In looking back at previous NHL work stoppages, one finds the depressing redundancy of a political campaign: The same language to vilify both sides and outrage over millionaires and billionaires squabbling over a treasure chest. All of this has happened before and will happen again. (You're allowed to sigh deeply now.)
I stumbled on this Brendan Shanahan interview (with Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe & Mail) from Nov. 1994 that echoes a lot of what we're hearing today (CBA stuff runs during the first 8 or so minutes):
It's an interesting artifact — both because Shanahan is now on the other side of the negotiating table as NHL Senior Vice President of Player Safety, and because it provides a snapshot of the NHL during Gary Bettman's first work stoppage as commissioner. For example:
• The first issue mentioned is meaningful revenue sharing. And 18 years later, you have the NHLPA making it a primary issue and the NHL calling it practically a non-issue.
• Wayne Gretzky's "market value" in 1994 was $3 million a year, which makes me think he would be worth roughly the gross national product of Belize in this NHL economy.
• Interesting take on the "Americanization" of hockey, which broke down the tribal nature of Canadians and instilling a "don't tread on me" sense of civil liberties of individuals. Shanahan believes it's at the heart of salary escalation, and that the players were down with it.
Meanwhile, back in 2012, here's a NHL Dept. of Player Safety video in which Shanahan "suspends" the negotiating teams for their greedy nonsense … OK, it's a fan-created video that hits all the DoPS explanation video beats while offering the earnest, helpless vibe that we're all feeling right about now:
Alas, all suspension appeals go directly to Gary Bettman, so …