Every week I take Elliotte Friedman’s “30 Thoughts” blog, pick what I deem to be the most interesting, and elaborate on his points. I do that, because in my opinion, Elliotte is the most informed, honest journalist in hockey.

Today he wrote a post about the current state of the lockout, and predictably, it made a ton of sense.

“We know [Bettman, Don Fehr and their negotiators] are tough guys,” one high-ranking team executive said. “They’ve proven they can say no. Congratulations.

“Now where are the people worrying about the best interests of the game? Who represents the people who’ve worked hard for years to make it what it is?”

Even those who are supportive of the players are sick of hearing how hated Bettman and Jacobs are. Even those who support the league are sick of hearing how Fehr only says no. They are sick and tired of the spin — and these are prominent people inside the sport, people who understand that both sides have legitimate grievances.

They just want people brought in who can actually close this deal because right now the problem is that while players want to play, what’s on the table isn’t good enough to get them to say OK. Same goes for the owners. They see the finish line, but important hurdles prevent them from getting there.

What really infuriates everyone is that they look at Bettman and Fehr and say: “They’ve each got one more move left in them, but they’re just waiting. They’re waiting for the real drop-dead date.”

The drop dead date – rumoured to be in early January – isn’t that far off. And, that’s fine. I don’t care about anything but getting hockey back at this point.

Comments (6)

  1. As long as they wait until after the World Juniors. Canada needs a gold.

  2. Without fundamental changes in the leadership of the NHL, the stewards of the game of hockey, getting a deal done will be meaningless as the game of hockey will be right back where it is now in just a matter of a few years.

    As long as trying to break the PA and holding the game hostage is a viable tactic….they wont have fans like me. I spent money, in advertising watching every game I can get my eyes on, seats in expensive arenas and on the web watching highlights and analyzing game footage for improving my knowledge of the position I play.

    Until there is change at the top of the NHL, read: eliminate Bettman and Daly, the league will never get another red cent from me and I expect there are thousands like me.

    They need to get a real hockey person, someone who understands the owners, the media needs and the players to be a true steward of the game, not a lawyer who has chosen a side and is going to get the best deal for them regardless of how much it costs the game, or those that help put the ‘show’ on.

    The game does not need a lapdog for the owners….it needs a steward that puts the game above the needs of the owners and players. But rather acknowledges that the fans are the ones who have the money, who pay the owners and the players. They are the drivers of everything. If you have strong fanbase, willing to pay to watch the sport, you’ll get advertisers, you’ll get full arenas, you’ll get a better TV contract.

    Until they realize that we, the fans are the most important factor…I will not patronize this game.

    • I nominate Bobby Orr. *dreams*

    • Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

      Bettman understands the owners. He knows that they want the best deal that they can get regardless of the consequences. If you think that Bettman is anything other than a front for what the owners want, then you aren’t paying attention. Unfortunately, the game is a business as well…and even playing hardball like this every time the CBA is up, the player salaries are exploding. It’s unsustainable. If anyone really cared about the game, they’d do full revenue sharing (league revenue/30), the players would agree to a hard cap considerably lower than it is today (and does not move from year to year) as well as a long term CBA. That will never happen.

      I’m as frustrated as you are, but I care too much about the game to stop watching the best players on the planet play. For the time being though, I’m happy to watch the minor leagues, Jrs, and European leagues until a deal is hashed out.

      • The “elephant in the room” — The thing that everyone (and especially Gary Bettman) is in denial about — Is the fact that THIS (this effin’ mess) is exactly what Gary Bettman has sold to the owners all these many years. This is how it was inevitably going to play out. There could have been no other way.

        The unavoidable disparity between legacy teams and ill-considered expansion teams — This “building of condos on swampland” — That has been his (obtuse and disingenuous) platform is revealing itself as the hollow and desperate core that is clawing for its’ life, and clawing at players’ salaries, to keep its’ gasping head above water..

        Hockey (today) is where and what it is today PRECISELY because the owners have relied upon Gary Bettman’s counsel — This same set of slash-and-burn, fly-by-night, take-the-money-and-run, expand-expand-expand, get-the-moneyshot-TV-deal, carry-a-big-stick talking-points that have sustained his authority and unimpeachability, since Feb 1, 1993.

        “Will everyone here kindly step to the rear and let a winner lead the way”: “Stand back, boys! Let me show you how a “pro” (from the NBA) grows the game of Hockey…!”

        They have (all the owners; every last one) cast their lot with, and bought-into, his “business-plan”.

        …And here we sit. Three lockouts into his “business-plan”, and wondering how it is that someone who had been brought in to “grow the game” could have hoped to have done so with such an inept and obvious pyramid-scheme that was bound to encounter the unforeseen prospect of a series of markets resistant to Hockey’s presence; in spite of Mr Bettman’s assurances that “this baby was gonna make ‘em all heaps o’ dough.”

        These are HIS two decades. This is his PLAN meeting its’ timely collapse.

        Attaboy, Gary. Hella plan….And here we were thinking that you were gonna water-down the game and then shut it down altogether because the watered-down (shoulda never bought into your bullshit) owners are taking a bath for having listened to your “Opportunity and Prosperity” schtick.

        Oh, wait….Wanna talk about hitting into the rough? Two decades of it, my friends.

  3. Winter classic is history
    Hockey’s return a mystery
    And when it does let’s not pretend
    They’re very many won’t attend

    It would be awesome’s what I claim
    If no one went or watched a game
    If maybe for a month or more
    The NHL we did ignore

    Just simply say a big fuck you
    We’ve found they’re better things to do
    Than our watching your stupid game
    And they’d have but themselves to blame

    It’s just a fantasy of course
    But mayhap one we all endorse
    If eighty games are what are not
    Then eighty more we should boycott

    My point is that it’s only fair
    To finger those who just don’t care

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