NHL CBA 2012: Would Six Teams Not Survive a Lockout?

What? Me worry?

Continuing to dig through the three hours of hockey madness on KFAN on Friday, hosted by the venerable Mike Russo, there is still so much we could talk about. If you haven't listened to all three hours of it, you're robbing yourself of a great hockey experience.

OK, that may be too much build up, but in order to find the golden nuggets, you have to listen and read a ton about the game. Listening to the people who know the game inside out is one of the greatest experiences a fan can have. Especially if you a fan of the game and a fan of covering it.

In the second hour of the show, Russo spoke with Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal. Matheson, fo those outside the know, is a hall of fame writer, with the chops and experience to run rings around most others covering the game. He is Edmonton's Russo, but was Russo long before Russo was.

Join us for a part of that discussion, and an interesting take on the upcoming CBA negotiations.

Here is Matheson on how he sees the CBA negotiations going down, and if he thinks there will be a lockout:

I don't think so. I get a little tired of the whole negotiation thing. They've had all kinds of time to be negotiating. But the playoffs are on - we won't be negotiating, it's summer - we won't be negotiating...

They'll be negotiating in September, and Septemeber 15th will come and there'll be no players at training camp, because the CBA will be over. The only thing that'll push both sides back to the table is the players won't get paid unless there's league games, and the owners don't get money unless there's league games. League games don't start until about October 9th or whatever, so they'll have three to four weeks to get some work done.

I can't fathom there would be another lockout, because the players don't need it, and there might be half a dozen franchises that aren't there if they decide there's no season. Some of these teams and owners can make more money if they don't play, and they don't have to pay players $60 million on their salary cap.

Emphasis in the above is mine, not his.

This is something I had not considered. Would the league go into a lockout situation knowing that six teams could potentially not come out the other side? Is that a bargaining tactic those six owners are going to be comfortable with?

I agree with Matheson on this, especially if what he says would be true. If six teams are going to fold due to a lockout, the NHL would never allow it to happen. If they do, they would look like a second rate league, unable to maintain their own foundation. You know, more than they already do.

Having even one team fold in today's sports world would be a disaster for a "major" league. It is somewhat expected in smaller leagues, but in the NHL? If a single team were forced under, and a dispersal draft held, the league would be a laughing stock for at least a decade.

There has not been a major franchise that folded up since the Cleveland Barons prior to the 1978-79 season. To be the league that allowed not one... but six franchises to fold... and because of a labor dispute? You want to talk about forever damaging the reputation of the league? This would be a death knell for a league like the NHL. No one could ever take them seriously again. At least not for another 30+ years, anyway.

If this is the case, that six teams are so financially cahs strapped they could not survive a missed season, there is no way the league allows there to be a lock out. The NHLPA would have to love for this to be true, even if it were to cost them members if it came to fruition. What a thing to have up your sleeve in a negotiation.

What say you, Wilderness? Would six teams cease to exist if the season were canceled? Which six? Would the league allow that to happen? Does this hand the NHLPA a huge bargaining chip (if the league would adit it is true)?

Let's hear it.

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