Kukla's Korner

The Malik Report

For all the cows: Your daily dose of CBA doom and gloom, read with a critical eye

Updated with a perfect Jimmy Devellano post-script from Nicholas J. Cotsonika at 7:03 PM: On an evening when the most notable news regarding any Red Wings players involves Sovsport and Championat posting pictures of Pavel Datsyuk and Ilya Bryzgalov taking in CSKA Moscow's 4-2 victory over Yugra while they wait to make their KHL debuts on Tuesday, and Jakub Kindl not playing in HC Pardubice's 2-1 loss over Plzen...

A week ago tonight, I suggested that the lockout is not like Pawn Stars, where the owners of the shop stating, "I take all the risk, I have the overhead to pay" wasn't applicable to negotiations between owners and the players who bring paying fans to "the ranch," if you will...But with a week's worth of no negotiating taking place, I'm ready to quote Rick Harrison again in suggesting that, "It's not that I don't trust you: I don't trust anybody."

In that vein, and especially given what has been an (in the absence of negotiations) all-out propaganda campaign by the NHL, deputy commissioner Bill Daly, and eventually Jimmy Devellano, mounted against a less intense propaganda campaign by the NHLPA, Donald Fehr and Mathieu Schneider, I've got to take what I'm about to post to task as more propaganda, albeit well-intentioned propaganda.

I don't trust anything uttered by the NHL, Gary Bettman or Bill Daly any further than I can throw them (something tells me Bettman is heavier than he looks), and while I support the players in this third owners' lockout, I'm reading and listening to everything they say with a very critical and somewhat skeptical eye.

And while I don't question Berger's Bytes' Howard Berger's integrity or professionalism for a second, nor do I question his earnest attempt to get at the truth behind the reasons why the NHL and NHLPA chose not to formally meet this week, I do question what his sources told him about what appears to be a high likelihood of a 2012-2013 season that won't begin until January at the earliest, if it starts at all:

“The two sides are so entrenched in their positions that nobody can even fathom when they’ll begin substantive negotiation once again,” said a veteran league source early today. “They’re going to try and sort out last year’s Hockey Related Revenue on Monday, but I’m not sure it will lead to a breakthrough. I was involved in the last lockout that canceled the [2004-05] season. There were uncompromising issues with the owners wanting to get rid of [NHLPA leader Bob] Goodenow and insisting on a salary cap. This dispute is about allocating revenue and many people seem to think it won’t be as difficult to resolve. But, that isn’t the prevailing opinion on the inside.”

I don't dispute the fact that, when examined in retrospect, neither the NHL nor NHLPA have moved an inch from their diametrically opposed positions.

The NHL is demanding an immediate reduction in salaries and a pay-to-play scenario where players give back significant amounts of their promised salaries, whether that be via rollbacks or escrow withholdings. They don't want to tweak the CBA to do anything other than idiot-proof it by restricitng player mobility and utilizing player salary give-backs to at least temporarily "float" struggling teams.

The NHLPA does not want its players to give back a single cent of the contracts promised to be paid to them--over the course of the agreement, never mind just this upcoming season--and it does not want escrow withholdings to be utilized as a method by which to reimburse the owners. The players want the owners to take greater responsibility for their 30-team business plan's flaws by instituting real and meaningful revenue-sharing, which big-market owners despise.

And as Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika suggested, the amount of lingering distrust between the owners and players left over from the last lockout is more than enough to ensure that it's going to take a while until the two sides come off their intiial positions--both the NHL and NHLPA's proposals have been variations upon their original themes--and end this Mexican gunfighters' standoff.

Just as disturbingly, Berger reports that the, "Kill the Winter Classic early, kill the season right away" line has widespread support among the owners...Or at least that's what he's being told by his league source, who's doubtlessly preaching from a hard-line playbook to utilize the media to put pressure on the PA to make concessions...

“In 2005, Gary Bettman did not want to cancel the season… he went to the last possible moment [in mid-February] before doing so. Gary had taken the same approach ten years earlier and it almost cost him his job. But, he was able to salvage part of that season [48 games, beginning in January 1995]. When he was forced to cancel the entire [2004-05] schedule, he and the owners learned something valuable: the players had no appetite to lose a full year off their careers. This time around, he has unanimous support from the owners to kill the season much earlier. Believe me, there are no pressure-points, including the Jan. 1 game [outdoor Winter Classic]. I think Jimmy Devellano knows what he’s talking about.”

