Saturday, January 7, 2012

If Provoked We Will Strike

It's probably not a good idea for me to log into Twitter prior to having had my daily fix cup of coffee. One of the first items I saw this morning (pre-coffee) was the news that the NHLPA quashed the realignment proposal that was recently agreed on by the league. Getting all the owners together to agree on re-alignment was, in itself, no small feat. So, to hear that the union is against the move is surprising to say the least...well, maybe it isn't.

What was the rationale to the union kaiboshing the agreement? They thought it might be bad for the players. How might it be bad? Well, the NHL hadn't proved that the playoff format might not be better travel-wise.  Huh?

Apparently the union thinks that the owners did this without any thought to the players well-being. Yup, no owner in the league really wants to win the Stanley Cup. In fact, every owner is just waiting for a chance to stick it to the players...good thing they have the NHLPA looking out for them.

You know, there was a time when the above statement might have rung true. Ballard didn't care about the Leafs, Wirtz Sr. was a cheapskate. Sabres owners were notoriously cheap. Pocklington sold Gretzky. But, I challenge anyone to honestly state that that is the case now. With the salary cap, all the owners know they have a realistic chance of winning the Cup. So, why would they knowingly realign in a manner that would negatively impact their teams chances of competing?

One thing is certain: by keeping the existing status quo there are five teams that will be hugely impacted by extensive travel: Winnipeg, Washington, Tampa Bay, Florida and Carolina.

I don't buy the argument that the NHLPA is looking out for the millionaires well-being.

I have a T-shirt that I got from my shop-steward mother-in-law as a birthday gift one year. It has a picture of a coiled cobra with the words, "If Provoked We Will Strike" and then the union letters...this is an emblem used by any number of unions. They give them out to their memberships to remind their people that they have power.

This is all about power. It has nothing to do with common sense. It has nothing to do with protecting player rights. It has everything to do with power. Unions don't give something up unless they get something. Even if that something (realignment) is good for their membership. The union knows there is a bargaining chip. So, they're holding out for more.

Realignment will happen. But, the union will look to get a couple more golden eggs out first. Cobra vs. Goose. Cobra wins. However, if Goose dies, we all lose.

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