The Lockout Marches On

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As the 2012 NHL owner imposed lockout continues, L.I. Newsday reports that reps from both sides will informally meet on Monday in Toronto to discuss what is essentially at the very crux of the disagreement; the dispensing of hockey related revenue amongst players and team owners. Expected to meet are the ‘B listers’; Steve Fehr and Bill Daly and various players and minions.

From what I can gather at this point, it’s not just as much the two sides deciding how much the players should receive in the new deal, but actually agreeing on what hockey related revenue really is. I say this because I still get a funny feeling that they haven’t nailed those details down yet. I’m not an insider here in this whole fiasco, but the NHLPA and owners need to be explicitly clear about the sources of the revenue, today and for the length of the new CBA, before moving forward if for no other reason than to give both sides the warm-fuzzies and perhaps ensure a longer contract. You gotta put one foot in front of the other, put the other foot down, down, down. This could take some more time.

The players want guaranteed money. Can’t blame ’em, but I sure as hell don’t think they are going to get the 1.8 million they are seeking; not in the first few years of this deal. I’d be shocked if any money is guaranteed.  Note: Last year the NHL raked in $3.1 billion.

What does any of this mean to the New York Islanders? Well, I don’t really know. It all depends on whether a new salary cap number gets agreed upon and whether rollbacks get thrown in. Additionally, contract amnesty could come about too in a new deal, in which case each team can dictate a deal/salary that essentially ‘goes away’. Speculate for yourself whom you may think that would be on the Isles. But hold on, let’s not put the cart in front of the horse. That sort of thing, which may be quickly agreed upon, is still aways away.

My take, though not nearly as informed as some, is pretty simple and leads in large part to my mounting disgust and frustration with the parties involved. Why not a 50-50 split? How difficult is that, really? Split it down the middle. And why not more revenue sharing? Some reports I’ve read indicate that the NFL shares nearly every dime of revenue amongst the teams. Implement it, now. It’d be hilarious to see the owners discuss that one. Might not even come to the table though considering it only takes 8 owners to toss out any new proposals. The financially smaller and weaker owners may not even attempt to raise the point realizing there are at least 8 powerhouse owners that would gun down the idea of more comprehensive revenue sharing. Lastly, why not let camps open and work hard toward getting a deal done. Maybe bring in an outside arbitrator. Are they really that far apart? Are they really that dug in? I guess the answer is somewhat apparent given Bettman’s track record for stubbornness vs. Donald Fehr’s legacy as an organized and experienced player rep.

To note, it’s almost certain, but not yet announced: the cancellation of the 10/2 pre-season tilt at ‘The Barc’. Though it doesn’t mean that the game couldn’t be played later if a shortened season is salvaged (and I do think both will happen), it does take away some potential leverage the team had with the county towards a new arena. The luster has been lost. Who knows, maybe it’s a blessing in disguise and not as big a deal as we think considering the game had yet to reach 10K in ticket sales.

Hang in there folks.

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