Further complicating matters, according to my source, is the dissimilarity between Goodenow and Donald Fehr. “With Bob, it became personal. He couldn’t stand Gary and I don’t think he was acting in the best interest of the players when they began to soften. He wasn’t going to accept a salary cap, even if it wiped out two seasons. Fehr is more composed and he has the resume [from baseball] to support his position. I think the players are fighting a lost cause but I’m not sure they’ll fracture as quickly. That’s why this dispute could come to a head much sooner than the last one.”

...

“This isn’t a matter of going for the jugular, as it was in 2005; I think Gary and Don have great respect for one another,” said the source. “But, both sides are philosophically entrenched. The players obviously don’t want to relinquish any more than they did in the last work stoppage. The owners, on the other hand, are saying, ‘Hey, that agreement expired. You aren’t entitled to a carry-over.’ This thing could just as easily end before it gets started.”

And that's why this NHLPA supporter from a Chrysler family finds this lockout to be so very offensive. The NHL sacrificed the 2004-2005 season to essentially have NHLPA turncoat Ted Sakin rubber-stamp a CBA penned by Bill Daly and Bob Batterman while Bettman and Goodenow weren't in the room, and yet we have the owners suggesting that the "good of the game" and fans who they lied to about ticket prices being directly linked to salaries eight years ago (sorry, folks, it's supply and demand, and ticket prices will continue to increase regardless of how much money the may have to give up this season and going forward).

Put simply, in my opinion, suggesting that a CBA which was supposed to give the owners everything they needed to stabilize the NHL's 30-team model, the game and of course ticket prices (ha) for good is now "too generous," and that the economic recession the NHL and PA faced and weathered so very, very well obliges the players to allow the owners to not just "retrench," but also turn player mobility rights back to what they were before the last CBA...

That's patently insane, as is suggesting that it's untenable to negotiate while still taking fans' $3.3 billion under the current agreement, as is, most tellingly for me, Bettman's suggestion that what were eventually 100,000+ pages of independently-audited team finances on July 31st as "irrelevant" when the NHL was redefining Hockey-Related Revenues (as the CBC's Elliotte Friedman revealed, attempting to define HRR as currently determined is so complicated that both Bettman's argument that the owners pay much more into operating costs than 57 cents on the dollar and Fehr's argument that the players are really paid only 51 cents on the dollar have merit)...

To this "uninformed rambler" (thanks, Bill Daly), I don't understand how one can possibly negotiate a collective bargaining agreement in which salaries have an ironclad, entrenched and enforced link to a very specific percentage of Hockey-Related Revenues until you have the open books for the most recent season. It's impossible, and as those books weren't going to be available until the middle of the summer thanks to the fact that the NHL's fiscal year ends when the Stanley Cup Finals do, I don't have any problems whatsoever with the NHLPA's last-minute negotiating strategy. In my admittedly biased opinion, it was the only sane way they could go about knowing what they were fighting over.

As Devellano's comments understated, however, the NHL very clearly believes that the players are acting like spoiled brats who are entitled to "all the grass" they can eat (and friends, you and I aren't "cattle," to the billionaires, we're walking dollar signs who enter their rinks with open wallets), and the NHLPA very clearly believes that it's entrenched in a cycle of lockouts at the end of every collective bargaining agreement, and after giving up so much last time, that the players want to neither cede a cent nor force the owners to do anything less than meaningfully address the fundamental, systemic flaws in their 30-team model.

That latter part seems particularly worthy to me given that it's the upper payroll limit that's trapped in an "inflationary spiral" for as long as league-wide revenues increase, regardless of how much or how little the owners pay their players, because the moneymaking teams' profits will ensure that the salary cap continues to rise. In my opinion, that all but ensures that we're talking about lockout #4 eight years from now.

But what do I know? I'm only a partisan Red Wings fan who wants both Mike Ilitch, Jimmy Devellano, the team, its employees and its players to make lots and lots of money based upon my and my friends and family's shared passions for and loyalty to a professional sports team that's a business entity, I do not begrudge neither owner nor player for making wages vastly disproportionate to the rest of society...

And I've only been through three of these lockouts, and I'm f***ing tired of them, because they continue to occur because the owners "fix" the game in the board room, and as soon as they leave it, they find ways to "break" it because people like Jimmy Devellano find no hypocrisy in mocking their best pals on the Board of Governors for being fiscally irresponsible while authorizing their general managers to sigh the team's fourth-line center to a 3-year, $7.2 million contract which includes a lockout-proof $250,000 signing bonus (per Capgeek), or to sign a free agent defenseman who can't shake the injury bug a 2-year, $5 million contract, or that it might be slightly hypocritical for a team whose voting member of the Board of Governors seems to want to crush his players' will like a pop can to make these $12.2 million commitments all of 36 hours before the expiry of the supposedly "untenable" CBA.

