Greetings, last night the National Hockey League (NHL) officially locked out players, making this the third lockout of Gary Bettman’s tenure as league boss. I find it absurd that someone would be allowed to be the commissioner of a league after two lockouts, but now his leadership has presented us with a third one. Of course, he really works for the owners, so as long as he is keeping the thirty or so super rich individuals across North America happy, he will stay in his job.
On Saturday, Bettman continued in doing his work for the owners when the league told the head of the players’ association (Donald Fehr) to not even bother trying to get a last minute face-to-face meeting to try and bring the sides to a compromise. Granted, this may have been a waste of time as the sides are still too far apart on any deal happening. The players had already taken a 24 percent cut in salaries to end the previous lockout in 2005, now the owners want the players to drop the percentage of revenues they share by around 8 to 10 percent. The players weren’t going to agree to this, the Collective Bargaining Agreement was thus allowed to expire, and thus we are now in a lockout.
In my opinion the league has continued to slash costs, the previous time the league had some good arguments to reduce costs, but this time around it seems as if they just want to slash costs because they can. The NHL is scheduled to begin play in October, but that seems to be in doubt as there is no way a deal will get done in time to get players to training camp and ready for the season by then… unless those players bolt to Europe. The exodus has already begun, Evgeni Malkin has already left to play in the KHL in Russia. The KHL was well prepared and set out rules about the number of players from the NHL a team can sign during a lockout, and that the salaries can’t exceed 75% of what the player makes in the NHL.
Already several players are headed over to play in Europe which makes me think that with other revenue sources for many players readily available, this lockout could last a long time. One wonders if this could be the end of the NHL as we know it.