What If? Eric Lindros had stayed in Quebec
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11-03-2012, 11:25 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Originally Posted by
Yeah right. I've heard that rumour countless times. It always got me thinking, could Stojko have been able to take the Big E? The first thing you think about is just how much bigger Lindros was. Both are in shape, both are athletes so you have that going in both of their favours. I don't know. I always thought it was more or less a rumour for the fun of it because how would it look on Lindros if he loses to a male figure skater?
the story i remember reading is that stojko bumped him a little and made him spill his beer. lindros gets in his face, asks him if he wants a piece, stojko one punches him.
knowing what we know about lindros' weak head, it's not unbelievable.
Originally Posted by
That's one thing I never understood. You should be honoured that they force you to play for a certain team? A team that you're not interested in and don't want to have anything to do with? Honoured that they take away your choice? For a European like me it's amazing to see that in free-market North America a rigid illiberal system, dwelling in a grey era of the law, is not only openly in place, but also glorified as a moral issue and almost adored like a religious fetish. I believe Lindros had his flaws, but not mistaking the Draft System for a sacred institution is not one of them.
so i don't totally understand how the european hockey and football (soccer) systems work. but my sense of it is that it works kind of like neoliberal economics: total free market, huge stratification between the haves and the have-nots, every successive year the rich teams/leagues get better and richer, poor teams/leagues get weaker and poorer. not to say we need a "no wto"-style movement against that system, or an occupy hockey leagues per se, but from the fan's perspective, perhaps some kind of protectionism might not be a bad thing. just like the salary cap and restricted free agency in the NHL may not have been good for the players, but it certainly has been good for fans in terms of maintaining a competitive balance and helping to keep players in the same place at least for a decent stretch of their careers.
i get what you're saying about treating the NHL draft like some kind of sacred institution, which it of course is not. and the argument that gretzky or orr did what they were told because they were honoured to be in the league at all doesn't in of itself prove anything about it being the morally correct thing to do.
however, i don't think that the NHL has been an inherently exploitative labour-monopolizing system the way, say, college basketball has been (and the collusion between the NBA and NCAA to force elite players into the feeder system for ridiculously low compensation is, i think, morally abhorrent; i.e., the "one year" rule). what you call a "rigid illiberal system" i call a company that has to be organized in a way to ensure that the company works and profits. if we had a 100% free labour market in the NHL where no player is drafted, then you might as well contract columbus because the only entry-level players they'd be able to sign would be leftovers. that's not good for the NHL as a company.
and i think of it like this: NHL teams aren't companies the way, say, BMW is a company. the NHL is a company, and teams are divisions of that company. say you're an auto executive. you enter the industry at a BMW division in berlin but a year later they transfer you to some little bavarian town two hours out of munich. maybe you're of turkish descent and that little town is super racist and you don't want to live there; maybe whatever division of BMW you get sent to is a terrible organization and working there will be career suicide. maybe eventually you can get transferred back to berlin, maybe not. but you have the option of going back on the job market and trying to find a job with VW. same with lindros. totally free to find some other league to play in if he didn't want to live in quebec city or play for the nordiques organization.
i think the moral thing with lindros is that he acted like he was above the rules. by talent, he was. top picks like he and bryan berard could force a trade; a guy like rene corbet they probably would have just held onto his rights and said "good luck with your european career. maybe we'll agree to have you back if you ever decide to come back." if lindros places himself above the rules, then he also places himself above the union he'll join the second he gets moved to a team where he's willing to sign. that union negotiated the labour agreement with the league in good faith, and made concessions to make gains. lindros' actions undermined that labour agreement, pissed all over that good faith, and said to his future fellow union members that he was above them. the rookie cap was partly in response to the crazy daigle contract, but i think it was also partly in response to lindros; the league needed to disincentivize entry level players holding out, and taking away the possibility of a bigger payday elsewhere was the best way to do it (even though this wasn't why lindros did what he did). which meant that lindros' actions weren't only insulting to every other player in the PA, but also probably affected the PA itself. all of this, of course, is ironic given lindros' later heavy involvement in NHLPA politics.
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