Taking a page from Arnold Schwarzenegger’s playbook the NHL is back. Just about 24 hours after one of the biggest disappointments for Team Canada at the World Junior Championship, Canadians will be able to wake up to some good news today. At about 4:30 am this morning Aaron Ward of TSN reported that a tentative agreement had been reached between the NHL and the NHLPA with a 48-50 game season to be played depending on when the final ratification takes place.
The deal is a 10 year agreement and more details can be found at TSN.
This has been the year of the deadline deal after so many high-priced contracts were squeezed in before the previous CBA expired, causing many fans to side with the players when the lockout was announced. As the battle dragged on, opinions started to wane as it was the owners who time after time got negotiations rolling with offer after offer.
The players rather than counter with modifications used the radical approach by submitting their own proposals, often far off the mark and coming up with outside the box suggestions to reach common ground. Time after time a glimmer of hope was snuffed out by a cease in talks and stub urn stalemate. Then came the famous face to face talks proposed by the owners, that many thought was leading to a deal until the players asked for Donald Fehr to rejoin the negotiations and everything quickly fell apart.
It was at this time that fans had largely switched sides and agreed more with the owners then the players, at least those that still cared. As the lockout reached and exceeded its 100th day many fans didn’t care who’s side to be on they were fed up with no one being on their side. For the third time in most fans lives they have had to sit through a work stoppage and unlike the last lockout that saw the entire season lost to bring in the salary cap and supposed stability this one seemed to be based solely around greed.
While there were still financially struggling teams in the league at both times, the difference is now it’s not Calgary or Montreal or Edmonton, its Phoenix and New York Islanders and other non-Canadian teams. It’s teams that many fans suggested would struggle so now that they are it’s more of an “I told you so” attitude then a “Crap we gotta fix this” feeling that tool place last time.
Perhaps in time fans will look back and say this lockout was for the greater good, but right now not many see it that way. As Winnipeggers it was almost a cruel joke by Gary Bettman himself who went from Santa to the Grinch in little over a year. The big picture is that this new CBA is a good thing for Winnipeg and the stability of our new team. The salary cap is essential to our survival and the lower the cap total the more likelihood that we could one day spend towards the cap and compete for a Stanley Cup.
Increased revenue sharing will help Winnipeg if and when they need it. Having the smallest (soon to be second smallest) arena in the league it’s more a question of when then if. Keep in mind that if the Canadian dollar decides to take another nose dive, without a deal like the one just ratified we could be right back to where we were in 2004. I’m sure fan sentiment would have been a little bit different in that case.
The bottom line is it looks like hockey will be back this season and despite the NHL and NHLPA agreeing on a deal time will tell if the fans agree to go back to spending their money and investing their time into a sport that may do things for them in the long run but appears to neglect them in the now.
We want to know what you think of the agreement and how long till you start to care again? We’ve posed the same question on Facebook and Twitter and will update this story with your comments over the next couple of days.
“I cant wait to see the Jets play… but I couldn’t care less.. it’s not a full season and so there should be an asterix next to the stanley cup winners this year.. Bettman needs to be fired!! These lockouts cannot continue.”Thor Bielert
“Everyone should show their anger with the NHL and owners who choose to bargain in bad faith and then lock out the players not betting on the fact the players would dig in their heels. Good for them!
Fire bettman and daly and punish the owners with public embarrassment and lack of merchandise sales. Hitem in the pocket book. NHL and owners take fans for granted like we’re all a bunch of lemmings.
Are you a lemming?”Dennis Rothenburger
“hmmm-from some of the comments above it does prove that the players and owners can do what they want and still have fan support. Shame that more fans don’t realize this whole lockout crap was about OUR(the fans) money!”