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Modano reminds players: “You’re only in the game so long”

Sep 18, 2012, 5:12 PM EDT

Mike Modano

Mike Modano has a message for locked out NHL players – it ain’t worth it.

At least, it wasn’t for him.

The future Hall of Famer tells ESPN the Magazine that sitting out the entire 2004-05 season was a mistake. As such, he recommends the players find a way to get a deal done before they go through the same thing.

“It’s money you feel you never get back. At some point, we were sold a bill of goods,” Modano said. “Everybody was buying it. Everybody thought, ‘Let’s not let each other down. Let’s do it for the future of the game. Blah, blah, blah.’ You’re only in the game so long.”

Other ex-players have voiced a similar message.

In November, Dave Andreychuk advised locked out NBA players to get a deal done as soon as possible: “In the end, it will be worse.”

In October, Bill Guerin looked back on the 2004-05 lockout and concluded: “Burning a year was ridiculous.”

Defeatist attitude?

Or, just reality?

Regardless, it’s not something Donald Fehr will be happy to hear as players prepare to go without NHL paychecks and union solidarity is tested for real.

Related: A lockout will hurt some players more than others

  1. somekat - Sep 18, 2012 at 5:21 PM

    So Madano is saying he was sold a list of pie in the sky crap that the owners were never going to give up? Sounds like every union in the country to me. Unions don’t care about the business they are gutting, or their members. They care about getting more money for the union, that’s it.

    That’s all that was accomplished from the players standpoint in 04-05, and in reality, it is what is going to be accomplished now. It isn’t the deal that is the problem, a 50/50 split is more than reasonable. It’s about the union not looking “weak”. Not about the players (members), it’s about the union

    • theawesomersfranchise - Sep 18, 2012 at 5:46 PM

      Ok I’ll say it, the players do not deserve a 50/50 split unless they want to absorb millions in potential loses as well. Unless they want to put up capital to build the things a team needs.
      45% at best

      • lordfletcher - Sep 18, 2012 at 6:03 PM

        As I feel the owners are pushing for more and more and more… from a current deal that is nice to the players (cba). They need to meet in the middle and soon. I don’t think players in any sport should get more than 50% of the pie when the only risk they take is their health. 100% financal gain and a guaranteed easy way through life compared to 99% of the people on this planet is a great deal. Every situation is different and again, I think the owners are being very stubborn but in the end, this is a game for the players, and a business for the owners. I don’t see the leverage the players union thinks they have. IF the owners stand their ground, they will get what they want and the fans get left with zero

      • scottybcboy - Sep 19, 2012 at 1:35 AM

        @ somecat….players to not be paid the contracts that they signed is what the disagreement is about. The NHLPA has already agreed to a 50\50 split or thereabouts ….but without a renege on existing contracts…..the % cut comes off of the HRR which under the old CBA was only controllled by the owners, if they want revenues/profits to grow, they have to move the Phoenix’s of the league to more profitable markets………….make’s sense to me!

    • stakex - Sep 18, 2012 at 7:11 PM

      Your lack of understanding about unions is pretty laughable. Stop watching Fox News…. its bad for your IQ.

      Now I agree that a 50/50 split would be fine here. However, if someone was trying to take away 15% of your pay, no matter how reasonable it might be, are you seriously telling me you wouldn’t fight tooth and nail to keep it? Give me a break, of course you would.

      Which on that note its also worth pointing out that the NHLPA hasn’t asked for one more dime then the players make now. Making your whole post sound kinda stupid since your quite wrong on the facts all around.

      • somekat - Sep 18, 2012 at 7:48 PM

        that is called a pay cut. Yes, I have had to take one before. It’s called economics. Your ignorance isn’t laughable, is is sad. I don’t watch fox news, stop drinking kool aid, it’s bad for your teeth…your IQ is obviously shot.

        Because they make too much now, and haven’t asked for even more, that means I am wrong on the “facts”. The only “fact” that I stated was that the union it out for itself, not the players, and that a 50/50 split is reasonable. You sound like you are talking about the kind of facts where if you say it, that makes it true

  2. stakex - Sep 18, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    You know who the lockout will end up hurting in the future? Guys like Stamkos and Ovechkin who both have outside shots at breaking Gretzkys overall goal scoring record.

    Both of them have a slim, but realistic shot at breaking it if they have long productive careers…. but losing a season in the middle of their prime will really hurt those chances. Ovechkin already lost one season to a lockout, and a second one would pretty much seal his fate on the issue. Stamkos could probably still do it even with a lost season, but hes just hitting his stride… and taking a year off isn’t going to do his game any good.

    • somekat - Sep 18, 2012 at 7:50 PM

      Niether of them have a chance at any of Gretzky’s records, get real. Guys putting up 150 pt seasons wasn’t a big deal in the 80’s, Gretzky has season’s putting up 200. The game is not set up to let anyone score even close to that many points. If you think it is, your knowledge of hockey is as sad as your knowledge of unions

    • theawesomersfranchise - Sep 19, 2012 at 3:06 AM

      LOL WUT?

