Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dear Member of Parliament...

In an astonishing move the NHLPA has been revealed to have written a letter containing their rolling press babble to parliament.

It's astonishing mainly because I don't think the NHL could have made a better PR pitch if they had done so themselves.

This will be viewed as the inappropriate whining that it deserves to be cast as. The comments on TSN come down heavily in this way already. In fact, rarely have I seen so many people agreeing on user comments as those slamming Fehr for whining up the wrong tree.

The thing that both the NHL and NHLPA better realize quickly is that while fans are interested in the progress and have stock in the outcome of these negotiations. Most of this group with a reasonable grasp on reality also know that hockey is just a game we watch to pass some time on cold winter nights. Canadians want their parliament to work diligently to run the country, not get involved in ridiculous disputes between two groups of brats that can't agree how to split our spoils.

I will never forget the whiny tirade from Wayne Gretzky in Salt Lake City that turned my opinion on him. It was probably meant as a rallying cry, but it was so much more Sidney Crosby than Jose Mourinho, it came across as a whiny plea from a child. So too this from the players association. There is nothing that any Canadian does not know, or has not heard tens of times already from Donald Fehr. Bad whine.
What's more, this move is curious on a day that the NHLPA is meant also to be tabling an offer. it seems formidably out of step. I would not be surprised if Donald Fehr comes to claiming that the letter is a hoax, or a plant from the NHL. Such a bad tactical play it was.
That said, this was a group that already petitioned three provinces to block the lockout with provincial labour law, so you never know.

The only condition

"The players have proposed that their share of hockey-related revenue move towards the NHL's stated desire for a 50-50 split, with the only condition being that they honour contracts they have already signed."  

Although not contained in this all-important update, I think MPs will know just from mainstream news coverage that this is not the only condition.   If I was the league owners, I would think about jumping on this, however. If these changes to contracts are not conditions, the NHL should take the short-term financial hit and get the contract reform that will prove more valuable in the long-run to the small market teams.    

Red herring  

"To be clear, the lockout was a unilateral decision taken by the owners. It is the third lockout in eighteen years. Hockey has lost more games to work stoppages than the three other professional sports leagues combined, virtually all as the result of owners' lockouts."   I'm tired of this one, as it is intended to mislead.

Yes the owners called a lockout, but his occurred after years without negotiation, a summer wasted away on a hope of weak resolve and continued stubbornness from the NHLPA. It takes two parties to have a continued disagreement.   What really gets me is that you can actually hear players saying things like "Why should we help the owners get out of a mess they created. If they can't control themselves, then it's their own fault".   Well, yes. But also no. The owners cannot control the salaries of players across a league because that would be called collusion. In lieu of colluding to simply set a secret cap on spending, the owners are doing this in collaboration with the union and in view of the public. This is the owners trying to control the owners group.  

The players and their association know this. Yet at every turn they spew this nonsense.

In a league with a pretty major imbalance in revenue and profitable outfits, it is the only way to put in place a plan for the viability of a thirty team league.  

Listen players, the small market owners who are largely the ones suffering and in need of reform are telling you that 30 teams should not be taken fro granted. Now, that means nothing to sidney Crosby making league maximum, but it should mean something to the first 30 guys who'd lose their job if one team failed.


 I hope this offer today is meaningful. Not only because I want hockey, but because the painful spectacle we are watching here is getting worse
by the minute.

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