Originally posted on Goon's World  |  Last updated 8/24/12

CHICAGO - MAY 03: Commissioner Gary Bettman of the National Hockey League speaks at a press conference before the Chicago Blackhawks take on the Vancouver Canucks in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center on May 3, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
If you had any hope of the CBA getting hammered out by the September 15, 2012 - those hopes were squashed today. This the zinger that Commissioner Gary Bettman uttered today at the end of 90 minute negotiating session between the NHL Owners and the NHLPA.
Gary Bettman:"we believe that we are paying the players more that we should be."
— Renaud P Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) August 23, 2012
Jesse Spector of the Sporting News has a really good story on Bettman's comments that he made today and he's not going to make a lot of friends with the fans and with the players. Shall we say that  in my opinion - we can say that it's game on now.
Another difference between Bettman of early August and Bettman of late August is that the younger Bettman expressed a “need” to lower costs, which was understandable. For teams that are struggling financially now, or that would be in several years under the current system as leaguewide revenues outpace local revenues, spending to the NHL’s salary floor is becoming an annual challenge. Seven teams finished 2011-12 under the projected $54.2 million floor for 2012-13 under the current CBA.

Contrast that with Thursday, and “we think we’re paying too much in salaries.” That’s a shift from a statement of plain-to-see fact to difficult-to-grasp opinion, and one that comes off as entirely hypocritical in the face of the $196 million the Minnesota Wild spent this summer on Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, or the Nashville Predators’ matching the Philadelphia Flyers’ $110 million offer to Shea Weber.

The counterargument to that is that teams are just playing by the rules of the current CBA, trying to compete as best they can. But the NHL’s owners did not become owners by making stupid business decisions, and it would be a lot easier for Bettman to make his case if star players were only getting offers from teams in the biggest markets. There’s a salary cap and a salary floor, and when the small-market Predators talk about wanting to be a cap team, it doesn’t do much for the case that the players are currently overpaid.
I agree with Spector, how can these owners pay these outrageous salaries and then in the next breath wheel their representative out and say that we're paying players too much in player costs.

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