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Red Wings overnight duality: A wonderful Gordie Howe story and worrisome labor talk

The Red Wings news seems to have reached an ebb with the Wings’ brass and amateur scouts occupied at the NHL’s draft combine in Toronto, but between the Stanley Cup Final cranking up with what might be the last Satellite Hotstove on Hockey Night in Canada and a Sunday’s worth of rumors and innuendo, things will crank up again as Ken Holland gets back to business working on contracts for the Wings’ free agents-to-be and tries to find out the status of Nicklas Lidstrom’s playing future ahead of the team’s organizational meetings in a little over a week from now.

In other words, welcome to the first intermission of the spring/summer. The last few days, Nicklas Lidstrom’s no-comment aside, have been relatively quiet, but it’s gonna get “interesting” real fast, and while there will be some lulls here and there, I don’t expect things to really “get quiet” until the middle of July, my hopes for a little excursion to prospect camp included…

So the Detroit News’s Gregg Krupa delivers a really wonderful story about a family which chose to donate Gordie Howe’s 700th goal puck to the Hockey Hall of Fame in the “good news” portion of this entry:

On his way to 44 goals [during the 1968-1969] season, Howe accomplished what no other NHL player had managed. Against Penguins goaltender Les Binkley on Dec. 9, Howe scored goal No. 700. The next highest career total was Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s 544. Howe’s stick immediately went to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, along with a puck with which he had posed after the game, painted with the number “700.”

But, in the generous way of Howe and his wife, Colleen, who would become known all across North America as Mr. and Mrs. Hockey, the actual puck that went into the net off Howe’s stick that night was given to a beloved, longtime season-ticket holder, John Barnes. On Friday, 43 years later, in the living room of a home in Livonia, the puck started its journey to join the stick in the Hockey Hall of Fame.

Allen Moore, the nephew of Barnes and his wife, Mary, handed it to Craig Campbell and Phil Pritchard of the Hockey Hall of Fame, after almost a decade of research and conversations with Moore.

“When I first contacted them about making the donation, they were kind of leery about it,” Moore said. “They said, ‘Well, are you sure you’ve got the right puck?’”
Moore and his wife, Janet, said they could have obtained $10,000-$15,000 on eBay. But it would not have honored his uncle and aunt, or the Howes.

“You know, money is money,” Moore said. “This is more important. Gordie Howe and his wife, Colleen, were thoughtful and kind people. I know he is a great hockey player, but I think he is a great person, too. For him to do this, to give such a significant puck to a fan, is something special. And we’ve seen other things he’s done in the community.”

The story continues, with a 10-image gallery of the Moore family’s donation and a rather remarkable 71-image gallery of Howe from childhood till now…

The second thrust of this entry, however, isn’t so cheery. Looking back at Gary Bettman’s state of the game speech and its implications, I left out the labor relations part.

In an era where it’s almost expected that labor unions will not only be painted as the “bad guy” in business and governmental budget negotiations, to the point that teachers, librarians, fire and police persons, first responders and the people who do things like provide state-assisted physical and mental health care, deal with public assistance and make sure that you have driver’s licenses and the like are the ones who are asked to give, first and foremost, because they’re clearly overpaid and over-insured for their services (I have a few friends who are state workers so I’m kinda passionate about this given how remarkably harsh their jobs are—and sorry, I’m rambly this morning)...

The billionaires are locking out the millionaires in the NFL, and it’s expected that an NBA lockout will soon follow. As such, despite the fact that the NHL’s CBA won’t expire until 11:59 PM on September 15th, 2012, Gary Bettman has chosen to delay negotiations regarding the NHLPA’s next CBA until the spring or summer of 2012, likely using the NFL and NBA’s lockout-induced give-backs as a template for the much-rumored demands for another rollback in salaries and reduction of the players’ share of revenues, if not more, on the line, as the Sporting News’s Craig Custance suggests…

We’re not talking about the NHL CBA right now, but we will be soon. The entire 2004-05 NHL season was lost to a lockout. Can we expect another stoppage when the current CBA expires after next season? It’s a possibility. The hot-button issues that will come up in negotiations:

1. Escrow payments. Players absolutely detest paying a portion of their paychecks to an escrow account in case league revenues don’t live up to projections, as they do under the current CBA. In 2009, the escrow payment increased from 13.5 percent to 25 percent to protect against revenue shortfalls. It was dropped to 17 percent in 2010.

