As the 40th day of the NHL lockout passed fans were left disappointed as there is still no resolution to the labor squabbles in sight.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had said all along that the NHL’s latest proposal would have to be signed, sealed and delivered by October, 25th, if there was any hope of an 82-game season being played. Now, with the deadline passing, fans and players are left wondering what percentage of the season is left to be played, if anything.
Last week both the NHL and NHLPA presented proposal’s that would call for the players and owners to split all Hockey Related Revenue 50-50. While the proposals varied on what constituted HRR and the term in which the two sides would get to that 50-50 split, there was hope that there was enough common ground to continue talks and finalize a deal.
Instead, with the NHLPA requesting further meetings this week, the NHL all but refused to meet with the NHLPA, causing the players and fans to throw a little mud at the NHL.
One of the major sticking points seems to be the issue of “making whole” on the players’ current contracts. It seems any deal the NHL is willing to sign would involve considerable “Rollbacks” on the players current contracts, which would diminish the value of the current deals.
The last CBA resulted in the players gaining a 57-43 split of all HRR. While seemingly willing to give up seven percent in HRR in order to get to that 50-50 split, the players are insisting that their current contracts be paid out in full and in good faith.
On the surface the players’ demand to have their current contracts respected seems like the right thing to do, but have the players forgotten about the shoddy treatment a number of owners have received in terms of players demanding to get out of their deals and/or forcing trades?
Dany Heatley is a prime example of a player that was unhappy where he played and forced a trade. Not only did he force a trade, but when the Ottawa Senators found a home for Heatley in Edmonton he balked at the deal and demanded he be traded to a team of his liking.
In essence, by forcing the Ottawa Senators to trade him, Heatley refused to honor his contract. How this was ever allowed is beyond me, but I digress.
Similar circumstances occurred when Chris Pronger pushed for a trade out of Edmonton, while this summer the Columbus Blue Jackets had their hand forced by Rick Nash.
In each case the NHL teams suffered huge losses in terms of revenue and stature within the NHL. And for what? To make Dany Heatley happy? Because Chris Pronger didn’t like Edmonton? So Rick Nash could play on a contender? Why were any of these players so special that they should be able to derail their teams chances at success? And since when were the players in charge?
So, it’s alright when the players want out of their deals or demand to be traded, but when the NHL demands that changes be made to the deals, financially or otherwise, the players have a problem with this? Gimme a break!
Yes, the NHL is asking that the players rollback their current salaries, which means the players stand to lose millions of dollars. But does anyone take into account the cost an NHL team incurs when they lose a star player because he is unhappy?
NHL teams invest millions of dollars in players and aggressively market their star players in hopes of attracting more fans/increasing ticket sales. When a star player demands a trade out of town the general manager of that team is often forced into making a deal at a discount in order to appease the player and save face with potential free agents who would likely avoid a team that did not “make right” for a player.
And what about the damage it does to the teams on-ice performance? And to potential playoff revenue? Or attracting potential UFA’s to come to your city? The list goes on and on.
The fact is, when a star player pushes his team for a trade it derails that team for years to come and there is something that’s just not right about that.
While I hate the fact that the players can get away with demanding trades, I think the owners have a lot of nerve asking the players to accept any kind of rollback on their current salaries. After all, the owners signed the players to these massive contracts (money and term), and if they had no intention of honoring the deals in full then they are crooks!
That said, if the players want their contracts respected then the same level of respect should be shown to the owners by honoring their contracts IN FULL. After all, the players signed their contracts with the team of their choice (at least for the most part). Asking an NHL club to get out of your deal or turning your back on your team because you don’t like the weather, or your team is struggling, is not a good enough reason to be traded.
Besides, an NHL player should never be able to dictate where he is traded, that is what unrestricted free agency is for— this is when you can chose to go and play in the city of your dreams, not by demanding a trade out of town to a team of your choice or some watered down list of 4-5 preferred destinations.
