Kevin Lowe is not a hypocrite
A number of angry fans seem to be suspicious of the spending habits of the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames in the new NHL. How can they cry poor for so many years, then crank up their payroll under the new system?
Here are three reasons:
1) The fans will be back
Unlike US teams, Canadian teams are counting on attendance being no worse than it was for the '03-04 season. If revenues are down, it won't be by much.
2) The strong Canadian dollar
Bad for exports but great for imports, so why not go ahead and import Chris Pronger! The loonie is worth 25% more than it was when the Canadian Assistance program was initiated. When paying salaries in $US, that translates to being able to increase payroll by 25%.
League-wide player salaries can not exceed 54% of revenues. The more teams spend, the smaller that ~$37M payroll gets. Even if the nuttier GMs try to spend the game into oblivion, the players will have to grudgingly give money back.
So in my opinion, the smaller market teams were not crying wolf over the last several seasons. They were doing their best under those market conditions, and they are now doing their best under the new market conditions, and Kevin Lowe is not a hypocrite.