The owners lose, but the players lose more. Replacement players are a gimmick and more of an 'fu' to the players. I don't honestly believe they would go that route. But the NHL unfortunately does not have the impact the NFL has, etc. That said, they can recover quicker because they have a smaller, but hardcore fan base. Fans are pissed. But once games are back on, they will return very quickly. The casual fans, less so... but then again, the casual fan really has less impact in hockey than it does in any other major sport.
The owners should just play hardball, get what they want and stop this nonsense of trying to do it over a couple CBA's.
Sigh. Replacement players don't work, that's why they won't go that route. They didn't work in the NFL, and they wouldn't've worked in MLB. The players ARE the game.
The NHL has clearly gotten into a pattern whereby they lock out the players, make a bunch of demands, then realize that they totally underestimated themselves and the market and again they have to return to the drawing board. And that's why I can't get behind this - it's utter horsesh!t. Sure, the players can't stay at 57% of revenue, I think we all know that. However, it doesn't mean that all the money that the players give back end up in the pockets of the 6 most wealthy teams, whose wealth largely comes from government subsidies of arena costs and artificial market protections, and that's where it will mostly end up. The smaller markets will lose more because of a lockout - their hold on their fanbases is already tenuous - while the big markets have got plenty of corporations and wealthy fans willing to pony up.
The NHL is in this mess because it underestimated how popular its game is. I bet they never thought they would even hit the 57% revenue threshold, or that the players would vote for the 5% cap inflator every single year.