Now that the talks between the NHL and NHLPA are “in recess for a couple of weeks” it seems clear that the next news on the CBA front will be on September 15th, when Gary Bettman will announce that NHL owners are once again going on strike.
As far as anyone can tell, the owners – all of them very, very rich – want more money, and lots of it.
The players apparently want two things. First, while they are prepared to take less money going forward, they are not prepared to take a rollback on existing contracts either directly or through escrow. (And can we blame them? Craig Leipold knew Gary Bettman was going to try to slice off a big chunk of Ryan Suter’s contract before the ink on it had dried. How hypocritical is that? Step one, sign the contract. Step two, state publicly that the contract proves that the owners need a new deal. Step three, go on strike unless Suter agrees to give back several million dollars. That’s chutzpah. Can you buy that kind of gall?)
Second, the players want some sort of mechanism that prevents the owners from playing the lockout game again next time the parties sit down to negotiate. No matter where one stands on the money issue, every fan should hope that the players win on this final issue.
Besides that, I only hope that the players are prepared to lose another year. The last thing they – or we – need is for the players to stand united until December before collapsing and signing a deal only marginally better than they could get today.
We’ve all been there and done that. Either fold now or go all in. No half measures.