Hockey Plays Hooky

Blah blah blah.
Lockout lockout lockout.
Larry Brooks says the players hate Commissioner Gary Bettman. How much do they hate him? They might be willing to negotiate a salary cap with a different commissioner. I kind of doubt that, but who knows? Bad breakups make people do crazy things.
I bet the owners are trying to figure out how true this is, though. If all it takes is a Bettmanectomy for them to get a cap and get hockey going again, you know they’ll make the cut.
Tim Panaccio at the Philadelphia Inquirer says Bettman is trying to break the union (login info.). I thought that was fairly obvious. It’s not like he’s trying to grow the union, right? Unless there’s some sort of commissioner’s union I don’t know about. A very small union.
Over in Boston, Nancy Marrapese-Burrell says the players are going to end up with a cap. I think the players’ best defense against this is to keep all of the NHL’s elite players in Europe if a cap is implemented. Picture an NHL without Jaromir Jagr, Peter Forsberg, Rick Nash, Martin Brodeur, or Markus Naslund. That’s a tough sell to fans (even NHLer Mark Recchi is getting in on some AHL action). If the owners aren’t passing along the savings in the form of steeply discounted tickets, they’re going to see a lot of empty seats. And the TV ratings will manage to fall even lower. So if the players stand firm, they can make a cap a huge loss for the NHL.
And yeah. Like everyone else, I wonder who Mario Lemieux, an owner AND a player, is rooting for in the lockout.