Are NHL Owners Intentionally Tanking The Season?
“I think that if it’s a case where, like Gary said in his [news] conference, they’re going to draw a line in the sand, just say that. Don’t waste guys’ time in there discussing stuff for three days, trying to find a way to make something work, then come in and say that.” – Sidney Crosby after failure of latest NHL talks.
Considering all of the ridiculous drama which has unfolded during NHL Lockout ‘12, one has to wonder if the owners are at all interested in saving the 2012-13 season. Was losing the season the plan all along for the owners, after they were unable to once again rake the players over the coals with a new collective bargaining agreement? How else can one explain the lack of urgency and the time wasting antics displayed by the owners to settle this dispute?
The owners have literally gone out of their way to paint NHLPA chief Donald Fehr as the villain for this work stoppage. They have also thrown insults toward the players by trying to convince the public they are overpaid, spoiled and ungrateful. Why is it that a bunch of grown men of industry have resorted to such callow and unprofessional behavior?
The owners may be trying to deflect attention away from themselves for tanking the season, when in fact, that is exactly what they may have intended to do once they did not immediately get their way. The owners are projecting blame onto the players, and only the most mentally challenged are not capable of seeing the game played here.
Why would the owners want another season cancelled, since the league has experienced steady growth in revenue? Well, for one, there are many NHL teams which would have lost money once again this season, therefore, a cancelled campaign would actually save them some cash.
And since there is revenue sharing incorporated within the league, without a season, the more profitable teams would save money by not having to support the financial losers. Although the big earners would still lose profits by not playing, they would be reimbursed for their losses by lockout insurance without having to share the wealth.
Even though information about owners taking out insurance for the lockout is elusive, there is a good chance they have covered themselves against this risk, especially since they knew for a long time another work stoppage was very probable. In the likely event they have purchased a policy, what would prevent the owners from doing as little as possible to settle with the players and collect on the insurance instead?
Without knowing what type of insurance the owners have purchased for a lost season, it is rather difficult to speculate on how the owners would be reimbursed. It may involve filing a claim for a percentage of the lost projected profits. If the owners had settled and the season was not interrupted, the premiums they have paid to cover themselves against a lost season would have been a cost they would have never been able to recover or even capitalize on.
No doubt, there are owners whose only interest in purchasing an NHL franchise is to use the team as a tax write off. The owners are not stupid; they know many of these franchises are not capable of turning a profit on their own, so they find other schemes to benefit from them. Is the tax write off issue also a factor for owners doing as little as possible to settle this mess as well? Without knowing specific details, it is difficult to say.
From their extremely insulting initial offer, to Gary Bettman’s histrionics, more and more it is beginning to look like the owners financially planned for this lockout and are running through a script to pin the entire blame on the players. The owners apparently armed themselves to the teeth with one purpose: to destroy the National Hockey League Players Association.
By destroying the powerful union (which does not look like it will be happening anytime soon), the owners can then implement the NFL policy of no guaranteed salaries, among other contractual clamp downs on the players. This is the real reason why the owners want Donald Fehr out of the way as soon as possible.
As of now, the solidarity minded hockeyists have decided to stand up the owners at the blue line. After unsuccessfully trying to carry the puck into the players zone, the owners must now play dump and run…as in run away. Once the owners run the out the clock on yet another season, they can then collect the insurance checks.
Since hockey fans do not have another major pro league to turn to in the case of such a work stoppage, the NHL is considered a monopoly. If fans had a viable option to the NHL, chances are this impasse would have never happened, since there would be a greater threat to lose customers. How ironic that it is the most loyal of fans who are most responsible for enabling the owners to systematically ruin the professional hockey product.
If their transparent theatrics have proven anything, it is the owners have an agenda which they are hiding from the players and the public. If this is the case, it would not be the first time a group of wealthy individuals conspired to hoodwink the masses for their own political and financial expediency.
As usual, Crosby’s shot (at the owners) was right on target.
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