You really need to read back this thread. Your misconceptions were exhaustively addressed earlier.
Without a union, there would be no lockout. Without a union, there wouldn't have been the need to negotiate a salary cap... and therefore there wouldn't have been a lockout last time.
Owners spending more than they can afford is a complicated topic, but without question the current CBA largely contributes to it. Without a union, there is no need for a CBA. If you believe the core problem with the leagues finances is rich clubs driving up the players salaries... how does the union solve that problem? I would argue that the NHLPA contributes to that problem, through forcing a CBA.
In short, without the union, what the owners are doing would be illegal. They would have no way of getting out of the already signed player contracts, without going to court and paying penalties for breach of contract or declaring bankruptcy.
Without a salary cap the owners would (and did) spend much more on salaries relative to revenue then they do now.
Without the pro sports antitrust law exemption, (that is if they had to operate like any other industry in America) it would have been illegal for the owners to consult with each other on hiring/salary decisions, let alone bargain as a single unit.
And lastly, the union's existence has nothing whatsoever to do with the owners spending insane amounts of money to get free agents. If you run a restaurant and hire a famous chef for $$ millions, but your revenue stream isn't enough to pay him, you don't get to leach off of more successful/better-run restaurants, nor can you lock out the chef and force him to accept lower salary. The owners do not and absolutely don't want to live under real free market conditions. They get the best of both worlds now.
- Pskov Wings Fan likes this