Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Blue Jackets / Johansen Negotiations Unpleasant Reminder of the Lockout

The negotiations between Ryan Johansen and the Columbus Blue Jackets have been at a standstill, with ridiculous rhetoric from both sides. Side A wants one thing, side B the opposite, and they refuse to talk or budge. Sound familiar? It should. The entire NHL fan base watched as half of the 2012-13 season went up in flames, and the process was eerily, unpleasantly familiar.

Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The lockout started when the previous collective bargaining agreement between the owners and the Player’s Association expired, and they began “negotiations” on a new one. The owners wanted, mainly, to reduce the revenue share that went to the players from 57% to 46%. That was their offer. That stalled the negotiations.

The NHLPA took their time to respond, not giving a counter-proposal for another month. When they did, they wouldn’t go any lower than 52%, and the NHL balked. Nope, the offers were rejected, and the negotiations at a standstill again.

The Players’ Association blamed the owners, saying “if the owners truly cared about the game and the fans”, they’d end the lockout. Both sides openly rejected each other and refused to cooperate, offering ridiculous statements blaming the other side an infuriating the fans.

They cancelled some games, and talked again in early October, to no avail, and negotiations went on-again off-again until a deal was finally reached in January, after half the regular season had been cancelled.

All NHL fans were mad after the lockout, but the Jackets fans had the most cause to be angry. We lost the NHL All-Star game, after all! Now we are seeing the same process begin anew, albeit on a smaller, less revolting scale.

Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The negotiations between Ryan Johansen and the Jackets management have been stalled for weeks now. The club originally offered him a short-term bridge deal, but he wasn’t interested. After calling it a “slap in the face”, Johansen and his agent rejected the bridge deal, and negotiations halted.

Basically, the two sides have refused to cooperate or negotiate, and the Johansen camp is openly blaming the club management and acting offended at being offered a deal that any 21-year-old should expect. It’s ridiculous. Not as ridiculous as the lockout, but only because it is on a smaller scale. Did they learn anything from the lockout? It ended up costing the league half a season and costing Columbus an All-Star game!

If there is one thing the sides in this argument can take away from the lockout, it’s that neither side wins by delaying the talks. I know it’s probably strategy to wait and try to get the other side to cave, but it didn’t work for the NHL and the NHLPA, so why would it work for the Johansen camp? Since he didn’t get an offer when free agency began, it’s likely that he’ll eventually have to sign with the Jackets. If they know that, then what does he think he will gain by waiting, since it looks like he’ll be more desperate for a contract than the Jackets will be to sign him?

Though all the rhetoric and negotiations, it would be better if both sides just came to the table and openly discussed what they wanted from the other. This stall isn’t getting anywhere, and hockey fans know better than anyone that stalled negotiations never end well.
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