Sick And Tired of People Ripping into the NHLPA

Most of the info in this article has been recycled many times over, but I had to get it off my chest.

I’m so freakin’ sick of people ripping into the union (you know who you are… the ones who think the lockout is a strike and to a lesser extent those who think hockey belongs where it can’t be played outdoors). I’ve only come across a few people on this site that are pro-union, but these are the people, in my humble opinion, who know hockey.

The last CBA, although slightly skewed towards the players, was completely usable for the owners. Many small market teams have been making profits during the last few years, and unfortunately, the ones that are stuggling (especially the ones who declared bankruptcy) are using the CBA as a crutch.

Ottawa had to pay a $50 million franchise fee and $225 arena construction tab, which have limited the Senators’ ability to make money since entering the National Hockey League in 1990. Buffalo’s former owner, John Rigas (and his sons) are solely responsible for the Sabres’ financial woes, having plundered millions from Adelphia Communications, putting the Sabres’ parent company, and thus the team, into bankruptcy. The Penguins also filed for bankruptcy sort of recently (in 1998), which, as we all know, led to Mario Lemieux buying the team he still plays for. What a lot of people don’t know is that was the SECOND time they filed for bankruptcy. They previously did it in 1974 (I think), when owners had ALL the leverage, and the CBA sure wasn’t an issue. Sorry to all the Pens fans out there, but maybe the market isn’t strong enough there.

Teams that are run poorly are the ones affecting the NHL’s bottom line. The so-called “hard-line” owners like Jacobs and Karmanos are the main reason a good CBA for both sides started to fall apart over the second half of the 1990’s.

Giving Joe Thornton the ridiculous bonus clauses to sidestep the CBA and tossing $38 million (an immediate $14 million bonus, $2 million dollars for each of the six seasons, and a possible $12 million bonus if the team reached the conference finals of the Stanley Cup playoffs) at Federov are proof that owners that can’t stick to a budget THERE FOR THE GOOD OF THEIR RESPECTIVE TEAMS SHOULD NOT OWN A PROFFESIONAL SPORTS FRANCHISE.

Moreover, there is absolutely no proof that having a low salary cap would make the game more competitive. There have been a ton of different teams in the Cup final the last bunch of years, many with lower relative payrolls. That sound like parity to me.

I’m not saying that the Union should “never accept a cap”, but they are the ones who have actually TRIED to compromise. I forgot where I read it, but it makes sense to me, and it refered to the semantics of the whole thing. It went something like this: If the owners proposed a hard cap of $65 million, the players would DEFINATELY accept it. If the players proposed a luxury tax of 300% on the dollar starting at $40 million, the owners would take that too. There has to be some give and take to the whole process, which the owners have refused to do.

Which leads me to the idea of “labour impasse” and “replacement players”. I’m no lawyer, but I’m pretty sure that if the NHL wanted to declare such an impasse, they would have to prove in court that they tried to bargain in good faith – which they haven’t done yet. It’s their way or the highway. Also, many of the users of this site are from the U.S. and may not know that it is illegal to use replacement workers in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. Alberta is a maybe, but there are hurdles there as well. Would the NHL temporarily move Canadian teams to the States? I think not. I couldn’t imagine the ‘Nucks playing in Seattle or the Leafs in, what, upstate New York? Vermont? I just don’t see that happening.

So what am I saying? I’m saying the Union deserves a lot of credit for the way they have handled their part of the negotiations, and too many people are ripping into them for no good reason. Anyone who has owned or managed any kind of business will tell you there is NO SUCH THING AS COST CERTAINTY. It’s called having a budget, and it works if you use it. There has to be some give and take from both sides (which has been one-sided in the favour of the players so far), so for right now the union should NEVER cave to Bettman’s ludicrous image of a Communist Russia NHL.

Thanks for reading!


147 Responses to Sick And Tired of People Ripping into the NHLPA

  1. hockeyhead says:

    the lockout helps that……….how many people do you think come on here regularly 19yze??????

  2. 19Yzerman says:

    The objective of socialism is not to be “perfect” only to not have a variance of wealth within the private sector. This way no one is worce off or better off than the other.

    My objective? Well I object to taking a girl out, you know, and buying her dinner and then she won’t put out for you.

  3. 19Yzerman says:

    On behalf of NHLPA advocates group I must admit that we do want it both ways. This done by design just as any other negotaition. Tell the wife you are going for a motorcycle. Tell her you need twice as much time as you actualy do and then settle for half which is your actual targeted amount of time.

