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How Close Are The Numbers?

from James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail,

It is all in the numbers.

As ridiculous and unnecessary as the NHL lockout seems even at a casual glance, the closer and harder you look at the numbers involved, the less this costly stalemate makes sense.

Here we have two parties that made a combined four proposals last week and moved some $600-million or so closer together over the next five or six years.

continued

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Annnnnnnd Mirtle vomits all over himself again.  Mirtle goes out of his way a couple times to say how ‘close’ the NHL and NHLPA are.

They aren’t, really.

The NHLPAs deal keep things roughly status quo and rely on future growth to catch the NHL up.  The problem is that between ‘then’ and ‘now’ roughly ONE BILLION DOLLARS of space exists between the two sides’ general frameworks.

That’s not close, Jimbo.

Yes, they were TWO BILLION DOLLARS apart when this started, so I suppose technically they are only half as far apart as they were before.  Still, not only is that ONE BILLION DOLLARS, it’s ONE BILLION DOLLARS on the front end.

Which means given a 5% compounded return rate it’s really 1.34 BILLION DOLLARS.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/25/12 at 06:42 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Where are your figures for the up-front billion dollar difference?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/25/12 at 07:13 PM ET

clownfat's avatar

From the article… ‘determined that “we’re talking about an awfully small difference on the team level” that amounts to as little as $2.7-million a season.’

So… Mirtle is saying they are $486,000,000.00 off. That seems like a decent chunk of change. Mirtle just sugar coats it by breaking it up into 180 parts. (6 years x 30 teams)

Posted by clownfat on 10/25/12 at 07:45 PM ET

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So… Mirtle is saying they are $486,000,000.00 off.

And that’s the ‘headline’ tiniest monetary difference between the NHLPA and NHL’s offers.

And the only reason the difference is that narrow in the immediate term is that it never actually ends up in a 50-50 split, combined with some fairly ‘tricksy hobbitz’ accounting of the portions of player contracts over the alleged up front 50-50 amount.

I like what Fehr did there.  He tried to take the NHL’s 50-50 proposition and ju-jitsu them with some backdoor trickeration.  It didn’t work, but I applaud the attempt.

I wonder how much of a pragmatist he is, though.  In baseball he always had the big stick because the owners had so much to lose.  In the NHL the opposite is the case.  I’m certain he knows this.  My question is whether he’s counselling the players or following their directives… because IMO if the players have their way they’ll blow the season up just to spite Bettman regardless of the personal cost.

Kind of like the guy who at the end of a close game gets pissed off and runs someone, ends up taking a stupid penalty, and his team loses the game on the ensuing PP.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/25/12 at 08:23 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

50-50 proposition and ju-jitsu them with some backdoor trickeration.  It didn’t work, but I applaud the attempt.

I’m feeling sme deja vu here… semantics, number trickery.. I know someone who argues this way all the time.. can’t put my finger on it.. can anybody help me out?

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 10/25/12 at 08:32 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

So there isn’t really a billion dollar difference unless you take the most-dire 3% growth scenario and compare the NHLPA1 Proposal to the NHL’s, where you get a grand difference spread over the 5 years of $1.05B.

In Tyler Dellow’s worst growth figure comparison (using the 5% rate) of the most-recent deals, he never finds a difference over $600M between the two deals over the same five-year span.

I mean, screaming numbers doesn’t make them more accurate. $600M over a five-year span is certainly a gap, but it’s not [pinky to mouth] ONE BILLION DOLLARS. ... although the argument that the $600M gap works out to $4M per year per team is a valid one, considering the “disappearing pay cut” nature of that number (it being a “pay cut” off a significant raise that the owners are getting overall and not a factor of them paying out more).

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/25/12 at 10:41 PM ET

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So there isn’t really a billion dollar difference unless you take the most-dire 3% growth scenario and compare the NHLPA1 Proposal to the NHL’s, where you get a grand difference spread over the 5 years of $1.05B.

I have a question: If the revenue spread never actually gets to 50-50, what is the effective difference between a proposal which does and that one, which apparently does not?

I have a second question:  From where would one derive the idea that current proposals have approximate differences of $1.8 B, $1.2 B, $580 M and $480 M?

I have a third question: In a situation where a group makes three simultaneous proposals is it reasonable to assume that there would be an 800ish million dollar difference between any of them?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/26/12 at 05:11 AM ET

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I’m feeling sme deja vu here… semantics, number trickery.. I know someone who argues this way all the time.. can’t put my finger on it.. can anybody help me out?

Candy corn red light lego batman insulated underwear CORN FLAKES!

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/26/12 at 05:13 AM ET

NIVO's avatar

Imagine the new commercials endorsing the cheaper hotels they get to stay at: “Hello, I’m Cindy Cosby, and when I stay in New Jersey for a game I ALWAYS stay at Super 8”.

