Ahead of a meeting Wednesday that could dictate the long-term future of the league, it’s worth noting that Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is skeptical of the NHL’s intentions as it relates to the collective bargaining agreement.
Earlier this week, the NHL opted out of its right to reopen the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) next year. If the NHLPA elects to opt out of the current CBA by Sept. 15, both parties have until the 2020-21 season to reach a new labour agreement, or the run risk of a lockout.
One of the contentious issues is the idea of escrow, with players upset that a portion of their salary goes into a pool that is eventually shared with the owners to create an even revenue split between players and owners.
Toews told reporters at the end of last season that he was not thrilled about the current setup and was wary of the league characterizing the players as greedy for wanting their full salary to remain intact without having to contribute to the escrow pool.
"There's obvious incentive for the NHL owners to have (escrow)," Toews said to John Dietz of The Daily Herald. "They get money back, depending on their performance. So now that responsibility falls on the player.
“I'm no financial expert. 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."
The NHL and NHLPA are expected to meet Wednesday to discuss the impending CBA challenges, and count Toews to be among the loudest voices advocating for the erasure of an escrow system that takes money out of the players’ pockets.
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