I don't know if I'm just imagining weird things, but it's a reflection that came to me. It seems that in the past, even the best players were held in a tight grasp by their teams. The attidue on both sides was quite clear; the player had to prove himself to his team, and if he was not good enough, he would be replaced. Players were afraid of dissapointing their team, afraid they would be discarded and their reputation would be on the line. Players would go at great lengths to try and get their mistakes forgiven, to try and convince his coach and the managment that he's worth being given a second chance. Coaches were intimidating and players owed them respect from fear of being forever stuck with a lable that would ruin their career. Superstars were delighted when a team took them in a long term engagement, it meant they had reached a desirable status, they had made a name for themselves and were now at the service of a team that was compensating them well for their hard work. Yet, it appears to me that this same situation has been gradually changing, to the point where today it seems the other way around. Players no longer have to prove themselves to their team, rather, teams have to prove themselves to players. When a skilled player is out of a contract because of problems with his former team, he's in the most enviable situation of all because a handful of teams will trip over themselves treating him to wine and tours of cities and ridicoulous contract offers. Every team will humble themselves to the maximum trying convince him that they're capable of satisfying his needs. After being showered with gifts, the player can pick and chose his team and dictate his conditions, and if he is not satisfied by the team, everyone will be on their knees to beg for his forgiveness. The coaches now are the ones who have to respect the players, not the other way around. Or else the player just packs up and leaves, and the coach takes all the blame. Like Mario Tremblay. I don't know if I'm just completely out of the ballpark on this one, but in such a context, how can star players possibly be blamed for not playing with as much heart as their predecessors? When your job and reputation is on the line, you tend to play a lot better than when teams are lining themselves up to get your favor. Maurice Richard with his salary couldn't just quit his team if things didn't go well and wait on his ass for the Rangers or the Red Wings to toss millions at him.