Circus, Circus

We here at herohill have stayed away from discussing the NHL lockout for the most part. The truth is we could really care less. After all, it's just boring NHL hockey anyway. With the Canadian sports highlights shows still dedicating 50% of their airtime to the subject there is really no need for us to go on about it here. I need to comment on a few things though because I can't contain it any longer. These are the most disorganized, backwards, unproductive, bizarre, ridiculous labor negotiations in the history of collective bargaining.

Most of this wackiness is happening on the side of the players. I understand that the owners did their part in getting the league into the financial mess it's in now. Players are taking a stance against the owners though that would be more fitting for the 1920's when owners were filthy rich men who gave very little to the players and raked in all of the money the players helped the team earn. Yes, there were injustices done in the past. However, I don't think the modern day player is fighting the same kind of injustices, so maybe it would be a good idea for them to settle down just a bit and put some things in perspective. The players have sat out one full season now, and are at high risk of sitting out another if they don't soften their stance. The salary cap offered by the league is not going to restrict you from earning the amount that you signed for, or even restrict you from possibly earning more than that in the future if you perform well. The cap is almost as high as the one the NBA has, so it's a pretty fair figure considering the NBA is a much more profitable league than the NHL. Why not just take the $42.5 offered? Had the players said yes then they would have been paid this year. They sat out this season and who knows how much longer because they want a few million more added to that cap figure. It doesn't make sense. They will never get the money back that they lost by not playing this year. All that could have been prevented.

The whole salary cap issue was a fiasco all by itself. Why does a union go the last five years saying that under no circumstances will it ever accept a salary cap, and then the night before the season is going to be cancelled say just joking. The union left a few hours to negotiate the most important part of the contract. What kind of strategy is that? If they were going to give in on that issue why did they wait until there was no time left to negotiate? If the salary cap had been put on the table back in September then surely they would have been able to work out a deal by the deadline to save the season. So again, a full season of pay was lost for the players on an issue they knew they eventually would cave on. Again, this is money that they will never get back.

After Bettman cancels the season the NHLPA contacts the league to meet again. This gets fans all over Canada into frenzy. After all, they wouldn't be getting together again already unless the players have a new proposal close to what the NHL offered, and the season will be uncancelled, right? Wrong. At this point there is still very much confusion as to why this meeting was requested. Apparently the union had no intention of making a change to their salary cap figure, or even discussing it in the meeting at all. The NHLPA also requested the presence of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux at the meeting. Gretzky and Lemieux believed that they had been called in to assist with bridging the gap and get the two sides to agree on a salary cap figure. The two legends are now as confused as the rest of as to why they were invited there. It turned out the union had no intentions of moving on the figure they had already presented, which was rejected and led to the cancellation of the season. I guess they just figured they would try their best to drag the names of two of the league's greatest ambassadors into the mud too...again for no apparent reason since this whole negotiating process has had no type of sensibility to it.

I should point out that the players have not voted on any of the various proposals that the league has presented to them. The union has screwed the players over by giving in on a salary cap which they said they would never do, and then not allowed its players to vote on the offer presented by the NHL to save the season. Had the union allowed the players to vote then the season would have definitely been saved. There is no way players would have voted that deal down and given up their pay for the season over an issue of how much the cap should be. I guarantee that most of the players are irate over this but can't speak out because of the gag order placed on them by the same union who is screwing them and everyone else involved over.

If the owners are smart, which we all know they certainly are not (see NYR signing Bobby Holik for $9,000,000/year) they will stay out as long as it takes to get the right deal done. They have an opportunity to get things right, unlike MLB who didn't get a cap and now have an uncompetitive league with a huge gap between the rich and poor teams. Bettman and the owners should be firm. The players will not lose another season of pay over pride. Bettman told the union that the deadline deal he offered was the best they were going to see, and the same deal would not be offered again if it was rejected. By rejecting it Goodnow has left all the power in the hands of the owners...excellent skills to exhibit when negotiating a collective bargaining agreement. This whole thing makes less sense than listening to Mike Tyson being interviewed.

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