This part made me laugh out loud.
Yes, those poor poor GM's, who with their approval of their owners extended ridiculous contracts to the players, which the players then signed.
The players are equally at fault. They and their agents -- in orchestration with the NHLPA -- never missed a chance to sign a ridiculous deal, to prey on some GM whose job was on the line if he didn’t improve his roster to win some games, to drive salaries through the roof.
The economic model of the NHL was not sustainable, which is why a cap was installed. The owners drove contracts up amongst themselves. Of course players (and certainly agents) were happy to take advantage of that. It's not realistic to think a player would pass up money for the good of the league, as if they gave up $3 million, the owner would use that money to somehow benefit all of the NHL instead of just putting it in his pocket.
The responsibility of running a successful franchise ultimately is on the owners and GM's. We're lucky enough with Detroit to have a great owner who knows what he's doing.