Now I will admit this openly. If it wasn’t for my hockey guru teaching me what I know about hockey, I would be rather useless as a hockey blogger. I would like to think that the skill set I have makes me a decent judge of people. The second round of the NHL/NHLPA are about to start up again in Toronto. From what I can see, we the fans have every right to be apprehensive and frustrated with the looming possibility of a work stoppage. Now, granted I may be jumping the gun and slamming on the ‘paranoia’ button. However, I may be one of those people seeing the storm on the horizon.
In the lost 2004-2005 season, the owners seemed far more willing to shut down the season than the players did. This time around it seems like both sides want to preserve the season. There are some points of contention that the owners will be pushing for, very likely a 50/50 split of revenue. The players will probably be looking for an increase in the salary cap. I believe there are a few variables that may still throw the whole series of negotiations on its ear.
The big one is NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. There are hockey fans that I know that use the word ‘bettman’ as a profane adjective. He recently reduced Raffi Torres’ suspension from twenty-five to twenty-one games. One could see this as a peace offering. Personally, to pull an end run around your VP of Player Safety (Shanahan) to offer a reduction to a player who has is a chronic repeat offender…..it looks a little chaotic.
The second one is human nature. People tend to have a knee-jerk and occasionally visceral reaction to something that they don’t like. It will not matter if it makes sense in the long term, or may be immediately beneficial. As of this moment, NHL revenues were 3.3 billion dollars(US). A single one-tenth of a percentage point is over three million dollars. Money has a horrible track record of doing stupid things to smart people. I’m sure the last thing we need to see is another ‘Season Not Played’