Well, Dallas Stars fans, it has happened. After talks between the NHL and the NHLPA broke off earlier this week the NHL cancelled the first two weeks of the regular season on Thursday. NHL fans are left to wonder when we will see the puck dropped again.
Dallas Stars forward, and the lone all-star from the 2011-2012 season, Jamie Benn announced that he will be playing in Hamburg, Germany during the lockout. Benn is among many players whom have signed contracts over seas. The sheer number of NHL players signing contracts in other countries should be a warning sign that players are settling in for what could be another lengthy stalemate.
The chief argument keeping players off the ice, coaches out of the locker rooms and fans out of their team’s jersey, is how to split more money than either side has ever seen. The NHL is generating more revenue and profit than ever before, and yet they are locking out the players. This is beginning to look like a scene from a bank heist movie. On one side you have the players as the down-on-his-luck protagonist who is trying get one last score to start a life on the outside. On the other you have the stone cold veteran who has all the plans, and knew from the beginning that they didn’t plan to split the score evenly. Now both sides are locked in an old fashion Mexican standoff over who gets the bigger cut of somebody else’s money.
The odds are stacked in favor of the owners; they have been through this before. Most of the key players were not in the league during the the last lockout. The owners have the financial security to outlast the other side. They planned for this moment and have the bigger gun in the bank vault. With team owners like Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold signing big name players Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to unheard of contracts (13-years and $98 Million), only to then demand they take a retroactive discount and a 5-year cap, it’s easy to feel like the veteran is double crossing his partner.
The audience will probably side with the players because they seem like the bigger victims, and in all actuality, they are. The players caved last time the league locked them out for an entire season. They agreed to the first salary cap in league history, and they took a collective pay cut to boot. Now the owners, believing that they gave the players too much of the revenue (57%), are pointing the proverbial gun at the players again and asking them to cave once more.
So the only question left is would you rather the good guy live or die? Should the NHLPA and its players pull the trigger and engage in a gunfight with a foe that came to the standoff with more bullets? Or should the hero lay down his gun, cave one more time and live to fight another day? The players might not want to see their big piece of the loot go away, but heroes sometimes have to give up what they want in order to protect the thing they love. I for one hope the players are the type of heroes I pay to see lace up the skates and protect the game we all love.