NHL Lock Out: Owner's Latest Proposal Is Brilliant

By Rich Currao

NHL Lock Out: Owner’s Latest Proposal is Brilliant

The NHL Lock Out has entered month number two and for fans of the fastest game on two feet, that is 34-days too long.  Optimism cascaded down from above and throughout the universe when NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, handed the owner’s latest proposal to the NHLPA on Tuesday morning for immediate consideration.  Fans waited wide-eyed as Player Association executive director, Donald Fehr, reviewed the owner’s proposal with his clients.

So why do I feel the owner’s latest proposal was brilliant?  Well, it has nothing to do with the minutia that makes up collective bargaining or the foundations of union labor law.  YAAAAWWWWNNN.  It all had to do with the pretty paper and big red bow they wrapped their offer package in.  The NHL released its latest complicated numbers proposal with a flashing neon sign that read “82 game season – Starts November 2nd”.  Brilliant!!

Brilliant because public opinion is quite one-sided with the players during this current lockout, unlike 2004-05 where the future of the league depended upon a cap and concessions.  This time, most of the fans see the owners as greedy misers asking for even more money after they got so much back the last time.  After they reported record earnings.  And after they continued to hand out careless long-term contracts but only a few months before they  would lock their newly signed players out.

By Wednesday, commissioner Bettman’s 50/50 plan to split all hockey related revenue and its early momentum received an icy stare by Fehr and the union as it they remained unimpressed with the offer’s content.  Among the group of 18 union members in attendance were star player-representatives such as Pittsburgh Penguin’s Sidney Crosby, Calgary Flames Jerome Iginla, and Chicago Blackhawk’s Jonathan Toews.

By Thursday the plan to end the NHL lock out was greeted with three new counter proposal plans from the NHLPA.  Indeed an act in futility as these plans were systematically tossed up like clay pigeons and blown to a powdery dust by Bettman within minutes of their release.

By Friday, the NHL announced that it had cancelled all games up to and including November 1st.

The NHL knows the fans are not behind the owners at all with this latest lock out and knew they needed to speak a language any fan could understand.  Amidst all the math calculations and boilerplate legal jargon read: “Hockey… 2 Weeks From Friday Night.  If you want it!!”.

It fooled me.  Hell, I was texting my brother in a matter of minutes telling him the NHL is trying to save the season AND give us a full one at that AND get it all going in 2 weeks!  I abandoned the players union resolve in the time it takes to fire one from the point.  Brilliant!!  Kudos NHL!!!

There comes a point when a fan who earns 40k annually and can barely pay the cable bill he watches  said NHL games on can no longer relate with either side.  He can no longer comprehend the fact that men are really being paid millions of dollars to play a game that we all would be willing to play for our current salary.  He can not fathom that a gluttonous owner wants even a bigger seat at a table that has already fattened him up pretty good.  There comes a point where we don’t care what is fair or what is right.  There comes a point where we just want our game back.  That point is upon us.

Some business owners or union supporters may look at my blind stance and say, “And what about your principles?”.

I’m a fan.  I don’t have the luxury of principles.


Rich Currao covers the NHL, AHL, and NCAA Hockey for Rantsports.com  Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on Facebook.

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