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A Bettman Warning

After today's press conference regarding the Islanders move....

 

 

Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: gary+bettman

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If you guys think Bettman is evil and intransigent now, just wait until he has to start cancelling games, pulls the 50-50 offer off the table, and forces the NHLPA to either come back to a 52-48 (for the owners) deal or just gives the whole NHLPA the finger and starts things in motion for replacement players in 2013.

That’s what is going to happen, you know.  The only way 50-50 makes sense for the NHL is if they can get this season in.  If they can’t, then they likely have to go 52-48 to make back lost profits.

So, not only will the NHLPA have irrevocably lost whatever they would have earned in 2012, they’ll then lose 2 more points of HRR, and they’ll then have to start crawling back in dribs and drabs as their union liquefies around them.

Good planning.

The smart move would have been to press the NHL as far as they could go on HRR, and then try and snake in some codicils and givebacks on tangential issues like salary terms, FA status, stuff like that.

Fehr may still be planning to do this, but if he is he’s a spectacular negotiator because something would have probably leaked by now if his stance was a ploy.

Taking the 50-50 offer and making 50% of HRR for 6 full years was always the better business move than holding out.  That was going to cost the players money from the get go.

But it got personal.  Always a mistake.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/24/12 at 02:31 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Stunning, simply stunning.

See you guys next fall, when hopefully something resembling a pro hockey league begins its season in North America.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 10/24/12 at 02:36 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

As an update, Jesse Spector has tweeted a clarification of that previous tweet.

https://twitter.com/jessespector/status/261173468274503680

Apologies for misquoting Bettman saying there’s no reason to talk. Listened back, actual quote is: “There really is no point in meeting.”

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/24/12 at 02:37 PM ET

Red Winger's avatar

So, not only will the NHLPA have irrevocably lost whatever they would have earned in 2012, they’ll then lose 2 more points of HRR, and they’ll then have to start crawling back in dribs and drabs as their union liquefies around them.

Absolutely, couldn’t agree more.

The NHL will survive, in some form. The PA will not. And once the ‘scabs’ start coming back in late-summer 2013, it will be the beginning of the end for the PA as we know it, and the current crop of players will be sectioned into two warring parties.

The NHLPA will eat its own, and Gary and Co are perfectly wiling to sit this season out and watch that occur.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 10/24/12 at 02:39 PM ET

Paul's avatar

Thanks J.J..

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 10/24/12 at 02:40 PM ET

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The NHLPA will eat its own, and Gary and Co are perfectly wiling to sit this season out and watch that occur.

Here’s what I think is going to happen, assuming Fehr doesn’t make the smart move immediately and fold up on 50-50.

-Bettman cancels 2012-13 season, pull the 50-50 offer, et cetera as above.

-Then he starts negotiations with AHL affiliates for Replacement player strategies.  It’ll probably be something like a pro-rated 1 mil for any AHLer who wants to come up.  I would imagine they’ll also be something like a cap-waiver system for teams to sign players to longer term deals if they wish.  AHL’ers would love to get a prorated 1 mil for playing hockey, plus exposure to other coaches and GMs.  Careers could be made.

-He’ll have to co-ordinate payments to AHL clubs for lost players and revenue, but mostly it will just require sliding players up a slot or two (ECHL, OHL, et cetera) so it won’t be like AHL clubs couldn’t open their doors.

-Then he writes up the NHL’s 10+ year CBA with an owner’s out after 5.

-Then he sets a ‘13-‘14 NHL schedule (likely with an extended training camp period), sets up a plan to allow ‘striking’ NHLPA’ers to come back (this is where the cap-waiver system comes in), and tells Fehr and the NHLPA to call them when they want to sign that 52-48 (or maybe 55-45 by then) deal on the table, otherwise go bleep themselves.

 

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/24/12 at 02:50 PM ET

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Replacement players will kill the league as we know it.

Replacement players did not work for the NFL, what would make the NHL think it would work for them now?  A good portion of the fans (the ones that even come back after another year long work stoppage) won’t pay NHL prices for AHL level or less talent.  So the league has two choices, it either keeps the prices the same and goes with significantly less fans in attendance, or it lowers ticket prices drastically and probably still winds up with less than full arenas.  Either way the league loses revenue.  This will kill the teams that are already on the bubble.

So I agree with Red Winger that such a scenario will likely kill the PA as it exists now.  After two years, I can see the lower paid players capitulating and coming back.  But I am not so certain that the upper tier guys will.  The reason the upper tier guys come to the NHL is because there is more money here than in the Euro/Russian leagues.  But after two years of severely reduced revenue, I don’t believe there will be any significant monetary reason to come back to the NHL.

Consequently, yes, I believe the PA would implode on itself.  But the question I ask is are the gaggle of owners controlling the league willing to also implode their own group to kill off the PA because that is what it is going to take to kill off the PA.

Posted by tjkac on 10/24/12 at 04:32 PM ET

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Replacement players did not work for the NFL, what would make the NHL think it would work for them now?

It doesn’t have to ‘work’.  All it has to do is kinda sorta look like they might be able to limp along for a year with them.

The players may be able to survive a one year lockout.  They absolutely will not be able to survive a two year lockout.

All the NHL has to do is paper over the period of time between 1 and 2 years until the NHLPA shatters.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/24/12 at 05:47 PM ET

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If Bettman wants MY phone number, I could give him a few good reasons to talk/meet with the players.

Posted by nosferatu from Albany, NY on 10/24/12 at 06:12 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

They absolutely will not be able to survive a two year lockout.

neither will the sport of “professional” hockey in america.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 10/24/12 at 06:47 PM ET

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The deal that will be done is what all the pundits are suggesting.  Starting at 53% or 54% for the players and eventually sliding to 50/50 over the course of the deal.  It’s apparent from the NHL’s refusal to meet that they have intention of playing a full sched.  My guess is they start Dec15 as most of the US based teams don’t want the competition from NFL & MLB.

Posted by CallMeJerry on 10/25/12 at 01:09 AM ET

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neither will the sport of “professional” hockey in america.

Eyeroll.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/25/12 at 05:25 AM ET

WingsFaninCO's avatar

Eyeroll.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/25/12 at 05:25 AM ET

^^ the same thing 90% of us are doing when we see another high definition “explanation.”  For all the effort Bettman is putting into ramming this CBA down the player’s throats, you’re matching that effort trying to convince other commenters on here that it’s a smart agreement andmakes sense and, most importantly, that you’re always right.  Get off the soap box and stop talking down to everyone.  It’s obnoxious (to put it politely).

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 10/24/12 at 06:47 PM ET

I agree.  I haven’t made a “pledge” to boycott the NHL over the CBA, but replacement players and the morals required to take that step would be enough to turn me away from the league.  After all, there is an ECHL arena 15 minutes from my house.

Posted by WingsFaninCO on 10/25/12 at 11:03 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/25/12 at 05:25 AM ET

Doesn’t give a shit.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 10/25/12 at 11:05 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Posted by WingsFaninCO on 10/25/12 at 11:03 AM ET

I agree.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/25/12 at 11:51 AM ET

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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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