Friday, August 10, 2012

How to prevent another NHL lockout

"How many fingers am I holding up?  That's how many lockouts the NHL will have suffered by time I'm done here.
You're welcome, David Stern!"

For the, uhh, millionth third time in the Gary Bettman era, the NHL faces the possibility of a lockout that would shorten, or worse-yet cancel another season of NHL hockey.  In case you didn't know, Bettman worked for David Stern in the NBA before becoming NHL commissioner in 1993.  The first lockout happened in the fall of 1994 (yes, right as MLB was finishing up a strike of their own) and forced the 1994-95 season down to 48 games.  But I'm not complaining, because there was a happy ending to that season.  Then, exactly 10 years later, the entire 2004-05 season was lost to a lockout.  So here we are in 2012, desperately hoping to avoid a third lockout in a 20 year period.  Gary Bettman told us not to be worried three weeks ago, but now says he's prepared for a lockout.  But this can all be avoided.  I've arranged a few helpful tips for the NHL and NHLPA to prevent another lockout.

  • Well, the easiest way to settle the labor war is to lock Gary Bettman and NHLPA director Donald Fehr into a room, and whoever comes out alive after an hour gets whatever they want in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
  • Make sure the next CBA has a no-lockout clause, similarly to players' no-trade clauses.
  • Have the NHLPA hire someone who's been in a sport that never locks out.  Okay, anyone but Donald Fehr...
  • Tell Ryan Suter and Zach Parise that they won't be able to make their salaries...oh, right, they have massive signing bonuses that pay them even if this very sort of thing happens.  Never mind...
  • Put Dany Heatley on the NHLPA's player committee and tell him that if there's no CBA in place, he can't inevitably request a trade to Edmonton.  Or Pittsburgh. 
  • Tell the owner of the Coyotes that losing this season could be the end of hockey in Phoenix.  I'm sure the owner will be motivated at that point!
  • Inform Rick DiPietro that while he might not even realize there's a lockout, he won't be making any money this season.
  • Tell Artem Anisimov and Brandon Dubinsky that if they lose this season, they wouldn't be able to play their first season in Columbus.  On second thought, maybe telling them that isn't a good idea...
  • If there's no season, Joe Corvo wouldn't be able to get traded out of Carolina and re-sign with them again next summer, as per tradition.
  • The Calgary Flames have lots to lose if there's a lockout this season, because they wouldn't be able to "go for it" ...again.
  • Stop telling everyone that you're confident the NHL will lose fewer games than Ilya Bryzgalov allows goals in a given start.
  • Inform the city of Vancouver that if there's a lockout, the city's police force will have no riots to break up.
  • Remind everyone that if the NHL locks out, there won't be anything to watch in the fall.  Except for the NBA.  Yeah, that would be bad.
  • Besides, fans would be confused as to whether there's a lockout or if NBC is just delaying its coverage.