Saturday, September 15, 2012

Dead Lock'd

NHL and Media Coverage should both be under a media blackout

As of September 15th at 11:59pm the NHL owners will lock out its players and "negotiations" will continue until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (from here on known as the CBA) is finalized. The NHL has not had a good record of labour peace in the entire Gary Bettman era and that trend seems to be continuing. This time around it is not a fundamental change line last time. It more or less is the owners and players deciding on how best to divide a lot of money. It is too bad when millionaires and billionaires fight because the only people that loose are the fans of the game and the people who are employed in the organizations and at the arenas that essentially locked out as well.
The league has placed these artificial deadlines like September 15th in hopes to make it appear that there is something to loose right away. Training camp wouldn't plan to start until the 21st so what is the rush. What other organization or business would lock out its workers the minute a deal expires. Why not have training camp and continue to negotiate? Why not make an effort in good faith to get the players feel like they are a part of the grand plan and the owners are not trying to strong arm them. That also gives a good actual deadline to try and hammer out a deal. It doesn't hurt to give the players a feel for the ice and the game they love to play. By that point the players will be closer to missing the first paycheck and might encourage some more serious talks.

It seems like all these meaningless deadlines will come and go until there is something tangible to loose...paychecks, gate revenue and/or the Winter Classic game between the Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs.

It is interesting that the owners voted 100% to lock out the players because that way money is being shared. Just in the last few days 100's of million dollar contracts have been given out by these owners to players before the old deal expires. This CBA is essentially to protect the owners from themselves. If things were so bad why did the Wild spend nearly $100M for 2 players yet claim that they have a problem with the distribution of money? Bell/Rogers JUST took over MLSE as owners of the Leafs. How can they be in a position to vote for or against any proposed deal? Why when both own sports channels with hockey rights think it is either of their interest to not have hockey? They have programming hours to fill and no hockey will leave a big hole. Comcast (Ed Snider from the Philly Flyers) are in a joint venture with NBC who owns the NHL rights in the US. They have launched NBC Sports to compete with the CBS Sports, Fox Sports and the Mother Ship aka. ESPN. Hockey and hockey programming was and is key to the potential growth and viability of this new sports venture in an already saturated sports network landscape. How can this be good for them? I don't think it is or will be.

If any of these Media parties want to get hockey rolling then they should direct all of their sports channels to not report a single thing on the NHL or the lockout until there is an announcement from the league saying that a deal has been struck. No updates, no rumours of talks no mention of back room discussions nothing on Sportsnet Connected, Nothing on Sportscenter. Do not mention it or anything about it. Out of sight, out of mind then maybe there will be discussion in the board rooms and the two sides trying to WIN a PR war instead of negotiating a long term labour deal. The fans would not have to hear updates of items that are neither news or news worthy. Rumours and speculation would not exist and there would be a lot less bitter fans more willing to support the league when they do come back because they won't have a bitter taste in their mouths from having to listen to useless uninformative crap every day and night until a resolution is reached. Just like a judge who puts a media ban on a court case the same should happen in the case of this lockout...a media blackout may be the most productive thing to get this whole circus put to rest.

Time for the madness to stop...before it even starts. Lets only talk about on ice issues and rosters and not topics of discussions driven by accountants and the editors at financial magazines like Forbes.

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