Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Daly waiting to talk, Cuban can't stop talking!

NHL VP Bill Daly says he wants to talk, like a jilted teenager he's hanging close to the telephone on the off chance that Bob, or Ted or maybe even young Trevor might dial his number and ask him out for one more date. Daly says this is a very important week in the current impasse, holding out hope that things can get taken care of to get the season underway and this nasty dispute put behind the two parties. But for Bill the phone is not ringing, the league claims they have not heard a word since the NHLPA broke off talks on Friday, not a call, not an e mail not even a nasty jibe via a friendly journalist, nothing.

Too bad that Bill couldn't just sit down and negotiate with Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks. If Mark was running the NHLPA the deal would be signed, the schedule maker at work and the players on the ice. Cuban who was in Toronto on Monday for a basketball game between his Mavs and the Raptors said "the players are out of their minds". He went on to add that the players need a bit of a reality check over the whole situation. No doubt Gary has sent a thank you card and favorite beverage to the hotel room for his timely intervention

Of course Cuban comes from the management side of the sports world so his comments are not surprising. He sees the possibility of a whole new era of responsible sports ownership in the wings if the NHL owners hold to their line. With an NBA contract coming up for renewal don't think for a minute that he wouldn't love the idea of the NHL being held up as the template for the new reality of sports franchise ownership.

Many in the sports world both union and management are watching this doomsday scenario of the NHL unfold. Owners from other leagues looking to see if the NHL can bring its workers to the table for terms of surrender. The different player unions hoping just as hard that the players will stick to the lines, fight the good fight and show that the players are now empowered and unwilling to back down.

With Baseball, Basketball and Football all preparing for contract talks in the next year or so, this NHL lock out is a test run for the future. The NHL may not be part of the big four of pro sports anymore, but they have the full attention of those involved in the major sports.

A sure sign that this dispute is about much more than a game of shinny on a frozen surface, it's all about big business. It may be a love of the game of our youth for the fans, but it's all about the money for the participants. Money in this case wins out over love by a huge margin.

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