NHL Podcast: Why a Lockout Would Destroy the Popularity of Hockey in the USAAugust 14, 2012
On September 15, 2012, the current collective bargaining agreement will expire, and if a deal is not met by then, the NHL will go through another lockout, and the third one under commissioner Gary Bettman.
There are so many different aspects to go over, but I went over everything in full through my podcast, which is attached to this article. First off, who is to blame?
Well both sides, of course. Oh, and Gary Bettman.
The guys that back the commissioner will say that everyone is pointing the finger at him just because he is the head honcho, but look at it from a historic standpoint—this would be the third lockout under Gary Bettman. That is ridiculous!
The NHL survived the last lockout when the entire 2004-05 season was eliminated, but barely.
The new rules created did have a substantial impact on the way the game is played, and the adjustments have been made now that the new systems of a more wide-open game have been adapted. However, if there was a lockout this season, there is no escaping.
The KHL would take so many players and keep them for years, even after a negotiation was figured out, begging the question of whether players can get bought out to play in Russia and not deal with the shadiness that is the NHL ownership.
Look at a superstars like Evgeni Malkin, who only has two years left on his current contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
You think Gino isn't going to sign a long-term contract in Russia, his native land, for more money than he could dream of making in the NHL? He has a league MVP, a Stanley Cup—why wouldn't he finish out his career at home and be around his family?
The main issue that really drives me crazy is how both sides fail to realize what exactly is meant by the word "compromise." If either side's members think they are going to come out of this scenario walking on cloud nine, they're out of their minds.
Neither side is going to be completely happy, but they need to find a way to transcend their own personal selfishness and look at the industry as a whole.
The game will be destroyed in the United States. That is the bottom line.
People also fail to look at the outside collateral damage.
How many little kids will give up on their dream of playing in the NHL? How many vendors, stadium workers and merchandise sellers will lose their jobs?
There are so many issues at hand, and it can all be saved through compromise.
How likely that is to happen is still yet to be shown.