However, the players need a huge reality check right now. Billionaire business owners are egomaniacs with deep pockets and are not going to be pushed around. Think Donald Trump, if you insulted this man while he thinks he is being generous, he'll hold that grudge until the day he dies. Think Kevin O'leary, do you go on Dragon's Den and expect to be paid hansomly, no he'll ruthlessly take as much of your company as he can for the least amount of dollars...why, because he's a business man, and it sucks but to get to where you can afford a 300-500million dollar side business (ie NHL team) you have to be ruthless and you make enemies, and you certainly don't get pushed around.
Let's take the Montreal Canadiens (one of the most profitable teams in the league). In 2011 their profit was approx $40 million dollars. They are partially owed by Bell Media who's 3 month profit (ie. one quarter) was 642million. Do you think they really care about the tiny profit they are losing out of from the Montreal candiens. And this is one of the more profitable teams.
I think the owners are at fault for all the ridiculous contracts they dolled out...but what I wonder is whether the players realize that they don't have the power to push the owners around, they may have to give up more they want, because they are dealing with egomanic, perhaps ruthless billionaires, who own a team because they can...not because it's a lucrative business.