NHL 2004-2005 Lockout Rant

First off….I was a huge Sharks fan. Either listened (radio) watched (FoxSports) or attended every game for the 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 season. I was a Sharks fan back in the inaugural years as well. Sure, there are bigger fans…but I still feel pretty qualified and compelled to rant on the lockout.

Second….I don’t think I will be a Sharks fan for years after this. Screw the players. I’d rather watch a bunch of scrappy amateurs (my GF for instance) play with their hearts and not their pocketbooks.

“Screw the Fans”

This is what the players (and the NHLPA men-in-black) are saying. They told me to inform you fans that you simply don’t count in their world. Why else would they demand $100 a ticket for a 5th tier sport. Yes, that’s #5 behind NFL, NBA, MLB, and NASCAR. I work hard for my money, and the players should be bloody thankful when fans show up and pay a week’s worth of grocery money for a couple of hours of half-ass play (unless it’s playoffs, in which case the play is full-ass and the ticket price is doubled!)

If you don’t think the lockout is the fault of the pig-headed players then you must feel that playing 84 games of a (fun-to-play) sport for a small fan base should net you the same salary as a MLB player. Do the math and screw the fans.

“Screw the Support Staff”

We fans like abuse. We take it in regularly in the form of jacked up ticket prices and insane food costs. However, the people hit hardest by all this are those most easily forgotten. I am referring to the support staff, of course. From the trainers to the bus drivers, ushers to the concession stand workers, local restaurants to the color commentators, sports writers to the puck makers. Not a single member of the support staff earns even a significant fraction of what a well-payed player makes! Yet, somehow, the players figure this is all about them. I hope the players’ favorite bars (severely depressed due to the lockout) deny to serve them anything but tap water.

Clearly, the 600 players (the NHLPA…”or NAMBLA” as TDSWJS would call it) want 75% of league revenue to go to their pockets. Screw the thousands and thousands of hard working individuals who’s livelihoods are dependant on the league.

“We Just Can’t Solve This Mess”

Screw the players, I say. Somebody get some balls and solve this labor dispute. Maybe GWBush will bomb Canada after he bombs Iran, for I hear the NHL is developing wicked silver bullets from melted down Stanley Cup fragments. There are only 2 issues that Bettman (overpaid suit) and Goodenow (overpaid suit) should discuss. These two flunkies should get locked in a closet without food, water or pay until they reach a solution. It makes sense….no season = no pay.

Issue # 1: What qualifies as league revenue?

With the help of a third party auditor, figure out WTF qualifies as league revenue. Sorry, NHLPA, jacking up the price of the replica jersies to $250 to pay for your (insnae) salary does not make it a source of league revenue. Revenue, first and foremost, is ticket sales and TV contracts. Perhaps concessions can be included. But leave the merchandise out of this. The merchandising really is a side business that should profit on it’s own. The fans (Screw the Fans!) would surely love to see a reduction in the paraphanelia that we like to wear or give as gifts.

Issue #2: What % of league revenue should go to the players?

For a salary cap to work (any form of cap) it needs to be tied to a sensible number, like revenue. Fixed salary caps do not fluctuate with the market (or decline therof). The NHL and NHLPA can argue this % number until they are blue in the face…..so long as they don’t get food/water/pay until they have reached a consensus. With all the fixed numbers being thrown around ($42.5M or $49) and a sure-to-be-declining revenue base next season, the player take-home percentage will be in the neighborhood of 80%+. That is simply insane. Not even rock stars make that much of a percentage!

There…I’ve done it. I’ve added my rant to the thousands of other NHL rants out there. Now I can sleep better at night.

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