Some numbers, couple thoughts

Feel free to disagree with any of this but be prepared to present a decent case instead of left-wing commie-pinko rhetoric.

Some numbers

60K to 40K = 1.8 million to 1.3 million

This is Ted Saskin math. Nevermind that the decreases don’t equal, he and the NHLPA would have us believe that the situations are equivalent. Uh, someone dropping from 60 to 40K may not be able to stay in their home, or save for their kid’s education. That is a little different than the player’s reality at a measley (or “miniscule” according to Ken Klee) 1.3 million.

24% is

how much salaries will increase again in 2 years and we are back at square one. The players won’t guarantee this roll back (which equates to salaries taking 56% of revenues). The owners WILL guarantee their cap which is 54% or revenues.

40% is

The amount of players who are NOT under contract beyond July 2005.

3 is

The numbers of time the average salary has risen by 24% or more within a 3 month period, during this CBA.

The above 3 points describe exactly how *serious* the player’s proposal was and exactly why it should have been rejected as nothing more than a good start.

10 to 20% is

The amount the owners increased their cap offer buy, including a minimum above what some teams spend now.

0 is

The likelihood of the owner’s increase of their original cap proposal disappearing in two years.

Quotes from people siding with the NHLPA:

“We don’t have a dance partner”

“The owner’s haven’t budged one iota”

“The owners just want to break the union”.

Compare the two scenarios above and you tell me… who is not budging or negotiating?


1)“It is the owners fault, they should fix it”

-Rookie BOGUS bonuses designed to cir*****vent the rookie salary cap

-Rookie holdouts

-Salary arbitration… guaranteed raises between 25% to 85%

-Players under existing contract holding out

-Players always going to the highest bidder. Bob Goodenow pressuring agents to get the most they can squeeze out of a contract… best of all,

-if the owners, en masse, refuse to pay… COLLUSION!

The fact is that these things ALL cause salary inflation. They simply continue to set the bar higher and they are out of the owner’s control. There are precious few examples of where a player has been signed for something out of line with the market (Holik, Lapointe etc.).

Now, whose fault is this again?

2) “We want a free market economy”

Yeah, of course you do… as long as anti-trust legislation is on your side, there is no legal recourse against you holding out or refusing to sign with the team that drafted you and arbitration will guarantee to inflate your salaries with almost zero chance of working the same way in reverse for the owners.

No other sport big league in North American has a free market economy and the one that has a salary tax is an absolute joke.

15 Responses to Some numbers, couple thoughts

  1. cgolding says:

    in fairness the problem with the luxury tax in baseball is the fact that the line of taxation is way too high. if they put it at like 80 million or something, and forced the teams recieving funds to spend those funds on their team, it would actually accomplish something. very few teams in baseball are actually hitting the tax with any regularity.

    i agree with basically everything, the proposal was a joke in terms of actually fixing anything.

  2. 19Yzerman says:

    Its hard to debate numbers when the thought that they where well researched prior to being used in an article comes to mind.

    if a salary tax is an absolute joke then the Yankees has to be the punch line. But what about all the money paid out by the yankees due to a salary tax? Ever wonder if it was appropriately used by those who received it and if implemented into the NHL how the same question would arise?

    I thought I would help pad your numbers here.

  3. big_booty says:

    You have hit the nail right on the head. I have been waiting for columnists and hockey pundits to bring it up but none have had the stones to do so.

    As I have said before, the agent side of Goodenow is beginning to rear its ugly head. He is banking on the owners’ inability to curb their own spending as the saving grace for his union and its members’ bank accounts.

    To his credit, Gary Bettman has realized this and is making a stand that, whether the vast majority of the hockey world believes him or not, needs to be made.

    Goodenow and the PA want what they want and they continually think they will get it one way or the other – by the continued use of deficit spending on the part of the owners, or by way of an anti-trust lawsuit when the owners don’t budge on salary demands and start another war over collusion.

