Jonathan Toews slams NHL ahead of planned CBA negotiations

Next stop: Lockout City.

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Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews doesn’t seem to have the same cheery disposition that NHL brass like Gary Bettman and Bill Daly have when it comes to labor negotiations.

Both Bettman and Daly have described collective bargaining agreement (CBA) discussions with the NHLPA as “optimistic”. In fact, the NHL officially declined their option to “re-open” the current CBA, essentially stating that they’re happy with the status quo. The players have until September 15th to decide whether or not to do the same thing. Should they elect to re-open the CBA, there’s a potential of a work stoppage in 2020-21.

The big problem, according to Toews, is the matter of escrow. As the escrow has increased, players are losing more and more of their guaranteed contracts. Players lost 13.83 percent of their salary in 2015-16 and 12.7 percent in 2016-17. The final numbers for the past two seasons are not available yet.

In Toews’ case, he earned $13.8 million in the first three years of his current contract, $12 million last season and is set to make $9.8 million in 2019-20.

“I’m no financial expert,” the Blackhawks’ captain said to John Dietz of the Daily Herald. “All I see is that I’ve signed a contract and to me it’s not exactly being honored. So I don’t care what business you’re in — to me that’s kind of ridiculous.”

“They’ve done a good job of making the players look like the greedy ones in the past several lockouts, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they tried to do it again. To me it’s pretty black and white.”

As for the league, well commissioner Gary Bettman has already begun his spin job.

“In any CBA, the parties can always identify issues they are unhappy with and would like to see changed,” Bettman said. “However, our analysis makes clear that the benefits of continuing to operate under the terms of the current CBA — while working with the Players’ Association to address our respective concerns — far outweigh the disruptive consequences of terminating it following the upcoming season.”

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