All labor disputes, whether they involve millionaire athletes or low-wage workers, are dominated by money and greed, but this NHL lockout has been all about greed.
Both sides have a strong idea of what the new CBA offer will look like, but they are letting greed and their egos stand in the way of doing what's right for the NHL and the sport of hockey as a whole.
These two things matter, because when the league and its players stop being greedy and leave their egos outside of the bargaining room, a new agreement will finally be made. The league doesn't need to lose a season over the current issues separating the two sides in this lockout.
If there's no 2012-13 season, it's because the two sides weren't able to prevent greed and ego from having an impact on their actions. There's no excuse for a failure to divide over $3 billion in revenues.
Even though greed is playing a major role in this work stoppage, ego is having just as much of an impact on both sides.
The players have demonstrated throughout this process that they want revenge for the outcome of the last lockout. They have been very critical of league commissioner Gary Bettman and have blamed him for the lockout and lack of progress being made.
The level of anger toward Bettman from the players has been extraordinary, especially since the lockout started on September 15. For the players, defeating the owners this time around is personal.
A lot of the motivation that the players have in this dispute comes from their desire to defeat Bettman, which could possibly lead to him being fired by the owners. But if getting rid of Bettman is the ultimate goal of the players, this lockout could last a long time. It's unlikely that he will leave the NHL regardless of who wins the current negotiations.
Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild has not been afraid to share his feelings on Bettman (via Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times):
Zach Parise on Gary Bettman: “He loves his lockouts.”— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) September 13, 2012
Teemu Selanne has also been critical of Bettman (via Luke Fox Sportsnet.ca):
“He is certainly the NHL’s most hated person!” Selanne writes (translated). “He makes more than $8 million a year. Would Mr. Bettman be willing to give up part of his salary to these ‘poor’ teams? Hmm ... interesting question.”
Even if you can understand the players' feelings, it's foolish for them to damage the sport they love and that has made them famous just to settle a score with a man they don't like. The players need to put their ego to the side, much like the owners need to be less greedy for a deal to be made.
This lockout could have been settled many months ago, but the two sides have continued to fight for every last dollar, every extra percentage point of hockey-related revenue (HRR) and every rule/provision that will maximize their earnings moving forward.
When the league and its players stop being greedy and prevent egos from shaping their decisions, a deal will be made and the NHL will be back in business.
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