LOCKOUT: Day 41 – November’s gone, what’s next Gary?


June 15, 2011; Vancouver, BC, CANADA; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman presents Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) with the Stanley Cup after defeating the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 in game seven of the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE

(You have to wonder what would have happened if Zdeno Chara “accidentally” dropped the Cup on Bettman. What sort of disaster could we have avoided?)

Bloody hell, it’s official. Just a few moments ago, the NHL has cancelled all games for the month of November. So where do we go from here? Gary Bettman and the owners took the 50/50 proposal and walked away from the negotiations.  Once again the owners have fallen back to a “Give us what we want or stop talking” negotiation track.  After seven years of record growth, the ownership has committed themselves to destroy the league.

What makes this whole disaster even sadder is that the ownership couldn’t just be content to try to railroad the players into just handing over a quarter of their paychecks like last time. The NHL chose to offer a sham proposal to the players, knowing they could still screw them over in the fine print.  Then they went to the media and Bettman put on his best face saying that the league was trying and the players were just as greedy as ownership was. (Yea, I’m paraphrasing here.)

The players best shot at ending the lockout was to meet the owners at 50/50. The players did that. All they asked was the the league’s owners honor all their current contracts. Essentially the players said “OK, we’re taking a bit of the screw here, all we want you to do is to please acknowledge all the crazy contracts you idiots signed just before the lockout. “(More paraphrasing.) The owners response: “How dare you assume we’ll take any responsibility for our actions?! We’ve kept Bettman here all these years just so we don’t even have to entertain the possibility of being responsible!”

Matthieu Schneider, the NHLPA Special Assistant to the Executive Director talked to the media yesterday on how Bettman has stonewalled any attempt to negotiate on any proposal that wasn’t manufactured by ownership. “It is not something that moves the process forward, it hinders it.” offered Schneider. “We’ve said all along that we’re willing to meet with no pre-conditions, that hasn’t been the case with the NHL, with the owners.”  The NHLPA membership is frustrated, and they have every right to be. They wanted and were willing to work while negotiating a contract.

“It’s been take-take-take on the owners side, and it’s been give-give-give on the player’s side, and there has got to be a line somewhere and the players have drawn it.” said Schneider as he finished up with the media.