A contentious issue for NHL owners and players, we hear, is the maximum length of contracts.
Owners want it to be five years, to protect themselves from themselves.
Players want it to be seven years, so they can take advantage of the irresponsible owners.
The solution, of course, is simple.
Owners need to give in to the players on this one. Agree to the seven years – then never sign anybody to a deal longer than five.
I guess I just don’t understand how collusion can be proven.
“Why aren’t you going longer than five years on this deal, Mr. Melnyk?”
“Because five years is long enough, Your Honor. There are all sorts of things that can happen to a player over a half a decade. The biggest fear is his production can drop. I’m not risking $7 million a season that Joe Schmoe will still be as good as he is now in five years. He’s lucky I’m going that long. And why should he be guaranteed that kind of money for that long? I have no guarantee that the fans will still be filling my building in five years, or even next year, for that matter. I have no guarantee that the league won’t be down the toilet in five years. Especially right now. After both sides made a complete joke of ourselves with this wrestling match over the fans dollars, after we risked the cancellation of yet another season because of our greediness and utter stupidity, I had no guarantee the fans would even come back when we finally did get this agreement signed. Five years is long enough. I’m not going longer.”
“Hard to argue with that, Mr. Melynk. I find you and your fellow owners not guilty of collusion. Case closed.”
Somebody please tell me contract lengths aren’t a stumbling block and can’t be a potential deal breaker. Tell me this isn’t true. Because if owners can’t figure out a way around this issue, they don’t even deserve to have franchises.