Ok, at first I was giving the benefit of the doubt to pretty much everyone but now it's gone too far. I was reading NHLPA VP Vincent Damphousse's rebuttal of a Jean Béliveau declaration blaming the players and I find it ridiculous. He said the PA proposed a 5% cut on every salary and essentially cutting rookie salaries and bonuses, qualifying this as "fair". Another article brought up an interesting point: the salary hike was helped in part by decisions that made sense in one market, but not in all, applied league-wide through arbitrators. The example given was of Theo's MVP year in 2002. This was a young keeper who had just won the MVP and Vezina trophy, but, more importantly for the Habs, he was a local boy, a bona fide superstar that sells shirts (like Roy used to do) and a media darling that sold the club very well. Now, his salary made sense in Montréal, but that doesn't mean that another keeper (say Giguère) with similar stats' contract should be matched in another city. But this is how the arbitrators worked. And the system would punish the many for the errors of the few, but only in one direction. If Kariya takes a pay cut to go to Colorado, that doesn't set a standard. But if the Rangers pay Bobby Holik $9m dollars for any reason, that sets a huge standard and brings all the players' salaries up by consequence. Coming back to the Damphousse interview, you realise one of the big problems (and this can be said of many unions): you can't take anything back. A player will know at first that he's not necessarilly worth $5m, but once he makes $5m for years, it's hard to bring him back down to "only" $2m. And you can't cut players or teams because the union will defend EVERY LAST ONE of their members - that is its nature and purpose. This is why you see the PA proposing stuff like rookie and first-year cuts in salaries when these are the players that might only play a year or two in the league: because there's no union of prospective rookies and (obviously) only NHL players are in the PA. With all this said, if the season is cancelled without another offer on the table, I'm blaming the players.