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NHL lockout good or bad?

 Don Fehr, executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association meets with the media at Marriott Marquis Times Square on September 13, 2012 in New York City.
Don Fehr, executive director of the National Hockey League Players Association meets with the media at Marriott Marquis Times Square on September 13, 2012 in New York City.
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

NHL lockout


The NHL and the hockey players lockout began September 16, 2012, the day after the deadline for the NHL's collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

Again, you say?

At issue this year is the owner's desire to reduce the layers' guaranteed share, 57% of hockey related revenues (HRR), a desire to introduce term limits on contracts, eliminate salary arbitration, an change free agency rules.

Not much, eh?

Actually, it is.

The union wants increased revenue sharing between owners, and a fixed salary cap that is not linked to league revenues.

So what are the issues?

The owners want:

In their first offer on July 13, 2012, the owners' offer retained the framework established in the 2004-05 NHL lockout, yet player salary and movement rights changed dramatically. For instance:

  • Reduce the players' share of HRR from 57 percent to 46 percent. Proposed modifications to HRR itself would actually reduce the players' share to 43 percent as defined by the expired CBA.
  • Set a maximum term of five years on all new players contracts.
  • Eliminate signing bonuses and set a uniform salary for each year of a contract, thus eliminating "front-loading" of contracts.
  • Extend entry level contracts for players entering the league from three years to five.
  • Extend qualification for unrestricted free agency from seven years in the league to ten.

The players union responded:

After getting financial data from the league, the union responded on August 14:

  • retaining a salray cap, but removed it from revenue
  • proposed a 3 year fixed cap, and a player can option to the terms of the expired collective bargaining agreement (CBA) in year four

Back and forth the negotiations have gone, yet the deadline of September 15 loomed and no final agreement was to be had. Who says there's less testosterone in hockey?

Is this the first NHL lockout?

No, little hockey-hopper. There have been several previous NHL lockouts. Wikipedia actually has the dates:

  • 1994–95 NHL lockout, which canceled many of the games of the 1994–95 season and shortened the regular season to 48 games per team with no inter-conference games
  • 2004–05 NHL lockout, which canceled all of the games of the 2004–05 season and forced the NHL All Star Game to be played in non-Winter Olympic years
  • 1992 NHL strike, which postponed 30 games of the 1991–92 season
  • And this year's ongoing 2012-2013 NHL lockout, which began on September 16, 2012.

Now that the CBA has expired, the NHL has officially locked out the players. Until further notice, the NHL is in limbo, millions of dollars (both Canadian and American) are being lost, players potentially are losing their edge (some electing to hope across the pond), TV channels are scrambling to replace the empty airtime (so will it be back so readily when hockey returns?).

How does this affect the Dallas Stars?

Pretty bad.

The Dallas Stars and hockey in general are not #1 in professional sports in the DFW area. Not even #2. We are lucky to be #3

Nevermind that studies show that hockey fans have a higher IQ, live longer, are wealthier, happier, and better looking than #1 pro sport and #2 pro sport of DFW. We all know it's true. (Studies? What studies?)

Despite all the pros, the Stars struggle getting and keeping a large fan base. First, we lose our owner, go into NHL ownership, then finally, finally get an owner and whammo, the economy and the lockout conspire to whittle away at an potential growth in hockey fanbase and threaten to decimate the hardcore, faithful fan.

And what about the whittling that has and may continue to occur to our favorite Stars players?

In the last lockout we lost our stronghorse Sergei Zubov and even today, have not replaced that position with like caliber. Other players were traded or drifted away, just as they will be doing this season as their hockey blood boils and yearns to play, even if it is "across the pond."

According to Mike Heika at the Dallas Morning News, Commissioner Gary Bettman, the man fans love to boo, thinks the players are making too much money. The owners want a 50-50 deal, like in basketball. Before the 2012 lockout, the players were making 57% of the hockey related revenue, a decision from the 2004-05 lockout.

So far, no Dallas Stars players have defected. (Seriously, isn't that how it feels to fans?) But some NHL players are hopping the fast boat to the KHL, like Evegeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar, and more, but they have options to return once (if) the NHL lockout ends.

Fans have been jonsin' all summer for hockey. Players have been ramping up their workouts getting ready for training camp,which for the Stars should be Sept. 21. Television stations have been weighing their hockey airtime against other prime time shows (and the Stars changing divisions will be a big help all around. More about that later).

But all there is to say at this time is no hockey. Period.

Keep hope alive. Keep the ice cold and the beer in the fridge. Our hockey prayers may be answered.

Read Stars owner Tom Gagliardi letter to fans


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