So the concensus around the NHL water cooler is that there will be a lockout, but hockey at its highest level should be ready to go around late November, American Thanksgiving. That is when most pundits seem to be predicting that the two sides will finally be able to “miraculously” savethe season.
Meanwhile, as the league and the PA continue to flex their muscles and millionaires battle billionaires over how to split the revenues, there is often the forgotten collateral damage that most people often overlooked. No matter which side of the CBA fence you fall on, don’t forget about the ushers, parking attendants, concession workers who don’t get paid millions and who also don’t get paid when there are no games. These people are often students or others on fixed incomes who depend on the money they earn from the part time work to make ends meet. Restaurants and other hockey related businesses will also suffer during the time the NHL arenas are dark.
It seems to me that the NHL and the PA both have some idea of what the final CBA is going to look like when it gets done, and right now it is all about making themselves look stronger and appearing to put up a greater fight than perhaps they really need to. They have a timeliness in their mind of when it needs to be done, and they are showing no urgency to make it happen any faster.
Whatever happens, you can bet that on September 15th Bettman and Fehr will have separate press conferences talking about how unfortunate it is that it has come to a lockout and how they both will work diligently to get an agreement done. Then, when the agreement is reached mid-November, they will be playing the roles of the heros, because they managed to do something they couldn’t do in 2004-05 – salvage some of the season.
Meanwhile, a little more diligent work in July would have allowed an agreement to be done already and not have thousands of people suffer financial strain for no good reason other than to allow a smug little lawyer the chance to stand at the podium and act like he actually did something to earn his multi-million dollar salary.
As a hockey fan and writer, I am sick of writing and hearing about the impending lockout, but I will be returning as soon as the puck drops. But in the meantime I pity the “little people” who will have their lives turned upside down by a fight that was completely unnecessary.