The NHL lockout claimed more victims today, with “just under 20” employees of the St. Louis Blues being laid off by the organization. Additionally, other employees have taken pay cuts or switching to a four day work week. Layoffs are spreading around the league, the Florida Panthers even have laid off their mascot. Some are comforted that Bettman is not taking pay while the league is locked out, but it is important to note that he is the lowest paid commissioner in the major North American sports. Still he took home close to $8 million in salary last year.
There has been some other news in the NHL, and much of it seems to be coming out of Alberta. First, the Edmonton Oilers are said to be considering Seattle as a potential site for relocation. While Bettman and the Edmonton mayor have been telling fans to note worry, it is worth noting that the Oilers owner was in Seattle to talk relocation. Also coming out of Edmonton is the news that the Oilers and the Calgary Flames are trying to have the lockout ruled as being illegal in the province. The NHL and NHLPA lawyers have congregated in Alberta, where they are currently arguing in front of the Alberta Labour Board as to whether a lockout is legal by the laws of the province. It would be curious to see how this turns out. If the lockout were found to be illegal in Alberta, though a similar motion has already been struck down in Quebec courts.
In other lockout news, the NFL referee lockout is still continuing, and the fans are angry. Last night in a key final play, the replacement referees seem to have made a mistake which changed the outcome of the game away from the Green Bay Packers to the fortune of the Seattle Seahawks. Individuals across the country now bemoan the “horrid” refereeing in the NFL, yet they continue to watch the game. Former 49ers QB Steve Young came out and said that if people are really so angry that they don’t like the product with replacement referees, they should stop watching. That doesn’t seem to be the case, as ESPN’s Sportscenter scored ratings around a 5.0 for their midnight broadcast. This is about four to five times higher than the normal viewership during this time period. It seems that the bad refereeing is almost drawing more attention to the league.
New Jersey state senator Stephen Sweeney isn’t amused by the referees. He has proposed that New Jersey consider banning replacement referees from working games in the state. Senator Sweeney is naturally a Packers fan.
Yet here we see government now trying to get more involved in sport, should they not be working on more important things than whether your favorite team had proper officials for their game?