CBA rant: Screw the top 10%

Come January, when we’ve gone 8 months without hockey, here’s what you do: Go up to your bedroom closet, pull out the jersey that hangs so proudly to you left. You know the one. We all have at least one. The one we wear to all the home games, the one that cost over a hundred dollars with the name and the number printed in large white letters. I want you to take that one out of the closet, set it on the floor and urinate on it. Here’s the thing. That name, most likely, is the name of your teams star player. It may say Sakic, or Lidstrom. It might say Jagr or Yashin. It might even say Sundin or Pronger. But whatever star players name is on the back of your jersey, they are most likely the cause of the lockout.

Lets face it, the owners are to blame, that is a fact I’m not denying. They threw money at players over the last decade like cash grew on trees. They truely are the reason why these players are making what they are making. But they are trying to change that, to rectify a mistake before it is too late. And thats what the salary structure of the NHL is, a mistake.

But heres the thing. This lockout isnt about players protecting their quatlity of life. A salary cap isn’t going to make life difficult for anyone. You wont see anyone picking up a second job to cover the bills. There will be no eviction notices pinned to players doors. Life will be the same for every player in the league if a cap is put in place. Jagr isnt going to suffer if his yearly income is cut from 11 million to 6, Yashin will still be able to afford his new Jaguar making half what he is making now. The lockout isnt about players protecting each other, its about the prides of all those guys in the top 10 percent.

Jagr, Yashin, Lidstrom, Forsberg, Sakic, Holik. These guys and others like them are the reason that there will be no hockey next year. Out of the 750 plus guys who play in the NHL year in and year out, they make up less than 10% of all players and they make, in one nights work, more than most of us will make all year.

The players may be united in a lockout, but its only these top guys that are trying to cover their own butts in the end. The grunts of the league, the role players, the fillers, 3rd and 4th liners. guys like Mike Eastwood Jay Pandolfo Rob Dimaio and Tom Fitzgerald will still command the same salary after a lockout. Yet they will not be playing next season because a small group is letting pride and dollars signs blind them.

Ollie Jokinen: “The young guys don’t know what’s going to happen now,” said Jokinen. “But when you get older, you look back to 10 years ago, what those guys did for us. The highest-paid guys were making like $4 million and now it’s $10 million; the average salary was about $500,000; now it’s $1.7 million. A lot of guys paid a big price with the last one. Now a lot of young guys owe them. Now the young kids are making tons of money when they come into the league. So those guys did the right thing.”

Yes Ollie, doubling the salary structure over a 10 year period was the “right thing”. Spoken like a man who truley sees dollar signs in his future.

Its funny how many of us consider five hundred thousand a year “tons of money”.

The Jokinen quote was pulled from an ESPN article found at: http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/columns/story?columnist=parent_rob&id=1818062