I understand that this is likely a minority opinion because it’s terrible business, but if I were an NHL player, I’d rather we just drop the puck on the season and earn less. I’d rather accept the most recent NHL proposal (after one more counter) than sit out.

$1.7M instead of $2.3? Kay. I’ll live. I’d want UFA rules to stay the same, and I’d want entry level contracts to stay at three years. Most of the rest of it…I mean, guys can’t believe how much money they make. I played with a guy who got called up for two weeks and matched his entire season’s AHL pay. He was flabbergasted. 

And what about money now vs. money later? Where you’re talking big money like this, who cares if you earn it back in five years? It’d be nice to put that money – some money – to work for you now. What could it do for you in gains if you got to invest it today instead of next year? Would you really be that far behind?

And I understand you can’t just say “kay” and let the owners push you around, but that proposal – which you could still make a counter-offer on and get to 50% of HRR each – isn’t exactly abusive. Humans are competitive, and nobody wants to lose, but man, sitting out a season would sound terrible to me.

Of course, I wouldn’t go to the media and say “I want to play, some others want to play too.” I get that there’s people involved that would essentially be protecting me from myself in this. But still – I don’t want to start up fresh in Switzerland. I want to *visit* Switzerland, not need an apartment and stuff and be told when to be where. I quite think I’d quite like being in the NHL, and would quite enjoy staying right wherever home is, established. Let’s just play.

The old guys are worried about losing years, shots at the Cup, and not making back the money they’d forfeit even if the players did get a better deal. The younger guys want to get that first year of paychecks, to eat up their entry level contracts, and move closer to their big payday. Hey, you only have so many hockey playing years in your body, you gotta cash in while you can.

I know that, mathematically, my thinking may be way off. But as a hockey player, I know that if I were pushing myself through a few extra squats today while considering the taxes I pay on my house on the lake, I’d be thinking “Whatever with this haggling bullshit. Let’s just play.”

Comments (24)

  1. Didn’t Pierre Lebrun write something that suggested players would end up losing the extra $$ they’re fighting to keep by missing something like 10 games? I don’t know if that was just for one year or if it was over the life of the CBA proposals, but either way that would make this type of consideration even more dramatic, as there would basically be no “better deal” until you got to the *next* set of CBA negotiations.

    But I guess that’s always what it’s going to be about. Fehr has to keep the PA on the same page so as to preserve as much leverage as possible for them in the future, because they probably have a long way to go before they’re ever in a position to actually “win.”

  2. PLEASE please please let the majority of the players agree with you. I want my hockey!!!!

  3. Agreed whole-heartedly.
    They made the owners come down off their outrageous first offer, and yeah they’ll lose money…but they’re losing it anyway!
    Good stuff Jason. I really want them to play.
    Winnipeg just got its team!!! We want Season 2!!!!

    • Oh crap..rereading that I’ve realized I forgot to make a point I was going for: They made the owners come down off their first offer, and that should be a success! They did what they needed to do, and that was to not get screwed.

    • Jason Bourne Identity…

  4. Yep. Say the lockout goes all year long again (god forbid). Also assume that the players are able to negotiate the 9% paycut back to say, 4%. You’ve now lost a year of your playing career…how many years do you need to play with your extra 5% to get that year back?

  5. You talk about the old guys and the young guys and their rational for wanting to play. All good points.

    But to me the “Hey, you only have so many hockey playing years in your body, you gotta cash in while you can.” is what will turn this thing eventually. The role players. The guys you see in the league for 4-6 years then they get replaced by someone younger and cheaper because.. well, there is no shortage of them waiting to take your sport. The top end players no matter young or old are set for life no matter if this thing parks for a year or not. The guys that are in their prime earning age with a 4-6 year cap on that prime earning???. They are the ones that will start to waffle first. It happened last time. The split in the union started because they are a fairly large number and they started to get worried. Never mind getting back what they lost from missing a year,.they started to understand they would be at a major loss for life and were much less concerned about brotherhood and looking after tomorrow’s players.

  6. The average NHL career is around 5.5 years right? How many of these guys really want to sacrifice up to 20% of their career earnings

    • And when you consider how long the top players stay in the league.. what the is real average for the 3rd and 4th liners? 2.5-3.5 years???

      • Those guys are already balanced out by career AHLers that get 10 career games in. Stephane Veileux is a perfect example of an avg 3rd/4th liner. Played 5 full seasons and got bit parts in 3 others. Because he is older now all he can get is two way contracts because a younger player can do it that in theory may have higher potential.

