I believe the problem that you and others have with my posts are that I am listing reasons why the PA is to blame. Every point I have made that has upset me with the NHL is summarily ignored by people who are on the side of the NHLPA. After all, they are the ones that are 100% at fault right? I have countless posts here where I go after Bettman and his negotiating, crappy proposals, and combative style where he belittles Fehr in front of the press. Yet, you and others here who are on the side of the NHLPA ignore those.
The league was on the record saying that they were ready to negotiate in January. Many links were posted with this information. Of course Bettman thought that there was plenty of time to negotiate a deal at the time. I didn't expect Bettman to come out and say the season was screwed because Fehr and the players weren't willing to negotiate early. I don't believe for a second that Bettman or Fehr were planning a lockout. Some people who are backing the NHLPA believe that Bettman planned to lockout the players the whole time. Some people who are backing the NHL believe that Fehr wasn't planning on negotiating because he wanted the league to lock them out so he could negotiate a new deal with a luxury tax in place. If the season is lost, then that was ok with Fehr.
So, do you believe that either side was planning to scrap the season?
I certainly don't.
The problem is greed and the unwillingness to compromise on both sides.
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'.