Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Is it over?

Is the NHL season over? It's hard to tell, even after Gary Bettman’s news conference in which he formally cancelled the 2004-2005 season. Huh? Yes, during his 1 pm new conference Mr. Bettman left open the possibility that the season could still be saved; this, of course, on the condition that the NHLPA accept the NHL's final proposal for a $42.5 million dollar cap.

Speculation is a buzz in this last hour before the Chief of the NHPLA, Bob Goodnow, is scheduled to speak at a press conference. The NHLPA has conceded on two points of negotiation, offering a 24% roll back in salaries and proposing a $49 million dollar hard salary cap. Whether the Players Association capitulates further on the hard salary cap is still an open question.

If the season is finally cancelled, the off-season will invite an interesting drama, as the NHL and NHLPA both seem steadfast in their position. Though, now that the NHLPA has considered playing under a salary cap, negotiation on this point may be fruitful, despite the likelihood of having to accept linkage —linkage meaning the cost certainty between revenues and player salaries.

Funnily enough, my roommate likened the labour dispute to an acrimonious relationship between obstinate lovers. Each party is unwilling to compromise on key issues that under-grid the viability of their relationship. A painful entente must be arrived at before the relationship can be practically engaged. If not, both parties, it seems, must move on—the players to Europe, the owners to replacement players.

Update: It's offically over.

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