NHL Lockout 2012: Are the NHL Players Too Personally Invested in Negotiations?

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NHL Lockout 2012: Are the NHL Players Too Personally Invested in Negotiations?
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The most volatile situation in sports is the NHL lockout.

You have 30 NHL owners and its representative, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, battling the NHL Players Association and its appointed leader, Donald Fehr.

The two sides are tasked with splitting up a revenue pie that was worth $3.3 billion in 2012.

The NHLPA is more than happy with the 57 percent of the pie that it received in the last collective bargaining agreement, while the NHL’s first offer in the current negotiations on the split was 43 percent to the players.

The negotiations should be all about business; one side has what the other wants.

Ideally, through the collective bargaining process, both sides will eventually be relatively happy. It’s not all that complicated.

Or is it?

A recent poll in the Oct. 15, 2012 edition of ESPN: The Magazine put the following question in front of NBA, NFL, MLB and NHL players: “If your league commish had to run for his office, would you vote for him or for someone else?” 

The results: 38.5 percent for David Stern, 57.9 for Bud Selig, 28.6 for Roger Goodell, 0.0 for Gary Bettman.

While it’s nice to see that the NHL players have a united front, it makes one wonder if things have gone beyond the realm of “it’s only business” on the side of the NHLPA.

If the players are taking the negotiating personally, it’s a huge mistake. I understand why they would, but that clouds judgment and decreases the possibility of this lockout ending anytime soon.

If the players are taking this personally, the 2012-13 season may already be lost.

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