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Monday, January 17, 2005

Souray: Players are united, season lost

Montreal Canadien's defenseman Sheldon Souray was quoted on the official website for Farjestad, Souray's European team. On the site, Souray got his message out in the format of a 'postcard'. Here he responds to a range of topics from Bob Goodenow's most recent message to the players to find employment, to the NHLPA's stance on a salary cap:
"Bob pretty much said in his message, 'OK, we said this might take two years, and that's what it might take. If you guys want to go find a job this year, we encourage that. And hopefully, you'll play well enough that they'll sign you for next year,'...It certainly seems the owners are steadfast on having the salary cap, and that's something the players will never accept. It seems the owners' will is to have the season cancelled and guys are going to have to make plans at least for the last month and a half. It looks like a formality about the cancellation now...We're not going to accept a salary cap, whether it's two years from now or five years."
Nothing new there. It does sound like the players resolve is high and unwaivering at this point. So, is the NHL headed for an impasse? Maybe that was Bettman's plan from the start.

However, Souray alluded to the fact that some of the lesser paid players could start to feel the pinch in the future. Could that lead to cracks in the ranks?

"I signed a contract last summer that was great for me and my family, set us up for the future. So I don't make the money this year, which is fine. But if I don't next year, that's a total of $6 million down the tubes, and then I'll be 30. I'll have one year left on the contract, and if there are salary rollbacks. ...

A guy you think is secure enough is hurting, and it trickles down. There's the guy who's earning much less, trying to make car payments."
Well, all I can say is welcome to the real world. I find it hard to feel sorry for the players when they make references to financial hardships, but indeed, there may come a time when the players really start to feel the pinch. I think that's what the league has counted on, and it showed when they restructured the NHLPA's rollback solution in their latest proposal.

One thing is for sure, my appetite for NHL hockey has slowly diminished. Rhetoric here and there, posturing everywhere, I'm sick of it now. Hopefully the NBA and NFL can tide me over until baseball gets fired up again.


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