gizmo2337, on 20 September 2012 - 10:38 PM, said:
Consider that all the owners might *not* be on board with a lockout. How would this proceed behind closed doors?
n00bxQb, on 21 September 2012 - 03:48 AM, said:
You realize they voted UNANIMOUSLY in favour of a lockout, right?
The NHL may have presented a unanimous front, but there is significant competition between them, and are significant contradictions between their interests. There is also obviously a huge disparity between the revenues of the have and have not franchises. Naturally they are presenting a unanimous front - they aren't stupid - this is a negotiation process where they are attempting to leverage the players to take some responsibility for propping up the peripheral non-hockey markets, which they are collectively using as the 'necessity' behind their lockout.
Aside from the fact that the owners have very different interests (or non-interest) in a lockout, they are also faced with the irony that the players are proposing a greater revenue sharing pool. This is, in large part, why I am leaning towards the players side of negotiations at this point.
I think behind closed doors, the owners no doubt have to deal with far more divisive issues. The process gets very complicated because the NHL has to work out their own contradictions in a negotiation where they are also attempting to get the most return vs the players' interests. We've all seen teams agreeing to contracts with UFAs (even a smaller market, albeit northern hockey market team like Minnesota) that simply defy their stated collective interest and illustrate the contradiction in the claims of an unfair ownership revenue share. An additional factor that leans me towards the players is the fact that teams have entered into these contracts freely, as a result of competition between franchises to acquire the services of UFAs. To then collectively refuse to honour the terms they individually entered into is an odd part of the process mitigated by the process of re-engaging in Collective Bargaining. In this sense I dont' see them operating as a typical business must - there are different legal consequences if a business hopes to reneg on a contract, and in what other form of business can you count on your competitors to subsidize you if you are a failing venture? Teams that are unable to survive are not subject to the typical grow or die of the market - they have the benefit and the limitations, as another poster mentioned, of being part of a collective entity. To try to put left/right labels on things is to oversimplify them - the NHL (owners) are already a hybrid/mixed economy of sorts, with 'left and right' elements structured together. It is very difficult to simply support the owners - to do so is to support a bunch of contradictions. If all the teams were in the position of the small southern non-hockey market franchises, supporting the owners would be a no-brainer (and teams wouldn't be behaving as they have). If all teams were in a position like the Rangers, Leafs etc, supporting the players would be a no-brainer. But the way the NHL internally addresses these issues is opaque - to simply trust the way they present their 'collective' financial hardship would be exceedingly naive.
I am not interested in getting into political ideology - I think it winds up dumbing us all down. It's been a long time since I identified with left or right or particular ideologies and it doesn't help me personally to try to reduce this dispute into those kind of terms. As I said, I am leaning towards the players because of the manner in which specific issues are being addressed - the players have seemed more mindful to speak to those issues, whereas the NHL doesn't seem particularly concerned to address them publicly - they see it as a supply and demand marketplace where they are (at least collectively) in a position of strength and aren't really terribly concerned with fan perception or public opinion - at least not as things stand - and fair enough - they are a business that is weighing it's interests and they are probably correct to assume that demand will remain regardless of the optics of this dispute.
People on both sides are suggesting analogies that make this into an owner/employer, player/employee relation. The differences are so significant that the analogy falls apart as soon as you start to analyze it. The owners have less power than a typical employer/employee relationship, for a whole lot of reasons, not the least of which is their own collective limitations, and the relative wealth and ability of players to financially endure a lockout. The terminology of a players 'union' suggests that they are employees - but it is just as easy to see them as contractors, particularly once they succeed their ELC and have the freedom to offer their services in a bid for the best contract offer if they so desire. In reality they have the power of management class in the marketplace, and few people consider the middle class to be workers/employees. I'm not particularly concerned with how they divide up the 3.3 billion, but I have felt the contradictions coming out of Bettman's position are more patronizing than the feel-good commercials of the players... For me, if the owners return promptly with a revenue sharing plan that rivals the one the player's proposed, the field will be somewhat levelled. I'm not particularly concerned with how they divide up the 3.3 billion - but the fact the owners have locked out under the circumstances and are proposing a smaller revenue sharing pool makes it difficult for me to see why I should support their position.