Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Scott Burnside of ESPN,
By engaging in a bizarre game of institutional chicken that has brought the current set of talks to a shuddering halt, just how much money is being thrown away every single day, to say nothing of the mounting ambivalence to a sport that has always struggled to be relevant in many of its markets.
According to figures obtained by ESPN.com, the answer is a lot, millions in fact. Millions upon millions of dollars.
Had the season begun on Jan. 12 -- a possibility if a deal was struck within a week or so of the owners’ offer of Dec. 27 -- its estimated total hockey-related revenues from that first night of action would have come in at around $32 million.
The average daily tally for hockey-related revenues, revenues that are split between the players and the owners, is estimated to have been just north of $18 million for the first week of that imaginary season starting Jan 12. In total, about $130 million in revenues would have been shared by the two sides through the first week of a season that would have, could have, should have been getting ready to launch in about a week’s time.
Instead, next week brings us a Jan. 11 deadline for getting a deal done to start a 48-game slate on Jan. 19, as negotiations continue to be marked not by urgency but by plodding gamesmanship.
There is plenty of blame to go around here, but remember this. Lockouts are done by owners. This is the second one in eight years, the third in 18. Even if they get back to the table in a day or two and get a deal, this will be yet another stunted season.
And it’s all in the wake of the owners raking in more money than they ever did before. The fans showered them with $3.3-billion (U.S.) last season. You don’t need to use your imagination much to know what the owners showered the fans with in return.
-David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail where you can read more on this topic.
Daren Millard and Nick Kypreos give us the latest talk surrounding the CBA negotiations.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Gary Bettman infuriated players across the table from him at NHL headquarters on Thursday — and, by extension, NHLPA membership — by claiming that a number of general managers had told him they regret some of the contracts they’d previously handed out and would welcome the opportunity to “dismantle” their teams in order to meet the steep drop to the league’s proposed $60 million cap for 2013-14, sources have told The Post.
The players responded with a mixture of anger and skepticism, demanding to know the identity of these alleged GM’s. Bettman refused to name the straw men in seeking to counter the players’ position that adopting a $60M cap — even with two amnesty buyouts — would be punitive against big-market, big-spending franchises.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
I know how this works. You have to get to a deadline before this gets done, and that deadline is at the end of next week. But what is either side really accomplishing by waiting another seven days? Is there something the two sides are so far apart on that this CBA shouldn't get done?
Sorry, but I just don't see it.
You could make a real good argument that it's already too late. Well, what's done is done. But look at where we are right now and imagine what the final deal is going to look like in approximately a week.
Is it going to be so much better than what it looks like now that it's going to be worth it? And, if this season actually gets cancelled, is whatever happens in six to 10 months actually worth it? Because, if you don't think the damage and hatred from the fans and sponsors and media won't get exponentially worse in the next seven days, you're wrong.
from Damien Cox of the Toronto Star,
By the time this is over, NHL fans inclined to buy a ticket to a game will feel like they’re purchasing smut.
They’ll feel dirty afterwards, and slightly ashamed. They’ll want to take a shower. It’ll be like shaking hands with that uncle with the beady eyes and the inappropriate stories and the greasy hands.
But how else could they possibly feel? The league and the players have this week taken their obvious lack of respect to the people who fund their enterprise to new heights.
This isn’t fiddling while Rome burns. This is urinating on the embers while pretending to lament the destruction.
When all is not quiet, all is not good.
from Bruce Arthur of the National Post,
Essentially, they are fighting over US$150-million in salary cap space in 2013-14, which might be clawed back by escrow anyway. They are fighting over pensions, which the league had previously agreed to, and which constitutes a rowboat of potential financial liability in what will eventually be a small ocean of revenue. They are fighting over a number of structural niceties that, in the end, are not a hill that anybody should die on. (The NHLPA reportedly will take a 10-year CBA with an opt-out after seven years; the NHL wants an opt-out after eight. Player contract term limits are believed to have a similarly minor difference).
They are using the clock, jockeying for whatever is left. This is the calculated bravado that grips the endgame. Whose threats do you believe? Whose bluffs will you call? Which omens matter, and which ones are air? And who doesn’t lie?
This is how the lockout ends. Or, on the off chance someone miscalculates badly enough, doesn’t.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Seven or eight unresolved issues remain, sources say, the three most meaningful ones being the second-year cap, the length of player contacts and the players’ pension.
Are we really going to see a season canceled over those remaining issues? Or if a season is canceled, is it more because of the dysfunctional dynamic that exists between both sides in negotiation?
Did I mention this was the most embarrassing and irrational sports labor negotiation in history?
Logic dictates a deal will get done, given what little separates both sides. But logic has been benched for long periods of this sordid game.
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
The next few days' negotiations between the league and the players' association will determine whether there will be an abbreviated season or if the only victories at stake will be won in courtrooms. An ominous tone crept in Thursday, when two small-group sessions produced no real progress and the NHLPA asked its members to take the complex legal step of approving a potential dissolution of the union. But there's still reason enough to believe there will be a season, that they will realize they must compromise or they will cause lasting damage to a game that manages to survive despite the people who run it.
Neither side can legitimately claim at this stage that the potential gains of holding out for a better deal outweigh all that has already been lost — or all that could yet be lost if Commissioner Gary Bettman follows the script from 2004-05 and again cancels a full season.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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