Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated,
Steven Spielberg has a new movie called Lincoln coming out soon. I hope it is historically accurate and includes Lincoln's famous statement: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times, and you can bite me, Gary Bettman."
The NHL is locked out again. You may not have noticed this, because NHL players merely play hockey and do not provide an important public service to the United States like call pass-interference penalties. But it's true: Another lockout.
The NHL just canceled two weeks of the regular season, though the games could be made up if the league and its players suddenly decide to agree on everything. I wouldn't hold my hope out for that one, though. This is a negotiation between Bettman and Donald Fehr, those two lovable porcupines, which means you can expect blood.
We're going to be here for a while. It is even possible the whole season will be lost. I find that unlikely, because it would be colossally stupid, but hey, let's not underestimate Bettman. Or overestimate him. Whatever the right term is. The man has a remarkable ability to divide and not conquer. Bettman could get a five-year-old girl to hate her favorite doll. He could even get the doll to hate the girl.
Bettman would argue about the range of issues at stake here. And he might be right. But for most hockey fans, this is about Bettman. And it is hard to argue with them.
Video via Eric Stephens of Ducks Blog at the OC Register,
TORONTO (October 4, 2012) – Don Fehr, National Hockey League Players’ Association Executive Director, released the following statement regarding today’s decision by the NHL to cancel games through October 24, 2012:
“The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners. If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue. A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock-out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner.
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
So, when does taking a knee become the right thing to do?
When do locked-out NHL players, faced with the immoveable force that is the NHL's ownership group, take one not just for the team, but for the future of the game?
When does the players' union realize that having the will to go toe-to-toe with the owners and keep NHL arenas dark for an entire season, or two, doesn't necessarily mean that is the path that should be followed?
Are we not at that point now?
The NHL announced on Thursday the cancelation of the first slate of regular-season games. After almost three weeks of the current lockout, the two sides remain isolated on the core issue of how to divvy up $3.3 billion in revenues.
As embarrassing as it is for a league that strives to be considered one of the big boys in North American sport, but consistently reveals itself as pathetically small and narrow-minded, the NHL's owners seem absolutely comfortable canceling a second season in eight years to get what they want, which is significant and immediate financial concessions from its players.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
Can Fehr, with his history of labour disharmony in baseball, actually close a deal? Can Bettman, with three lockouts and the only cancelled season in professional sports history, actually close a deal?
And more importantly, do they need to wait until the second week of February - more than four months from now, when two-thirds of the season has gone up in smoke - before they start offering up meaningful concessions?
Sometimes, the lessons of the past can be helpful in cobbling together a new future.
Sadly, more often, it goes the other way, and always leads me back to the words of philosopher George Santayana:
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
read on as Duhatschek reviews his notes from the last lockout...
from Paul Waldie of the Globe and Mail,
Here’s one reason the NHL lockout might last longer than many fans expect; many players are in surprisingly good financial shape thanks to months of preparation by their financial advisers.
“The players are in a much better situation this time than during the last lockout just because history taught not only us, but them, how to prepare for such a possible scenario,” said Darwin Schandor, who leads Royal Bank’s sports professionals team, which advises hundreds of athletes, coaches and team executives. “I haven’t seen too many of our player clients in a situation of worry or concern as it relates to their affairs.”
from Michael Arace of the Columbus Dispatch,
The owners are intractable. Last time around, they won a hard cap and a 24 percent rollback in salaries in an effort to achieve “cost certainty.” Now, they are bent on another huge victory, and they are again willing to blithely dismiss 1,230 games and the playoffs.
The players are nearly as stubborn. Last time around, their historically disorganized union collapsed and they were routed. They now stand firm behind their new chief, legendary sports-labor leader Donald Fehr, who proposes little or no change and is standing firm.
The two sides met again Tuesday, got nowhere and made no plans to meet again. They are idiots.
Major League Baseball, the NFL and the NBA negotiated new agreements last year. These were not easy deals to make but, in each case, there was some give, there was some take and there was some attention paid to strengthening each league from the bottom up.
The precedents are there in front of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and his counterpart, Fehr. All the tools they need are out of the box. The only one they are using is the hammer.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
History shows that if the league had incorporated some of the NHLPA’s ideas into the last agreement, they may have been better off in the end.
Conclusion: Maybe they need to take a fresh look what the NHLPA has on the table – drags on salary increases in the future, plus enhanced revenue sharing – and see if they can plug in numbers that would make it work for them.
The alternative is to follow a script that hasn’t worked at all – win the negotiating battle and lose the CBA war. The owners got what they wanted in the last two negotiations, but miscalculated their effects, with a poor display of crystal-ball gazing. End result: They are back to the drawing board for a third time, stalled again, and this time, they better get the fix right.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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