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In Predators-Blackhawks battle, Nashville is really the high-dollar team

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The typical take on the Nashville Predators-Chicago Blackhawks series is that a pesky, rag-tag bunch from a small market is overachieving against a high-priced juggernaut from one of hockey's great cities.

When you actually look at the numbers, however, you'll find that these Nashville Predators are loaded with talent as well, and when you compare who's actually playing, it's Nashville which is the higher-paid team...

The following data comes from NHLNumbers.com (all numbers in million USD):

 NASHVILLE Cap Hit 09-10 Salary  CHICAGO Cap Hit 09-10 Salary
 Erat, Martin 4.5 5.25  Hossa, Marian 5.233 7.9
 Legwand, David 4.5 5  Sharp, Patrick 3.9 4
 Arnott, Jason 4.5 4.5  Kane, Patrick 3.725 0.875
 Dumont, Jean-Pierre 4 4  Bolland, Dave 3.375 3.375
 Sullivan, Steve 3.75 3.75  Versteeg, Kris 3.083 3.083
 Ward, Joel 1.5 1.5  Byfuglien, Dustin 3 3
 Tootoo, Jordin 0.975 0.975  Toews, Jonathan 2.8 0.85
 Wilson, Colin 1.725 0.875  Madden, John 2.75 2.75
 Smithson, Jerred 0.738 0.725  Ladd, Andrew 1.55 1.65
 Goc, Marcel 0.55 0.55  Kopecky, Tomas 1.2 1.2
 Spaling, Nick 0.892 0.738  Brouwer, Troy 1.025 1
 Boyd, Dustin 0.65 0.65  Eager, Ben 0.965 0.965
 Weber, Shea 4.5 4.5  Fraser, Colin 0.7 0.7
 Suter, Ryan 3.5 4.5  Seabrook, Brent 3.5 3.5
 Hamhuis, Dan 2 3.5  Sopel, Brent 2.333 2.5
 Bouillon, Francis 0.75 2.5  Keith, Duncan 1.475 1.9
 Klein, Kevin 0.65 0.75  Hjalmarsson, Niklas 0.643 0.666
 Franson, Cody 0.694 0.8  Hendry, Jordan 0.625 0.65
 Rinne, Pekka 0.725 0.525  Niemi, Antti 0.827 0.827
41.1 41.8 42.7 41.4

Thanks in large part to Brian Campbell's injury ($7.1 million) and the fact that Cristobal Huet is refilling teammates' water bottles and holding down the bench ($5.6 million), Chicago's big-market financial advantage is basically neutralized. When you consider the 18 skaters who are playing, along with the starting goaltender for the Predators, their current salary is actually about $400,000 higher than the equivalent Blackhawks.

Sorry, Chicago, I sympathize, but sometimes life ain't fair.