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 Will There be a Season in 2004-05?
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Posted - 08/07/2004 :  14:23:54  Show Profile
Contributed by: Raphael Borenstein

As the Cup travels, hope for next season unravels.

“Stanley” is in P.E.I. as I write this, and after stops across Russia, Europe and North America, more unwritten stories have been etched in his rich history during the annual summer pilgrimage with each member of the cup winning team. Unfortunately, as meetings over the new CBA between the NHL and the NHLPA come and go, it looks more and more like “Stanley” will be spending next summer locked in his crate or simply hanging out at Hall of Fame in Toronto with a big “X” engraved on his belt next to “2004-2005 Cup Champion”.

I am the last person that wants to miss an entire season of hockey, but a few things come to mind when I ponder that possibility. From what I have heard from both sides and from what I know about the business, right now there is way too much distance between the two sides to even think they will find a middle ground without one side completely caving. Unlikely. I also believe that if they don’t get a deal done sooner then later (i.e.-before the current CBA expires), the chances of a long absence rather than a slight delay is much more likely.

For the record, I have to side with the owners here. I think the NHLPA’s position (note I did not say the “players opinions”) is way out of whack, and it might take missing a whole season for them to get a grip on reality. If you look at the band-aids the NHLPA proposed as a solution, and know anything about what is going on, you would realize that it was a joke. Then when the NHL proposed 6 different future models, the NHLPA said each one had some form of a “cap” and they weren’t even interested in entertaining any proposal which includes or resembles a salary cap, cost certainty, or revenue sharing.

So where does that leave the fans? Desperately searching for alternative outlets for our hockey fix. I believe there are a large percentage of players who just want to play, and agree that the changes need to happen, but they will never speak out for fear of backlash from the “brotherhood”. The owners need to stand strong and united, because this problem needs to be fixed and wont go away. Sure, they did create part of the problem by giving out some ludicrous contracts, but when teams will lose less money by locking their doors for 8 months, than by playing a full 82 game season, there are real serious issues.

One thing you should never do in negotiations, is draw a definite line in the sand-this leaves you nowhere to go if you get to that line. The NHLPA said months and months ago that they will absolutely never accept any form of a salary cap. It is very hard to go back on a statement like that without losing face. Unfortunately, some form of a cap or cost certainty IS necessary for the future of the NHL, so the big question is how long will the NHLPA let the fans and players suffer, before they are willing to admit they were wrong.

What is wrong with revenue sharing anyway? If things go well, everybody wins, if there are problems, everyone is invested in fixing them.

Have an opinion on Raphael's article? Let us know. Just hit reply below and post your thoughts. Anything goes...but keep it clean.
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2191 Posts

Posted - 09/16/2004 :  10:34:10  Show Profile

Well kids...looks like the unbelievable did indeed happen. 5 years and the two sides couldn't get it done. So what that means is that there will be no NHL pools at this site this this regular season unless they get their business together before the new year. Stay tuned! The possibility exists that we can pick up pools from other leagues. My question to everyone is which league would you prefer to do? Remember we have to have a good source for stats though!
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