That glut of money has fattened the appetite of both sides in this dispute. Both want a bigger share of what the fans and sponsors are shelling out. Both sides want more control over the inner workings of the sport. And so both appear willing to risk another no-show season to get what they want.
Perhaps the NHL ownership, and the players to a lesser degree, feel that they are immune to turning off fans and trickling the spigot of money that has been flowing their way in recent years. Perhaps they are right.
Let’s hope they learn the kind of lesson that the NFL learned earlier this year when it brought in unqualified referees and saw disastrous results.
Fans shouldn’t allow themselves to become willing dupes in this. The NHL needs to respect the foundation of its success — the fans — and remember that the sport is nothing if it doesn’t return the loyalty that its fans have granted.