Tony Gallagher, The Province --- It is about naked power and leverage, nothing more. The players had to know that, because after they hoisted the white flag and agreed to give the owners everything they wanted after the last lockout, the owners retained the same leadership. To expect a different approach now would be unrealistic.We are going to have a lockout this season. I believe that there is no way to avoid it; It’s my prediction that hockey fans are going to lose at least a ¼ to ½ of the 2012-13 season.
And the key word in that last paragraph is ‘agreed.’ The players eventually agreed to those conditions.
Not only is Gary Bettman still at the helm, it’s the same law firm calling the same shots, which were called the last time, from the same firm calling the shots employed by the NFL and the NBA owners. So there are no surprises here.
In an excellent piece a couple of weeks back, Larry Brooks of the New York Post asked what people would think of the players if they, like the owners are doing now, basically insisted upon a 24 per cent raise in all their negotiated salaries before they took the ice this season. And he pointed out that’s exactly what the owners are doing by insisting the players take rollbacks again this time on contracts that both parties have already freely entered into. Good point.
Why the whole season won’t be lost… During the 2004-05 season the owners waited the players out. This time we won’t lose the whole season. When the lessor paid players hockey players start feeling the pinch of the lockout – this is when the players will succumb to the owners demands. The lesser paid players will pressure the higher paid players to settle so they can go back to work and make a pay check.