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The Waiting Game - A Bad Strategy For the NHLPA

Are players smart to risk losing a year of salary to save 12% of current contracts?


With Gary Bettman's latest deadline soon approaching, the NHL and NHLPA have once again come to a stalemate and at the present time both sides seem to think they can out-wait the other. This is a very poor strategy for the players, just as it was in the last lockout when they ended up losing a year of salary, forfeiting a significant salary roll back on their current contracts, and completely capitulating on the primary disagreement, a salary cap, something they earlier said as a group they would never accept.

Why can't the players win at the "waiting game"?

The first and most obvious reason is that owners have much more money than players do. This is a no-brainer. While some players may have been saving up for this, they cannot come close to the bankrolls which are supporting the owners. NHL owners have other businesses to tend to that support them and they do not rely on hockey to make a living. Can players say the same?

The owners have already proven that they will burn an entire season to get what they want. Do the players think they are bluffing this time around? Billionaires will shut down factories and move jobs overseas to save a few bucks and/or make more profit. They quite often make cold blooded decisions in order to improve the bottom line. This is what corporations do. Are NHL owners any different?

While the union may not appreciate being bullied by the NHL's "my way or the highway" tactics, they would be better served to swallow their collective pride, get back to the negotiating table, and make the best possible deal they can before it is too late.

Time is running short if an 82 game season is to be salvaged. NHLPA Director Don Fehr said that the latest 50/50 offer from the league represents a 12% cut in current contracts for the players. But soon, players will start losing more salary, on top of the 12% they are trying to save.

The best time to compromise is now.