The Labor Battle of the Decade?

I was going to say century, but that would really be stretching it. Plus, I know that professional athletes hardly conjure the labor strife of 100 years ago, but the NHL battle coming up may have a touch of everything.

I have to admit, though, that the NHL labor talks are extremely high stakes. Literally--not rhetorically--the future of the league is riding on the outcome.

Yet another round of talks are going nowhere. The owners' stategy has been suggested to be to aim for a labor impasse and unilaterally impose their hard cap next year. The current CBA will expire one day after the World Cup finale, on 9/15.

If you are unfamiliar with the NHL labor dispute, it's a little more complex than the usual millionaire versus billionaire conflict of major sports. First and foremost, the NHL's popularity has plummeted in the last ten years. Teams have been added in areas where hockey is not a traditional sport, instead of putting more teams where it's sure to be popular. There have been several bankruptcies of late, yet no contraction.

Since CLEL purports to track California labor law issues, it's worth pointing out that the California teams have been very successful of late. San Jose was in the final four this year, and Anaheim went to game 7 of the final before losing. But they haven't had the attendance you might expect from championship caliber teams.

CLEL will continue to follow this brinksmanship.