Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Mark Spector of Sportsnet,
It is the first morning after the Labour Day weekend, the beginning of the new fiscal year for hockey people. Summer is over, hockey rinks await, in places like Penticton, Traverse City, or local rinks where pros gather to prep for training camps.
This Tuesday has always been, for those of us lucky enough to make a living on the periphery of the great game, an annual changing of the mindset. There are rookie camps around the corner, followed by main camp, followed by preseason games…
You know the drill, because you are a hockey fan.
This Tuesday morning was, alas, different. We are in a recess, the leaders of the game tell us. It is about hockey related revenues, escrow, and other bleary numbers that do not represent goals and assists.
from Chip Alexander of Canes Now,
The Canes took to the ice today for the first full informal skate at Raleigh Center Ice and the Staals -- of the Carolina variety -- were all in attendance. Eric Staal, the Canes captain, and Jared Staal joined Jordan for about 50 minutes of skating.
The turnout at RCI was pretty impressive. Goaltenders Cam Ward and Justin Peters were there. Defensemen Tim Gleason, Jay Harrison, Joe Corvo, Justin Faulk and Joni Pitkanen. Forwards Jiri Tlusty, Chad LaRose, Anthony Stewart, Andreas Nodl, Pat Dwyer and Zac Dalpe. And, of course, the Staal brothers....
But with the CBA talks now in "recess," no one can say for sure if there will be a lockout come Sept. 15, when the CBA expires. It's all a guessing game for now as to how and when the two sides will be able to agree on a new CBA.
"I'm still optimistic," Jordan Staal said. "There's still a very good chance to make it happen. I know we're getting close to camp time but I think there's still a very good opportunity to start the season.
"I know both sides are trying hard. It seems like we've hit a little bit of a roadblock right now. But hopefully we can get through it and get talking again. Just find a way to get this thing started."
"I think it's going to get worse before it gets better," Gleason said of CBA talks. "I think we have the right guy in the position. I think he's patient. He knows what the players want. And he's been through if before, which is even better. Everybody has confidence in him."
Numerous reports stated last night and this morning neither the NHL or the NHLPA have tried to schedule the next CBA meeting.
So, plan accordingly and don't worry about some big news today.
... the NHL is no different from the NBA and NFL, which experienced 130 and 181-day lockouts, respectively, when those leagues' collective bargaining agreements were up for renewal last year. It turns out that NFL and NBA owners had risked very little in attempting to strong-arm players into a more favorable split of revenue. The NFL season began on time, and last year's NBA playoffs were amongst the most watched in history, despite the cancelation of 16 regular season games per team. For NBA owners, gambling with largely-meaningless early-season games was worth the potential billions in future revenue they secured for themselves by taking a hard line against the league's players' union.
There's no better evidence that NHL owners were watching the other leagues' aggressive tactics--as well as the players' eventual capitulation--than their demand for an astronomical 57% of league revenue when CBA negotiations opened two weeks ago. The NHL owners still want a 50-50 or better split in revenue, and they are convinced that they get it at relatively little risk. "The players are not stupid," says Allen Sanderson, an economist at the University of Chicago. "But the owners are not stupid either. They've got to be looking at what happened at in the NFL and NBA and betting that they're going to prevail."
-The Atlantic where you can read more on the CBA negotiations.
from Robert Tychowski of the Edmonton Sun,
If the players were a little more understanding and the owners were a little less stupid, they could solve this thing in a week.
But they aren't, and they probably won't.
Why should owners worry about making smart business decisions, like not putting hockey teams in places where 12-year-olds knew they couldn't survive and not trying to cheat their way around their own salary cap, when all it takes to get about $350 million in taxpayer money for a new arena is stamping their feet and threatening to leave town?
And why should players settle for $4 million a season when they can get $4.5 million? Think it's easy scoring 12 goals a year?
So another iceberg is dead ahead and they are running out of time to turn the ship and a second lockout in seven years appears imminent. Not only are the NHLPA and NHL far apart on how much league revenue the players should be entitled to, they can't even agree yet on what counts as league revenue.
from Harrison Mooney of Puck Daddy,
As the September 15th lockout draws ever nearer, dismaying NHL zealots all around the world, it's been impossible not to notice the Canadian influence on the hockey fan populace. The innate Canadian need to apologize -- to assume blame and to lose a little dignity in the name of peace -- has risen to the surface.
It's a nice trait, of course. But it's not always appropriate, and it hasn't been lately. It's because of this attitude that this has to be said:
For the love of God, hockey fans, this impending lockout is not -- I repeat not -- your fault.
Nothing you did necessitated it and, similarly, nothing you do can stop it. Any attempt to force the hand of the NHL and NHLPA in these negotiations is a fool's errand.
I've received numerous emails, tweets, asking I sign a petition, post a boycott blog, etc. and I have refused since it won't do one bit of good.
Instead, try something that will make you feel good and take your mind off of the CBA talks, go volunteer for a soup kitchen or homeless shelter,
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
As the NHL and its players break off negotiations for a while, it'll be interesting in the next month or three to see if the change in topography from the last time these sides lost a whole season come into play.
It's clear Commissioner Gary Lockout Bettman is keen to drive the same bus over the players, claiming the same hardships for many of the same franchises when the last agreement was signed. That was the CBA which his people drafted to the very last sentence, and one which the commissioner proclaimed himself as one which would fix the game's problems.
But a few things are altered this time, the question being: when things get down to the serious times, will they actually make a significant difference?
First of all, there's public opinion. In 2004-05, you were hard-pressed to find many fans who supported the players. Most of them felt all players were greedy and were overpaid, but this year, public opinion within the media and the fans has shifted almost exclusively to the players.
The only media outlets not strongly backing the players in this are those which are owned and operated by the league by virtue of the fact they have contracts directly with the league and not individual teams.
His (Bettman's) agenda is plain. He wants to pay the players less money next year and for years to come, and he's willing to have a lockout to achieve his goals.
The players' goals seem equally evident: they want to keep the money they're owed and earn more as the league grows in the years to come.
Less clear is how they're intending to achieve them.
-Michael Grange of Sportsnet where you can read more on the CBA talks.
from Bruce Dowbiggin of the Globe and Mail,
NHL players do not make their money from chasing a puck. They make their money from entertaining the public. That is their profession. No more or less than Charlie Sheen playing an irresponsible goof on whatever his latest show is called, or the plate spinner on America’s Got Talent. Whether from gate receipts or, increasingly, television and the Internet, hockey players provide content for networks and diversion for the live customer in the form of entertainment.
If you haven’t noticed lately, entertaining – particularly in real time with commercials included – is a lucrative business . The NHL has a $2-billion contract with NBC after having zero guaranteed dollars just three years ago. The other major sports leagues are coining billions more, with networks chasing them to stuff dollar bills in their pockets. This gives the leagues and, by extension, the performers tremendous leverage.
So don’t call them boys playing a man’s game. Just call them TV stars.
First up is Donald Fehr (23 minutes) followed by Gary Bettman (17 minutes) below...
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