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Suter thinks owners are “trying to go back on their word”

Oct 26, 2012, 9:19 PM EDT

Craig Leipold, Ryan Suter Getty Images

When people float conspiracy theories that owners signed big free agent deals this summer supposedly knowing they’d get some of that cash back, Ryan Suter‘s name inevitably comes up.

If his interview with ESPN’s Craig Custance is any indication, Suter wouldn’t call those theories crazy.

“It’s disappointing. If you can’t afford to (sign contracts) then you shouldn’t do it,” Suter said. “(Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold) signed us to contracts. At the time he said everything was fine. Yeah, it’s disappointing. A couple months before, everything is fine, and now they want to take money out of our contracts that we already signed.”

” … Now, they’re trying to go back on their word. It’s frustrating, disappointing. It doesn’t seem like that’s the way you operate a relationship or business.”

Well, those comments might make things a little awkward the next time Suter meets up with the guy who signs his heaping (and largely lockout-protected) checks.

Sure, his huge summer contract partner-in-crime Zach Parise also criticized owners about a week ago, but he didn’t single out the Wild owner.

To some this is just another example of the mounting rhetoric on both sides, yet it’s surprising to hear such bold comments from a guy who’s still getting paid pretty handsomely even with the NHL being out of action.

  1. tbbolts91 - Oct 26, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    Darn, he’s disappointed that clubs are willing to give away $98,000,000 contracts, even though he’s signed to one

    • snowman218 - Oct 26, 2012 at 10:02 PM

      Not what he’s trying to say but good try there; he’s disappointed they the owners want to reduce the amount their contracts that they the players and the owners both agreed on by sining said contract. Lets also not forget that the owners want to not only cut these multi million dollar contracts but also the contracts of players making a fraction of what guys like Suter are making. No sensible employee would appreciate this !!

      • id4joey - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:24 AM

        ok. So, why sign a contract knowing the CBA was about to expire? Isn’t like joining a unionized company knowing the labor agreement is about to expire? There are usually consequences to those in the situation.

      • blomfeld - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:11 AM

        yes indeed comrade Id4joey … the term is “culpability” and I would submit that agents of greed like this Suter are guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” on that score …

    • capesouth - Oct 26, 2012 at 10:20 PM

      Talk about missing the point. Any logical person in that situation would see how ridiculous it is to be signed to a contract and then have the guy who signed you be part of the effort to de-value the contract you JUST signed. Maybe that was the plan all along, maybe not. Either way, it is incredibly hypocritical. It is one thing to want to limit contracts going forward but to try and break a contract that you just signed a player to is insulting and actually kind of unbelievable. I side with the players on this one. A contract is a contract and should be honored. Eventually, the changes going forward will slowly eliminate the huge deals and owners won’t have to worry about…but until then, they should honor the contracts THEY agreed to.

      • somekat - Oct 26, 2012 at 11:49 PM

        THAT IS WHY HE GOT THE HUGE BONUS!!!!

        Everyone, including Suter, including his agent, knew this was going to happen, that is why they got so much money up front

      • capesouth - Oct 27, 2012 at 12:21 AM

        Tell Suter that. He obviously is unhappy with the owner in Minn….meaning, either he is completely clueless or the owner made it clear that he had nothing to worry about when he signed only to pull a 180. Everyone knew a lockout was possible but nobody knew how it would play out. You can’t say that three months ago, they knew they would be agreeing to a 50-50 split but the previously signed contracts would be the sticking point. Point is, players are being told they have to ignore their contracts, which makes the whole concept of a contract irrelevant.

      • blomfeld - Oct 27, 2012 at 11:29 AM

        Capesouth – I’d have to say “tough beans” then to fools like Suter. Look, say some guy offers to sell a house to you for $1.00 and you say “sure” given that you do have a spare $1.00 on you despite being otherwise broke. Now when the bank and the police come knocking on your door because you’ve been ignoring the $3,000 monthly mortgage payment that you weren’t told about by the seller, well who’s fault is that then ? People talk about “good faith” and all … however please remember that it’s always incumbent on both parties to bargain in “good faith” in-order for a transaction to be deemed fair and valid. In this case I would contend that both Suter and his agent knew “exactly” what they were getting into and therefore I have absolutely no sympathy for them at all !

  2. gettingpwned - Oct 26, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    But God forbid if a player ever holds out…

    • eyeh8goodell - Oct 26, 2012 at 10:38 PM

      That rarely happens in hockey.

      • zach28 - Oct 27, 2012 at 12:12 AM

        doughty, kessel and radulov come to mind right away

      • blomfeld - Oct 27, 2012 at 1:23 AM

        Zach28 – friend, did you say Doughty ? Look, I’m going to say this once and once only … “back off” man, seriously !

    • hockeydon10 - Oct 27, 2012 at 7:17 AM

      herp de derp

      Really, holding out before signing a mutually agreed upon contract is not the same as either negotiating in bad faith (the owners) or reneging on the contract after it is signed (the owners).

