Dissention in the ranks?

The NHL Players’ Association says it will never accept a salary cap for its members, and that was reiterated on Thursday in light of remarks made by 20-year NHL veteran Steve Thomas.In an interview with The Score sports network, Thomas initially suggested that the league and Player’s Association could learn from examples taken from the National Basketball Association and National Football League when it comes to discussing a new collective bargaining agreement.

“The fact that football and basketball both have a salary cap…we can learn from how the day-to-day operations of those two entities work out and try and find some kind of a common ground between what they’re going through and what we have right now,” he said.

Thomas later released a statement through the NHL Players’ Association, saying his remarks were taken out of context.

“I never have and never will support a salary cap and any reports that say otherwise are totally inaccurate,” the statement said. “I have always believed that a marketplace is the best system for our sport and I still believe that today. NHLPA members will never accept a salary cap.”

The NHL says it needs what it calls “cost certainty,” but the union says each of the six league proposals they’ve received include conditions that amount to a salary cap.

Thomas was in Toronto appearing with other players at a charity event organized by another former Leaf, Doug Gilmour.

Thomas played last season with Detroit but the Red Wings have not offered him a new deal.

Last October, the NHLPA propose a system back on Oct. 1 that included a luxury tax, revenue sharing, a one-time five per cent rollback in salaries and some changes to the entry-level system.

The current collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and NHL Players’ Association expires Sept. 15.

Current Leaf forward Joe Nieuwendyk said salaries are already starting to fall and that proves the current system is “starting to work.”

“Fifty-million five-year deals, those things aren’t happening any more,” said Nieuwendyk, who in July re-signed with the Leafs in a one-year, $3-million deal. “Players are taking less in certain markets to play and to me, that shows you that things are becoming more responsible.”

Players are already bracing for a potentially long lockout.

“The way things are going right now, both sides aren’t going to budge,” said Leafs winger Darcy Tucker.

Free agent centre Eric Lindros said he’ll consider going back to school to pick up some university credits if the season doesn’t start on time.

“Hopefully, there will be a start to a season,” he said.

The league and players will hold talks in Ottawa next week and a week later in Montreal.


Is Steve Thomas’s initial statement the underlying beliefs of many other (i.e., majority) hockey players? Or, is it just an aberration?

His initial statement shows the importance, for the NHLPA, to not have players speak their minds because it will weaken their strength in respect to the owners due to the potential ramifications of having a union that is not fully cohesive. The same can be said of the owners. If the owners do not behave in a cohesive manner they will once again lose in the battle against the players. The group that blinks first in this battle of wills will go down in defeat. And I, as a devout hockey fan, am willing to see a work stoppage only if it achieves cost certainty.

Steve Thomas’s renouncement shows the NHLPA desires that the players are to be automatons without an intellect and reasoning capacity of their own. It is too dangerous for them to have a personal will, so they require a bolshevised-collective will. They must only be allowed to spew out the rhetoric promulgated by the Union, which is the messianic quality of the free and unfettered marketplace. As stated before, I wish to know the true unadulterated beliefs of the hockey players in regards to amelioration of the CBA. Do they actually believe in what they are saying in reference to the marketplace? (Do not misconstrue this statement as an attack on all unions; it only refers to the esteem that I have towards the players union).

And finally, how ignorant and stupid does Joe Nieuwendyk think the fans are. The only reason why salaries have gone down is that the players realize that their will be a reorientation of the salary structure in the NHL and because of the uncertainty revolving around the potential statutes of the new CBA.