2. Guaranteed contracts. Owners have to be envious of leagues like the NFL where contracts are not guaranteed. While the players will fight hard to protect their contracts, they also want to prevent more situations like Wade Redden’s and Sheldon Souray’s, where NHL-caliber players are buried in the AHL to circumvent the salary cap.

3. Olympic participation. The players want to participate in the 2014 Olympics in Russia, but the NHL hasn’t signed off on it yet. Owners risk injury to their million-dollar investments, and it’s debatable whether having NHL players in the Olympics actually boosts the popularity of the league.

The good news, even as the statuses of the Phoenix Coyotes, and to a lesser extent, the Florida Panthers remain murky, is that while we have sentimental yutzes from the New York Times talking about Canada “saving” the game from Bettman’s supposed Sunbelt follies and a salary cap whose “floor” will exceed the 2005-2006 season’s ceiling, making it very hard to do business for teams whose owners shortsightedly didn’t anticipate that a salary range driven by league-wide revenues would mean that at least 15 teams making below the league average would find it hard to compete without losing money—and that the economic bubble bursting and having yet to recover since 2008 yielding no longer guaranteed increases in franchises’ equitable bank values on a yearly basis, which was the real point of the lockout from the start…

The owners aren’t a united front this time around.

The big-market teams are both making more money than they did before and are pissed off about the fact that they have to halve their playoff revenues and cut a $10 million-plus cheque to keep Phoenix, Florida, Nashville, Columbus et. al. afloat;

The mid-market teams aren’t too keen on the fact that the salary floor and midpoint keep rising, to the point that there’s no doubt that at least half a dozen teams who were in the black when the second lockout ended are back in the red because the league average of revenues keeps going up and up, in no small part due to the fact that even their own decisions to raise ticket prices on a supply-versus-demand or “How much can we charge ‘em?” basis instead of raising them based upon their expenses or on-ice performances…well, even that strategy bites mid-market teams in their asses these days;

The small-market teams aren’t necessarily happy with the commissioner given that the second lockout’s “dream CBA” was supposed to stem their revenues-versus-expenditures losses once and for all, stabilize their franchises’ business models and give them the equity that they were supposed to borrow against and establish real money-making businesses, and even open consulting firms which would issue loans banking against their own team’s bank values;

And no one is happy about the fact that what was and remains teams’ biggest money-makers, full revenues from long playoff runs, are slashed in half to go to the revenue-sharing pot, regardless of whether you’re the Vancouver Canucks, Boston Bruins or the Coyotes.

If you’re a small-market team that makes a run, half of your money goes to you and half of it goes to both subsidizing you and your fellows, and if you’re a big-market team that makes a run, you’re not only writing a revenue-sharing check that probably has eight zeroes (over $10 million for the biggest clubs), you’re also losing out in millions of dollars in post-season profit that you don’t have to share with your players, post-season bonuses excluded, meaning that if you’re a team like Vancouver, that’s charging a grand or more for front-row seats, you’re only seeing half of that money. For teams that spend to the cap, those playoff revenues can be the difference between them spending to win to the point that they see an operating loss or generate revenues, and that’s also a system-bites-you-in-the-butt proposition.

Now the players are an easy scapegoat, especially now that they’ve hired Donald Fehr to represent them, and it’s entirely possible, if not probable, that the NHL will attempt to engage in another smear campaign to make the players the fall guys, but big-market owners aren’t too happy writing blank checks to teams that keep losing money, and the teams that keep losing money have to ask themselves whether it’s worth buying into a Bettman-promised CBA which probably won’t address the fundamental issues that keep them in the red.

The other “good news” part of the equation is that fans have been locked out twice, for half a season in 1994-95 and for the entire season in 2004-2005, both times with the promise of lower player salaries yielding either a full stop or at least a slower rolling of ticket price inflation, and especially after the Levitt Report and the bogus “NHL CBA News” website’s worth of lies were swallowed hook, line, and sinker, an increasingly web-savvy and fickle public (the NHL will tell you how web-savvy hockey fans are, and they’re right) will have far more options as to what they can spend their discretionary income upon if the NHL starts dishing out the same old lies.

So winter might be coming soon, but at least we’re going into it with our eyes open, and I hope that this time around, when the NHL starts blaming the PA for the fact that its business plan remains a bit of a mess, we won’t say, “Sure, we’ll come back if you lock out the players again because we’re gullible.”

