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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

R.I.P. National Hockey League


I bid good-bye to the NHL, at least for the year, and good riddance. The end has come and gone, and I feel a mixture of frustration and relief.

It’s so clear that this game has problems, and the players have to see that, don't they? When the NHLPA decided to submit to a salary cap, I would have thought that move signified their willingness to accept that the system needed revamping. As well, it also meant that the fight was no longer about principle, but that's not how it was spun by the players.

In the end, it all came down to money. Nothing more and nothing less.

If the fight was no longer about the concept of a salary cap, then by very definition, the fight cannot be said to come down to principle, regardless of how many players will still tell you that that's what it is about. This comes down to how much money they feel they are entitled to.

Bob Goodenow can spin the situation fifteen ways from Sunday, but I’m not buying it anymore. The decision to not accept the last offer from the NHL is slightly puzzling because, A) the alternative may be much worse than not accepting it, and B) where do the players go from here?

They have given up an entire year of salary, possibly much more, and several of the players are steaming mad because of it. But now how do they get a better deal than this latest one? Good God, how do they do it?

Bob Goodenow said today that negotiations will now start fresh from square one. If he truly believes that, he's on glue. The NHL is not going to wash the slate clean and start over. Their position will only be that much more hardline as time moves on.

The revenues will only shrink from here, and the NHL offers will not get any better. Ever.

The players have been approaching negotiations from the standpoint of working off of the old CBA. The NHL has realized that the old CBA is history, gone, caput, and have taken the position that an entirely new landscape must be negotiated. So even though they were both talking salary cap, maybe it wasn’t the same language after all.

After this has all transpired, where do they go from here? Well for one thing, good luck to the players in getting a better deal than they would have gotten today. The future looks grim and the fight will be uglier than it has already been.

Stay tuned. I have many rants left.

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