      Outside shot? Realistic?
      You’re insane

  3. xaf605 - Sep 18, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    I belong to a union and i think its 100pct crap all my dues do is pad a bunch a politicians pockets and nowdays i think there useless i could go on but whats the point

  4. vincentbojackson - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    Just like the current state of politics, the art of reaching a compromise is a thing of the past.

    Everybody is more concerned with being right and crushing their opponent than working together to find a solution.

    Everybody always looses in the end

  5. hsnepts - Sep 18, 2012 at 9:45 PM

    I don’t want to hear any more analogies between the NHLPA and real labour unions. People that actually work in labour don’t get multi-year guaranteed pay contracts.

    I side with the owners, because they are the ones that bring us hockey. They spends billions of dollars to build stadiums, hire players, market the game and sell tickets – in the hopes or getting a return on that investment. Huge risk!

    Players – if you think the owners are hoarding all the money, and you want more of it, then use your millions and invest in a hockey team. Then you can be an owner as well! Nobody is stopping you. Get a group of playres together, pool up your cash, and buy the Coyotes. Or maybe the Blues, or whatever other team is for sale, because they are STRUGGLING TO STAY AFLOAT.

    • blomfeld - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:00 PM

      “They spends billions of dollars to build stadiums, hire players, market the game and sell tickets – in the hopes or getting a return on that investment. Huge risk!” …

      That is “exactly” the bottom line to all of this … very well said friend ! :)

      • smssr68 - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:47 PM

        the owners beg politicians to spend billions to build them arenas and guarenteed sellouts so theyll move a team there not their own money

      • blomfeld - Sep 19, 2012 at 12:52 AM

        let it be that “he” who has the most money on the table have the final word …

      • somekat - Sep 19, 2012 at 10:30 AM


        What arena has cost “billions”?? What NHL team has guranteed sellouts?

        More of these “I say it, that makes it true” facts

      • hsnepts - Sep 19, 2012 at 2:49 PM

        billions. 30 teams * 20 players – there are roughly 500 to 600 full time NHLers.
        The average salary is around 2 million. that’s 1 billion dollars a year in NHL player salaries. Throw on top of that the cost of travel, hotels, team facilities, doctors, insurance, marketing costs, scouts, coaches, management, etc, and its a big number. Not all cities get their stadiums paid for publicly, and ALL of them rent those facilities from the city. Another cost. Look at crosby’s contract – how much extra money does that team pay just to insure that contract? Probably an extra million per year, at least. However, all these costs are not public knowledge.

        The players say they are ok with getting a percentage of the overall revenue. Everyone agrees 50-50 is fair. But that means a pay cut. So that doesn’t work. Well, what is it players? do you want an absolute number, or a percentage? You can’t have it both ways. If you want a percentage, then when the revenues go up, you win, and if they go down, you have to take the pay cut. If you are willing to accept an absolute value, then if revenue goes up, nothing more for you, and if it goes down, no problem, you’re safe. it is UNFAIR for the players to ask for a percentage split, but also throw on an absolute floor (their current wages). unfair.

  6. dannythebisforbeast - Sep 18, 2012 at 10:52 PM

    If you ask me the NHL is finally in good shape. Finally a nice tv contract, better ratings etc. no teams recently folding or moving. The owners decided they think they are responsible for it and want to be compensated. This is not take less or the league will suffer. That’s propaganda.

    • sunderlanding - Sep 19, 2012 at 4:27 AM

      Atlanta? I don’t know what world you come from but around here we call that recent.

  7. proudliberal85392 - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:56 PM

    Boy, somekat, I sure wish I was as smart and as well-informed as you.

  8. proudliberal85392 - Sep 18, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    If your employers tried to pull the crap the owners are trying to pull, you’d all be screaming like stuck pigs.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Sep 19, 2012 at 1:03 PM

      If I made minimum $500k/yr and lost some of that, I think I could handle it. The lowest paid player in the NHL still makes more than probably anyone reading these posts here.

  9. travishenryskid - Sep 19, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Sam Garner makes more money than Wayne Gretzky ever made. Yup, the players sure have it rough these days.

    • travishenryskid - Sep 19, 2012 at 10:02 AM

      Gagner* thanks autocorrect.

  10. michflaguy - Sep 19, 2012 at 5:02 PM

    Modano and the others are SO right on this one.
    It’s September.
    The NFL season has started.
    Baseball is nearing the playoffs.
    College football is underway too.
    NO ONE is going to care if the NHL doesn’t start the season on time…and *that* will hurt the game and EVERYONE in the game: players, owners, coaches, fans. Everyone.
    Get your heads out of your sphincters and get a stinkin’ deal signed and START SKATING!!!
    Go Wings! : – )

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