The lockout is only three days old, and already some employees are feeling its wrath -- and I don't mean the players.
The Florida Panthers announced Tuesday they are already trimming their budget. That means parting way with employees and scaling back how much others work -- and thus, get paid. Panthers beat writer for the Miami Herald George Richards with the details.
A little more from the Associated Press:
Panthers President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Yormark released a statement announcing what he called "staff adjustments" on Tuesday, the lockout's third full day.
Yormark did not say how many jobs were involved. He cited the league's "work stoppage," avoiding the word lockout.
The Panthers aren't alone in this cost-cutting venture. The Ottawa Senators, not a team associated with sagging budgets the way a team in Florida is, made their own cuts before the Panthers. From Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun.
Leeder said the layoffs have been significant. More than 10. #Sens— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) September 17, 2012
"Every full-time, every part-time employee is affected by a work stoppage," [team president Cyril] Leeder told the AP (via Sporting News). "On the full-time employees, they've either been laid off temporarily or gone to a four-day work week."
What a shame. We knew it was likely to happen in some places, but that doesn't make it any better.
In fact, it's infuriating. Players and owners failing to reach an agreement on how to split billions of dollars costs people making thousands their jobs, and many their livelihoods. It's not like a regular team employee is going to be able to go months or longer without a paycheck like the players who have loads of money to fall back on.
Whenever I see the propaganda messages coming from the owners side and/or the players side and they are apologizing to the fans, I cringe. Sure, it sucks to lose the chance to watch games that we love, but it's for pure enjoyment. All the fans are missing out on is a form of entertainment they really enjoy. In the grand scheme of things, it's not the biggest loss in the world. Really, it's not.
The people they should be apologizing to are those who depend upon NHL hockey, not those who merely enjoy NHL hockey. It's those people who are being affected, as the Panthers and Senators have already demonstrated. They are owed the sincerest apologies there are from the sides involved.
Further, what I fail to understand is why are these cuts being made now? Did the lockout just give these teams an excuse to make moves they were already planning? It's not as if we have actually missed anything yet with the lockout.
Who knows, maybe when the sides resume meetings Wednesday they might miraculously strike a deal and the season will begin with hardly a beat missed. The first games of the regular season aren't scheduled until October. It's a fat chance, I know, but it is a chance. Could these organizations not withstand a relatively short lockout?
Sadly, it seems the answer isn't one that we'll know, because they aren't willing to risk it. The lockout could be days, it could be weeks or it could be months (please don't let it be years). But some teams are bracing for the worst.
Not every team is making such cuts, thankfully. Stephen Whyno of the Washington Times passes along the plan for the Capitals.
Many other teams will take a similar stance to that of the Caps, which is great. But that doesn't take away from the fact that one person losing a job because of a labor impasse is too many.
There is no reason to cheer for a new CBA more than for the people who could be on the chopping block next.