Here's the truly sad part of this (and the fans are guilty of it as well):
I've been moderately anti-NHL (and pro-NHLPA) for this whole thing, and despite the NHL's brilliantly evil PR tactic of placing an arbitrary negotiating deadline on the PLAYERS to acquiesce to the demands of the owners and end a lockout that the OWNERS created, I'm not losing sight of how this entire dispute started, and how ridiculous it is. Even if no deal gets done before 10/25, and there's no 82-game season. Most people assumed that was a foregone conclusion once we started losing preseason games anyway.
But while I still largely agree with the players, and view the lockout as unnecessary, I'm getting the sense from the NHLPA that "honoring current contracts" is an issue taking precedence over all. And that's terribly short-sighted.
There are MANY other significant issues that severely compromised the fairness of the game and the safety of the players from 2005 to 2012, but the fans heard "82-game season" and "50/50" and suddenly all they care about is "Accept! Accept! Accept!".
There's some good elements in the NHL's proposal. I like the 5-year deals, and the third-party arbitrator for discipline decisions is probably a good thing. But the $12 million drop in salary cap will cripple some franchises, and the provisions retroactively punishing teams for signing mega-deals are barbaric and certain to cause horrible unintended consequences.
If you would've asked anyone in 2011: "What are the major issues affecting the long-term viability of this game?", here are a handful that come immediately to mind:
- The safety of the players, caused in large part by the 04/05 rule changes and the increased speed of the game
- Circumvention of the salary cap, including the new "Minnesota Wild" tactic of offering absurd signing bonuses to pay players nearly double what the CBA supposedly allows in one year
- "Revenue sharing", or the complete lack thereof
- Proper scheduling/realignment (such as the plan proposed last year and rejected by the NHLPA as a bargaining chip)
Notice that none of those were "what percentage of hockey related revenues go to the players and owners", though that issue is obviously tied to players salaries and the bottom line of the 30 teams. If you fixed those four things (and I think all four of them COULD be significantly improved), we'd have a much better game and a more viable business model going forward.If you leave those issues untouched, rush into an agreement arguing primarily over grandfathered contracts, AND expand the league to 32 teams (as is heavily rumored today), we're going to be right back here again in 7 years or so.
And in the meantime, we'll see even more BS like what Chicago and Philadelphia did to become Cup contenders, plus a whole assortment of NEW problems. I want hockey back worse than anyone, but if we're going to have a lockout that the NHL tells me we sorely need, then I want to see some evidence that there was a purpose to that lockout other than playing with revenue numbers. Say what you want about the 2004-05 Lockout, but we did emerge with a notably different (and, in many ways, better product) after that horrible experience.
Edited by StormJH1, 19 October 2012 - 11:34 AM.