The way I see it is if a player wants out, fine. But you had better be prepared to go to any of the other 29 NHL clubs, for better, or for worse. May the highest bidder for your services win, personal preferences be damned!
The player signed a contract, so suck it up and play! Conversely, the owners signed the players to their contracts, so suck it up and pay!
And don’t get me started on guaranteed contracts— why does the NHL have them again? That’s a story for another time…
27 thoughts on “NHL Lockout 2012: Are The Players Hypocrites?”
used this article on a paper… teacher loved how upset and flustered I got on it because of how much of a hockey fan I am and how upsetting this season is. heck ya
Yes three players asking for trades means the players are hypocrites… or something. What in the hell kind of logic..
There’s nothing wrong with asking for a trade. When your front office is as pathetic as the BlueJackets it’s not really a big deal if you ask for a trade, especially if you have the caliber of skills Rick Nash has. Sure it sucks when players start slacking and giving a token effort to honor their contract and get paid, but then whose fault is it for signing a player who has character issues?
And if you don’t think the owners had no idea that rollbacks were coming, I have some oceanfront property in North Dakota to sell you.
Even if the owners “thought” there may be rollbacks on salaries there are no guarantees, it’s a gamble at best. The players are fighting against this, and if they have their way the owners will have to pay in full, and what then? Mats Sundin spent his entire career with the Maple Leafs. He honored his entire contract and even resisted leaving the Leafs wanted to move him.
It’s not a gamble for owners to sign ridiculous contracts when the majority are doing it. The plan was to set the bar extremely low this season and cancel game after game until the players take huge cuts. If you think they weren’t aware of a plan for negotiating a new CBA you are a dunce. What do you think these massively rich guys do? Look at pictures of themselves all day? They are finding ways to maximize profit at every opportunity and I guarantee you 12+ months ago these owners were all looking at the CBA expiration as a “fresh” start. Fresh for them.
The majority are doing it? No Kevin, the majority of NHL teams are not signing players to monster contracts, most cannot afford to do this. According to capgeek.com, of the top 25 salaried contracts in the NHL the New York Rangers own 3 of them, Minnesota has 2, Pittsburgh has 2 and Philly has 2— nine of the top 25 contracts are owned by four teams, which means the “majority” are not “doing it”. Do you ever do any research or simply write uninformed nonsense for giggles? And you call me a dunce…lol…stupid is as stupid does Forest…
Just because your sample size doesn’t include more teams doesn’t mean more teams aren’t signing contracts they can’t afford. And actually, the highest paid contract is paid by only ONE team! WOW!
Fine Kevin. You figure out what an appropriate sample size is and work out the numbers. When you actually have a counter argument feel free to post it. Of course, we know that post will never come, because the numbers will show that the majority of NHL teams actually avoid the monster deal. Thanks for coming out, Kevin. Been a slice.
How about I use the exact same numbers as you to prove you can skew numbers? Of the top 25 salaries, starting with Weber at $14 million this year, 16 different teams are paying them. umad?
Mark your the epitome of uninformed nonsense. Are you trying to be ironic? They literally let anyone with a pulse post on this site don’t they?
I don’t care about Mats Sundin, your entire argument is based on selection bias. “HEY THESE THREE GUYS DID THIS THAT MEANS EVERYONE DOES!!111”
If you really think billionaire owners can’t “afford” to give out big contracts then lol. And if you really think they had no idea that the the end of the CBA was coming and that meant they wouldn’t have to actually pay the contracts everyone agreed to, then yes, you are a complete dunce. These guys don’t become billionaires by not taking advantage of every single opportunity in which they can pinch pennies. I also like how you conveniently leave out Nashville when talking about teams with big contracts. Or even NYI with DiPietro, a team that continuously spends at the cap floor.
Sorry but the players are not hypocrites simply because a few of them asked for a trade this one time. And it’s the owners fault for signing guys to big contracts that have character issues.
The examples I gave serve as just that, examples. No two contracts are alike, and the circumstances in which they were signed are unique as well. Same can be said with regards to a player demanding he be traded.
