NHL players to Europe means bad news for Lockout

(Graphic by Steph Truong)

Another year, another NHL lockout. It seems like only yesterday that the 2004-05 NHL lockout was taking place and hockey fans all over North America were hungry for their beloved sport.

The lockout basically comes as a result of the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) tentatively reached at the end of the previous lockout and before the players and owners could come to an agreement before the deadline.

This one is also not much different from the lockout of yesteryear in the sense that many players, all-stars and the like, have hightailed it to play in European leagues at the first sign of a lockout.

Now this doesn’t mean that these players are signing permanent contracts over there, they’re merely signing something temporary while the league and owners attempt to reach a deal.

But is this really the best course of action?

With many fans outraged at the idea of a third lockout in the last 19 years and trying to figure out who exactly is at fault for this, having players up and leave really doesn’t show their determination to fix this ordeal.

This is exactly why most fans should not be so quick to point and blame the owners for this lockout because the players are the ones who were saying they wanted a commitment from the NHLPA.

Sure, the owners are a big part of the lockout, but having them discuss it amongst themselves and whoever stayed back while they continue elsewhere is entirely unfair.

Understandably, most are probably merely going as a result of frustration for not playing, trying to stay in shape or just for the money, but when the league is at risk of missing an entire season, leaving so easily makes it a lot tougher on the players who stayed behind.

And what’s worse is that both sides are trying to blame each other for stalling negotiations. So not showing any sort of loyalty to the cause really hurts their defence.

Many of the players who have run away overseas are European born, so the chance to play in their home countries or in front of families and friends is a positive side for them in this lockout period.

Although previously locked out players that left still came back, but how many more lockouts will it take before these players get fed up?

Why bother signing another contract when places like the KHL have shown they are willing to pay big money for top players to come to Europe?

Although at this point the season is pretty much a write-off with a dim light at the end of the tunnel, that’s not to say that all hope is lost. Talks are still underway between the players, owners and the NHLPA to work out a new agreement, but as far as I can see with players still slowly heading to Europe, the league isn’t taking this matter as seriously as it could.

When the fans are more dedicated to a cause than the athletes, you know that something’s wrong.

And you can’t put a price on dedication.

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