Monday, September 17, 2012

It's not my lockout but I’ll cry if I want to.

But I won't

Sept 15 came and went ... kinda like my birthday: nothing exciting to report about either.
NHL locked out it's players and the fans, NHLPA went crying to their mommies and since then they have not found the time to do any negotiations because Bettman and his trusty law firm representing the NHL are too busy celebrating Jewish New Year. Now do not get me wrong , I respect holidays ... but I do believe Bettman has a few more important things to deal with. Especially since he's paid more than 99% of the hockey players and it's fans to do so.
These “shows of force” are silly, embarrassing and, frankly, boring. Bettman and the lawyers take a holiday, players star signing contracts overseas, but none of them really want to do what they are doing. So then … why do it anyway?
We have seen this dance in NHL before, we have seen it very recently in other sports as well. In the end, unfortunately ( for some) the owners won those battles and the players were forced to accept horrible terms that in the case of NBA and NFL, limited their share of revenues to 50% of everything .. and accept the fact that the number of potential multimillion per year they can make were restricted by a few percents …while the owners had to accept to split a tad smaller amount of billions among the few of them. I really feel bad for all of them ..
Now, admittedly , the NHL is nowhere near the level of revenue NBA and NFL can claim, however it has grown quite a bit since the last lockout and the evidence is everywhere we look. Take the “beloved”Commish .. whose salary doubled since 04-05. Which is kinda weird. 'Cause the owners claim the old CBA is killing them yet somehow they found it good enough to overpay Bettman more than they overpay their players. And it seems like they don't hold back when it comes to dishing out outrageous money to those poor players either. I don't want to get into details but we all know how it started : first life-long contracts, then outrageous life-long contracts. Then outrageous life long contracts with guaranteed signing bonuses so high the players with those contracts would need an elevator to get to the top of those huge piles of cash they were awarded for just being better than others.
What gives then, oh wise owners of NHL hockey teams? Why do you want to rip off the players for more money than you should when you could fix your problems by just fixing your internal revenue share? Yea we do know that some of you make money hand over fist and some of your are losing .. so why can';t the “rich” in your group can share more with the poor? Oh .. because the rich do not want to give away their riches? Color me surprised. And to the owners that lose money: stop crying about losing the money .. you knew when you bought the respective treams there is a very good chance it will not be a very profitable investment because it was not profitable to the guy before and the guy before him and so on. I was once told that buying an NHL franchise is not a business decision, it is a heart decision. People looking to buy failing NHL franchises do no do it to get rich ... they already ARE rich... they do it because of the love for the game (or at least they should)
So why cry about it then? You don't like the situation? Learn that your “brothers” in the league will not help you and decide if you want to stick with it and find a way to win and make your team profitable or lose less ... or just pull out. The moral for ( most of) the owners : you knew what you got into.. stop bitching.
But then there are the players.. whom I usually tend to side with in these kind of things. But not 100% .. especially after a discussion I had with my son over the weekend.
See.. I have a 7 yr old .. cute as a bug and quite smart( and sneaky). He likes going to games .. mostly ( although the damn goal horn at the tank is scaring him .. still) so he asked me when does the new season start .When I told him there might not be a season he wanted to know why. So I did the best I could to explain the basics of the NHL business. \I think he got it because he did mention why don't the owners help each other but he also said something else. First he asked if the players make a lot of money and I explained to him the worst paid NHL players makes a few times more than his dad. To which he replied :” but how can they do that when when all they do is play a game and have fun? You have to work many hours every day, sometimes nights and weekends and all they do is play two three times every week”. To which I explained that there are practices and gym and so on , but he was not convinced. Then I went on and explained about the thousands of hours the players had to sacrifice in their youth to get where they are right now but he wasn't having any of it: “they are having fun.. how can you make so much money just having fun? “ And that he added: “didn't you have to go to college and pay lots of money to learn what you are doing?” Aaaand that is when I was left without an answer. Because the truth is, even in a”fringe” sport like hockey, these days, bottom players make more money than pretty much anybody on the team that designed and put Curiosity on Mars, for example, or surgeons, or firemen … or me. They sacrificed? What .. the rest of us didn't? They deserve it because they are among the best at what they are doing? What, the Curiosity crew isn't?
Perspective is a beoatch.
Stop the nonsense, NHL and NHLPA .. everybody knows the owners will get most of what they want .. so just drop the “tough” act, stop the PR war, be real with your expectations and find that common ground before yet another season gets wasted. I want to watch Selanne on NHL ice one more time, I want to swee what Jagr can do in Dallas, I want to see all these young kids just itching for a chance .. I want the best hockey in the world to fill my life .. because if I don't .. I will move on. The internet is a wonderful medium … you can find streams from many leagues around the world and SEL , KHL and SM-Liiga are quite exciting .. even the Swiss are getting better. Minor league hockey is also better than ever at all levels and, really, watching doing their best is , in many ways much more entertaining than some of the product you put on ice, NHL.
You are still the best league in the world .. but your pathetic bickering about money is sickening many hardcore fans .. and we all know the causal fans are not your bread and butter... .. fi you start losing fans like me .. who love hockey first and foremost .. then you will fail as a league .. and frankly .. if what is to follow is more of the same player overpayment, softening of the game, overcharging at the gate .. at some point the hardcore fan will look for other venues for their obsession ..
so stop the nonsense.
And fire Bettman … I do not buy into the “Bettman just mirrors the owners wishes” .The mindless monkeys in the blogosphere and media who claim that know nothing about his influence and his role in the whole mess. He really needs to go … for this and reasons I might bring up in a next blog.
(courtesy of NHL's best memes on Facebook)

PS as usual comments are welcome ... 
and I had a few beers while writing this so if you insist on complaining about my spelling or grammar, keep that in mind.