Wednesday, October 24, 2012

NHL Season: Going, Going, Gone

Just as there was a lot of optimism last week that a deal could be reached between the NHL and NHLPA, there is as much pessimism that many games will be lost this year and that both sides are not really close to reaching a deal.

That seems ridiculous. Many experts believed that the NHL had offered the players a good deal last week or at least a good starting point for a deal. The players Quickly trashed the deal, offered 3 lame counter-offers and seemed to annoy the owners.

The players were annoyed at the NHL's quick rejection of their offers and the fact (came out this week) that the NHL allowed team owners to talk with players. The NHLPA was furious about that and also mad that they were not informed of that development by the NHL.

It's time for a reality check. While the owners did say it was their best attempt at forming an agreement and playing a full season, they had to know that there would be tweaks here and there. Why else would you even attempt to restart negotiations? If that offer was only a PR move, shame on the NHL.

The players attempted a lame PR move of their own by claiming their counter-offers were 50/50 deals but the NHL caught them in an oops when they revealed that the NHLPA sneakily tried to hide 650 million from HRR (Hockey Related Revenues). The deal was not really a 50/50 deal.

So it seems that there is plenty of blame to go around here. Grown men find a way of putting their differences aside when trying to negotiate a deal. Grown men down go sulking off into a corner. Grown men don;t act like infants. Grown men act like adults and responsible members of society. It't time for the NHL and NHLPA to show that they are worthy of being called adults.

Today we heard that the NHLPA tried to restart negotiations and were rejected by the owners. Sure the owners are playing hardball but that might be a terrible PR move. NHL fans were expecting both sides to compromise.

No matter what side you're on, I'm sure most fans are in a agreement that the NHL needs to find a way to honor existing contracts. The players claim that it's a big issue for them. It would seem that this is the piece that is preventing a deal from getting done.

If existing contracts are the stalemate here, the NHL should figure out a way to honor those contracts and call the players bluff. I'm not convinced that the players would come to the table running if that was the only stumbling block but at least the owners could tell the fans that they pulled out all the stops.

The NHL failed at one more PR move. They should have found a way to include honoring existing contracts. If the players would then refuse that deal, the fans would have a clear side to blame (players). By not coming back to the table and trying one more time to resolve this dispute, it is giving the impression that the owners never had the intention of playing a full season and that they always intended cancelling many games.

I'm not sure what other conclusion the fan can get form this mess. I blame both sides. I think the owners, the players, Donald "Duck" Fehr and Gary "I'm Gambling the NHL Away" Bettman are mules. They are donkeys. As a fan I'm frustrated how grown men can act like infants.

The owners and players should spend less time sulking and sucking on their thumbs and more time acting like grown men. That might be hard to expect from a bunch of spoiled cry babies.

Video source: You Tube courtesy of ESPN

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