Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Patrick Rishe of Forbes,
Is there any sports executive who comes off as being more arrogant, snotty and unlikable in professional sports than NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman? You couldn’t find 3 NHL players today that wouldn’t pull a Hanson brothers attack on Mr. Bettman if they thought they could get away with it.
That said, it is aloof – and standard negotiating rhetoric by the way – for Donald Fehr (the NHLPA’s executive director and former long-time leader of baseball’s powerful players association) to suggest that the NFL and NBA lockouts from 2011 should not have any influence upon the direction of the NHL’s current labor negotiations.
Here’s the simple reality of the matter:
- Perhaps what goes on in other sports shouldn’t matter from a financial standpoint, but it does matter from a practical standpoint if there is evidence that the current model is causing more teams than not to lose money. This data from Forbes suggests this could still very well be true in the NHL.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
We're heading into Week 2 of the lockout, of this super stupidity, complete with cancelled exhibition games and a complete lack of negotiation. The biggest concern, however, may be that it's hard to see where or when the thaw is going to come.
With the National Hockey League wanting player costs to drop immediately and the NHL Players' Association proposing instead to slow salaries against revenue growth, we're at an impasse. And the overwhelming answer to a question about how the gap can be bridged?
"I don't know."
But the majority opinion from people on both sides of the argument is this: there's no incentive for anyone to back down now and when they are ready for serious conversations, they (initially, at least) will be kept private.
The biggest issue remains the percentage split. And after spending a lot more time than I ever wanted researching hockey-related revenue, you can see the landmines.
From here, it looks as if nothing’s going to change any time soon – and the stalemate could drag on so long that it costs both sides another full season. It would be wasteful, it would be unnecessary, but make no mistake about it. These are not rational people acting in a rational manner. It could easily happen again.
-Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail where you can read more on this.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association are entering a key phase in their CBA impasse.
Judging from conversations I’ve had over the past 24 hours, the next seven-to-10 days are see as "crucial" by some to finding out whether there’s a meaningful negotiation between the sides and finally a bit of traction in talks, or whether there's a freezing out period similar to eight years ago when three months went by without any negotiations occurring.
Despite not officially bargaining with each other since last Wednesday when both sides delivered updated proposals, the league and NHLPA have kept nearly daily contact via their respective No. 2 men: Steve Fehr of the NHLPA and Bill Daly of the NHL.
In fact, the two were expected to touch base with each other Tuesday night to figure out what’s next in the process.
You have to believe bargaining will resume over the next week, and hopefully both sides return to the table willing to move off their positions in an attempt to find some middle ground.
from Kurt Badenhausen of Forbes,
The NHL’s problem is the widespread disparity in profits for its 30 teams. We estimated that 18 teams lost money during the 2010-11 season in our annual look at the business of hockey. Several other teams barely eked out a profit, but the league’s most flush teams made a killing. The Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens had an operating profit (in the sense of earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $171 million combined. The other 27 NHL teams lost a collective $44 million. If you add the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers to the fat cats ledger, profits hit $212 million with the remaining 25 teams posting a loss of $86 million....
The NHL is not in dire financial straits as it was in 2004 when a lockout caused the cancellation of an entire season. It does need the top teams to share more of the wealth if it wants to be healthier financially. The league currently shares about $150 million of its revenue and the league has proposed bumping that up to $190 million. The players association is looking for revenue sharing closer to $250 million. We know why the Maple Leafs, Rangers and Canadiens do not want that much revenue sharing. What about the other 27 teams?
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
If both these sides are as committed to playing hockey as they'd like us to think, why isn't anyone talking about binding arbitration? Let's bring in a mediator, let him look at the two sides' best offers, and find a middle ground.
Basically, the two sides are fighting over seven percent of the revenues. We believe, as do most folks, that if the split was moved to 50-50 the owners would say, "Let's play," and they could work out the other elements (contract term, age of unrestricted free agency, etc.) over time.
So, next time one of these yahoos declares "we're doing everything in our power to get the game back on the ice," ask them why they haven't used mediation?
more CBA talk...
“Should employees get 57 percent of the revenue? If I owned a company, I don’t want to give my employees 57 percent, so I understand where they’re coming from. But why not just say, ‘Hey guys, let’s go 50/50 and see how this works for the next five years? Let’s just do it.’ It would really be nice to see guys get together and say, ‘What is BETTER for the game?’ Not what’s better for the players and not what’s necessarily better for the owners. What is better for the GAME. And sitting out is not."
-Orest Kindrachuk, former NHL player. More quotes via Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull.
Gary Bettman has been the NHL's boss for almost 20 years. He was hired by the NHL to bring the salary cap, and so he did, as he had received the salary cap NBA Basketball: acquisition. Twice the lockout has been a stoppage during his reign, and each time the lockout is done. Now it is the third! He is certainly the NHL's most hated person. For every NHL team's arrival at the hall throughout the hall buuaa and show her mind. Yes fans to know! He makes himself more than eight million dollars a year. Would Mr. Bettman willing to give up their salary and give part of it to these "poor" teams? Hmm ... interesting question.
-Teemu Selanne at the blog Salama. More (translated from Finnish as is the above) from Selanne.
thanks to Dmitry Chesnokov for the pointer via Twitter.
from David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail,
The really big next step, one that actually produces progress, is going to take some time. After all, the great deadline of Sept. 15 declared by the NHL commissioner only marked the expiry of the collective agreement, not the start of the season or even the start of training camps. No one in this mess will be inclined to get serious about labour negotiations until pay cheques and gate receipts are missed, which is almost four weeks away.
There is no reason for NHL Players' Association executive director Donald Fehr and the players to do anything right now. They know they have the moral high ground and are, for a change, winning the public relations battle. And the league is doing nothing except shooting itself in both feet right now with Sunday's statement as Exhibit A.
First of all, the NHL seems to be the only business in the world that thinks the expiry of a labour agreement means business must cease. This is the fourth time since 1992 the league ceased operations due to a labour dispute and it is the third time the owners locked out the players, all three of them coming on Gary Bettman's watch.
Where every other business carries on operations while a new labour agreement is being negotiated, with both labour and management rightly regarding a strike or lockout as the absolute last resort, Bettman and his chief labour strategist, outside counsel Bob Batterman, rush to lock the doors.
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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