It is a double edge sword to punish teams for financial mismanagement under the current cap system. Sure there is a cap system, but included in there is a cap floor that each team must reach. I understand the ceiling is calculated to be that of 54% (I believe it is 54% anyway) of the total NHL revenue, so that players can get their fair share of the pie. However, we are heading into the sixth NHL season since the lockout, and the cap ceiling is nearly $30mil higher than it was in 05-06, and the cap floor is now almost $10mil higher than that previously mentioned original cap ceiling of $39mil.
Now I can't find any more recent or more reliable numbers than the report Forbes did in 2010. In that report, Forbes ranked the 30 NHL teams based on 5 different categories. An interesting point to look at in that report is the Operating Income category, which is defined as "earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization". Now without going into an intro to Financial Accounting class, lets just leave this as the best indicator of profits (unless you want to show off your skills) that Forbes has. Of the 30 teams in the NHL, only 14 teams operated with a positive Operating Income, and of those 14 teams, only 7 were in the double digits ($mil).
Now what am I getting at? Well, there is a handful of teams making killer money in the NHL (Leafs, Canadiens, Rangers, Blackhawks, Canucks, Red Wings, and Flyers). Yes the salary cap does help the small market teams, but only to a certain extent. With these large market teams continually making money at a larger rate than the rest of the league, the small market teams are going to find themselves hard pressed not only to put a decent product on the ice, but to meet the cap floor. How can the NHL fine teams for having financial problems, when the league itself has almost returned to its old nature dominated by a few financially rich teams, albeit within a cap system. Docking a team like Phoenix could be the difference between the team staying in Phoenix.
Hell, since the cap has risen so much, the only thing that creates parity is the shootout/3 point games, but that is an argument for another day.
EDIT - Yes I did watch the game this morning on PVR. Now those are some playoff beards!