It is ok to ASK to be traded, but demanding a trade hurts their current club in terms of losing a star player and the fact that every GM now knows the players wants out, which can have an adverse effect on the compensation the team recieves.
That crap Heatley pulled was total BS. If he wanted out, fine, but he should have accepted a trade to any club. How is it he was able to dictate where he wanted to play? Sure, its only one example, but as we are quickly learning, if one player can do it then others will demand the same treatment and there is a real danger there of the inmates running the asylum.
I understand that you cannot group all the players together, not every player will demand a trade. Same for the owners, not every one signs monster deals.
The way contracts are structured favors the player in almost every instance. They get big money (GUARANTEED), terms are getting longer, no trade clauses have been included (although not as many of late) and when a player underperforms there is no penalty, he still collects his paycheck. Heck, even the buyouts work in a players favor, when does it end? Its far too one-sided and the owners get screwed every time.
Again, I don’t feel the owners should be able to rollback a players salary, but I also think with the players having so much flexibility and control that they cannot really complain if a rollback occurs.
In the end the owners are losing money by the millions. Few teams profit, in fact, as many as 20 teams are operating in the red, making a clear divide amongst the “Haves” and “have nots”. This is not healthy for the league.
The current system doesn’t work and the owners would be foolish to continue on with things as they are. Its financial suicide! The players are going to have to give in order to go forward, and making big changes to the way contracts are drawn up will be a major part of that.
So, what if the players do get their wish and they avoid rollbacks on their current deals (get the owners to “make whole” on their current deals)? What will you say then? The owners knew this would happen? That’s why they signed those huge deals?
Of course the owners are banking on rollbacks being enforced, but again, there is no guarantee that it will happen and no guarantee at what level it will be if and when it does happen.
The owners knew there was a possibility of rollbacks, but so did the players and they signed their deals knowing damn well it could happen. Do you honestly think the players and their agents didn’t discuss this? Both sides will fight for every nickel, as all parties involved in labor wars do.
And NO, Billionaire owners cannot afford to hand out huge contracts when most of them are losing money on their investments (teams). To your point, do you think they are stupid? Do you think this is how they became Billionaires, by investing in sinking ships?
Nashville may have a few big deals on the books, but consider where they are in terms of overall spending— their cap is ranked 22nd overall.
As per your insult, I feel I should reply. I have been writing about hockey for over ten years, attended the Winter Classic as an accredited write by the NHL, had over 2.5 million people read my articles, been posted on NHL.com, CBS.com, Foxsports.com and several other sites, have my own site, had my own show….what have you done?
As the saying goes, once you start listening to the fans you no longer have a job, I really am not interested in your opinion. I stand by what I wrote 110%, you are welcome to post your opinions like all fans, and you don’t have to agree with me, doesn’t bother me in the least!
Jesus, they let anyone comment on here these days! There outta be a law!
You are so clueless it’s ridiculous. Yeah they might lose a few million a year but they can sell the team for a capital gain and make a profit. They can use it as a tax haven, or even to help their other businesses profit. This idea that the owners can’t afford to lose a few million a year (even though they probably make more in tax breaks than they lose) is naive. Not like it’s hard to make something look like a loss via accounting tricks either. Either way, operating income doesn’t really tell the entire story.
Basically (some of) the owners want to get the tax breaks and all the other benefits of owning a team and be guaranteed a profit. I would love to own a business where I was always guaranteed a profit but that’s not how things work. Owners are like any other business owner, if they mismanage their money they *GASP* lose the money!
Your entire point was that the players are hypocrites because a few of them asked for trades. Yeah Heatley is a d-bag, no question, but that doesn’t mean the players are hypocrites or whatever your argument is. No, just because Heatley did that doesn’t mean it’s going to become a huge issue. This argument you pose is about as intellectually honest as something out of Bill O’Reilly’s mouth. You know how the owners could not get burned by someone like Heatley? Do some damn research and see that maybe a guy who killed his friend while driving drunk might have character issues and don’t give him a huge contract.
