It has been two and a half months since Gary Bettman and the National Hockey League decided to cripple their revenue stream and impose this lockout on the players and the fans. The National Hockey League keeps insisting that this is a 50/50 disaster, brought upon by the players’ unwillingness to settle. Once again, I will take this time to remind anyone who works for one of the franchises that you could have kept playing while negotiating. (Which would have guaranteed you winning the PR war.) You could also admit that the lockout seven years ago was a total failure that set up this one. Remember owners, you fought and starved out the players and the fans so you could have a system that worked for you. A plan that in your minds would have worked for the league. I have do ask if you feel better now that you are in the position of defending not only this failure, but the last one as well?
The federal government(US) has stepped in to help. Both the NHL and the NHLPA have agreed to allow the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service to attempt to break the deadlock. The director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, George H. Cohen has assigned three mediators(Scot L. Beckenbaugh, John Sweeney and Guy Serota) to assist in non-binding arbitration. Director Cohen issued a statement to the media regarding their introduction to the process.
“I have had separate, informal discussions with the key representatives of the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association during the course of their negotiations for a successor collective bargaining agreement,” Cohen said in a statement. “At the invitation of the FMCS, and with the agreement of both parties, the ongoing negotiations will now be conducted under our auspices.”
The only part of this that didn’t make me smile was the ‘non-binding’ part. Essentially, these mediators could come in, get everyone to the table, very politely knock some heads together, and when all is said and done, one or both parties could just roll their eyes and say “No friggin’ way.” Keep in mind that the NHL turned to federal mediation back in the 2004-05 season as well. (Season Not Played on the Stanley ring any bells to you?” Well, these three wise men have their work cut out for them. Hopefully, they can follow the star that leads us back to watching NHL hockey.