Kukla's Korner Hockey
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...
"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?
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