"Deep down, the players know that if it comes to a stand-off, they cannot outlast the owners," said the NHL executive. [...]
When asked – albeit rhetorically – what edge the players might have in this dispute, the executive replied, "None. We took away all of their leverage by canceling the playoffs in 2005. And, we’ll do it again, if we have to." -- Berger Bytes
What leverage do the players have?
There's been a lot of commentary on the latest lockout in this lockout-addicted league--who's to blame, how both sides are unreasonable, etc.-- but I think this point can't be underlined enough:
This labor dispute will be decided by the owners.
It will be over when they want it to be over. This is not a give-and-take negotiation between two sides. This is about how much more the men with overwhelming, disproportionate power can get.
They are billionaires. Small hits don't concern them. "Givebacks" are made against their own proposals. Concessions are relative.
This lockout's not hard for them, and they don't feel terrible about it. They don't weep for the state of this league. Every penny the owners lose from missed games this season will be offset by hundreds of millions they'll save in the future.
The moment I realized that is the moment I knew hockey wasn't going to start on time.