Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Michael Grange of Sportsnet,
Hey, Sid, how ya doing? It’s Don, Don Fehr. Yeah, yeah, the executive director of the NHLPA, that Don….
Are you out of your mind? Do you pay your agent for this stuff? I mean, I’ve heard the expression puckhead before, but never realized it was a literal thing.
You signed for $8.7 million Sid. That’s the same as your last contract, the one you signed four years ago. What is the matter with you? Didn’t anyone mention to you that league revenues have grown by $1.1 billion since then?
In case you missed the memo, I’m heading to the belly of the beast on Friday, aka: Gary Bettman’s office, to fight about exactly how much of the league’s $3.3 billion in revenue should belong to the guys who wear skates and risk getting their heads torn off every night.
I’m not sure if you are up to speed on this or not, but just in case: the owners—that would be your former landlord Mario and the rest of them—they want to give you guys less money.
We’re not exactly sure how much less at this point, but let’s assume it’s about 15 per cent less than you guys are getting now.
NEW YORK/TORONTO (June 28, 2012)—The National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association announced today that the Team Payroll Range established for the 2012-13 League Year, pursuant to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, provides for a Lower Limit of $54.2 million, an Adjusted Midpoint of $62.2 million and an Upper Limit of $70.2 million.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
Talks begin less than 48 hours after Dennis Wideman signed a five-year, $26.25 million contract with Calgary. That will be an interesting backdrop. In the outstanding book Lords of the Realm, there is a story about the 1993 baseball negotiations, where Fehr questioned the owners’ complaints of financial issues as Cecil Fielder signed a five-year, $36 million contract that featured a $10 million signing bonus.
Other questions as things get started:
• Will anyone be making an opening proposal?
• How much common ground exists?
• What are each side’s non-starters?
• Do Fehr and Bettman stick to their histories as last-minute negotiators, decreasing the importance of these early July discussions?
• Will the owners try to split the union by offering an increased minimum salary and the promise of more jobs through expansion? (It’s actually a decent strategy.)
• Will either side refuse to discuss any of the lesser issues until the major ones (e.g. what percentage of revenues the players get) are settled?
CHICAGO (June 27, 2012) – The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) today announced its Negotiating Committee, following three days of Executive Board Meetings in Chicago. The NHLPA’s Negotiating Committee consists of 31 Players (see list below), representing a cross-section of the overall Membership of the NHLPA.
from the CP at TSN,
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association are scheduled to kick off formal talks on a new collective bargaining agreement in New York on Friday, according to multiple sources.
Anxious fans have been waiting months for the sides to open negotiations on a deal that is set to expire Sept. 15. Despite the fact a season was lost the last time they went to the bargaining table, there has been a slight hint of optimism in the air at the NHLPA’s executive board meetings this week.
“We have a few months ahead here to reach a deal and that’s our goal,” New York Islanders star John Tavares said Tuesday.
In all, the union has gathered 53 players together for three days of comprehensive meetings before talks open. They were split into three breakout groups on Tuesday afternoon and combed over a number of topics expected to be raised during CBA discussions—everything from desired changes to the current system to player safety and on-ice issues.
from Nicholas J. Cotsonika of Yahoo Sports,
This is the culmination of two years of preparation for Don Fehr and the NHL Players’ Association – the rewriting of their constitution, the selection of Fehr as executive director, the rebuilding of the organization, the education of both the staff and players, the reuniting of the union.
The NHLPA is holding executive board meetings Monday through Wednesday in Chicago, its last major gathering before labor talks. The staff and about 50 players will discuss issues and strategy, then announce their negotiating committee.
It’s time to get down to business. Talks could begin as soon as this week.
Expect to hear optimism that a deal can be reached before the collective bargaining agreement expires Sept. 15, contrasting with the pessimism many feel about the 2012-13 season opening on time.
As far as the players are concerned, this is the starting point: They made enormous concessions after the lockout of 2004-05 – a salary cap, a 24-percent pay cut and more – and the game has grown from a $2.1-billion business into a $3.3-billion business. Why mess it up?
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
It is common knowledge that the league has had to bail out the Phoenix Coyotes and New Jersey Devils, but there are several other teams either in, or close to, serious red ink. The successful owners are tired of hearing about the struggles of the weak and sick of bailouts.
It’s time to get the stray ducks in line, they say.
To that point, there is a movement to go after the minimum. Some clubs would like it abolished outright. Weaker clubs say they don’t care how much the New York Rangers or Philadelphia Flyers spend so long as they aren’t trapped by a minimum that, they believe, forces them to spend on players they’d rather not take on and can be a severe cramp on rebuilding.
They want the latitude baseball teams have. Sell off the big assets for what you can get and start over with a more sensible economic model for the franchise.
A lowered minimum – let alone no minimum at all – is sure to fire up the players, now being led by a hard-nosed negotiator who came over from baseball, Donald Fehr.
We’ve read and heard about where some of the big names will land when all is said and done, so let’s read your opinion on some of the big names.
What team will sign Zach Parise?
How about Ryan Suter, will he stay with Nashville or sign elsewhere?
Rich Nash is on the trading block by request, where does he go and a pat on the back if you mention the return for Nash.
Same goes for Roberto Luongo, what team will trade for Luongo and what will they give up?
Will the LA Kings keep Jonathan Bernier until they sign Quick long-term? If not, where will Bernier be come late September?
Bonus question, will the new CBA be in place to start the season on time?
Fee free to mention other players as well but do include where they will end up and what will it take to get him.
from Ed Willes of the Vancouver Province at the Leader-Post,
On the ice, the story wasn’t much cheerier. The game continued to trend back towards the dead-puck era. Goals were down. Entertainment value was down. True, the first round of the playoffs provided some memorable hockey, as it generally does. But the postseason also devolved from that point and by the time the final rolled around, few fans outside Los Angeles and New Jersey were engaged in the game’s marquee event.
Coming out of the last lockout, the NHL seemed to recapture its lost glory and the three-season stretch from ‘07-‘08 to ‘09-‘10 produced breath-taking hockey, a new generation of stars and three incredibly worthy Stanley Cup champions in the Red Wings, Penguins and Blackhawks.
This season? Well, we can debate the merits of the newly crowned L.A. Kings, but the fact remains the NHL’s best speed-and-skill teams were eliminated long before the Cup final, and that’s not a healthy direction for the league.
So where does that leave us? Well, we hate to bring more happy news but the game is headed for its fourth work stoppage since ‘91, a development that will reopen a number of old sores between the NHLPA and the league as it further alienates a restless fan base.
“Maybe I’m an eternal optimist on this stuff, but I think there will be no time missed.” I hope we’ve learned from our last go-round. We always try to improve it, but I think the [NHL] product is pretty good.”
-Peter Chiarelli, GM of the Boston Bruins on a possible lockout. More from Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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