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Old
12-11-2003, 01:49 PM
  #1
Asiaoil
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Player Responsibilities

I am really very surprised by the support Comrie has had over the past day relating to the payment requested by Lowe to fulfill his trade wishes.

I find absolutely nothing wrong with Kevin Lowes suggestion that Mike Comrie make up the loss in future value to the team (the Oilers made a large investment in his signing and training over the past 3 years for which they will not realize any benefit in the future ) and loss in market value caused by Comrie's refusal to be traded to the highest bidder. Both Comrie's refusal to play for the Oilers in the future and his refusal to be traded to the highest bidder will result in a losses for the Edmonton Oilers hockey team.

Now traditionally when hockey players have held out for personal reasons (such as a desire to play elsewhere prior to becoming a UFA) these losses have been borne by the players original team (in the form of a reduced return in trade) or shifted to the team aquiring the player (in the form of players or cash coming to the original team). What I see in this instance for the first time (and it really is very very interesting) is that a pro sports team is asking a player take some personal responsibility for losses they have created as a result of their actions. In this case it's Comries refusal to play for the Oilers and his demand to be traded to only a few select teams.

Many many posters have noted how Comrie's trade value has been harmed by his holdout - and his desire to play in only a few specific places has compounded this loss of value. So this is not really up for debate - the Oilers are losing as a result of his actions. It is intersting to see them attempt to gain compensation from the entity (Comrie) who is the source of these losses. I think this is not only ethical - but is important in that it bring the players into the "real world" of business where you suffer both gains and losses. The events of the last day are really interesting - but I'll bet the players association hates this as much as the idea of non-guarenteed contracts and other instruments that could enhance player accountability and participation in the game as real business entities.

Hillybiily Priest and the rest of the cba / sportsbiz junkies - what's your take on this??????

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12-11-2003, 02:50 PM
  #2
theoil
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I copied this over at the request of Asiaoil from another thread (busy place these days). I have been reading a few articles in the local papers since I wrote it and I have to say that sports writers have the same problem that some of the posters on this board have had imo. They know sports (yes, we gripe but really we are all usually in the same ballpark at least) but this is not a sports story. This is a business story with legal overtones. Terry Jones in particular hasn't got a clue about business. Not a clue. I will add one more thing to my original post. The NHLPA has nothing to say because they have been told by their lawyers that there is nothing to say. What Lowe has done is within his rights both morally and legally. What Comrie has done has damaged them going into the war of 2004.

And if I read one more comment about Lowe sinking to Comrie/Winters level I will puke all over my keyboard. The guy who hits back is not the same as the guy who swings first. For pete's sake, don't you people learn anything watching the WWE.



I don't know if this has been said yet or not (there are a lot of threads to read) but this is basically a contractual argument between two corporations. Mike Comrie Incorporated (MCI) signed a contract with an NHL team governed by the rules of the CBA. The gist of that contract is very simple. In return for giving up certain freedoms of movement we will make you quite rich. This is the essence of the CBA. In contract law this would be the way that it would be stated in the opening remarks of a court case when summarizing the case for the judge.

There seems to be a presumption that l'il Mikey Incorporated is not under contract but that is not the case. By signing the first contract he assigned the rights of his labour to the Edmonton Oilers Incorporated until the age of 31. It is like a mortgage. The usual term of the contract there is 20 years even if you must renegotiate the rate every 6 months or 5 years. The contract extends beyond the terms of the payment agreement.

EOI have lived up to their end of the agreement. They have made MCI very rich. MCI has indicated that he does not wish to live up to his part (giving up his freedom to work wherever he chooses.) It is black letter law as they say. The Oilers are the agreived party and have every right to ask for compensation from the defaulting party. That is it. There is no extortion, there is no black hat (except on MCI's head for breaking the terms of the agreement) and the corporation that broke the deal is being asked to compensate for his wishing to back out of his contract. Those who are claiming to have lost all respect for Lowe etc. have apparently never entered into a contract. This is not some multinational trying to break a union member who wants $12.00 an hour so he can feed his family. This is a disagreement between two corporations (COmrie is a contractor to the Oilers and I will bet dollars to donuts his paycheque has the word 'corporation' on it) and the Oilers are clearly the wronged party. I honestly don't understand why there would be any sympathy for Comrie in this matter. He had legal advice that cost more than my annual salary advising him before he signed the contract and knew exactly what he was doing. The Oilers did what they said and Mike has not. And I would love to hear what people would say if the situation were reversed. If Detroit phoned Cujo and told him they had changed their mind and that they weren't going to continue to make him rich (their implicit promise) what would people think??

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Old
12-11-2003, 02:57 PM
  #3
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Well said. Lowe is not a dumb man, and would not do something illegal, or anything unless it was to help make the Oilers a better team.

