Greetings Caniacs! Today is part III of what appears to be an ongoing tennis match between the NHL and the NHLPA. The next meeting between the two parties is scheduled for August 22nd .With that being said, they have 26 days to come up with a deal that both parties can agree on. If a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is not agreed on by September 15th , the owners have made it clear that they will lock the doors on the players.
At this time several teams are making preparations for a lockout. The Detroit Redwings have hosted an annual rookie tournament each year prior to the preseason starting, until this year. They have decided to cancel it due to the unknown situation that is at hand in the NHL. This is a rookie tournament that our Canes have played in in the past, as well as participating in it this year.
Throughout this entire collective bargaining process I have found it hard to believe that what the owners are upset with is the same thing both parties agreed upon during the last CBA. Since 2004 the game that we all love has continued to grow in popularity and financially. This is a simple case of the rich continuing to get richer.
I am often asked if there will be a lockout this year. For the longest time I have said “They will work it out by mid-summer.” Boy, was I wrong. I am leaning more towards the season being delayed until mid to late November at the rate that the owners are willing to move. After the proposal the NHLPA had presented the NHL all that we heard from Commissioner Gary Bettman was that the NHLPA sees the world differently than the owners do. So the owner’s solution is to reconvene on August 22nd? I suppose with the track record that the NHL has, they are used to locking the doors or missing a few games if not all the games.
When Donald Fehr agreed to represent the NHLPA my first reaction was not really that positive but since these talks have begun I am quickly realizing the need for the NHLPA to have him in their corner. He is a necessary evil and his intentions are to see that the NHLPA get a fair handshake. If you look at the owners original demands, they are totally unrealistic and gutless. Granted that was just a starting point but what point are we at now? I guess we will find out after both parties meet this Wednesday.
If a lockout does happen, I feel very bad for the employees of the NHL teams across North America. Not the players but the folks that work at the front gates, the security workers, the ushers the people that rely on working a few extra hours each week just to make ends meet. That’s where the lockout really becomes tough on the local economy for the 30 NHL teams. All that I ( a Carolina Hurricanes season ticket holder) can tell you is that when I contacted the Carolina Hurricanes ticket office, I was told that as of now they have no plans in place for a lockout and that they believe a full season will be played this year. I hope they are right.