NHLPA President Trevor Linden's Column on the CBA
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09-13-2004, 04:56 AM
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Vancity, Baby!
Originally Posted by
go kim johnsson
Why should the players pay for the owner's poor business decisions and practices? It's not the players fault that the Rangers lost the most money in the league last season because of poor management decisions. It's not the players fault that the Devils, Islanders and Penguins have piss poor arena leases? The management of the Blues came out and said they lost a lot of money and have no concern over it (this a team who finished 7th in the west, let Pavol Demetra walk, and are giving 3 players approxmately $30 million amongst them). Is it the players fault that the Ducks and Hurricanes are in piss poor hockey markets, where only great majorities are fair-weather fans (not just the Hurricanes, but the Panthers and Hornets have faced significant problems due to poor attendance). For some teams a 5% roll back on salaries is pretty signicant when it comes to saving money in the long run. It's the players who are making concessions trying to find a common ground, and Gary Bettman is the one sitting in the corner like a 5-year old holding his breath until he gets what he wants.
Major League Baseball was hemmoraging money. The Diamondbacks, coming off a World Series not long before, were not going to be able to make their salary payments, in fact Bud Selig came out and said that there were 3 or 4 teams who were not going to be able to do so. They were ready to contract 2 teams, something the NHL never entertained the thought of doing. This was all fixed through revenue sharing and a luxury tax. Now, only one team pay the luxury tax, and George Steinbrenner has so much money he doesn't even care. Revenue sharing creates an enviroment that all teams can trive in, thus creating a better product because the only teams who would still be in trouble with revenue sharing are the teams being run by imbiciles.
They may be making too much, they're also making less than any other sport. Less than the best athletes in football, baseball, basketball, soccer, nascar even the best golf and tennis players. Alexei Yashin didn't put a gun to anyone's head and said "Give me a $10 mill a year." Alexei Yashin can be greedy all he wants or other people want, someone gave him the money, and that was a terrible management decision.
That's exactly the way I feel. Is it the players fault that the owners shove money in their face? I know we all hate Holik for his contract, but the reports were that the Devils offer was just slightly below! I know if any of us go to our bosses and say "pay me this" they'd laugh and kick us out on the street, no matter how good you may be at your job. The owners problems are due to the fact of A) a few owners spike the salaries for everyone else (Rangers obviously for one) and B) Bettman's expansion. Carolina only averages 10 or 11,000 fans and were just relocated after building a new arena? The Ducks had a few thousand empty seats when I was there to see the Canucks play at the end of March or early April.
I know most of the fans agree that the salaries need to come down and support the owners, but if the owners were smart in the first place (including Bettman), then most of these problems could have been avoided.
Plus, the owners don't need a salary cap. All 30 owners can come together and make a verbal agreement amongst each other that the highest salary they will pay is say $8 mill a season and control spending reasonably without a cap. It's their own fault they are in this mess, they have control over the salaries and let it get out of hand and are now blaming the players for it. Too many times the owners give in to a player demanding a high salary because they fear it will hurt their team more than help it, but if the owners can get some guts, then they can stand up to the players and refuse to pay a ludicris contract.
Someone also mentioned about letting all the contracts run out around the same time. Sounds too radical, but it could work. Notice that most deals signed this offseason are one year deals? Notice how most of the top UFA's are still unsigned? The owners are starting to bring salaries down already by holding out on the stars and even though not re-signing more than half the league may sound dumb at first, I actually would like for that to happen. Then the owners control the salaries, with no cap.
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