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NHL players taking jobs in Europe that put others out of work: why?

A quick but very genuine thank you to those who sent warm wishes for a Happy Birthday to me on Twitter.  I was touched by the response.


I know that the moment a person takes a position that appears even remotely “anti-player" in the ongoing NHL dispute,  they will be accused of being “pro-owner”.  Many will take offence and automatically defend the players.  To a point, I get it.  Like a lot of people, I've been a long-life "underdog" guy (not just in sports) and almost always throw my emotional support to whoever is being bullied, harassed or put down in some fashion.

But when it comes to the NHL lockout,  I really struggle to have sympathy for the players, I really do.  I'd like to support their "cause", but I just can't- even when thoughtful people send me stuff to read, financial breakdowns and all that, all information and perspectives that are supposed to make me feel as though the owners are the bad guys here because they keep taking from the players.

In any event, I raised this particular issue that I'd like to deal with today years ago when I wrote about Chris Chelios signing during the last NHL lockout to play for a team in the United Hockey League.  The result, as I recall, was that some player lost his job (I think he was making $500 a week or thereabouts) so the NHL star could come in, sell a few tickets for the owner and stay in shape until the lockout was over.

I know this world is, sadly, all about survival of the fittest, but I find it so ironic (hypocritical is really the word that springs to mind) when I hear players talk about “principle” and “fairness” in these negotiations when a bunch of them have already flown the coup to play overseas.

The vast majority of those heading to play in Europe (and believe me, they’ll all come scrambling back the moment a CBA is signed…) don’t need the money.  In fact, none of them do.  (You may say, hey, Michael, we don't know their personal or financial circumstances.)  But, well...c'mon.  I mean really.   They’ve made, literally, millions and millions of dollars already in their young lives.  Mike Modano said the other day that he "lost" 7 million because of the last lockout.  But how many millions did he make in his career?  The numbers are absolutely staggering.

Yet, the moment they may lose a “pay check”, these players (at least some of them) steal someone else’s job. And they could not care less if that takes food off the table for some faceless (to them) person on a team in Austria, Switzerland, Germany or wherever.

To me, it just stinks.

Do they have a “right” to do this?  Sure, I guess.

Should they do it?   That’s another question.

Ted Wyman wrote a great piece out of Winnipeg (I think it was in the Winnipeg Sun) and he expressed perfectly what I’ve been saying on this topic for years.  Here’s a line from his story this week:

These players are not happy with the millions they would get out of 50% of all the revenue coming into the NHL, but they are willing to take someone else's job and play for a couple hundred grand in Europe?


Look, as I’ve said here before, this whole greedy mess is sad from all sides.  The smartest thing we fans can do is ignore them all, as best we can.  (More on that subject soon.) But I just wanted to get this off my chest today.  I know many of you will not agree but this is really how I feel.

I gave up on the owners years ago, but it is "their" money (we contribute a lot as well) and "their" league that makes these players millionaires.  And it’s not that I expect much from the players, but they are so disconnected from the everyday person that it is laughable when they do and say things to try and gain our support.

So for me, taking the jobs of those players nowhere near as well off as them—when these NHL’ers already receive all the perks of notoriety beyond a huge salary, and related hockey revenues—is disgusting.

Forget that these guys are turning their backs on fellow NHL’ers in the same “union” fellow players that are just waiting for the dispute to end and those who are being loyal to the ‘cause” on the ground here in Canada and the United States- some on the negotiating team.  That’s bad enough.  But they're also taking the jobs of individuals who badly need those jobs.

We should remember these players the next time we hear their careers are “short” and they need to “make it while they can”.  Yet in turn, they don’t care a whit when they put someone else out of a job that that person's family was depending on.

Sadly, we'll all set that inconvenient bit of selfishness aside the moment NHL hockey returns.  But we shouldn't.


  1. Your smile for today:

    When The Leafs Were Good sung by Hugh Oliver

    I have never seen this before so I am guessing this might be new to others.

