Kukla's Korner Hockey
“You can’t compare hockey to any industry but to the sports industry. I get many (negative) comments on Twitter and I don’t even start arguing because I’m in a no-win situation.
“Say we take a 20-per-cent pay cut. Tell Vinnie Lecavalier his $10 million will go down to $8 million. ‘Poor him,’ people might say. But the point is, he’s got a contract that was agreed to by both sides and he’s still losing $2 million.
“If the league is doing so well that we want a pay increase, they’ll say, ‘No way, this is a contract we agreed to.’ It should be the same the other way. We don’t mind in a way restricting our growth to help the league, but why should we go back on what we’ve already agreed to? Nobody forced (owners) to give out these contracts.”
-Mathieu Darche, who has UFA status and has been heavily involved in the CBA negotiations. More on Darche's playing status and the CBA from Dave Stubbs of Hockey Inside/Out.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
While we await the NHL and NHL Players’ Association to resume talks -- no scheduled sessions at this point -- here’s a little nugget I found interesting from the summer’s negotiating sessions: The league has proposed to the NHLPA to have free agency start July 10 instead of the long-standing July 1 opening day, two sources told ESPN.com.
Small potatoes compared to the big economic issues both sides are arguing about, but nonetheless interesting at least to me.
For years, many of us have talked about how silly it was for the NHL to conduct some of its biggest business on July 1, a national holiday in hockey-mad Canada, and just a few days from the July 4 U.S. holiday. Talk about not maximizing your coverage for big signings.
And yes, I will admit for the sake of full disclosure that I have continually harangued NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and second-in-command Bill Daly about this very issue.
from Ron MacLean of CBC,
There won't be a lockout.
Seven years ago, the owners held a powerful upper hand. And more important, the issues were different. Gary Bettman wisely hired Arthur Levitt, the former Chairman of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), to produce an audit showing the NHL lost $232 million US in 2003-04.
That gave Bettman public support and believability. The owners were told by their agent, the NHL commissioner, that they could gain a $1 billion with a new CBA and they certainly faced the prospect of losing money if they ran a season. It was an easy decision to shut down.
All Bettman is after in this negotiation is to do what both the NFL and NBA did and trim the players’ percentage of revenues. With the wonderful growth since the last CBA, the players now earn 57 per cent of hockey-related revenues (HRR) and have been getting larger absolute dollar amounts.
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.
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