The newest labor dispute in Gary Bettman’s National Hockey League has led to humanity’s favorite past time yet again – Arguing until Detroit red in the face. This activity has been taken back up by not only the Player’s union vs. Suits war, but also conflicting resolutions in the fan base, testosterone fueled and puck bunnies alike. The objective fact is that stubbornness on both sides is ever present. However, the hypocritical actions of the Board of Governors is wherein the primary issue lies. People make arguments in favor of player pay cuts (which may become necessary for the sake of the sport regardless of the outcome and promptness of the resolution, but I digress) due to the inflated player salaries such as those of new Minnesota Wild standouts Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, along with other franchise players of other teams such as Alexander the “Great”, Crosby, Weber, Malkin, and Kovalchuk (whom in particular might be the biggest offender in the eyes of the blue collar hockey fan). But what about the flip side?
Ownership groups are constantly complaining about the overly high salaries of star players, but it’s obvious that they’re pouring gasoline on their own fire. If there’s such an issue, why are they paying such high sums for players? The Devils raise the biggest question. It was a known fact that Vanderbeek, Lamoriello and company were suffering from major financial problems, so why were they willing to shell out over $100M USD for Kovalchuk once he hit the free agent market? This is where the hypocrisy becomes the most apparent. Of course, there are other instances in recent rmemory in which owners’ stupidity slaps the fan base in its collective face, but going into extensive detail is comparable to pulling teeth.
The issues that which are withholding the sport are just much a matter of philosophy as they are of finance. It is unknown whether or not the big bucks are simply trusted in the wrong hands because of the incompetence with which those hands operate – or the good old fashioned Wall Street style corruption. The panacea has been discovered, without question – But how many people will be willing to share that medicine with the public? I say we hand out the vaccines A.S.A.P., and that starts with removing Bettman from office. To place the blame squarely on the commissioner’s shoulders would be quite bold, but his handling of these disputes has been nothing short of pathetic. At this point, Alan Eagleson would look like a better choice. The NHLPA petitioning for the removal of Bettman and creating a more educated, formalized argument to present to the ownership groups is the only realistic (using this word because the best scenario would be for the moguls to all perish in a burning plane or suddenly having a religious epiphany to sell their respective teams, but I don’t see this happening) option if the schedule is to start back up in time for the Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on New Year’s Day, which will be beneficial for all. If the league has its head screwed on straight regarding this issue if nothing else, then all will be well.