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Trevor Linden predicts a less-than-rosy CBA future

TSN reports that former NHLPA president Trevor Linden, who may or may not have pulled an inside job in kicking Bob Goodenow to the curb and helping Ted Saskin and Bill Daly negotiate an NHL-friendly CBA on the sly, told Vancouver’s Team 1040 that he’s not optimistic about the probability of the NHL and NHLPA avoiding a lockout:

“I would not be surprised to see a couple months go down,” Linden told TEAM 1040 in Vancouver on Wednesday. “When you talk about ownership, especially in the States, they look at October and November as really tough months for them.  They’re dealing with Major League Baseball and the World Series (as well as) the NFL; so their season starts in December and works through January, February, March. If they’re going to miss anything, they want to miss those months.”

Linden was elected president of the NHLPA in 1998 and sat at the helm during the 2004-05 lockout. He was actively involved in negotiations with Gary Bettman and the NHL on a new collective bargaining agreement that ended the 2004–05 lockout.

“Missing any time would be a shame and would hurt the momentum when you think of some of the markets that are emerging a little bit and some of the non-traditional ones. Maybe Phoenix could build off new ownership and the playoff success they had and Nashville has a good thing going down there, so you’d hate to see any time lost. But it’s certainly possible. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a couple months lost, but I would be surprised to see it go into December.”

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Comments

phillyd's avatar

Am I the only one that feels that all these leaked doom and gloom “interviews”/reports are just a setup for a presser on Labor Day where Fehr and Bettman pat each other’s backs on working out an agreement with no work stoppage or even getting close to one and other marketing stuff? Maybe that’s just the cynic in me.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 06/07/12 at 08:25 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Maybe that’s just the cynic in me.

Posted by phillyd from New Jersey on 06/07/12 at 07:25 AM ET

You think managing to avoid a work stoppage would make you a “cynic”?  I’m preparing to lose all of next season.  WTF does that make people like me?

It really will be a big problem.  The cap did not work the way owners wanted.  The players, having already conceded a cap the last time, are not going to really make even more concessions.  And then I’m sure the PA will fight tooth and nail to avoid owners form changing the CBA so that the loopholes on cap counts get closed.

And then there’s that whole pesky realignment issue where even after the pretty-good-idea of the 4 Conference thing apparently wasn’t good enough (so that’ll be a sticking point as well).  There’s concussion and safety issues to deal with.  After yet another Edmonton 1st rounder I’m pretty sure the Draft Lottery process is going to be up for more scrutiny.

Just too many points to work on, and with Fehr leading the PA I have 0% faith in anything getting done in time to save the season.  Fehr is a monger and a bully.

Posted by Primis on 06/07/12 at 09:15 AM ET

Avatar

WTF does that make people like me?

Stupid?

Posted by Garth on 06/07/12 at 09:47 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Hadn’t thought about Linden’s idea of owners being willing to throw away the first two months of the season.  Not sure the lost momentum of those months would allow them to survive NCAA conference title games, bowl selections/games, and the impending end of the NFL season, when football will be on Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and Saturday by that point.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/07/12 at 09:56 AM ET

phillyd's avatar

Posted by Primis on 06/07/12 at 08:15 AM ET

Actually, I’m a cynic with the bluster and everyone puffing out their chest on this.Has the cap worked? I’d say it has in that it has created the parity the league desired and anyone getting into the playoffs have a chance of winning the cup, see Kings, Los Angeles, 2012. In fact, outside of the 2 Detroit/Pittsburgh Cups, hasn’t every one since the lockout had at least one 5 seed or below in it? What hasn’t worked or wasn’t realized is the fact now the other 20 teams see what the top 10 in revenue bring into the league which caused the ceiling and floor to grow way quicker than anyone thought. The fact is that even if they cut back to 53.5% (owners probably want 50/players current 57 so it’ll get to 53 or 54), the cap would still grow as revenues do.

I just can’t see the players telling Fehr, yeah, we’re willing to risk paychecks and a season again unless the owners present something so demeaning it’ll change public perception and put heat back on the owners. I would think the majority of owners don’t/can’t risk losing revenue and I don’t think more than 1/4 of the teams are willing to sit out games.

Realignment should take all of 5 seconds if they do it right. Nashville -> Southeast, Minnesota -> Central, Winnipeg -> Northwest. I, personally, never liked the 4 conf idea and I think this years playoffs highlighted why a little bit, at least to me, in the East. The ECSF and ECF would’ve been the 1st 2 rounds of the playoffs under that format and we’re not even including the Penguins in it.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 06/07/12 at 10:03 AM ET

Primis's avatar

Realignment should take all of 5 seconds if they do it right. Nashville -> Southeast, Minnesota -> Central, Winnipeg -> Northwest. I, personally, never liked the 4 conf idea and I think this years playoffs highlighted why a little bit, at least to me, in the East. The ECSF and ECF would’ve been the 1st 2 rounds of the playoffs under that format and we’re not even including the Penguins in it.

Posted by phillyd from New Jersey on 06/07/12 at 09:03 AM ET

If it were that easy, it would have already gotten finalized.  It obviously won’t be.  You’re right, it SHOULD be… but it’s not apparently.  Nothing is anymore.

Posted by Primis on 06/07/12 at 11:35 AM ET

Paul's avatar

Garth, pleas take it easy with the personal remarks.

