I don’t even know where to begin about what happened on Day 82 of the lockout, after all the feel-good built on Day 81.
1) As I said last night in the comments, after this is settled, this year or next, anybody who spends a dime on anything other than a ticket or a center ice package is a sucker. I mean, anybody who buys a jersey, a hat, a t-shirt, a keychain, an arena prime rib sandwich, a pretzel … anybody who goes to the NHL store, anybody who goes into the merchandise store at the arena, anybody who logs on to NHL.com, is a complete sucker and a sap and exactly the kind of fan the owners are counting on. This is what the owners know. They have your hearts no matter what they do to you. So they can get away with crap like this. And you’ll be back emptying your pockets and filling their pockets.
2) As I also said last night, this is how every single strike/lockout I’ve seen has played out. It’s darkest and gloomiest just before, or at the drop-dead date. In three of the previous four (or is it four of five, I forget?) the season was saved at that moment. In the other one it was flushed.
3) I still don’t believe these owners or this commissioner and all his sponsors and partners will flush this season. I still believe it has to go to the absolute brink before it is settled. That’s the only way the owners will get their best possible deal.
4) It’s so ironic that term limits on contracts is such a big deal to the owners, when the reason they “need” limits is entirely their fault. These guys killed an entire season to get a salary cap, and they and their GMs spent seven years jerking around deals that circumvented the cap.
5) While I put a whole bunch of this on the owners, if the owners did indeed make it clear that this was a “Yes” or “No” point in the negotiations, and the players union countered with another proposal, then you can’t really blame the owners for walking away in disgust, and for instantly shooting down said proposal. The players, if they weren’t ready to say “Yes” or “No” should have said nothing.
6) That said, the Lockout Commissioner taking everything off the table — all the concessions, all the progress that had been made — in his little snit-fit presser, seemed a little unnecessary and unproductive. You can watch the snit-fit (courtesy of TSN) here.
7) There is still plenty of time to get a deal done and have a season. We all know in ’94-95 (the Lockout Commish’s rookie lockout) they settled in early January and were playing a 48-game schedule, all intra-conference, by mid-January. But — and I’m quoting from a New York Times story — the NHL will get 100 percent of its sponsorship money if it plays 62 games, and just 68 percent if it plays 56 games, and 61 percent if it plays 50 games. So perhaps the owners/NHL are under more pressure to get this thing done than are the players.
8) I truly feel for the players who don’t understand how this bargaining game is played. And this also illustrates so clearly to those players who stupidly, repeatedly said early in the lockout “why can’t we continue playing while we negotiate?” This is why. You can’t get a deal done under these dire circumstances, with both sides blowing millions of dollars every day and the whole year close to being blown up.
9) It doesn’t matter the length of the next agreement if there’s a seventh-year opt-out for the owners, and it doesn’t matter how this CBA irons out. In seven years, we’ll be doing this all over again. Take that to the bank.
10) Freakin’ idiots.
11) This was a week in which I didn’t find twitter to be the stupidest thing ever, as I do most other weeks. So please follow me at @rangersreport.
AP photos, above.