I have thought long and hard about this post. I wanted to present a fair article about the place of unions in sports and how I really don’t think they belong there anymore, and then I see today that the NHLPA (National Hockey League Players Association) is appealing the decision by the NHL to void the 17 year contract given to Ilya Kovalchuk by the New Jersey Devils.
This decision is what tells me that the NHLPA is finished.
How could they possibly think this contract is acceptable for pro sports? Do they not care about the game? Are they only in the sport to make money for their players, and themselves through union dues?
Do they need periodic strikes or work stoppages in order to flex their muscles and stay relevant?
I just don’t get it. Please! Somebody explain this to me.
Ilya Kovalchuk is 27 years old. Odds are good he will play until he is in his mid to late 30’s. So 10 years might be too long.
There is NO way he will be playing at the age of 44. So very few players play that long, let alone with skill. Gordie Howe played until his 50’s, MArk Messier retired at 43. Steve Yzerman at 41… These guys are legends!
And yes I understand this contract was meant to circumvent the NHL salary cap. This contract seriously front-loads the first 6 years of the deal, then pays Ilya just the league minimum at the end of the deal. Accepting that type of contract just tells me the team is stupid and the player is greedy.
With the Collective Bargaining Agreement the way it is, more and more NHL teams are trying to find ways to circumvent the salary cap by signing players to long-term front end loaded contracts that minimizes what would be a very sizable cap hit. To do that the player must sign a 10+ year contract, and we have seen more and more of them being handed out.
These deals are usually bad all around. Many times it ends up killing the team that makes the deal, but teams are still doing it more and more.
Has anyone noticed how well the contract given to New York Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro is going? He is entering year 5 of a 15 year contract and in the last 2 years he has only played 17 games, four of which were with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, the Islanders farm team.
This is a brutal contact!
Another problem besides the length is the fact that players often have career years heading into contract years, then tail off once they have the security.
Also, it’s a major pain in the butt to trade an 11 year contract unless you are swapping for DiPietro, or Hossa.
And while all this is going on, the once mighty NHLPA finds it in their best interest to file a grievance against the league. How about educating the players about the perils of these types of contracts? See Alexi Yashin… Or soon Wade Redden.
The PA will fiddle while the league burns…
Then that 17 year deal will mean nothing.