Another series of talks is slated to continue between the National Hockey League and the players’ union. While the talks appear to be going well, neither side opens up on the issue regarding hockey-related revenue. The players are willing to give up some of their money in order to stabilize and help the league. However, the last thing the players want to do is to continue to fork over cash to further empower owners’ bad judgment calls. The owners, are moderately put out by this. They’re our players!(or “our cattle” if you don’t mind getting slapped with a large fine from the home office.) The poor choices in location, contracts, and players are cutting some clubs to deep. (It is also probably putting the kibosh on Bettman’s plans to expand in other great hockey locations, say like Oklahoma City or Tijuana, Mexico.)
The current President of the NHL Board of Governors is Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs. We are all pretty sure he cajoled and promised other owners (although I’m willing to bet there was an air of arm-twisting and threatening) to vote 30-0 to enforce the lockout. Jacobs must know that some of these teams put a lot down on this being a season to shine. (I would love to know how they got Craig Leipold, owner of the Minnesota Wild to agree with this. He was betting the farm on his recent acquisitions.) Now, what happens if the owners start buckling under the pressure? Will Jacobs and the other big market franchises be able to keep the rest of the teams in line?
At this stage of the game, the players seem to be far more unified than the owners. When Bettman imposed the $250,000 fine on the Red Wings oraganization it sent a very odd message. A member of your organization spoke out of turn, and you needed to be sanctioned for it.