Hey everyone, I have reached 3000 hits, so I just want to thank each and everyone of you who has taken the time to ride my blogs. I wasn't planning on writing today, but as you know the hockey world never rests, and last night was no different; As I was watching the Sabres new, the news broke that the National Hockey League Players Association, had rejected the leagues realignment plans for next season. Now I am neither here no there on the realignment issues; if it happens, that's great I'm fine with it, I happen to like the new system. If it doesn't change, it's no biggie, the current system has worked for years, it will continue to. The part I have a issue with, is the possibility of an NHL LOCKOUT next season!
The NHL was planning on moving from 2 conferences, to 4. Moving the teams depending on where their location is in relation to their opponents. Then 4 teams from each conference make the playoffs, those teams then battle between the other teams from his conference. Full recap is right here; Realigmment.
But after weeks of negations and talking with the union, waiting for the approval, but it never came; NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly had this to say about the situation; “It is unfortunate that the NHLPA has unreasonably refused to approve a plan that an overwhelming majority of our clubs voted to support, and that has received such widespread support from our fans and other members of the hockey community, including players,” So where does this issue leave the NHL right now? Well right now there is a war between the NHLPA (Donald Fehr) vs. the NHL (Garry Bettman. But unfortunety for Fehr (head of the NHLPA) Gary Bettman doesn't take no for an answer very often, and he isn't about to let this issue go. Daly released this statement, which obviously stems from Bettman; “We believe the union acted unreasonably in violation of the league’s rights,” he said. “We intend to evaluate all of our available legal options and to pursue adequate remedies, as appropriate.” Meaning the NHL is looking to take legal action against the NHLPA, trying to prove that the NHLPA acted unreasonably. If the NHL is successful, they can over turn the NHLPA decision, and invoke the new realignment for the 2013-2014 season.
So what's going on? Donald Fehr is showing the league, that him and the rest of the NHLPA is not going to be bullied and shoved around by league.
Here are some of the issues the NHLPA had; 2 conferences are going to have 8 teams while the other 2 have 7 teams. They think it is unfair on who makes the post season; truth be told, if the teams aren't in the top for of their conferences, they don't really belong in the playoffs! They were also not very big on the idea of the added travel; as each team will play each other 2 times, in addition to facing each team in their conferences 6 times. I guess highly overpaid athletes, don't want to fly in luxury private planes and stay in 5 star hotels; wonder how the would feel about not receive absurd amounts of money! The NHL made a "secret" deadline of January 6th in order to get a yes or now and make up the new schedule for next season; the NHLP said they would have been willing to disscuss and bargain with the NHL on the realignment, but because of the deadline had no choice but to turn the realignment idea down.
Now to the issue of the lockout, if this turns into a spiting match between Fehr and Bettman, you can kiss the 2012-2013 season goodbye. Well the NHL and the NHLPA, which is a union (so unneeded) have to just added a very negative tone to the CBA talks over the salaries and such. The current CBA ends September 15th, if Bettman has enough of Fehr's ego, he can stop cooperating and lock out the players at any moment. So because some pampered over paid over rated hockey players, that don't want to spend a couple extra hours in a plane, we may be facing another lockout. Now I can't say I fully blame the NHLPA for turning down the realignment plan, when I first heard the news I was really upset at the NHLPA. But then you hear the details of why they denied it; Gary Bettman refused to work with the NHLPA, he gave them the realignment idea, and stuck it down their throats! The NHLPA asked for a new schedule, for time to bargain/discuss the realignment, and Bettman refused to cooperate. Bettman has been quoted as saying he doesn't need the CBA, and he can do whatever he wants.
So I don't know who to entirely blame this whole situation on; both sides could have handled it better, and it is now looking more than ever, that there will be a lockout next season. Fehr is not the right guy to run the NHLPA, he will just drive Bettman crazy, forcing Bettman to force lockouts and ruin the game for the fans! I hope things get worked out between Fehr and Bettman, but I don't believe they will anytime soon!