That's my take on what the last week's worth of propaganda, punctuated by Berger's report (again, I'm not questioning Berger here, I'm questioning what his sources told him), and unlike Devellano, I happen to think that my fellow fans and readers are in fact smart and informed people who can read these statements, read my analysis and come to their own conclusions as to what's really going on.

That's my biggest message about everything you've read so far and everything you're going to read that comes from owners, players, journalists or bloggers' mouths, mine included, over the course of this stupid, stupid third lockout.

Read things skeptically, read things subjectively, allow your emotions to flow and then check them, and form your own opinions. Very few of us are forensic accountants or labor lawyers, but I'd like to believe that we're smart enough to get the gist of what's going on, what's at stake and why it's so unbelievably dumb that two sides which split $3.3 billion of our money can't agree how to split it "fairly."

After all, we're the ones who are being called "suckers" for passionately supporting and following a pastime which is a hobby, a bit of vicarious living, and an endeavor which helps us define ourselves, our way of life, and the community of fellow fans we've chosen to become a part of by cheering on our favorite teams and players. I don't believe we're "suckers" at all. A little strange for remaining part of an abusive relationship with the NHL, but not "suckers," not "addicts" and most certainly not uninformed morons who supposedly can't figure the gist of this s*** out on our own.

 

Update: As we've all had a bit of Jimmy D overload, I'd like to post Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika's take on the league's $250,000 fining of the "cattle" remark (via RedWingsFeed) in this entry:

If everyone could and would speak his mind, every comment would carry less weight. Instead, we have to parse the words of the one guy who slips up. Instead, the NHL fines a Hall of Famer -- a 69-year-old man who helped build the New York Islanders from an expansion team into a dynasty, who helped rebuild the Red Wings from a fallen giant into a model franchise -- and the league looks more draconian than it did already.

The owners have locked out the players for the third time in 18 years. They have done it even though they cancelled the 2004-05 season, even though they got their salary cap, even though they got the players to take a 24-percent rollback -- even though they have recorded record revenues every year since.

Don't you want to hear from Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, the president of the board of governors? Don't you want to hear from owners like the Philadelphia Flyers' Ed Snider or the Washington Capitals' Ted Leonsis, who are involved in the negotiations? Don’t you want to hear from the owner of whatever team you follow? Don't you want an honest explanation from their own mouths? Don't you want to hear why they need or want the players to take an immediate pay cut and so much less of hockey-related revenue? Don't you want to know why they don't like the players' revenue-sharing plan?

The owners are smart enough to know that it is easier to keep up a united front and stay on message if they let only two people do the talking. They are also smart enough to know that it is cleaner to stay above the fray and let Bettman and Daly do the dirty work. That is partly what they pay them for. It might be easier for the owners to make up with the players and fans when this is all over, whenever this is all over.

But if the owners are really united, what are they afraid of? That we'll see them for what they are? All Devellano really did was say some things we already know but aren't used to hearing out loud.

That's only a chunk of Cotsonika's full article, and it's worth your time...and your critical reading thereof.

 

Filed in: | The Malik Report | Permalink
 

Comments

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And that’s why this NHLPA supporter from a Chrysler family finds this lockout to be so very offensive.

I would think someone who lived in an autoworkers family would have a better understanding of what too lavish labor contracts can do to a company.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/22/12 at 07:03 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I would think somebody who thinks himself so smart would be more careful about assuming somebody else’s level of understanding regarding what’s going on.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/22/12 at 08:40 PM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

No one made management sign these contracts, no one had a gun to their head.  Management did this to themselves, these are guaranteed contracts.  There’s no honor or integrity in what the owners are asking of the players.  They tried to sell it a couple different ways and Jimmy D made it perfectly clear, the owners, in retrospect, feel they don’t want to commit that much money and the players should be happy for ANYTHING they get paid to play hockey.  And they think we’re stupid enough to believe anything they tell us and don’t want to tell us what the real issue is cause it’s too complicated for your average joe.

I’ll get ready for the 3 pages you’re going to write in response.  I’m sure you’ll be pleasuring yourself while you’re writing it.

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 09/22/12 at 08:42 PM ET

cowboycoffee's avatar

great piece, George. Thanks.