At the same time, as you and I already know, the Red Wings will have a hard time replacing Brian Rafalski (and now, thanks to the Roman Polak signing, re-signing Jonathan Ericsson) because NHL owners still commit over a hundred million dollars to about thirty to forty players over the first seven to ten days of July.

I found it particularly ironic this morning that the guy who you should never take seriously about anything trade rumor-related (click at your own risk) revealed what is an open secret:

There’s a reason that you’ll see Brad Richards (who is not coming to Detroit) sign a multi-year contract with somebody like Toronto or the Rangers a few minutes after 12 PM EDT on Canada Day.

Player agents. Player agents can engage in de-facto negotiations with teams which don’t hold their particular clients’ rights before July 1st, regardless of whether they’re restricted or unrestricted, without subjecting general managers or owners to the risks of collusion.

They do so by filling out a simple equation with names and numbers: “If player X were to be available at Y dollars for Z years, are you interested?” They can re-work the equation as many times as necessary while GM’s can wrap themselves in fifty layers of Kevlar and Teflon by answering “Yes,” “No,” or, “Maybe at Y dollars for Z years,” substituting different figures to more or less work out a contract way before July 1st hits—and they can react to counter-offers from other teams if an agent calls and says, “You know about player X? Well team A’s willing to give him B dollars for C years. Can you match that?” }

This doesn’t just go on from April to July. This goes on all year long, with agents pitching trades and very legally negotiating player and prospect contracts with their rights-holders, if not their competitors should things not work out, using similar language.

This is the reason people like the guy linked to above and Bruce Garrioch are in business. Agents float stuff to ‘em as de-facto press releases (which are also sent out, as are emails and, even in this day and age, faxes—though text messages are obviously the most secure way for GM’s to engage in this habit, thus the inevitable pair or trio of Blackberries in general managers’ pockets), seeing whether eagle-eyed readers or even GM’s who go to Spector to get a reality check read up and are at least given something to chew upon.

While we’re in the rumor business, I’m gonna float one, too: the Winnipeg Free Press’s Gary Lawless believes that the Manitoba NHL team should simply promote the Moose’s coach, Claude Noel, if Craig Ramsay doesn’t want to head to Winnipeg, but it would not surprise me if Paul MacLean is interviewed. That being said, the sense from the entire NHL is that if the Thrashers’ coaches and executives aren’t brought to Winnipeg, True North will promote from within, negotiating releases of execs’ rights from the Canucks instead of shipping them off to St. John’s, Newfoundland (because it’s also believed that the Manitoba team will absorb the Chicago Wolves as its affiliate—the Wolves, Moose and Hamilton Bulldogs are the gold standards of the AHL—and will let whoever wants to have a team on the frickin’ east end of North America take that affiliation), so it’s unlikely, but you never know.

Also of very brief Red Wings-related note: The Saginaw News’s Adam Smith reports that Mickey Redmond celebrated his Hockey Hall of Fame induction by throwing out the first pitch at Thursday’s Great Lakes Loons game;

• And I have to snicker regarding the fact that Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas expects to be protected from would-be crease crashers when he’s outside of the blue paint, while former referee Kerry Fraser says that if Thomas gets to the spot on the ice first, it’s his, but if he’s heading back to the crease and someone else is in his way, that player has the right to ice, too.

These rules do not apply when Tomas Holmstrom is present, obviously. I’m still floored about the fact that Pekka Rinne managed to have two goals waived off by pushing out to the top of the crease and beyond and essentially checking Holmstrom, but what do I know…

Have a lovely Saturday morning and early afternoon, avoid the thunderstorms that are coming Michigan’s way, and stay tuned, because things will get “interesting” again very soon.

Update: Pay no heed to this the Port Huron Times-Herald as it recounts something from 25 years ago:

25 years ago

» Bobby McCammon, former Port Huron Flags coach and player, is a candidate to replace Brad Park as the new coach of the Detroit Red Wings. McCammon, now an assistant coach for the Edmonton Oilers, has been given permission to talk to Jimmy Devellano, the Wings’ general manager.

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Comments

MsRedWinger's avatar

Last year, it was June 1st that the Wings announced that Nick Lidstrom had agreed to a 1 year contract.  I wonder how much longer we will have to wait this time…

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 06/04/11 at 09:38 AM ET

Baroque's avatar

Lidstrom himself said he would make a decision by July 1st, so less than a month for sure. Guessing a couple more weeks, just because he might want to wait until after the hectic end of the school year for his sons before he and his wife really sit down and make a decision.

