Crosby: Why change contract rights of “the most competitive league in the world”?

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With the NHL and NHLPA at a stalemate on revamped contract rules for a new CBA, one of the league’s marquee players is wondering why owners want to change the system at all.

“They’re trying to take away all the contracting rights,” Sidney Crosby told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “The question I’d ask is why would we change that? I think we all think it’s the most competitive league in the world so why would you go and change that — the way contracts go and the way teams can operate?”

The proposed contracting rights, as outlined in Donald Fehr’s memo to NHLPA members, are:

Losing a year of salary arbitration eligibility, allowing the team to file for salary arbitration in any year that the player can file, extending UFA eligibility to age 28 or 8 seasons, limiting contracts to 5 years, and permitting only 5% year to year variability in player contracts.

The contract length issue is similar to that of the NBA, which implemented a five-year maximum in its latest collective bargaining agreement.

Crosby’s issue with the revamped plan is that it takes the “skill” out of being a general manager.

“If you try to change all these things, Ray’s [Shero, the Penguins GM] hands are going to be tied,” he explained. “That takes his skill of being a GM or his strength of having to that decision away. So I don’t really see the point.”

Of note, Crosby signed a 12-year, $104.4 million extension with Pittsburgh in June. The deal begins in 2013-14.