Owners overpaid because they had to. Whenever you have different bids, you could say there's an overpayment and underpayment. BUT it's very hard to objectively determine the "right" value that decides who overpays and who underpays. Usually, the value of certain player is his market value, so you could say overpayments don't actually exist. Why? Because what a certain player gets is based on his past record as a hockey player and/or projection for the future AND how desperate the team is to land him. It's based on subjective evaluations and priority. And here NO ONE is right.
Simply said: It's EASY for us to look back and judge. But the fact is that the sole purpose of the NHL is competition and that leads to (from now looking back!) overpayments (misjudging a certain player's ability/potential or just being desperate to improve the team). And if you don't want to see 20 teams looking to win (able to "overpay" or relying on desirability) and 10 teams looking to do some damage and survive while doing so (in most cases must overpay to get someone due to "lowly" status, but can't, due to financial restrictions), you must enable these so-called "overpayments" to all teams without them losing much money because of it.
The problem is not that the owners gave stupid amounts of money. The problem is that they were able to give players stupid numbers of years on their contracts. That was just to circumvent the flawed CBA and offer a certain player more than the competition ("overpaying"). The richer teams (and the ones where the owner doesn't care about losing much money) were able to do this - now, this will be a no-go because of contract length limit.
So please, stop using this "overpaying" as a bash against the owners. The owners are doing what the fans want - they do everything to improve the teams. The flawed CBA enabled richer teams to not just spend up to the CAP, but over it (realistically). With the new CBA, this will end (unless they find another way to somehow spend much above the CAP). And it has nothing to do with the owners being stupid and now wanting to fix the problem.
NHL and the owners want to fix the old CBA so it's more fair to the lower tier teams (As a result, yes, the richer teams WILL make even more money - but who cares? It doesn't change the fact that the league will be more fair in the end). Why? Because 8 years ago they couldn't predict revenues going that high. And they want to do all this quickly, with rollback included, so there is as little "stink" carrying over to the next CBA era as possible, and you can't blame them for that.
So, no, I don't feel sorry for the owners, but I do understand them. Also, I don't feel sorry for the players, who got extremely lucky with the increasing revenues and are now asked to sacrifice part of their "lucky" payrise for the better competition in the NHL, but I do understand them. So, who do I think should "win" these negotiations? The NHL and the owners, because it will ensure a better competition in the NHL. That's what we, fans, want in the end. And WE pay for those damn salaries (well, technically, I don't, since I'm from Slovenia ).