Is it too soon to be worrying about the possibility of a 2012 NHL lockout? Yes, children it is. One may ask themselves, is the NHL really, REALLY dumb enough to endure yet another season without hockey, especially when it appears that they are starting to climb their way back out of obscurity and into the public forum? With the success of American NHL teams in hotbed cities, (Boston, Chicago, etc), the charm of the Winter Classic, and the silver medal for the Americans at the Olympics in Vancouver, it wouldn't make sense to put a freeze on the growth of your product. But hey, we all have to remember that Gary Bettman is in charge of the NHL, and he is the man that thought hockey in Florida was a good idea.
So, why should we worry about a 2012 lockout? Well, have you been watching the NHL free agency period so far? Teams like Florida have been paying ridiculous contracts just to get to the salary cap floor. Ed Jovanovski, at 36 years of age just signed a four year deal worth 16.5 million dollars. Jovanovski made his name on bone crushing bodychecks and strong, fluid, quick skating. Now, Jovo cop is slow and doesn't throw around his body anymore.
Christian Ehrhoff, fresh off a season where he was the number two defenceman on the Canucks depth chart just signed a ten year deal worth 40 million smackeroos. Ehrhoff will make ten million dollars next season. He will be the highest paid player in the NHL.
To make a long story short (too late) the CBA is so incredibly flawed that salaries are rising when the cap was supposed to be making sure they went down. The comissioner hates that. They hate the fact that monster contracts like Marian Hossa's and Roberto Luongo's exist. The refusal to accept Ilya Kovalchuk's contract was a step in the right direction, but refer to the aforementioned Ehrhoff deal to see if long term contracts are disappearing anytime soon. On the players side, remember Alexander Ovechkin proclaiming his hate for "escrow"? It was only 10 percent this year, but that's still ten percent that the players simply don't want to pay.
I'm not the first to write on this subject, and I won't be the last. Just remember, though, that if it does happen; if the lockout does indeed stifle the 2012-2013 season, well, I TOLD YA SO.