Posted by NIVO from underpants gnome village on 10/26/12 at 05:21 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/26/12 at 05:11 AM ET

What are you talking about?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/26/12 at 08:04 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Ryan Miller on the lockout:

“I think that a deal is there to be made and recent events lead me to believe the NHL is simply testing us,”

Wow, you figured that out all by yourself, Ryan? Or did Fehr mention this in a conference call?

This NHLPA is a paper tiger. If they are truly this naive and simplistic in the world of big economics, they will fold like a cheap suit if this drags into December.

Bettman and Co sense the fragility of the NHLPA. Survival of the fittest. the NHL ‘wins’.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 10/26/12 at 08:28 AM ET

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If they are truly this naive and simplistic in the world of big economics

I guess it’s not possible that they’re seeing what the NHL is doing publicly (ie. making truly insulting offers, being pessimistic, pulling offers without any negotiating) and figure it’s smarter for them to, at least in public, appear to be something resembling reasonable.

Posted by Garth on 10/26/12 at 08:53 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

making truly insulting offers

Matter of opinion, and very subjective

being pessimistic

As opposed to the sunshine and flowers spread by Fehr, the inspiring poetic musings of a drunken utility player around a campfire in Southern Ontario, and the conciliatory remarks made by players over in Europe, such as Ovechkin

pulling offers without any negotiating

Works both ways.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 10/26/12 at 08:57 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Works both ways.

Which offers have the NHLPA pulled?  When has the NHLPA ever said that there wasn’t a point in negotiating if the league wasn’t willing to work off their offer?

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/26/12 at 09:43 AM ET

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Works both ways.

No it doesn’t.  Show me where the PA has tabled any offers with publis deadlines attached to them and when the PA has come out in public to remind everyone that the deal is being pulled.

I would love to see that.

As opposed to the sunshine and flowers spread by Fehr, the inspiring poetic musings of a drunken utility player around a campfire in Southern Ontario, and the conciliatory remarks made by players over in Europe, such as Ovechkin

a) Fehr has at least pubilcly appeared to be willing to negotiate.
b) Ovechkin speaks for himself.  Nobody is reading an Ovechkin quote and assuming that he represents the 800+ PA members.  Bettman speaks and we know that he is the spokesman for the owners.

Posted by Garth on 10/26/12 at 10:10 AM ET

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I guess it’s not possible that they’re seeing what the NHL is doing publicly (ie. making truly insulting offers, being pessimistic, pulling offers without any negotiating) and figure it’s smarter for them to, at least in public, appear to be something resembling reasonable.

The problem here is that you are looking at this issue through the clouded lens of bias.

It’s not ‘insulting’ to make a low offer when commencing negotiations.  I’ve been forced to conclude that the people who share your opinion are ones who have rarely if ever actually negotiated for something face to face.

The rest of your points are fluffy.  Public posture and firm stances are part and parcel of any serious negotiation, and the NHLPA is just as willing to engage in them as the NHL is, as they should.

Which offers have the NHLPA pulled?

Why does that matter?  If the NHLPA isn’t going to sign it and their counteroffers aren’t terribly close to it, why leave it out there?  As the economics change, the type of deal the NHL will be willing to sign will change.  As will the NHLPA’s standards.

When has the NHLPA ever said that there wasn’t a point in negotiating if the league wasn’t willing to work off their offer?

Again, why does that matter?  If the NHLPA isn’t ready to budge yet and the NHL isn’t ready to budge yet… what’s the point?

You and Garth are being distracted by cosmetic frippery.  BOth sides have their offers and to this point they haven’t been willing to move off of them.  Since the NHL has said its not willing to move off of theirs, you two have apparently decided this is a worse act than just being identically unwilling to move off an offer, just not coming right out and saying it.

What are you talking about?

When it comes to HO I’ve reached the point where I’m fairly sure what I actually say doesn’t matter to him overmuch, so I’ll just feed him a random series of words rather than trying to form a cogent position he’ll just ignore anyway.  Saves a little time.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/26/12 at 10:14 AM ET

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The problem here is that you are looking at this issue through the clouded lens of bias.

Heh, that’s cute.  How about that non-pay cut, right?

Posted by Garth on 10/26/12 at 10:36 AM ET

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Why does that matter?

It matters becase read the *#$%@& exchange, dude.

Posted by Garth on 10/26/12 at 10:36 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

It’s not ‘insulting’ to make a low offer when commencing negotiations.  I’ve been forced to conclude that the people who share your opinion are ones who have rarely if ever actually negotiated for something face to face.

Clouded lens of bias.

  Which offers have the NHLPA pulled?

Why does that matter?

If we’re talking from a negotiating standpoint and one person says both sides are essentially doing the same thing, it matters to point out that they are in reality not doing the same thing.

