Pretty close, yeah. It may not be "fair", but players aren't paid by the point. If star players have to be valued relative to Crosby, then lesser players relative to them, and so on...half the players in the league would be paying the owners.
Teams need stars and there's only so many to go around. Parise may be more valuable to Minnesota than Crosby is to Pittsburgh.
That said, had Corsby waited to hit the open market, the best he could get is ~$90M over 7 years. He's currently getting $76.8M. Decent discount, but added security of a longer deal. (Which could prove pretty valuable, given that he's already had a serious concussion issue.)
We're all entitled to our opinions, but I think if you compare Parise's contract value to Crosby's, it isn't even close. Now, I love what Parise brings to a team. He's a hard worker; he backchecks hard, he forechecks hard, he's valuable in all situations on the ice. Like a lot of players inking new contracts before the lockout, he took advantage of a longterm deal with a precipitous drop in his salary the last couple years ($2m and $1m respectively) to give his team some space. The difference is that he'll be 40 and 41 years old at the time those numbers kick in, and will probably consider retiring and coming off the books.
He's not even close to a point-per-game player either. He was the hottest free agent on the market, and he isn't even putting up half the numbers Crosby is right now. Now of course there was a lot of speculation about Crosby's health after the concussion which would affect his market value, but his performance to date has somehow improved on his pre-injury numbers. That's significant when you consider that the "discount" clause in his contract (the exploit in the old CBA) doesn't even kick in until age 34 or 35. Unless you expect him to retire, or have a new provision to renegotiate the contract - and all in spite of what figures to be an expanding salary cap ceiling looking ahead - he's a bargain.
But this is really getting sidetracked. The real point of this, to me, is to be wary of impending free agents who push for their full market value. There are definitely guys who warrant throwing a lot of money at, and I absolutely thought Parise fit the bill because of his excellent leadership qualities. But the things that set franchises back are big contracts to one-time-overachievers that never live up to their expectations. Handcuffing the organization to talent that doesn't pan out is an unforgivable mistake. It's much better to trade and explore burgeoning talent.
I think that it's inevitable that players switch to visors. I also think that grandfathering it in is the right way to go; players who aren't comfortable with it shoulder the responsibility for their increased risk, and players entering the league who will have already adjusted to it will wear them. There's no perfect form of protection -- the Marc Staal injury would have happened regardless to whether he had a visor, I think, with the crazy carom the puck took -- but there's no reason for players who have worn visors up until the NHL to toss them away when they hit the pros.
Just bear in mind how steeped in tradition this league is. In 1968 there were few players who chose to wear helmets, and even after Bill Masterton died following an incident when his head hit the ice, adoption to helmets were slow. It wasn't until 11 years later that the rules changed. There's a macho culture in the NHL, and some players will refuse to switch. Grandfather it in, let them make their choice for themselves. I hate seeing a player squirming on the ground like what happened to Staal, and I'm sure every other player in the NHL feels the same way. That's why grandfathering it in is the best solution; the older players who aren't comfortable with it don't have to, anybody who's worried can adopt, and new players have to wear the shield.
The whole Rick Nash situation is just weird to me. Blue Jackets GM Scott Howson has very little leverage because (1) there are only a handful of trade partners Nash will approve of, and (2) everyone knows Nash wants out of Columbus, but Howson still wants the moon and the stars for him. I can't imagine that a disgruntled Nash will stay in Columbus another season, but if they don't lower the asking price I can't imagine who makes this deal.
Add to that the factor of time. The deeper into the offseason we get, and as the available salary cap space shrinks for teams (guys like Semin and Doan, whenever they sign, will eat up a decent amount of space for their respective club), Howson has even less flexibility. I'll definitely be interested to see how this plays out.
Some people act like this is fantasy hockey, and moving players from team to team is as simple as that. This may be Suter's and Parise's only shot at free agency and they're not only weighing where they will likely play the rest of their careers, but where they'll live and raise a family for the next decade or more. It's a huge decision that they are entitled to think through fully to make sure they'll be happy, both professionally and personally. It's definitely not their fault if fans expected to know by now, or fans took off work with the hope to crack a beer as soon as a decision was announced, and it's anything but "unprofessional" for them to take time to carefully consider each offer sheet and do their research.
I want to know what happens as much as anybody, but that shouldn't be (and obviously isn't) a consideration at all for these players.
What nixed the Kovalchuk deal was adding years to the end of the contract at league minimum salary (or close to it) to lower the annual cap hit, when there was no reasonable expectation that the player would honor it (Kovalchuk playing at 42 for $1 million, for example). Long-term deals are still perfectly legal.
If it's true that he'll keep making $8.7M per year, that's... well, a little strange. All the reports suggest that he's leaving a lot of money on the table to give Shero flexibility to bring in more talent.
When I first saw the 25-game suspension, I thought it might be a bit heavy-handed, but after watching the explanation video that showed how many times Torres has done this exact same thing over his career, I think it was definitely warranted.
The amount of vitriol on these boards towards Crosby is staggering. I know it's popular to hate the star players on other teams in sports but I'm not sure I've ever seen this kind of bashing in any league. You'd think that Sidney Crosby personally ran over the dog of everyone on these forums, then threw his car in reverse and wheeled over the dog again honking his horn and laughing obnoxiously, barreled through their window and stole their Most Prized Possession before speeding away! I don't get this kind of hate.
Is he over-marketed? Yes. But anybody who denies that he's a very gifted hockey player is willfully ignorant. And with the NHL desperate to grow their sport, they decided their best bet was on the back of an exciting young player: Sidney Crosby. Get over it.
If Howard is the goaltender of the future for this franchise, you don't hide him on the bench when the going gets rough. He doesn't have experience but how is he going to learn sitting when the chips are down? No, you leave him in. He has been playing well for the Red Wings all year. He has been having a solid postseason so far too. He's a rookie goalie and rookie goalies rarely backstop a team to a championship, I think expecting him to do that is a little much, but you definitely don't yank him if he's the guy Detroit will be counting on for the next decade or so. He gives the Red Wings the best chance to win now, and later. Whatever Detroit's playoff destiny is this year, the experience will make him a better player.