    The owners are businessmen. Smart ones at that. They know that they don’t have to do anything right now. If I am not mistaken, come April 15, these businessmen will file their taxes and part of those filings will be sizeable capital losses, which will be taken care of by Uncle Sam.

  4. Aetherial says:


    After the rebuttal by the player’s association:

    You know, I honestly don’t know whose numbers to believe. I know for sure that numbers can be twisted to say many things (does anyone seriously believe the owners stated losses?)

    So the NHL says that salaries rise to the same level in 2 years and the NHLPA says they don’t. Either side can show you why and both will likely look reasonable.

    We are pretty much left on our own to decipher the answer. I know for me, I will buy the owner’s answer. Without looking at the creative math. here is why.

    The players made very few substantial changes to the scheme in place today. History teaches me that Bettman is right, or close to it, in his estimates.

    Rookie salaries were capped and bonuses were capped. The numbers though were not lower than current rookie salary+bogus bonus average.

    2-way arbitration. Bettman is right when he says that no one seriously believes this will exert downward pressure. It will be a very rare case where a player gets taken to arbitration and he can’t find *someone* making more or equal to him who put up less numbers. ANY arbitration like what we have now exerts tremendous upward pressure.

    Proposed luxury tax. It was a JOKE. By the time the owners hit the second tier the players could make 80% of revenues! It only takes 1 million tax to hit the second tier. This will not deter teams whatsoever.

    Other than that, we have a 24% rollback, which history shows can disappear within 3 months and those are historical facts.

    There was one season where salaries only rose 2%. The NHLPA believes that can be duplicated if the owners are responsible. I happen to agree in that case. *Some* owner responsibility is necessary but it only works as part of an overall change to the system.

    Like many people have said, the solution is painfully simple to the rest of us:

    A tax with teeth, at least 1:1, starting at 40K maximum.

    A cap on rookie salaries INCLUDING bonuses that is in-line with what the original cap amount was meant to be.

    No arbitration, period.

    Lowering of the free agent age.

    I blame the owners for discounting a luxury tax, since a nasty one acts like a cap and can prevent collusion lawsuits after the owners get their sh*t together.

    I blame the union for not understanding that it requires 2 healthy parties to run this league. Even if you believe Forbes over Levitt, the losses are substantial. Teams WILL fold, meaning less jobs. This union is determined to cut its own throat because it has become so greedy it has lost sight of reality on pretty much any level or issue.

  5. cgolding says:

    in order for the players system to actually work, the owners would need to be colluding to keep individual UFA’s contracts down. sort of ironic.

  6. rojoke says:

    If you’re going to link all player salaries to league revenues, then why not link rookie salaries to league salaries? Make the top rookie salary a percentage of the average salary for the previous year, say 40% or somewhere around there. Based on the league average from last season of $1.8 million, that would put it at $720,000 per year. Make the top rookie salary with bonuses max out at 70%, or $1.26 million. And make the bonuses realistic. If a first rounder averages 50+ goals and 100+ points in junior, then don’t put the bonus at 10 or 15 goals and 30 or 40 points.

  7. Kraut182 says:

    – the 24% rollback doesn’t have to be back in 2 years if the owners are smart and don’t sign the stupid contracts. Owners were idiots in the past, if they could just smarten up there is no reason this has to happen.

    – 40% of players are not under contract. So what, offer these players 24% less than what you originally would have. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out.

    – I argree that the system can be inflationary due to the arbitration process. So fix it, I don’t think you should get rid of it, as a player is locked in with his team forever and if they won’t offer him a fair contract up until then there’s nothing he can do. The only way this would make sense is if they just make players free agents after their 1st contracts, but I don’t like this idea. Why can’t salary arbitration just be improved so as to not be inflationary.

    – If the owners really want to lower salaries all they have to do is say to each other, “We wil not let our salaries go above such and such a level”. Collusion, yeah, so what prove it. I don’t see how this is any different in end result from a salary cap. The problem really is that the owners don’t trust each other to follow such a strategy.

