The National Hockey League is an embarrassing cluster of proportions unseen this side of a North Korean rocket launch.
As the self-inflicted lockout charges toward 100 days, every argument that possibly garners sympathy (e.g. "Too many teams are losing money" or "The union just doesn't see our pain" ) elicits an easy response (e.g. "So share more of the money with yourself." or "How can you be so incompetent at a business that prints money?" or "How come you can't make a better case for yourself?") that at minimum shows the league to be disastrously run.
Stu Hackel has a nice roundup of just how ridiculous and damaging things are. And today brings more news of the melodramatic end-game, with the NHLPA electing to hold a vote on disclaiming (sort of like decertification, except 97% fat free), and the NHL responding by seeking both an unfair labor relations charge and a declaration confirming the ongoing legality of its kamikaze lockout.
Take the Survey...in the Name of Research (if you want)
Now that I've completely biased the introduction, try to step back and be objective about things by responding to this survey, if you so desire. It's from two professors who are doing research on attitudes toward labor disputes.
Uriel Haran is a professor of management at Ben-Gurion University in Israel, and also a long time hockey fan. Taya Cohen is a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. They are collaborating on research that looks at people’s perceptions of labor disputes, so the NHL lockout presents a nice real-life situation with which to collect data. (An earlier survey was surfaced at Battle of California, and I figure if they're good enough for Earl Sleek then they're good enough for us.)
More seriously, this is an interesting topic given the evolving nature and importance of organized labor over the last 100 years, although personally it's a stretch for me to view this in traditional labor dispute terms. I just have difficulty seeing the NHLPA-NHL as a true union/employer relationship, when their stakes and "rights" are so different, the industry itself is a closed monopoly, the product entails partnering with owners to soak taxpayers to pay for venues, and a legit tactic in its dispute is for the union to blow itself up.
But please, if you feel like taking the survey, don't let my views cloud yours, and feel free to discuss them or simply curse the whole thing in comments below.