Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/12/12 at 08:40 AM ET
from Damien Cox of The Spin,
More and more the NHL and its endless labour troubles seem to be setting it aside from the mainstream of pro sports, apart from other leagues where owners and unions seem to have found ways to establish better working relationships than has been the case in the NHL. The NHL and NHLPA are starting to look like the couple who snipe viciously at each other at social events without realizing others find their behavior unseemly and boorish.
It feels like even when this ends it will be in the first paragraph of every hockey story for the six months that follow. Neither Gary Bettman nor Don Fehr is looking like a statesman or a person whose sole ambition is to cut a deal and get the games rolling.
It feels like the poison between the owners and players is starting to seep into the fabric of the hockey industry. The players seem focussed on demonizing Bettman, which will do neither they or the business any good in the long run. Jimmy Devellano's outburst, meanwhile, perhaps revealed the cynical way in which some NHL owners regard the hired hands. The fanciful notion of a partnership is dead, and it seems these two sides will go on hating each other even if a deal can be reached to save this season.
There's also a sense that the NHL is flirting with irrelevancy, more in the U.S. than in Canada. Perhaps it's just the fabulous post-season baseball is enjoying, with all four division series matchups going the limit. The NFL is into the meat of its season, the NBA has started playing exhibition games and then there's the NHL, idle and ridiculous and run by league and union executives who seem to believe they're bulletproof and are thus more dedicated to standing their ground than negotiating.
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