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Mike Cammalleri sums it up

Of all the comments made by players on Thursday, Mike Cammalleri's take on the state of CBA negotiations, as uttered to the Toronto Star'sKevin McGran are, in my opinion, the most astute given the NHLPA's circumstances:

“How do we win? We’ve already lost,” said Flames forward Mike Cammalleri. “We’ve already conceded ($800 million, all figures U.S.). It seems like for them, it’s become the bully in the playground. It’s like: ‘We think we can take your cookies, too.’”

Cammalleri explained the players’ exasperation:

“They came to us and said we have a systemic problem with the small-market teams losing money. We said: ‘Okay, we’ll concede up to $800 million-plus as long as the bigger teams help us in a revenue-sharing model.

“Then we did that, and they said: ‘Oh, that’s not the problem. The problem is you guys just make too much money.’

“Your boss comes to you tomorrow and says: ‘My company does great, makes tonnes of money but I’m going to take 20 per cent of your salary just because where else are you going to work?”

Cammalleri continues, and points out that the players, like many fans, get the feeling that this cycle and this fourth lockout has only one conclusion--a fifth, five to eight years from now:

“Where does it end?” says Cammalleri. “If we take their proposal, the next time around, they’re still going to have the same excuses. It doesn’t fix anything. It doesn’t address any of the problems they said we know would make the league healthier. They’re going to come to us with the same issues. Of course they don’t want to fix those problems, because they want to be able to do this to us again next time.”

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Comments

phillyd's avatar

“Your boss comes to you tomorrow and says: ‘My company does great, makes tonnes of money but I’m going to take 20 per cent of your salary just because where else are you going to work?”

Unfortunately Mike, that’s what a lot of us in normal jobs are facing. It hasn’t happened to me, yet, but I personally know two people who were laid off their jobs because they’re company missed a profit margin. It’s not that the company didn’t make a profit or was on the verge of bankruptcy, no, it’s that they didn’t make enough of a profit for their investors/shareholders and the company did a huge restructure and eliminated/outsourced/all the normal crap. What’s the solution as far as the NHL goes, I have no clue. I’ve been against contraction but maybe that is the answer or moving franchises or doing the revenue sharing.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 09/14/12 at 06:46 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

yeah, but these same people signed CONTRACTS with them.  They aren’t getting a wage based on whether or not they remain employed and are able to be terminated “at will”  These are contractors essentially.  Not even the US military can go back and say, you know what, we pay you too much money so were taking “x” amount back.  You CANNOT do that in any other medium in America, so why does the NHL get to?

They seem to think it’s their “right” to do this and it blows my mind.  It’s like a Mafia shake-down.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 09/14/12 at 07:35 AM ET

TheFreak's avatar

... it’s become the bully in the playground. It’s like: ‘We think we can take your cookies, too.

Well, ya know what Mike? You’re taking our flour and sugar just so you can have your damn cookie.

Posted by TheFreak on 09/14/12 at 07:50 AM ET

phillyd's avatar

I didn’t say it was right or wrong, it just is. Contracts are terminated, renegotiated all the time, I should know, I do it at work. Budget getting tight and schedule not getting met, either a) try and get more money or b) go back to that contractor and tell them they need to finish this for X and if they can’t, they’ll find someone who does. Yeah, I know it’s sports and you can’t really compare it to the every-day working world, but it’s that same type of mentality from the owner’s side you see coming out in their proposals and rhetoric, it just happens to be millionaire hockey players now griping about that mentality.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 09/14/12 at 08:28 AM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

“We have discovered over the last seven years there were things about this system that haven’t worked as well as we anticipated,” said Bettman. “We made at the time what we thought was a fair deal. It actually turned out to be more fair than perhaps it should have been.”

Let me rephrase that for the Garden Gnome…

“Seven years ago, we thought we really stuck it to the players. We even made them give up 20% of their salaries. But it turns out we didn’t screw them enough to suit the owners because those idiots can’t stop themselves from handing out ridiculous contracts. So, this time we’re going to have to find a way to really stick it to the players – and no one is going to play hockey until we do.”

Cammalleri’s analogy of the playground bully is a good one, and I think that mentality actually comes into play when Butthead is negotiating with Fehr. The odds are the shrimp was bullied as a kid and this is the perfect opportunity for him to do it to someone else.

If the League was run by a confident (and competent) leader, I don’t think we’d see the level of sheer arrogance and stubbornness that we see from Butthead.

