Monday, October 10, 2005

A stormy sea ahead for Admiral Saskin

Ted Saskin's watch on the good ship NHLPA is about to hit another batch of turbulent waters, the deck hands are about to find that their gruel is a wee bit thinner than they originally were led to believe.

Next Sunday will mark the first payday for the NHLPA members under the New NHL structure and when the boys go to check out their local ATM the ole bank account is going to be a lot lighter than what they had become used to. When the players settled with the NHL, a 24% rollback was in place as far as salary goes. Cited at the time as the cost of settling a lengthy and bitter dispute that produced no real winners and a sense of lost time and of course lost money. But Sunday brings a new factor into the picture, a possible 12% removal of pay to be placed in the NHL escrow account. A little project designed to make sure that no NHL team exceeds its cap limit. But something that probably seemed like a lesson in Economics that while important bored everyone to tears.

The last few months have seen some of Saskin's crew members less than thrilled with the machinations that removed former head Bob Goodenow and placed Saskin in the Admiral's chair. Combine that underlying distrust with a glaring example of just how much the players gave up to reach their agreement and many feel that Saskin's troubles will only get worse.

At the moment there are approximately 50 NHLPA members openly in opposition to Saskin as the leader of the Association, grumbling of the last couple of weeks suggest that there may be a few more ready to stand up and offer their opinions.

What Saskin will have to be banking on, is that the vast majority of his membership believe that he did the best possible deal at the time to get them back to work. But numbers can sometimes cloud a person's judgment. Next Sunday, 24% meets 12.5% and a 36 percent reduction in take home pay. While were still dealing in millions of dollars and there shan't be a tag day for anyone under an NHL contract, money out of pocket still is something that doesn't sit well with anyone.

How Saskin can negotiate the fallout from next Sunday's pay envelope could go a long way to determining his length of tenure at the head of the players association.

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