Detroit Red Wings defenseman Ian White won’t be joining the the Gary Bettman fan club in the midst of the latest labor dispute in the National Hockey League.
Ian White, who has been in the league since 2005, didn’t mince words in evaluating the NHL commissioner’s role in the lockout according to USA Today:
“I gotta be honest: I personally think he’s an idiot,. Since he’s come in, I think he’s done nothing but damage the game. If you think of all the moves he’s made, teams that are all struggling seem to be the teams that he put in places where there’s not viable markets for hockey. Three work stoppages — I don’t know if he’s in control of the owners or what he’s saying, but I think it’s only seven of the owners that have to agree on something to have something pass. You’d think it’d be at least 50%. It just doesn’t seem like they’re running a democratic process, if you will.”
In mid September, the NHL owners locked out the players over a dispute about how to divide up hockey related revenue that prevented approval of a new labor-management collective bargaining agreement. Reportedly the players union eventually agreed to a 50-50 split but currently balks at implementing the arrangement immediately. White termed the whole bargaining process “frustrating” and that “there’s just absolutely no need to be missing games and doing this kind of damage.”
The owners apparently rejected Bettman’s suggestion for a two-week break in negotiations, however, as talks between the two sides are expected to resume Monday. Things could get very dicey if the NHL stalemate continues much longer according to USA Today:
“All games through Nov. 30 have already been taken off the schedule, more cancellations are likely within a week, the Winter Classic has been wiped out, the All-Star game is the next big event in jeopardy, and the whole season could be lost, too, in the blink of an eye if a new deal can’t be hammered out.”
To date, 327 games have been cancelled, and NHL players have missed three paychecks.
Putting aside whether the owners are right or wrong, NHL salaries don’t compare necessarily to the crazy paychecks handed out by MLB, the NFL, and the NBA. Pro hockey players nonetheless still make boatloads of cash especially as compared with the average American who is struggling to make ends meet or might even be unemployed.
Do you care if there is a 2012-2013 hockey season?