Thanks.

Posted by Paul from Motown Area on 06/07/12 at 11:52 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The “fight” over realignment isn’t a CBA sticking point; it’s a sacrificial concession.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/07/12 at 11:55 AM ET

phillyd's avatar

Posted by Primis on 06/07/12 at 10:35 AM ET

I really think it has to be a promise the NHL made to some of the teams in the Central, both moving Detroit/Columbus/Dallas into more Eastern/Central games and probably Chicago not wanting Detroit outside their division. Unless they expand to two more teams, I really don’t see the PA ever approving the 4 conf realignment plan.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 06/07/12 at 11:55 AM ET

starsfan26's avatar

The cap did not work the way owners wanted.  The players, having already conceded a cap the last time, are not going to really make even more concessions.  And then I’m sure the PA will fight tooth and nail to avoid owners form changing the CBA so that the loopholes on cap counts get closed.

This^^
Fehr has already stated that the players gave in to everything in the last CBA, and I agree with him.  This time they will not give an inch, even though the owners will want more concessions.  This means lockout.

As far as realignment, it is very complicated.  The fact that the majority of owners agreed on the radical 4 conference idea tells me that it is the best idea they have.  It’s called compromise.

Posted by starsfan26 on 06/07/12 at 11:57 AM ET

phillyd's avatar

As far as realignment, it is very complicated.  The fact that the majority of owners agreed on the radical 4 conference idea tells me that it is the best idea they have.  It’s called compromise.

Posted by starsfan26 on 06/07/12 at 10:57 AM ET

I disagree with that. There were a few who voted Yes that were against it because they knew the PA would reject it.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 06/07/12 at 11:59 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The cap worked in every way the owners wanted. Revenue sharing is what failed the teams which are unhappy.

The solution is better revenue sharing. Of course the teams for whom the cap worked the absolute BEST (Toronto, Montreal, New York, Detroit) would rather that the additional shared dollars the weakest teams need to survive come from the players’ share rather than from their pockets.

And no, it’s not called “compromise” - the entire reason the players rejected realignment is because, after the last lockout, the NHL shook hands with the NHLPA and told the fans “look! Now we’re partners!” Then, the owners put together their realignment plan, threw it to the players and said “you’ve got 4 weeks to sign off on this. ciao!”

When the players asked whether there had even been a study about what kind of travel considerations this would cause leaguewide, the NHL told them “do it yourselves.”  Then, when the NHLPA said “Ok, well we’d need a mockup schedule to do that,” the league told them “you’re not getting a mockup schedule. Stop asking so many questions and sign off on this realigment plan.”

So the players at that point promptly told the league that they weren’t going to sign off on this because it was clear that the league had no interest in making a compromise with the players.

As far as it comes back to the CBA, I don’t feel the players really have a problem with the realignment plan as much as they had a problem with the options were presented to them. When the league wants you to give back about $200 MILLION in salary as well as other things which you may or may not want to give back (years before reaching UFA status, guaranteed contracts, etc), then it helps to maintain the power to say yes or no to something THEY want done.  This is how compromise works.

Oh hey, you want a realignment plan? We want a better system for appealing supplemental discipline decisions other than “Bettman decides all.”  Let’s trade!

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/07/12 at 12:23 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Revenue sharing is what failed the teams which are unhappy.

Is there anyplace to get the details on which team received how much and why?  I’ve never been able to find any.

Posted by Primis on 06/07/12 at 01:15 PM ET

starsfan26's avatar

And no, it’s not called “compromise”

My point was that the OWNERS compromised with each other.  I know that some owners were against it, but the fact that an agreement was reached regarding something as important as realignment was encouraging to me.

Thanks for the insight on the CBA and how compromise works.  I’m sure it’s enlightening to everyone here.

Posted by starsfan26 on 06/07/12 at 01:31 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Is there anyplace to get the details on which team received how much and why?  I’ve never been able to find any.

Not that I’ve been able to find on specific dollar figures, but Josh Cooper of the Tennessean puts it about $18M total last year.

The CBA says that teams are pretty much automatically supposed to be “made whole” on money they spend on contracts up to the salary midpoint ($8M below the cap), as long as those dollars spent exceed the 57% of the players’ share. This is done partially by skimming money from the top-ten teams, partially by playoff ticket sale skimming (50-70% of sales, depending on the team),and partially by escrow.

Teams can lose out on these dollars if they’re in too big of a market (Islanders) or if their attendance doesn’t rise at the same pace as the league average rise (which really hurt Atlanta in the year the Hawks’ bandwagon filled up).

I’ve never seen a source that releases specifics of dollars shared with teams.

My point was that the OWNERS compromised with each other.

Right. And tying back to the larger point, the OWNERS did not try to COMPROMISE with the PLAYERS, so it was only a half-step.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/07/12 at 02:04 PM ET

Avatar

HEY NHL AND NHLPA ,

  DO NOT STRIKE OR WALKOUT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!!

  YOU WILL RUIN THE LEAGUE WHEN IT IS AT A HIGH POPULARITY NOW

  WE ARE IN AN ECONOMICE DEPRESSION WORLDWIDE

  EVERYBODY HAS TO MAKE SACRIFICES IN OUR LIVES

  JUST GET IT DONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by michael m from boston on 06/07/12 at 10:06 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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