Not only have many fans sided with Comrie, but also the media. The Edmonton Sun has stood behind Comrie (No suprise there) and they are trying to make Lowe looking like the bad guy. Imagine how the fans and media would react if Lowe traded Comrie for only Perry and a 1st. They would be all over him. So instead, Lowe decides to try something that hasn't been attepted before; he askes, not demands, asks Comrie if he would pay money to even up a possible deal. He is trying to get the team the best possible deal, isn't that his job?

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12-11-2003, 03:11 PM
  #4
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To me the most important point out of all of this is that Winter and Comrie made the suggestion that Comrie would be willing to front cash if it made the deal possible. They never put a dollar figure on it - Lowe did. To me Lowe was well within his boundaries and by the sounds of things it has opened the doors to other GM's to bargain. Lowe mentioned he had messages from 6 other GM's about possible deals. Comrie if not wanting to pay - may be willing to go elsewhere. That or else Murray will be forced to sweeten the pot if he really wants Mike. A genius ploy by Lowe and considering the WHOLE story it was well within reason. Congrats!

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12-11-2003, 03:28 PM
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theoil
... There seems to be a presumption that l'il Mikey Incorporated is not under contract but that is not the case. By signing the first contract he assigned the rights of his labour to the Edmonton Oilers Incorporated until the age of 31. It is like a mortgage. The usual term of the contract there is 20 years even if you must renegotiate the rate every 6 months or 5 years. The contract extends beyond the terms of the payment agreement...
The NHLPA has often compared hockey players to entertainment Stars. The business of hockey entertainment means the players must maximize the dollars they make because of their Star appeal. When Actors, even Bad Actors, want to get out of projects which they have signed up for and then want to become disassociated from, they must buy their way out! Should they harm the project by dealing in bad faith, they often have been sued and ordered to pay compensation. The NHL is becoming the WWF, which is turning into Hollywood morphing into Dollywood and pretty soon it will all be just one big bust.

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Old
12-11-2003, 04:18 PM
  #6
Asiaoil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theoil
What Comrie has done has damaged them going into the war of 2004.
Oh baby this has opened up a can of worms - and no amount of spin by Winter's or Comrie (oh I'm so disgusted that Lowe asked ME for money - doesn't he know that only players can do that - how classless and immoral). Save me the crocodile tears please.

The next NHL cba has to go far beyond what the other major leagues have accomplished in terms of making players true business partners becuase their situation is so much more dire. To this point the NHLPA has played things both ways to tremsdous effect. They have acted as both employees and business entities - usually swapping hats when that suits their needs. They carry absolutely ZERO risk in the business and have played on the owners massive egos as to great effect. You can go down the list of arbitration rights, guarenteed raises for RFAs earning less than the league average, guarenteed contracts etc etc etc. - all of these things shift the financial risk of NHL operations completly to the owners. The funny thing is the owners fell for it just for the right to maintain property rights over players until they turn 31 - how foolish.

What Kevin Lowe did is give us a glimpse of where the NHL may be going. This is the first time I have seen a team go after compensation from a player in return for damages to property rights. After all - Comrie has clearly damaged the value of the Oilers property rights by holding out and refusing to play for most teams in the league. I'm amazed that no GM has attempted this before with malcontents because it is so obvious.

But for now property rights are a big part of the cba and all Mike Comrie has to do to avoid paying any penelty is stop the actions that are diminishing his - that means signing the same contract he agreed to with Anheim (but with the Oilers) and agreeing to be traded to any team in the league. If that happened I'd bet 20 bucks you would have acceptable deal completed by midnight. Should he choose to not do this - then the Oilers are completely within their rights to a) not trade him until an acceptable offer does come along, or b) expect that Comrie will compensate them to make a less than optimal deal which benefits him more than the Oilers.

Like I said - a whole new negotiating universe just opened up yesterday - and the players are not going to like it one bit. Good going Mikey

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Old
12-11-2003, 06:28 PM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asiaoil
Oh baby this has opened up a can of worms - and no amount of spin by Winter's or Comrie (oh I'm so disgusted that Lowe asked ME for money - doesn't he know that only players can do that - how classless and immoral). Save me the crocodile tears please.

Like I said - a whole new negotiating universe just opened up yesterday - and the players are not going to like it one bit. Good going Mikey
It will be interesting to see how MCI is greeted by players on other teams if and when he does get back on the ice.

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Old
12-11-2003, 08:22 PM
  #8
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I also wonder about a player or players who might be traded with him in a package deal if it were to happen. Would they hate him for causing them to leave the best team out there?

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Old
12-11-2003, 08:39 PM
  #9
hillbillypriest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asiaoil
Hillybiily Priest and the rest of the cba / sportsbiz junkies - what's your take on this??????
Asiaoil, as you might have suspected, I had an opinion on this.

It is: here

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