Again, why does that matter?  If the NHLPA isn’t ready to budge yet and the NHL isn’t ready to budge yet… what’s the point?

The NHLPA to my knowledge has never publicly or privately turned down an offer to meet in a negotiating session. Tie that back to the point it was designed to make and it’s not at all difficult to see why that matters. It’s not cosmetic to see that the NHL has consistently blocked any attempt by the NHLPA to discuss things on anything but their own terms. The cosmetic frippery going on here is that the NHL wants you to believe that they haven’t gotten farther in negotiations as a factor of both sides being equally as obstinate. That isn’t the case.

When it comes to HO I’ve reached the point where I’m fairly sure what I actually say doesn’t matter to him overmuch, so I’ll just feed him a random series of words rather than trying to form a cogent position he’ll just ignore anyway.  Saves a little time.

Well, that’s a dick move, but ok. You weren’t replying to something HO said in the comment where I asked you to explain what you’re talking about though. This is why comments have time-stamps.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/26/12 at 10:42 AM ET

Evilpens's avatar

It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business Famous quote from the Godfather ! You never let business get personal because you lose control

Posted by Evilpens on 10/26/12 at 10:55 AM ET

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Heh, that’s cute.  How about that non-pay cut, right?

Like I’ve said, there are always ways to look at an issue differently.  I prefer to look at two equal numbers as equal numbers, therefore the same, therefore one isn’t a ‘cut’ relative to the other.  You obviously prefer to look at any pairing of numbers differently.  Que sa’ra.

It matters becase read the *#$%@& exchange, dude.

I did, and it doesn’t.

Example 1) Person makes offer, refuses to accept anything but that offer privately but remains silent on that intent publicly.

Example 2) Person makes offer, refuses to accept anything but that offer privately, and also says that publically.

What’s the functional difference in those two examples?  There isn’t one.  Neither guy is going to sign anything else.

Clouded lens of bias.

Like I said, I’ve been forced to that conclusion.  I’ve yet to run into anyone who actually negotiates who thinks it’s a good idea to not start off low with a first offer.  The NHL obviously started off low, but their intent this whole time has been to move the NHLPA to 50-50.  Where they started (43%) and where the NHLPA started (57%) were equidistant from the point they wanted to end up.

Their tactics were sort of on the nose and painfully obvious, but apparently not quite painfully obvious enough.

The NHLPA to my knowledge has never publicly or privately turned down an offer to meet in a negotiating session.

And yet again, so what?  So the sides agree to meet and neither side is willing to budge.  Hooray?

Being willing to meet or not meet is completely meaningless without the underlying willingness to bargain and move off of a position.

What the parties say in public or what they don’t say in public is meaningless.  The NHL could say they are pulling all offers and refuse to even begin a discussion with the NHLPA and then end up with a signed deal by tomorrow.

Don’t get distracted by the shiny things.  The words and the postures don’t matter.

Well, that’s a dick move, but ok. You weren’t replying to something HO said in the comment where I asked you to explain what you’re talking about though. This is why comments have time-stamps.

Eyeroll.

You were quibbling with my assessment of space between the positions of the two parties.  I asked a series of three questions which, when answered, would have illustrated from whence my stance on the issue has sprung.

I hadn’t thought something like that could possibly fail to be understood.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/26/12 at 11:03 AM ET

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Example 2) Person makes offer, refuses to accept anything but that offer privately, and also says that publically.

I did

No, clearly you didn’t.

Hey Jackie Chan, can you.

Understand.

The words.

That are appearing on your screen?

Posted by Garth on 10/26/12 at 11:07 AM ET

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Example 2) Person makes offer, refuses to accept anything but that offer privately, and also says that publically.

First off, it was three offers, and you’re making assumptions about what’s happening behind closed doors while we are commenting on public statements that are available to everyone.

Posted by Garth on 10/26/12 at 11:08 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

And yet again, so what?  So the sides agree to meet and neither side is willing to budge.  Hooray?

Agreeing to meet is already a factor of budging and you’re more likely to see somebody budge while they’re actually meeting.

Don’t get distracted by the shiny things.  The words and the postures don’t matter.

Sure they do. It’s a lockout, not a strike. The NHL needs badly to create the optics that the players are every bit as culpable for their unsupported position that the players need to take a pay cut and the only way they have to “win” here is to drag everything down in a morass of shared culpability, so they refuse to meet on any terms other than their own knowing that the players haven’t broken because the players have their shit together.

In a hilarious case of shiny distractions, people get the idea that the players are equally at fault because they don’t see this as necessary and inevitable and their willingness to work on a deal that actually is for the good of hockey looks to them like posturing.

Eyeroll.

I’m going to assume that was you looking back up and realizing you forgot how to read.

I asked a series of three questions which, when answered, would have illustrated from whence my stance on the issue has sprung.

