Kukla's Korner Hockey
"I was looking forward to a great, great season, with Rick Nash coming over here complementing a couple of the others like (Marian) Gaborik and (Brad) Richards." It took seven years to obtain the kind of status that we have now in hockey. We have NBC's sports channel, they had L.A. winning (last season), they had the Rangers going far in the playoffs. Seven different teams won the Stanley Cup the last seven years. I mean, think about that.
"And now there's a chill. It's a chill the fans don't like, and I hope the (league and players' association) don't too much damage. But the longer they wait, the (sadder) the fans get and the more disappointed. We keep our fingers crossed."
-Rod Gilbert, HHOF member. More from Pat Leonard of the NY Daily News.
from Katie Baker of Grantland,
It's perversely funny, almost: The NHL can't even be the best at making unpopular collective-bargaining decisions. The league locked out its players nearly a month ago, and in the time since then there's been almost zero movement, fanfare, or hope. Players have trickled overseas to play elsewhere. Games have been officially postponed. What we're left with is a Jenga tower of rumors and speculation: The holes keep piling up, and yet we keep right on building. Some say the season is toast. Others say it will be back by November. As with the concurrent presidential election, it's impossible to tell what's strategic posturing at any given time and what's truth. And so no one trusts anyone, and everyone's doomed.
With that in mind, here's a broad look at some of the factions involved in the NHL's labor stoppage who have the most to gain or lose — but probably mostly lose, as is ever the case — from what will unfold over the next few weeks or, nopleaseno, months.
1. The Players' Association
They looked intimidating but uneasy in their cargo shorts and T-shirts, their hats on, their big arms folded, and their wide backs leaning up against the white columns in the ballroom of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. They didn't look like a mingle of millionaires. They just looked like a posse of college kids, or of recent grads hanging poolside in Vegas. (Zdeno Chara, for good measure, even had on what I think was an Ed Hardy tee.)
Some of them were NHL stars, like Zach Parise, formerly of the New Jersey Devils, who this summer with Ryan Suter signed matching 13-year, $98 million contracts with the Minnesota Wild as free agents. Others were lesser-known and lesser-paid guys, like Ben Lovejoy, who makes $525,000 a year with the Pittsburgh Penguins. But you could easily imagine any of them, these NHL athletes gathered in New York for players' association meetings, as man-children receiving the news of an NHL lockout in a scene right out ofOld School:
via the QMI Agency,
Some European players have mused that they might not return to the NHL when the lockout eventually ends.
Former NHL great Guy Lafleur doesn't have a problem with that. In fact, he sees a significant benefit for Canadians if the Europeans do stay home.
"Let them stay there, it will make more room for players from Quebec and North Americans," Lafleur said Wednesday during a press conference announcing the construction of Place Guy Lafleur in his hometown of Thurso, Que,.
"As a supporter and former player, I do not care for players who want to stay in Europe. It's their choice."
Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov have been vocal about the possibility of European players staying in the KHL when the lockout ends. The big reason is potential pay cuts that could come with a new collective bargaining agreement.
Lafleur also speculated that the lockout would drag into the new year.
"We hope it will be settled before the holidays (but) I am very skeptical about it," he said. "The players are very fortunate to have the opportunity to play and make millions of dollars. I'm happy for them, but on the other hand, they must realize something else: As athletes, they can not earn more than the owners."
"The way I see it, if Shea Weber or Ryan Suter or Zach Parise signed those big deals in July and then arrived at training camp and said, 'We’re not playing until we get 20 percent more on our contract.' There would be an uproar. The owners would say, 'No chance.’ Well, it’s the same thing. Contracts have been signed, both the owners and the players have signed these contracts. Now they’re trying to take whatever percentage off the top? It’s all about principle. It’s a handshake and an agreement. Why did all these owners rush to sign all these players before the lockout?"
-Ryan Clowe of the San Jose Sharks speaking on CBA topics with Pierre LeBrun of ESPN. Read more from Clowe.
from Ken Warren of Senators Extra,
Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson had some choice words for NHL owners Wednesday.
“Like everybody else, I’m disappointed that the owners chose to have this tactic from the very beginning,” Alfredsson told The Citizen. “They chose to give a low-ball offer from the get-go. It was kind of clear what they wanted and I don’t see anything changing anytime soon.”
In a normal NHL world, Alfredsson would be leading the Senators against the Canadiens at Montreal’s Bell Centre in the season opener Thursday, hoping to build upon the momentum that led to the team’s surprise playoff berth last spring. Instead, NHL players are spread out around the world, awaiting for a resolution in the lockout.
The Senators captain says he’s “past being frustrated,” believing that the NHL had a lockout in mind from the start of negotiations towards a new collective bargaining agreement.
It is business as usual for the NHL.
You can read the Board's decision here.
NEW YORK (October 10, 2012) -- Bill Daly, Deputy Commissioner of the National Hockey League, released the following statement regarding today’s ruling by the Alberta Labour Board:
“We are pleased with the Alberta Labour Board’s ruling today that the lockout of Players is effective on a League-wide basis, including in Alberta, and we are extremely appreciative of the decisive manner in which the matter was handled.
“We are hopeful that this ruling will enable both the League and the NHL Players’ Association to focus all of our efforts and energies on negotiating a new Collective Bargaining Agreement in order to get our game and our Players back on the ice.”
TORONTO (October 10, 2012) – The National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) released the following statement regarding today’s decision by the Alberta Labour Relations Board:
“The players are obviously disappointed with today’s decision. Unfortunately, the Alberta Labour Relations Board decided not to exercise its discretion to determine whether the owners’ lockout violates Alberta law. We will consider our further options with regard to this case.
In the meantime, the players want to play, the fans want to watch the game, and the many workers and business owners who are dependent on NHL hockey for their livelihood want the season to start. We remain committed to reaching a fair agreement at the earliest possible time and hope that the NHL begins to show a willingness to do so.”
If there are no games in October and November, it’ll sting, but it won’t be the end of the world. Once the Winter Classic and the entire season are put in jeopardy, fans will have to make a choice.
Will they stay quiet while their favourite league torches another campaign? Will they flock back whenever their teams do and say, “yes, your trinkets and your lovely messages painted on the ice are enough.”
Or will they say “never again,” and send a real message with their wallets?
It shouldn’t have come to this.
-James Gordon of the Ottawa Citizen where more can be read.
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.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org