Mashup: Thoughts on a Player’s Perspective


Saturday morning, CBC Sports ran an opinion piece on the CBA written by an anonymous player. The article is incredibly honest, and brings to light that some players have legitimate fears about the impact of lockouts, salary rollbacks, and limited window hockey players have to make a living.

A few quotes really stuck out:

“We certainly can’t be foolish enough to think that this initial offer will be accepted, but really, what can players do? If owners want to stand pat, eventually players would be forced to cave, or take their chances with another league.”

Players can take a chance on another league, but outside of the KHL the compensation levels will fall off. It also means uprooting yourself and going around the world to play, which isn’t the first choice of most players. Where I think this is a bit of an overreaction is the idea that the owners have a lot to lose from empty arenas, as well. Rogers and Bell I’m sure would like to make a little money off their billion dollar purchase. If Greg Jamison purchases the Coyotes I’d imagine he’ll need to at least sell a few tickets this year to stay afloat. It’s mutually beneficial to make this deal work.

“Players were raked over the coals in the last CBA negotiation and we came out with our heads above water.”

Ruh-roh. Unresolved tension isn’t going to help this situation. Thankfully, Donald Fehr seems to be a professional and has been to this rodeo a few times before and seems will bring a level of professionalism that was missing in 2004.

“What else can we do? Our careers do not span very long, so why not make as much as you can while the time is right? Contracts are offered by team general managers and honoured dutifully by players. No one holds a gun to anyone’s head during negotiation. So, why now, do we find ourselves in the same boat as 2004-2005?”

I agree with this point full heartedly. This really points to the larger issue of the disconnect between the haves and have-nots of the NHL ownership. I hate the term unfair, but it seems to be unfair to ask the players to pay the price for contracts they can’t afford. Regulating player contracts seems necessary, but contracts reached in good faith should be honoured.

“A hard cap was implemented. All player salaries were rolled back 24 per cent. (Think about that for a second; you have a guaranteed contract for $500,000, and someone is going to reach into your pocket and take back $120,000?? Insanity in theory, right?). And entry-level salaries and signing bonuses were drastically reduced for the most part”

I’m sorry, you lost me a “you have a guaranteed contract for $500,000.” The best way to gain public sympathy is to not remind us that your minimum wage is $500,000 to play a sport that many of us pay good money to play. There is a good point in there that most of our employers could never get away with this. Of course, most of our employers also have the opportunity to fire us if we’re incompetent and pay a small severance. The Islanders on the other hand had to pay a small countries GDP to rid themselves of Alexi Yashin.

“Take more money from players” isn’t a viable solution for a successful business model. The owners don’t want to fix what are the real issues at hand.”

As I mentioned earlier, I agree that there is a lot more that needs to be figured out between the NHL ownership group than between the players and owners.

“Greedy players and greedy owners ruining my game. But now that I’ve seen it from the inside, I’ll tell you that’s the last thing players want.”

It’s foolish to believe that either side wants this. A work stoppage doesn’t benefit either side, and while some owners might be losing money, it doesn’t equate to what they’d lose in a partial or cancelled season. As for the players, it’s pretty obvious they don’t want it either.


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