As the lockout is now a reality, it is time to shift and look at the costs and ripple effects of an NHL lockout. The cost of the lockout goes beyond players not playing, and fans not buying tickets/merchandise and owners losing money all around. The lockout costs people that work within EACH NHL franchise their work and salaries the duration of the work stoppage [whether its a delayed season or entire season lost]. With this decision of making the lockout a reality…Bettman halted[temporarily took away] many jobs. The lockout also costs local business the money they would have profited from airing the games in their establishments and often count on the extra profits they take in during the regular season and playoffs. The lockout also costs many young rising stars their positions in the ECHL, CHL, and AHL while an influx of NHL stars will be added to their teams roster and replacing some of them. The lockout costs players from other leagues [KHL, Swedish Elite League, and the European Leagues] as some locked out NHL players will be seeking temporary [or possibly full season] positions with their teams. Each team in the other various leagues can only add so many EXTRA players to their rosters. Bettman has effectively forced the players into a corner…forcing them to take roster spots from others or not to play at all. Do the NHL players want to steal positions from other players? Probably not…they just want to play hockey and unfortunately it may mean playing in the place of someone else. And what of the younger players or the players in the other leagues? Do you think they would say NO to having proven NHL talent come to join their team [if only briefly or all season long]? Probably not. The players of all the leagues could probably teach each other a thing of two.
The lockout also has more costs. Costs within the league itself. This lockout could force certain players to miss their ONE last year and force them into retirement should the entire season be lost. And that would be a tragedy…for a player to lose their LAST chance to go all the way ONE last time. Teemu Selanne, Daniel Alfredsson, Jaromir Jagr, Chris Pronger, and Tim Thomas all fall into the category of possibly being forced to retire. Mind you…Pronger may be forced to walk away from the game due to his ongoing concussion symptoms and Tim Thomas has given taken a self induced year away from the game. It may be a cruel way for Pronger to have to leave the game behind…but if he is forced to retire….he should have no regrets as he has succeeded at every level he has played [world championship, 2 Olympic GOLD medals, & a Stanley Cup]. Thomas if he comes back next season may have a hard time finding a team that will want him on their roster following his controversial antics that he has fallen privy to. Teemu Selanne, Daniel Alfredsson and Jaromir Jagr however still have a lot of swag in their game and all three of them decided to come back for ONE more year and they may very well be robbed of that chance. Can you think of a more cruel fate than being robbed of ONE last chance to follow your dream all because of a numbers game. Well done Bettman…you may have robbed some of the best veteran players in the game of their ability to end the game on their own terms as you may have boxed them in a lockout corner. Job well done, really.
And if you didn’t think that these players are aware of just how delicate this situation is…Selanne dedicated a blog post to venting his vehement dislike of Bettman’s decision. Earlier today it was revealed that Selanne published a blog post…titled simply “What gives Gary Bettman?”. Selanne experience the last lockout and has seen what he calls ‘remarkable’ financial growth and that the ‘on-ice product of the game is more interesting than ever.’ Selanne further calls out the OWNERS as responsible for the front loaded long-term deals which are bad business decisions. Selanne takes a special dislike to the owner of the Minnesota Wild who has been full of nothing but contradictions since signing his prized packaged deal of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. Following the signing of this duo…the Minnesota Wild owner was gushing about how excited the hockey world and Minnesota was with these massive deals. However shortly afterwards…the Wild Owner was then quoted saying “how incomprehensible the new long-term deals deals are!” Are you kidding me? He thinks the long-term deals are absurd….HE signed not one but TWO players to LONG-TERM…heavily front loaded $100 million contracts. This is the third lockout during the less than 20 year tenure of Bettman…who will be making $8 million salary…to which Selanne asked “Would BETTMAN be willing to give up part of HIS salary to the poorer teams as the the players suggested they would like to do?” It certainly is an interesting question for Bettman to grapple with…as he was part of the team in developing the last CBA and setting up the NHL salary cap system. He set the % of the pie slice [aka revenue] that the players would receive during the last lockout and now he looks to make that slice smaller.
To the fans, Selanne had this to say: “On behalf of the fans I’m really sorry. They really do not deserve this. The world’s finest sport does not deserve this. I’m disappointed, vainly waiting for better news.” You are not the only one vainly awaiting better news, Selanne. The fans will continue to hold on to that faint flicker of hope that is the Winter Classic in mo-town on New Years. Here’s hoping the lockout is not drawn out like last time and that Fehr and the NHLPA figure out how to solve a problem named Gary Bettman and his unwavering lockout determination.
As always, until next time, nuck said.