Thursday, August 30, 2012

2004/2005 NHL lockout: Hello again

Ah yes, let us recall the (soon-to-be-2nd) most depressing period in the past 10 years: The 2004/2005 NHL lockout.

Back then, the players (the guys you and I pay to watch) had to put an end to what many called an inevitability by, well, not getting paid.  Which begs the question: What is the point of the NHLPA if it does not even protect a player's salary?

If I were part of a union and at the end of a "lockout" I was told I was going to have to pay big time since the company I work for (the NHL) was completely unable to realize it cannot make money in certain markets, I would be pissed off.

I would probably wonder what would stop it from happening on a yearly basis (or, in this case, at the end of a contract term).

Well, that's exactly what has happened to these hockey players. Of course, there is the "business is business" talk that the team owners keep spewing. But, for me, a person who considers himself aware of the difference between a scam and real deal, this seems like a scam for the players.

Why would the owners agree to pay so much money and then not have it when it's time to pay up? Whose fault is this?

This is where this lockout-to-be doesn't make sense. Sure, let's have the players agree to some concessions so we can get on with a season but let's talk for a moment about the next lockout. And the next one after that, etc.

Under the current "system" a lockout is a sure-thing. It's unavoidable. Count on it. Need I offer another way of saying this? Doomed.

Shouldn't the failing markets pay? Or is this the NHL's fault, straight up, for even having these failing markets?

This whole thing might just be a little over my head when it comes to the financial details. Of course it is, because finance doesn't seem to have much logic to me, often. Other than the (little) money in my bank account and the cash I have stuffed in a George Orwell novel, I don't work with money too much.

I grew up playing hockey (Someone paid a ton of money for me to do that) just like these guys. I am positive they don't want to worry about the money, either. What else can they do? They just want to play hockey. The point of the union is to make sure these guys do care so they don't get taken advantage of.

Seriously. I believe that. You can disagree with me all you want, but I think it's fair to give these athletes the benefit of the doubt: They are just big kids who know nothing else but hockey.

So, at the end of the proverbial day, I blame all the owners and everyone with any money in the NHL for this unavoidable lockout.

You cannot convince me this is about player greed or 30 really bad owners.

It's a few terrible owners who have been given terrible teams in terrible markets, all thanks to a terrible league and an even more awful commissioner.

Thanks. 

NHL -- 'A Speculative Fiction' -- No cause for alarm

This sums up how I feel about the NHL and it's pandering to southern markets.

"Your stupid fucking laser-pucks were just the start."


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

NHL fans are more powerless than ever

The NHL (probably) won't play hockey this season. That's because, as every (all-knowing) American will tell you, "It's a business. We're just fans."

Yes. That's the rhetoric all American sports fans have come to know. Business is business, and professional (*cough, and college, *cough) sports are no exception.

The players are employees. The owners have a business to run and, of course, there is money to be made (fought over). The fans are just ... well, what the hell are we?

Fans don't have a say in collective bargaining talks. If they did, there never would be lockouts. Fans just spectate, observe and walk home empty-handed.

By that logic, fans are just foolish drunkards waiving things at familiar objects passing by them at a rink, field or what have you. Powerless. Dishing out hard-earned cash to take their 10-year-old child to see Alexander Ovechkin sit on the bench.

OK, I won't go there.

But the point is made. Hockey fans will just sit and watch another lockout happen with nothing to say about it and no way to stop it from happening next season, or even next offseason.

The NHL has spent the past two decades trying to engage it's fringe fans while simultaneously scaring the hell out of actual hockey fans. Guess what: This league has actually succeeded in losing its second or third batch of fringe fans and confusing its actual fans.

Yes, Detroit Red Wings fans, that means you. You are probably confused right now about why you care so much for a league whose owners, commissioner(s)(?) and players care nothing for you, your entertainment, your time-spent and your 10-year-old child.

But of course, you can't take it so personally. It's a business, after all. Nothing personal about it. (Repeat it softly in your head)

Sure, business harbors some of the most personal aspects in life, but let's forget that for the time being and focus on the "logic" of this situation.

*crickets*

OK, well, let's focus on at least one thing that makes sense here other than, "We want money. No, we need it. But we need it because we do all the work. Yeah, but we sign the papers ... etc. etc. etc. ... "

*crickets*

OK. Step back. This is what happens. This is what we want as sports fans (Americans/Canadians). We want high-paid athletes and rich owners. We need it in order to survive. Winning is nothing. Money is everything. (Repeat softly in your head)

Hockey is a vehicle. Sports is a vehicle. You are just a spectator.

Enjoy.

With that being said, how can the Red Wings shore up the blue line? (*Face hits palm) Life goes on ...