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Are NHL Players Greedy, Spoiled Brats? And Other NHL Lockout Questions.

Fan frustration boils over as the NHL lockout holds us hostage.

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Updated December 12, 2012

Since the 2012 NHL lockout began, we've been asking for your input: how would you resolve the deadlock between the NHL and its players?

In the early days we got some practical answers.

But lately the frustration has boiled over.

After several months of watching millionaires and billionaires hold the game hostage while they scratch and claw for every dime, many of you are understandably fed up.

Let's consider a few of the complaints you've registered.

Scrap the unions, you should be thankful you're paid to play hockey, I work my ass off in the oilfield for money you spoiled brats wouldn't even get out of bed for, and I will not support this game again.

No doubt, some NHL players are spoiled brats.

If a guy is predisposed to being a jerk, the pro sports environment can only amplify the problem.

But the comparison to "regular" work is specious.

All workers use whatever leverage they have to get the highest possible salary.

Most of us don't have much leverage. But pro athletes are lucky. Their workplace is completely dependent on their skills, and those skills are not easily replaced.

The industry is extremely lucrative and the workers have plenty of leverage. So they use it. You would do the same.

The greed needs to stop! I am with Bettman and crew. Crosby get a real job at 60k a year and try to take your family to a game, let me know how your wallet feels?

The sentiment here is totally legit. The argument less so.

Most NHL players are not Sidney Crosby and aren't paid like him.

Yes, they all make spectacular money.

But most careers are short, and the threat of career-ending injury means there's little job security.

By the age of 30 or so, many of these guys are back in the real world with no marketable skills.

I'm not saying you should feel sorry for them - anyone who plays in the NHL is one of life's lottery winners.

But you can't blame a guy for wanting to make the most of a short window of opportunity.

Stop being spoiled and go to work like the rest of us. I can't go to my boss and tell him I want 50% or more of the profits. What a joke.

If I demanded 50 per cent, my boss would wish me luck and pick up the phone. By lunchtime, my chair would be filled by a perfectly adequate (possibly superior) replacement.

Many NHL players are vulnerable in the same way, which is why they don't all retire with six yachts and a villa in Tuscany.

But the true difference-makers are not so easily replaced.

For the NHL, a more reasonable workplace comparison is the rest of the entertainment industry.

The NHL employs the top 700 hockey players in the world.

What kind of salaries are pulled down by the 700 highest-paid actors, or musicians, or writers?

What about other specialized professions where the best talent is not easily replaced? How much do the world's top doctors and lawyers and architects make?

After this lockout a lot of fans are not going to tolerate the insane prices of last year. It's going to take forever for the NHL to recover from this fiasco.

It would be great if this were true. If disaffected fans stay away in numbers, the NHL will have no choice but to drop ticket prices and offer other incentives to win them back.

If I thought any of them cared I wouldn't have to try and solve their issues. In this day and age I am barely able to make ends meet. I can't make those decisions for millionaires but I can say I will be going elsewhere soon for my sports entertainment.

Fair enough. But let's wait and see if you're true to your word.

If the NHL is back in action... you're home on a Saturday night with nothing to do... nothing on TV... are you sure you won't flick over to the game just for a few seconds, just out of curiosity?

Because that's the thin edge of the wedge.

Pro sports will soon be only for the rich! Going to a pro sporting event will soon take a weeks pay.

It's true that the cost of an NHL game in many cities is beyond the reach of the average fan.

But lower salaries won't lead to cheaper tickets.

During the 2004-05 NHL lockout, some fans suggested a salary cap might lead to more affordable tickets.

The idea didn't made sense then, and it still doesn't.

The greed displayed in pro sports nowadays is the limit. I'm of the opinion that most of the pampered brats in the NHL are not fit to lace up the skates of the real stars of former years.

Sadly, too many real star of former years were royally screwed by their employers.

While the owners were coining it, guys like Rocket Richard and Gordie Howe played for peanuts, with few benefits, no workplace rights, and paltry pension plans.

If that's your idea of a better system, then yes, the old days were a great time.

Is the skillful playing of a child's game worth so much more than working in real occupations such as health care, teaching, police work, fire fighting, skilled trades, combat military personnel etc.? Have we lost our minds?

This seems a sensible way to frame the issue.

You can rant all you want about greedy, spoiled-brat hockey players.

But they're only taking the money because the money is there for the taking.

The big bucks wouldn't be available if we weren't all hockey fans. None of it would exist without us.

When a 25-year-old jock signs a $100 million contract, it doesn't say anything about him.

It says everything about us, and what we value as a society.

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