Home » Shark Rants & Pet Peeves » Lead or follow: there’s no getting out of the way for NHL owners

Lead or follow: there’s no getting out of the way for NHL owners

It was 1979.  I was in a diner with my parents.  The paper place mat in front of me had “1979” in one corner, “1980” in another.  Staring at that, I realized it would soon be 1980, it would never be 1979 again.  It gave me a chill, realizing how time is a one-way street, inexorable.

I wish I could put that place mat or one like it in front of the CBA negotiators.  Retirements, injuries, even deaths do not wait, will not be held in suspended animation for the owners to get their butts off the stage, out of the fast-dimming limelight, and let the real stars take their places.  The NHL spokespeople, flanked by the owners, a gagged chorus of mimes, this is a poor substitute for the NHL spectacle.  While they bicker and pout, the real players are performing elsewhere, or just not.

Does the NHL know what a dog in the manger is?  Well, a dog doesn’t belong in a manger, has no use for a manger, but by being there it prevents the horses (or cattle if you prefer) from eating their dinner.  That’s what a dog in the manger is: an obstructive, destructive, person out of place.  A person because most real dogs have the sense to stay the hell out of a much larger individual’s dinner plate.

Do they know what I would pay to watch owners own their teams?  Nothing.  Not a fraction of a cent.  They’re like a very fat person who won’t sit down in the movie theater, and is talking loudly on a cell phone to boot.  They are ruining the show.  Nobody wants to watch them talk on the phone, or not talk because they have consented to be fined if they or any one of them do.

We don’t know what each owner thinks, individually?  According to law, silence in the face of understanding a situation is implied consent.  So if someone walks up to you and says “can I sell your coat to that idiot over there for 1000 times what it’s worth?” if you just stand there while they take your coat off and walk away, you have consented to participate in this fraud.  You don’t have to chase them or punch them in the nose to defend your coat, you just have to say “no.”  That’s all.  But stand there silent while someone speaks for you, and you will be held partially responsible for whatever they say.

Is it worth a million dollars to not be a jerk?  Is it worth a million dollars to go on record saying this lockout will damage your business and you don’t like it?  I don’t know.  I don’t have a million dollars to spend.  You know who does?  Those guys, those owners standing up there on the stage, tying up the curtain and holding up the show.  They do.

So, if they aren’t willing to pay it, to risk having other muted men resent them or punish them down the road… that’s consent.

They used to tell women not to try to fight off a rapist.  “If you fight, he’ll hurt you” was the logic.  It took centuries for women to say “well, what the hell is he doing to me anyway, if not hurting me?”

I don’t really believe any of the owners feel very strongly against the NHL strategy.  I believe they know what’s going on and consent to it.  If any of them feel otherwise, they could speak up.  Are some afraid?  Of what?  So those other owners might hurt you if you speak up.  Just what do you think they are doing to you now?


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