Nov 29, 2012, 2:33 PM EST
Add Coyotes goalie Mike Smith to the list of players that have come out and said the NHLPA will stand strong on contract rights.
“The contractual stuff is something that as players we’re not going to mess around with,” Smith told ESPN on Wednesday. “That’s our livelihood. That’s a big part about being a professional athlete. You have those rights. When you take all that away, it kind of makes us more like puppets than anything.”
The league wants to place a five-year cap on contract lengths and for players to become eligible for unrestricted free agency a year later (age 28 or eight years of NHL service) than permitted under the last CBA.
The NHL is also demanding a limit on the amount an annual salary can vary from year to year on a single contract. (The players have proposed their own way to punish teams that front-load deals in order to subvert the spirit of the salary cap.)
Of course, the battle for contract rights is about more than the actual rights. For the players, it’s also about retaining what they bargained for in the last CBA. It’s about showing they won’t be bullied. It’s about getting something.
For the NHL, the question is whether it’s worth losing a season over.
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head 148
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller 97
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ 117
- Lecavalier out 3-4 weeks with non-displaced fracture in back 8
- Islanders players hold closed-door meeting after ninth straight loss 15
- Penguins’ Neal has phone hearing for knee on Bruins’ Marchand 89
- Shawn Thornton confirms hearing with NHL Department of Player Safety (Updated) 87
- Video: Penguins’ Neal knees Bruins’ Marchand 69
- Penguins announce Brooks Orpik ‘alert and conscious’ (Updated) 47
- Shawn Thornton: ‘People could probably criticize that I’m a little too honorable’ 78
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (180)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (147)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (127)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (117)
- Report: Dion Phaneuf will face hearing for hit on Kevan Miller (97)