Commentary, opinion and news on the world of hockey.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Lanny McDonald disappointed


Lanny McDonald, former Calgary Flame and 500 goal scorer, says that both sides are to blame for the economic situation in the NHL. In his mind, the players knew the backlash for their prolific monetary gains would be met with harsh resolve yet they have done little to rectify the situation. On the other hand, the NHL owners created the problem in the first place.
"I blame both sides. I blame ownership for letting it get out of hand and I blame the players because they knew the new collective bargaining agreement had to be worse than the last one," he said in an interview. "Why would you ever sit out one day and not find common ground? This is ludicrous. Not only have they lost momentum for cities like Calgary and Tampa Bay (Stanley Cup finalists) but for every NHL city."

"They've gone from a $2-billion business to what might be $800 million or, if they're lucky, a $1-billion business when they get back. Not only that, look at the number of lives besides the players and owners that have been affected."
Hard to argue with McDonald. At the same time, everyone knows this and the people with the power to change anything are too stubborn to lock themselves in a room in an effort to find at least some common ground. Maybe tomorrow's meeting between the NHL and NHLPA will be a start.

In my view, if both sides could have even the slightest room for movement, things can be solved. The owners could still ask for 'cost certainty', however I do not believe that a hard salary cap is necessary to achieve that goal. On the other side, the players may have to accept the coveted linkage between salaries and revenues. That may include a soft cap, or a much more punitive luxury tax than has been tabled thus far. The tax may include dollar for dollar penalties at a much lower threshold than previously proposed, as well as the forfeiture of draft picks.

In any event, this is not a case that hinges on one side or the other completely caving that will lead to a workable solution for this labour dispute. Rather, each side will have to accept some form of sacrifice.

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