Last time, the players ended up taking a worse deal than they were initially offered after losing an entire season of pay. The biggest factor for players is that you don't get that year back physically and therefore financially. It is most important for 3rd/4th line guys because every year they get older, the pile of younger guys with more upside grows to push them out of the league.
While I think the players have valid concerns, I just don't think they have any leverage in this negotiation unless they somehow act together to create a new league and petition for the cup around the NHL and bettman. If the talent leaves in droves, it forces owners to look at the value of their business differently.
Absent that, billionaires always beat millionaires in a money fight.
The league has little to no incentive to compromise in any real sense.
The final result is that we are unlikely to have hockey any time soon unless the players move a great deal closer to the owners position.
Have to agree. What do the owners lose if the season goes out the window? For the ones losing money every year (more than a few) it might actually be a GOOD thing. And as just mentioned, if the season gets cancelled, the players are forced into a position like 2005 where they end up caving.
The threat/reality of a lockout is Bettman and the owners' Ace in the hole.
Bad as this sounds, I have to side with the owners moreso than the players on this.
Fact is, teams are bleeding money badly. Sure, Minnesota can spend 98m on one guy for however many years, but how healthy is that to your team's bottom line? Just because you can spend to the cap doesn't mean you can afford it and players salaries is the biggest hit on your operating statement/bottom line for your team. Put simply, if you are in a small market and make small money and spend big money, you're going to bleed fast and go bankrupt. But to have a competative team in order to get people into your stadium, you need to spend money to acquire talent, and the more you spend, the higher 'quality' player you get, which if you're in a small market making small money means you're going to go bankrupt, but what do you do?
Screw salaries, this sport isn't strong enough to support the ridiculous contracts and money the NHLPA wants for their players. They're bankrupting themselves. The owners are screwing themselves over by not implementing a even-money profit sharing model that will bring all the franchises to an equal level finanacially. The biggest challenge in this will be the Canadian teams due to Canada's tax structure and money. The league can no longer exist on the Bigger Teams = Bigger Money strategy unless they intend to have only the Bigger Teams which is fine - if Bettman would just say that. He's too worried about keeping markets that can't even spell Hockey, let alone know exactly what it is.
They need to first figure out their money situation and once they do and devise a way of making the teams permanently solvent by the money they know is coming in, they can devise a cap that will allow teams to subsist on ticket sales and merchandising and perhaps then it can make the owners some manner of profit. Truth is, how many owners who have shelled hundreds of millions into your team ever sold for a profit? That's why they invest in the team, they don't do it for philosophical reasons, unless you're R. Hal Dean, that is.
There has to be a middle ground to all of this, and Bettman isn't the one that will get us there.