Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe,
So if the players give Bettman more this time, what more does the union hand over when this deal expires in three, five, or eight years?
Truth is, avarice never has a fix. What the current stalemate tells us is that NHL owners simply want to cull out something close to 50 percent of the overall take, more closely mirroring what NFL and NBA owners won in their most recent collective rock fights with players.
Let us not forget, it was the salary-cap cost certainty of the NFL and NBA that led hockey owners to demand one last time.
As one team official noted to me last week, “Wait, didn’t we get what we said we needed from the players last time? At some point, maybe we’ve got to stop going that route, trying something else.’’
more plus other hockey topics...
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
Who are these guys who sign contracts then use the guise of collective bargaining to rewrite them? What gives corporate barons like Boston’s Jeremy Jacobs, Philadelphia’s Ed Snider and Carolina’s Peter Karmanos Jr. the audacity to use the end of a labor agreement to conduct what is presumably a legal mass breach of promise?
The commissioner and his allies consistently refer to last year’s NFL and NBA lockouts, through which the owners in those respective leagues were able to get the players to agree to a smaller percentage take of revenue going forward.
Yet not a single player in either league lost money on an existing contract as a result of those settlements. According to information provided by the NFL Players Association, the average salary increased from $2 million to $2.25 million in the first season of the new agreement.
from Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun,
Instead of getting together with not much to discuss, the two sides decided to step back and see if they could come up ideas that might be able to lead to a resolution because there was information exchanged Friday.
“A lot was said and a lot needs to be processed and I think it probably takes a day or two to think about it and come up with some new ideas,” Wild centre Zenon Konopka, who sat in on Friday’s session, said from New York on Saturday.
No, there aren’t any promises, but it only makes sense that one side or the other will try to get a deal done by bringing a new proposal to the table this week. At this point, the NHL and the NHLPA both feel like they’ve made concessions.
“It’s hard to know, to be honest with you,” said Konopka. “I think there’s going to be some new ideas in the next week or so. As for a proposal, you’ve got to think there’s going to be something before Sept. 15th but I can’t say that for sure.”
from Tony Gallager of the Vancouver Province,
When you watch how the collective bargaining negotiation process works in the NHL now that the Players Association has accepted the poison pill of a salary cap, you have to wonder whether the NHLPA hasn’t outlived its usefulness.
The question here is not should they de-certify as a gimmick or a negotiating ploy, but should they just shut down for good or, at the very least, shouldn’t there at least be a serious study done looking at what would happen if there was no association whatsoever?
This is not to disparage the people in the association now or or in the past, or to question how much good this organization has done the players over the years, nor is it to say the owners might actually legally find more ways to mess with the players in the future were there not a union of some sort. But seriously, what does the union do for the players right now?
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr spoke briefly on Saturday and may touch base again on Sunday as the expiration date on the current collective bargaining agreement draws closer.
The league and the Players' Association held informal discussions on Friday but will not meet on Saturday, one week before the September 15 deadline.
The league has said it plans to lock out the players if a new deal isn't in place by then.
"(We're) trying to find a way to bridge the gap," said NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr on Friday. "That's always the intent."
"We'd like to make a deal," said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Friday. "There is an ebb and flow to negotiations. It's always good to have dialogue."
from Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald,
The National Hockey League Players’ Association, in a move to prevent a lockout of the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers, filed a challenge Friday at the Alberta Labour Relations Board.
The Flames and Oilers owners are asking for permission to hold a lockout vote.
This is what the NHLPA is trying to stop.
The hearing will be held next week in Edmonton.
“The players are committed to finding a way to reach an agreement without a lockout,” Mathieu Schneider, the NHLPA’s special assistant to executive director Donald Fehr, said Friday, “and we are hopeful that the Alberta Labour Relations Board will assist in these efforts.”
Under Alberta labour law, the NHL cannot hold a lockout vote unless it has first requested a mediator.
from Jesse Spector of The Sporting News,
How about a real new NHL this time?
It is clear that even with the implementation of a salary cap coming out of the last lockout, several teams simply cannot compete financially with the league’s heavyweights. So, why not cut the dead weight?
Contraction? No. Not only would shuttering franchises be a public relations disaster for the NHL, it would be needlessly cruel to the people who work and root for those teams. Besides, the NHL’s longstanding problem is that the poobahs of the sport shy away from big ideas.
So, here’s a big idea—one that would change not only the NHL, but the North American sports landscape: The NHL should start a second league, with promotion and relegation as seen in global soccer.
from Michael Grange of Sportsnet,
The NHL commissioner is entering his 20th season on the job and has suffered all measure of indignities, be it requiring a police escort in Winnipeg when he sounded the death knell for the first go-round of the Jets to having Chris Chelios threaten his family in the lead-up to the 1994-95 lockout to simply being unpopular, as the greeting he receives at most NHL arenas when he pokes his head up would attest.
But Bettman plows ahead. You get the sense he’s oblivious, figuring those doing the baiting have, over time, shown themselves to be overly emotional or provincial or fools. He’s not any of those things, so he figures he’ll win in the end.
But maybe, just maybe, Don Fehr has Bettman on edge, as he faces a new foe with poker face and no need to please.
"Don’s not afraid to tick someone off," says Buck Martinez, the Toronto Blue Jays broadcaster who was the American League vice-president of the MLBPA for eight years during his playing career and part of the negotiating committee for baseball’s labour stoppages in 1981, 1984 and 1985. "He knows how to push buttons and he knows what to fight for."
from Chris Johnston of the CP at the Winnipeg Free Press,
None of the top executives involved in the NHL's collective bargaining negotiations will continue to be paid if the league enacts a lockout next week.
Donald Fehr, the executive director of the NHL Players' Association, says he stopped drawing a salary on July 1 and a source told The Canadian Press that commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy commissioner Bill Daly plan to follow suit if a new agreement can't be reached by Sept. 15.
It's a practice Fehr adhered to during his time at baseball's union and one his predecessor at the NHLPA, Bob Goodenow, also followed when the 2004-05 season was wiped out by a lockout.
"It's both a measure of solidarity and uniformity of interest," Fehr said in an interview Thursday. "You want the players to understand you're in the same boat they are — you don't have interests different than they do. We think it's important."
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