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA on 09/22/12 at 08:51 PM ET

Hockeytown Wax's avatar

It has become evident that the GM’s/owners signed players to those ridiculous contracts as evidence that the current system just doesn’t work.

Everything would be fine if every single penny went into one giant pile and the league sends each team the same amount of money every month to cover all salaries and other operating expenses.

Just like some people don’t report all income on their taxes so they can screw the government, I’d imagine the owners don’t report all revenues so they can screw the league and the players.

Everybody cheats (or tries to), everybody looks for ways around the ‘rules’ to better themselves.

All the players can do is play hockey and accept their paycheck.

I hope the players tell Bettman and the owners to take a flying leap and force the NHL to fold.

Posted by Hockeytown Wax from West Bloomfield, Mi. on 09/22/12 at 09:34 PM ET

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I would think somebody who thinks himself so smart would be more careful about assuming somebody else’s level of understanding regarding what’s going on.

I would think someone who thinks himself so smart would be better at snark.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/23/12 at 04:49 AM ET

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No one made management sign these contracts, no one had a gun to their head.  Management did this to themselves, these are guaranteed contracts.

I don’t understand how this issue is so constantly misunderstood.  The CBA defines SPC’s and not the other way around, and the CBA is a contract, too.  No, no one had a gun to the owners heads when they signed the last CBA.  That CBA has expired.  Why should a new CBA be exactly like an old CBA?  Or close to it?  Should a player who signed a contract that they felt drastically underpaid them have to sign a similar contract when they come up as a UFA again?  Of course not.

Same deal.

They tried to sell it a couple different ways and Jimmy D made it perfectly clear, the owners, in retrospect, feel they don’t want to commit that much money and the players should be happy for ANYTHING they get paid to play hockey.

Enh, that’s an overreaction for the most part.  The NHL owners appear to want to pay the players substantially less in order to play hockey.

The NFL pays players 47-48.5% of revenue.
The NBA pays players 49-51% of revenue.
I can’t find any recent info on MLB, but as of 2008 players got around 52% of revenue.

I see a trend there, right?  A band of players share that runs from 47-52%

That’s doesn’t seem to me to represent an ownership cadre that want to pay the players as little as possible.  It looks like an ownership cadre that wants to pay players right around 50-50.  Which, hello, is a pretty fair accommodation.

And they think we’re stupid enough to believe anything they tell us and don’t want to tell us what the real issue is cause it’s too complicated for your average joe.

That part I totally agree with.  Unfortunately, that’s the way it is in all sports.  Not a one of them give a crap about fans, really… because they each know they have the premiere form of their sport and fans of that sport will always, always, always come back to watch it.

The NFL has a bunch of D3 refs out there blowing games up because they’d rather hold a line with NFL refs than get something done.  Fans are screaming about it.  Does the NFL care?  Of course not.

The NBA put out a compressed schedule that was so ridiculous it may as well have had guaranteed losses in it.  Fans howled about that because fully a third of the games looked like complete crap.  Did the NBA care?  Of course not.  As long as the tickets were bought (and they always are) and the TV contract paid out (and it always does), fans can bleep off.

MLB baseball has a system where you can write off 18 teams before the first pitch is thrown in a 7 month long season that starts when it snows and ends when it snows.  The fans of those perennially screwed teams hate being perennially screwed.  Does MLB care about that?  Of course not.

They don’t care.  They never cared.  This shouldn’t be some kind of astonishing newsflash.  If knowing that the people who own and run the sports in the USA don’t give a bleep what you think makes it too hard to enjoy those sports, you’re screwed.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/23/12 at 05:10 AM ET

George Malik's avatar

I don’t think that labor unions are good things or bad things. I believe that they are necessary entities for employees who choose to utilize them to negotiate pay and working conditions with “ranchers.”

My great uncle was beaten up by the Purple Gang on Grosse Isle during their union-busting days, so you’d think I’d love the UAW, but they also screwed over my dad on a regular basis when they represented probation officers in negotiations with the State of Michigan. Shit happens.

And an automotive union is a very different kind of duck than a player’s union in a very different kind of industry, where we’re not talking about the prices of the goods being sold being determined irrespective of labor costs.

Tickets to sporting and entertainment events are about supply and demand, and the NHL is a gate-driven league. A Dodge Ram 4-door pickup truck built in Michigan is priced a little more expensively than Dodge Ram 2-door pickup truck built in Mexico because of a disparity in labor costs. There are certain intwinations of expenses and ticket prices in hockey, but they’re not nearly as impossible to disassociate as the relationship between how much it costs to build something and how high you have to price it to make a profit.

