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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Strachan puts blinders back on

Wow, it only took a day. Yesterday I agreed with Mr. Strachan, yet today, his anti Gary Bettman rhetoric has spewed over and is poisoning my eyes.

Can he ever lay off the Bettman bashing? We all know how you feel, Al. And yes, Bettman has made serious blunders navigating the NHL over the last decade or so. But nonetheless, how can one deny that the economic climate of the league must be re-vamped? With countless time for analysis and opinion, how can you not now see that both sides have valid arguments here.

For example:
It stands to reason that if these people could make money under the old system, they could be rolling in cash under a new deal with the players earning 24% less and all the inflationary pressure points removed.

It takes no great leap of logic, therefore, to believe that there must be some cracks in the league's resolve. Why wouldn't there be? Impartial sources everywhere say that the players' offer was not only a very good one, it was an excellent starting point for negotiations that never came.

But to get negotiations rolling, Bettman would have to be over-ruled. No wonder he cancelled the meeting.

Apparently Strachan has been taken in by the great illusion that Bob Goodenow unleashed on the hockey world. The 24% rollback was a great move on his part and it has more than accomplished his goal. But anyone who thinks that simply rolling back the clock will suffice has the blinders on. History has shown - not just in hockey - that teams will stop at nothing to get the players they want and proper spending needs to be policed otherwise the teams with deep pockets will always pummel those who do not. Managers have not, do not, and simply will never manage responsibly enough to keep the current economic framework intact. They need a fool-proof system.

Al may be right that some owners would like to accept the latest offer. But I would love to hear the sources, because everything I've heard or read points to the exact opposite. Brian Burke, Peter Karmanos, Jeremy Jacobs and Detroit Red Wings president Jimmy Devellano have all publically stated that the owner's solidarity is unwaivering in regards to 'cost certainty'.

That's not to say that there are not some teams who would love nothing more than to accept the NHLPA's latest offer. Of course there are. But that works both ways. Does anyone really believe that not one single player would play under a cap system? I bet there would be a large number who would.

And let's think about this for a second. Those owners who would accept the latest NHLPA proposal would likely not be doing it in an attempt to fix the game. They are not concerned about resetting the clock and comitting to the prospect of responsible management. Heck, no. It's because that deal would give them a 24% bonus to budget towards a free agent shopping spree. Plain and simple. History has shown - and not only in hockey - that the have teams will always win out over the have not teams - regardless of a luxury tax. An even playing field is required.

So really, Al, we have to forget about how the problem was created and focus on how to fix things. Both sides have valid points to make. Both sides are being greedy and childish. Both sides need a kick in the ass. And in the end, like it or not, agree or disagree, the players are the employees. This is the owners league. In the end, the owners will win.


  • At 9:23 PM, Blogger James Mirtle said…

    I've got a fantastic Strachan-related post for tomorrow. Mark Spector in the post today quoted something that Al said after the last lockout, and wouldn't you know, it couldn't be more wrong. History repeats itself.


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