Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Red Whines: Too Many Lockouts

Made in MS Paint. Based on "Too Many Babas."
At midnight Sunday morning, the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement expired, and the third NHL lockout in 20 years began. Many of the fans, as well as the players, had fears that this was going to happen. There was so much fear in this, they worked on starting negotiations earlier than originally planned. In fact, they started talks since around the time of the Stanley Cup Finals. They had more than two whole months to figure out what to do, and with all of the issues of some of the owners not showing up for talks and some of the players being split on what is being requested and asked for, we've pretty much seen the beginning of North American hockey's version of World War 3.

Right now, Gary Bettman is hockey's most hated man. After being named commissioner in 1993, he's been a part of all three of these lockouts, and fans are blaming him for these labor stoppages. He's mainly being blamed for not being able to control both parties; in turn, he doesn't care about what the fans think, because he allegedly states that "everyone is entitled to their own opinion." Cool by me, I guess.

Even former hockey players are baffled by the fact that the players and owners knew how complicated the negotiations were going to be and didn't think of starting CBA and labor talks even earlier than July. Former player and current commentator Jeremy Roenick (@Jeremy_Roenick) even said this on Twitter:
"Its a sad day for hockey fans. I just wonder why they didn't start negotiating a year ago. What a way to destroy a leagues momentum!"
He is absolutely right. The NHL just started getting their whole fanbase back, and what happens? The same thing that lost them in the first place. At this rate, the most faithful of NHL players are going to say to heck with it, play in Europe and Russia, and never think of coming back. It just really looks ugly for North American hockey.

With those statements aside, I have to get this off my chest.
This could have been avoided.

Another lockout like this just goes to show how badly things have to change between the front office, the owners, and the players. There's obviously a poor relationship throughout the league and there's barely any supervision or strictly enforced rules around the league. Heck, don't we all remember what the NHL was like before the canceled 2004-2005 season? There were salaries and taxes that matched and looked like the disgusting-looking contracts some overpaid baseball players make today. The inmates were running the asylum, so to speak. The bleeding was stopped with the CBA that was ratified in the summer of 2005, but not everything was settled in that CBA. Issues that still persisted was free agency, contract amounts and extension policies, and the shares between the players and the owners. With all of the bickering going on, it's like democrats against republicans times two because there are far lefts and far rights in both groups. The players and the owners themselves need to get something agreed on before they can actually negotiate a new Agreement. This league is arguably the least disorganized and united league in the world. Let's not joke around--it's true.

You almost wonder what the heck they were doing in the months prior to negotiations. What, were they just picking their noses and/or sitting on their hands the whole time watching Teen Mom? There were some groups that agreed on some beliefs that should be incorporated into the renewed CBA, but did they really talk to their respective teams about it to warm them up to what could happen? Uhh...no. There's no such thing as talking to your employees (the athletes on your owned team) to the owners, and there's obviously no such thing as the players and coaches meeting with the front office to check the "stocks and bonds" as it were. There's so much separation in the league that it looks like the parents versus the kids. At this rate, it's going to take several weeks before a real deal is made.

For the time being, people, just buy NHL '13. I really don't think there is going to be a season this year because the players and owners have been stuck at square one since July. If they haven't budged in two months, this is going to be a long lockout.

They stink.