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Philly.com, Article on Frustration.


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Sam Carchidi article on Philly.com today. Worth a read IMHO. The thing I disagree with is I think there should be no compromise, atleast not much. If they don't get this fight out of their system there will be a bad compromise that leads to the next lockout. Anyway, here is the article...

Stop wasting our time, NHL.

Same goes for you, NHL Players' Association.

For more than two months, you have teased us. There have been off-and-on negotiations and hints that your very public labor war was about to end.

In reality, you are no closer to a settlement than you were in September.

Your rhetoric has gotten older than the Phillies' roster.

Your bickering has become as annoying as the guy who whines about his fantasy football injuries.

Your lack of progress and your disregard for the fans - the folks who supplied you with a record $3.3 billion in revenue last season - have threatened to put hockey somewhere between badminton and roller derby on sports' popularity chain.

Shame on you.

You have done a great disservice to the men who built the NHL into such a wonderful game. From greats such as Gordie Howe, Bobby Orr, and Wayne Gretzky, to grinders such as Bobby Clarke, Gary Roberts, and Dale Hunter.

Maurice "The Rocket" Richard, who reportedly never made more than $25,000 per season in his legendary career, is probably rolling over in his grave because of the way you have ignored those who came before you - and that includes players, front-office executives, and fans who planned their nights around your games.

In other words, compromise for the good of the sport.

You are causing irreparable harm to the game, and your mind-boggling resistance (read: stupidity) in hiring a mediator has created an apathetic fan base.

And that's not easy to do when you consider the game never seemed healthier (though some owners would disagree) than after the 2011-12 season. Revenue had climbed to an unprecedented level. The Winter Classic had been wildly successful, introducing new fans to the sport.

Despite all that, you have created apathy with your greed and you have put the entire season in jeopardy.

In 2004-05, the NHL became the first professional sports league in North America to have an entire season wiped out because of a labor dispute.

This, then, could be the second season erased in the last nine years - both on commissioner Gary Bettman's watch.

Bettman, who on Thursday suggested a two-week break in talks (the sides later agreed to meet Monday), and the NHL deserve their share of blame. You can argue the league set the tone for negotiations with its ridiculously one-sided opening offer: changing the definition of hockey-related revenue and asking the players' share to drop from 57 percent to 43 percent.

But Donald Fehr, executive director of the players' union, is not immune from criticism. He's the one who kept putting off the start of negotiations until late June, costing the sides about nine months that could have been spent at the bargaining table.

Yes, he has compromised a bit on some issues, but more is needed when you consider that 18 of the 30 NHL teams reportedly are losing money.

Granted, some of the losses are because of the ridiculous contracts the teams have given to players. But they at least are trying to put together a system that controls their spending to a certain extent - and still enables the players to average about $2.5 million per season.

Tuesday is the unofficial deadline to have a collective bargaining agreement in place to give players time to return from Europe, have a one-week training camp, and start the season Dec. 1. That would make a 64-game, conference-only schedule easy to accommodate.

But that deadline is going to come and go, and more games are expected to be canceled soon. If by chance CBA talks are progressing in, say, a month, we may see projections for a 48-game season.

Forty-eight games. That's just 58.5 percent of a normal 82-game season. All of which would make the season phony, with the Stanley Cup champion forever having an asterisk attached. As in, "*title was cheapened by shortened season."

Meanwhile, fans have started Twitter campaigns to boycott the season if it ever returns. They are sick of being taken for granted, sick of following the labor "news."

Their cries, we can assume, are taken lightly by the NHL because the league's honchos know the fans came back in force after the 2004-05 lockout. In the season before that lockout, the NHL averaged 16,534 fans per game. In the season after the lockout, the league's average increased to 16,954.

This time, based on the hundreds of e-mails and tweets I have received, I'm not so sure fans are going to flock back if the NHL returns. In fact, if I'm reading this correctly, the owners and players are going to have a lot less revenue to divide because ticket sales are going to drop significantly.

Both sides need to kick that around when they decide to meet again.

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