Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The NHL Lockout

This is a sad day for Hockey.

Just when we Hockey fans were enjoying watching
our sport beginning to become popular, this crazy
Collective Bargaining Agreement dispute finally crops up,
ruining the momentum...

If you don't know about this, just visit and
read all the sordid details...

The bottom line, in my opinion, comes down to 2 things:

1. The NHLPA has had FIVE YEARS to figure out
how they're going to respond to the expiration date
of the current CBA. During those 5 years, the League has
exteneded to them millions in additional Salary funds,
to keep the inevitable from happening as long as possible.

Now that the current CBA has expired, the League
is FREE to do as it chooses. They simply cannot continue
operating in the RED, and all they want is to be able to
tie Revenues to Costs, like ANY good business.

And they've been up-front and forthcoming about
the books: They've invited the Union to have their OWN
report done (since the NHLPA choked on the Levitt report),
but the Union never got it done. The League has practically
BEGGED the NHLPA to come to the table regularly, to talk;
all they've gotten is stalling; and the League has offered 6 or 7
distinct proposals which would all still put MILLIONS in
average salaries into the players' pockets; apparently
"millions" isn't good enough for these boys...

2. A Lockout was inevitable, but I don't think Gary Bettman
should stop there. I LOVE HOCKEY, and I could care less about
millionaire, hot-shot players; I think Bettman and the NHL should
encourage ALL the teams in the League to immediatley
put together replacement teams from their "minor" league
organizations, from any NHL player who is NOT a member of
the NHLPA, and from the Junior A and College teams who have
talented young kids just *aching* to get to play on "Big Ice".

As a fan, I would be more than happy to spend time in the
first few weeks getting to know these new players and what they
can do; and all we have to do is look back to the Stanely Cup finals
this past year to see that young, hungry, passionate, comparatively
low-paid hockey players can skate a darn fine hockey game....

So here's a message to all those self-aggrandizing
hot-shots in the NHLPA:

Grow up. Learn a little about how Business works. Produce a
decent report of your own or SHUT your whining mouths and
work with the NHL's report. Having a job -- even that of playing
a sport for a living -- is a PRIVILEGE and not a "right".
Do the right thing, for the sake of the game we all love, and for
all those people whose livelihood depends on 82 games plus
the "second season". DO IT.

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