Slip of the Lip

I’m fascinated that hockey fans can’t get their heads around how much the players make.  Much of the discontent with the NHLPA and their decision to not take what is being offered seems to be revolve around the dollar figures many of the top players receive for their efforts, and why they don’t take the millions of dollars on offer.  Well, that and the delay to the start of the hockey season.

After the fallout from the comments made by Red Wings vice-president Jim Devellano, you would think there would be a lot more sympathy for the players.

It wasn’t so much the comments that made my hair stand on end (a bit of a feat, considering how bald I am).  That the NHL owners or even just a few executives would look at the players they have under contract as ‘cattle’ doesn’t shock me at all.  These people shell out a ton of cash for near ownership of a person’s life.  It’s amazing they think of the players as people at all.

What stunned me was the amount of the fine that the NHL levied against Devellano.  $250,000.  Chew on that one for a while.  For making comments about how he views the players, and alluding to the owners potential collusion on offer sheets, the NHL took a quarter of a million dollars from Devellano.

Most fans have a hard time relating to the salaries of the players.  They make a ton of money compared to you and I, and we certainly hear a lot more about their money than the owners.  But the NHL just took the price of a nice house from a team vice-president.  $250,000 for one interview.  That’s life changing money for most people.  That’s several years salary for a middle class worker or family.

Yes, players make a ton of cash, and I talked about why in yesterday’s post.  And some of the teams are losing money, no doubt about it.  But it’s obvious some of the executives kicking around the league and the more financially successful teams are doing just fine.

As an aside, I find it highly amusing that a person who has enough money to survive a $250,000 fine is not allowed to speak his mind, in a country where the first amendment allows a person to say whatever they want.  In fact, I would love to see this kind of thing challenged in a court of law.  How is it acceptable to censor a person for comments they make that aren’t harmful to others in a society that protects free speech?

The owners are claiming they are in the poor house.  But they can charge each other half an entry-level contract for saying something stupid.  Something about that doesn’t sit right with me.


  1. Constitutional Rights are held against government, not against individuals or private entities.

  2. As said above the Constitution has no role in the decision of a private company to censor the comments made by it’s employees. I’d imagine that Devellano has also signed numerous documents that acknowledge that is subject to the rules and policies of the NHL, his ultimate employer, including regulations on discussions with the media regarding certain topics.

  3. Don’t forget that Devellano had a 1% stake in Maple Leaf Gardens for a long time, so he’s got that ownership blood flowing through his veins.

  4. Chris is right, the constitution only protects against government censorship. Walk into your job at best buy with an I heart radio shack t shirt and go to court to see what happens.

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