NHL, NHLPA both deserve blame for lockout

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI Agency file photo)

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. (LYLE ASPINALL/QMI Agency file photo)

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:12 PM ET

OTTAWA - And now, a little bit about my wardrobe, which for some reason is often an amusing topic for those who also cover the Senators.

I’ll admit I do wear a shirt that screams.

Yup, it screams: “I survived the NHL lockout.”

Pretty sure it was given to me in 2005, because while I’ve been affectionately (I think) labelled a “hoarder,” I don’t believe I still own clothes I’ve had for two decades.

But just as sure as the NHL made a joke of itself with the 1994-95 dispute that resulted in the cancellation of 468 games, then the 2004-05 tiff that led to the turfing of the entire season, and now the silliest of spats that isn’t ending anytime soon, I’m not getting rid of that shirt.

I’m sure I can wear it again in six years, or whenever the next collective bargaining disagreement ends.

I’ll bet the price I paid for my newest suit to what you’d get for your oldest jeans that there’s going to be another one. Especially if Gary Bettman — who more and more is looking like a Gilligan — is still the league commissioner.

What a disgrace this thing has become, eh?

If hockey is Canada’s game and the NHL is our pride and joy, then the most popular Halloween costume this year had to be the simple brown paper bag. You know, to wear over our heads in embarrassment.

We sure are a gullible group, us NHL followers.

How could we possibly believe that when they resumed things after the last lockout that we wouldn’t be back in the same dark, dreary and depressing hole again?

The current mess is all our fault. If we wouldn’t have returned to the game with such force, neither the owners or players would be so full of disgusting greed.

But now, with a $3.3-billion pie, they’ve lost their minds.

Bluntly put, Gilligan and the owners who are on side with this thing are complete idiots. Which reminds me, did you see that the Phoenix Coyotes have laid off members of their front office staff, including the manager of media relations? Yeah, his last day is Nov. 5. Don’t you think that if anyone needs all the good PR they can get right now, it’s the owner of the Coyotes — the NHL?

Equally moronic is Don Fehr and all his sheep who actually believe they are fighting a good fight. I say this with no disrespect to the many hockey players I like, but I just don’t buy some of the stuff coming out of their mouths. It’s beyond dumfounding if they really think it’s wise to turn their back on the offer of a 50-50 HRR split — even if it isn’t quite that right away — at the expense of a season of their careers. Sorry, but they’re just not that stupid. They surely realize that the longer this rift drags on, the more dramatic will be the drop in all revenues, and then what they do finally get won’t be anywhere near as much in actual dollars than what they would have made off the last offer.

Never mind that it might be 20 years before the league again pulls in anything close to $3.3 billion. More likely, it will be never.

And exactly how can doing what’s best for the next generation of players be staying so stubborn, possibly meaning all those jobs will be lost when teams fold and the league shrinks? You don’t think that will happen? Just watch.

You know, I usually like to offer a different opinion than most, but in this case it’s impossible. Everyone else is watching the NHL kill itself, too. Next limb to fall off is the Winter Classic. The remainder of the 2012-13 schedule will follow.

Come to think of it, that shirt of mine should be stored away in a safe place, as a collector’s item. This lockout will be the last one, as there should be more survivors on the other Gilligan’s Island by the time it’s over.

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @SunDoniB


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