Bobby Orr Sides with NHL Players over CBA Talks, "Unfair" to Call Players Greedy

Eric SteitzAnalyst IIIAugust 16, 2012

BOSTON - MARCH 18: Bobby Orr takes part in a celebration honoring the 1970 Boston Bruin Championship team prior to the game between the Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins of the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden on March 18, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The NHL Players' Association (NHLPA) received more support Sunday. Hall of Famer and former Boston Bruin Bobby Orr sided with the NHLPA in the collective bargaining agreement talks, saying the players aren't at fault if a lockout occurs.

“Players want their fair share, and that's what it's all about, and I think it's very unfair if fans—until they understand and see everything what's out there—that they suggest that the players are being greedy,” Orr said. (via

“If we go back to the last collective bargaining agreement, the talk after that was, ‘Gee, the players really got beat on this one.’ So all of the sudden the owners have come back—I know they're negotiating, they're posturing and so on, but what they put out there, there's no way the players can accept something like that," Orr said. (via

Owners have stated that they will not allow for another season under the terms of the current collective bargaining agreement, and, if a deal isn't reached before it expires on Sept. 15, a lockout would ensue.

The NHL's sent a proposal to the players on July 13. The players responded with a proposal Tuesday.

The NHL proposal called for a 22-percent reduction in salaries, which represents a nearly $450 million reduction from last season. The proposal also called for an end to salary arbitration and a contract limit of five years, according to The Hockey News.

A 22-percent reduction in salaries after the league grew by 7 percent? That's absurd.

A salary cut like the one initially proposed by the league would drop salaries below where they were in 2003-04.The following season was cancelled due to a lockout.

But NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stands by his proposal.

"There's still a wide gap between us with not much time to go," Bettman said Wednesday (via "I do think it's fair to say that the sides are still apart—far apart—and have different views of the world and the issues."

The NHLPA proposal could cut the players' share of hockey-related revenue by more than $800 million over the next three seasons.

Why isn't that enough, Mr. Bettman?

"There's a pretty substantial monetary gulf which is there and when you start with the proposal the owners made, how could it be otherwise?" said NHLPA director Donald Fehr (via Edmonton Journal). "I mean, consider what the proposal was: It is 'Let's move salaries back to where they were before the [2004-05] lockout started, back to the last time.' That's basically what it was.'We had a 24 percent reduction last time; let's have another one.' That was the proposal. That's what creates the gulf."

The owners certainly aren't making any friends with their handling of the CBA. Orr is just another big name to take the players' side.

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To add more perspective to the bullying of the league and its owners, the players have said they would continue bargaining while proceeding under the current CBA.

The owners won't allow that.

With less than a month until the current agreement expires, the hope for a new agreement and the 2012-13 season is dwindling.