Lock-A-Mania 2012: A Response To The NHL

The NHL issued a message to “their fans” earlier today. We’re going to go through this apology with a finely tuned weed wacker.

You can view the message in its entirety by clicking here.

Despite the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the National Hockey League has been, and remains, committed to negotiating around the clock to reach a new CBA that is fair to the Players and to the 30 NHL teams.

That’s cool. I’d like to see some hockey in October. Or December. Or March. Knowing I have the NHL on my side is reassuring.  I think.

Thanks to the conditions fostered by seven seasons under the previous CBA, competitive balance has created arguably the most meaningful regular season in pro sports; a different team has won the Stanley Cup every year; fans and sponsors have agreed the game is at its best, and the League has generated remarkable growth and momentum.

“Remarkable growth”…”momentum”… Those are all nice words, but you’re looking for a new deal. I understand that. I don’t think that makes you the bad guy. You want to make as much money as you can, and so do the players. Let’s go to the next clip.

While our last CBA negotiation resulted in a seismic change in the League’s economic system…

Seismic!

…and produced corresponding on-ice benefits, our current negotiation is focused on a fairer and more sustainable division of revenues with the Players — as well as other necessary adjustments consistent with the objectives of the economic system we developed jointly with the NHL Players’ Association seven years ago. Those adjustments are attainable through sensible, focused negotiation — not through rhetoric

Okay, stop right there.

You’re kidding me, right?

The league is trying to get a new deal done, yet they signed Shane Doan to a four year, 21.2million dollar deal less than 48 hours before locking the players out.

Again, let me repeat that.  The league owns the Phoenix Coyotes.  The league gave Shane Doan a 21.2 million dollar contract less than 48 hours before the league would lock out its players.  The league is complaining that it is paying its players too much.  The league says that the old CBA is unworkable.

Yet, the league gives Shane Doan a $21M contract to play for the Phoenix Coyotes just hours before the league locks out its players.

Read it again.  Not angry yet?  This actually happened.  Read it again.

Who else got fat deals?  Winnipeg’s Evander Kane signed a six year extension at an average of 5.25M per year.  Ducks defenceman Cam Fowler signed a five year deal at an average of 4M per year.  Boston’s Milan Lucic?  He got a three year deal at six million a year. Alex Burrows was signed to a four year, eighteen million dollar deal.

Each one of these deals was finalized no more than 72 hours before the NHL locked out the players.

I understand you want reform, and I agree, the system needs change.  But you lose every shred of credibility in this war when you slam down these big money contracts at 11:59 of a deal that you say is unworkable.

This is a time of year for all attention to be focused on the ice, not on a meeting room. The League, the Clubs and the Players all have a stake in resolving our bargaining issues appropriately and getting the puck dropped as soon as possible. We owe it to each other, to the game and, most of all, to the fans.

Leave me alone.

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