    I do understand the owners on this one to be honest with you. If the players are only looking at CAP or No CAP. why not give then a NO CAP CBA with so much else attachted to it that it would work for the owners better then a CAP?

    Go pee in their backs and tell them its raining.

  4. 19Yzerman says:

    Didn’t have to invent a name for such a player?

    Cam Neely

    The prototype of future powerforwards!!!!

  5. Aetherial says:

    Actually, as a larger question…

    Is it possible at all that the current discussion can work?

    I agree, and have stated here, that the owners don’t need a cap; they *could* accomplish the same thing with a tax.

    The real problem is bigger though. I wrote another piece on it. I think that the league and the players really do need to get together on the whole running of the business. I think cost certainty, and a cap to help competitiveness is necessary to grow the interest across the U.S., and get the big TV deal that means so much money to EVERYONE.

    Which means it is time for the owners to finally approach this a partnership, instead of a dictatorship and time for the players to realize that, ultimately, them squeezing every cent out of ownership is destructive to the game overall… and thus to their own cause.

    I believe a *real* partnership is the best chance the NHL has to grow.

    A completely new approach between the two sides is necessary.

  6. Aetherial says:

    … the NHLPA thinks this becauset their view of this is too short-term.

    They are not thinking how to make the pie bigger and to sell the game. They are only thinking of getting as much of the pie as they can.

    When that pie shrinks and less of them get to eat, maybe they will understand. Sometimes I doubt it though… and I certainly will never believe it as long as Goodenow is at the helm.

  7. nordiques100 says:

    just saying you shouldnt be growing the league when you have teams that have been around a long time on life support. even the bruins and hawks dont draw at all. they should have thought about keeping their current markets strong and healthy before bringing in more teams. when the bigger markets stayed healthy then it would be a good time to bring in more teams. but the reality was the markets were still struggling. the isles were struggling, the pens, some of the canadian teams, the whalers, the minnesota stars, the sabres. that is like half the league back when it was 21 teams. the game was even half decent and exciting back then and there were still problem teams. now pretty much all the new markets added are struggling. it just happened way too fast.

    they brought in a dozen new markets over a span of 10 years. all this while current teams were dying. it wasnt the time to bring in so many places so fast. gradual growth would have kept the game better. but instead they have too many market to try to salvage and a league diluted of talent.

    it just wasnt big enough in the US to have such growth yet. when the current teams are running strong then it would have been time to try a new market. not force feed it to the public.

  8. 19Yzerman says:

    Well it seems to me that we used to be able to choose a topic catagory like THE B”S and there would be 3 or 4 active topics to debate with post amounts over 100.

    At one point it seemed be only a handful us on here since sept.It is nice to see this site activity increase.


    Is that one of those Dale Arnoldisms?

    Like everyone whose name can end with an EEE gets it added?





    One time we were watching a game and one of us said something and the other said HienzEEE? A third person in our group jump on us asking WHY we added that EEE to the end of every bruins name so I blamed it on Dale arnold and Gordie kluzack.

  9. beefer says:

    Aren’t the middle ground guys getting these salaries in part because guys like Jagr, Yashin, and Holik are getting paid what they are? As in….if Holik is making 9 mil, and Marchant is half the player Holik is, then he should make about half of that. I think he is making about half of what Holik does.

  10. hockeyhead says:

    you are correct. we do it too (me and my friends) we would say neely-e-e and bourque-e-e and gretzky-e-e and so on.

    so yes you are 19yzE but not 19yzE-e-e.

    i don’t recall topic catagories. i have been coming for a couple of years. maybe i am not probing around enough.

  11. nocuphere says:

    Yeah it’s my alias here. I use it mostly at work.

  12. 19Yzerman says:

    I posted that question on here as to how things would work if the players had a vested interest in the team they play on. I had heard that was a system the players were entertaining thoughts of at some point.

    Some one on here pointed out that such vested interests would become problematic from player movement. Valid point however I still think there is something there.

  13. hockeyhead says:

    ok, i will make sure that i pay attention more so i don’t think someone is a fan of a team that they are not. thinking you were a flyer fan would be like someone thinking i was a hab fan. a thousand pardons.

    i tried using another name….i guess i need another computer.

  14. nocuphere says:

    Why? So the players can go out and hire a legal team to tear a thousand loopholes in the new agreement? Doesn’t make sense. The owners fell for that one once, and you can be damn sure they won’t this time. I applaud the owners in their efforts to be certain they won’t look like total idiots again this time around. The NHLPA humiliated the NHL, and Bettman is on a mission to retain any confidence the owners have in his ability’s. He’s a goner if there is no season, if he wasn’t already.

