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All Gary Bettman

from Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press,

Bettman spoke with the Free Press for just over 30 minutes Sunday morning.

Here's the entire telephone interview.

FREE PRESS: At this moment, where do things stand and what is the gulf between the two sides preventing a deal?

GARY BETTMAN: There seems to be a fundamental disagreement on many of the core issues. We have proposed a 50-50 split of HRR (hockey-related revenue) which has not been agreed to. We have raised issues with respect to how the system works and the adjustments we think need to be made, and there doesn't seem to be agreement or even a willingness to agree on them.

FP: The players say, "We gave to get to 50-50. Why should we give any more? There's nothing in this deal for us." What do you say to that?

GB: Twofold. One, we want to make sure the system works well and continues to work well. There are certain trends and issues that have arisen that we believe need to be adjusted in order for us to have the competitive balance that we want and need to enable us to continue to grow the game. What's in this deal for the players? Give or take $14 billion over the next seven years.

FP: The league has 30 teams. Not all are stable and the league remains in flux. There are franchises that don't work. The players say revenue sharing should fix those problems. But meaningful revenue sharing historically comes from league-wide revenue such as national TV rights, and there's not enough in that pot right now to fix all the league's woes. It's hard to get markets like Toronto, or even Winnipeg for that matter, to subsidize teams like Phoenix or Miami that don't generate substantial gate revenue. Is this the crux of why there is a lockout?

GB: Not completely. It's not wholly inaccurate, but it's more inaccurate than not....

read on

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

Comments

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Even if you hate the guy, you have to marvel at how good Gary Bettman is at spin.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/19/12 at 08:48 AM ET

redxblack's avatar

The lockout persists because Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Bettman would like to crush the NHLPA. This isn’t about making Phoenix sustainable. That wouldn’t be possible when they draw less than an AHL team even on promotional nights.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 11/19/12 at 10:48 AM ET

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I work for the owners but I work for the game. What I do transcends what I do for the owners. I do work for the game and I try to do the best I can for the game.

Does anyone actually believe this? Including Bettman himself.

I work for the owners

Is all he had to say if he wanted to be truthful.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 11/19/12 at 11:06 AM ET

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Even if you hate the guy, you have to marvel at how good Gary Bettman is at spin.

To be fair, he wasn’t exactly pressed with insightful questions.  When Bettman has been pressed by a competent questioner he’s fared less well.

Also, on this issue he has a reasonably sound rhetorical position from which to be as evasive as he needs to be.  Honestly, I’d love to see Fehr answer some pointed questions rather than getting hugs from the media like he usually experiences:

-‘Mr. Fehr, Why are the players willing to give up a season of revenue to be ‘made whole’ on their contracts, when in giving up a season they’ll actually end up making less on their deals than they would had they just taken a 50-50 split from day 1 and not pissed away a bunch of revenue in the interim?’

-‘Mr. Fehr, Is there truly a substantial difference between becoming a UFA after 8 years instead of 7?’

-‘Mr. Fehr, do you think that a player signing a 12+ year contract is something that’s actually good for the player or the league, given the means to which these long contracts are applied?’

-‘Mr. Fehr, to what degree do you feel the absence of a large US television contract impacts the NHL compared to MLB, and how do you think that impact might influence how the two ownership groups have approached negotiations?’

-‘Mr. Fehr, to follow up on that last question, do you think that the players reluctance to sign a 50-50 deal, even a 50-50 deal that kicks in by year 2, helps or hurts the NHL’s ability to secure a large (or larger) US TV deal, something that would all by itself wash away any short term losses the NHLPA might experience in a 50-50 HRR split?’

Stuff like that.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/19/12 at 11:18 AM ET

henrymalredo's avatar

-‘Mr. Fehr, Is there truly a substantial difference between becoming a UFA after 8 years instead of 7?’
-‘Mr. Fehr, do you think that a player signing a 12+ year contract is something that’s actually good for the player or the league, given the means to which these long contracts are applied?’

Shouldn’t those questions be asked to the owners?  They are the ones insisting on the change from what we currently have, shouldn’t they be the ones who have to justify it?

Posted by henrymalredo from Lansing on 11/19/12 at 11:24 AM ET

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- Mr. Bettman once the owners have 50% of HRR, does it matter to them how the players want to divide their money? Does it matter if a contract is paid out up front or equally over 10 years since it all comes out of the player share regardless of how it is paid? How much do the owners save by granting a NTC clause instead of paying actual money to entice a player to sign?

- Mr. Bettman, do you think it is good for the league to have the same commissioner on a contract that lasts longer than the average entry-level contract or should their be term limits after three failed CBA bargaining negotiations? The league is generating record revenues and cannot turn a profit, is that a failure of leadership and vision?

- Mr. Bettman, should GMs, coaches, team Presidents and all league officials have their salaries capped for the first five years and not be allowed to move to another position within the organization or join a competing league until at least eight years are served?

- Mr. Bettman, is it good for the league to have teams meet the salary floor by using bonuses that are never going to be paid and doesn’t that create competitive disparity?

