Kukla's Korner Hockey
With 370 players and the Board of Governors staying in the same city, whose livelihood is it anyway?
by George Malik on 09/13/12 at 02:36 AM ET
With somewhere north of 270 NHLPA members to 30 members of the Board of Governors and Gary Bettman's entourage all in New York at the same time for separate CBA meetings, you'd think that it'd be a simple matter of getting enough people in the same room--and a small enough room--at the same time to force people to talk, but instead, the Board of Governors will rubber-stamp an all but inevitable lockout just after the PA's player meetings break up, and starting on Saturday, we'll be missing planned NHL hockey.
The Sporting News's Jesse Spector, the Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek and Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika all penned superb later-evening missives which rightfully shoulder blame for the canceled games to come on both sides, but the NHLPA's resident Twitter warrior poet, Paul Bissonnette, reflected the pickle the players find themselves in as I prepare to print t-shirts saying, "I went to my team's NHL rink, and all they refused to do was take my money"...
Before the part-time grinder reminded us all that if the owners are the ones presenting the venues and the players the talent that draws fans to on-ice concerts whose ticket prices have nothing to do with player salaries, the NHL's collective bargaining plan is pretty damn weird given that they all but authored a CBA they now find untenable...
And Sportsnet's Micael Grange put things equally bluntly, while adding CBA proposal numbers to the picture sans any necessary calculus:
To put it another way, if there is a lockout -- and it seems like there will be one -- it will be because the owners and the players have agreed on one essential issue: Neither wants to leave the money they get out of this deal to chance. Neither wants to assume the risk of not making more money in the years to come.
The owners want their savings on player salaries immediately and they want it guaranteed.
The players want all the money they're making now as well as raises of two, four and six per cent, compounded, over the next three years.
A deal could be done if the owners softened their stance on the first year or two of the agreement and allowed the growth in league revenues to take the players' share down gradually and painlessly. And the players could do their part by accepting the likelihood that their path to future wealth lies in taking less -- even less than they would like -- of a growing business.
But no one wants to take any risk. Each side wants their cake and they want to eat it from a silver tray in a room with a five-star view. It's a philosophical divide disguised as a math problem and Wednesday did nothing to solve it.
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