, Gloucester, MA


October 11, 2012

NHL doesn't learn its lesson

$3.3 billion.

That’s $3,300,000,000. Eight zeroes.

To look at that figure, it seems ridiculous that an argument over how to divvy up such an obscene amount of revenue has, at the very least, delayed the start of the NHL season.

But that’s what we’re looking at, and instead of being able to tune into NESN at seven o’clock tonight for the Boston Bruins’ season-opener, you’ll instead find a show looking at the 2012 Penn State football team.

All because the NHL’s owners and the NHL Players’ Association can’t come up with a way to split up what they’ve deemed “hockey related revenue.” Last year, the league raked in record-high HRR.

$3.3 billion, to be exact.

Now, it’s locked out for the second time since 2004-05 as the two sides continue to stare each other down under the guise of “negotiating” a new collective bargaining agreement.

It’s not my job to offer a solution, and I won’t pretend to be able to understand the intricacies of multi-billion dollar industry.

But these guys -- commissioner Gary Bettman, NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr, player representatives and the owners -- should be smart enough to figure this one out.

Especially considering the league was rendered irrelevant just eight years ago by another lockout, and, in the past few seasons, has finally gotten itself back on the map.

Let’s go through how we got here.

The players, by all accounts, got fleeced with the collective bargaining agreement that ended the last lockout, as the NHLPA bit the bullet and accepted a hard salary cap and salary rollbacks for players.

Understandably, the players don’t want to go down that road again. And so they brought in Fehr, a shrewd negotiator that had previously guided Major League Baseball Players’ Association through the 1994-95 players strike.

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