Welcome Matt: Vegas gets away with cap circumvention while Canucks still pay for Luongo

Feb 17 2022, 12:28 am

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Didn’t think there was anything that could anger me more about Gary Bettman’s favourite team.

The Golden Brats of Paradise, Nevada.

Don’t even want to speak their name, in part because they forgot part of it, somehow lost the “Las” en route to VGK.

As regular listeners know, I’m ABV — Anyone But Vegas.

Even more so now that we can add salary cap circumvention to the litany of favour bestowed on this team from the NHL head office and other member clubs.

Mark Stone, who played in the All-Star game last weekend, then again on Tuesday — eight days ago — in a 4-0 victory over Edmonton, is heading to LTIR to make salary-cap room for Jack Eichel.

The Knights’ captain allegedly has a back injury, or as one Twitter wise-ass put it: yeah, a bad back from carrying Eichel’s $10 million cap hit.

Eichel, of course, is also coming back from a back injury, this one legitimate, and makes his Vegas debut against the Colorado Avalanche Wednesday, in a titanic Western Conference contest.

There is no timeline for Stone’s return according to GM Kelly McCrimmon. No surprise there.

Something tells me he’ll be good to go for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and Vegas can count on an appearance, much like Tampa could last year even without Nikita Kucherov.

I heard ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski talk about how the NHL seems fine with this so long as there is hardship endured. And of course, playing games without Stone is hardship if you don’t pay any mind to the fact that it is an either/or proposition with Stone and Eichel.

Meanwhile, the Canucks continue to be hamstrung by Roberto Luongo’s $3 million cap hit for him “retiring” from that long, back-diving contract. A contract that was perfectly legal when the Canucks and Luongo signed it, and was perfectly capable of being fake-injured and ignored given the state of Lou’s battered body.

Look, there are subtle differences between Luongo, Kucherov, and Stone as any Bettman loyalist or apologist will tell you. But the spirit of the spending limit is violated in all three examples, and the selective enforcement is even more galling now that Vegas gets to partake.


Matthew SekeresMatthew Sekeres

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