  2. I must say I haven't really followed any of the CBA arguments this time around. Partly because I really couldn't care less and secondly because both sides are equally at fault here. There is absolutely no one who has the moral high ground here, both sides are arguing about one thing and one thing only, money and who gets more of it. If anyone sided with the players because they were unfairly being taken advantage of, this whole ugly sideshow of proven NHL stars going overseas to play should have ended any sympathy for them. Read Mark Spectors article at sportsnet

    That should kill any sympathy for the players. A pox on both sides in a totally useless, fabricated standoff by greedy bastards.

    On a more positive note, by likely missing a fair portion of the season I won't have to yell at my TV because the Maple Leafs are getting spanked in yet another year of futility and therefor having to explain to my four year old that Daddy'd not really upset...just a Leaf's fan.

    My brother and were talking about this at lunch today, the biggest reason neither of us cares about the lockout is because neither of us has any hopes for the Leafs this coming year. We just aren't excited about the Leaf's chances (in fact downright pessimistic), therefore we just aren't excited about the prospect of the season not starting on time. I mean really who cares, whenever the season does start it is most likely the Leafs will be in the bottom three of thier conference at the end. I'm sorry to not really care anymore but it is just the way it is.

    PS happy belated birthday Michael.

  3. Good to hear from you Willbur- it's been a while! (And thanks for the birthday wishes..appreciated.)

    I referenced you in a post a few days ago, thanking some of the great posters here.

    I understand your sentiment. I really do. It's too bad a lot of Leaf fans feel that way. It may take a Gilmour-style trigger to create a resurgence in hope- and belief. That did it for a lot of equally disenchanted Leaf supporters in the early '90s.

    Thanks for checking in, Willbur.

  4. MIchael,

    I really don't know what to say to you on this topic. I think what I will say is this. You said it yourself, "so the NHL star could come in, sell a few tickets for the owner and stay in shape until the lockout was over" For the owner.

    You see my friend, the owner had a player under contract, perhaps a two way one. And decided in the interest of greed, to demote or release the player he signed. None of these NHL'ers get to go to Europe if the owners in those leagues honour the contracts they already have. Same thing goes here, lets all chant together, we need a rollback, we need a rollback.

    In fairness to all of your readers who have not been up on the recent news. The NHL has imposed a 4 day work week on its employees. For the duration of the lockout they will be making 80% of their usual salaries. Its too bad that the savings from Bettmans salary couldn't cover this. I guess the completely ordinary people in the offices can eat cake.

    Other news from around the NHL. The Panthers have laid off 12 people in Florida. The Ottawa Senators and their billionaire owner, Mr. Melnyk, can't find the money to pay 10 employees. He reduced the work week of everyone else as well. The Canadiens and Canucks have their staff on reduced work weeks. No more Molson beer for this kid.

    If only those dastardly players would be grateful for what we allow them to have, we wouldn't have to harm these regular people financially. So say all the billionaires, and their phoney corporations.

    Source for layoff information re:NHL

    In closing Michael, the players are used to competing for jobs each and every year of their career. This is nothing new, free agents sign from other teams and leagues all the time. The players over there are by nature tough enough to handle it. It is the life they have chosen.

  5. We'll agree to disagree, Jim.

    While I hear your points, what you see as greed and hypocrisy on the part of the

    owners, I see in the players. We just won't agree on this.

    The superstar NHL'ers who go to Europe aren't competing- they are stealing jobs they do not need. Period. It's just wrong.

    I'm not interested in "supporting" the owners, or trying to defend them. I'm just pointing out what the players are doing. If people want to support the players' actions in this regard, well, that's why we have freedom of opinion.

    To me, taking jobs in other leagues is indefensible...I'm not going to debate it back and forth. I'll respect the views of others, including yours, and leave it there.

  6. A birthday wish for Michael... May the common sense you bring to all of these topics be received and applied by those who play the NHL game we love!

    And, here's a Homework assignment for the wealthier players that are taking jobs away from other players...

    Organize your own NHLPA games in North America.

    Become familiar with the costs (this is not a job for your lawyers and accountants), roll up your sleeves and stand in the owners' shoes while you create some revenue for yourselves.