 

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 09/14/12 at 10:07 AM ET

Avatar

more fair

I always thought fair was fair, but apparently if both sides benefit then it is too fair.

The NHL started off with a draconian proposal, that many thought was just a negotiating ploy.  It seems like they were serious from the outset and made this lockout inevitable. It wasn’t about negotiating in good faith, it was all about winning even bigger this time. I feel that reasonably the NHL could have asked for the current definition of HRR to be maintained (for simplicity sake) and then decreased the players share from the current 57% down to a 50% over the next five years. For example, decrease by 5%  in the first three years and then 2% over the last two. Or even to 50% by year 3 unless the league growth exceeds a certain percentage in the next 3 years at which time the players could gain back 2% of HRR.  This way the league reaches 50-50 much quicker, but if revenues grow drasticallly, the players would get some of those rapid savings back in a 48-52 split over the last couple of seasons.

Any increase in revenues would cover the 7% decrease in revenue split and the players would not have had to forfeit current money up front. They would have assumed some risk that the league revenues do not outgrow the 7% rollback over time.  The league could then take that 7% of revenue that the players would be giving back and directing it into a revenue sharing fund so that the CBA isn’t a process by which the rich teams have out of market low fixed costs, but unlimited profit margins at the expense of weaker teams.  The next CBA would be much closer to a 50/50 split with a well defined HRR in place and leaguewide revenue growth would contribute to a revenue sharing fund.

Would the players have accepted 7% loss in HRR over 5 years? Maybe not, but then the onous would have been on the players. If the NHL continued to grow they would have been getting roughly the same amount of money, just less of the growth, growth would help the unstable markets and if the league growth stalled the players share would shrink. Big markets get see a little less of the growth, but maintain the cost savings the hard cap has already put in place.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 09/14/12 at 10:49 AM ET

Avatar

Contracts are terminated, renegotiated all the time, I should know, I do it at work.

When was the last time that you renegotiated an NHL player’s salary?  The NHL would never let a player ask for more money, and in fact the last time I remember it was even attempted (Alexeis Yashin), the league made him honour his contract.

But now they want to potentially renegotiate every single player’s contract to the league’s benefit.

When was the last time you did that at work?  Re-worked the contracts of every single employee at the company you work for, decreasing all of their salaries by the same percentage whether they work in a department that is making crazy profit or a department that is deep in the red?

Posted by Garth on 09/14/12 at 11:02 AM ET

YYZerman's avatar

I didn’t say it was right or wrong, it just is. Contracts are terminated, renegotiated all the time, I should know, I do it at work. Budget getting tight and schedule not getting met, either a) try and get more money or b) go back to that contractor and tell them they need to finish this for X and if they can’t, they’ll find someone who does. Yeah, I know it’s sports and you can’t really compare it to the every-day working world, but it’s that same type of mentality from the owner’s side you see coming out in their proposals and rhetoric, it just happens to be millionaire hockey players now griping about that mentality.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 09/14/12 at 09:28 AM ET

This makes sense if this was the first time it happened. Like Cammalleri said, they already came to them and tried this approach. At what point do they look in the mirror and see that it isn’t that the players make too much money, it’s that the owners give them too much. And then look at what teams are making money and what teams aren’t. If we follow what you think they should just like every business does, then those teams that don’t make them money need to go. It’s like if a business that makes frozen drinks and smoothies opens up in Alaska. If that business doesn’t do good do they just keep that shop open? No, they close it down and move somewhere that they can make the most money.

Posted by YYZerman from Detroit, Michigan on 09/14/12 at 11:02 AM ET

Avatar

Contraction is the ultimate solution here, isn’t even on the table because bringing hockey to moronic places like Miami,nashville and Phoenix is Bettman’s legacy.

I hope this time that the fans in many markets just don’t come back and that those teams fold. Radically reconstitute the league in places that have demonstrated an ability to support the game.

Posted by FlyersFan on 09/14/12 at 12:50 PM ET

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Contraction is the ultimate solution here, isn’t even on the table because bringing hockey to moronic places like Miami,nashville and Phoenix is Bettman’s legacy.

You don’t honestly think that the players would be in favour of contraction, do you?  Contraction would mean lost jobs for the PA as well.

Posted by Garth on 09/14/12 at 01:54 PM ET

phillyd's avatar

Garth, FlyersFan and YYZerman are all right. In a real business world, contraction or movement is the answer. Contraction will never happen because the NHLPA wouldn’t allow it and movement is hard because of all the supposed regions already claimed by other owners.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 09/14/12 at 02:34 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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