels to meet a Western Division foe just three times this season: Edmonton on January 16; Vancouver on January 19; and Calgary on January 21.
"I like it and I wish (the league) had gone a step further and we didn't play the West at all. Just stay right in the East, which would not bother me at all," boldly stated Jeanneret. "This is a very personal thing with me because I'm at a point in my career where traveling is not very much fun. I would prefer to stay on this side of the Mississippi and then just cross over for the Stanley Cup."
Quote of the Day – Concerning the Rule Changes "Right now, I like them on paper but let's see them in action," stated Jeanneret. "I guess I'm going to be from Missouri here and be the "show me" state. I think the preseason will give you a little clue as to how things are going to work."