While many are quick to blame Gary Bettman for the third lockout under his regime, the blame lies equally with the owners as well. Over 50% of owners in the NHL barely break even or lose money, and they have no qualms with locking out the players. These owners lose less money with a lockout than they do while the season is in full swing.
James Dolan is not one of these owners.
While many may think that Dolan wanted this lockout to help line his own pockets, they couldn’t be further from the truth. There are several reasons why he did not want this lockout. In fact, I’m willing to bet that the vote for a lockout was only unanimous because Dolan was a reluctant participant to show his support for his fellow owners.
Note: This is speculation on my part. I have no proof whatsoever if this is the case.
The most obvious reason why Dolan did not want a lockout is because the Rangers are pretty good. Like Stanley Cup contender good. The addition of Rick Nash for what amounts to bottom-six players made the Rangers the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.
But the NHL is not hockey. Hockey is a game. The NHL is a business. It doesn’t matter how successful the Rangers are if Dolan isn’t earning money. Therein lies reason number two why it is highly unlikely Dolan didn’t want this lockout: The Rangers earn money. They earn a lot of it. While the majority of the Dolan’s income is from Cablevision, the Rangers are another solid chunk of income that the Dolan’s are missing out on.
But the biggest reason why the lockout hurts the Dolans is something that has been occurring of the past two summers and will continue for the next summer. It is the Dolan-funded MSG renovation project.
The Dolans have put just short of $1 billion into renovating The World’s Most Famous Arena. They need the NHL season to be in full swing to recoup some of that income. For every day that the NHL is not in action, the Dolans lose millions of dollars. The NHL is a business, and it made the Dolans enough money to renovate The Garden without using a cent of taxpayer money.
While the irrational may blame the Dolans for the lockout, logical thinking shows that they were likely the last hand raised in this “unanimous” vote for a lockout. Blame whoever you want for this predicament, but don’t blame the Dolans. After all, they didn’t use your money to renovate MSG. They used their money. About $1 billion of their money. This hurts them much more than this hurts us.