The Washington Post

Boswell: NHL labor dispute may be ‘worse than you think it is’

Is a lockout inevitable for the NHL? CBA negotiations between the owners and the players’ union are ongoing, but Post columnist Thomas Boswell believes that both sides are planning for a work stoppage. From today’s live Q&A:

Q: Isn't the deadlock between NHL players and owners a replay of the MLB revenue/revenue sharing war of 20 years past that has long since been solved? With the union proposing to give up player salary to boost revenue sharing between the haves and have-nots, how do the owners imagine they can get away with another lock-out?

Boswell: I've been told since before the NFL lockout that the NHL would have big problems this time around.

I've mentioned here a convention in D.C. last summer when 600 sports lawyers, agents, etc., where the union heads and management reps in labor negotiations of the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB were almost all in attendance and spoke at length, took questions.

It was clear that the NHL was more likely to lose games, or a season with a lockout than the NFL. So I expect bad news, because that's how the owners want it, rather than good news.

These labor wars get set up YEARS in advance. The public is told "It's not so bad. It'll get worked out," even when people on the inside know that they are planning for it NOT to work out and just want to delay the date when they start taking flack for missing games.

I'd be glad to be wrong on the NHL. But the way to bet is that it's worse than you think it is.

Click here to read the rest of Boswell’s Q&A transcript.

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