winger looked vaguely familiar.
The Toronto Maple Leafs sent defenceman Jeff Finger down to the AHL, where he'll have a chance to line up against other big money demotions like Sheldon Souray and Wade Redden. Meanwhile, the New Jersey Devils weren't even able to ice a full lineup for two games because they couldn't afford to call up players due to the salary cap.
While those stories made headlines, they weren't isolated incidents. Whether it's cap concerns or just old-fashioned penny pinching, everyone seems to have an eye on the balance sheet these days. And that's left many teams around the league scrambling to reduce costs any way they could in recent months.
Here's a few examples of ways that teams around the league have been cutting budgets leading up to the season.
Anaheim Ducks - Would like to follow in the footsteps of other teams by assigning NHL-calibre defencemen to the AHL. (Plan currently on hold pending acquisition of an NHL-calibre defenceman.)
Montreal Canadiens - Since the cost of repairing the damage to arena and surrounding areas resulting from riots after post-season wins are exorbitant, determine which player was solely responsible for those victories and trade him.
Washington Capitals - Could try to offset increased spending by scheduling additional games to create extra revenue; investigate whether its possible to maybe play a few dates in May some year.
Colorado Avalanche - Carefully ensure that team will not exceed the league's $59 million salary cap by making sure not to sign any players to $20 million contracts
Toronto Maple Leafs - Try to find some way to avoid paying those ridiculous entry level contracts to first round draft picks for a few years.
New Jersey Devils - Lay off the guy in charge of managing the salary cap, apparently.
Calgary Flames - Due to outrageous costs involved in heating an arena during the winter, see if the league will let us play a game outdoors this year.
Buffalo Sabres - Call up the cyborg manufacturing plant that created Tyler Myers and ask them to use cheaper materials for this year's model.
Edmonton Oilers - Experiment with some radical new strategy we haven't tried in years, like winning.
Detroit Red Wings - Reduce medical expenses by only targeting free agents who already qualify for coverage under Medicare.
New York Rangers - Conduct a thorough examination of front office spending, such as figuring out why the guy who empties the wastebaskets was given a $3 million dollar contract from Glen Sather.
Pittsburgh Penguins - Cut back spending on unnecessary luxuries, such as competent wingers.
Phoenix Coyotes - Reduce IT costs by seeing if we can't find an owner who could get us some sort of discount on our Blackberries.
Atlanta Thrashers - Save $2.4 million in cap space by walking away from any arbitration awards given to future Rocket Richard Trophy winners.
Los Angeles Kings - Cut down on pre-game costs by having the national anthem performed by the first homeless guy we can find who has his own guitar.
Philadelphia Flyers - Invite many of the best and brightest financial advisors from around the country to a team-sponsored symposium; lock the doors and have Chris Pronger steal all their lunch money.
Ottawa Senators - Keep player compensation to reasonable levels by only offering incentive bonuses that are unreachable, such as for winning the Vezina.
New York Islanders - Fire that guy who entertains fans during breaks by playing the slide trombone; ask players to start miming it instead.