    All the attachments you’re speaking of will be exactly what the NHLPA’s legal team will expose. The cap is the surest way to attain certainty and they’ll never be hockey until there is a cap in place. Whether that number is 40 or 60 or 70mill, at the end of the day the only way to protect these dummy’s from spending so freely.

    Just drop the f ucking puck already!!!

  15. simplyhabby says:

    I watched that guy be a thorn in the side of the Habs for a number of years.

    As much as I hated him, I would love to have a healthy Cam in his prime on my team. I don’t think that there is a player (other then Pat Roy) I enjoyed watching more.

    YEA YEA there are great players that can dangle, better skaters but watching these guys, Roy being my previous fav player (best goalie ever) and watching Cam (wondering what he couldn’t do) was a lot of fun.

  16. 19Yzerman says:

    If the NHLPA looks over a CBA and then they sign it aren’t bound to the terms and conditions of that contract?

    Does it really matter if the CBA has No CAP if it also says that players will be limited to 50% of all league revenues?

    By saying the only way to protect these dummy’s from spending so freely. You are conceeding that the owners had humiliated them selves.

  17. 19Yzerman says:

    Funny here in Detroit the players names all end with an S after droping the last sufix.

    Draper Drapes

    Maltby Malts

    Hatcher Hats

    This where we are really missing hockey because normally we could go home and watch a game then tell each other if our home town game commentators shorten up the names of the oppsing team as they do the home teams.

  18. ranger_fan says:

    A perfect person is immune to everything. Perfect means something can no longer evolve to get better.

    So in my honest opinion, the best all around player was Orr. He and Neely both fought, hit, scored, but one played defense amazingly, and was faster.

    But Orr had the knee injury, and Neely had something where muscle turned to bone I think. Scary stuff, and both were close to lifetime Bruins. Neely had a short tenure with the ‘Nucks, and Orr played 5 games a year for the Hawks.

  19. ranger_fan says:

    While Gretz favors a cap, he is a puss, and wants to see the game saved rather than cost certainty

  20. samcal17 says:

    so what your trying to tell me is that putting teams into rediculously stupid markets that cant afford to keep it going is going to make it a better sport? That maybe the most rediculous comment i have ever heard. I dont even know why people are trying to stuff hocley down the throats of people who arent interested. I love hockey because i grew up playing the sport and it became part of me not because there is an NHL team in my city. In fact a major teams AHL affiliate failed in the city I live in because they couldnt build the interest and we are only half an hour away from the big club. We couldnt support the team so they left and did much better where they went. if they want to build interest start lower and work up you have to build the interest in the sport first. You dont just throw a major team into a city that doesnt even know what snow is and hope it survives thats the kind of thinking that got the league in the trouble they are today.

  21. samcal17 says:

    when the owners finally started figuring out how to use the current cba the salaries only went up like 2 percent and i didnt here one player or agent say anything about collusion.

    But i didnt realize there was anyone on this site who could actually see the future. Any chance you can let me know what the next lottery numbers are cause i could use it.

  22. Scoot says:

    What can I say? I’ve been missing hockey! Aside from writing the article, I’ve even resorted to pulling my old hockey gear out of the closet…getting back into shape, so I can join a men’s league…shinny just isn’t cutting it! (I never thought I’d say that!)

  23. nocuphere says:

    No worries bro. haha.

    Yeah I used a different email address for the other account.

  24. nocuphere says:

    I absolutey believe the owners made their own bed in the 95 cba, but as we can all see the system needs a major overall, I don’t in any way blame the players for their stance, why not maximize your value. I mean i’d love to do that in my job.

    I just believe in order for this league to not only survive, but succeed, it needs a cap.

  25. Freeze says:

    It’s funny how hockey players are down-to-earth enough to give interviews in between periods, do charity work, and make themselves accessible to the masses, but they’re apparently not smart enough to understand the very basic economics of the game that’s been pounded into their collective heads by the owners.

    Usually the words “petulant, arrogant, self-serving, spoiled” are used to describe NBA players.

    I’m surprised and disappointed.

  26. rojoke says:

    Sure, why the hell not!

  27. rojoke says:

    When the MLBPA won its collusion case back in the 80s, didn’t they prove that the owners, with the knowledge of the league’s executive, conspired to identify certain free agents and not make them contract offers?

