Originally written on Goon's World  |  Last updated 11/12/14

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)
As most of you know the NHL Commissioner threw cold water on the NHLPA’s proposal and now NHL hockey fans have to worry if there is going to be a work stoppage that could cost us a good share of the NHL season. To quote Gary Bettman, "There's still a wide gap between us with not much time to go."

A while back, my good buddy Redwing77 suggested that the NHL contract a few teams – over on Sportsnet.CA Michael Grange has suggested the same things as well.
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing NHL owners is that they are in business with some real dog-and-pony shows. On one hand you have Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which -- on-ice performance aside -- is perhaps the most sophisticated sports ownership group on the planet. According to Forbes, the Leafs' 2010–11 operating income of $81.8 million nearly matched the next two most lucrative operations -- the Rangers and Canadiens -- combined. (And if you're looking for a staggering figure, the other 27 teams combined for $44.4 million in operating losses.)

On the other hand you have the New York Islanders, who could hold a rat rodeo in the bowels of the decrepit Nassau Coliseum and have taken John Tavares hostage. Phoenix is Phoenix. Columbus is a joke, and Florida can barely draw Canadians during March Break. But what if we chopped two teams and moved two more? More revenue for the league and the players to share, and less bad news for the rest of us. No-brainer.

Lopping off two teams (and before you say that's crazy, I talked to one former NHL governor who wished it was six) makes the league six percent smaller, but as the former governor told me, “You know that revenues wouldn't drop by six percent.” Right away, each remaining team's share of revenues would increase as they would only have to divide by 28 instead of 30; it would also mean two fewer clubs on the receiving end of revenue-sharing cheques. Lopping off the Islanders and Panthers would cut league revenues by $144 million (based on 2010–11 figures compiled by Forbes) but would increase the average earned per team from $103 million to $105 million.
I found a post by a Devils fan on the NJ.COM site that I really agree with… I thought I would share it with you because it probably the same way a lot of NHL fans feel. I wonder sometimes if the NHL would be better off spending their 7.5 million dollars on someone else.
Gary Bettman is a buffoon threatening a lock out, Last year was a breakout year for the NHL with TV coverage of all the playoff games. Building from that, the popularity is finally going in the right direction and he wants to derail the whole thing. The cap system he scrapped an entire season to get was supposed to save the team owners from themselves. The owners find a way to get around this "savoir cap system" with enormous long term contracts, spending themselves into financial trouble once again. Now Bettman wants to scuttle the progress the league has made withe the fan base by sabotaging the CBA negotiations, he should keep his mouth shut and the the process work. The attitude of of closing up shop if I don't get my way is counter productive, nobody wins with a lockout financially everyone loses; teams, players, cities, vendors, parking, restaurants/bars all lose a revenue steam
It does appear that he owners want to move back to 2004-05 lockout era and I am not sure that is even possible? The more I read – the more I think there is not going to be any easy solution – that is going to happen any time soon.
Under the NHLPA's offer, the difference would be much less significant.

Donald Fehr, the union's executive director, bristled at the parallels Bettman drew to other pro leagues -- "every sport has its own economics," he said -- and indicated that the gap in talks was actually created by the NHL's initial proposal in July.

"There's a pretty substantial monetary gulf which is there and when you start with the proposal the owners made how could it be otherwise?" said Fehr. "I mean consider what the proposal was: It is 'Let's move salaries back to where they were before the (2004-05) lockout started, back to the last time.' That's basically what it was.

"'We had a 24 per cent reduction last time, let's have another one.' That was the proposal. That's what creates the gulf."

The sides broke off from talks with two completely different offers on the table and no meaningful negotiation sessions planned for a week. A sub-committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday, but Bettman and Fehr won't sit down together again until Aug. 22.

It's impossible to ignore the looming threat of a lockout.[TSN.CA]
I also don’t know how the owners can sign players to outrageous salaries and then say – we would like to have the players take a 24% roll back in salaries – especially after the Weber, Parise and Suter Salaries. I think this is why the players and fans are cynical if not downright dismissive of the owners.

Think about this, the NHL has a works stoppage every 5.25 years – I don’t know if any professional can make that claim.

Glean what you what you want from Fehr’s statement about the owners.

Also, there was a feelings of optimism after the NHLPA made its proposal on Tuesday – those feelings of optimism – expressed by many on Tuesday – were squashed on Wednesday when the Owners led by Gary Bettman rejected the NHLPA proposal saying, “there’s still a wide gap between us with not much time to go,”
Pat Leonard, New York Daily News --- A lockout this fall would be the fourth NHL work stoppage in the past 21 years, and once again it’s clear that Bettman and the owners believe it to be their best negotiating tactic – dig their feet into the sand until they get what they want.

The league filed the notice of termination of the current CBA in May. The NHL’s opening proposal in July then was intentionally, drastically far from what the owners knew the players would accept. Finally, Bettman confirmed last week that the owners would lock the players out on Sept. 15 – when the current deal expires – if a new agreement isn’t in place.

“There’s only one party here that’s talking about Sept. 15,” Fehr said. “You make of that what you will.”

The players made clear they’re not caving to all of the owners’ demands, but at least their proposal indicated a desire to compromise with the NHL. The NHLPA is still waiting to hear similar rhetoric from the league.

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