  7. Yeah, good point I never considered.

  8. God bless you Justin for speaking some reason in all this madness. The moral-high-ground-social-media-tide is beginning to turn against the players (it has for me), and now EVERYONE is starting to look greedy and shortsighted.

    Soooooo, you’ll be ramping up those workouts and honing that new Easton gear real quick, right?…

  9. I see your point, but isn’t this about taking the long view? It’s a small loss now, but the owners will only push for more in the next CBA. In all the capped sports the owners push back on salary with every CBA.

    • That’s exactly it. The sports junkies need their fix much like a dope sick heroin addict so they concoct all these ridiculous theories as to why the players should cave so they can have their little entertainment product. Get a life people.

  10. Agreed, the players are spoiled brats, and they aren’t thinking this through at all. I blame unions, which were initially designed to protect steel workers and miners, in absolutely horrendous conditions; now all they do is pamper spoiled fucking brats. I mean, seriously, in the economic state of the world today, how can one really have a beef with making that much money to play a game you love. Sure, you can argue that it’s relative, and other sports are making more, but they’re bastards too. I think the sports industry is in for some hard lessons in the future.

    • What about the owners though? Yes the players are extremely highly paid, more than necessary. But look at football. A guy can snap his leg and never see the field ever again. And his contract Is non-guaranteed. So thanks for coming out here’s a small injury settlement have a good life. That $5 million due next year, cancelled. That is one of the things the Owners wanted in the first offer.

      These guys put in a ton of work and deserved to be paid highly. Maybe not $100 million but those are very rare. I have known a couple football players who made close to bare minimum and they aren’t overpaid spoiled people. They made a nice check for a few years and wisely invested it. You know how much medically they will need in the next 20 years? After taxes and the agent, their salary wasnt all that much. More than most yes, but they only get a short window. And they helped Dan Snyder profit a whole lot more. They helped the NFL pull in billions, yes B, billions and they deserve their share.

      You can’t just cave in to Owners each time while they screw up. Are the players supposed to say to GMs you are offering too much I’ll take a lower contract. The players gave back a ton last time and played within the Owners CBA. Why should they do the same again without a legit reason.

      • I have a large rant against the players to as they are screwing this up too, and being completely stupid, brought a lot of this own by hiring Fehr and other bullshit posturing. But to hear the general overpaid spoiled brat card pisses me off to no end. Guarantee there are more selfish pricks in almost every other line of work than the NHL.

  11. I want the players to get the right deal. It’s hilarious that the fans boo Bettman every time he shows his face in public, and yet they’re willing to let him have his cake and eat it to just so they can have a little hockey. Show some self control and will power. There’s plenty of great hockey to be watched with or without the NHL this year. I’ll still watch my favorite NHLers play overseas via internet streams if need be. I’ll watch NCAA hockey. I’ll watch the CHL.

  12. http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/10/19/3457577/bill-guerin-to-nba-players-its.html

    This is a link to your favorite former Islander(besides your Pop) Bill Guerin and his views about the last lockout.

    • I was going to link to that Guerin Article! He was a union leader in the last lockout, and after it’s all said and done it wasn’t worth it to the players. They just have too short an earnings window and if it is really important to the owners they will out last you.

      Always interesting reading what someone who was in the middle of something thinks later. Guerin is clear that it wasn’t worth it.

  13. I love Guerin, especially being a Pens fan. And maybe he’s right, Lord knows he’s in better position than I am to know. However, I’m not sure I agree with that quote about “partnership”. There is a very small fraternity of players on Earth who have the potential to call themselves NHL players. That’s what fans pay to see. Without these elite players the owners have no product to sell. And thus, they are locked into leases and other general overhead starts to come out of pocket. The NFL learned the hard way that fans will not pay to see replacement players who were not the cream. The owners have much to lose as well. It’s been a hard fought battle getting the league back to where it is now. And it would be harmful to all for a protracted work stoppage.

    The players can still make money in the KHL or any other Euro league. These opportunities didn’t exist in the same way during the last lockout. The circumstances are different.

  14. Can’t say I’m with the owners on this one — but the players have to stop looking at this as ‘winning’ or ‘losing’. They ‘win’, regardless, because of the inflationary pressures of salary disclosure, the pressure for teams to win and the limited buyout options NHL teams have (which I’m sure is a complete untouchable in these negotiations for the players). Everyone figured the players got slaughtered last time around, but they’re now earning an average of $1.1 million more per season in just seven short years because of those three things (disclosure, pressure to win, limited buyouts). And the players got this while seeing their overall share of league revenues reduced from an estimated 75% to 57% — considerably less than the pay cut that is being discussed by both sides in the current negotiations.

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