LOCKOUT: Day Twenty-Seven: Listen to your employees


Common sense time folks. If you’re a manager of a company, and one of your employees offers you an idea that 1.)makes you life easier, 2.)saves you money, or 3.)both, most managers would make a sincere attempt to incorporate that idea into the company’s paradigm. As an employee for a company that has had a few ideas reach the desk of corporate, I know.  Sometimes, the “eyes on the ground” are capable of delivering better intel then the guy in the big office.  It is  a sound way to doing business. If the right suggestion comes along and makes the business more efficient, does it matter where it came from

Now, of course this puts me at a loss why the NHL seems to refuse to at least take a second look at the NHLPA offer.  Ok, so lets take a quick jog down memory lane. February 2005,  when the NHL and the NHLPA needed to make a deal or else lose the season. They almost got there, almost. The NHL offered a forty-two and a half million hard salary cap not linked to league revenues. They also offered  a significant departure from previous offers. The NHLPA countered with a forty nine million hard cap that would permit teams twice in the six year span of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) to exceed the cap by ten percent and pay a tax rate of an additional fifty percent as the penalty. At the last moment to save the negotiation, the NHLPA dropped its offer to only forty five million for the cap.

So, what would have happened if the NHL could go back and accepted the offer?  If the league had incorporated some of the players’  ideas into the last agreement, they may have been better off in the end. The owners were so intent on beating the NHLPA at the bargaining table, they lost sight of the long term health of the league. The board of governors shot themselves in the foot with a deal that cost them billions in the end.(The salary cap is $70 million and likely to climb even higher)

It would have also stopped the last minute spending bonanza on these long term contracts (Crosby, Weber, Parise, Suter, etc) This frenzy of cash flow from teams that could barely afford this kind of spending when there was revenue coming in shows that they cannot and probably never will be able to control their spending habits. The galling part of it is that they now want the players to pay for their own mistakes.

Talks are still on-going but if the owners aren’t even willing to listen, then we can kiss this season good-bye and we know which thirty-one people to blame.