When the hockey season ended and talks of a lockout began to emerge, I thought that there was no way in hell that we would be standing here right now, and the thought of missing out on some hockey was quite unsettling. Then it became more of a reality with every passing week, and the impossible became unavoidable. As this digression took place, my life became busier and busier. Soon, I realized that I didn't have the time to care, because while I was fighting to make a dollar to survive, both in the free market as a new small business owner, and as a public servant to the educational system; the NHL owners and players were fighting over who makes 50 million, and who makes 100 million. Of course, because life is not without its irony, we also had to hear rants in the political sector about the 47 percent, and how those without money must be lazy, and those with it have spent their hard working lives earning it. Because, somehow, no matter how insane, we are supposed to believe that there are people who have worked so hard that they deserve hundreds of millions of dollars while others starve.
A recent Puck Daddy article was brought to my attention. It focused on talking about the ridiculous bonuses and salaries some of our beloved hockey players have taken on. Most notably, the recent Ryan Suter, Zach Parise and Shea Weber deals over the summer. This article suggests, and rightly so, that the players are not without blame in all of this, because of these expensive contracts. Now, before pointing fingers, we must acknowledge that A) The Owners and or GM's are the ones that offered these deals in the first place, and that B) The players and agents accepted them knowing full well the consequences to the league and teams they were signing with. But, what this article points out is: player costs and the GM's willingness to spend their owner's money are two factors that are huge in the reason that we are not currently watching NHL hockey. For more details, just read the article, as it is worth your time.
It is important to note, that while some players are getting royally screwed right now, especially the newbies, others are sitting pretty with their giant contracts and awesome bonuses. Again, as the article points out, " In the case of Parise, Suter and Weber, and every other player that gets them league-wide, the bonuses are a kind of lockout insurance, as they aren't affected in any way by the fact that the teams aren't allowing players to actually play."
What we have right now in the political climate of the NHL is a public image contest between the Owners and NHLPA. Let me state that I am more in favor of the player's image and their opinions, but again, they are not angels. There has to be some accountability among the players, especially those that received ridiculous contracts. They have to accept responsibility for not saying, "wait a second, while I might personally gain from these bonuses and contracts, they are not going to be good for other players, and the results could lead to a lockout."
Add into the case that Donald Fehr is going to release statements like this: “The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners. If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while negotiations continue. A lockout should be the last resort in bargaining, not the strategy of first resort. For nearly 20 years, the owners have elected to lock-out the players in an effort to secure massive concessions. Nevertheless, the players remain committed to playing hockey while the parties work to reach a deal that is fair for both sides. We hope we will soon have a willing negotiating partner.” You have to start questioning the role that the NHLPA is playing in all of this mess, and point out their overly exaggerated cries.
Let's be clear, not every player condones such behavior, and nor does every team owner (I hope). There are people on both sides with dignity, value and respect for the game and for their situations.
It seems we have learned to emulate the politicians of our current government, rather than become irate with it and culture ourselves based on opposite behavior. The Republicans showed us how to become a party of NO cooperation, choosing to fight any Obama initiative just because it was coming from a Democrat, and even if it meant a worse situation for the people. The Democrats just decided to cry about it. This has caused a rift in Democracy the likes of which no Democracy has ever seen, especially in America, which is one of the oldest of its kind. I can't help but see many comparisons to the NHL right now. I hope that the pendulum will swing back with just as much force, leading our country and our Hockey into a new era of positive progression, and sustainability, but it is just a hope.
The point is, both sides are guilty, it just happens that one is more guilty than the other. Unfortunately, it will most likely fall on the hands of the less guilty to make the first handshake and take a step towards a very skewed "center". Thats right players of the NHL, as much as you might be right in most regards, you are still going to have to be the ones to give in again. It is your game after all, you care about it more, you gave up your childhoods for it, educations for it, and whatever else. Remember, you are dealing with the Devil, and he/she will not budge, and can't lose. You on the other hand, can lose a lot more. Maybe this time around, you can ask your friends to take everyone else into consideration before signing to outrageous deals.
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