Often, the term “locker room cancer” is thrown out to describe a player who is egotistical and cares only for their well being and their stats with little to no regard to the team’s ultimate goal.
It can also be used to describe Gary Bettman’s leadership of the NHL.
Last week, Bettman was the first from either the NHL or the NHLPA to officially use the term “lockout.” Bear in mind, this was five days before he would have the player’s proposal for building a new CBA which is set to expire one month from yesterday.
Then on Tuesday, the NHLPA presented their view of what it would take to continue league prosperity without any stoppage. This wasn’t a counterproposal to the joke of an offer from the league last month when the owners called for an 11% reduction in player’s share of hockey related revenue (which even now, I have yet to hear a firm definition of what constitutes HRR), tenure of ten years in the league before a player can qualify for unrestricted free agency and maximum of five years on entry-level contracts, up from three.
A slap in the face to the men who endure grueling physical demands to what equates to 10 months out of the year. Countless head injuries that go left unaddressed by the league, unless you call that joke of an “enforcer” Brendan Shanahan as “addressing the issue.” What the owners seem to forget every 5-7 years that we have to endure these “negotiations,” is when we, the fans pay an average of $80 a ticket to attend a hockey game, we’re not going so we can see the owners sitting in their suites. We’re not paying $20 to park, $10 for a hot dog and $12 for 8 ounces of beer to watch general managers sit and talk on the phone. We pay to see 20 guys with incredible God-given talent and skill fight 82 nights out of the year, away from their families for the goal of achieving a dream.
So the players submitted their ideal situation for a flourishing NHL. Gary Bettman left the meetings on Tuesday sounding positive. “We need to take time to look this over. It’s obvious they didn’t just throw these ideas together in two hours.”
The hockey world, most importantly their fans, all held their breath yesterday when the meeting let out. How would the league answer? Would they answer?
“We’re not on the same page,” said Bettman. “I think there are still a number of issues where we’re looking at the world differently.” The commissioner went on to express “disappointment” that the players haven’t “been particularly responsive to our proposal.”
WHAT? You’re joking, right?
The NHLPA executive director, Donald Fehr responded as perfectly as anyone could, “When you start with the proposal the owners made, how could it be otherwise?”
It was within the player’s right to propose (due to the increase in revenue since the lockout) an increase in player shares and abolishment of the salary cap. They didn’t. Instead, they proposed they (the players) slow the increase of pay they are entitled to based on the current agreement (drafted by the owners, I might remind everyone). This “reduction” of increases would save the clubs approximately $465 million dollars which could go into a revenue sharing pot that would assist the teams further down the totem pole (Dallas, Tampa Bay, Nashville, Columbus, et al).
The proposal was for three years and an option. Go ahead owners, try it out. See if you benefit as a whole from what the players are offering and if not, then in the proposal’s language, the CBA would resort to the current agreement (which, in case you forgot, was DRAFTED BY THE OWNERS). No lose situation, right?
There’s everything to lose and the owners seem perfectly content with that.