Kukla's Korner Hockey
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
Well, sorry to throw cold water on any faintly glowing embers of optimism but there is no sign this round of talks is going to be any less lame than what’s happened so far in the month-long lockout.
First, the parties are strolling into the union offices at 11 a.m., not exactly the time of day that would indicate urgent business is at hand. Second, there are no talks formally scheduled beyond today. Finally, while the parties will discuss the major economic issues that separate them – the players’ desire for more revenue sharing and the owners’ desire to slash the players’ salaries – all they’re going to talk about, according to Daly, are “ideas for moving the process forward on the main issues.”
It’s all about the process, don’t you know.
The best both sides can do right now is suggest the other make an offer.
In the meantime, the NHL embarrassed itself when Deadspin found out the league dropped a wad of cash on notorious Republican spin doctor Frank Luntz. He convened a focus group in Washington, D.C., to explore ways to blame the lockout on the union and the whole thing blew up in the NHL’s face on social media.
from Craig Custance of ESPN,
Horcoff is now a veteran of multiple lockouts. The Oilers captain has been active in the NHLPA for years and even though he's not surprised that another round of regular season games are expected to be chopped this week, it doesn’t make it any easier.
"It’s the same thing every time with the owners. [Gary Bettman's] first defense is to cancel games and test the players. There’s been no effort to negotiate on his stance. Their negotiation is 'The players have to come down to us or we’re not moving at all,'" Horcoff told ESPN the Magazine on Monday. "Gary has forced the players' hand into this situation and frankly, he’s [ticked] us off. I think at the start, that first offer they gave out, that was a big, big mistake on Gary’s part."
But it’s not even the cancellation of games or the stalled negotiations that appear to irk Horcoff the most. He questioned the sincerity of the league when it comes to concern for hockey fans.
"I sit there and read Gary and Bill’s comments about, 'We feel sorry for the fans.' Well, I find that really hard to believe," Horcoff said. "I think it’s a blatant lie, personally. I don’t feel they feel sorry for the fans at all. Gary feels like no matter what, [the fans are] going to come back and couldn't care less if they're frustrated with this. He’s going to do what it takes to get the best deal and couldn't care less what they feel."
from Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal at The Sporting News,
NHL player agent Pat Brisson, who organized a tour of locked-out NHL players in 2004, may do the same this year if the NHL lockout extends another month.
“We did it last time,” said Brisson, co-head of CAA Sports’ hockey division, which represents 62 NHL players, including a number of star players like Sidney Crosby. Brisson said he would seriously “explore” organizing a world tour that would include CAA clients, as well as possibly clients of other agencies, if there is no deal by early November.
Brisson was the main organizer of the IMG World Stars Tour in which 25 to 30 players played 10 games in several European cities over two weeks in December 2004 during the previous NHL lockout. He believes there could be fan interest if they choose to revisit the idea.
“We had a plane (for the tour) for 17 days. (Now) the cost of the plane and the cost of the insurance may be more,” Brisson said. “But the revenues may be higher.”
from Kevin Smith at ESPN,
"I understand the owners have issues and the players have issues. But, we fans just want to watch the games. Even after the last several labor situations, the sport kind of was making its way back. The past four years have been incredibly strong. The Winter Classic has turned non-hockey fans into hockey fans. Just as they start gaining ground, there suddenly is a lockout.
"Now you'll have to dial everything back four or five years. The fan base will be mad because everyone wants their money. I know that commissioner Gary Bettman said the fans will always come back. That's true. But fans still can resent it. I feel the same way. I'll be there when they come back but they need to remember to think about the people who pay the money to come watch. That is not the attitude to take to the people.
"It's important for them to remember that the game is first and foremost. The game is bigger than everybody, the owners and the players. It's not just a sport but a national pastime in a country that has turned it into a religion. Hockey is not a mobile sport. It has roots. They tried to move it down south and you see what happened. They need to honor the game.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
So the standoff continues, although the fact the Big Four will meet again Tuesday in Toronto is a slim glimmer of hope. Getting Bettman, Fehr, Bill Daly and Steve Fehr in the same room as often as possible is the only way this thing will ever find a breakthrough.
Monday, meanwhile, would have also been the first NHL payday for the 700-odd players locked out by owners. Yes, escrow payments north of eight percent from their 2011-12 salaries are due before the end of the month and they will help ease that pain, but it won’t take long before Mrs. Player gets tired of her husband not bringing home the bacon.
Similarly, dark arenas will begin to annoy deep-pocketed NHL owners. Sure, they’ve got the financial wherewithal to wait out the players -- that’s a given -- but there are some owners who are also smart enough to see the long-term damage this lockout is already begin to cause.
This league cannot afford two season-long lockouts. It simply cannot. Any owner foolish enough to believe any cost is worth paying to have the ability to crush the players for good and get the CBA that finally, in their minds, makes everything right doesn’t understand the psyche of the people that buy tickets to watch this incredible sport.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
I spent time over the past couple of weeks talking to people on both sides; people who were optimistic as the 2011-12 season ended. People who believed all of this could be avoided. I was surprised at the level of anger, bitterness and hatred.
We're probably about a month or two away from really realizing how long this is going to go. But, even if this season is saved, the scars will be visible and deep. All of that anger gives Bettman and Donald Fehr plenty of ammunition to maintain hard lines. They don't care what the fans think, and, in times like this, they are both paid extremely well to ignore public pressure.
When players/executives/owners say they see this going into next season, I believe them. Right now, there is little reason to believe otherwise.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
So The owners and the owners’ commissioner are nearly a month into the lockout — one they designed and implemented in a naked power play to force the players to their knees. And do you know why they did it? Because they can, that’s why. Because they believe themselves to be entitled, that’s why. Because they own the keys, that’s why.
None of that changes because the players haven’t presented a new proposal to the NHL over the last month. None of that changes because some players have opted to play in Europe.
This notion that somehow there’s a shared responsibility for the dark NHL rinks across the continent is, well, to borrow a phrase, a bunch of malarkey.One side, and one side only, has offered concessions in an attempt to settle this dispute and have a season. That’s the players’ side. It is not a concession when the owners and their commissioner agree to accept fewer concessions from the players than originally demanded in the league’s July 13 Declaration of Economic War against the NHLPA.
That does not represent a compromise on the part of the Lords of the Boards, no matter how many times the owners’ deputy commissioner Bill Daly suggests it is so.
Numerous sources reporting the NHL and NHLPA will get together on Tuesday.
Time and location will be decided on sometime Monday.
Let's keep our fingers crossed that some common ground can be discovered.
I've had read enough tweets about soccer, high school football, the CFL, NFL, MLB, KHL political debates and other topics besides NHL hockey!
added 5:14pm, Bill Daly tells the AP via ESPN there is the potential for a meeting on Tuesday, but not firm.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
The problem now, is how to get things unstuck. One of the two sides – likely whichever one grows most desperate – will need to compromise. In the meantime, neither side wants to show its hand first, believing that that would only undermine the strengths of its bargaining position.
Unfortunately, both players and owners have proved in the past that they can’t play nice in the negotiating sandbox, Fehr as leader of the baseball players’ union, Bettman in almost two decades of running the NHL.
You can only hope that all their cheap, specious arguments and bland motherhood statements will give way to legitimate, behind-closed-doors bargaining. Because if they don’t – if this is all they have – then the doors to NHL arenas will remain shuttered for a long time.
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.
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