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What Was The NHL Thinking

from Elliotte Friedman of CBC,

So what happened in hockey over the weekend? Well, 7,500 fans attended the red-hot Minnesota Wild’s prospects camp. A Pittsburgh Penguins’ Twitter feed thanked supporters as 6,000 fans showed up for theirs. Two weeks ago, the Columbus Blue Jackets drew 2,000 fans for a three-on-three scrimmage on a Saturday afternoon.

And in the midst of all this passion, the NHL fired a harsh, opening salvo at its players.

There are two ways to look at this development. First, that this is the beginning of an apocalyptic meltdown. We have seen the owners’ true face and it is Lord Voldemort. Second, that this is simply the start of the process.

continued

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

Comments

wolverine's avatar

Excellent article (again) Elliot.  Here’s the problem with Gary’s negotiating tactics.  The team that has lost the most money over the last 5 years (reportedly $100 million during that span) is also the team he refuses to move:  Phoenix.  Do you think they would have lost $100 million in Quebec City?  So the head of the owners is crying he’s been shot in the foot while he stands there with a smoking pistol in his hand.  Not going to work.

Posted by wolverine on 07/17/12 at 03:01 PM ET

Faux Rumors's avatar

1) I continue to be bewildered by folks who write that the owners proposal was a"joke’, or just a “first proposal”, Its neither!  Yes, they’ll give in to the minor crap; free agency age etc, BUT they will NOT give in in any measure on the most inportant(ONLY) issues What constitutes NHL revenue, and what % the players deserve.
2) As I regularly blog: History is the great teacher.  The NHL has locked out the players twice in the past 17 years and they eventually got what they wanted after losing a 1/2 season the first time and a whole season the 2nd time.  The players do not have the stomach to lose another 1/2 or entire season.

3) The owners can outlast the players then and now. Surely the NHLPA will bluster and put up a brave front and there will be another NHL initiated lockout, then the players will fracture and give in. Only unknown is how long that will take.

Posted by Faux Rumors from Globally- Here, there, Everywhere on 07/17/12 at 03:09 PM ET

Faux Rumors's avatar

.oh, and for the record my above response doesn’t mean I’m siding with ownership. They SHOULD be sharing revenue if they want to have franchises in poorly revenue generating locales(Phoenix).  THey, not the players decide where franchises are located. 
Unfortunatly the players only recourse is to decertify AFTER the CBA is signed and hope the bleeding stops with that move, but thats for a future bllog post

Posted by Faux Rumors from Globally- Here, there, Everywhere on 07/17/12 at 03:14 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Or you could just read Tom Benjamin’s blog, since he wrote about that idea yesterday.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/17/12 at 03:26 PM ET

shazam88's avatar

Or you could just read Tom Benjamin’s blog, since he wrote about that idea yesterday.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 07/17/12 at 02:26 PM ET

Fyi, from the comments to that blog (and agreed upon by Tom), the NHLPA can’t decertify for 3 years after signing a new CBA.

Posted by shazam88 from SoCal on 07/17/12 at 04:05 PM ET

Avatar

I continue to be bewildered by folks who write that the owners proposal was a"joke’

Maybe you’d be less bewildered if you understood that nobody thinks the NHL is joking, but instead that it is a “joke” because it is full of ridiculous demands that nobody else would consider reasonable.

Posted by Garth on 07/17/12 at 04:28 PM ET

Avatar

Elliotte does another fine job of summing up the issue.  I don’t think anyone thought the NHL was going to get what they asked for, I don’t think anyone believed the NHLPA would even consider the deal and many felt it was just an NHL negotiating ploy. 

My position, from the start , was that it was either a poor negotiating ploy or the NHL intends to push hard to get what they want and we are looking at another work stoppage. Up until now, both sides have said the right thing and the inflammatory rhetoric has been kept to a minimum. Such an absurd opening stance indicates you aren’t really ready to negotiate or you are willing to go to the extreme.  All the initial proposal is going to generate from the NHLPA is silence, since you cannot counter negotiate when there is not a reasonable framework to begin with.

The NHL/NHLPA has to decide if it this is a 30 team league or a 20 team league. If you want to be a 30 team league and operate like “the NFL” then that is well within the owner’s rights to seek a 50/50 split, but then the rich teams are going to have to share their profits as well. Many compare the NBA/NFL revenue split, but forget the revenue sharing part.

If the rich aren’t willing to share some of the revenue, then some of these teams are going to fail in an attempt to pay to play. 20 team league, players lose roster spots, wealthier teams don’t have to share and they have fewer teams to compete with on salary, CBA means far less. You also have less overall income, but you may not care because you are not propping up the weaker teams. I can live with a 20 or 30 team league,  since it doesn’t matter much to me if fewer people share a smaller pie.  Just don’t whine about losing money when your income is sky rocketing.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 07/17/12 at 04:40 PM ET

Avatar

3) The owners can outlast the players then and now. Surely the NHLPA will bluster and put up a brave front and there will be another NHL initiated lockout, then the players will fracture and give in. Only unknown is how long that will take.

Not so sure about that. If a player’s struggling without an income, it’s not a big deal for his buddy to lend him a little bit.

Can you foresee a situation in which MSG willingly gives the Devils’ ownership $30 million to make its next loan payment? What if there are 8 more teams that can’t make payments absent ticket sales? Are MLSE and MSG going to subsidize them all?

You’ll remember that last lockout, 2 years out, Bettman had the owners contributing money into what would eventually be a $300 million war chest. That’s why they could survive a year work stoppage. They didn’t save up anything like that this time.

Posted by larry from pitt on 07/17/12 at 09:38 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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