The players blew it 
I've got a lot to say but I'm going to put down a few things here....

Firstly, the players messed this up royally.

For me, the biggest thing is to listen to the former players still involved in hockey. Bob Gainey, Gretzky, Lemieux, Darren Pang (who said ESPN was set to lose 20 million broadcasting the NHL next season), and Cherry - they know that the players had to give more. The players say, and listening to Glen Healy repeat this for hours has taken years off my life, that the players always had to give - more, and more. Well, that's right Glen - and they didn't give enough to make it work.

Their 24% paycut would have put salaries in the mid 55% of league revenues but they wouldn't agree to keep it at that range - no partnership. If the game grew, salaries would grow - no dice from the players.

Why not - why wouldn't they agree to it?

Philosophically - players are such hard blooded capitalists that they demanded a true marketplace where they could be paid according to their local markets. That is a joke.

Professional sports is a unique industry. The marketplace isn't real - it's one company, the NHL, and rising salaries hurt all 30 of it's divisions. The NHL product doesn't improve as a whole if salaries go up but each team must compete for the best players or else their ticket sales drop.

The players must have been told that the league is lying - the players are convinced it seems that the league is not in as bad a shape as it appears. They continue to believe that league is hiding revenue streams. I think they believe this because Goodenow et al. has convinced them over 10 years that this is the case. It continues to astonish me that some senior players haven't taken more of a leadership role themselves. Goodenow has been able to SURPRISE his membership with a 24% rollback, and SURPRISE them with a salary cap but still have their trust.

Mike Commodore and Pierre Dagenais, two young players, were re-educated after NHLPA meetings, saying they now understood the issues - whatever - you have a peer pressure group like never seen before - what do you think they are going to say.

Will there be hockey in the fall? Not with the current NHL players. Don Cherry said tonight that the owners are missing out on the playoff money so why would they pay the players for the first half of next season?

Possibly, as analysts and others have suggested, this does provide an opportunity for league to comeback next fall refreshed, with the labour dispute behind them, with new rule changes to make the game exciting. Maybe they are right.

I doubt it. I don't think the players get it yet.

Replacement players.

Bring 'em on. I'll support my team.

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