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The Aftermath Of Today’s CBA Meeting

 

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Red Winger's avatar

The next NHL game: November, 2014.

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 11/11/12 at 04:56 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

The NHL has no plans of ever actually negotiating anything.  The only negotiations that every take place are based solely off of NHL proposals and never off of NHLPA proposals.  This entire season has been cancelled for years, it’s been the NHL’s gameplan for the get go.  The NHL doesn’t derserve the passionate fans they have, plain and simple.  I just can’t believe those who run a multi-billion dollar industry can have a plan to simply shut down every time a contract expires.  I hope all the players currently playing in other leagues stay there and that the fans don’t come back either.  The NHL deserves it.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 11/11/12 at 05:05 PM ET

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God damn unreasonable players, they’re definitely equally to blame for this, right?

Posted by Garth on 11/11/12 at 05:42 PM ET

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The NHL has no plans of ever actually negotiating anything. 

43, 46, 48, 50, 50+.

I just can’t believe those who run a multi-billion dollar industry can have a plan to simply shut down every time a contract expires.

This happens because the profit margins are so slight that not playing hockey isn’t appreciably worse for the Owners bottom lines than playing hockey is.  Overall it is worse for the league but it’s entirely possible not playing is better for a significant majority of teams.

This means the future profit derived from a rational HRR split is far more valuable to Owners than whatever they might make from one season, shortened or otherwise.

That, more than anything else anyone has said or provided, really ought to be the biggest indicator that the current economics of the NHL are really bad for the teams.  If there was actually a lot of money being ‘lost’ to the Owners, these lockouts wouldn’t be happening.  Yeah, there is a lot revenue being lost here… but businesses don’t run on revenue, they run on profits.  It literally doesn’t matter what your total revenue is if the business isn’t making profit.

I hope all the players currently playing in other leagues stay there and that the fans don’t come back either.  The NHL deserves it.

Enh.

If the NHL gets the 50-50 deal that makes sense the league could lose literally 10% of the fan base and still have a better financial position than they had under the old deal.

Players last share of HRR was 57% and was $1.881 B.
That means the total HRR pot was $3.3 B.
A 10% drop in revenue is 3 B.
The owners share under the old deal at 43% with a 3.3 B pie was $1.419 B.
The owners share under a new deal at 50% with a $3 B would be $1.5 B.

Think about that for a second, people.

The NHL could lose 10% of all fans immediately and permanently and they’d still be better off financially under a 50-50 split than they were under the old 43-57 split.

And there is almost no way at all the NHL loses 10% of their fans.  They may not lose any ‘fans’, at least in terms of total attendance goes.  The people who go to games in the future might not all be the same people that went to games before, but their money spends just as well as anyone elses.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/11/12 at 05:45 PM ET

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God damn unreasonable players, they’re definitely equally to blame for this, right?

Yes.

Both sides are sticking to their demands.

Both sides are refusing to budge off of their targeted priorities.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/11/12 at 05:47 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Season’s dead. NHL has to make it look like they’re trying to work a deal, but we’re going to hear a lot about how meetings are just wasting everybody’s time because there’s no real movement.

Have to give time for the idea that Fehr isn’t trustworthy to become native. You can’t just tell people that. Unless the NHLPA is ready to either start loudly calling for arbitration or willing to meet the NHL’s demands, the league is in position to benignly waste time while hoping players start to doubt their union leadership.

No idea if it will work, but the next big movement will be the cancellation of the rest of the season.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 11/11/12 at 06:27 PM ET

John W.'s avatar

The NHL has no plans of ever actually negotiating anything.

43, 46, 48, 50, 50+.

That had nothing to do with negotiating.  They wanted 50-50 in the first place, the 43 they started with was never an option, and neither was anything under 50.  The fact that that’s what you came up with to prove the NHL is negotiating shows just how little negotiating the NHL is interested in.  That’s like me asking for $1M for a golf club before agreeing to 150 bucks.

The funny thing is, most of the contact related issues that they are refusing to budge on are as ridiculous as that original 43% option.  And these contract issues are solely to protect the owners from their own dim-witted spending.  That shouldn’t be the players’ problem to protect the owners from themselves.

The NHL doesn’t want hockey to be played again until they get everything they want.  Not everything they need, but everything they want.

This happens because the profit margins are so slight that not playing hockey isn’t appreciably worse for the Owners bottom lines than playing hockey is.  Overall it is worse for the league but it’s entirely possible not playing is better for a significant majority of teams.

There are other ways besides shutting down every single contract year.  How many other industries have a management lockout every time their contract with their workers expire?  The NHL and it’s owners could get their profits without losing their earnings for entire seasons if they had someone running the show who had a clue what they were doing.  Unfortunately, the ONLY strategy Bettman has is cancelling hockey games until the players cave from the lack of a paycheck.  And that’s no way to run a business.

Posted by John W. from a bubble wrap cocoon on 11/11/12 at 06:35 PM ET

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The NHL has no plans of ever actually negotiating anything. 

43, 46, 48, 50, 50+.

What do you personally have at stake that you refuse to stop pretending that the NHL has done any negotiations whatsoever.

They offered 43.  They offered 50.

The PA has tried to come down to 50 while negotiating other aspects of the CBA while the NHL has said they want the PA to take 50 AND to make every single other demand that the league wants to change.

That is not negotiating.  That is not negotiating at all.

Posted by Garth on 11/11/12 at 06:59 PM ET

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That had nothing to do with negotiating. 

Then you don’t appear to have the same definition of ‘negotiating’ that I do, John.