    Do this rather than actually taking the food off the table of poorly paid players (who might be well-advised to form a European players union that should negotiate a ban on temporary (scab) workers in their leagues with the owners over there).

    If you don't suffer at all for what you believe in, you have no moral authority - do you?

    And, what of your lesser-paid teammates who do pay the price you're avoiding, how will you be able to remain on good terms with those guys, if you abandon them to do all the 'suffering?'

    It really doesn't look good to them (or us)...

  7. I think I said it before, and I will say it again....the players are not partners, they are employees, period.
    If they would like to be partners, let's get rid of guaranteed contracts, or at least put them on equal footing with the rest of the world...2 weeks pay for every year of service if cut...not 2/3 of your contract.
    Until there is risk for the players they have no meaningful input in to how the business is run...none, zero, kaput.
    I love the players' argument...the leafs make a lot of money, istead of 10 mill to revenue sharing they should pay 30 mill. Great idea...I think my employer should send some cash down to our competitor, they are struggling...that would be nice.
    See how silly that sounds?
    I wish the NHL would have told the IIHF that if they allow locked out players to sign the olympics and worlds will now do without nhl players.
    They should also tell nhl players...anyone who signs in another league is done for this year.
    The part that I find frustrating as well, if the owners decide anything as a group to control costs the players cry collusion...any type of organized labour is collusion.
    Blaming the owners for the lockout is a strawman can you run a team with the potential threat of the players walking out at anytime?
    I believe the nhl asked the players to open talks and fehr said there was no need...
    Sad all the way around, sorry for the meandering post.
    Have a good day all.

  8. We're on the same page, InTimeFor62, and you said it better than I did. Thanks.

  9. Thanks freshwind- a great deal of common sense in your post.

    Of course the players want revenue-sharing- it's the owners' money.

    I'm not suggesting the players should not have a voice, and be well-paid for being the best in the world at what they do. But as you point out, if you are truly a "partner" in business ventures, you assume a lot of the risk. That isn't the case with the players and their guaranteed contracts.

  10. A couple of thoughts on this, Michael. First off, as much as I keep trying to understand the owners' side of this, and that it is "their" money that ultimately allows the NHL to exist, I still have a hard time accepting that. Way, way back in the day, it would have sounded more fair to say that the owners (I'm referring to Smythe, Norris, et al) built the cornerstones for the league, enabling it to one day become the multi-billion dollar business it is. The current owners, I see as nothing more than rich businessmen who saw an investment and pursued it to hopefully add a few more dollars to their net worth.

    Maybe I'm too common-man blue collar, but I simply cannot relate to a billionaire who is claiming to be worried that he lost $10 million last year. For me, it always has been and always will be the FANS money. If the league dissolved today and every NHL player remained in Europe, never to return, someone would start up a new league, new owners, new players, but the same fans that make them what they are. I realize that both sides are out of touch with the fans and wouldn't get this, but without the fans, they would be just like me. Driving themselves to the rink, packing and transporting their own equipment, paying their own money to purchase said equipment, and paying money to skate on a beer league team, with only a couple of wives and girlfriends sitting in the stands watching.

    Having said that, as far as your topic today, I agree whole-heartedly. These guys in Europe are putting the same hard work and heart into their game as the NHLers, for a small fraction of the pay, and they deserve much better than to be bumped out of a job for weeks, months, or even a whole season so a rich NHLer can keep himself occupied. It also goes without saying that it goes beyond the realm of what the spirit of a union and solidarity are all about. Last summer I saw how a lot of NFL players were getting together for informal workouts while they were locked out. It wasn't about money, it cost the players a pittance to fly in to town and run their own practices. But it enabled them to stay in shape and healthy for when their lockout ended. Why can't the NHL players do the same? Would it be too much to rent out a rink and get together and scrimmage? Even hire a couple of coaches not under NHL contract to help run things? Seems to me this would help them keep from getting too rusty, while holding to the principals they swear they are standing by.

    Happy birthday Michael. I hope I'm watching NHL hockey by the time my birthday comes around!

