Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 9/14/12
The word "lockout" is looming over another major pro sport, this time the National Hockey League. In question-and-answer form, this is a look at the issues and implications of a work stoppage in the NHL. Q: Why is the NHL having labor issues? A: At its core, this is a dispute over money. The league's labor contract, agreed to seven years ago, expires at midnight EDT Saturday night. Having gained a salary cap in the current collective bargaining agreement, NHL owners want additional economic concessions from players. Players currently receive 57 percent of hockey-related revenue, and the owners want to bring that number down as far as perhaps 47 percent. The union offered a deal based on actual dollars, seeking a guarantee of the 1.8 billion players received last season. Q: Why do owners need a better deal? A: NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says "in these economic times there is a need to retrench." He says the last deal the players got was fair. In fact, from the owners' perspective, it was more than fair, especially considering all of the NHL's expenses are covered by the league, not the players. Q: And how have players responded? A: Citing that annual industry revenue has grown from 2.1 billion to 3.3 billion under the expiring deal, players say they shouldn't be forced to make concessions. They contend if some teams aren't making money, management should re-examine the clubs' revenue-sharing formula. Q: It seems like labor strife is common to the NHL. Is that true? A: It was been during the past two decades. Players struck in 1992, a walkout settled on the 11th day after 30 games were postponed. A 103-day lockout in 1994-95 led to the cancellation of 468 games, reducing each team's schedule from 82 games to 48. Another lockout eliminated the 2004-05 season, making the NHL the first major pro sports league in North America to lose an entire season to a labor dispute. It was settled on the 301st day, July 13, 2005, after players agreed to a salary cap. Q: Have other leagues had work stoppages recently? A: Yes. If the NHL work stoppage starts Sunday, it would be the third lockout in an 18-month span, following the NFL (March 11 to Aug. 5 last year) and the NBA (July 1 to Nov. 26 last year). While no NFL regular-season games were canceled, the NBA cut each team's schedule from 82 to 66 games. Q: Which of the U.S. major leagues has had the most labor turmoil? A: Major League Baseball still leads with eight work stoppages (five strikes and three lockouts), the last a 7-month strike that led to the cancellation of the 1994 World Series. The NFL has had five stoppages (four strikes and one lockout) and the NBA four (all lockouts). Q: So why has baseball been free from labor strife of late? A: It's likely not a coincidence that the three major U.S. leagues with salary caps all have had turmoil. Since the 1994-95 strike, baseball players and owners have concluded agreements without stoppages in 2002, 2006 and last year, finding that they can make concessions in certain areas in exchange for gains in others. The sports with the cap systems appear somewhat more restricted, with less areas of back-and-forth since the basic structure is in place. Q: Was the NHL hurt by the last lockout? A: Attendance did not suffer at all, lending credence to the notion that hockey has a committed fan base that will retain its season tickets. The league's regular-season average increased from 16,534 in 2003-04 to 16,954 in 2005-06, according to STATS LLC, and was 17,454 last season. Only seven teams experienced substantial decreases from 2003-04 to 2005-06: Columbus (17,369 to 16,796), Dallas (18,355 to 17,829), Edmonton (17,678 to 16,833), New Jersey (15,060 to 14,230), the New York Islanders (13,456 to 12,609), St. Louis (18,560 to 14,213) and Washington (14,720 to 13,905). In contrast, Major League Baseball has larger venues and nearly twice as many games and is far more reliant on single-game sales. After the 1994-95 strike, MLB's average attendance didn't recover to its pre-walkout level until 2007. Q: How about the NHL's wider audience, as measured by television ratings? A: Tampa Bay's win over Calgary in the 2004 Stanley Cup finals averaged 3.3 million viewers on ABC and ESPN, according to Nielsen Media Research, while Carolina's victory over Edmonton in 2006 averaged 2.8 million on NBC and OLN. Average viewers rose to 5.2 million on NBC and Versus when Chicago beat Philadelphia in 2010, then fell to 4.6 million on the same networks for Boston's victory over Philadelphia in 2011 and 3 million on NBC and the NBC Sports Network for Los Angeles' win over New Jersey this year. Just for comparison with other leagues, last February's Super Bowl was seen by 111 million people and the World Series and NBA Finals each averaged more than 16 million viewers. Q: How long would a lockout last? A: There's no telling, of course, but a settlement that would allow a midseason start figures to be a goal. The Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs is scheduled for Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Jan. 1, and the All-Star game is slated for Columbus, Ohio, on Jan. 27. This year's Winter Classic, a 3-2 win by the New York Rangers over Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park, averaged 3.74 million viewers on NBC and was the fifth-most watched regular-season NHL game in 37 years. This year's All-Star game was seen by 1.3 million on NBC Sports Network. In an indication of how much training time is needed, the 1994-95 lockout ended on Jan. 11 and the season started nine days later.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Grizzlies want Kevin Durant in free agency

WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns throws down monster dunk

Dos Anjos: McGregor will 'break like a girl' at UFC 196

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell hit in groin by LeBron pass

Kobe Bryant has great response to Tyronn Lue story

Report: St. Louis Blues no longer interested in Jonathan Drouin


Doc Rivers: Warriors have 'swagger' of defending champion

Damian Lillard added as a finalist for 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

Celtics legend Paul Pierce prepares for what ‘could be’ his last game in Boston

Free-agent WR Josh Morgan accidentally shot himself, charged with crime

Jon Beason retires after nine NFL seasons

Brewers Association sends Peyton Manning case of craft beer

Fighter says sex before fight partly to blame for loss

Kevin McHale: James Harden being out of shape hurt Rockets early

WATCH: Kevin Love re-injures left shoulder

Johnny Manziel’s grandpa on ex-girlfriend: ‘The girl has her problems’

Andy Dalton reunited with missing luggage thanks to social media

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

Mario Williams recognizes Bills may release him

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker