Wednesday, December 12, 2012

You have it all wrong

(Aerys Sports)
Wow look no offense to anyone but when I look at the list of blogs thinking that the lockout is going to end soon; the image I get is the old "pull my finger" gag. In other words it is becoming a weekly thing where the NHL and NHLPA announce that they are going to meet; the fans think that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow only to be disappointed again.

If this was about dollars or contract lengths or free agency then this lockout would have settled already. If you have not figured out that this is more of a battle of egos then about money then here is your wake up call.

Gary Bettman and the NHL owners are used to looking across the table and seeing a ragtag group of players led by someone who had really no control or support from the star players. They were so sure that once the 3rd and 4th liners didn't have a steady paycheck that once again the NHLPA would surrender like they have repeatedly.

Gary Bettman and the NHL owners made one giant mistake here and that is why there isn't any hockey today, tomorrow or won't be a 2012-2013 season. The owners did not think Don Fehr would be able to keep the players united.

They were wrong as those who watched Don Fehr get the NHLPA organized would have seen this coming. Fehr didn't just take the NHLPA job when it was offered but rather he molded the players, he convinced them that he would not take the job unless he had the full support and an active involvement from the biggest names in the NHL.

Fehr was a masterful tactician as he went from team to team talking to the players, explaining to them that they had to support each other and to take things seriously. When Fehr demanded player unity, it was given without question.

When Fehr told players stars and not that they had to put away money and be prepared for a fight, that is what they did. Once Don Fehr got everything he got it was only then that he said "OK I will take the job.

Hockey fans may hate Sidney Crosby but when Crosby showed up for last week's meeting that was just supposed to be only players and owners; it was the owners who were shocked. What was the "face" of the NHL doing taking an active role during contract talks?

The biggest mistake that Gary Bettman and the NHL owners keep making is trying to get the players to dump Don Fehr. Want to bet that Don Fehr prepared the players for that to happen during his visits to build loyalty?

And so far the support for Fehr has gotten stronger not weaker as the NHL was hoping for. The players were more than willing to compromise on the core issues but what was not open for compromise is that Don Fehr is going to remain their leader.

Now the clock is ticking on the owners who are going to start seeing their ad revenue guarantees cut. More than that is a growing nervous group of advertisers who are seeing a fan base becoming more and more vocal about their anger over the lockout.

Don't think for a second that those advertisers are very nervous about their products being closely identified with an unpopular lockout. Forget about any "drop dead" date needed to get enough games in for even a half a season.

The real thing you should be watching for is when the NHL owners accept Don Fehr as the head of the NHLPA. Until Gary Bettman and Bill Daly realize that this is not a weak NHLPA they are dealing with then don't expect a settlement.

Prospect Action

Shane McColgan (NYR 2011 5th)
and his Saskatoon Blades hit the road for a game against the Brandon Wheat Kings and made it 3 straight wins after a 7-5 win over the Wheat Kings. McColgan had a primary assist on the Blade's 3rd goal of the game.

The assist was McColgan's 21st on the season to go along with 7 goals. For the Blades, the offense has gotten red hot after struggling badly early in the season.

The last 3 games the Blades have scored 9,7, and 7 goals and moved 2 games over the 500 mark at 16-14-0-1. The Blades are in action on Wednesday night as they head to Moose Jaw for a game against the Warriors.

Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th) was scoreless on 5 shots, a +2 and 1 hit as his Baie-Comeau Drakkar defeated the Shawinigan Cataractes 7-2. The Drakkar have won 2 straight as they are now in 4th place in the QMJHL after the win.

Loic Leduc (NYI 2012 4th)
and his Cape Breton Screaming Eagles lost to the Saint John Sea Dogs 3-1. It was a rough night for Leduc as he was on the ice for all 3 of the Sea Dog's goals and only had 1 hit.

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