In the latest sitcom story surrounding the NHL and NHLPA, we have our first public agreement, an agreement to allow federal mediation assist in negotiations. My apologies to all if I do not seem rather excited or optimistic about this new development, but I personally do not feel a mediator is needed or required. With the way both sides have buried their feet in the sand in regards to their demands, it seems that a lockout season is needed to show the other side that each mean business.
As much as we hate Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr, those two are in the position that they are for a reason. They are pretty smart guys. Whether you like Bettman or not, he has helped grow the NHL to new levels and the highest revenue it has seen. Same goes with Fehr. There are several candidates that are able to lead the union, the players chose Donald for a reason. I personally loathe them both equally, but they have gotten to their high profile positions cause they are able to lead their parties effectively.
Why do I feel a mediator is not needed? Easy. Bettman wants a rollback on existing contracts, Fehr will feel the owners should honor existing contracts. Guess what? I went to a D-2 school that I BARELY graduated from and even I can see what the problem is. We had over a week of negotiations that found agreements on almost all 17 major issues, with the only two being the 50/50 split of HRR and “make whole” on existing contracts. I do not actually know if HRR has been solved, but it appears that there is only one solution, have the NHLPA give in. The owners are rich beyond belief, most in other business ventures that do not include hockey. They can afford to miss a season so they do not need to concede anywhere. If Fehr and the players do not realize this by now, shame on them for wasting time.
Again, I apologize if this is exceptionally pessimistic, but when a blogger and season ticket holder has witnessed 34.8% of a season be cancelled because two different sets of spoiled rich kids kick and scream over who deserves more of the billion dollar pie, negativity starts to overtake all feelings.