For the particulars around the deal, our own King Shark wrote a great snapshot and the guys at TSN are always good for a spin around the NHL’s water cooler. What this came down to was two egomaniacs butting heads. Consider that last month the NHL and NHLPA met and conducted great negotiationg sessions until these two knuckleheads decided to stick their heads back into the bargaining sessions and blew it all up. So who won and who lost the negotiating, just them or were there more winners and losers?
The biggest winner: Donald Fehr
This one’s easy. The whole time Bettman and his cronies were offering up their “best” offers, Fehr kept whispering in the players’ ears that the best was yet to come (awesome piece on this topic by Puck Daddy’s Ryan Lambert from a few days ago). He was right. The players hired him to get the best deal, stayed unified the whole time (remember Couture’s tweet?) and he got them a way better deal than the NHL was ready to give initially. The union would be smart to give this guy a 10-year deal of his own.
The biggest losers: part-time hockey fans who never cared or showed up for games in the first place
If you hadn’t fallen in love with hockey before, this sure as heck made it tough to do. Hopefully the compressed season will help because it will be more tense. If the rumors are true, the in-division rivarlries will be pushed to the forefront, but still. It’s not like a full 82-game schedule.
It’s ok for the rest of us in terms of league health, because, casual fans, you were never driving the revenue of the sport. You were on the fringes. For Jabba the Bettman, you are the Greedo to the true fan’s Han Solo. Want to jump back on board the puck bandwagon? Sure! Plenty of room! But if you’re looking to leave, feel the sting of the blaster! (shout out to Former World Connect Four Champion and Han Solo lookalike Dave Dameshek)
Another winner: Gary Bettman
This guy keeps on standing. There are dozens of websites, insulting comic strips and hate haikus dedicated to the Commish, but ultimately he got the league’s ownership what they wanted: better cost certainty. The last lockout was a massive win because he instituted, for the first time in the NHL’s history, a salary cap. This time around he got further into the muckity muck of it and got MORE cost certainty for a longer time period. 8 years of labor peace ahead, with salaries fixed to revenues at 50/50 for the length of the deal. Wow.
A local winner: The San Jose Sharks
We are an older team. A shorter season favors the roster in an insanely great way. We will have more analysis on this in upcoming articles so stay tuned.
The other other winner: You and me
Look no further than the mirror, folks. Hockey is back.
Top 5 things I did during the lockout (these are all true)
1) Showed my kids old games on TV and convinced them that they were, indeed, watching in real time
2) Paid for the NBA League Pass package on DirecTV and didn’t watch a single game from start to finish
3) Got WAY too into European leagues
4) Learned that minor league hockey is great (shout out to our own Ryan Bayer and the amazing coverage he put together of the Sharks’ affiliates, quickly becoming a recognized expert in the field)
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