Skip to content

Players need to ask themselves: Is it worth it?

Oct 30, 2012, 1:15 PM EDT

Fehr and players

Even after the NHL canceled all games through November, NHLPA chief Donald Fehr maintained it makes sense for the players to hold out for a better deal from the owners.

“It’s a five-or-six-or-seven-year agreement,” Fehr told the StarTribune Monday. “Also, look at what’s on the table [from the owners], there’s a lot more that’s on the table in addition to just player share. They’re saying the things players got in the last agreement in return for the 24 percent rollback [and salary cap], they have to take it back. [The players] lose ground in salary arbitration, they lose ground in free agency, lose ground in the entry-level system, contracts are limited in all kinds of ways that make them much less secure.”

However, when asked if it would make sense to lose an entire season of salary – in 2011-12, total player compensation was $1.873 billion – Fehr would only say that the league stands to lose an entire season of revenue, too.

The counter-argument is that an NHL franchise isn’t an NHL player. The first has an indefinite life span and a value that’s determined by the expectation of future revenues; the other has an average career length of four to five seasons and a value that falls to zero once that career is over.

In September, Mike Modano reflected on the season the players lost due to the 2004-05 lockout.

“At some point, we were sold a bill of goods,” Modano told ESPN. “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.”

And he wasn’t the only one to look back in regret.

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

Last October, Bill Guerin concluded: “Burning a year was ridiculous.”

So is Fehr doing the players a disservice by advising they hold out for a better deal that he’s not even guaranteed to deliver? Sure, the NHLPA – which like an NHL franchise has an indefinite life span – may be stronger in the long run by standing up to the owners today, but if you’re a current player, how much are you willing to sacrifice for the future of the cause?

Only the players can answer those questions. Perhaps money isn’t the root cause of their dispute with the NHL. Maybe it’s more about pride and fairness. Nobody likes to be extorted, even if paying the ransom is preferable on a non-emotional level to the alternative.

Fehr said he reminds the players “a negotiation is a process of constant reevaluation.”

So, do they stay the course?

Or, is it time to…reevaluate?

Latest Posts
  1. Sabres sign veteran d-man Colaiacovo

    Jul 3, 2015, 7:44 PM EDT

    Getty Images

    Buffalo also signed Cal O’Reilly, who played last season with the AHL Utica Comets.

  2. Brandon Saad brings championship experience to Blue Jackets

    Jul 3, 2015, 6:43 PM EDT

    AP

    He signed a six-year, $36 million deal with Columbus.

  3. Sharks sign Joel Ward to three-year deal

    Jul 3, 2015, 5:44 PM EDT

    Getty Images

    “Joel is a quality veteran player who can score but also plays an extremely hard-nosed brand of hockey.”

  4. ‘Canes hire ex-Florida assistant Morris for AHL gig

    Jul 3, 2015, 4:00 PM EDT

    Brings a wealth of success, experience at AHL, collegiate levels.

  5. Locked in: Columbus signs Saad to six-year, $36M deal

    Jul 3, 2015, 2:50 PM EDT

    150611_Saad Getty Images

    “This long-term commitment that assures he will be an important part of our team for years to come.”

  6. Larkin, Mantha in tough to make Red Wings roster, says Holland

    Jul 3, 2015, 2:37 PM EDT

    AnthonyMantha

    “They gotta come in and knock somebody out of the box.”

  7. Flyers sign Colin McDonald

    Jul 3, 2015, 2:12 PM EDT

    New York Islanders v New Jersey Devils Getty Images

    A one-year, two-way deal for the ex-Islander.

  8. Jets re-sign Maurice’s coaching staff

    Jul 3, 2015, 1:00 PM EDT

    Winnipeg Jets v Colorado Avalanche Getty Images

    Charlie Huddy, Pascal Vincent and Wade Flaherty all inked three-year extensions.

  9. Blues re-sign Allen for two years

    Jul 3, 2015, 12:46 PM EDT

    Jake Allen AP

    Expected to battle Brian Elliott for the starting role in St. Louis.

  10. Oilers sign McDavid to entry-level contract

    Jul 3, 2015, 12:23 PM EDT

    Connor McDavid AP

    “It’s an exciting time to be a part of this organization.”

  11. Quick hits: Caps give Bourque two-year, two-way deal

    Jul 3, 2015, 11:32 AM EDT

    Nashville Predators v Washington Capitals Getty Images

    Bobby Sanguinetti to Buffalo; Sharks grab Mark Cundari.

  12. Philly hires goalie coach Dillabaugh, formerly of Los Angeles

    Jul 3, 2015, 11:30 AM EDT

    Steve Mason AP

    Where he “contributed to the development of Jonathan Quick, Jonathan Bernier and Martin Jones.”

  13. Rangers sign ex-Sabres, Jackets forward Adam

    Jul 3, 2015, 10:46 AM EDT

    Luke Adam Getty Images

    The 44th overall pick at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. M. Richards (2628)
  2. D. Hamilton (2173)
  3. P. Kessel (2060)
  4. Z. Kassian (2010)
  5. R. O'Reilly (1990)
  1. S. Gagner (1948)
  2. C. Talbot (1932)
  3. A. Sekera (1877)
  4. E. Etem (1849)
  5. S. Voynov (1771)