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Kesler blasts owners over escrow: 'We're done paying their debts'

Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Ryan Kesler didn't mince words when echoing New York Rangers star Artemi Panarin's concerns over the ongoing escrow battle between the NHL and the players' association.

Panarin said Thursday that "the players have protected the owners' income with escrow" for nearly two decades, prompting the Anaheim Ducks veteran to call for the owners to take on more accountability.

"It’s about time ... the owners need to understand we’re done paying their debts," Kesler said. "You run your team into the ground it’s on you .... if there’s a pandemic it's on the owners ... figure it out it's not a free ride."

In order to ensure teams and players split all hockey-related revenue, the NHL and NHLPA retain a percentage of players' salary, known as escrow, during the season.

Negotiations to extend the CBA have reportedly been tethered to the return-to-play talks, and Panarin said the players cannot report to training camp, which is set to open July 10, until an agreement is in place.

Kesler did not play in 2019-20 after being placed on long-term injured reserve with a hip injury in September. He has two years remaining on his current deal, which carries an average annual value of $6.875 million.

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