Who's to blame for lockout?

TIM BAINES -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 6:49 AM ET

I almost fell off my big, comfy couch when NHLPA executive director Ted Saskin likened NHL players taking a salary cut to a working-class guy getting his yearly stipend slashed from $60,000 to $40,000. Saskin and his NHLPA cronies want us to feel sorry for players who were locked out by the NHL owners this morning.

C'mon Teddy, you dare compare their salaries to us working-class Joe Schmos? Pull your head out of your rear end and think about it.

I worry about a lot of things money related.

Like making my next mortgage payment. Like how am I going to scrape together enough to pay off my utility bills and car? Like where's the money going to come from to put my kids through college? Like why does my line of credit keep going up while my bank account goes down?

You think most NHL players have to worry about that?

You know what? I don't complain about any of that. I worry, but I don't complain. If my salary got chopped by 33%, 20%, hell, even 10%, I'd have a hard time making ends meet. But if a player's salary got chopped, what would he have to worry about ... how many Ferraris he can afford?

The owners want to bring salaries in line ... and since they can't be trusted to do so themselves ... there must be some kind of cost certainty (Geez, I'm starting to talk like NHL commish Gary Bettman). Just like in the National Football League and National Basketball Association, much more successful leagues, I might add, than the NHL.

I've got to admit I have a hard time feeling sorry for the owners. They're the freaking idiots who gave the players too much money to begin with.

Okay, so say you can handcuff teams like the New York Rangers, who have dished out ridiculous contracts for years.

But do you think salaries would go down? Probably ... except fiscal sanity would last about half a second at which time the NHLPA legal beagles would start slapping collusion charges on the newly cost-conscious NHL.

FANS WILL SUFFER

During the lockout it'll be the fans who suffer. They always do. Ticket prices are too high. That's the real problem.

The fans need cost certainty. I don't want to pay $150 to take my family to a game and sit in the cheapest of cheapseats. And I don't want to pay seven bucks for a warm beer. I've had just about enough of the rhetoric ... and the B.S.

The players like to say they haven't forgotten their roots ... they're just average guys ... albeit guys with big houses and sports cars.

Well, here's a message, "average guys:" Wake the hell up! You're overpaid.

While you're a big deal in Canada, you're nothing in the U.S. TV ratings stink, somewhere below Spelling Bee, The World Series of Poker, The Westminster Dog Show, the world tiddleywinks championships ... and Hogan's Heroes reruns.

You'll never know what it feels like to miss your next meal. And you won't have to worry about having a roof over your head every night.

But don't expect food stamps ... or any public sympathy. Because we don't feel sorry for you. Not a bit.

Get a job ... a real job.


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