Eyeroll.

Listen, if you don’t have the information or are trying to hide the fact that you think $800 million is the same as $1 billion, just say so. Stop trying to throw out shiny distractions.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/26/12 at 11:16 AM ET

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So when you go into a negotiation and ask for everything and in return give nothing, that is just a tactic that will lead to a deal?  Just making sure you are never my negotiator in a hostage situation, then again some people seem to be on the side of just give in,  since your losses are inevitable.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 10/26/12 at 01:00 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

some people seem to be on the side of just give in,  since your losses are inevitable.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 10/26/12 at 01:00 PM ET

This ^^^^. Those people are soft pansie-asses. The “Me , me, me generation”. The “I just wanna watch hockey”. “Waaaahhhhh!!!”

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 10/26/12 at 01:09 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

When it comes to HO I’ve reached the point where I’m fairly sure what I actually say doesn’t matter to him overmuch, so I’ll just feed him a random series of words rather than trying to form a cogent position he’ll just ignore anyway.  Saves a little time.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/26/12 at 10:14 AM ET


This is true.  You’re a pompous condescending liar who’s willing to flat out DENY you’ve said something in the past to claim you’re right in the present.  You’re argumentative and have no regard or respect for other peoples position.  You can’t even agree to disagree, you have to insult intelligence or character of the other person before you’d concede the fact that you just have a different opinion.

I noticed that once I started pointing out your inconsistencies is when you started this little game you’re playing too.  I’m SURE that doesn’t have anything to do with it.  I’m still waiting for you to show any sign that you actually watch hockey btw.  I’ll be stunned when I actually see you post in an article that’s not about sports finances.

And to be clear, it’s not your position that makes you suck.  It’s your personality.  I can see why you like Bettman so much.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 10/26/12 at 01:16 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

Posted by Vladimir16 on 10/26/12 at 01:09 PM ET

+19

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 10/26/12 at 01:18 PM ET

redxblack's avatar

Personally, I wouldn’t enjoy watching people play for my amusement if I felt they were being cheated.

Posted by redxblack from Akron Ohio on 10/26/12 at 01:59 PM ET

WingsFaninCO's avatar

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 10/26/12 at 01:16 PM ET

Amen.  And put in much nicer words than I might have used.

Posted by WingsFaninCO on 10/26/12 at 02:28 PM ET

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Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 10/26/12 at 01:16 PM ET

+17

It would be +19 kudos but I need to readjust what you’re getting.  Don’t worry though, eventually you can work your way back to +19 and pretend that this kudos cut never happened.  Like it disappeared…

Posted by Garth on 10/26/12 at 02:35 PM ET

WingsFaninCO's avatar

Posted by Garth on 10/26/12 at 02:35 PM ET

How can you afford to give out so much kudos?  Forbes said you were negative kudos this year.

Posted by WingsFaninCO on 10/26/12 at 02:47 PM ET

Vladimir16's avatar

How can you afford to give out so much kudos?  Forbes said you were negative kudos this year.
Posted by WingsFaninCO on 10/26/12 at 02:47 PM ET

Craetive accounting. HD will explain this to us in 3…..2…..1…..

Posted by Vladimir16 from Grand River Valley on 10/26/12 at 03:08 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I love you jerks.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 10/26/12 at 03:24 PM ET

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You’re a pompous condescending liar who’s willing to flat out DENY you’ve said something in the past to claim you’re right in the present. 

Red blue green popsicle FRITOS!

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/26/12 at 06:33 PM ET

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Red blue green popsicle FRITOS!

*ahem*

Disappearing pay cut.

Posted by Garth on 10/26/12 at 06:47 PM ET

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Disappearing pay cut.

50k equals 50k.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/26/12 at 07:22 PM ET

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Craetive accounting. HD will explain this to us in 3…..2…..1…..

Nah.  You guys are fine with what you have already.  I’m sure any new or different information isn’t going to change your minds. wink

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/26/12 at 07:23 PM ET

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50k equals 50k.

50% does not equal 57%.

Posted by Garth on 10/26/12 at 07:46 PM ET

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50% does not equal 57%.

And like I said, the way you figure ‘cut’ is the way a government figures ‘cuts’.

As in, less of an increase.

I figure ‘cut’ in terms of real dollars.  If I am making the same amount at point B as I was at point A I’m, you know, making the same amount.  You look at it through the prism of ‘well, since I could have been making more at point B, since I’m still making the same at point B that I was at point A, my pay is actually cut.

Even though, um, it’s the same actual number.

Here, let me give you an analogy:  If a player scores 25 goals in two consecutive years, does the fact that he could have scored more than 25 goals the second year if he had played better means his goal scoring actually went down? wink

Posted by HockeyinHD on 10/26/12 at 08:23 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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