The players decided to see if they could exploit the system, and it worked. The owners paid outrageous salaries. Who's to blame for that? The ones demanding/asking for more money or the ones that actually pay it?
The problem I have is the owners complaining of salaries and profit sharing, yet they, at the same time, pay these salaries to win. You can't have it both ways, if it really was an issue the owners should have come together a long time ago and figured out how NOT to get into bidding wars.
I blame both sides, but I blame the owners more. Even more so now that the players offered a 24% rollback AND a salary cap they were so adamant about not implementing. It shows me a willingness to work it out on the part of the players, and a "eff ewe" attitude on the part of the league.
It's been said many times, but it sure looks like Bettman never wanted a deal. Maybe this is his plan, destroy the league and contract the pool of teams thereby eliminating the weak teams. WHO knows, but the 11th hour effort of the players impressed me, and the outright denial of the league pissed me off.
I'll watch the NHL when it comes back, but the league lost my respect. The only sport I really care about disappoints me.