“He has earned that right”

We hear that all the time when a veteran player makes a controversial decision or request. The longer a player has been in the league, the more rights he is entitled to. We have heard it a lot this week in regards to Nicklas Lidstrom and Teemu Selanne. When they politely declined their invitation to the All Star game, some people were angry while others felt with the NUMEROUS years of service they have provided the league it was OK for them to say “no thank you”.

When I hear “he has earned that right”, sometimes I agree, other times I don’t, and there are a few times where I sit on the fence. Let’s go through some of those times:

1) Declining All Star invitation

Can someone “Earn That Right”? : Yes

Lidstrom has appeared in 11 All-Star Games, while Teemu has played in 10. You can’t say that these two players haven’t represented the league in the past. While I was surprised that they decided not to attend (seeing as this could possibly be the last year for both of them), I do believe they have earned the right to do so. We are talking about two 41-year olds here, a few days off would be a big help in gearing up for the second half.

2) Debating retirement

Can someone “Earn That Right”? : Kind of

In the 2007-08 season we saw both Selanne and Scott Niedermayer do this to the Ducks. They spend the off season, training camp and first chuck of the season saying the same thing….”I haven’t decided yet”. I believe to a certain extent they have earned the right to ponder their decision, but when it goes as far as  the mid-way point of the season then it’s gone too far. Coaches and players need to plan out the season and it’s tough doing so when they have no idea if/when a significant player will return.

3) Asking to be traded to a contender

Can someone “Earn That Right”? : No

I’ve never been a fan of this one, especially when said player is on a team he has spent a number of years with. Let me get something striaght, if they have some sort of clause in their contract that says that they can veto or choose where to be moved, then all the power to them. However, if a veteran just wants one last shot at a ring and expects the team to make a deal that is not benficial to the franchise, then I am not in favour of it.

4) Refusing to waive a no-trade clause

Can someone “Earn That Right”? : YES

Before I get to my explanation of this one, let me say this: I believe players should earn “No Trade Clauses”. They are given out far too easily. I would really like to see a clause in the CBA that states someone has to play X amount of games or years in the league before that can have a No Trade Clause in their contract. That being said, if a veteran decides not to waive his clause, I have no problems with it. Back in 2008, Mats Sundin did just that in Toronto and there were many Leaf fans who thought he was being selfish. He was a veteran of the league and the Leafs organization and I believe he earned the right.

5) Declining to attend World Hockey Championships

Can someone “Earn That Right”? : Yes*

This one has an asterisk because I believe a player has earned that right if he has represented his country at the World Championships at least once in the past. If a veteran has done that, and wants to get some rest in the off season, I think its fine to decline an invite. Plus, we can’t forget  when the WC take place…right after a player either missed the playoffs (heartbreaking), or just got bumped in  the first round (even more heart breaking).

Got any more? Comment or tweet me @robpizzo

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Let’s head to the Links

It has been a LONG time since the Red Wings last lost a game at The Joe (Pro Hockey Talk)

Speaking of the Red Wings they chased Ryan Miller from the net last night in the 2nd period after he allowed 5 goals. After the game, he was not too happy (Puck Daddy)

Will NHL Players participate in the Olympics in 2014? Helene Elliott thinks they should (LA Times)

I wonder if Brendan Shanahan gets Overtime Pay? (NHL)

Jonathan Quick….nose bleed…..anthems…..just read it (Kings Insider)

Ken Campbell of the Hockey News says that Steve Yzerman has to fix the Lightning’s goaltending problems

So Jake Gardiner is back with the Leafs for a while, or not…or….I have no idea (Pension Plan Puppets)

The Rangers have lost 2 of 3…and have a tough road ahead (Blueshirt Banter)

and in case you missed Detroit’s franchise record 15th straight home win, here are the highlights