Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 09/16/12 at 05:06 AM ET
As the New York Post's Larry Brooks wisely suggests, this third "work stoppage" seems eerily reminscent of the previous pair in that the NHL is once again engaging in a collective bargaining strategy that effectively handcuffs the sport's ascendancy to true "major league" status by burning down the village in order to save its profit margins once every eight to ten years:
Other than the collateral damage the owners’ lockout will inflict on various groups of innocent third-party civilians who are dependent upon the NHL for income, the saddest aspect of this fiasco is the opportunity that has been forfeited by the league to break through the frozen ceiling under which it operates in the United States.
As represented by Gary Bettman in both word and deed, the NHL is exposed as a small-minded operation, one utterly lacking in creativity and ingenuity with a primary — if not sole — mission to generate as much profit as possible for its most well-heeled franchise owners.
Talk of “growing the game” has been abandoned. The commissioner, who on Thursday said it is unrealistic to expect revenue to continue to grow at the annual rate of 7.1 percent it did through the seven seasons under the CBA that expired at midnight, is out of ideas.
The league has been taking credit for steady growth of income that reached a record $3.28 billion in hockey-related revenue last year, but on Thursday, Bettman attributed that success to three factors — the strength of the Canadian dollar; the 10-year, $2 billion NBC contract; and last season’s franchise shift from Atlanta to Winnipeg.
Of course, there is a fourth factor: the significant annual hikes in ticket prices pretty much across the board, and most dramatically in the league’s biggest markets.
Continued with some suggestions as to what these CBA negotiations should center themselves upon...
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