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Bettman Trying To Fix His Own Loophole

from Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun,

Alas, deciphering the Luongo Rule itself — that’s not an official name, but its wide usage is something of a feather in the salary cap of the Vancouver Canucks’ finagler-in-chief, Laurence Gilman — is not so easy.

What it really ought to be called is Gary’s Revenge, a petulant add-on to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, one which aims to punish those teams that dared to exploit the loopholes Bettman left in the last CBA, by signing star players to long-term, front-loaded contracts.

Most of those deals were drawn up with the full knowledge that the players in question would probably be long (or at best a little) gone from the game by the latter, low-salaried years of their contracts, but in the meantime, the salary cap hit would be averaged out over the full term, allowing for more maneuverability for the teams.

All perfectly legal under the old CBA. But embarrassing to Bettman, who left the barn door open as a passel of his best horses slipped through, while protesting that the deals were against the spirit of the CBA. It makes you wonder what all that expensive legal help the NHL engages does for a living, if it’s not to close loopholes before they bring down the house.

read on

Filed in: NHL Teams, Vancouver Canucks, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Comments

Avatar

Does that guy not know who Gary Bettman is?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/09/13 at 11:13 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I’m waiting to see the whole CBA come out, but so far the details which have leaked have not been promising to league stability in 8 years (let’s face it, they’re going to opt out early).

With a chance to fix some of the things which were quite wrong about the CBA, instead they put together a few half-measures to fix existing problems and worried more about sending messages into the past about what happens when you show up a guy who thinks he’s smarter than he is (although he’s probably smarter than most would give him credit for).

I’m more worried for the game now than I ever have been. It’s not even the Luongo rule; it’s more about the feeling that this CBA is going to do more to force parity through punishing excellence.  That’s not a level of competition I think any league should aspire to.

As always, that’s *my* problem though. I’ll just have to see how interested I still am in the NHL 8 years from now.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/09/13 at 11:48 AM ET

11B4PF7 in MN's avatar

Another CBA question for the experts out there:  is there a reason why the NHLPA didn’t push for increasing the roster size back to 24 players?  I was deployed during the last lockout and I missed out on the reasoning for the decreased roster size to begin with.

Posted by 11B4PF7 in MN on 01/09/13 at 01:25 PM ET

Avatar

Who’s going to opt out early, as in which side?  The players extended and extended some more under the last CBA.  Why won’t that happen again?  Why would the owners opt out?  To get 52% instead of 50?  That makes no sense.

“Forced parity,” which so many despise, has done more for increasing revenues for the league (and in turn, the players) than any other measure.  It’s solely responsible for the huge TV contract.  It keeps butts in the seats.  When shootouts in game 82 are deciding who goes to the playoffs (Flyers actually went to the the Cup final that year), and clinching a playoff berth in game 81 leads to a Stanley Cup champion (Kings), we have a flourishing league. 

Those that despise parity despise healthy competition and an ultra-exciting regular season.  That wasn’t so when the same teams had the playoffs locked up in Feb. and were on cruise control until the second week of April, leading so many fans to say “wake me up when the playoffs start.”  That wasn’t a healthy league.

Posted by jkm2011 on 01/09/13 at 01:29 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

“Forced parity,” which so many despise, has done more for increasing revenues for the league (and in turn, the players) than any other measure.  It’s solely responsible for the huge TV contract.  It keeps butts in the seats.  When shootouts in game 82 are deciding who goes to the playoffs (Flyers actually went to the the Cup final that year), and clinching a playoff berth in game 81 leads to a Stanley Cup champion (Kings), we have a flourishing league. 

I’m not a fan of NHL revenues. I’m a fan of NHL hockey.

If you’ve got a problem with teams dominating until February and then cruising to the finish, then shorten the regular season. Hell, give more time for world championship/Canada Cup/other international competition to happen with the world’s best players.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 01/09/13 at 01:34 PM ET

Avatar

I’m not a fan of NHL revenues. I’m a fan of NHL hockey.

This.

When shootouts in game 82 are deciding who goes to the playoffs

So, your definition of a flourishing league is when playoff spots are being determined by a skills competetition on the last day of the season?

Posted by Garth on 01/09/13 at 01:58 PM ET

Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit's avatar

In unrelated News… Brian Burke is fired.

http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/8828545/reports-toronto-maple-leafs-fire-gm-brian-burke-cusp-season

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!!

Posted by Kate from Pa.-made in Detroit on 01/09/13 at 02:04 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

JJ and Garth - I couldn’t agree with you both more than if I wrote the same things myself.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 01/09/13 at 02:09 PM ET

Avatar

“Forced parity,” which so many despise, has done more for increasing revenues for the league (and in turn, the players) than any other measure.

This is one of those ‘penny wise but pound foolish’ deals.  IMO the positive effects of parity on revenue are arguable, but what is rather less arguable is the negative effect of parity on flagship, bedrock franchises.

That aside here are the first two things that have done more for increasing league revenue than parity:

1) Expansion.
2) Increased ticket prices.

And again, revenue =/ profits.  Just because the NHL generates more raw dollars does not mean that the league is by definition healthier.  If they aren’t keeping up with costs + inflation it’s possible to have more revenue and yet be in a weaker financial position.

It’s solely responsible for the huge TV contract.

A) No it’s not.
B) What huge TV contract?  The one that’s barely the size of the local deals of a couple different baseball teams?

It keeps butts in the seats.

It moves butts around in the seats.

The problem with parity as it relates to the NHL is that with so many soft markets as soon as a team looks bad in a given year, fans check out.  The teams who do well in a given year draw well, the teams that don’t, don’t.

When parity means Tampa is good they draw 20k.  When parity means Tampa sucks they draw 15,500.  Lather, rinse and repeat for the other 15 borderline to weak hockey markets.

For instance, the difference in per game attendance between now and a decade ago is a whopping 695 fans per game.

League wide.  A 4% net attendance increase after a decade.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 01/09/13 at 03:09 PM ET

Avatar

Spite is an underappreciated artform. It is what keeps karma in balance!

Posted by timbits on 01/10/13 at 12:35 AM ET

tuxedoTshirt's avatar

I hear you guys, but this:

teams had the playoffs locked up in Feb. and were on cruise control until the second week of April, leading so many fans to say “wake me up when the playoffs start.”  That wasn’t a healthy league.,
     
fvcking licked donkey balls and lost my interest.  It wasn’t just the 2nd best team ever destroying the league under Bowman, it was the fact that there would be like one or two races between 8th and 9th for the last two months of the season. 

And are you seriously questioning the sacred 82?  That’s what this league is about, the marathon before the marathon.

Posted by tuxedoTshirt from the Home of the 1937 World Champions on 01/10/13 at 01:36 AM ET

Colossal Cap Hit's avatar

I see no problem with it whatsoever. The previous CBA forbid circumvention, both in deed and spirit. There were about 10 pages on the topic. Some GMs circumvented the cap by a loophole while pretending they didn’t to avoid disciplinary action from the league.

The pretense from GMs was that the likes of Hossa, Zetterberg, and Luongo would play out their contracts. Now the pretense from the league is that there is no punishment because the league acknowledges those contracts were legitimate and did not attempt to circumvent the cap. The GMs did it to themselves. They can’t complain about being punished now because, let’s not forget, they expect those players to fulfill their contracts, right? Or are they now saying they did in fact circumvent the cap and should have been fined and lost draft picks for it? Exactly. No one is being punished, just like no one circumvented the cap.

Posted by Colossal Cap Hit on 01/10/13 at 05:05 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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