I’m not here to talk about how the millionaire players and the greed-head owners should share revenue, or salary caps or how much Gary Bettman is being paid to punish ordinary fans by depriving them of hockey. Actually let’s have a quick look at Bettman’s wages – according to the most recent info available, he made $8 million in 2010-2011. Not bad dough for a fellow who’s imposed a lock-out three times in his tenure as boss-man at the NHL. But I digress…..
No right now I just want to point out that Bettman’s National Hockey League has cancelled the first two weeks of the season. Our beloved Montreal Canadiens were meant to open the season this Thursday at home against the Ottawa Senators but that ain’t gonna be happening. Funnily enough the two weeks cancellation means that 82 games have been dumped on the editing room floor, exactly the number of games that each game plays.
In case you didn’t notice, I’m mad as hell….and I’m not going to take it anymore. I mean what is up with this crap? Why are we depriving fans of the game we love? Explain that to me. NHL Players Association head Donald Fehr made it clear again Thursday – the players want to play.
“The decision to cancel the first two weeks of the NHL season is the unilateral choice of the NHL owners,” said Fehr. “If the owners truly cared about the game and the fans, they would lift the lockout and allow the season to begin on time while the negotiations continue.”
So this work stoppage is the work of one man – our pal Gary Bettman. Why start the negotiations a couple of weeks before the season? Why not let the season begin while the two sides are at the negotiating table? Why immediately resort to one of the ugliest things in labour relations, the lock-out?
There’s only one conclusion – Bettman and the owners don’t give a hoot about the fans. They’ll do anything to get their way. And who pays the price? Us fans. And all the folks who depend on NHL hockey for their pay-cheque, from the people who work for the teams who’ve been put on shortened work weeks to all the bar staffers who’re suddenly working in empty bars.
So why do the owners put up with Bettman? Any one who’s imposed three lock-outs is obviously doing something very wrong. But the hockey owners are not the brightest bulbs in the patch. Which is why the owners who don’t like this – the more reasonable types – should stand up to Bettman and tell him they’ve had it with this crash-and-burn approach to managing the league. I don’t base this on anything other than a hunch but I gotta believe – hope? – that Habs owner Geoff Molson is one of those NHL doves who doesn’t like Bettman’s confrontational style. Now is the time for those more rational owners to stand-up to Bettman’s bullying style.
We need our hockey back now!