Here we have come to act four of the ” All’s Quiet on the Lockout Front” saga. The NHL has fired off its proposal. The fans groaned, and the players first thought must have been. “Oh not this <DELETED> again!” The players then countered with a request for all the financial information on a club-by-club basis. This in turn, sent Gary Bettman into a total tizzy. ‘Why would the players even want this information?’ he must have pondered. It must have irked him even more to find out the players wanted all this information to be gathered and accounted by a third party. Don Fehr argued for the impartiality of the financial information. Bettman questioned its relevancy.
The NHLPA offered up its first proposal. It was rather breathtaking in its scope. If enacted, it would revitalize the league. The players wanted an end to the adversarial relationship that had caused two decades of labor problems, a couple of lockouts, and one season(2004-05) consigned to the great “what could have been” of hockey history. The player’s proposal would have partnered the owners of the highly profitable teams (including our own Boston Bruins) to help out the teams in severe financial trouble. A plan that made sense, and with the amount of money the players were willing to surrender (up to eight hundred million-depending on revenues), all seemed on the verge of a compromise, right?
Taking into account what Bettman and Fehr told media on Wednesday after reviewing the players’ proposal and sitting down to discuss it with Fehr, it will be a good idea to have other plans for the night of October 11th. It may not be a bad idea to clear your hockey schedule in general. Bettman has said the players will be locked out on September 15th if a new CBA has not been negotiated. (It will also probably severely damage the league in the process).
We are four weeks out from the ‘magic date’, and there is still disparity between the sides.“I think it is fair to say the sides are far apart and have different views of the world and the issues,” Bettman said. Fehr’s prediction was just as severe. “There is still a wide gap between us with not much time to go, but this is a process we are going to continue to work hard on.” Fehr has told the players to be ready for a lockout. “We have been advising the players to prepare for a worst-case (scenario),” Fehr said. “You always do.”
Ok, so where does that leave us? The fans? Anyone on Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, etc have been grating their teeth and loosing their tongues on the internet. They have been overwhelming in support of the players, and profoundly critical of the league, and especially Bettman. “I don’t have an appetite either to not have hockey,” Bettman said. “We are all in agreement on that. I know what the game means and I know how important it is for our franchises and our game to be healthy from an economic standpoint.”
It’s just a shame that certain owners are now willing to see other owners go down in flames for the sake of a modestly wider wallet.