I don’t think the owners are stupid I think they’re greedy. At least the main culprits are (Jacobs and Snider). They’re trying to pinch every penny they can and this is an opportunity to do just that. If this was really financial suicide then they would have gotten rid of the team a long time ago. Do you honestly think they just run these teams out of the goodness of their heart despite “losing money”? Do you really think that there’s a potential buyer of the coyotes who’s willing to keep the team in Phoenix for the next 20 years because it’s financial suicide? Your logic is astounding…
I don’t care about your credentials, you made a completely moronic argument that you stand by “110%” and anyone who has an IQ higher than an amoeba can see that.
So you’re suggesting Heatley and Pronger are the norm? C’mon. What I find sleazy is the Minnesota ownership offering monster deals they never had any intention of honoring to lure Parise and Suter to their market. I wonder what they think of their new boss now.
No, not the norm, but certainly they all felt a sense of entitlement when it came to turning their backs on their clubs. When it comes to contracts I feel they should be honored in their entirety. That goes for both sides, the players and the teams. To be honest though, I like the NFL way- no guaranteed contracts!
It’s tough to say Minnesota had prior knowledge that there would be rollbacks. Clearly, at the very least they were willing to roll the dice in hopes that the contracts would be worth less when the NHL resumed play. I have not heard many rumors of collusion, but who knows?
On the flip side teams can give players No Movement or No trade clauses and ask the players to leave, and players sometimes comply because they don’t want to stay on a team that doesn’t want them. An example of that happening is with Simon Gagne and the Flyers, he got to pick where he went but I don’t think he had a great desire to leave the Flyers before being asked.
To add what Dana said, Nash stayed with CBJ for 8 seasons (not including the lockout of 04-05 and the 11-12 season) before requesting to leave. Also if the team had kept a better lid on their attempt to trade him, they might have traded him sooner and for a better return, though the return they got was not bad.
I agree. If a team offers a no-trade or no-movement clause they should honor it. That said, there is no harm in offering to trade the player. If the player wants to investigate his options so be it, if not, he is welcome to stay. A lot of older players with NMC or NTC welcome a trade out of town if their team misses the playoffs. It’s becomes a win-win for both sides.
In regards to Nash. I understand he spent a lot of years with Columbus. But it was his CHOICE to sign there. Nobody forced his hand, and there was plenty of interest in him elsewhere.
IMO players should not have the right to demand trades, especially to their prferred destinations. If the players decides to ask for a trade there should be consequences to that, including being traded to any of the other 29 teams (a.k.a the highest bidder) not where the players wants to play. You want out? No problem, but you better be prepared to go anywhere…
Players can ask to be traded;, owners can refuse. To use Heatley and Pronger as representative of players as a whole is a gross over-generalization.( Nash only asked to be traded after the Jackets made a great show of trying to move him at the deadline.) Even then, the players did not ask to be traded immediately upon signing the contracts. Owners negotiated large contracts with players on the eve of the lockout, knowing part of the league’s demands would be a rollback. That is not negotiating in good faith.
As for guaranteed contracts, good idea or not, the owners agree to them. have they no responsibility to control costs themselves?
There are no reports that the owners had any idea that rollbacks were coming. Both the players and the owners knew rollbacks were a possibility as the precedence had already been set the last time there was a lockout. Both the players and the teams rolled the dice on those huge contracts, both should be willing to accept the consequences of said deals, for better or for worse.
I am not using Heater and Prongs as representatives of the NHL as a whole. Rather, pointing out examples of where the players negated their contracts and put their clubs in a poor position. Just like saying the few contracts that were signed at the midnight hour before the players were locked out is a generalization. Just examples.
I do agree that owners have a responsibility to control costs. They are in the mess they are in because they could not control themselves on the UFA markets.
