I don't have a side. I'm on my own selfish side in wanting hockey to start so I have something to entertain me.
Having said that, I do believe the owners are at fault here. Reason being is that while they are on a cash grab they are doing little to address the real issues of a "cash-strapped-league" and the bigger picture. If the players agree to salary rollbacks now, so we can have a season, is that going to suddenly fix the problems in Phoenix? Absolutely not. The players are willing to take a pay cut of some sort, but what justification do they have in doing so if it doesn't fix anything but make the owners wallet a little fatter and not to address the problem at hand? They're willing to give for the game, but only if it benefits the game.
The only reason you listed the PA is to blame is the "the league was willing to negotiate in January" and "Fehr sure does drag his feet doesn't he?". Even IF Bettman really was willing to negotiate in January, how long would it have taken him to shoot down the PA's offers? 15 minutes? It's hard to negotiate when you have one side saying it's my way or the highway. You claim that's the PA's stance as well, unwilling to budge, but damn them for wanting to not take a pay cut. They're so greedy. Would you take a pay cut today if your company was failing, but your owner just intended to pocket the money instead of actually help save the business?
You're right, Fehr wasn't planning a lockout. If anything, the players would have gone on strike, but now we're just getting into semantics. While this is our first go with Fehr and the NHL, his history shows he has used a strike as leverage before, right before the playoffs. However, if history is going to be used as any indicator, Bettman's negotiating tactic of choice appears to be locking the players out.
So now I'll go back to an old point I brought up a few pages ago: why exactly should the players be willing to take ANY kind of pay cut to contracts that were signed by the very same owners crying poor?
I really don't have any clue how you can realistically place blame of the financial state of the NHL on the players and state that they are equally to blame for the lockout as the owners are because they are not willing to have their salaries rolled back at the demand of the owners who are doing little to address the reasoning behind why the league 'is failing'.
Please point out where I placed any blame on the financial state of the NHL on the players. Oh, thats right, I didn't. You just made that up.
Now, I will point out that the players and owners have blame for the lockout. Right now I put that at 60%-40% in favor of the owners being at fault. I believe that every player should get every penny from every contract that was signed. However, I do believe that a 50/50 split is more equitable in the long run. Especially since the NBA and NFL both negotiated 50/50 splits in their respective sports. Like it or not, this was the way it was going to end up. The owners are more at fault because they are asking for the salary rollback. At the same time, Fehr's responses to the owners proposals have been all about revenue sharing, which the owners apparently don't want to address because they don't want it based on possible revenues. Fehr comes into these meetings speaking an entirely different language, and yet the people who are on the side of the players are ok on giving him a pass on that.
Do I think its right for the NHL to ask for a 50/50 split in revenues? Yes I do. Do I believe that the NHL has the right to ask for salary cuts across the board to existing contracts? No I do not. I believe a deal can be made in this medium. So far, it hasn't been proposed. The NHLPA claims their 3rd option proposal did that, but that was a lie if you read the letter that Fehr sent to all players explaining each proposal. That is the one that is the closest to this option though.
So in essence, you have two leaders who are sitting in their prospective camps and not willing to budge very much. The players don't want to relinquish to 50% from 57%, and yes even their option #3 proposal wasn't 50%. Same with the NHL's latest proposal. So both leaders were lying there. Negotiating in good faith? Neither leader can say they have been doing that. From Fehr dragging his feet a full 3 weeks after the NHL proposal to propose something different, to the NHL and their initial lowball proposal that was insulting, no one can say that they were the angel in these negotiations.
You are right, lets not get into semantics at all. What if the NHLPA decided to come to the table early? We have no idea. You can guess that no deal would have worked out. I can say the possibility was there. Who is right? No one knows because it didn't happen. My point is that more time is better than less time.
Now for my question to you.....
I have no clue how you can realistically look at Fehr's actions and say that he has been bargaining in good faith this whole time. I really don't understand how you can stand behind a side and say that they are entirely in the right, when history and documentation have proved that they have lied and not negotiated in good faith. Instead, the NHLPA has been more focused on playing the PR card instead of getting into a room and negotiating. Do you have anything to say about this?
Then you look at what teams like Chicago, Philadelphia, and Minnesota have done to take advantage of their healthy financial situation, and pay out MASSIVE long-term deals that are completely antithetical to the spirit of the CBA. And if Minnesota hadn't done it, Detroit, Pittsburgh, New York, or any number of other "have" teams would have. And then Buffalo or the Islanders goes out and overpays some run-of-the-mill veteran way too much money, either because they need to keep up or, even worse, because they have to overpay some guys to even get to the salary cap floor.
Yeah, I want an 82-game season, but if we leave all this crap unfixed and have continued labor unrest through the next CBA, how is this game going to fix any of the serious problems facing it in the coming years? EVERY other issue gets swallowed up by the money debate, even ones that everyone would benefit from, like realignment and player safety.
I agree with this.
I believe the players should get paid every cent that they signed for in existing contracts. At the same time, limits have to be placed on contracts. I agree it goes far beyond the split. So far though, it is the split that is causing most of the issue right now.