Kukla's Korner Hockey
Hockey is in dire need of inspiration. More than ever, hockey leadership needs the people who will step out of the echo chamber and promote the unpopular opinions. Are any players in closed-door meetings speaking out in recognition of the fact they’ll have to give back? That they’re not going to receive 57 percent of revenues for happily ever after because it was the agreement once upon a time?
And are any of these supposed owners who can’t afford or don’t want a lockout, but who apparently back the tactic of shutting down the league, voicing their concerns over the ridiculous way the NHL runs and negotiates its business? Who knows where the real truth to this lies. But hockey will never be big-league in the USA if it continues to operate with such bush-league, winner-take-all, pre-PA mentalities.
-Rory Boylen of The Hockey News where you can read more on this topic.
from Kevin McGran of the Toronto Star,
Donald Fehr expressed some hope that collective bargaining talks this week will help lead to some resolution.
But he also made it clear in an hour-long meeting with the Toronto Star’s Editorial Board that the longer the NHL lockout lasts, the less happy the players will be playing under a salary cap.
“If this goes on for an extended period of time, I don’t know what they (the players) are going to do. But I think it’s safe to say, they would be exploring all options,” said Fehr.
He added the players can live with salary cap if an agreement can be reached quickly.
“Where the players are, they want to make a deal,” Fehr said. “Even though the owners’ proposal went as far away from the players as they could, the players did not respond in kind. They made a proposal which moved in the owners’ direction. If there can be an agreement in a relatively short term, which puts the pieces back together and gets the season going, I think the players can live with that.”
from Roy MacGregor of the Globe and Mail,
NHL owners are in a pressure cooker right now, with the heat guaranteed to be applied increasingly as the lockout cancellations add up and fan frustration boils over.
This is no longer the NHL of Clarence Campbell, where owners’ heads and voices often rose far higher than the league president’s own. There are no Smythes, Ballards, Norrises, Wirtzes to break order these days.
It is, increasingly, a Disney World where owners are corporate conglomerates, their heads as unrecognizable in the streets as the average fan. And league commissioner Gary Bettman has done an extraordinary job of herding these lions. So far.
It is worth pointing out, however, that even if the puck is no longer in play, egos are – and the possibility of breaking ranks exists on both sides, players and owners.
Being recognized in the streets is one thing.
Being chased through the streets is quite another.
"Donald Fehr, I know he's a tough negotiator and for years he was used to getting his way by virtue of the fact that MLB is still the only league that doesn't have a salary cap. But I think the wrangling that will go on over the course of the next month or two is simply seeing what (off-ice) concessions he can get ... just like the NFL got fewer workouts, this that and the other.
"Then looking into the future, if the owners cannot largely make a profit with a 50-50 split, then you shouldn't own an NHL franchise. Part of the reason teams get into trouble is because they feel like they have to keep up with the Joneses."
-Dr. Patrick Rishe, sports economic professor at Webster University. More on this topic from Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
from Kevin M. Allen of USA TODAY,
Negotiations between NHL owners and players will resume in New York on Wednesday and Thursday, but they aren't scheduled, as of now, to include any discussion of the primary issue of how to divide revenues every season.
"Major economic issues aren't on the agenda," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Monday via email.
With the lockout now starting its fourth week and the first two weeks of the regular season already canceled, the owners and players are stalemated. They are negotiating on some of the secondary issues with the hope that it might open the door to talks on the major issues.
via Chris Johnston of the CP at Yahoo,
The NHL and NHL Players' Association likely won't discuss economics when collective bargaining talks resume this week.
The sides have agreed to sit down together in New York on Wednesday and Thursday, but deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Monday that he expects the conversation to cover secondary issues, including "health and safety, medical care, drug testing, rent and mortgage reimbursements (and) grievances."
Talks have been limited to ancillary topics since the lockout was enacted, including during two separate sessions last week.
Daly indicated that he'd like to see economics and system issues — essentially how the sides split up league revenue — put back on the bargaining table soon.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
As the NHL lockout enters its fourth week with no solution on the horizon, a question is quietly being whispered: When are we going to see cracks in the armour?
While commissioner Gary Bettman maintains he has the support of all 30 teams in this battle with the NHL Players’ Association, not everybody is convinced it will stay that way with two weeks of the regular season already toast.
Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly showed up on the NHLPA’s doorstep Friday for a private meeting out of the spotlight with executive director Donald Fehr and his brother Steve Fehr, who is acting as special council negotiations.
The belief is not everybody on the NHL’s board of governors is happy the league is in the midst of its third lockout in 20 years with Bettman at the helm and he’s getting some heat to try to find a solution.
“My guess is you’ve got about 10 teams that are pretty nervous right now,” said a league insider. “But (Bettman) has the power of the executive committee behind him.”
For now, no deal, and no sign of one any time soon. Nuclear winter, redux. Hockey Fright in Canada and the US. The owners won cost certainty, in the form of the cap, with the cudgel of the last lockout. Now they’re angling for profit certainty, using the same model, clawing back a larger piece of the gross take and telling the players to make due with hundreds of millions of dollars less — hand in hand with huge concessions in contract language. Little wonder it’s at a standstill. And it will be no surprise if the season is lost, though that decision likely would not come until approximately mid-January. Best to figure we’re in a 100-day countdown at this hour.
-Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe where you can read more on the lockout and other hockey topics.
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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