  3. mustbechris - Oct 26, 2012 at 9:50 PM

    Maybe the players should start demanding that money be added to their contracts if the owners are going to refuse to come off of their demand that money be taken from their contracts. The spending spree by the Wild this summer followed by Leopold being one of only four owners to even be involved in the negotiations where these demands have been made is some REALLY slimy stuff.

    • woodstakes - Oct 27, 2012 at 12:58 AM

      In principal I agree with you… but then you could REALLY pull the ‘greed’ card on them. No, all they want is that the contracts they signed be honored. Everything else is pretty clear sailing I believe. Hence the reason the players offered decending offers that they have (all which GET to 50/50 by no later than year 4). Because, they can do the math and see that if they don’t get at least what they got in salaries across the board they got last year then contracts will have that BS ‘make whole’ option attached to it. The owners are so stupid to hold hockey hostage when they have GOT to know by now that the players will NOT be racked across the coals again in this CBA as they were last time.

  4. bigoldorcafromvan - Oct 26, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    This clown knew before he signed his contract days before the lockout that the NHL was going to roll back the contracts.. Everybody on these boards knew that. Grow Up Suter.

  5. ducksk - Oct 26, 2012 at 10:36 PM

    I ‘d like to share stories of many of us cattle getting screwed by mgmt. over the last 10 years . It all comes back to blaming the economy and “in the best interest of the company”. We are free to quit or fight and loose my job. These players need to start showing some gratitude and deal with some reality. Yeah, It may not be fair but welcome to the new world. Or go somewhere else. Them and their agents knew the CBA was coming, did they really think it would be better? I’d like to hear from a 4th liner making 700k and hear if he really cares that the super stars are whining. They are on the bottom and would be hurt the most and loose a job to some up and comer.

    • eyeh8goodell - Oct 26, 2012 at 10:42 PM

      They didn’t think it would be “better”. They’re not the ones trying to get more money, that would be the owners. The guy signs a deal, then a month later the guy who offered it to him says “oh by the way we’re locking you out and going to try and cut that contract back (and take alot of other stuff from you guys too)”. It was a negotiation in poor faith. I bet Suter wishes he’d known he was signing a deal his new boss had no intention of honoring.

      And you people really need to stop with your apples and oranges comparisons to “the real world”. Pro sports isn’t the real world. And it’s likely you WILL see him go someplace else. That’s the beauty of this for the players, they have alternative leagues they can play in and make a nice living. The owners, meanwhile, are shelling out cash for empty buildings.

      • somekat - Oct 26, 2012 at 11:47 PM

        If Suter didn’t know they were going to pull the players % back, I hope he rides to the game on a smaller bus than the rest of the team. it’s only safe

      • id4joey - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:31 AM

        Agreed! However, the world of sports is intrinsically tied to the real world, and the sports world has changed as well. See NFL/NBA lockouts. 

    • woodstakes - Oct 27, 2012 at 1:03 AM

      Yeah ducksk your right about the real world.. but there is a BIG difference here… this ‘company’ made $3.3 BILLION DOLLARS (US) LAST YEAR! MORE than it EVER HAS made! Those companies your talking about ALL lost money last year or in consecutive years.. and probably NOT due to mismanagement of funds or over expansion or expanding into bad markets or PROBABLY didn’t offer contracts to its employee’s just mere WEEKS before it was going to lock the doors on its employees.

  6. blomfeld - Oct 26, 2012 at 11:07 PM

    A CONTRACT IS A CONTRACT ?

    In a perfect world that may be, just as in a perfect world everyone is polite, kindly and compassionate. But as everyone knows, what we live in is very far from a perfect world. Rather, “dog eat dog” is more often than not the way things are determined in this jungle of ours, where cunning and guile count just as much, if not more, than hard work and decency. I recently came across a quote which really struck a chord with me that said … “the virtue of a few is wasted in the face of the many who are not virtuous”.

    The bottom line is that these NHL owners are “ruthless” scum who couldn’t care less about naive ideals like honor, integrity and doing that which is right. Theirs’ is a “one dimensional” motivation completely based on money and money alone. So people like Suter and Weber can cry the blues all they want, but in the end that will do little to change the way things are … yes it’s unfortunate, but that’s nonetheless the way it is. I would also contend however, that people like Suter and their agents should have seen this coming.

    • id4joey - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:36 AM

      They undoubtedly should have seen this coming. They had to know signing a contract with a CBA about to expire would have some sort of consequences. I’m curious to know what sort of legal obligations the owners have with respect with these contracts.

      • blomfeld - Oct 27, 2012 at 6:56 PM

        I guarantee that they’ve got that covered friend … seriously, don’t you agree that this business now of a potential “salary & contract” rollback, is further evidence supporting my contention that a delay to the season was the plan from the start ?

  7. somekat - Oct 26, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    As long as players are getting a % of HRI, and not the exact dollar amount on their contract, they never REALLY agreed to pay him any specific amount. They agreed to give him a certain % of the players overall pie. He may get more if the league makes more, he may get less.

