The enemy within

HOW MUCH OFthe NHL's money should go to its players? That question has dominated labor negotiations, fan chatter and media analysis since the league's owners imposed their lockout on Sept. 15.

But the key issue facing hockey isn't whether players should receive roughly 74 percent of NHL revenues (as they did before the lockout that ended the 2004-05 season) or 57 percent (as they did under the last deal) or 50 percent (as the owners recently offered). It isn't about how owners and players should share revenues at all. It's about how owners should share revenues with one another. Unless the league resolves that question correctly, its financial problems will remain -- and the game will be destined for more lockouts.