Kukla's Korner Hockey
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...
"What I thought was starting as a promising week after we made our substantial counter-proposal on Tuesday, ends I guess you could say in disappointment. We did not get a proposal from the union. I call it more of a response."
-Gary Bettman after today's CBA meeting. More if you want from the CP at Sportsnet.
I've had enough of the talk from both sides during these CBA sessions.
As a hockey fan, what I want is to see some honest bargaining going on but it seems that has yet to happen.
Time to lock both sides in a room until this process starts moving forward.
I run KK because I love the game, the game that is played on the ice and not in some boardroom.
Covering these talks is like watching paint dry, after some time people just want it settled and I am asking both sides to start talking, start listening and start getting it right.
Our game will pass us by if we allow this to continue.
Bettman, you've always said you won't let the negotiations become part of the media circus but that's exactly what you have been doing the last two weeks.
Fehr, you too, stop with the grandstanding media talk, get in a room with Bettman and don't come out until progress is made. Don't wait any longer, our game means too much to us to suffer through another lockout.
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,
It's going to be interesting to see the NHL's reaction to the NHLPA's next proposal, which may be delivered Friday.
On Wednesday, agent Anton Thun told the radio show Prime Time Sportsthat he saw Oct. 11 - the scheduled start of the season - as a more important date than Sept. 15, when the CBA expires.
It seemed innocuous because Thun, unlike most, was generally positive and optimistic. Csnphilly.com's Tim Panaccio wrote on Thursday that three agents told him something similar. Some league and team executives didn't like that message, because it threatens lucrative (at least in some markets) pre-season games, and indicates their deadline isn't being taken seriously. Players are not paid for exhibition games, but still get 57 per cent of the revenues under the current CBA.
For his part, Thun said it was his own opinion and not any kind of NHLPA/agent messaging.
But it makes sense: Oct. 11 is a true pressure point for both sides. But I found the reaction interesting, because it illustrates the tension bubbling under the surface.
If the important games get missed, do the NHL's offers get worse?
via the CP at the Globe and Mail,
The NHL’s collective bargaining talks won’t resume until Friday.
Donald Fehr, the executive director of the NHL Players’ Association, had originally said he was “optimistic” the union would table a counter-proposal Thursday.
It’s unclear if the union will present that offer when talks restart.
Michale Grange of Sportnet discusses some of the key points of the CBA talks.
Or you can read the article at Sportsnet.
First Fehr with a 14 minute meeting with the media followed by Bettman below at 16 minutes.
from Allan Muir of Sports Illustraded (Thursday edition),
Bettman can suggest that revenue sharing "will not make or break" these negotiations, as he did in a post meeting press briefing yesterday. But since that's the main plank in the NHLPA platform, it illustrates that the two sides are not even close to speaking the same language.
The players are willing to take less money, but for their sacrifice they want a new system in place, a more effective revenue sharing model among the teams. The owners want to guarantee that they retain more revenue through a significant diminishment of salaries.
Is there any reason to expect that to change before Sept. 15? Hardly. The reality is that the owners have no motivation to make "meaningful" concessions at this point.
They'll continue to play their shell game, moving the ball around the table in a way that makes their offer seem more palatable to the public while the clock winds down and the pressure begins to weigh on the union.
The NHLPA took the offer home last night to mull over. It's likely that much "meaningful" laughter ensued, but they have to know they're up against it. Their response when the two sides meet again today will be telling.
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