Monday, February 27, 2006

The Petty NHL

The Olympic hockey tournament was a very good one, but it didn't lead to the results Gary Bettman wanted. Now when the gold medal Swedish team (or other teams) wants a little time to celebrate their victory, the NHL reacts in a petty manner. The NHL says that any player who is not back in time for Tuesday's games can be fined. It is the team's perogative as to whether or not they actually want to fine them.

Probably it is a poor move for any team to fine their star players who were good enough to go to the Olympics. This is an example of the NHL treating the players as low level replacement level workers and not acknowledging their Olympic accomplishments.

This situation may actually be necessary due to the salary cap problems it presents. If a team is very near the salary cap, using extra minor league players to fill roster spots for players who were not back in time for Tuesday's games may put them over the cap. This reason is why some teams have sent players down to the minors on off days and then called them back up the next day for their NHL game. In short this is a problem the NHL brought upon itself with an overly restrictive CBA and is perpetuating with their lack of care about their players.

This is the kind of issue that the NHLPA should be fighting against - if it had any value to the players.

Here is TSN's story on this issue.

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