"There's a meaningful gulf there."
That was the comment of Donal Fehr about the union's and owners' view on revenue sharing, but it might as well be the whole structure of the new CBA. And we sit merely a month and a couple days from the current CBA running out. But there doesn't seem to be any urgency on either side. One might get the impression that the owners want a lockout to break the players, while the players wouldn't mind a shortened schedule. But that's just me talking.
"I re-confirmed something that the union has been told multiple times over the last nine to 12 months. Namely, that the time is getting short and the owners are not prepared to operate under this collective bargaining agreement for another season so we need to get to making a deal and doing it soon. And we believe there's ample time for the parties to get together and make a deal and that's what we're going to be working towards."
And those were Gary Bettman's words. I understand the frustration that you might detect from those quotes. Everyone knew the date the CBA ended. But the NHLPA is, or was, one of the biggest messes around. It took them forever to get to Donal Fehr as the head, and then he had to be brought up to speed. Valuable time was lost. You can see where Bettman himself might be a little peeved with it all.
But there's something in there that I can't get behind. This tortured feeling of "we can't do this any more" of the current CBA. As if it was some burden that the owners were carrying around, instead of a structure that's seen everyone make more money than they ever have before. And it's a structure the owners wanted. That's what's so galling.
Sports fans have gone through two work stoppages recently, only one of which actually cost games. There was a big difference in the NBA and NFL lockouts. Whereas the NBA owners had some legitimate complaints and a need for some kind of reform as a lot of teams were losing money, the NFL lockout was simply about owners wanting to make even more money than the gobs they already did. No NFL team loses money, or if they do it's simply due to incompetence.
This NHL dispute feels like the NFL one. We are under a system that the owners pretty much implemented. It allowed for unprecedented growth. Whatever is sucking at the NHL is their own fault. Phoenix comes to mind, a lack of revenue sharing is another. The latter only comes from simple stubborness by the rich owners. Because it's not that they're opposed to those less rich than they are getting help They just don't want to be the ones to do it, and want someone else to. How uniquely American of an attitude.
Once again the owners are being asked to be saved from the money they chose to dole out themselves. And they'll probably get away with it, because they still have more money to live off of in a work stoppage than the players do. You, of course, don't matter.
37 days, and no one seems to be moving.