Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Damien Cox of The Spin,
At some point, if weeks turn into months, players will start grumbling. But they'll have nowhere to go with their grumbling, outside of their own player rep. Then that rep, if he were like-minded, would have to convince another 15 player reps that change was required before a serious movement could start. Individuals can take to Twitter, but it won't get them anywhere.
Last time, pressure could be brought to bear against Linden and the negotiating committee by various superstars. Now? The NHLPA structure is basically mutiny-proof.
For those players who never want to repeat the collapse of 2005, that's good news.
But for anyone who believes the end to this lockout lies in the union cracking, there's almost no chance of that happening. Fehr helped set this union up the way its set up, and as the person now in charge, it's made him bulletproof. This negotiation is about Fehr and his brother, Steve - believed by many to be his hand-picked successor as agreed to by the union as a condition of Fehr's hiring - as much as it is about commissioner Gary Bettman.
The owners won't turn on Bettman. And the players can't turn on the Fehr Bros.
So there won't be hockey in October and November. Maybe none at all.
from Michale Grange of Sportsnet,
The owners defend shrinking the dollars available to the players so drastically in the first year by saying it wouldn’t be all that different from the escrow payments the players have always made under the previous CBA.
But escrow is designed as a failsafe for book-keeping purposes, not a pay cut. In theory the players are supposed to get their escrow money back.
The owners run the hockey business and they have a right to run it how they see fit and if it suits them to run a hard bargain it’s up to them, and they do hold most of the cards.
But if they care about a proper season of hockey being played they should put some of them on the table; they should relent on trying to lock in savings in the first year of the new CBA as an act of good faith. It’s hard to see a deal of any kind getting done without one.
Do the right thing and see where it leads.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
So there was Parise wondering to the Minneapolis Tribune’s Mike Russo, why Bettman would “brag” endlessly about the $3.3-billion (all currency U.S.) in revenues that the NHL generated last year, and then turn around and ask the players to take a smaller share of the overall pie in the current round of collective bargaining negotiations.
Well, here’s the thing.
Revenues may have risen steadily under the last CBA, but it doesn’t change the fact that half the teams in the league are operating in the red, and some would likely fold if free-market principles were ever applied to the overall NHL model.
The Phoenix Coyotes are a well-publicized black hole, but there are other teams operating in the lower 49 that would be sunk without the $3- to $8-million in annual revenue-sharing subsidies that they received under the old agreement.
It would have been far better off if Bettman had been more open about the warts in the business in the 12-to-24 months leading up to the lockout, rather than constantly glossing over the problem areas.
“You hope it doesn’t go too long, but it’s tough to grasp when you’ve got a guy in Gary Bettman bragging every year that we’re making ‘record revenue, record revenue, record this,’ and all of a sudden they want to take a quarter of what you’ve made away. That doesn’t make sense to anybody. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in.”
-Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild when asked how long the lockout will last. More from Michael Russo of Russo's Rants.
from Ed Tait of the Winnipeg Free Press,
The National Hockey League lockout, in the simplest of terms, is a fight between players and owners over revenue and how to split up a $3.3-billion pie.
But if you ask Arthur Schafer -- a professor and director of the University of Manitoba's Centre for Professional and Applied Ethics -- it is also a fascinating morality play.
"The 'millionaires versus billionaires' analogy is a catchy way of encapsulating it, but I don't think that's what it's about," began Schafer. "My sense is the dispute isn't primarily about money. I think it's about honour, a sense of fairness and respect and solidarity. It's a kind of morality play. That might sound absurd and pretentious, but that's how it seems to me.
"It's the bosses versus the workers. Now, it's true the workers aren't living in hovels with coal in their bath tub. But honour really matters, sometimes more than money. They want a sense that they are respected, not that they are nothing."
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
And so we have reached the predictable, yet significant boiling point in this already tiring NHL lockout.
Oh, there will be more to come, but Tuesday’s pointed comments from negotiators on both sides signified the first real point of exasperation from folks in the bargaining room.
The NHL says it’s tired of talking about nothing and wants a new offer from the NHLPA before any progress can be made.
The NHLPA says the league’s version of progress is giving in.
The rhetoric is being knocked up a notch. Rewind the tape to eight years ago, and you’ll hear much of the same type of sniping from both sides.
It’s Groundhog Day in the NHL, and the biggest losers are the fans who once again are being held hostage by an all-too-familiar script.
About a 1/2 hour ago...
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
If you have any doubt what a stalemate the NHL lockout has become, consider this: talks took a step backward last weekend because the league and the NHL Players' Association could not agree on who should pay for a) an extra trainer on the road and b) for each player to have his own hotel room.
Players felt teams should pay for both, especially since an extra trainer is a safety issue. Apparently, some teams only travel with one. As for single rooms, well, they've been fighting for that since Matt Stajan made Joe Nieuwendyk watch The Fifth Wheel. Right now, you can be solitary if you've played 600 NHL games.
The league, of course, feels otherwise, that these are added costs and should come out of hockey related revenue. There's no consensus and everybody leaves grumbling.
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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