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Lockouts Suck. Blame the Owners.



Lockouts Suck. Blame the Owners.

Well, it’s September, so it’s about the time of year for me to start getting excited about hockey season. Except it’s also the Bettman era and the CBA expired, so inevitably there is yet another lockout. I hate Gary Bettman. I don’t care if he only is a pawn of the owners. I hate them too (except Mario, the guy deserves at least 85% of the credit for making me a hockey player turned hockey fan, I thanked him during his playing days by giving him a card of himself, and I’ll thank him now by excluding him from my hatred of the owners). Because the NHL lockout pisses me off and it is fun to write articles as a cranky, old, pissed off guy (mostly because I am a cranky, pissed off guy who is older than the average Calfer), I am going to once again enlighten you about what sucks (hint: it’s still everything, but for now I’ll focus on NHL owners [sans 66]).

In case you happened to miss the story buried behind whatever football related hysteria ESPN is pushing these days (I stopped watching, I bet it is Tebow-related), the NHL has locked its players out. The chief discrepancy between the two parties is obviously money. Owners claim not to have enough of it, and players would like to be paid the amounts that appeared on the contracts they signed (and to sign future contracts for comparable amounts). It blows my freaking mind that the NHL could rake in record revenues three years in a row and still cry poverty when it comes time for CBA negotiations. They claim that teams in smaller and/or “nontraditional” markets are losing money as a result of escalating player salaries. The truth is that teams in most of the smaller markets are doing just fine and teams in “nontraditional” markets are suffering because nobody wants to watch hockey in the desert or on the beach. Luckily there are plenty of “traditional” hockey markets that would love new teams. Mr. Bettman, your grand plan of expanding into southern US cities was a failure. Give it up.

Because moving the Coyotes and Panthers of the world up to Quebec and Seattle is not a realistic solution to me missing hockey next month (though it still makes perfect sense in the long run), I have an alternative solution. It’s called revenue sharing.

Why should the onus of saving struggling teams fall to the players of financially successful teams but not their owners? If one team is making record profits and another is losing money, and they are both paying their players the same amount (ballpark), how can we deduce that the issue at hand is increasing salaries? And how will cutting salaries across the board be anything more than a band aid for poor franchises and fattening the wallets of the rest? This is a sham. The fact that the salary cap went into place without a better revenue sharing plan in the first place was a sham. I understand that the players were getting too much of the revenue pie. By their own admission they were getting too much of the revenue pie. Let’s just settle on a 50/50 split and move on.

One thing the CBA shouldn’t be for is to protect NHL teams from themselves. If you sign a guy to an asinine contract, offering him more than he is worth for a longer time than he will be useful, that’s your own damn fault. Forget amnesty, forget rollbacks (the current NHL proposal is asking for the amounts of current salaries under SIGNED CONTRACTS to be rolled back 9%), forget escrow (for those who don’t know, 18% of players’ salaries go into an escrow account, in case the teams “accidentally” pay more than their share, they can recover that money).

I’m about to blow your mind and solve this whole damn mess, but before I do, I’m gonna complain to you about other crap surrounding the lockout that has annoyed me.

  1. Darren Rovell blaming fans for the lockout (when Googling this article I typed “Darren Rovell” and “douche” auto-populated, I rest my case). Go back to tweeting pictures of food. I see plenty of diehards in NFL jerseys, I also don’t see any lockouts in European soccer. I guess they just don’t love the sport like we hockey fans do (tangent [this whole paragraph is a tangent, I guess that makes this a cotangent {that may not make sense, I don’t remember what those are, don’t tell Mrs. Book <extrapolate>}]: as a Penn Stater and NHL fan, I’m clearly to blame with half of what is wrong with this country).
  2. The idea that players should just shut up and take less money, because Joe Shmuck (I didn’t know whether it was Shmoe or Schmoe, and Joe Shmuck is funnier anyway [or is it Schmuck?]) would play the game for free. Well guess what Mr. Shmuck; I wouldn’t pay to watch you play. Along the same lines: Yes, they make more than you, the average NHL career is also only 5 years. I intend to make more in my consulting career than the average hockey player will make in his playing career (the same cannot be said for my blogging career), and I don’t really have to worry about life-altering injury or letting down an entire city.
  3. This has nothing to do with hockey or the lockout; I’m getting out of control. I just took a break from writing this article to give my dog a flea treatment. He hates flea treatments. I tried calming him down by saying, “DOG, it’s no big deal, I’ll just squirt some of this stuff on you and we’ll be done, it only takes a second.” He responded by pissing on my leg. Touché, Ulfie, touché.
  4. If you are a fan of a team and you are complaining about a player going to the KHL, shut up. Should he really be loyal to a team that literally locked him out of their facility and is currently not paying him? In the words of Dwight Schrute, “Look, I’m all about loyalty. In fact, I feel like part of what I’m being paid for here is my loyalty. But if there were somewhere else that valued loyalty more highly, I’m going wherever they value loyalty the most.”
  5. Ed Snider, who is kind of a big deal at NBC, also owns the Flyers. The contract signed with NBC has lockout protection. So the owners will still be receiving their biggest revenue stream while avoiding their biggest expense. I’ve seen conspiracy theories built on much less (like the fact that the guys who figured out how to FLY TO THE DAMN MOON could not possibly have the foresight to rig up some wiring to make a flag presentable for a picture).
  6. Stop comparing players unions to any other unions. The parallels stop at the word “Union”. If a school district is screwing the teachers, the best teachers can go get hired in another district. If a professional sports league is screwing the players, they can move to Europe or play for a fraction of their value in a minor league. Players unions are negotiating with an international league, which has a monopoly on the TV deals (hence, money) for their sport.

This is a very dumbed-down system but here you go: At the end of an NHL season, you calculate the league wide hockey related revenue (also, how are we all of a sudden trying to change that definition, are you shitting me? Hockey related revenue is the revenue related to hockey. Done and done) you divide that number in half; this represents the players’ percentage of hockey related revenue.

Take that number and divide it by 30 (that’s how many teams there are. Try to keep up), and there you have the target total salary for each NHL team. Now, each team will be allowed to spend $10M below that number if they are poor or $10M over that number, with a 100% “luxury tax” that will be used for revenue sharing.

What a freaking breakthrough, the season is saved. Pay me Bettman’s salary, he’s a jackass. And get the hell off my lawn.

Story is courtesty of www.thecalfmuscle.com

The content expressed in fanposts does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the staff here at Pensburgh.com. FanPosts are opinions expressed by fans of various teams throughout the league but may be more Pittsburgh-centric for obvious reasons.

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