Bettman: NHL won’t publish player salaries, not sure fans care

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NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman responds to questions during a news conference, Friday, Jan. 30, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman responds to questions during a news conference, Friday, Jan. 30, 2015 in Vancouver, British Columbia. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Darryl Dyck)

Cap Geek was the leading site for NHL player salary information when it shut down last month, due to the personal health of founder Matthew Wuest. 

“We still don’t know where Cap Geek ever got his information from,” said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.

Other sites stepped up to fill the void, although none had the depth of information or the functionality of Cap Geek. Fans began to wonder: Why didn’t the NHL fill the void by creating an official version of the site, publishing player and team salary cap information on NHL.com or the NHLPA site?

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“So there’s been a little back and forth certainly in the League, and with the clubs. It’s something that we look at, and will continue to look at,” said COO John Collins on Friday, at the League’s press conference revealing its new partnership with SAP. 

That partnership has produced a revamped NHL.com that has many expecting the League will eventually create a subscription service for the sexier features like real-time player tracking during games. 

Wouldn’t there be a market for a subscription-based site with NHL player salaries and team cap numbers, too?

Bettman doesn’t believe that market extends beyond the reporters seeking that information for stories; and that fans care less about what happens in the GM’s office than they are about what happens in the rink.

“I don’t think it’s a resource we need to provide because I’m not sure fans are as focused on what players make as they are about their performance on the ice,” he said.

Of course, the other issue is whether the NHL, the NHLPA and teams want that information made public. (As Bob McKenzie notes, they already have an internal site set up that blows away the functionality of even Cap Geek.)

It’s one thing when agents or teams self-report their contract numbers; it’s another when every player’s salary can be compared and contrasted, and every general manager’s cap mistake is officially chronicled.

“Are we comfortable with that data being out there?” said Collins, when asked about the major hurdle facing an NHL Cap Geek.

“It hasn’t been out there before in an official capacity.”

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