If several NHL owners are nervously watching the Olympic hockey semifinals Friday, it's with good reason. More than $300 million worth of hockey players are still participating in the tournament, risking injury for the sake of national pride.
Not surprisingly, Team Canada leads the way with a combined "payroll" of nearly $128 million. The Canadians, a team made up entirely of NHL stars, earn more money than the combined price of the entire Slovakian and Finnish teams, two other remaining squads in the tournament. (Note: For the five Finns and nine Slovaks who aren't currently playing in the NHL, we used their most-recent NHL salary.)
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Sidney Crosby of Canada
Breaking things down position by position, the disparity is even clearer. The Canadians' forward corps alone earns only about $5 million less than Team USA's precocious squad that is also entirely made up of NHL players. In fact, the Canadians' checking line of Mike Richards ($5.75 million), Rick Nash ($5.4 million) and Jonathan Toews ($2.8 million) earns more than the trio of goalies playing for the U.S. ($12.02 million). And Canada's seven-man defensive unit ($32.63 million) earns more than all the Slovakian forwards, this despite the presence of high-profile NHL stars Marian Gaborik ($7.5 million) and Marian Hossa ($5.23 million).
To put Team Canada's price tag in perspective, it is virtually identical to the NFL salary cap, despite football's larger rosters and revenue. Nonetheless, the team is paid about $73.4 million less than what New York Yankees' players made last summer. Kevin Greenstein
The Price of Gold
Here's an estimated look at how much the final four Olympic hockey teams would cost in combined NHL salary.
*For players no longer playing in the NHL, their most recent salary was used
Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page W4
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