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Stop The Madness

from Larry Brooks of the NY Post,

True enough, both the NBA and NFL lockouts were settled soon after the sports’ respective player associations opted to either decertify or dissolve.

But as the NHLPA contemplates its legal alternatives, it is instructive to recall big market owners such as the Knicks’ Jim Dolan pushed David Stern toward a basketball settlement last November while Patriots owner Robert Kraft was one of the central figures in urging Roger Goodell to end the football stalemate four months earlier.

The NHL needs such a hero or two (or four or five) to emerge from the ranks of the Board of Governors in order to put a stop to the madness in which hockey is enmeshed. When the board meets in New York on Dec. 5, the NHL’s survival as we know it will depend on practical men flexing their vocal cords in opposition to the cabal of militants who have seized the agenda and seem intent on committing what the Sabres’ Ryan Miller referred to on Friday as “brand suicide.”


It’s hard to believe the owners of the Maple Leafs, who stand to lose at least $100 million if the season is flushed, will stand by silently as the league seeks nothing less than unconditional surrender from the players. It is impossible to believe the owners of the Canadiens, Canucks, Flyers, Red Wings, Penguins and Blackhawks will continue to cede authority.


Filed in: NHL Talk, NHLPA, | KK Hockey | Permalink


creasemonkey's avatar

I’ve been of the opinion that any agreement including a shortened season would only put more bandages on an eviscerated body.  I’d rather have the NHL implode so that the league entity can start fresh: on ice rules with strict enforcement of penalties, off ice guidelines that fix loopholes but allow for teams to retain talent and possibly create dynasties, adjustment or elimination of teams in markets that don’t work and a better system to determine future expansion (if any) and other various corrections the entity needs. I would definitely include cleaning house at the NHL offices, if only because a change is needed to start fresh.

I wouldn’t mind the idea of mirroring a prime minister/premier setup for NHL commissioner. Have one person as the public face, handing out trophies, making appearances, being the good guy. You can even have a very respected former player in this function.  You could offer this role to Gretzky as a reconciliation offer from the Coyotes fiasco (even though his contract for that was ludicrous) as it would be a good olive branch. Have the brains in the background, handling the technicalities but keeping the low profile and the ugly stuff out of the public eye. Make the player safety/rule enforcement a group decision including 3 former players and establish more reliable & recurrent training for on and off ice officials.

I know I’m leaving out a lot of the items that need fixing, but point being if they are going to waste the game, they might as well take full advantage of the opportunity.

Posted by creasemonkey from sweet home san diego on 11/25/12 at 07:36 AM ET


I know I’m leaving out a lot of the items that need fixing, but point being if they are going to waste the game, they might as well take full advantage of the opportunity.

I agree with the sentiment, I just don’t think Bettman is capable of accomplishing it.  He’s never struck me as a person particularly gifted with foresight.

I think he’s okay when it comes to raw applications of force to accomplish fairly broad, fairly simple goals.  Like, for instance, driving down player share of revenue.

More detailed adjustments to league structure with an eye on improving mechanisms which deal with issues on a smaller but no less important scale?  He’s been an abysmal failure and I don’t see anything which suggests that’s changed since the last time he screwed up a CBA when he could have had whatever he wanted.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/25/12 at 09:10 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Nice play by Brooks to essentially trip into the fact that Dolan runs both the Knicks and Rangers and that he’s been at odds with Bettman before (The call for Bettman to be dismissed was around the same time that the ugliness over MSG’s control over the Rangers’ online identity was getting to the point of suit/counter-suit being filed by MSG and the NHL… all of which went away quietly in an undisclosed settlement).

I wonder if Brooks is hoping that if the antitrust suits start flying, the Rangers will find themselves a convenient bedfellow to the players in also wanting the league’s power challenged.

The NHL and Bettman have already survived two antitrust battles brought on by their own owners and have come out stronger for it. They may be completely ready to test the boundaries here, since the last time a meaningful antitrust decision came out in sports which didn’t favor the league (American Needle vs. NFL), it was an outside group finding relief from anti-competitive behavior instead of an inside group challenging bylaws they’ve already signed off on.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/25/12 at 11:03 AM ET


Board of Governors meeting on Dec 5 will determined the season. I think there will be interesting crap coming out of that meeting.

Posted by FlyersFan on 11/25/12 at 04:23 PM ET


Since Bettman needs only eight owners on his side to complete agreement, it does beggar the mind that Tor, NYR, Van, Phil, Mtl, Det, Chi, Ott don’t band together and sideline the hardline owners. I’m sure we’d get a CBA with less draconian contracting restrictions. Surely there will be angry owners of teams in poor markets, but no healthy league can let those teams drive the bus.

Posted by YouppiKiYay on 11/25/12 at 06:11 PM ET


reading article after article is so freaking depressing.

Posted by FlyersFan on 11/25/12 at 06:30 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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