Doomsday Looming With NHL Lockout

In 19 days, the NHL will be officially in a lockout. 

chara

 
I’ve been on vacation for the past 12 days so I’m catching up on all this NHL/NHLPA CBA talk. For those of you who don’t remember (or don’t want to remember) Gary Bettman told the world that on September 15, 2012 when the current CBA deal expires, the owners and his group of hellish minions will lock the players out of the NHL and their facilities. New York Daily News wrote

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman confirming that he and the owners will lock out the NHL players if the sides do not agree on a new collective bargaining agreement by the Sept. 15 deadline.

“I re-confirmed something that the union has been told multiple times over the last nine to twelve months,” Bettman said Thursday at the league offices in Manhattan. “Namely, that the time is getting short and the owners are not prepared to operate under this collective bargaining agreement for another season so we need to get to making a deal and doing it soon. And we believe there’s ample time for the parties to get together and make a deal. And that’s what we’re going to be working towards.”

 There’s been little action from either side when it comes to actually getting hockey played on time. In July, the NHL sent the Player’s Association one of the shittiest offers its probably ever received:

According to RDS Insider Renaud Lavoie’s Twitter account, the NHL made its initial proposal for a new collective bargaining agreement to the NHLPA in Toronto today: NHL proposal to players:

  1.   Reduce players hockey related revenues to 46% from 57 %. 
  2.   10 seasons in NHL before being UFA. 
  3.   Contracts limits to 5 years 
  4.   No more salary arbitration. 
  5.   Entry-level contract 5 years instead of 3.

I’m sure Donald Fehr, after lighting his cigar with a $100 bill, read this over with his team of hot shot lawyers, had a hearty laugh and threw it in the trash. I’m pretty sure that he also threw an ax at a picture of Gary Bettman pinned to a dartboard. The last may or may not have happened though. The NHLPA was supposed to send a counteroffer to the NHL on August 14th…and that’s when I left you all for the quaint quietness of Maine. 

I’m back now, though, and want to get my hands dirty with this CBA shit. Let’s play catch-up for my own sake (and anyone else who hasn’t been paying attention). Apparently on August 14th the NHLPA did send the NHL a counter offer, but it was later in the day. Mike Halford of Pro Hockey Talk wrote:

“It’s clear to me that they didn’t put it together in an hour or two,” Bettman told reporters following Tuesday’s meeting in Toronto. The NHL commissioner spoke very briefly after the two-hour discussion and didn’t classify the tone or direction of talks. Bettman said he and the owners needed time to evaluate the proposal and that the two sides would meet again Wednesday morning.

So that’s kind of optimistic right? I mean, the NHLPA sent the owners a thoughful counter proposal that should work out for both sides. Rumors is that the players even said the owners can have their 57% share, which is everything they’ve been bitching about since Day 1. The NHL BOG (Board of Governors, run by the always lovable Jeremy Jacobs) should accept that, right? 

Wrong.  

The owners basically rejected the NHLPA counter offer and ended negotiation talks after 90 minutes on August 23rd. From CBS:

The week that was for the NHL and NHLPA in their Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations ended on Thursday with the one and only official meeting of the week lasting just about 90 minutes. The result? “I think it’s fair to say that we’re far apart [on contract issues],” commissioner Gary Bettman said on Thursday in Toronto.

It seems that we’re destined for an NHL lockout again after the year 2000. My worry is that these will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in terms of the fans. Gary Bettman had the audacity to say to reporters: “We recovered last time because we have the world’s greatest fans.”

But Gary, what happens when the fans get so frustrated that they don’t come back? If we are lucky, the NHL will start playing games sometime in December/January and use an NBA type of schedule. 66 games and the playoffs. Honestly, I’d be okay with that. From the looks of things though, it doesn’t seem like we’re going to get that. It looks as though the NHL and the NHLPA are going to a lockout and for a Commissioner to call us “the world’s greatest fans” and then take away what we love just means that both sides don’t give a shit about what we want.  

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