Mar 11, 2011; Washington, DC, USA; United States first lady Michelle Obama (r) talks with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (l) during the ceremony to honor the Chicago Blackhawks 2010 Stanley Cup championship. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

Are The NHL Owners and Bettman Crazy? Or Do They Make Some Sense?

Money. It’s all about money these days. Like  Timothy said “Money is the root of all evil”.

Yet, some people would prefer the more up to day version; “Money makes the world go round” so spine tingling said in the play Cabaret.

Does it really make the world go round? Or does it make it the root of evil? Hmm, a question that will probably never be answered.

In the case of the NHL Owners and the NHLPA, money is the main reason these two sides are at dispute with one another. Yesterday, the NHL Owners and Spokesperson Gary Bettman proposed a 2nd proposal to the NHLPA. The question is, is the NHLPA going to like this proposal?

Naturally in everyday life, when you want to make a contract with someone, both sides are going to have to give in a bit. Albeit it seems like everyone is saying the owners are a trying to suck every penny out of the players, is it really true? The NHL has seen it’s organization grow tremendously since the last NHL lockout which cancelled the entire 2004-2005 season.

If you already don’t know exactly what the Owners want from this new CBA, allow me to do a quick run though.

1st. The Owners want to cut the players’ split of revenue from 57% to a unreasonable 46%. Now before we jump ship, we have to realize that in any negotiation the first offers are always “unrealistic”. Do we honestly think that the NHLPA would say yeah sure that sounds good to me…no. This is just a slap in the face, but once again, numbers in the first offers are always unrealistic. Let me use an everyday example; lets say you want to buy a tv from a flea market or something. Your interested, so you say how much for this used flat screen tv. Oh, 850$. Woah, your at a flea market and you know that is an unrealistic price, so you say thats way to much. Of course they will offer you more then the asking price! Do you think the owners are stupid and would say, oh for our first proposal lets raise it to 47%, no! That would be stupid, the owners are trying to win a deal not please everyone and their mothers. It is like a garage sale, your selling a toaster, don’t you want at least something for the toaster? The price tag may say 10$, but the one who wants to buy it says i’ll give you 5$, you say no 8$, he says 6$, you say 7.50$, he agrees. See, it’s a process that will take time and thinking.

2nd. The owners want to have Entry Level Contracts last 5 years rather then the 3 we currently have. To the smaller markets it makes a load of sense, but to the bigger markets they don’t want to have to wait that long for a player to become a RFA.

3rd. Delaying UFA to 10 years. Once again, benefits the smaller markets. Take Steven Stamkos for example. Lets say that he wants to leave to Chicago because it’s a bigger market and he wants to be on one of the most popular teams in the NHL. To me, thats not okay. 10 years and you can be a UFA, once again my favorite team is in a small market, I would like that. Knowing Huberdeau, Gudbranson, Howden, Bjugstad and others have to be on the team for 10 years to become a UFA makes me happy. But again, the bigger markets have the louder voice, and the players don’t want to be locked down to one team their entire NHL career if they aren’t winning.

4th. The owners are looking to put an end to these “super contracts”. Take for example, Zach Parise and Ryan Suters 13 year 98 million dollar contracts. Honestly are Parise and Suter going to be playing elite hockey when they’re 40 and 41 years old, and have a cap of 7.5 million dollars every year! Holy guacamole. Thats 15 million dollars on two players for the next 13 years, seriously?

We all know the 1st proposal wasn’t accepted and the 2nd one is shortly going to be released, but just think about it.

Yes, I think the 11% cut on revenue sharing is way unrealistic, but it’s a work in progress. Both the NBA and NFL have their revenue sharing to about 50% which is probably where we will see this go to when the agreement is made.

But as for the contract issues, to me it all makes sense. I know players want that security that if their career is cut short to injury, they will get paid the rest of their contract. But look at the NFL, in the NFL the teams are allowed to cut players with little financial penalties.  Just read at this statement made by the San Jose Sharks after they realized they lost 15 million dollars last year, despite selling out every game.

We’re OK with that because that’s a decision we’ve made to stay competitive,” said Kevin Compton, referring to the fact his team’s player payroll bumped up against the NHL salary cap.

Really? Losing 15 million dollars of tax players money is okay because you want to stay competitive? I’m sure they’re not the only team with that point of view.

To reiterate my point on the contracts, why do you think the NFL is the most popular sport in north america? Because almost every team is competitive. Why? Because you don’t have player whining on how they want to go to New York, New England, Pittsburgh. They stick with their team because they have chances to win. Look how the NBA is turning into. A power house machine. Honestly, it would be more exciting if they kicked out pretty much all the teams and just left Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, New York, New Jersey, Dallas, San Antonio, Oklahoma City and maybe two or three more teams. Who cares about the Orlando Magic now? Who cares about the Detroit Pistons? No one because they aren’t big markets anymore.

The NHL is trying to avoid that by limiting these contracts. Rick Nash just got his way out of Columbus because he insisted in getting traded. Dwight Howard just got his way out of Orlando because he cried and whined about the ownership. The NHL does not want to go in that direction.

The most important thing the owners and NHLPA needs to realize is that it’s all about the fans. Both sides need to realize that they need to give in a little from both sides to make this work. The fans are the most important thing to a professional sports organization and the NHL can not afford to lose fans. The NHL is making more money then ever before and if they want that trend to continue, they have to have this settled before the 15th of September. The wealthier clubs like Toronto, Montreal, Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and New York are going to have to give a little to help these smaller clubs prosper like Carolina, Columbus, Florida and Tampa Bay.

As a loyal hockey fan and lover of the game, I certainly hope a deal is reached by the 15th and we can have a full NHL season. Both sides are going to have to give up some money if they want this to work, money will either make the world go round or just cause more dispute and evil.

Thanks for reading, comments are surely appreciated.

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God bless


Tags: CBA Gary Bettman Lockout Rick Nash Steven Stamkos Zach Parise

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