A co-worker asked me a question when they read my latest NHL/NHLPA post. They asked the question “So, what’s indentured servitude?” I gave them the nickel explination of how it worked. Person A wishes to travel to the New World but can’t afford it. Person B offers to pay for the trip. In return Person A agrees to work for Person B for a period of time to pay off the debt. The light came on that person’s head. The ten year clause on the path of free agency would tie a player to a team for a long period of time.
Let’s take a quick look at the five main points the owners have handed down in their first proposal to the players.
1. The reduction of players’ hockey-related revenues from fifty-seven to forty six percent.
2. A player must play ten seasons in the NHL before being eligible for unrestricted free agency.
3. Contracts limited to five years
4. No more salary arbitration.
5. An entry level contract will last for five years instead of three.
First thought by the people in the know:
“The moment the proposal was presented, every player in the room knew Gary(Bettman) had just written off the first three months of the season.” – an NHL agent
My last post roughly equivocated this to the “owners wish list”. I know that this is is no way the final offer, buy I think it would shown a little more class by the owners to offer a first draft that wasn’t so blatantly insulting to the players. Dear owners, the players are not just your employees. They are the product that causes the fans to come to the games and fill your wallets.
All five points cut deep into the players. A twenty percent reduction in revenue off the top. The length of time it will take a player to reach unrestricted free agency (and the contract offers made). The five year contract limit, certainly reducing the possibility of tethering players to the franchise. Two more years onto entry-level contracts. Finally, the abolishment of arbitration.
Attention owners: Just because a healthy percentage of the players in the league are Russian, it does not mean you can attempt to re-institute serfdom on them or any other player. I am willing to wager that the first counter-proposal offered up by the players will be something far less radical and greedy. The players have stated almost to a man that they don’t want another lockout.
Being a New Englander, you grow up with a mentality that the nation started here. How a little band of peasant militia with minimmal formal training took on the greatest military power of the world and fought to gain their independence. “No taxation without representation.” Personally, I’d like to see the Boston Bruins represented in these talks. The current NHLPA rep is forward Daniel Paille. It would make more sense to me if one of our own was there representing the Nation. However, if the owners keep making offerings like this, perhaps we should send Adam McQuaid or Shawn Thornton to offer a more ‘hands-on’ approach to the matter.