Again, I like the NFL model where no contract is guaranteed, but I may be alone on this…
No. “There are no reports that the owners had any idea that rollbacks were coming” So either the guy they have negotiating for them doesn’t bother with whether or not it’s what they want, and needs to be fired (for this and MANY other reasons), or they KNEW IT WAS COMING. Your defense of the owners is nonsense. Unless what you are actually trying to say is that the owners aren’t actually the ones behind all this and the blame all lays at the feet of the leprechaun they try to pass off as a hockey guy. THAT I could buy. Consider: The trades and contracts have to be approved by the Commissioner’s office, so all the shady moves by the players were approved by the leprechaun; The idea of salary rollbacks seems distasteful to the owners, to some degree, so where did the idea come from? Oh, I guess it would be ridiculous to think that the leprechaun fronting the deal had this plan all along. What is hockey’s major sport competitor? Oh right, basketball. Where did they find the leprechaun? Oh right, basketball. Coincidence is certainly possible, but considering all the chicanery going on in our sport these days, the paranoiac theory put forth from the start looks VERY possible now.
Right. And if the owners knew rollbacks were coming, you can bet yer arse the players had more than an inkling they were coming as well. Precedence was set at the last lockout, rollbacks were part of the deal. Interseting column from Steve Simmons from the toronto sun today shows just how little the rollbacks actually hurt the players. Simmons looks at a few players, outlines their losses due to rollback and then illustrates how much of a raise said player got over that seven year span. Sure, the player may have lost 24% in year one, but let me assure you most of the players had increases of between 30 and 600% over the next seven years.
Believe me, I am not defending the owners, simply pointing out that if the players are going to get mad over the owners negating the current players salaries (contracts) then they should be honoring their contracts in full as well and not dictating where they play.
As much as we all hate the ” leprechaun”, he sure has done a heck of a job in terms of growing revenues. If I was an owner, I’d love him! Peace!
The sport of hockey grew revenues, not Bettman you dolt.
And Bettman had nothing to do with this? Please explain, I am interested to read your drivel…
Are you really defending Gary Bettman? Must I even bother?
Well, the easiest way to explain that is that hockey revenues grow every year and always have. Oh, except the years he insisted on forcing the Coyotes to continue. Oh, and the year he fought so hard to keep Mario Lemieux’s Waddlers on a level playing field. I’m sure the owners LOVED those “smart business moves” that forced all the owners into paying out the nose for a miserably failing team. Admittedly, Pittsburgh wasn’t a team he created, but whose brilliant idea was it to bully the NHL into a team in the desert, then fighting tooth and nail to keep it there? Right, the same guy who wouldn’t let that same team – when they were so done the turkeys were excited figuring they’d be left alone – move to a city that gets snow, with an owner that had the money to float the team even if they DIDN’T work out. Instead, he is trying to prove his anti-Canadian theory correct by moving the team back into an already failed market – which is another convoluted story, since it’s funny how fast Winnipeg was removed as a market when the leprechaun fights so hard for other failed markets.
Point is, hockey revenues grow because hockey is the greatest sport in the world, and everyone who gets into it stays there, not because of the leprechaun.
Exactly Kevin. You got nothing, so you sidestep the issue. Way to back up your comment that Bettman had nothing to do with growing NHL revenues. A lot of people hate Bettman, and I get that. But to ever suggest he had NOTHING to do with growing revenue in the NHL is idiotic. So, to use your methodology NBA commissioner David Stern (who is in the same position as Bettman and a mentor for Bettman BTW) had nothing to do with growing revenue for the NBA? Both men helped grow revenue for their leagues, end of story. The NBA grew on Stern’s watch and he is getting all kinds of accolades now that he is retiring. The NHL has grown leaps and bounds on Bettman’s watch, how can he not get some props for that? Again, please explain, I really am interested to see how you defend your position….
Sorry bro, got other shit to do than to prove obvious things to ignorant people.
Mark Ritter And last time I checked, the NBA was still on ESPN. And they were actually playing.
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