Mark Cuban has never been afraid to speak his mind, often bluntly.
The owner of the Dallas Mavericks has quite famously taken on people in his own league and those in the business world and other walks of life. And on Thursday, he offered his take on the ongoing NHL lockout.
Not surprisingly, he's firmly in the owner's camp this lockout and doesn't cringe at the idea that the NHL's lockout is coming right on the heels of a lengthy lockout in his own league.
"No, actually, [I don't cringe]," Cuban said. "I think they're smart. You got to fix the problem. I cringed like with what we did. But if you don't fix the problems, they escalate, so they didn't fix them the last time, and they should have. So you see where they are now.
"When you have all your southern franchises basically sucking wind, there's a message there that you have to fix it. I mean, you have two different worlds; the north and the south. It's kind of like the civil war right now going on, and it's got to be fixed. So, yeah I'd cringe more as a hockey fan. I'd cringe more if they don't fix it. Just like the last one, it's only been like seven years right? But I even wrote a blog back then that they should have fixed it, and they didn't."
Now, to be fair, it's not only the southern franchises "sucking wind," (as evidenced by the entirely overwrought drama that is the New York Islanders), and the haves and have-nots in hockey have proven to be cyclical based on far more factors than geography alone. But there is definitely a point out there that the NHL needs to find a way to bring the haves and have nots closer together from a revenue perspective.
He goes on to say that the negotiation style that often comes about during sports lockouts, where you have two sides firmly dug into a war of personality, is less than ideal both for timely resolution and genuine progress toward long-term league health. As he puts it, "nobody wants to listen to the other guy's solution," something we've seen entirely too much of recently.
Also in today's links, Brett Ritchie hits the big time, a possible CBA compromise and Jaromir Jagr thinks the two sides are bickering like an old married couple..
- Brett Ritchie is having one heck of a season with the Niagara IceDogs, and now he gets a chance to take his game to the international stage. To the shock of almost no one, the Dallas Stars prospect was on the Team Canada's final roster when it was announced on Thursday. [Niagara Advance]
- Last summer's first-round pick Radek Faksa will also be at the tournament, and The Hockey News caught up with him in this video interview. [The Hockey News]
- And in further Stars prospect news, Austin Smith might be down in the ECHL, but he's tearing it up for Idaho. [Hundred Degree Hockey]
- Now back to lockout central. The two sides have met with mediators for the past two days, but alas, still no progress. At some point, I'm going to write a macro with those words and just insert it in every links post. [USA Today]
- This is a very, very interesting article by Scott Burnside where he gets a potential CBA compromise from an NHL governor. If you listen to the buzz on Twitter, the PA wouldn't mind this set at all. Now to convince both sides its actually in their long-term interest to find middle ground something like this. [ESPN]
- The contract-length issue still seems to be one of the major hurdles. Here's a break down of why the NHL wants that to change and why the NHLPA isn't so enthusiastic about it. [NHLNumbers.com]
- Jaromir Jagr chatted a bit about his views on the lockout. I particularly like the part where he compared the ongoing arguments to that of a married couple. [Edmonton Journal]
- As far as other Stars players go, Stephane Robidas is back stateside after an inauspicious stint in Finland, and he chatted with Mike Heika about his experience. [DallasNews.com]
- Even the freaking president of the United States is starting to get fed up with the lockout. [Puck Daddy]
- If you're in the mood for some hockey that matters (though not nearly as much as some in the hockey media will lead to you believe), the World Junior Championships are only a few weeks away. Feel free to covet the few remaining top-tier, undrafted players on Team USA. [Backhand Shelf]
- Todd gives you a profile of monster defenseman prospect Jamie Oleksiak as only he can. [Thursday Morning Cupcheck]
- Speaking of Oleksiak, he is the focus of the most recent behind-the-scenes video from the Texas Stars.