In the opinion of Alan Eagleson, it would be in the best interests of all players in the National Hockey League if their salaries were made public.
"From a bargaining point of view, on behalf of an individual player, it would be beneficial to everyone," said Eagleson, executive director of the NHL Players' Assn. "I've been telling the players that for the last five years."
So far, they haven't listened.
Eagleson said that the players are asked annually, in a questionnaire sent out by the union, if they are ready to reveal their base pay and bonus packages.
But when about 95% of the players responded negatively last year, he said, the query was left off this year's questionnaire.
Although he realizes that "there is a degree of privacy that some players want to protect," Eagleson said, he believes that the players are making a mistake.
"But, as a union, it's not up to me to make that decision," he said. "The players have to make that decision on a personal basis."
And there are signs, he said, that they may be coming around.
Representatives of a few teams have asked that the query be put back on the questionnaire next year, he said.
Speaking of money matters, Eagleson said he was "astounded" to learn from the National Football League strike that only 4% of the league's players have guaranteed contracts.
"In the NHL, 100% have guaranteed contracts, at least to some extent," he said.
NHL players are guaranteed one-third of their salary if their contracts are bought out when they are 25 or younger, Eagleson said. And if they are 26 or older, he said, they have a two-thirds buyout guarantee.
Sign spotted at Madison Square Garden during the New York Rangers' eight-game losing streak: "We want scabs."
Brutality, apparently, is in the eye of the beholder.
As the play developed during a game Oct. 26, the vicious cross-check by Dave Brown of the Philadelphia Flyers on Tomas Sandstrom of the New York Rangers drew widely disparate remarks from the New York and Philadelphia announcers working the game.
From John Davidson, who works the Rangers' telecasts: "There (Brown) goes again. There's a cross-check to the face." (Pause.) "You really wonder what makes this person tick.
"This is beyond belief. What a senseless, idiotic play, again by Brown. You tell me he deserves to play in this league? (The Flyers) are out of their minds. Send him to another league someplace. . . . This is a sick individual. They should put this guy in jail."
Meanwhile, in Philadelphia . . .
From Flyer analyst Bobby Taylor, a former Flyer goaltender: "Sandstrom is playing dead because he doesn't want to get up and retaliate."
Responded Taylor's partner, play-by-play announcer Gene Hart: "He wants the Flyers to pick up another five-minute major, as he did in the game in Philadelphia last year."
Taylor: "(Sandstrom) took a slash at (Ron) Hextall. He's going to stay down there to make sure he doesn't get up because he might have to answer to it. Acting school."
Sandstrom was knocked unconscious and suffered a mild concussion.
Brown was suspended for 15 games.
And, at the urging of Flyer management, Hart and Taylor later apologized.
The New Jersey Devils, who had never been five games above .500 before this season, are off to the best start in franchise history, but Coach Doug Carpenter warns fans not to get overly excited.
"Somebody once said, 'The road to success is always under construction,' " Carpenter said. "That's my favorite quotation. It's early in the season yet, and there is still a great deal of work to do before we've accomplished anything."
Under construction, Part II: According to the Toronto Globe and Mail, an anonymous NHL general manager said of the New York Rangers' Michel Petit: "He's got all the tools, but he doesn't have a tool box. He can't think."
Everatt Sanipass, a first-round draft choice last summer of the Chicago Blackhawks, said he has always been a fan of the team.
A lot of it, he said, has to do with the Indian chief on the Blackhawks' uniforms.
"The chief on the chest means a lot to me," said Sanipass, a full-blooded Indian who grew up in the Big Cove Micmac reserve in northeastern New Brunswick, Canada.
Sanipass said he is also a fan of the Cleveland Indians.
Raise your glass to the goons!
In a story on former NHL "enforcers," former Boston Bruins bad boy John Wensink told the Boston Globe that he doesn't regret his inclination to become involved in matters pugilistic.
"For any of us, the guys who did it, it would be wrong for me to bad-mouth it now," he said. "I mean, it paid the bills, didn't it? And you've got to pay the bills. If that wasn't what it was about, we'd just sit around and drink beer all day, wouldn't we?"