Posted by Baroque from Michigan on 06/04/11 at 10:24 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

And no one is happy about the fact that what was and remains teams’ biggest money-makers, full revenues from long playoff runs, are slashed in half to go to the revenue-sharing pot, regardless of whether you’re the Vancouver Canucks, Boston Bruins or the Coyotes.

As a point of clarification, while “half” is a good way to start when talking about playoff revenue cuts, it also ignores what can be a very large difference for teams. Only 8 of the 16 playoff teams were in last year’s top ten in revenues. 

Half of the second-round teams were not in the top 1/3rd in the league for revenues.

Half of the conference finals teams were not top 1/3rd.  (both cup finalists are top 1/3rd-earners though).

It’s important because only those teams that are in the top 1/3rd for revenues pay half.  The middle third (which made up half of the half of teams that aren’t in the top third - Pittsburgh, San Jose, Anaheim, Washington) pay only 40%.

The Bottom third (Buffalo, Tampa Bay, Nashville, Phoenix) only pay 30% of their home gate revenues into the sharing pot.

The way I see the next CBA negotiations, knowing that the NHL has perhaps one of the most savvy fanbases of any major sport, is that the players will have a much greater deal of the power in these negotiations than the NFL players and the NBA players do and will.  The NHL already had their league-decided work stoppage and got significant concessions from the players in a system they promised would work out.  The players have obeyed this system exceptionally well.  While there are those long-term deals where a player gets paid more than his cap hit and that hurts the escrow share for everybody, a very large majority of them follow the rules to a T and, unlike in the NBA where there are both a lot of players demanding it and a lot of teams with the willingness and ability to give it, you don’t see players signing for “max” contracts.

In general, with the contracts that are being signed, the NHLPA is being MORE THAN COMPLIANT with the salary restrictions they allowed. 

This is a system where they’re still paying back just about 1/5th of their salaries because the league told everybody that, if the players promised to only take a certain percentage, then the economic models they had meant success.  There’s a very important sentence in George’s post above:

The big-market teams are both making more money than they did before and are pissed off about the fact that they have to halve their playoff revenues and cut a $10 million-plus cheque to keep Phoenix, Florida, Nashville, Columbus et. al. afloat;

George is absolutely right.  The Maple Leafs are pulling in TONS more cash than they did before the lockout and they’re pissed that it’s not more.  It’s not the players’ fault that it’s not more though, it’s the small-market teams’.  The Player Escrow in this situation is actually a means for the Maple Leafs and other big teams to funnel part of their revenue-sharing dollars straight through the players to those teams.

I really don’t think the fans are going to buy a false united front from the league that the players need to take less money again when all you really have to do is force teams like the Leafs, Canadiens, Rangers, Blackhawks, Canucks, and Flyers to open their books and prove that they need the players to take further concessions to make them stable.  Doing so requires the league to do some very heavy explaining about why the economic models they forecasted aren’t working for the league, despite total revenues being in the upper atmosphere compared to pre-lockout dollar-pulls.  They also have to explain how their top ten teams are going to wear those hobo rags over the gilded suits they’ve bought themselves.  If the players don’t get tricked (and under Fehr, I think they’re better-protected against that), I think you’ll see the owners turn on each other and break.  This will either lead to a more robust revenue-sharing agreement that doesn’t punish teams who are trying, but can’t keep up with a bandwagon city suddenly filling up or it will lead to league contraction.  Either of those solutions (or a mix of the two) are fine by me.

The biggest problem with the CBA as it stands is that players are guaranteed 57% of league revenues based on the total amount each team and the league pulls in.  Unfortunately, the CBA stops there.  This does NOT mean that every team spends 57% of their revenue on those troublesome player salaries.  What it DOES mean is that if one team spends only 50% of their revenues on salaries and another team spends 65% of their revenues on salaries, it all evens out and everything is hunky-dory according to the CBA.  Meanwhile, the team that spend 65% is struggling to turn a profit while the team that spent 50% is bitching that they have to pay anything to help those dumb suckers out.

That would be my #1 fix for the CBA, correct the wording to make it clear that EVERY TEAM will spend 57% of their individual revenues on player salaries. Any amount over that figure that a team earns will go to revenue sharing to help the less-fortunate teams reach their 57%.  Once that is evened out across the board, the players pay back in escrow any amount to cover gaps (which should never get large under a system like that)

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/04/11 at 12:08 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Really it was that early last year when Lidstrom announced?

