A bit back this was part of a post of mine:
When the NHL CBA talks eventually become the top news in the hockey world, don’t think for a minute this will be as simple as owners vs players. This will be big market teams vs small, older players vs younger, stars vs role players. Divisions will center around revenue sharing both among teams and with players. Escrow figures and who if anyone will be be exempt from them are a likely topic as well. One of the favorite topics of pundits over the last month or two surrounding the next collective bargaining agreement is if there will or won’t be a one time get buyout period similar to the NBA’s to rid teams of bad contracts. An issue that might or might not come up is Olympic play. With the 2014 Olympics looming, some players will be very eager to represent their country even if the NHL doesn’t formally break for the festivities. Realignment will also end up on the table. I would not be terribly surprised to see ownership pushing for a unilateral right to rearrange divisions and schedule formats.
The proposal leaked last night reminds me forcibly of what I’ve heard called “The Best Buy Model”. When Best Buy did their rapid expansion from a regional chain to the largest electronics brick and mortar store, they did it with high end product, and they paid the best to be the best. Once they hit the top of the food chain, much of that changed. The sales teams lost commissions and their service quality spiraled. Their “Geek Squad” has been accused of multiple acts of misconduct along the way, and there is serious doubt as to the longterm viability of the entire company. Labor quality is inextricably linked to financial well being for companies. When labor is the product that is even more true. Hollywood can’t survive without reasonably able actors, directors and writers, nor can the NHL survive without both star and rank and file players. I don’t take the RDS reported ownership positions as set in stone, merely as ominous.