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More NHL players tell NBA brethren to get deal done

Nov 2, 2011, 6:48 PM EDT

NHL Season Cancelled Getty Images

NBA players believe they are fighting for something right, fighting for a principle of fairness that generations of players before them had to struggle for. They don’t want to give that up, and plenty of players even still will tell you they’d miss a season to fight for it.

Which is exactly what the NHL players were saying seven years ago.

Now? It’s a different story. NHL players by and large are telling NBA guys to get a deal done, reports Jerry Zgoda at the Star Tribune.

“I don’t think that’s the thing most guys look back and say they’re ticked off about, that they missed a year of paychecks,” said (Minnesota forward Matt) Cullen, who like many others played in Europe that season. “I don’t really think that’s the issue. I mean, they feel like it was a missed opportunity. You just don’t know how long you have to play this game and you’re missing a whole year for something that seems, from the outside anyway, like it should be straightforward to resolve.

“It just seems foolish to waste a whole year on negotiating something. I know it’s a fact of life and that’s the way it is sometimes. But as a player, you’re thinking, ‘Man, how can they not get this resolved?’ when we’ve got a whole season at stake, we’ve got tons of fans and there’s jobs lost in arenas around the league?”

We’ve already told you that Bill Guerin — one of the NHL union’s VPs and hardliners back in the day — has said it was not worth it. He lost $9 million in salary (plus NHL salaries were rolled back 24 percent on future deals), money he never recovered. And as a veteran his career was never the same afterwards.

He reiterated that position.

“Get a deal done. I learned a big lesson: It’s not a partnership, it’s their league, and you are going to play when they want. It’s not worth it to any of them to burn games or to burn an entire year. Burning a year was ridiculous.”

It’s unclear how many in the NBA players union would heed his advice, but it appears to be more and more each day.

  1. firemarshal1 - Nov 2, 2011 at 11:33 PM

    Wow! There is hope. NHL players are true professionals and play the game because they love it. NBA players need to get a reality check. What kind of job can they make the same amount money as in the NBA? Answer: NONE…………..sorry, I tell it like is.

  2. jcarne9014 - Nov 3, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    Firemarshal1 – you are being WAY too kind! The players would not be able to earn 1/100th in the real world relative to their NBA salaries!! The owners, on the other hand, are all successful businessmen that would be just fine if the league ceased to exist. It’s the owners league…the players are the employees. Players – sign whatever deal is offered to you, and shut up. Your perceived leverage simply does not exist.

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