NHL Labor Dispute Hardly Creates Headlines
Only if the NHL was like the other sports….wait did I just day that?
Yes I did but I’m not referring to the athletes who participate or the fans who pay their salaries. I’m strictly referring to the impact the NFL, MLB, and to an extent the NBA has our country.
These sports don’t just create news, they create headlines. They grab the attention of the President of the United States and some of the most powerful people in our country. If anything, this lockout should serve as a wakeup call to both players and owners that they probably aren’t as important as they might think they are.
It’s no secret the NHL labor dispute takes even a back seat to the lockout that saw NFL referees sidelined the first month of the football season. Yes even a dispute between the NFL and its officials generated far more attention than the lockout that currently has hockey sitting on ice.
Correct me if I’m wrong but last time I checked I don’t see the NHL lockout being discussed on the Today Show, 60 Minutes, CNN, CNBC, Fox News, or any other network show. Hell it’s hardly even received a mention on ESPN where the NHL used to call home.
What does that really say about the sport most of us grew up worshiping? Are the “leaders” in charge of this mess helping or damaging the coolest game on earth?
I would never question the heart or passion of NHL fans as they’ve earned the reputation of being the most loyal fans in all of sports. All these people do is pack arenas and buy merchandise only to get kicked to the curb every handful of years. But they’ll come back as Gary Bettman is quick to remind us.
The problem with the NHL is they don’t have anybody who has the ability to move the needle. There isn’t a single person who can force the hand of the NHL to get a deal done. We all know the pressure the NFL faced during the referee dispute. You couldn’t turn on a single television channel without somebody verbally pummeling NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Obviously I’m referring to what’s happening in the United States as I’m know things are different in Canada, but in the U.S. all we’ve heard is crickets. And while hockey is a religion in Canada, over 75% of teams are based in the States.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has taken a public beating but mostly by fans, a few players and agents, and a number of NHL media that hardly create National news. In other words the league can continue to do what they’re doing without facing the same scrutiny the other sports are exposed to.
It would be nice if a Bob Costas or some other “voice” could go on a National television show and blast the NHL and urge the two sides to quickly resolve the lockout. The only obstacle is these people hardly care. And if you haven’t noticed the small percentage of people who do care is shrinking by the day.
Where’s Mark Cuban?
How nice would it be if Cuban owned an NHL team? Wouldn’t it be great if the league had an owner who hardy cared about a measly $1 million fine and was willing to speak out? I mean who really told it like it is and said what needed to be said. Someone that had the ability to make the necessary headlines that truly applied heat on the NHL and the NHLPA.
Why does it appear these people exist everywhere but the NHL?
I guess there are people who have this ability but most are unwilling or afraid to stick their neck out. Sure there are a few agents and a player here and there who stress their opinion but again this hardly makes it anywhere beyond their twitter page. Even when a NHL owner feels a certain way he’s forced to submit a phony statement that indicates otherwise, as in the case of Flyers Owner Ed Snider over the weekend. Are we to truly believe this Philly writer just made this up?
I use the word owners loosely as only a small number of them actually control their side of the bargaining table while the majority of owners are left on the outside. How many companies nowadays are truly run this way? Is this really normal?
With the addition of more players and a few GM’s entering the negotiating room I have a feeling cooler heads will prevail in the end. There’s a decent chance we now start hearing about real constructive collective bargaining.
There will be a season and most informed people share the same opinion. There is a breaking point I don’t believe owners or players are willing to go beyond this date if it means wiping away the entire season. If they do then they lack even more intelligence than we gave them credit for. We are close to the finish line as owners and players realize the deal isn’t going to get much better than it is today. As I said before there are some contract issues holding this thing up and it’s only a matter of time before we see some concessions made.
Back in 2004 the players were willing to miss a full year if it meant fighting against a salary cap at all cost. There isn’t an issue on the table today that’s worth missing this season and ultimately creating irreparable damage to the sport.
The only problem with the previous CBA is that the owners left open loopholes that allowed some to circumvent the cap. In the end it’s put us right where we are today.
Good to know there is an influential agent working very hard behind the scenes with both the players and owners, sharing ideas in an effort to resolve the lockout.
Sources say if the season can get going in early December we can still fit in a 70 game schedule.
New Jersey forward Cam Janssen deserves some credit for the job he did in raising money for Hurricane Sandy victims over the weekend.
Scottrade Center Executive VP and GM Marty Brooks informed the Blues last Friday of his resignation. Brooks once worked under Dave Checketts at Madison Square Garden.
Blues Buzz will take the week off before returning next Wednesday Novemeber 28th with Darren Pang joining me live at Johnny Mac’s.
Captain David Backes and Andy McDonald are among those representing the NHLPA in today’s round of talks.
More to come,
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