January 12, 2005

Hockey Politics - Rising Salaries: Who's to Blame?

I thought that for my next entry I would write about a different type of politics (as if the title doesn't give it away). I'm blogging about hockey. Why did I pick this topic? 'Cause in my real life, outside of being a wannabe educator and political analyst, I'm a beer swillin', plaid wearin', 'eh?!' sayin', Canadian. So naturally I love, and currently miss, hockey! I also was born and raised in the same town as the greatest hockey player and Greatest Canadian Top 10 finalist's hometown; Brantford (no laughing!!) I'm talking about number 99 himself, Wayne Gretzky. I'll let you in on a private moment in my life. I cried the day Gretzky retired. But if you think that's sad, I also cried when I saw Ray Bourque raise the Stanley Cup for his first time in his last season of play. I'm really a softy... Aaahhhh. Now onto hockey!! During all the failed discussions between the NHL Owners and the NHLPA I've noticed a couple things. One being that the NHLPA is a stubborn mule, refusing to consider the financial health of the league by not agreeing to a cost certainty plan for the owners (a.k.a. salary cap - players only make $7million instead of $10million). The second thing is that the owners are full of shit, doctoring numbers of their finances (claiming they lost money when they didn't) and refusing to accept responsibility for the soaring costs of salaries (they offered unworthy players ridiculous salaries). Meanwhile, neither side seems to even remotely recognize that they are pissing off their fans and what is a professional sports league without fans? They're nothing, like the NHL already is in the Southern US (except Dallas if you can believe it). So what I want to do is provide my opinion, freely and free of charge - like always on both accounts - about some of the arguments that have been made from either side. I'll be doing this over a number of posts to avoid having one massive post all at once. Who is to blame for the soaring salaries: I hinted above to what my opnion is on this, but let me explain why. I've listened to Bettman (by the way who is probably the worst person to have doing PR) argue that for years they warned the NHLPA about the financial problems of the NHL and to keep their pursuit of higher salaries under wraps. Therefore because the NHLPA didn't do this this whole mess is their fault. BULLSHIT!! Under a market system the owners, those who have control over money, set the values of players. They offer players the cash that they are worth in their eyes. What drives up salaries is when more than one team wants a certain player and they bascially go into a bidding war over the player. Other players' salaries then increase because only one team can sign a single player, so the losing teams then go after comparable players to the one they lost. But now that 2nd player is worth more because the 1st player's new contract set a new standard on players' values. So when teams like Washington and Anaheim offer Jagr and Kariya $10million, they inadvertantly jack the costs of other players up. Bettman asking the NHLPA to keep things underwraps and then blame then shows that he has not had the balls to stand up to owners. Furthermore, why should players turn down $10million for one season for another team that's only offering $7million? They shouldn't have to. The owners know what they can afford and what they're doing... Or do they? That is the real problem here. The blame doesn't lie with the NHLPA but with the owners. NHL: 0 NHLPA: 1

Quotes from people smarter than me...

"If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich" ~ JFK

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. " ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. " ~ Benjamin Franklin

"First it is necessary to stand on your own two feet. But the minute a man finds himself in that position, the next thing he should do is reach out his arms. " ~ Kristin Hunter

"When you're a mayor and you have a problem you blame the provincial government. If you are provincial government and you have a problem you blame the federal government. We don't blame the Queen any more, so once in a while we might blame the Americans." ~ Jean Chretien

"Which is ideology? Which not? You shall know them by their assertion of truth, their contempt for considered reflection, and their fear of debate." ~ John Ralston Saul

"It is undoubtedly easier to believe in absolutes, follow blindly, mouth received wisdom. But that is self-betrayal." ~ John Ralston Saul

"Everybody dies, Tracey. Someone's carrying a bullet for you right now, doesn't even know it. The trick is to die of old age before it finds you." ~ Cpt. Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly, Episode 12)