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Op-Ed: NHL doesn't want players to solve its problems - just take less

By Marcus Hondro     Oct 7, 2012 in Sports
An arena-sized misconception is continuing to skate around the membership of the NHLPA, one that says NHL owners want them to solve the problems some franchises are having. It's getting in the way of a new CBA so here's the news, guys - they don't.
Donald Fehr and his tag-along brother and the dutiful players they lead decided at the start of all this that their contract proposals would not contain real movement with regards the percentage of Hockey Related Revenue (HRR) they receive; instead they'd give Gary Bettman and the owners plans. Their plans are no more than advice, and not such good advice at that, on ways to ensure all 30 teams turn a profit.
NHL owners want NHL players on ice
The problem with providing the owners with this advice is that the owners aren't interested. And nor should they be. They are, after all, the owners, it's their business to run and when it comes to solving the issue of the numerous franchises that are not turning a profit the owners have their own solution - give less of the cut to the players.
That's an obvious solution to everyone, it seems, but the players,. Yes without them there'd be no NHL, as we're seeing now, but the owners have a right to solve their problems the way they see fit and the NHLPA should stop trying to solve issues not in their bailiwick and start bargaining in good faith. Besides, their advice is self-serving, it is nothing more than thinly disguised manners of allowing them to continue taking the lion's share of the profits.
NHLPA has plenty to divide
I get that the NHLPA claims owners do a poor job of solving league problems on their own. Maybe yes, maybe no. Rules that would help prevent them from offering contracts like Shea Weber's would be helpful but given the players won't allow such rules, nothing will be solved that way. And if the owners decided on their own to stop paying out such absurd money - Weber gets $80 million in the first 6 years - the players would have them in court for colluding.
Further, every owner can't magically decide not to offer such contracts of their own volition, they seek an edge to help them win the Stanley Cup and it's natural they'd raise the bar in that pursuit. Without rules to prevent Weber-like scenarios, that kind of detrimental-to-the-game contract - paid for, naturally, by fans - will continue.
Maybe the NHLPA itself should consider limiting the amount any one player can make, thereby saving more of their cut for the hard-working, less-talented player who may last but a year or two in the NHL at the minimum of $525,000. To help facilitate that could Weber have gotten by with...oh, say, $70 million over the next 6 years?
Look, making somewhere around 50 percent, depending on where the CBA numbers wind up, of $3.3 billion in revenue and dividing it up amongst 750 players averages out to $2.2 million for each. It's a lot of money and they won't even have to solve any problems to get it.
They'll just have to play.
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
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