The NHLPA's recent rejection of the NHL's new realignment and playoff structure is nothing more than posturing by the Association. With the current CBA set to expire on September 15th, 2012, the players union simply wants the league to know, they are not going to easily agree to anything, including things they actually want.
That is the great irony here. The past executive director of the players association Paul Kelly has admitted that what the owners had proposed is pretty much what the players had asked for during his tenure as the union boss.
The players purported concerns of increased travel, playoff inequities and the league's inability to provide a mock schedule for them to inspect, are nothing more than obstructionist dithering.
Everyone knew that any system which involved every team playing every other team at least twice a year would involve more travel for some and less for others. But its what the players had asked for.
Everyone knows that playoff inequities will be solved once one or two troubled franchises are eventually moved (insert Phoenix, Florida, Columbus or anyone of 5 or 6 teams here) and a wildcard system is installed after the system is up and running.
Everyone knows, that unlike baseball Mr. Fehr, NHL teams do not have total control of their buildings and most NHL buildings are multi-purpose with shows and concerts to contend with and many have another tenant such as basketball, indoor lacrosse, football or indoor soccer to schedule around. Providing an iron clad mock schedule is simply impossible and everyone knows it.
The Players Association could have started this march towards a new CBA with a positive, collaborative gesture, but instead they erected the first road block.
Is it any wonder that public opinion during pro sports labour disputes never favors the players. They too often appear to be greedy, delusional and seemingly oblivious to current market and worldwide economic conditions.
In a league where you have some players making 8, 10 or 12 million dollars a season, its tough to get the average working man to feel their pain.
See you at the rink.