  11. I nodded from beginning to end today, Pete- fantastic post. Thoughtful and on the mark.

    Thanks as well for the birthday wishes- I sense we're all hoping there will be a season at some point...

  12. Michael,

    I would disagree with your post in the sense that you have focused on the idea that players are going over there for a measly couple hundred grand and, in doing so, take away the jobs of others. However, I think more than that, they are going over there in order to face regular, tough competition and to continue to be coached and to practice effectively. Players would not be able to bring in the types of coaches they can work under over there. They would not have time to both continue to train and set up the infrastructure required to play on N. America that is freely available in European leagues.
    At the end of the day, they are not "taking" anbody's job. If a person at a 9-5 job is replaced by somebody of superior quality, whose fault is it? The new hire's for "taking" the job, or is it the boss' "fault" for bringing the new guy in? If a regular business person could have, say, Warren Buffet come in for a few days and make some investments on behalf of his company, and this made some low-level employees research position moot and the low-level was fired, could you really blame the owner for taking advantage of the superstar available? Would you blame Buffet for making himself available?

  13. Thanks Kevin.

    I just look at this very differently. To me, they are absolutely taking the jobs of people. They are taking jobs that otherwise they would never even consider if it were not for the lockout. They don't care that, already millionaires, they are displacing people who used those incomes to simply have a "job" in order to earn a living for their families.

    I just can't and don't accept it, no matter how anyone tries to rationalize what these NHL players are doing. It's just wrong. Let them, as freshwind said, pay to hire coaches and organize training here in North America.

    Since these players obviously believe in survival of the fittest, and are displacing "lesser" players just because they can, then these same players could solve a lot of the NHL's problems by endorsing contraction. We would eliminate the "weakest markets" and the game could thrive in markets that actually care about hockey.

    However, the NHLPA would never go for this, because it would cost "jobs"- the very things these guys are stealing right now in Europe.

    I respect your view, Kevin, but I just look at this entirely differently.

  14. Michael, you really hit the nail on the head in your response to Kevin... I, too, was thinking that if all the players care about is predatory, survival of the fittest mentality, that's just wrong, but your salvo to eliminate teams is the perfect balance point in the discussion. KUDOS!

    This could/should be bad for ALL the combatants in this negotiation... or, better yet, let's aim for a good that saves jobs, teams and fans pocketbooks!

  15. I think I understand Kevin's perspective, InTimeFor62. I just have a hard time embracing it.

    As I think you know, I'm not trying to minimize or disregard the views or feelings that other people have. I sure don't have any answers and I understand that a lot of people are supporting the players to some (or to a large) extent in this dispute. But I don't think either "side" is all right or wrong. And, I don't believe any of us on the "outside" have all the answers or are all right or wrong.

    But I just feel that for the obvious mis-direction that the owners and Bettman employ and are so "good" at, the players are similarly disingenuous. They are free-enterprise capitalists when it suits their purposes but want to be "partners" when it's a matter of accepting a huge share of the pie and suggesting that owners "share" their profits with weak franchises- but not when it comes to taking real risk as true business partners.

    I try to sympathize with the players in part because I have no regard for the owners, but every time I get close to that position, the players say or doing something utterly selfish and stupid.

  16. On the heels of this blog comes the confirmation that Grabovski has signed with CSKA(?) (after it was confirmed that Kulemin had signed with Dynamo to play with Malkin again).

    Given the increase in global economic standing of the BRICS nations (and the concomitant demise of the US economy), one wonders if the comments by Ovechkin (pertaining to remaining in Russia if there is any diminishment of his contract) is a reflection of a growing concern (by Russians) over the state of the North American economy.

    They may be considering a departure for the KHL lifeboats in order to remove themselves from the North American/unsustainable-NHL Titanic.

    That being said, would a growing resentment toward players actions provide someone like Burke with the opportunity to trade two of our favoured players in a blockbuster deal?