    Being mad because he got a deal signed in time to beat the old cba, then complaining about a lower salary, when he KNEW it was going to be a lower salary seems stupid. That’s why he got that sweet (huge) signing bonus

  8. greatminnesotasportsmind - Oct 27, 2012 at 2:27 AM

    This is where the players start to lose me. Go ahead and call out Leipold, but remember it was you (Suter) who signed the 13 year 98 million contract back on July 4. Why don’t you call out Mike Ilitch in Detroit who offered you 105 million? Why don’t you call out the Flyers owner who offered you over 100 million? You knew damn well when you signed your contract that rollbacks are/were a possibility. At least Leipold paid you (and Parise) $10 million each back in August as a lockout fund (which nobody here can comprehend $10 million) and if that dries up over the course of the year in which there is no hockey, you both get another $10 million next summer, regardless if you play or not. That on top of what would be your salary as well this year. I’d say getting $20 million from an owner and possibly not playing 1 game, is a pretty good deal.

    • kitshky - Oct 27, 2012 at 1:58 PM

      He’s probably calling out Craig Leipold because he’s the one who negotiated, presumably in good faith. He’s probably singling out Craig Leipold because no doubt this question was part of the discussion and no doubt Craig Leipold told him “every was fine” financially.

      Yes the Suter and Parise deals were fantastically structured to protect them, but it’s not strictly about those two contracts. Suters commenting on the overall discussion about the owners negotiating deals in bad faith … just because he makes more money than all of use combined doesn’t mean he loses the right to comment on bad business practices.

  9. antkowiak666 - Oct 27, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    BOO F!@$#% HOO…instead of $9 million i’m ONLY gonna get $7.9!?maybe i’ll show’em and go get a real job.that’ll teach the owners to mess with me.

  10. bcjim - Oct 27, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    @hockeydon…

    apparently everyone except you and Suter knew existing contracts would be subject to a slash in a new CBA. Everyone.

    And Suter did know, as mentioned above, why do you think he insisted on a bonus.

  11. manchestermiracle - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    As far as the dispute on just-signed bloated contracts: Wouldn’t the solution be for the PA to agree to the owner’s CBA proposal as long as any disputed contract (i.e., those the owners are trying to “roll back”) is declared null and void? Yeah, put all those players back on the market to the highest bidder. New contracts under the new CBA. That would eliminate the overbidding that owners indulged in knowing a new CBA would effectively devalue those contracts.

    At least some of those players who signed long-term high-dollar contracts had to know they put said clubs under the gun. I would find it rather hard to believe that someone potentially making $100 million wouldn’t have at least consulted with financial advisers that could crunch some numbers regarding a team’s solvency and ability to pay that kind of money.

    I’m paid on commission. The rate of commission in my field is pretty much the same at every employer in that field. If one of those employers offered me twice as much as the going rate I’d have to seriously question his/her business acumen. Making twice as much money for an employer that couldn’t support that salary won’t do me much good when said employer goes bankrupt because they overbid for my services.

    One of the jobs a player agent has is to determine (relatively) fair market value for his client’s talents. A 10+ year, $100 million contract offer sure sounds desirable, unless you adhere to reality. Just because it is offered doesn’t make it workable. What’s that old saw? Oh, yeah: If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. And now we are seeing that it is one of the main sticking points in getting a new CBA signed. I understand a player’s perspective in trying to get the most for his limited time, but it’s obviously not in his best interest to agree to a contract that basically torpedoes his club.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Oct 27, 2012 at 10:43 AM

      There is zero chance the PA would agree to this. Unlike the NFL, NHL contracts are guaranteed. Think Rick DiPietro wants to lose that ridiculous contract he has until eternity I think. Kovalchuk’s monster contract? No way would either of those get similar to what they have.

      There is zero chance the owners would agree to this. Your gonna let young players like Mikael Granlund, Gabriel Landeskog go on their tiny (in comparison) rookie entry level contracts walk to the highest bidder?

      Then there is the aspect of Crosby, Ovechkin, and every other team forming a Miami Heat like superstar team. No offense to Winnipeg, I don’t see many superstars who would want to sign there when they would have literally 29 other teams to choose from. Same with Phoenix.

  12. spicyjimbolaya - Oct 27, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    Hockey players like Suter need to keep their mouths shut and let their agents speak for them. That’s how hockey players like Suter got their millions for playing a game. Hockey players like Suter need to realize that the pendulum has to swing back towards common sense, it’s just too bad that their agents and the hired guns (Fehr) their union hired is only there to protect hockey players like Suter’s ENTITLEMENT. Good luck to hockey players like Suter, common sense will soon come back to them.

  13. canuck54143 - Oct 27, 2012 at 6:47 PM

    Simple solution to this mess that works for the players, owners, and fans. Make it a 10 year deal, the first four years works toward the 50/50 split, and the final 6 years is at 50/50. Players get what they want, owners get what they want, and fans get 10 years of hockey without strike, or lockout. By giving the players their work towards 50/50 players get their current contracts honored, but the owners get the right to void one players contract not signed within the last year.

  14. Jeff - Oct 27, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    Take a risk Suter, buy a team and then tell me how you feel.

  15. acieu - Oct 28, 2012 at 3:36 AM

    3.3 billion was revenue not profit. Stop referring to it as profit or you may be over paying your income taxes.

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