Again the same could be said of any industry. If the employees price themselves to the point the owner is losing money, the employees will eventually lose their jobs. The players don't care half the owners are losing money. Yet they don't want teams, and the jobs that go with them, to fold.
I've said this several times, Bettman isn't the problem, it's the "have bucks" owners that are the problem. The have teams set player market value that the have not teams can't afford. So they shutdown for a year to get a salary cap to create a level playing field which worked for a while. Then the have teams search for ways to circumvent the cap and come up with "till death do us part" deals that end with cap reducers that won't be paid or played. And again the have not teams are faced with salaries they can't afford or simply cannot compete. So here we are losing another season trying to fix it again.
It was those owners themselves that wanted the league expanded. It was those owners that wanted to go into new markets and expand the game to get a national US TV deal. It was actually a smart plan as TV revenue is money for nothing. You're playing the game whether it's televised or not. But that's a very long term plan. Then those same owners turn around and do everything possible to screw those teams over so they can't afford to compete. How do you draw new fans to a team that can't compete year after year? The have owners are the real problem and the cause of there being a lockout yet again.
The owners need a bigger slice of the pie to survive. The have owners need to to do more revenue sharing for the good of the league as a whole. There needs to be limits on term and structure of player contracts. There has to be a level playing field for all the teams. Otherwise they may as well cut the league to 12 teams and give up any notion of growing the sport beyond a small niche game.
I agree the Owner's are the heart of the problem.
But Bettman has to take his fair share of the blame too, the way he has handled these Owner's is just as bad as what the owner's did in the first place.
He can't be blamed for the expansion, but how he continues to keep the teams there when it has clearly not worked doesn't make much sense to me, NBC cares about the teams like Chicago, Detriot, Boston, New York, that's the heart of American hockey, if Pheonix and Columbus move next year lets say to Seattle (Which would be a + for NBC) and then Quebec, that won't make any difference in NBC signing the next deal, if the league can rebound from the immense damage done by this work stoppage then start growing again, NBC will sign no matter where those struggling teams go.
So I think Gary is responsible for continuing to allow this to happen, he keeps playing into the owner's hands, and the TV he signed wasn't even that great, we could have been further along, and we could be further along right now.
The owners take all the financial risk. Without the owners taking that financial risk the players don't have a job. Every employee is at risk of an injury on the job in virtually any occupation.
But Pro Sports is different.
Without the Athlete's there is no revenue, it is the Athlete's skill and personality that draw the revenue and attention, not the Owner's buildings.
And as other's have said, the players do take risks physically to continue to play and keep the owner's business going, so Owner's do take some risk's but the risks the players take are equally as risky, just in a different sense.