It continues to baffle this pundit that so many fans have globed onto the players side of things in the CBA dispute. For me the fact prices to see games in some NHL markets are close to highway robbery has more than a little to do with player salaries.
After all, the 80 million bucks that Shea Weber will be getting over the first 6 years of his contract has to come from somewhere. From the fans, no? Yes. So it just seems that simply blaming owners for giving him that amount - they're trying to win! - suggests hockey fans aren't looking too deeply into the whole thing. The fact is that owners biggest expense is what they pay their players and with rules to keep salaries at something approaching sanity - how about Shea only gets 70 million for those first 6 years? - then it's the fans who would benefit.
NHL vs. NHLPA: Bettman against Fehr
At any rate, to get all you fans who see stars, or rather star-shaped hockey pucks, every time the word 'Bettman' is spoken aloud to recognize that the NHLPA, and Donald Fehr, are equally, or perhaps more, responsible for this mess, here's a list of questions to direct at the next NHL player you bump into on a plane (you'll have to be riding first class, of course):10) If Bettman and the owners are trying to "drive the league into the ground" by not giving players what they want in the last contract they made, as Chicago Blackhawks Jonathan Toews said, what are the players doing by not even making a counter-proposal?
9) How come you union guys go over to Europe and take away jobs from players in leagues over there? And why play there for far less money there than you're willing to play for in the NHL?
8) Some of you may miss your second full season as an NHL hockey player. Do you care that your career stats will be diminished AND you'll have blown two chances to win the Stanley Cup?
7) A large reason players deserve an astronomical rate of pay is the risk of a concussion or other risk that could affect your life. Grinders to superstars all take that risk, so does it make sense that the wages between players is so large?
6) The NHLPA is on record as saying long-term contracts like the one Shea Weber, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter recently signed, big money up front, dwindling in later years when players will be retired anyhow, are contracts they support. Is there a limit to how long you want those contracts to be? Would a 30 year contract, taking a player until he's in his 50s, with much of the money in the first few years but averaged out to a tiny cap hit, would that be okay?
5) Why do you guys feel you deserve 57 percent of the revenue generated by the NHL?
4) Why not 59 percent of revenue?
3) Why not 63 percent of revenue for players?
2) Why not a 50-50 split?
1) Fifty percent of well over $3 billion divided up between some 700 players is more money per on a yearly basis than most people make in two decades. Why not just take the money and skate?
It's not likely a player will answer these questions, not likely Donald Fehr would allow them to. But if you catch one in a relaxing moment with their guard down, like on that plane in first class, ask away and let us know the results. In the meantime, maybe you could direct a smidgen of your anger in the direction of the NHLPA.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com