    If that’s the case, and that’s what the definition of collusion that would, or could, apply. If the NHL owners agreed to keep their payrolls at or near their current levels, for the duration of a new collective agreement, could that be considered collusion? As long as they didn’t decide to keep an individual player’s salary below a set level, would it still be collusion.

    To illustrate, let’s say that my team’s payroll for 2003-04 was $45 million dollars. I have three free agents this summer who I don’t want to re-sign, and that frees up about $9 million for my payroll. In September, I go into camp with all my RFAs signed, and still have one or two spots that are open, and I have $5 million to spend. So I go to UFA forward Alexei Kovalev and offer him that $5 million to play for me. Now, last season he earned a little over $6 million, I think, so $5 million isn’t exactly a low-ball offer. But he thinks he can get an offer of $6 million plus from another team. Keep in mind this is September. So he says no, October rolls around, and he gets no better offers. November comes along, and still nothing. As Christmas rolls around, he sees that he’s probably not going to get more than the $5 million I offered back in September, so he comes back and we sign a deal. But the reason that he didn’t get any offers was because, during the bargaining process, teams agreed that they would stay at previous payroll levels, and no one else could afford to pay him what he was asking, or more than I could offer. But they were free to bid on any and all free agents on the market at any time. Under this scenario, would you consider that collusion? And do you think it fit a legal definition?

  28. rojoke says:

    Trying to remember back to my high school history, the way I remember Marx’s description is that in the early stages of the revolution, leaders would be needed to direct the economic course of the communist state. Once all the infrastructure was in place, then the leadership would no longer be necessary, and all decisions would be made collectively. It’s just too bad human nature kicked in and uined the party.

  29. rojoke says:

    I almost hate to bring them up again, but in the NFL, ALL revenues go through the league. But then, they have a streamlined system in place with no local TV contracts and such, so it suits them better. I don’t see how the NHL could develop a similar model without getting somebody upset.

  30. rojoke says:

    NFL bonuses do count towards the salary cap. They are allocated over the life of the player’s contract. I also thought they weren’t counted under the cap. Hockey News covered it in a comparison of the four North American sports leagues back in September.

  31. ranger_fan says:

    sad part was the Bullshiviks or whatever made up him wanting a revolution.

  32. Aetherial says:

    Owners wanted teams there and the markest are not quite so bad as you think.

  33. Aetherial says:

    INteresting comment there…

    The Bruins and Hawks don’t draw at all.

    Yes, that is true. Think to yourself… WHY is it true?

    It is true because the fans of those cities are sick of their “financially responsible” owners not icing competitive teams … why?

    Because they are financially responsible and WON’T spend the money on ridiculous player salaries.

    So… their fan interest dies…

    and that piece of the pice that the NHLPA wants to hog 75% of, gets smaller and smaller.

    Your statement is the best illustration of why I feel a cap is necessary and the players are wrong that I can think of.

  34. Aetherial says:

    Frankly, I think you are right. I am also hoping for a cap. In fact, I would be happy if the union was broken over this.

    I will wait as long as it takes, period. I really don’t care, my life is going on without hockey.

    On the other hand, when they DO come back… I don’t want to go through this after the next CBA and the one after that, and the one after that…

    So, I really think that the two sides need to fundamentally change the way they are approaching this business. It needs to be a partnership…

    Dickering over a percent at the next CBA talks would not be so difficult that a season would be cancelled.

  35. Aetherial says:

    Why not maximize your own value?

    Well I have an answer for you.

    Boston and Chicago.

    Those teams are rapidly losing any sort of fan interest…

    Because their owners spend responsibly, or at least refuse to pay ridiculous salaries to underachiving players… or even achieving players in some cases.

    They are exactly the owners that the players claim ALL the owners should be.

    And their fans are staying away.

    THAT is why not.

    Players have to finally connect the dots in their head that says competitive balance is GOOD for the interest in the game and, in fact, is the only way to make the pie grow.

    Squeezing for every penny moves all the interst to the few teams that can afford it.

  36. Aetherial says:

    Give me a F*cking break please.

    Salaries has already gone up, what 800% or something?


    we were at a stage where salaries were 75+% of revenue


    salaries were not declining.

    If salaries declined because owners would not spend the NHLPA would NOT be happy and WOULD take action.

    You KNOW that is true, period.

  37. Aetherial says:

    I wish I knew the collusion laws, but I don’t.

    Let’s say Kovalev made 5 million and had a decent season, was not injured etc.

