Let me say, I’ve never liked Gary Bettman. I hated the changes he made to both the playoffs and the renaming of the conferences and divisions. Most of all he’s the only commissioner who has presided over two work stoppages, and is now on the verge of the hat trick of lock outs. After the last lockout the NHL was supposed to be dead in the water. It took a few years, but the league is finally back on track and stronger then ever. Yet despite this, Bettman has said without a new CBA deal the owners will lock out.
Look, the NHL doesn’t make nearly as much as the NFL, but even they were able to agree that making money > lock out. This CBA has been good for the league for the most part (don’t get me started on the constantly rising salary cap/floor), and it shouldn’t be insane to think that the owners can’t work under the current CBA while negotiating a new one. What is really so hard about this deal? Didn’t the league get set back enough by losing a whole season? I realize this time they have the NHL on NBC deal, unlike the in the air ESPN deal, but it’s ridiculous.
Play the game, make bundles of money, and then figure out how to fix the CBA. It’s not a crazy idea. The worst thing is most of the proposals I hear are rules to keep the owners from shooting themselves in the foot. For example the not longer then 5 year contracts. It’s not because there are contracts out there circumventing the cap, but instead because a lot of these players quickly become dead weight while just a few years into the contract. There’s ways to fix the cap circumventing without limiting contracts to 5 years. If long term deals are that bad, the owners should just stop giving them out.
Bettman already has a mixed history, among other things the constant moving around of teams. The lockouts, destruction of history, moving around small town franchises and the Coyotes are all part of an amazing journey. I can not possibly think of something worse for the NHL today then another lockout. If they really are planning to go into a lockout, there are probably accounting students in community colleges that could explain to Bettman why that’s a bad idea.
Oh hockey, I love you, but why do you taunt me so? I’m an Islanders fan and have gotten 20 years of insanity for one good run to the conference finals. You then gave me back to back years of the Red Wings and Penguins, two teams I could not hate more. It seems like every team I cheer for in the playoffs gets beaten. Then you let the Rangers add Rick Nash to their roster, without having a huge injury to one of their other stars. Hockey, you are a cruel mistress.