Sports Hockey

Gary Bettman, Donald Fehr star in NHL CBA clown show 0

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (left) and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr. (QMI Agency file photos)

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman (left) and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr. (QMI Agency file photos)

The approach of fall means it's about time for a whole new whack of season premieres I'll either take or leave - and the likely continuation of a show I can't bear to see on my TV again.

It's a short and insulting clip, starring ignorant money grabbers Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr. Next time either one of those two clowns stands in front of cameras and microphones to explain the negotiations of a new NHL collective bargaining agreement, I swear I'm going to throw something at the screen.

Seriously, this thing has gone well beyond the ridiculous point. Does anyone really care what percentage of a very large hockey related revenues (HRR) pie is going to the extremely wealthy owners and what's left for the filthy rich players? Do you really give a damn about how long a player has to wait to become a free agent before another GM overspends on him? Do you even understand the whole escrow thing yet? Do you even want to?

Or do you really just need to hear that the 2012-13 season is going to start as scheduled?

This is what very much irritates me about the whole process, as I'm sure it does many of you:

Bettman and Fehr are going to strike a deal at some point, correct? So rather than meet one or two times a week, then cancel the next session before taking shots at each other in media scums, why can't they just lock themselves up in a nice, big room and stay there until they're ready to shake hands and announce the only thing that matters to all of us - a new CBA.

That's the next time we want to see Bettman or Fehr, right?

Hockey fans would probably even book the luxurious suite and make all the catering arrangements themselves, perhaps even hire a couple of former NHL policemen like Dave "The Hammer" Schultz and Dave Semenko to ensure Bettman and Fehr don't start slapping each other like little girls. Hockey fans would offer almost any assistance to get a deal done - not that Bettman and Fehr would accept their help because these two clearly don't give a crap about what the hockey fans want or what the businessmen and workers who rely on an NHL season to put food on their table need.

It's evident all that Bettman and Fehr are concerned about is wrestling a little more power and money away from the other side. Otherwise, they'd be talking around the clock to avoid any type of work stoppage.

Why did they wait until deep into the off-season before getting into any serious discussions in the first place, anyway? They were too busy doing what? Did they not know the CBA was expiring in September? Shouldn't they have started working on a new one long ago?

But no, as far too often happens in these things, they've pushed it off to the danger point. Isn't it sickening? Doesn't it make you mad?

There's been plenty of speculation that the season, if there is one, won't start until November or December and that the owners want to make the players miss out on a few bimonthly pay cheques. The players, meanwhile, are determined to cling onto what they see as their fair share of the HRR.

All this means the hockey fans - who yearn to get back to the rink or in front of their TVs or start their pools again - suffer. Apparently, that's unimportant to the extremely wealthy owners and the filthy rich players.

I know it won't happen, but what I'd love to see is for hockey fans to make their own stand. When the selfish sides finally reach their agreement and ask for their support, wouldn't it be nice for them to be told no.

How about you don't go back to the rink or watch on TV right away, hockey fans? Wait until the playoffs, the games that really matter, to start forking out for the overpriced tickets again. Don't buy their merchandise for Christmas gifts. Allow the TV ratings to drop. Shrink the HRR, at least for a while.

If Bettman and Fehr thought that was a real possibility, they might actually lock themselves up in a room until they reach the agreement they're eventually going to shake on.

In the meantime, there are TV season premiers on the way to distract hockey fans, as well as another great NFL season that stretches until February.

By then, NHL owners and players will be begging for your attention.

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


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