    Given the speculation by another Eastern conference GM that something is in the works, I wouldn't be surprised to see a trade involving these two players that I enjoy watching and having on the team. With the departure of Schenn, it would not surprise me to see the final clearing of players from before Burke's tenure (i.e. Grabbo, Kuli and even Reimer could be on the block - especially now that Allaire is gone).

    For some reason, I feel less like the Russians are taking away jobs in the KHL (more like they may be 'going home'), than the other players going to play elsewhere - perhaps this is too fine a point to overthink though. Nevertheless, this might play into the difficulty involved in 'selling' a trade to the Maple Leaf fan faithful, if Grabbo and Kuli were involved. Since you have to give quality to get quality, perhaps this will be seen as the perfect time to include these two in a deal.

    Further, depending on which contracts remain on the team, we might see both players(Connolly and Lombardi) who did not thrive last year, finding more of an appropriate role in the short term. This would give them time to prove their mettle before the trade deadline (if there's a season), when current prospects would find an opportunity to move into roles that have been prepared for them.

    We could see one major player coming in (with 2 or 3) moving out (if not, two coming in for 4 or 5 going the other way) after the CBA particulars become clear. The remaining one year contracts will either produce picks/prospects or expire with UFA departures (I would hope that the former is possible).

    I wish Grabbo and Kuli hadn't gone overseas, but I understand that situation more than other players (though I still think they are lacking in the 'solidarity' and 'suffering' angle noted previously). The larger economic picture of the world economy combined with the CBA Lockout and solidarity 'bad press' might trigger something rather interesting...

  17. I'm sorry... what risks are the players supposed to be taking?

  18. It would be fascinating to understand the psyche of GM's (they would never acknowledge it publicly) to see if they really would prefer to get rid of most of the players that weren't there when they arrived, so that it can be entirely "their" team with "their" players.

    Who knows if that's a trigger for GM's, InTimeFor62- though Burke has certainly sent a lot of Leafs away in the past four years!

    As for Grabbo and Kulemin, those are two Leafs I enjoy watching as well. I think both would be available in any deal that Burke feels would help the Leafs.

  19. I realize that I sound anti-player at times, Mark.

    I'm far from a labour expert, though I have been involved with and followed various situations over the years. I just believe that if the players were true "partners" in the business, they would not just be paid millions as employees, they would be putting up their own money as investors. I don't see them offering that. (Nor, in truth, do I see the owners offering that kind of partnership.)

    Freshwind above outlined some ways players could become true partners.

    I'd also like to see the players stick together in this current circumstance, and not a few head off to Europe. When you sign on in the players union, a lockout is one of the "risks".

    Thanks Mark. Sorry we disagree on this one.

  20. Speaking of a GM's psyche, I just read a well-written article comparing Burke to Batman in the Dark Knight series of movies. Though I have seen none of them, the article was rather insightful and worth the long read.

    I do feel that the 'hubris' you have identified is actually a part of a public persona required to accomplish the task... perhaps he is trying to be our hero (even if misunderstood).

    Worth your time:

  21. Michael

    I would like to look at this from another perspective. My understanding is that unions and associations needed to stand together. What I see here is a few players (generally Europeans) from each team taking advantage of the situation at the expense of the players who stay home to fight the battle without the offsetting KHL pay.

    Let my tell a story that may have some similariites.
    In the late 1950's and 60'one of my Dad's friends was a director of the Hamilton Tiger Cats. My Dad related to me a story via an underpaid all Canadian Offensive lineman (name withheld)and his teammates reacted to the much ballyhooed and better paid halfback from UCLA, Gerry McDougall who apparently had a very big ego.

    Apparently, the line decided they were not going to block for a couple plays to set him straight. Gerry got demolished and inquired what was wrong. The response was: "If you are so good and make all the money, you obviously don't need us.".

    While I can't speak for today's millionaire hockey player, I know a number of players in my day would have been ticked off with these players abandoning them. I suspect when hockey resumed there might be botched or no passes, and lesser desire to assist in the corners, scrums and scuffles.

  22. I appreciate the post and love your CFL story, RLMcC. While we are decades away from those days, I see the point of the story, for sure.

