Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 09/18/12 at 01:48 AM ET
The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson spoke to player agent Steve Bartlett about the owners' lockout's probable duration, and Bartlett suggested that the lockout will be a short one:
“My gut tells me this is going to weeks we’re out, not months,” said Bartlett, who also represented Doug Weight, former captain of the Edmonton Oilers. “I think the tipping point is (the American) Thanksgiving. That’s six weeks or so after the season (is supposed to start).”
It’s also when HBO would start filming the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs in the lead-up to the Jan. 1, 2013, Winter Classic at the University of Michigan stadium. HBO’s hugely popular 24/7 series involves the cameras getting up close and very personal with players — on and off the ice — to promote the outdoor game, which is the NHL’s eye candy for advertisers. It’s the one event they can trot out to sports fans, but not necessarily hockey fans.
As a player agent, Bartlett sees no hypocrisy in teams loading up on players prior to locking them out...
His nature as a negotiator for player contracts is to come to amenable figures both sides can ruminate over fairly quickly. Bartlett is also not a raving cheerleader for the NHLPA. What he’s always been is a reasoned observer. He’s in business to get his clients contracts, but he watched the owners in a frenzy to get players signed before the lockout on Saturday night and shook his head as about $200 million in contracts were handed out. This is coming from a league that maintains it needs its players to take pay cuts.
“This is like a store having a sale on a Monday and people going in on a Sunday and buying as many items as they can? Why?” said Bartlett.
And it sounds like the lawyer in Bartlett wants to see the NHL and PA work out a CBA in court:
“I wouldn’t mind seeing even non-binding arbitration to try and break the stalemate, just to give the feeling of an outside person offering their opinion,” said Bartlett.
The players want the owners to share more of their revenue — the strong helping the weak.“I saw one (analogy) where somebody suggested, ‘Why would a successful nail factory help out one that was less successful ?’ … But you can’t have a monopoly in a hockey league,” said Bartlett.
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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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