Friday, December 14, 2012

The NHL & NHLPA Are Great At One Thing And That’s Being Terrible Negotiators

I'm back with my daily NHL rant. Lucky for you. Well that depends on who you speak to. It also depends if your blood pressure has boiled over due to the lockout. If you are stressed out and looking for some positive news you have come to the wrong place.

If you are looking for someone to tell you that things will be OK and that the NHL will ink a deal before time runs out you definitely have come to the wrong place. You just have to take a look at my previous NHL articles to realize that I'm a pessimist when it comes to the lockout. On Thursday the NHL and NHLPA ended their second day with federal mediators without making any progress.

That's enough of the idle chit chat. I was thinking this morning if the NHL and NHLPA are great at something. As far as the players, playing hockey doesn't count. As far as the Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman are concerned, being idiots doesn't count either. That doesn't leave much for these guys to be good at does it?

After a few minutes of racking my head, I finally thought of one thing that these guys are good at. The NHL and NHLPA are great at being terrible negotiators. There are some people that will argue that they are great negotiators. They will argue that taking a hard line and not compromising your position puts you in a position of strength.

I think that being a tough negotiator is required but being able to find common ground with the opposite side and the person sitting on the opposite side of the table from you is extremely important. Being able to compromise is necessary. Digging your heels in and refusing to think of unique ways to bridge the gap is a sign of weakness and failure.

I think that Fehr, the players, Bettman and the owners should read Negotiating For Dummies. They might learn a lot. They might learn how not to screw up a labor dispute. They might learn how not to anger the other side. They might learn how to find common ground in a hard fought labor negotiation. They might also learn how to minimize the length of a labor dispute.

Losing hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars is idiotic and shows me that these guys are great at being terrible negotiators. If the NHL is miraculously able to ink a new deal with the NHLPA and they are able to play a 48 game schedule, I'm estimating that the NHL and NHLPA will have lost over 1.37 billion dollars of revenue (see calculation below).

That doesn't seem to make sense to me. It doesn't seem like good negotiation skills. It seems pretty dumb to willingly forfeit that kind of revenue but then again I'm just a lowly fan. I'm just a member of the Sheeple. What do I know?

Calculation for NHL Revenue Lost: Last year the NHL earned 3.3 billion dollars in revenue. If the league plays a 48 game season that will amount to playing 58.5% of the games (Normal season is 82 games per team). So 41.5% of the games being canceled amounts to 1.37 billion dollars of revenue being forfeited.

Please note: Obviously my calculation could be off a little bit (maybe even a lot) but I'm just basing it on what I've heard.

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