I’ve heard two dates this year, “in time for the draft”, and “before free agency”.  Only the second one makes sense.  What, like the Wings can just go out and draft another Lidstrom if he decides to retire?  If that were the case Do It Regardless!

On the other hand, by Free Agency they definitely need to know whether they’re taking one lump or two.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 06/04/11 at 01:06 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

They pay 25% of their salary into escrow?  If revenues don’t exceed a certain level then it goes where, split between owners?  If revenues DO exceed that tide line do the players get ALL of that back in a lump sum?

Not that multiple times my pay would come close to identifying even with Miller’s salary, but the sometimes gaudy looking salary numbers ain’t what they appear to be at first blush on signing.  Between federal, state, local, property and car taxes, and the NHL, Inc. Escrow?.... Those checks are a whole lot smaller in reality than what we fans think when we in ignorant bliss divide $850,000 by 12.

My point is that the difference for Miller, Eaves, and Justin between a $500-800K contract and a $1.5M is absolutely HUGE!  Asking someone to take a hometown discount when he’s on the low end of the scale is a pretty big chunk for him, and we shouldn’t begrudge a young guy following that extra 250-750K because they’ve never had that Big Payday before. 

Having never made $6M in a year or my entire life I don’t know if it’s easier to blow that amount off by saying “what’s another $500,000”.

Yeah, I know, it still is pretty good money for playing 100 games of hockey a year (82 in St Louis and Columbus), just that those guys aren’t endlessly, filthy rich.

Posted by RWBill from the open bar on The Hasek. on 06/04/11 at 01:36 PM ET

Avatar

Yes, 57% of total revenue spent on player salaries is the biggest problem.  It is single-handedly leading to revenue sharing.  Forcing each team to spend 57% of their INDIVIDUAL revenue on player salaries is just ludicrous, however.  You would immediately turn the clock back to 2003 with the haves and have-nots. 

What has made our game great by all standards but most Red Wings fans is parity.  It’s what has made the game more popular now than at any time since the Rangers in 1994.  It has led to an enormous television contract which will hugely boost revenues for the league (and thus salaries for its players) a year after that contract kicks in next season (think July 1, 2012).

The real answer to the small market problem is lowering the floor by reducing percentage of player salary per revenue to 50% or even 45%.  Yes, that would also lower the ceiling, but it would keep the parity that has made our game great and it would make the rich—Leafs, Flyers, Wings, Rangers—even richer while stabalizing small market teams like Winnepeg and Nashville without nearly as much revenue sharing or even escrow if you wish to eliminate that.

It won’t hurt the cap, though, because in real dollars the amount of revenue coming in from the new TV deal, internet deals, rebounding advertising market, et al. will keep the cap in the 45M (low end) to 65M (high end) range—and it will continue to go up year after year, just as its done since day 1 of the thing. 

Problem solved.  Everyone wins.  No lockout necessary.

Posted by jkm2011 on 06/04/11 at 01:59 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Yes, 57% of total revenue spent on player salaries is the biggest problem.  It is single-handedly leading to revenue sharing.  Forcing each team to spend 57% of their INDIVIDUAL revenue on player salaries is just ludicrous, however.  You would immediately turn the clock back to 2003 with the haves and have-nots.

Not if you keep a cap ceiling in place.  You get parity by simply limiting how much high-end talent those ultra-rich teams can fit under the cap.  If, for instance, the cap is set at 60 million, that makes the cap 57% of roughly $105M.  If the Leafs bring in $120M, they simply pay the additional $8.4M difference into revenue sharing.  If they bring in $140M, they pay $19.8M into revenue sharing.

Seems unfair maybe?

Yeah, except if they bring in $120M, they also keep $51.6M and if they bring in $140M, they keep $60.2M.  Meanwhile, a smaller-market team that only brings in $85M gets enough in revenue sharing to actually pay the salaries that they were promised would mean they could run a profitable business while keeping $36.55M for themselves.  The Leafs, who are being treated SO UNFAIRLY by this system still take in between 15 and 25 million MORE dollars than those teams you would have the players pay to subsidize.

