Tonawanda News

Columns

September 23, 2012

DUVALL: In NHL lockout, the blame is one-sided

Tonawanda News — To absolutely no one’s surprise, the National Hockey League’s owners have locked out the players, the league’s third work-stoppage in 20 years.

The last time around, fans mostly sided with the owners, agreeing that player salaries had gotten out of control and that a salary cap was needed to put all franchises on a more level sheet of ice. The players resisted and the result was the Stanley Cup never being engraved with a winner in 2005.

With that memory still fresh in many fans’ minds, the general response I’ve heard this time is to lay blame more or less equally on both sides. Resist that temptation. This lockout is solely the owners’ fault.

In the seven seasons since the owners eventually wore down the players and got their wish for a salary cap, league revenue has doubled. The salary cap, which is set at 57 percent of league revenue, has increased from $35 million per team in its first season to $70 million now. 

Listen to reviled NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and times have never been better for the NHL. Seven different teams have won the Cup in the last seven seasons. A longshot bet in turning down a pathetic TV offer from ESPN and awarding broadcast rights to upstart network Versus paid off big-time when Versus was purchased by NBC and converted into the NBC Sports Network. Hockey’s appeal as a cheap but powerful draw in Northeast media markets made for a landmark 10-year deal that has the NHL calling the Peacock home.

After its success here in Western New York, the annual Winter Classic outdoor game is a legitimate sports spectacle and has wrestled the sports world’s New Year’s Day attention away from college football and onto the NHL’s biggest stars.

So why would the owners risk forfeiting all that momentum with a lockout? The answer is simple: greed.

Text Only
Columns
  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On lines blurred, crossed and nonexistent It strikes me more and more how blurry the lines have gotten in all facets of our world, large and small.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tucker, Barbara.jpg TUCKER: Oh, the joys of Sound Off Never thought the words "Thank goodness for Sound Off" would ever be printed here.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • adamczyk, ed.jpg ADAMCZYK: And now for something completely different... Last weekend I attended a local movie theater (a plushy, posh experience; they design these places now to get you out of your living room and away from your home electronics) to watch the sun set on the British Empire.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • wallace, amy.jpg WALLACE: Too much information? Is there such a thing as TMI or too much information anymore? Some might say yes.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: On reading and the lack thereof It was surprising to me a few weeks ago when a friend asked a group of us to estimate how many books we have each read over the last five years. The English teacher said 200 and he far and away led the pack. I was probably the median and my number was 20-25.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: A Con-Con would be a con game

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: Conflict in Ukraine now a concern of global proportions It seems increasingly clear Ukrainian separatists, with the help from the Russian military, are responsible for the tragedy. They, of course, have denied it. They've also denied access to the crash site to international investigators seeking to recover the dead and determine what happened. That's not something the innocent party does.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • ADAMCZYK: Personal development, rendered in steel Accepting the premise that everyone needs to fill the same amount of time every day (24 hours, every day), some people use theirs rebuilding things, tangible things, and thus fulfill a few intangible goals.

    July 18, 2014

  • WALLACE: Festival season is underway Summer is the season of fairs and festivals. From Canal Fest in the Tonawandas to the Allentown Art Festival and Italian Heritage Festival in Buffalo to the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, the Western New York area has no shortage of things to do with the family over the summer.

    July 17, 2014

  • duvall, eric.jpg DUVALL: King George's abdication leaves many questions I've covered Niagara County politics for 10 years and it's been a fascinating -- and often infuriating -- experience. With the news the man known with equal parts respect and cynicism as "King George" is walking away it's about to get more interesting.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo