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SALARY INFLATION CAUSED NHL TROUBLES

When are NHL players going to get it? There are not 10 solutions to this. There aren't even two. There's one, and only one. They cannot continue to be paid as they are. It's not a statement caused by jealousy of millionaires. It's just a fact.

If hockey was as popular in the United States as it is in Canada, it would be no problem. Do you think NFL players would have contracts like they do if football had the popularity of hockey in the United States? There are five times as many NHL teams in the States as in Canada. Why? Money, of course. Don't they grasp that?

Popularity means billion-dollar TV contracts, and the NHL will never, ever get that in the U.S. market.

I love hockey. But, reality has to set in with these guys. They are saying in the papers that they need the money because the average career is five years. Who says they are entitled to retire at 30 or 35? Just because they're lucky enough to be born with athletic talent means that they shouldn't work for 30 years or more?

Maybe I'll go ask my boss for a raise tomorrow because I need to retire at 35. Wouldn't that be great? The only problem is I'd be out on my butt, like we all would.

OK, the owners made a mistake by overpaying for a while. Just be glad they did realize reality and accept it. Just because owners are multimillionaires doesn't mean they should all lose money for the "privilege" of overpaying, just because they're a sports team. Is that what the players think? I always wondered how the average NHL salary is over a million dollars. Where was that money coming from? Now I realize it wasn't there. That's what caused this mess all along.

Sal Sicurella

Buffalo

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