Wednesday, February 16, 2005


NHLPA: Don't Call it a "Union"!

So, they finally have done it! The only major professional sports league to cancel an entire season. The good old humble NHL. Built on the journeyman efforts of the likes of Joe Malone, Newsy Lalonde, Billy Boucher, Howie Morenz, Ace Bailey, Eddie Shore, Dit Clapper, Syl Apps, Johhny Bower, Milt Schmidt, Ted Lindsay, Gordie Howe, Gump Worsley, Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau, Bobby Hull, Terry Sawchuk, Phil Esposito, Yvan Cournoyer, Bobby Clarke, Bobby Orr, Guy Lafleur, Marcel Dionne, Denis Potvin, Ed Giacomin, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Dale Hawerchuk, and thousands of other true hockey architects. What a sad day, especially for Canada. I have heard the cancellation termed a "tragedy". It is not. Not even close. The tsunami disaster and the Darfur situation are tragedies. The cancellation highlights the "travesty" that is the NHL today, as compared to what it once was.

There was a time the NHL stood above all professional leagues in terms of the character, humility, and work ethic of it's players. The aforementioned names attest to that. It seemed pure, though it had some problems, but the players were great ambassadors. They considered it an honour and a privilege to be part of the league, though they received a fair wage, and rightly so.

I shed no tears for the NHL team owners, and especially none for the over-paid, cry-baby, characterless players that make up the majority of the league. Too bad, they won't be able to purchase that private island and cottage on Lake of the Woods this year. Of course I do not include tremendous contributors like Steve Yzerman, Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier, and others like them , in this category. They have made great contributions to the league, and there still are some great character-players involved in the league, but less every year. I do feel empathy for the young fans, and especially all the employees that have been laid off due to the cancellation.

One other thing. Why do they call the NHLPA a "union"? It is not a union. A union bargains collectively, and wages are set the same for all doing the same job, although more pay can be garnered for productivity and seniority. In the NHL, the players all have their own agents, and a lot of the time, some players that are more productive than others earn less due to guaranteed contracts. Set a base wage, and have increases for ; goals scored, assists, games played, minutes played, +/- stats, less penalty minutes, saves, total shots on net, etc., etc., you get the point. You would still guarantee a minimum wage, in case of injury. This way the hardest working players would make more money, and the one-season wonders with the guaranteed contracts would only make the pay that their work ethic reflects. It would be simple to keep track of nowadays, especially with the strides in computer technology. It would also send a lot of vermin lawyer/agents scrambling out of the house that is the hallowed NHL, as their blood-sucking services would not be necessary.

This is another one that bugs me. Today, in his news conference, Bettman said his biggest regret was that the "union" never sat down with the league and looked at their books, although they were invited to. Yes, that is a regret, but that to me wouldn't be the biggest regret. My choice for the biggest regret? The NHLPA never let the players vote on any of the contract offers! This is unheard of in a union. The right to vote is the cornerstone of union collective bargaining. It seems to me the word "union" is overused when it comes to the NHLPA. Remember the NHL Referee strike in 1994? Did the NHLPA support the other "union"? No, they crossed the lines and played hockey with replacement referees. A true "union" would not have done this.

One more thing in closing. The NHLPA refused a salary cap all along, and then yesterday agreed to one, though they couldn't come to terms with the league on the amount. Huh? Why did you wait so long? Last gasp measures? Bluffing the whole time? If you had agreed to a cap a month ago, I bet there would have been a season, as there would have been enough time to negotiate and set the details.

Well, that's it, no game 7s this year, no excuse to drink beer with the boys every night. Watching Ron MacLean on his feeble "Movie Night in Canada" without Don Cherry is like drinking whisky and water without the whisky. What is the point? Let's hope the 2 sides can get together and work out a deal for next year, and let's hope NHL Hockey makes a triumphant comeback.

(P.S.- Note to the NHLPA; you need a shakeup in your Executive, they are very, very poor poker players!)

Hopefully the NHL and NHLPA solve their differences. All over Canada there are players such as this fine, young specimen, admiring and looking up to NHL players. Hopefully, the way the players behave and present themselves warrants the admiration......... Posted by Hello

Well, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed that brother!
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