- Mr. Bettman, oponents of Donald Fehr criticize him for being a MLB guy, why is it that after all of the years you have served the NHL you are still considered an NBA guy? Does the NBA model work for the NHL?

- Mr. Bettman, the Hockey Hall of Fame is operated as a non-profit business called the “Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum” (HHFM), independent of the National Hockey League do you think it was appropriate for you to speak at the induction this year?

- Mr. Bettman, didn’t you tell the fans during the last lockout, that the lockout was necessary to maintain lower ticket costs? Did you not tell the fans that the last CBA would bring cost certainty and stability to the NHL?

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 11/19/12 at 01:14 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Well sure they were softball questions and some were pointed directly toward helping make sure that he got to spin some stuff on his own. Betttman’s not dumb enough to step into a lion’s den with a guy like Larry Brooks or literally anybody who’s going to challenge him to actually give the information that would stop a lot of the “misinformation” people seem to have about the league financials.

Picking the interviewer and (I’m assuming) controlling the questions is a part of the spin itself.

Bettman does it. Fehr would do it if push came to shove and he absolutely has to.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/19/12 at 01:35 PM ET

henrymalredo's avatar


- Mr. Bettman once the owners have 50% of HRR, does it matter to them how the players want to divide their money? Does it matter if a contract is paid out up front or equally over 10 years since it all comes out of the player share regardless of how it is paid? How much do the owners save by granting a NTC clause instead of paying actual money to entice a player to sign?

The NHL will sacrifice the season to get what they want, even if they don’t really need it.  At this point, it’s about crushing Fehr and satisfying the egos of Bettman, Daly and the hardliners.

Posted by henrymalredo from Lansing on 11/19/12 at 01:52 PM ET

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Shouldn’t those questions be asked to the owners?

That’s a closed door thing.  I’m just curious if anyone in the hockey ‘media’ has any balls, or if they are all sycophantic pro-player types since the players are the ones they have to deal with.

Mr. Bettman once the owners have 50% of HRR, does it matter to them how the players want to divide their money?

The term limits do not impact monetary split but team composition, and they serve to abrogate salary cap limits by having phantom years at the ends of deals.

The league is generating record revenues and cannot turn a profit, is that a failure of leadership and vision?

Revenues =/ profits, and a 57% player share of HRR contributes to the absence of hockey ops profits.

Mr. Bettman, should GMs, coaches, team Presidents and all league officials have their salaries capped for the first five years and not be allowed to move to another position within the organization or join a competing league until at least eight years are served?

I bet if you totaled up what every coach and GM makes in the NHL you wouldn’t get much past the salary of a middle of the road payroll.

Mr. Bettman, is it good for the league to have teams meet the salary floor by using bonuses that are never going to be paid and doesn’t that create competitive disparity?

As opposed to what?

Mr. Bettman, oponents of Donald Fehr criticize him for being a MLB guy, why is it that after all of the years you have served the NHL you are still considered an NBA guy? Does the NBA model work for the NHL?

Does the NHL model work for the NHL?

Mr. Bettman, didn’t you tell the fans during the last lockout, that the lockout was necessary to maintain lower ticket costs? Did you not tell the fans that the last CBA would bring cost certainty and stability to the NHL?

This is how low the NHL has fallen.  The incompetent who wrote and butchered the last CBA is the least incorrect person in a room full of negotiatiors.

Betttman’s not dumb enough to step into a lion’s den with a guy like Larry Brooks

Did you…?  Was that…?  Who did you say, again? smile

Lion’s Den?  Brooks?  Brooks comma Larry?

The NHL will sacrifice the season to get what they want, even if they don’t really need it.  At this point, it’s about crushing Fehr and satisfying the egos of Bettman, Daly and the hardliners.

That’s crazy talk.  On the NHL side this is business.  On the NHLPA side it is personal.  That’s why the NHL is going to end up losing a lot less financially than the NHLPA is.  They are the ones making decisions from an attitude of calm while the NHLPA is gibbering.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/19/12 at 03:21 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Did you…?  Was that…?  Who did you say, again? smile

Lion’s Den?  Brooks?  Brooks comma Larry?

Name used solely as example. If you can think of a more anti-owner writer who would love nothing more than to skewer Bettman in an interview, I’d welcome his name substituted for Brooks’

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/19/12 at 03:50 PM ET

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Winnipeg is glad to have the NHL back so they are less likely to attack the league.  However, regardless of the journalist asking questions, Bettman will answer the question the way he wants to even if it isn’t an answer to the question he was asked. Besides, he isn’t under oath and would just as easily lie to spin it the way he sees fit. There isn’t a journalist in the world that could get the truth out of him at this point in the negotiation.

I think Brooks would just make it that much more entertaining. Maybe have Tortorella be the moderator. AS much as Torts may be annoyed by Brooks, he actually is willing to talk to the toad because he recognizes Brooks is there to sell newspapers. Brooks would can write around the Bettman quotes, which willgive the article a much different spin, but he can do that now without asking the questions.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 11/19/12 at 04:50 PM 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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