Reality is, ANYTHING the players do is going to "negatively affect hockey." The owners want to sell an entertaining product as much as possible, the players are primarily concerned with getting the biggest slice of that product.
However, the players are entitled to organize to reap the most for their very valuable and unique labor. And the only thing negative consequence they can impose on the owners is not playing -- either by striking entirely, which they aren't willing to do, or refusing to play under some conditions (realignment, rules, etc.) or some games (winter classic). If they don't get enough of the pie, they can shrink the pie. That's their only power.
The NHL has made it very clear that my team (and many others) will never be in the winter classic, which seems to be reserved mainly for the wealthiest/healthiest (northeastern/canadian) teams that are the biggest problem here. Does it really grow the sport to showcase amway/toronto/philly/rangers all the time? Or does it just maximize things for the problem owners? The owners are already blowing up the whole season asking for ridiculous things. Hitting back at the winter classic is justified and rational.
Has anyone actually been to a winter classic and not bitched about it? That's all I see online after every time they host the thing. It's a much better made for TV thing.
Here are some other sure-fire demands that are sure force the owners to their knees:
1) No player will ever play for less than $1 Million dollars ever again!
2) No player will ever play in a SC Playoffs ever again!
3) No player will ever want to play for Edmonton ever again...oh wait...strike that...
4) No player will ever hang out with hot chicks like Jarret Stoll ever again!
These will work like a charm....
We need the break, let the Kings fans enjoy the cup for a year and a half. Play in 2013-2014
OK, I am no expert on exactly what the powers/duties of the NHL Commissioner actually are, but I know if I were the Commissioner, these are 3 things I would be implementing right now (if I could):
1) No contract longer than 5 years...these long, ridiculously overpriced contracts are going to be the downfall of many a team if allowed to continue.
2) Make sure there is no lockout by giving the team's and player's reps a deadline of yesterday!! Come on....you have had months and months to work on these issues. If you haven't figured it out by now, you have 3 days to do it! If you really want to work something out, you could do it in 3 hours! Lock yourselves in a room and don't come out till the deal is done...we'll bring in good food! Oh, and I'm gonna stand in there and make sure no one is playing Angry Birds or texting!
3) And next year there will be a contest to choose 2 fans to present the Stanley Cup trophy to the winning team (including airfare, game tix, etc.) This will be once the 2 teams are in the Finals, 2 fans from each team win.....
OK, taking off my Commissioner hat.....anyone else want to put it on?