The NHL lockout of 2004-2005 saw the end of then NHLPA director Bob Goodenow, who was ousted as its lead man. Could the same fate be at hand for NHL and NHLPA leaders Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr if this lockout lasts a long period of time?
Gary Bettman seems to have the full backing of the owners on the surface of it all. There has not been a bit of evidence heard otherwise. No musings of any discontent from any owner heard anywhere through the media world. But, one has to figure that the owners cannot be happy with losing out on dollars that they would be otherwise getting had the season started on time, especially owners that are in big markets such as New York, Toronto, Montreal, and Boston.
One would think these owners would be among the most impatient since they pretty much have the license to print money. Canadian teams seem to be floating along fairly well. On the surface, it seems the battle is about the sunbelt teams. The Phoenix Coyotes and Dallas Stars are two teams that come to mind, but is this whole charade worth trying to squash the NHLPA over?
Donlad Fehr, on the other hand, is fairly new to the hockey business, but has plenty of experience when it comes to board room negotiations when he served as head of the MLBPA. Baseball, by far has the best Collective Bargaining Agreement among the 4 major sports that favors the players. Fehr has the respect of the players, mainly because of his experience and portfolio, but one has to wonder how long the players will back him as the paychecks fall from their fingertips.
One can sense the impatience coming from the players side even if they say they are united. The players understand they have to let Fehr work his magic while they wait, but how long with they wait until they realize they have lost too much?
Bob Goodenow paid the ultimate price in the last lockout, as did the paying public. The question is, who is going to apply the heat to their side to get the ball rolling? And, if they do, will they applauded or chastised for it? They will obviously get the proverbial “slap on the wrists” in house, but would be adored continent wide if such a move occurred. The sides need to stop worrying about the best deal and start thinking about what’s fair, for both sides. The time for trying to rip off the other side is over and its time for things to move along in a timely manner.