Once again, millionaires are fighting with billionaires and the ones who have done nothing wrong and everything right, are caught in the middle. NHL fans have paid for their tickets, (or a portion of them) and are ready to watch hockey. But instead of settling differences during the summer like reasonable people, the NHL and NHLPA have wasted the time available to them and now choose to play a dangerous game of who will blink first, with the season, or at least a portion of it, hanging in the balance.
It does not take a genius to figure out what needs to happen. The current portion of player revenue of 57% needs to be trimmed. The NHL offered 43% as a starting point. Is there any doubt that the two will eventually end up at 50%? But instead of seeing the obvious and agreeing to something close to the inevitable, both sides will pout, delay, defer, stall, and claim they are the victim, before they eventually capitulate.
The owners are the ones who have brought about the lockout. The players, while they have offered very little to bridge the gap needed to solve this crisis, have at least offered to continue to play during the negotiations. But Gary Bettman, who co-authored the book "Contract Negotiations for Dummies", and who only knows one road leading to a compromise, (lockout), has forced the work stoppage in an attempt to strong arm the players.
Of course Bettman represents the billionaire owners, who have no one but themselves to blame for the mess. Aren't they the ones who show zero self control in the way they keep offering and agreeing to ridiculous contract amounts?
These same owners are the ones who take the fans and their dollars, for granted.
And yes, no matter what is being said, fans are being taken for granted.
It is assumed that most fans will do nothing during this battle between the greedy and will come back even more willing to spend money when the game finally does return. But as powerless as most fans might feel during this process, the reality is that fans hold all the power.
For instance what would happen if fans, thousands of them, or tens of thousands of them, started contacting the owners with their opinions? What if they started demanding refunds?
At least one fan has contacted the Hurricanes front office.
Here is a copy of a recent email I received from a long time Canes Country reader.
I actually got a very nice response when I called. I was eventually directed to the assistant for Jim Rutherford, and after speaking to her briefly, I left a message and my number. Shortly after that, Mr. Rutherford himself gave me a call back. He essentially explained the owners' view to me and assured me that they did not take their fans for granted. While the gesture was pleasantly unexpected and very touching, I didn't hear anything that I hadn't already read (the current system doesn't work, players were delaying the negotiations, etc.). Still, it was nice to be acknowledged.
I don't know if you want to work that into the blog somehow. I made a point of being polite, even as I was airing my grievances. I think as long as fans (despite all the understandable frustration and anger) are civil in their dealings with management, the management will at least listen.