They wanted 50-50 in the first place, the 43 they started with was never an option, and neither was anything under 50.

Well, that’s how negotiating works.  You figure out ahead of time what you will accept and then base your approach to the negotiation on reaching that point.  The NHLPA started off at the old level of 57% and that was never an option in the same way 43% was.

The NHLPA is doing the same thing.  They have some set range of issues where they want to get x or y or z and they’ve tailored their approach to this negotiation with that end game in mind.

At least, if they are smart they did.  And Fehr strikes me as eminently competent and highly intelligent.

The NHL doesn’t want hockey to be played again until they get everything they want.  Not everything they need, but everything they want.

And the NHLPA doesn’t want hockey played again unless they get everything they want.  Not everything they need, but everything they want.

Neither side is willing to move off of their high-priority issues yet.

There are other ways besides shutting down every single contract year.

Sure.  Unfortunately, that requires two parties willing to give up the things they want.  Neither the NHL nor the NHLPA fits that description.

The NHL and it’s owners could get their profits without losing their earnings for entire seasons if they had someone running the show who had a clue what they were doing.

I agree with that in theory, but I disagree in application.

Here’s the problem, the initial mistake was in pushing hockey into non-traditional markets.  Once you do that you end up with a bunch of weakly-supported franchises who will always struggle financially.

Which is what we have now, obviously.

So yes, I agree that Bettman being an idiot and trying to push hockey into non-traditional markets was the ‘Original Sin’ that has caused most of the NHL’s subsequent economic agita and led to repeated and heated work stoppages.

I disagree that, given the situation we have now, Bettman is mismanaging the financials of the league.

IMO if you’re going to try and push hockey into non-trad markets, you’ve got to have a pretty narrow cap-floor band to keep those weakly supported clubs as competitive as possible and keep whatever marginal fan support there might be from evaporating completely under repeated seasons of suckitude.

In order to support a narrow cap-floor you’ve got to introduce an economic model that allows teams with limited revenue to pay to that floor without going 8 digits deep in the red every year.

In order to introduce an economic model that allows teams with limited revenue to pay to that floor without going 8 digits deep in the red every year you’ve got to drastically reduce the amount you pay to players when they start out in the mid 70’s of revenue share.

In order to drastically reduce the amount you pay to players when they start out in the mid 70’s of revenue share you have to pull the spine out of their union Predator style at least once and maybe twice.

In order to pull the pine out of their union Predator style at least once and maybe twice you’ve got to be able to cause them larger financial losses than they can bear while making sure you don’t shoot yourself in the foot either.

And that’s where we are today.  So yeah, I think Bettman was a moron for forcing hockey into non-traditional markets, but since he’s already engaged in that endeavor the things he is doing to try and support and sustain that attempt are fairly reasonable and fairly predictable.

What do you personally have at stake that you refuse to stop pretending that the NHL has done any negotiations whatsoever.

Nothing really.  What do you personally have at stake that you refuse to understand how negotiations actually work in the real world?

The NHL has a walkaway point where in their opinion they are better served by not having any hockey at all than they are at signing a bad deal.  They likely feel strongly about this because even though they managed to thoroughly destroy the NHLPA last time they still ended up with a bad deal, mostly because Bettman is a short-sighted idiot.  That bad deal cost a lot of owners in the league either millions in operating losses, tens of millions in lost franchise values, or both.

It made a number of high-profile owners tens of millions of dollars, though, so his job was safe.

The NHLPA, likewise, has a walkaway point where in their opinion they are better served by not playing hockey than they are by giving in on their demands.

The PA has tried to come down to 50 while negotiating other aspects of the CBA while the NHL has said they want the PA to take 50 AND to make every single other demand that the league wants to change.

Again, you just don’t understand how negotiating works in the real world.

It’s absolutely critical to always keep in the front of your mind this simple concept:

What anyone says in a big-money negotiation is completely meaningless.

Yes, the NHL has made strident claims about what they will or will not negotiate on.  Yes, the NHLPA has made strident claims about what they will or will not negotiate on.  If you think either or both sides are telling you unvarnished truths you are being profoundly and hopelessly naive.

I mean, seriously, how many times over the past decade has Gary Bettman or Bill Daly said something and it was completely obvious they were lying right through their teeth and saying what they thought would play the best in the press or because it served some other league agenda that the actual truth wouldn’t?

That doesn’t change just because it’s a CBA negotiation instead of an explanation of league discipline or referee competence or league bias.

Donald Fehr works for the NHLPA.  It is his job to a) get them the best deal he can and b) serve the interest of his clients.  To that end he is ‘empowered’ to say and do all sorts of stuff in order to bring those two outcomes to pass, up to and including being as casual with the truth as he has to be in order to win.  Dude isn’t going to say ‘Gee, I really like the NHL’s offer.  Seems fair’ even if he does think that because doing so runs counter to point a, above.  He’s not trying to be fair just like the NHL isn’t trying to be fair.  They are both trying to lock in the best possible deal they can for their side of the table.

The act of compromise is not explicit in the idea of negotiation.  It’s implicit, of course, but just because one side or the other (or in this case both) are willing to move on some issues but not on others doesn’t mean either side is failing to negotiate.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 11/11/12 at 09:14 PM ET

Itrusteddrrahmani's avatar

I personally think this season is lost.  But do any of you guys have an idea of when they would officially cancel the season?  Perhaps based off of last time, I just don’t remember.  I’m guessing later this month, but figured someone here might have a better estimate.

Posted by Itrusteddrrahmani from Nyc by way of A2 on 11/11/12 at 09:32 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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