    It's funny, I was a young freelancer and loosely "covering" the CFL Argos in the mid-'70s. The year Anthony Davis arrived from USC, he was making like $200,000 while his Canadian offensive linemen (similar to your Dad's TiCat reference) were literally making maybe $15,000 a year. There were huge internal issues and Davis never really blossomed in Toronto and the team struggled mightily.

    To your point, successful "teams" generally have to band together and stay together. I wonder what the long-term impact will be of players like Grabovski, Kulemin, Spezza and many others flying the coup.

    Thanks for dropping by, RLMcC.

  23. It only seems one sided Michael because I see very little counterpoint.

    Players as true partners? Never happen, because there is no way owners would ever want to give any weight to input from the 50 players they have under contract. It would be unworkable. How will you make player transactions when one of your partners has to be sent to the minors? So my point is why paint the picture that the players are wrong for not suggesting it?

    Same to the idea of contraction. Yes it costs jobs, you are right to say the PA would not endorse it. But where's the other side of the coin? That no owner would ever endorse contraction, because it devalues their asset, lessens their bargaining power when merchandising and selling tv rights, etc. It's a non-starter, so it seems spurious to say it's the PA standing in the way of contraction.

    Every time I see something about 57% is too much for employees, I want to correct people. Without players, you have no product. Now tell me, is 57% too much when you are talking employees AND product cost? Or are people going to pay $450 for rail seats at ACC to watch the paint dry?

    Happened across an article that said the leaked financials from MLSE in 2007 shows 21.8 cents of every dollar taken in is pure profit. Ticket prices only rise. There is a hard cap in place to limit player salaries and revenues league wide are up. But here's the owners asking their 'cattle' (thanks Jim Devellano) to give back more, because it just isn't enough. Oh and they want to be able to own the cattle longer by rejigging the free agency rules. By the way, the players pay into escrow... there is contingency if the costs come out higher. They've always got it back, because things have been going well. In other words, the system the owners created and now cry is broken seems to be working just fine.

    If I didn't know better I'd say Gary Bettman is getting advice from Jack Adams' ghost.

    I don't see the job stealing argument at all really. I do agree, the move to Europe is happening due to a lockout. Where was the hue and cry about Jagr or Forsberg stealing jobs a few years ago? Or Gustavsson coming here to take a position away from someone else? If one of those guys in the KHL was good enough, would we think twice that he was coming to steal a roster spot from an NHL vet? Come on... it goes both ways, and has for decades since things opened up.

    Riddle me this... how disloyal are Kadri et al for playing Marlies hockey this year? How are those guys any more loyal to the union by playing for the MLSE-owned farm team?

  24. Hi Mark-

    I guess we just see things very differently.

    To me, this "debate" is not a question of fact when it comes to fans discussing the merits of on'e side's position or the other. Some is about "facts", sure, but mostly it is opinion- and which way we lean as individuals, based largely on our own personal life experiences.

    1) You say: without players there is no hockey. I say, without the owners who put up the money and literally risk a lot, there is no game to begin with.

    No, I don't go to games to watch owners, but personally, as much as I love "hockey", I would never, ever pay to watch any of these guys unless they were part of the NHL. I have a rooting interest exclusively and solely because the NHL - for its many flaws and often awful owners - is the best hockey league in the world, by far.

    But if all of the best players in the world suddenly played in another league, I would pay zero attention.

    I care because it is the NHL, and all the history that goes with it.

    I care about the Leafs because of the tradition, the history, the legacy, the great Leafs of the past. If Nik Kulemin or any other Leaf played in Switzerland, I would not spend one second paying attention.

    I don't see the players starting a league of their own, because they couldn't- and because no one would go to the games after the first week.

    2) Just as you don't see the "stealing" argument, I don't see your point. To me, there is no comparison between the "best" players in the world taking the jobs of some poor guy in Switzerland or Germany, and a player from Europe coming to the best league in the world and being good enough to beat out the competition and play here. For me, it's not even close to being comparable.

    3) Again, the Kadri thing isn't even a question for me. He is contractually obligated to play for the Marlies. Case closed. It's not relevant to me in this discussion.

