LOCKOUT: Day Twenty – The season gets shortened


September 13, 2012; New York, NY, USA; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman speaks during a press conference at the Crowne Plaza Times Square. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE

The next nail in the coffin of the NHL season could put in place today. The National Hockey League has announced the cancellation of the 2012-13 regular-season schedule through October 24th. Now the NHL can add to the total of games lost this season. Eighty-two  regular season games were on the schedule between October 11th-24th. Sadly, we all know why we won’t be seeing hockey in October. The impasse over any form of collective bargaining agreement has led us here.

I’ve been reading other people’s blogs to try to gauge a general opinion on this work stoppage/lockout/bad attempt at extortion. At this point, I’d say it’s about an eighty/twenty split in favor of the players. In my opinion, the players did what they were supposed to do. They negotiated in good faith with their management. These players were expected (once could say asked, but the veneer is too shallow) to surrender another quarter of their paychecks. Why? The ownership, while enjoying record revenues, still made a grocery list of poor financial choices. For example, allowing the lockout to take place.

The owners and the NHL keep claiming that there can be no serious negotiations until the matter of HRR(hockey related revenue) gets sorted out. The owners also claim the lockout was necessary. On what planet is shooting yourself in the foot necessary?  I’m just going to assume that the league wants to try out some sort of nightmare scenario to see how bad things can possibly go. As for the NHLPA, what is their take on this whole mess?

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr spelled it out for us.  Fehr, in an ESPN.com report spelled out the cause of this disaster pretty clearly. “This is really important. This is a lockout they decided to have. This was a lockout of choice. There was no reason for it. Negotiations could still be ongoing,  and so, if there’s a problem here, maybe someone ought to look in the mirror over there.” He expanded on that this afternoon. “The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners. If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue.  A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort.  For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock-out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions.  Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner.”

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’se the biggest putz of all?  If I was made of glass, I’d say Bettman.

The adjusted scheduele would now mean the opening game for the Boston Bruins would be October 25th. The B’s would be playing at home against the Anaheim Ducks.  The Ducks would be the first of a three game home stretch for the Bruins as they attempt to rescue the Stanley Cup back from the Los Angeles Kings.