Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/06/12 at 06:05 PM ET
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
If owners really wanted a full 82-game campaign, they easily could have taken a softer tact with the union and have arrived at this moment back in September. That they chose not to and instead took the scorched-earth approach perfectly illustrates their big-picture blueprint, arranged and carefully cultivated by the law firm of Proskauer Rose across a number of professional sports leagues.
No wonder the NHLPA’s strategy (at least, up until this week) has been to play the slippery fish, catchable for a brief moment, but never long enough to admire or even get a solid read on. If the league was going to be so openly aggressive toward players, they were under no obligation to play the game under the NHL’s assumed rules. That’s why weeks passed without any meaningful contact and why Bettman made ridiculous propositions such as a two-week moratorium on negotiations. Players quickly recognized there was never any impetus to reach a quick conclusion from the other side and responded similarly.
Unfortunately for hockey fans, the NHL is still in the same developmental stage as Major League Baseball was with its players union a couple decades ago. As NHLPA second-in-command Steve Fehr explained recently on The Hockey News Radio Show, baseball owners had to learn the hard way it made more sense to deal with its talent the soft way than the hard way.
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