In this situation, I am still siding with the “cattle.”

Posted by George Malik from South Lyon, MI on 09/23/12 at 05:41 AM ET

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I don’t think that labor unions are good things or bad things. I believe that they are necessary entities for employees who choose to utilize them to negotiate pay and working conditions with “ranchers.”

And 50 years ago, you were right.  Unfortunately, if you run down the list of industries who are sliding underwater, if not already nestled serenely at the bottom of the ocean, you will find that list populated incredibly densely with industries that have held a pronounced Union presence.

This is because modern day unions have swung past points of necessity into roles of dominance.

And an automotive union is a very different kind of duck than a player’s union in a very different kind of industry, where we’re not talking about the prices of the goods being sold being determined irrespective of labor costs.

Of course there are some differences, George.  Chief among them being that the auto industry used to be incredibly profitable, so by walking out en masse the UAW could inflict major economic harm on management.  This contrasts to the NHL, which is by and large not incredibly profitable, so by walking out the players can not cause the owners significant financial harm.

And there is always a linkage between labor costs and cost of goods.  Always.  Everywhere.  It exists in the NHL, it exists in the auto industry, it exists at the S’barro.

Tickets to sporting and entertainment events are about supply and demand, and the NHL is a gate-driven league.

Everything is about supply and demand, not just tickets to sporting events.  If there were 100 million Dodge trucks available for sale on lots right now you could get one for a lot less than you could if there were 1 million for sale.  If there was oil all over the place (that we were allowed to recover, at any rate) the prices of refined oil (aka gasoline) would be much lower.

Scarcity increases ‘value’.

A Dodge Ram 4-door pickup truck built in Michigan is priced a little more expensively than Dodge Ram 2-door pickup truck built in Mexico because of a disparity in labor costs.

No, it’s not.  The profit margin is different, obviously, but when you go to a lot identically outfitted trucks are priced identically regardless of point of origin.  This is because as a point of accounting labor costs are averaged rather than unitized when it comes to that sort of thing.  Otherwise dealers would refuse domestically produced vehicles for ones with lower production costs, thereby pumping their profit-margin per sale.

In this situation, I am still siding with the “cattle.”

I do too, albeit far less vehemently and totally than you.

For instance, what percentage of HRR do you think Owners should be willing to accept?  What expectations of theirs are patently unfair?

IMO while their initial offer was pretty insulting, that’s also a common tactic in negotiations.  A HRR split of roughly 50-50, with fairly similar ancillary details to the previous CBA seems completely reasonable.  Crack down on the 15 year deals a bit, fiddle with revenue sharing a bit, stuff like that.  Relative details.

In that vein, I don’t mind particularly that the players are so adamant in their refusal to take less than 57% of HRR.  I understand their position.  I also understand the position of ownership, who has been getting 43% of HRR in a gate driven league that’s led to any number of teams being incredibly difficult to sustain.

I even understand why pretty much every negotiation in the NHL has to lead to a work stoppage.  There simply isn’t enough at risk for Owners to make them fear the loss of revenue from a lost season.  Because they only get 43% of it anyway.  And there’s no big TV deal of note at risk.

This isn’t a good vs. evil situation, George.  That’s where I diverge from you and, apparently, from a lot of the other posters here.

 

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/23/12 at 07:08 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

lmao, I hope you cleaned your keyboard after that one HD

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 09/23/12 at 07:48 AM ET

HockeytownOverhaul's avatar

lmao, I hope you cleaned your keyboard after that one HD

Posted by HockeytownOverhaul on 09/23/12 at 07:49 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I would think someone who thinks himself so smart would be better at snark.

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/23/12 at 04:49 AM ET

So it’s settled. You’re not as smart as you think you are.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/23/12 at 08:34 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/23/12 at 07:08 AM ET

Wait… NOW it’s settled.

Let’s see:

Most =/= all
Averaged labor costs are not averaged because of differences in labor? (hurr)
S&DREAM;, but apparently it’s a one way street (durr)

Repackaging already-expressed thoughts in a unique way while still disagreeing.  Save people the trouble, man. Just start reposting what Malik says word-for-word if all you’re going to do is needlessly expand on concepts nobody needs explained.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/23/12 at 08:42 AM ET

cainer4wingsglory's avatar

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/23/12 at 07:08 AM ET

What the hell are you doing on here Gary? Shouldn’t you be negotiating to save the season?