    But again, as I tried to say above, rather than argue or debate, I'll just say that you always craft your points exceptionally well- in this case, I simply look at things entirely differently.

    I try to make this a forum where people can talk and discuss points, whether I agree or not.

    Thanks Mark.

  25. Thanks Michael.

    We do see it differently, certainly.

    I do love the history as you know. And I can't say I am completely dispassionate about it. I don't like the lockout, though at this point I am kind of hopeful the NHL and the NHLPA take some very very hard hits over this.

    But I guess I am becoming more cynical about it, and I see it as 'a league'. One of many. The players are players, and there will always be more. And frankly, the owners are nothing special either. For all the 'putting up the money' I can't cut them much slack. Most made their money in other businesses, and sports teams tend to be another bauble in their collection. When the OTPP felt they couldn't make any more money, they sold MLSE to 2 entities who see the opportunity to own content to provide to their subscribers.

    That's it, that's all. Maybe the players couldn't start their own league. But someone else will always step into the breach. Listen, Ed Snider and Jeremy Jacobs don't own teams for 40 years because they love the game... it's just profit to them, and there's a chance to make more. And many of them find ways to avoid even putting up the money (ie begging municipal govts for arena money etc).

    As to points 2 and 3... it's just jobs, sorry. If the league contracted by 4 teams, there's 80 less jobs, and so more competition for those remaining jobs. NHL players don't just sign, there's owners over there more than willing to improve their teams by getting these guys. Same as owners here would do. It does suck for the guys who lose jobs, don't think I am not sensitive to that. I do realize it affects real people. But again, I simply see it as a lockout, and there's 800 fewer pro hockey player jobs in the world. Not to get into too many hypotheticals, but say the lockout lasted 5 years... should all the NHL players still be sitting home and not seeking work? At what point does it become 'ok'? (you don't have to answer that, it's not meant to pin you down on anything). Same with Kadri. He is obligated, and the job is there. If the NHL were playing, he'd likely be on the Leaf roster. But as they aren't, his next option is AHL. He displaces someone, because that's just the circumstance. That could be one of the junior eligible prospects, or a lifetime AHL player, a free agent – someone is not going to be getting their AHL job because guys who would be in the NHL aren't. For me, there's no difference to the guy in Europe.

    And, to be truthful, I see the fans as complicit to a large extent and that's not a popular idea. But, fans demand teams spend to the cap – no one says "well they sucked, but I sure am happy they are only 3 million above the cap floor!" Somehow I think Devils fans are not upset with Kovy's contract or the franchise... they don't like that the league punished their team.

    Bottom line, I fall on the players side mostly because I don't believe the system is as broken as the owners say. The players do exceptionally well. The owners do to though, otherwise this league would have folded ages ago. We won't agree on it, but to my mind I just see the owners as deciding they need to make even more, despite a system that seemed to be working quite well.

    You do provide an excellent forum Michael, and I appreciate your compliment to me. I re-read and I think I made a remark about counterpoint, and it's unfair. You provide your opinion and a forum to discuss, it's not your job to outline the whole debate lol I should have realized I saw little counterpoint because no one had wanted to post one. Maybe that's where I come in :)

  26. My sense Mark is that we are perhaps closer on a lot of this stuff than we realize. (I probably don't fully express my personal views on the NHL powers-that-be for fear I'll be somehow thrown off the web!)

    I see only too clearly the mis-direction (and maybe outright lies, in some cases) that come floating across the negotiating table from the owners.

    It's just that I see two fabulously well-off "sides" who could not possibly care less about the "fans". They really and truly just want more money. So I have contempt for both sides. Not that they "owe" us anything. We all have full lives without hockey or pro sports in general -they simply provide an entertainment option and in my case at least, a rooting interest with some passion thrown in because of the history involved with the Leafs.

    I hope to post soon on how we can all work through this stoppage to make our own little statement. It won't be original but it will make me feel better!

    You're an important part of VLM, Mark. Thanks for staying with it even when we see the world a bit differently.