The NHL is hurtling closer and closer to an impending lockout. Commissioner Gary Bettman stamped an arbitrary deadline on talks of September 15 where if no deal was in place, the league would lock out the players. Well, that deadline is tomorrow, and almost no progress has been made in the negotiations and no meetings are scheduled before Saturday’s deadline. So with no talks and no progress, Bettman gets to oversee his third work stoppage and second in the last eight years, when the league lost an entire season while the owners held the players over a barrel. Guess who’s ready to do it again? The owners, of course!
According to ESPN, the commish recieved the unanimous blessing from the owners to start a league-imposed lockout starting midnight ET on Saturday if no deal is reached. This explains why Bettman hasn’t lost his job as the overseer of more work stoppages than any other major sport during his tenure. Because the owners want the lockouts. The owners neeeed the lockouts.
Eight years ago, the owners supported Bettman’s lockout and it nearly killed the sport. But at the end of it, the owners got the concessions they wanted from the players, essentially winning the negotiations. Now, they don’t like the terms of the game they dictated, so they’re going to hold their breath until they get their way again.
The owners decided to allow the loophole of long contracts with garbage years tacked on at the end to get around salary cap issues and utilize them to sign top talent with front-loaded deals. Now, they’re not so keen on them and want Bettman to run out and deem the practice illegal. The Minnesota Wild did it TWICE JUST THIS OFFSEASON, and now the owner is supporting locking out his newest acquisitions.
The owners will toe the party line that they’re operating at a loss across the board. But the sport of hockey is as popular as its ever been in the United States. Hockey revenues are up, casual fan interest is up, and television contracts are as fat as ever. So if you want your team to be more profitable, STOP OFFERING 17 YEAR CONTRACTS.
The business is booming, so stop being terrible businessmen and reap the benefits, maybe? No? Just going to throw a tantrum and rewrite the rules? Even though it puts your painfully loyal fans through the woodchipper….again? *Sigh* So just business as usual…that’s cool.