    – I think rookies base salaries should be capped, but see no reason why they shouldn’t be able to earn some bonuses. The bonuses just need to be capped at size and be reviewable by the NHL for validity (that they are actually reasonable bonus $ for performance). Players like Heatley deserve to make more the guys like Stefan, but without bonuses they wouldn’t.

    – Why do people say the NBA has a cap? It’s a luxury tax, but whenever people talk about the how good a cap is they either throw the NBA in there or just bring up the NFL. Then when they talk about how useless a tax is they bring up baseball. Of course baseball’s tax is useless, it is set at the level that would be the equivalent of the players proposing a $55M tax. If baseball set the tax at around $60M (approx. equivalent of players offer) it would go a lot further to slowing down baseball spending.

  8. Aetherial says:

    You lost me with your original comment about the owners. That is the same BS I have heard all along.

    Debate the reality of upward pressures caused by the system or STFU.

  9. Kraut182 says:

    It’s nice to see that while I read your entire comment and tried to make insightful comments on it you respond by reading my 1st statement, ignoring the part where I talk about the upward pressures caused by the system, and then swear at me.

    If you want your opinion to be viewed with respect, then you should try and treat others with some.

  10. guinsfan4life says:

    Whether or not the tax is too high in baseball is irrelevant. The fact is, the tax in and of itself is doing nothing regardless of where it is set. Even if it was set at what you mentioned, 80million, there would still be a severe disparity among teams who are able to spend and pay that luxury tax and teams who wouldn’t even have a payroll of half of that, which precipitates the argument of competitive balance.

    The negotiation in baseball, the owners said at the time, was meant to be a step towards a salary cap.

    We will see in due time.

  11. guinsfan4life says:

    –The 24% rollback will come back in a matter of years, partly due to the fact that the owners will be forced to pay what the agents deem market value, and because they naturally are competitive. Let’s face it, competition is a big thing here as well, and then owners spend more money than what they can afford.

    Regardless of what percentage of players are under contract, the salaries will escalate back to what they were before, and the players know that. If they didn’t, then why won’t they accept a hard cap and save the league the $600 million they propose without a salary rollback? The answer is because they know that if they cap the salaries, they won’t get that money back, unlike the rollback.

    A proposed salary cap is like the owners saying in a formal way, that regardless of what anyone wants to spend, the majority of the owners can’t spend above this set amount.

    Arbitration is what it is. YOu have an outside source arbitrarily awarding a player based on what he believes he should make based on market value. Market value skewes the salaries of the players. If a cap was in place, then maybe arbitration would be viable, because the salaries would be forced to be down.

  12. Aetherial says:

    If you want to be viewed with respect show that you read AND understand.

    You directly contradicted WITHOUT debating a point I made clearly.

  13. Kraut182 says:

    You stated that the current set up is inflationary. I agreed with you, that the arbitration process seems to cause this (sometimes needless) upward pressure on salaries. I then state that, while I don’t think arbitration should be removed, I think it needs to be improved. To stop giving out needless raises and creating inflationary pressure.

    Then you tell me to, “Debate the reality of upward pressures caused by the system or STFU.” I thought my above statement did this. Where did I contradict you without debating a point you made clearly?

  14. Aetherial says:

    You OPENING statement was in direct contradiction to one of the points I made. It was the usual blind statement that this owners are stupid or were idiots.

    I did not read further than that. I have heard that opinion expressed about 1 billion times. You are entitled to it.

  15. Kraut182 says:

    I made no opening statement, that would have looked more like, “The owners are all idiots, now let me tell you why.” Instead what you see is a bunch of random points, that I came up with as I scrolled down your article.

    Also I don’t think the owners (as a whole) are stupid idiots, nor did I say that. I said the owners had been idiots in the past, and there’s a lot of contracts out there (Yashin, Holik, Jagr, etc.) that show that they were. And I don’t see how this directly contradicts one of your points, did you specifically mention that the owners weren’t idiots?

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