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"Red Line, Blue Line, Bottom Line"

That's the title of a book book by Marc Edge that covers the history of labor wars in sport, focusing on the NHL and the roots of the present crisis. It's destined for my shopping cart. Here's a snip from a review in the Star-Telegram:

Even for people who aren't fans, the most interesting aspect Edge includes is the sad history of former NHL Players Association chief Alan Eagelson, who, for years, exploited the people he represented to expand his bank account. NHL players displayed a blind faith in Eagelson, who conned both sides before being caught and imprisoned.

Eagelson's presence stunted real player growth in salaries until the early '90s, Edge points out. The balance was so distorted that a guy named Dave Taylor was paid more than Wayne Gretzky when they played for the Kings.

On the topic of player pay, John Palmer has some interesting anecdotal evidence on what former NHL players are earning in alternative leagues. Not much - and many are just hanging out at home. This evidence tempers the implications I drew a few days ago from the stories about star players in Russia, but then again, Edge's prediction in the story above is similar. He forecasts a league war in the future between the NHL and a competitor, the latter stocked with the current NHL players.

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