Wednesday, July 13, 2005

301 Days Later

You knew that, eventually, I would have to post regarding the NHL and the lockout. It's really a very hard thing to avoid. I do think I did a better job of avoiding it than, well, every Canadian media outlet by not reporting every conversation with the words "lockout", "NHL", "salary cap", or "giant putzes" in it.

Anyhoo, for those that haven't heard, the NHL and the Player's Union have - pending ratification - a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

And the Union got trounced. Trounced, I say. After a year of lobbying on a platform of "No salary cap and no linkage", the 2005-06 NHL season will see a salary cap of between $38- and $38.5-million and a 54% linkage between league revenues and salaries. And there will be a 24% rollback on salaries. And the deal is for six years. Bravo, Bob. Brah-vo.

The chain of events over the last year will, very likely, cost Bob Goodenow his job. It should cost Gary Bettman his position as commissioner as well, since the two are inextricably tied, but he came out unanimously on top, so he's safe for now.

What I don't understand is how it could possibly have taken this long to get it hammered out. The deal is nearly a carbon copy of the CBA that NBA commish David Stern presented to their player's union, since, essentially, Gary Bettman would wax Stern's car with his head if his former mentor asked him to. As soon as the NHLPA realized that they would probably have to concede on one or all of the issues, Bettman should have trucked that puppy right out there and said, "Take it or leave it."

It wouldn't have saved the past season, but it would have been nice to have had a summer without the empty posturing of the last few weeks.

But, with a deal finally hashed out, we'll finally get to hear news from other sports, instead of "updates" about hockey, right? Right?

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