You also either lower the floor significantly or your completely do away with it.  If a small-market team wants to try to get away with spending 30% of their revenue on their own player salaries, then it bites them in the ass when they have to pay the remaining 27% into revenue sharing to help either pay other team’s salaries or to be split among all of the players at the end of the escrow calculations.  The league promised that 57% of $3 BILLION payed to the players would ensure their success and now that number has to be lowered even more because the teams are run stupidly?  Why should the players take a pay cut after being promised that the huge cuts they already took would be more than enough to solve all the league’s problems?

All your plan does is keep the ultra-rich ultra-rich and punishes the players to prop up smaller teams.  I say that the larger teams should have more interest in propping up those teams than the players should (although there should be a shared interest among both groups, as more teams means not only more potential revenue but also more potential jobs for those players).

There is no reason for the players to take a pay cut while teams like the Maple Leafs see an increase in profits.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/04/11 at 02:29 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

They pay 25% of their salary into escrow?  If revenues don’t exceed a certain level then it goes where, split between owners?  If revenues DO exceed that tide line do the players get ALL of that back in a lump sum?

If revenues don’t live up to expectations, the players’ escrow is used to split between teams.  It’s not an even split though, as most of those dollars go to the smaller-market teams to cover their revenue-sharing costs.  If there’s still money left over after this phase, that cash is distributed evenly among all 30 teams.

If revenues DO exceed the tide line (like they did in the first two years after the lockout), players get a lump-sum check back at the end of the year of every dollar they put into escrow PLUS any amount over that to make their earnings 57% of the league’s HRRs.

In 2006-07, the players got back almost 105% of the money they put into escrow.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/04/11 at 02:32 PM ET

OlderThanChelios's avatar

I’ve heard two dates this year, “in time for the draft”, and “before free agency”.  Only the second one makes sense.  What, like the Wings can just go out and draft another Lidstrom if he decides to retire?

The advantage of knowing before the draft is that it would allow the Wings to trade some picks as part of a “player + picks” package for a current defenseman. They might even want to trade a lower-round pick for the rights to a defenseman who’s about to become a UFA. It’s just more attractive for a team to get a pick they can use right now than having to wait until next year.

I’d be surprised if Nick waited until July 1 to announce his decision. It would put the Wings at a distinct disadvantage, and I doubt that he’d want to do that.

Posted by OlderThanChelios from Grand Rapids, MI on 06/04/11 at 02:32 PM ET

stonehands-78's avatar

My 2-cents (or 50):

Nick will be back,
GJM kicks-off the season to No. 12 in TC with his usual excellent insight,
and
H2H3 will be another success.

L.G.R.W.

Posted by stonehands-78 from the beginning ... a WingsFan, on 06/04/11 at 04:27 PM ET

Avatar

Have to imagine the big point of contention in the next CBA is going to be among ownership, rather than between ownership and the PA. I’m sure the MSGs and Comcasts are more angry about giving millions of dollars to Keystone cop franchises like the Islanders and BJs than they are about paying, like, 51% of revenue to players vs 50% (if they did care so much about player salaries, both organizations wouldn’t have payrolls that are, in actuality if not technically, well over the cap).

Even Pittsburgh, which isn’t exactly MLSE when it comes to revenue, could afford a payroll north of the SC by about $10mm without struggling to cut payroll checks.

The last lockout could happen because ownership was all on the same page, since everybody but about 5 teams was bleeding red ink. Your Buffalos, Nashvilles, Washingtons, Edmontons, Vancouvers, Chicagos and Pittsburghs aren’t bleeding to death anymore and aren’t going to want to sacrifice a season of earnings because Phoenix and NYI still can’t run a business even with a much more favorable labor situation than they had 7 years ago.

Posted by steviesteve on 06/04/11 at 07:07 PM ET

George Malik's avatar

I’m only going to say one thing:

I hate parity. Hate it hate it hate it. I want the Wings to win the Cup every year, and if they employ an unfair moneymaking advantage to do so…I had no problem with that in the past and I’ll have no problem with it if it ever happens in the future. ‘

I want to see teams win consistently and build brand name statuses with their fans, not to see teams spend so much time drafting and developing talent that they’re not allowed to retain and other teams are allowed to prey upon in a hard-capped system.

I think the concept of a CBA which most directly benefits the middling teams who can best pick over their better-ran opponents’ rosters isn’t the way to do business. It encourages and rewards mediocrity.

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 06/05/11 at 08:04 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

The concept of parity also encourages and rewards one other thing: cheating.  Just look at NASCAR.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 06/05/11 at 01:24 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.