    Now he is a UFA.

    However, the teams have decided they will simply cap themselves. They agree that they will not break that *hidden* cap for the good of the game. They all have a budget and they stick to it.

    So… no team has more than 1.5 million they want to spend on Kovalev.

    But there will be more than one Kovalev. There will be 10 such players making 4 million+ who are offered no more than maybe 2 million.

    The next year, the same thing happens.

    I am not sure that is collusion? I think it might be though.

    If it wasn’t, then I would suggest that the owners…

    Take the 24% rollback

    Disclose budgets for salaries (so the fans don’t biatch)

    STICK to those budgets.

    Hey, if it isn’t collusion… it should work.

    Of course it would only take one idiot in Toronto, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit etc. to blow the whole thing all to hell.

  38. 19Yzerman says:

    I know what you mean when you say for the NHLPA to try walk in the owners shoes. Its always a valid point when trying to understand one and other.

    This would not be as hard for the players to succeed at as it is for the owners.

    22 players taking a team and by playing for free they could turn its net worth into 220 million over a five year period with ease.

    move it to hartford where the AHL team has been a sell out since the Whale left and the potential for the players is immense. Chicago has also been a big seller in its AHL market but, being an original six team city we can let that market do what it will on its own.

    If at first you don’t succeed. Keep on S U C K I N till you do succeed. ( In the voice of Curly from the 3 stooges)

  39. 19Yzerman says:

    Well Scoot I have to tell you I was watching an ECHL allstar game on comcast local last night. This game was in Reading , PA. as I was watching I noticed that the skill level was not that great. the lack of tape to tape passing was so bad I noticed that they would simply put the puck way ahead of the receiver. This allows the opposing defence to move forward and get the puck instead. I was thinking damn thats what they do in the league I play in. Then I noticed a player and wouldn’t you know it he has played in my league before. I have never been closer in my life to watching hockey on TV and being quite this convinced that I could compete with those I see on the screen.

    If the NHL scraps the NHLPA and bring in replacements. I’m gonna go to some try outs after a visit to Barry Bonds ROIDS dealer.

  40. hockeyhead says:

    i think bruins fans would not care about j.jacobs if every owner was like him….it is the difference that upsets us because we are a hockey nation.

    the difference in owners with the pats and the sox also alienates bruins fans as they are bringing in championships.

    people want jacobs to spend the money because the bruins do make money. we should have a great team.

    however, the bruins do have a blueprint to be cost eficiant (sp).

  41. simplyhabby says:

    LOL. I see your point regarding socialism but seriously would you really want to be perfect?

    The idea of never learning or evolving because there is no need would make me wonder why I am even existing; hence, if i fit those definitions of perfect, then i cannot consider myself perfect because I am no longer happy rgarding that i no longer have true purpose in life.

  42. 19Yzerman says:

    Collusion is definded as

    A secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose. Like making money off the PLAN.

    What they cannot do is get together and agree on amounts not to exceed. That is collusion.

    Store A and store B cannot agree to stay above X amount for some store item either.

    Most marketed items are studied by the competion

    and pricing is often adjusted according to market studies. An example of this is Airline ticket prices.

    Your scenario would have to be collusional to work. Without the teams you mentioned agreeing then no team will trust doing so.

  43. Scoot says:

    That is too funny! The guys I play with aren’t that good…or maybe its just all the beer in the dressing room!

  44. rojoke says:

    No playing for free. As if they would. Remember the team is run by recently-retired players, so the roster players have no decision-making powers. And any profits go to the players association, either the pension fund or their charitable arm. It’s supposed to be an exercise in running an NHL in this economic climate, to get a handle on what the current owners face.

  45. rojoke says:

    So basically under that definition, if the owners signed a deal without a cap or luxury tax, but announced that as a group, their payrolls would not rise for the life of the agreement, then that would not be collusion. They’ve gone public with their new plan, so it’s secretive. And staying to a budget in neither illegal nor deceitful.

  46. Rico420 says:

    If and the big IF a cap get’s put in place the first thing that has to happen is ticket prices drop.

    You don’t go to a McDonalds in Scranton Pennsylvania and pay more for a Big Mac then you would in a McDonalds in Vancouver BC.

    The league want’s to operate like a BIG franchise they need to be on the same page.

  47. Oilerz says:

    So you are against a cap. Do you feel that the highest paid team should automatically go to the area of the country where most people happen to live? Or are you afraid that your leafs would go another 40 years if they had to play on an even playing field?

Leave a Reply