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Op-Ed: NHL union man Sidney Crosby part of reason league is shut down

By Marcus Hondro     Oct 20, 2012 in Sports
This isn't gonna get a lot of 'likes' and it's likely some fans will abandon it before getting all the way through. But here goes: Sidney Crosby is way overpaid and the Canadian superstar is a poster boy for part of what ails the NHL's financial world.
Crosby has made himself available during the lockout, standing behind Donald Fehr while the NHLPA boss does his posturing for the media, giving time for the obligatory trashing of owners in front of the camera, in his own nondescript way. But despite that he's not really helpful when it comes to contributing to the big mess that is the NHL's CBA problems.
Sidney Crosby: NHL fans pay him oodles
At least he's not when you consider the money the 25-year-old has made, and will make the rest of his career. For the 2012-13 season, should there be one, Crosby will be paid $7.5 million, his smallest pay for a season since his entry-level contract. In the four seasons since that contract expired he has taken from Pittsburgh Penguin and NHL fans, who pay his salary, $9 million a season. Further, after dipping down to that $7.5 million for 2012-13, Crosby will be paid $12 million for the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 NHL seasons.
It adds up and to date Crosby has 'earned' $47,355,000, most dug out of the pockets of fans. And with the $7.5 million if they play a full schedule this season and $36 million he'll get from 2013-14 through 2015-16, Sid the Rich Kid winds up with $90,855,000 over 11 years. His contract runs on from there until the end of the 2024-25 season at lower sums ranging from $10,900,000 to a 'mere' 3 million dollars a season at the end of it, so there'll be plenty more to come.
It is an extraordinary amount in any sport. Would lower figures for NHL superstars help ensure all 30 NHL franchises are turning a profit? And does Sidney need, or deserve all that? If superstars were paid less would it help fringe NHL players, players paid far less but who work hard and take the same health risks? Many get but one season or so in the league and taking care of their families once their career is over may not be so easy.
Some NHL franchises lose money
There were a number of NHL teams who actually lost money in 2011-12, so Crosby made more than entire franchises, $9 million more to be exact. The biggest expense for teams is player salaries so it stands to reason if superstars agreed to play for a 'paltry' $7.5 million, for example, the effect on pay-scales would surely help.
Yes, owners could refuse to give Sidney Crosby, Shea Weber, Alex Ovechkin ($9.5 million for 65 points last season), Steven Stamkos and other superstars monstrous contracts, but without rules it's logical they'll do what they can to sign the best players. They are, after all, trying to win. And while the free market can be a good thing, applied here, without a salary cap and without rules to ensure owners can't get around it, that free market will price the NHL out of most people's ability to pay for tickets; in many cities it already has.
And obviously to live in this world no one 'needs' that much money. As with other NHL superstars like Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators, whose new contract will see him paid a jaw-dropping $80 million in the first 6 years it runs, Crosby is being given more than he and a family of hundreds would need to live.
Finally he does not deserve it. He brings in fans but 12 million is a lot of reward and, again, other players take the same risk and grinders and checkers are an essential part of the game and Crosby would flounder without them. The notion he should get 12 million bucks while others get 525,000, the league minimum, is absurd. Were he to take less, there'd be more for others.
Sidney Crosby and NHLPA: greed on ice
The greed machine that is the NHLPA is a 'union' that sticks it to the working class and has done so for decades. There is something unsavory about seeing a rich kid like Sidney Crosby stand in front of cameras pontificating on how the league is treating he and his brethren badly, not allowing them to make what they want, demanding they take a pay cut when the entire world has had to take one over the past few years. Seeing him threaten to go to Europe for less while NHL fans who've lined his pockets go without hockey.
It's enough to make one consider driving him to the airport.
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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