Federal mediators ask a lot of questions while trying to resolve a labor dispute. They try to cut through all the posturing, assess the bottom line differences between the two sides and propose ways to bridge those gaps.
Now that the NHL and the NHLPA have agreed to allow third-party assistance, I offer up some potential questions for the owners:
Do you really believe that shutting down the league every few years is a sound business model? Did you steal this strategy from good folks at McDonald’s, who teases America by giving it the McRib and then taking it away over and over again?
Do you realize that only a small percentage of Americans have even noticed that you aren’t staging games?
Rather than demand all wholesale rollbacks on player contracting rights, why not weigh player contracts on a case-by-case basis and only pay players what they are really worth?
Rather than demand a collective bargain agreement designed to protect yourselves against yourselves, why don’t you learn to say “no” to excessive salary demands?
When the players hired Donald Fehr, what is it about “they won’t cave easily” that you didn’t understand? Did you not Google his name to see what he has done in his career?
Do you realize that modern professional athletes are your partners, not your employees?
If the league is in grave financial shape, why were you guys signing players to eight-digit contracts right up to the moment you locked them out?
Why would one of you trumpet the signing of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise to 13-year, $98 million contracts if there was no intention to actually honor those deals in full?
Did agent Rich Winter hold somebody at gunpoint to get that nine-year, $51 million contract for client Ilya Bryzgalov?
What sort of imbecile would give Jeff Carter an 11-year, $58 million contract? And how could two other teams later take on that contract via trades?
Do none of your remember Jimmy Carson?
How is that 15-year contract for Rick DiPietro working out?
As for what I would ask the players, check out my story on STLToday.com.