Kukla's Korner Hockey
via the tweets of Elliotte Friedman,
Agents received letters saying players’ escrow refund cheques are delayed…NHL and PA disagreeing about what qualifies as hockey revenue
One agent said he thought issue will be worked out…others not so sure
from the CP at MySask.com,
Donald Fehr has never been more excited about the start of a NHL season.
The executive director of the NHL Players’ Association came to hockey a little later in life and finally feels as though he knows the sport well enough to truly enjoy it. Even more importantly, he’s also looking forward to negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with the league — the main task he was hired to perform.
Those discussions are scheduled to begin shortly after the all-star break at the end of January.
“That’ll give us several months to conduct the negotiations,” Fehr said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “I would like to believe we won’t need that long, but that much time will be available.”
Unlike many fretful fans who are worried about a repeat of the 2004-05 lockout, Fehr doesn’t see any reason for talks to go right up until the expiry of the current CBA on Sept. 15, 2012 — let alone beyond it.
from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,
In the NHL, a rising tide sinks small ships. The more revenue generated by major-market, money-printing machines such as Toronto, the Rangers, Montreal, Philadelphia and Vancouver—thus inflating the “gross”—the more money small-market clubs such as St. Louis, the Islanders, Carolina and Florida are mandated by league law to spend on payroll because of the patently preposterous cap floor.
Eliminating the floor should be Priority 1 for PA chief Donald Fehr next time around. This notion that Carolina’s payroll should somehow be directly related to Toronto’s revenue is not only absurd, it means the Hurricanes necessarily will lose more money, thus both increases escrow while fueling the self-fulfilling prophecy of increased losses by small-market clubs that sends Bettman into the labor battle with the hammer to demand give-backs because of rising losses by small-market teams.
The man is actually quite ingenious, come to think of it.
The floor is supposed to guarantee the holy grail of competitive balance, but it doesn’t. Buyouts go toward the floor. Entry Level bonuses that may never be and quite often never are attained, go toward the floor.
Forcing franchises that can’t afford it to commit a certain portion of their assets to payroll means they have less to invest in scouting and player development, areas fundamental to long-term success.
from Yvonne Zacharias of the Vancouver Sun,
For many NHL players, it’s over so quickly.
The cheering fades, the fat pay cheques stop coming and the last poker game is played on the back of the bus. So many nights on the road become a faded memory of a glory time when they were hockey heroes and super stars.
Now, they are just ordinary Joes, trying to figure out how to survive in a world that is foreign to them. After being coddled and cajoled for so many years, suddenly they are on their own. The fairy tale has come to a crashing halt.
For Tyson Nash, who spent most of his professional hockey-playing career with the St. Louis Blues and the Phoenix Coyotes, retirement from the game he loved was the hardest thing he ever had to deal with.
And he was one of the lucky ones. He had a hockey-related job waiting in the wings for him as a colour commentator for the Coyotes.
“I understand the players’ association being concerned about guys getting hurt and everything else, but I think the number one problem in this game right now is the head injuries and everybody needs to be in as soft shoulder pads can possibly be designed with still having some relative degree of safety.”
-Bob McKenzie of TSN. More from McKenzie by Nick Murray of The Brunswickan at the Canadian University Press newswire.
from Michael Russo of the Star Tribune,
The NHL and NHL Players’ Association will spend much of training camp reinforcing to players that there are resources available if they have problems with addiction or depression.
The offseason deaths of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien and Wade Belak also caused the parties to say they would examine each death and conduct an evaluation of existing programs and practices.
“I know they’re taking a beating right now, but they’ve had programs in place for years to help,” former Florida Panthers fighter Peter Worrell said. “I think a lot of it is the mentality that guys don’t want to take that leap, to make that phone call and say, ‘Look, I need help.’
“Hopefully now guys will say, ‘I don’t want this to be me.’”
It’s uncertain how widespread this problem is in the game, but it seems very unlikely that it’s isolated to a couple of players here or there. If (Ian) Laperrière is right and four or five guys per team are regular painkiller users, that’s nearly a fourth of all NHL players, an alarming number. You hope that is an overestimation, but you fear that it’s not. It is a major issue on which the NHL and NHLPA need to get a handle.
-Stu Hackel of The Red Light, where you can read much more on this topic.
from Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province,
It is less than a year before the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement runs out with the Player’s Association and already some of the issues are beginning to come into view as the present deal continues to evolve or contort, depending upon your point of view.
In speaking to a number of informed people around the league on both sides of the respective fence, it’s clear that one of the league’s biggest problems within the present agreement is the obligation to enforce a floor on the genuinely pathetic franchises around the league.
The teams that have been losing money and crying wolf for the past 10 years are now being forced to pay out in the $45 million neighborhood which is forcing them into a position of losing money in some cases and the league will be looking towards either lowering the floor or eliminating it altogether. That is something the players will likely vigorously defend.
“That provision is just kicking their ass right now,” said one agent who has been observing the economic realities of the game for a number of years now.
In a perfect world the NHL would love to see guaranteed contracts right out the window, or perhaps marginally more attainable, a formula somewhat like the NFL has whereby some of the money in a contract would be guaranteed with the remainder having to be earned
from Steve Buffery of the Toronto Sun,
And, of course, now the clamour to rid NHL hockey of fighting is reaching new decibels because many of these same sermonizers fully believe that Belak’s death, as well the deaths this summer of New York Rangers forward Derek Boogaard and Winnipeg Jets forward Rick Rypien, are all related to being an enforcer in the NHL.
And it might be. But (Mathieu) Schneider is right on when he says that it is far too early to reach such preachy conclusions.
Could the deaths of Belak, as well as Boogaard and Rypien, have been linked to their roles as NHL enforcers? Sure. Concussions may have had something to do with it, or perhaps the pressure of finding a new career after leaving pro hockey.
Or, perhaps it was just the scourge of depression, plain and simple, that took a hold of these young men.
But to reach the conclusion that suicide is an NHL problem or, more specifically, a problem with being an NHL enforcer, is premature.
NEW YORK/TORONTO (September 1, 2011)—The following statement was released jointly today by Don Fehr, Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association, and Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the National Hockey League:
“Everyone at the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association is profoundly saddened by the loss, within a matter of a few weeks, of three young men, each of whom was in the prime of his life.
“While the circumstances of each case are unique, these tragic events cannot be ignored. We are committed to examining, in detail, the factors that may have contributed to these events, and to determining whether concrete steps can be taken to enhance player welfare and minimize the likelihood of such events taking place. Our organizations are committed to a thorough evaluation of our existing assistance programs and practices and will make immediate modifications and improvements to the extent they are deemed warranted.
“It is important to ensure that every reasonable step and precaution is taken to make NHL Players, and all members of the NHL family, aware of the vast resources available to them when they are in need of assistance. We want individuals to feel comfortable seeking help when they need help.
“NHL Clubs and our fans should know that every avenue will be explored and every option pursued in the furtherance of this objective.”
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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.
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