Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/11/12 at 01:44 AM ET
from Katie Baker of Grantland,
It's perversely funny, almost: The NHL can't even be the best at making unpopular collective-bargaining decisions. The league locked out its players nearly a month ago, and in the time since then there's been almost zero movement, fanfare, or hope. Players have trickled overseas to play elsewhere. Games have been officially postponed. What we're left with is a Jenga tower of rumors and speculation: The holes keep piling up, and yet we keep right on building. Some say the season is toast. Others say it will be back by November. As with the concurrent presidential election, it's impossible to tell what's strategic posturing at any given time and what's truth. And so no one trusts anyone, and everyone's doomed.
With that in mind, here's a broad look at some of the factions involved in the NHL's labor stoppage who have the most to gain or lose — but probably mostly lose, as is ever the case — from what will unfold over the next few weeks or, nopleaseno, months.
1. The Players' Association
They looked intimidating but uneasy in their cargo shorts and T-shirts, their hats on, their big arms folded, and their wide backs leaning up against the white columns in the ballroom of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. They didn't look like a mingle of millionaires. They just looked like a posse of college kids, or of recent grads hanging poolside in Vegas. (Zdeno Chara, for good measure, even had on what I think was an Ed Hardy tee.)
Some of them were NHL stars, like Zach Parise, formerly of the New Jersey Devils, who this summer with Ryan Suter signed matching 13-year, $98 million contracts with the Minnesota Wild as free agents. Others were lesser-known and lesser-paid guys, like Ben Lovejoy, who makes $525,000 a year with the Pittsburgh Penguins. But you could easily imagine any of them, these NHL athletes gathered in New York for players' association meetings, as man-children receiving the news of an NHL lockout in a scene right out ofOld School:
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