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Category: NHLPA

Two NHL Greats Discuss The Potential Lockout

from CTV Atlantic,

“I really think this one won't be as long as the last one,” said Gretzky Tuesday during an event at Casino New Brunswick in Moncton. “I think somehow, some way, both sides will come together and we'll be playing hockey sooner rather than later.”

Recent negotiations between the NHL and the National Hockey League Players' Associationhave produced little common ground.

Another hockey legend says if players are told to stay home, they won’t be there for long.

“I just can't believe they won't get together,” Orr said Monday in Charlottetown. “There may be a short delay, but I can't believe it will be more than a short time. It would be so silly.”


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  Tags: bobby+orr, wayne+gretzky

One Last Shot?

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If Locked Out, NHL Players Need To Meet KHL Criteria To Play

from Sean Gentile of The Sporting News,

If the entirety of the NHLPA is looking for work in a few days, the KHL can afford to be picky—and that's just what the Russian league will do.

Only "top-rated talent" is welcome, according to Sport-Express' Slava Malamud, and that's according to the league's stated guidelines.

That means that if clubs are looking to sign non-Russian NHL players, they must have played in either 150 NHL games, on national teams, in the KHL previously or won a Stanley Cup or individual trophy.

The rules will go into effect the day the NHL announces the lockout and be enforced until the situation is resolved. Owners maintain that they'll lock out the NHLPA on Sept. 15.


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Morning Line

If the owners promised to pay the players the dollar value of the contracts they've signed them to and let the player's share of HRR shrink over time, the players would very likely sign up Wednesday afternoon. If the players were willing to let their share of HRR diminish to 50 per cent or so sooner rather than later, the owners might go for it, but the players are still trying to win battles the lost seven years ago.

There is no need to bring in labour boards to figure this out. There is no need for any of the posturing we can predictably anticipate later this week. There is no need to delay the start of the season.

There is only need for common sense, but each has taken turns putting the boots to that patient and it's on life support, resting not at all comfortably.

-Michael Grange of Sportsnet where you can continue reading about this topic.

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We Are About To Do This All Over Again

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

My head is spinning, and if you've seen my noggin, you know that's no small feat. And to think we're likely just taking the first few steps this week towards walking through what is likely to be a very long, dark tunnel.
In some respects, I can't believe we're on the verge of another lockout, eight years after we went through a stoppage that cost us all an entire NHL season. And yet I'm not the least bit surprised at the vast gulf that exists, thus far anyway, between the positions of NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Don Fehr. It has been entirely too predictable.
Based on what we've seen of the negotiations to this point, the overriding sense I get from the public opinion reaction of fans and media -- for what that is ultimately worth -- is that the NHL is looking for an awful lot, too much too fast. I would generally agree with that characterization.


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The War Of Words Appears To Have Started


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Uphill Battle For Fehr

from Tom Van Riper of Forbes,

As time winds down on the NHL’s deadline to lock out its players, there’s one burning question that stands out: what happened to the combative Donald Fehr, the one who made his name as a thorn in the side of the baseball owners for years?

Commissioner Gary Bettman launched an opening salvo that called for a huge reduction in the players’ take of league revenue – to 43% from 57%. That seems like a brazen move against Fehr, who would have laughed the baseball owners out of the room for such an offer.

But with five days to go until the NHL-imposed lockout, he isn’t dismissing the owners’ demands. Fehr will probably win something better than 43%, but he’s acknowledged that the players are willing to make hundreds of millions of dollars worth of concessions.  So regardless of the final terms worked out, it’s Bettman and the owners who are framing the debate.  Salaries will be cut, the only point of contention is how much.

continued and note to Forbes, time to change-out the very old NHL logo.

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Afternoon Line

“Not only would another lockout become a major challenge to win more fans, I believe the NHL would lose casual fans and not regain them for an extended period of time.  Our research after the last lockout (2004-05) showed the passionate fans quickly returned to the arena but a long lag time for casual fans to return to attending games and watching on TV. Given that TV ratings are one of the greatest challenges for the NHL, this is not good.”

- AJ Maestas, president of Chicago-based Navigate Research. More from Christopher Botta of SportsBusiness Journal.

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The Other Fehr

from Liz Mullen of SportsBusiness Journal at The Sporting News, 

If negotiations between the NHL and NHL Players’ Association for a new labor deal go off the rails, Steve Fehr, the union’s special counsel and younger brother of NHLPA executive director Don Fehr, could be the guy behind the scenes who gets things back on track.

History shows he’s done it before.

“I have always regarded Steve to be a positive force in our negotiations,” said Rob Manfred, executive vice president of economics and league affairs for Major League Baseball, who has sat across the bargaining table from Fehr multiple times in the last two decades. “He was extremely helpful in getting a deal in ’96, ’02 and ’06.”

Fehr, 60, was hired as special counsel to the NHLPA in 2010 at the same time his brother Don, who ran the MLB Players Association for 25 years, was hired as NHLPA executive director. Although Don Fehr retired from the MLBPA in 2009 prior to taking his new job leading the hockey players’ union, Steve Fehr, who is 3 1/2 years younger than Don, continued to work for the MLBPA as special counsel and still does so today.


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Players 1, NHL 0 When It Comes To Social Media

from Craig Custance of ESPN, 

Through social media, players are winning the PR battle and fans are starting to organize, but it's hard to tell if it will make any difference at all in the big picture.

"I think it will for sure," Oilers captain Shawn Horcoff said. "Last time, minus Twitter, in a lot of ways Gary [Bettman] and the league could control what gets said in the media. Now, it's almost impossible. It's already happened a couple times where Gary has made a statement and, literally three minutes later, it's being rebuffed and proven not to be true."

Through it all, the NHL and its teams have remained quiet on the social media front during CBA negotiations. The last tweet from Bettman (@Commish_Gary) came in April 2009. The NHL's official Twitter page has avoided the labor talks, focusing on environmental initiatives around the league.

There wasn't even a snarky tweet from the L.A. Kings pointing out the difference between revenue and profit or net and gross when the NHL's own revenue media release was used against it.

There seems to be a realization in NHL offices that little is gained in publicly alienating the players, the lifeblood of the league. At some point there's going to be a deal struck and the two sides will have to work together. The league needs the players not only for games but to cooperate with the expanding media empire at NHL Network and NHL.com.


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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 pk@kuklaskorner.com


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