Posted by cainer4wingsglory on 09/23/12 at 10:00 AM ET

Avatar

Averaged labor costs are not averaged because of differences in labor? (hurr)
S&DREAM;, but apparently it’s a one way street (durr)

Repackaging already-expressed thoughts in a unique way while still disagreeing.  Save people the trouble, man. Just start reposting what Malik says word-for-word if all you’re going to do is needlessly expand on concepts nobody needs explained.

Again, I don’t think you’re terribly good at reading what has been written, JJ.

If you really aren’t capable of seeing the areas in which George and I have differences of opinion, well, that is what it is, I suppose.

I’m fairly sure you are being intentionally obtuse as part of your shtick, though.

So it’s settled. You’re not as smart as you think you are.

I don’t waste much time wondering how smart I am.  I’ll let you wrestle with those weighty issues.

lmao, I hope you cleaned your keyboard after that one HD

Did you have anything substantive to say, HO, or were you just interested in drive-by silliness? wink

Believe it or not, it is actually okay to have a nuanced and informed opinion on an issue that doesn’t require one to lose all perspective and yowl at those who disagree with you.  Not everything is a black and white issue.  Heck, very few things actually are.

The important part is being able to suspend preconception and bias in order to develop a position free of as many flaws of logic and reason as possible.  I mean, I think Bettman is a compete bleephole, but if I allow my perceptions of issues to be colored by my distaste for him, all I really end up doing is taking less well-reasoned positions.

Some people don’t particularly care about that, which is obviously completely fine.  It’s not like any of our opinions really matter in any appreciable way, anyhow.

I do, though.

 

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/23/12 at 11:30 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

If you really aren’t capable of seeing the areas in which George and I have differences of opinion, well, that is what it is, I suppose.

You haven’t brought differences of opinion, you’ve brought differences of definition.

I mean, your whole point can’t be as simple as “some unions have been bad and therefore ALL unions are inherently bad”, can it?  With new information brought to light, I suppose it could, but you don’t need to waste so many words on such a childish stunt of logic.

I mean, you used an entire paragraph on a sub-101-level primer on supply-and-demand economics because you either thought Malik was too dumb to understand that the concept applies to more than just NHL gate receipts or you simply felt that everybody needed to understand what people already understand.  You missed the forest through the trees in the process.

Believe it or not, it is actually okay to have a nuanced and informed opinion on an issue that doesn’t require one to lose all perspective and yowl at those who disagree with you.

Believe it or not, it’s actually ok to have an adult discussion on an issue that doesn’t require one to move goalposts, change targets, redefine previous statements, and condescend to those who disagree with them.

The categorization of black-and-white charge is hilarious, since it’s your characterization of unions which has lacked any significant shades of gray. Then, when people have discussed the gray areas, you’ve popped in to say they’re being too emotional when they assign a name to a particular shade.

The point as it remains (and the big gray blob you missed in HockeytownOverhaul’s message) is that you’re more interested in self-aggrandizement (beautifully turned into a masturbation metaphor by HTO) than you are in actually discussing the issues.  If you want to talk about how the NHLPA fits into standard definitions of how labor unions work and compare/contrast their historical relationship with the UAW, then great, but you’re not doing that. Instead, you’re simply pedantically nitpicking and rhetorically masturbating.

You’re not interested in a suspension of preconceptions and biases in order to develop a position free of logical flaws. You’re interested in claiming that your self-described suspension of preconceptions and biases free YOU of logical flaws in a way more severe than anybody else’s. At its very core, it’s a begs-the-question-morass of self-contained loopholes.  It’s a closed-system bubble, stoicism at its most-neutered.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/23/12 at 12:03 PM ET

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You haven’t brought differences of opinion, you’ve brought differences of definition.

Like I siad, if you aren’t capable of comprehending where George and I differ, me saying it again is unlikely to pierce that particular veil.

IMO, however, you’re being willfully obtuse.

I mean, your whole point can’t be as simple as “some unions have been bad and therefore ALL unions are inherently bad”, can it?

As always, your ability to comprehend and interpret the written word struggles to perform.

Believe it or not, it’s actually ok to have an adult discussion on an issue that doesn’t require one to move goalposts, change targets, redefine previous statements, and condescend to those who disagree with them.

I understand why you feel that way, JJ.  It’s required so you don’t have to admit to being so dishonestly frivolous in the manner in which you’ve ‘interpreted’ my comments.

The point as it remains (and the big gray blob you missed in HockeytownOverhaul’s message) is that you’re more interested in self-aggrandizement (beautifully turned into a masturbation metaphor by HTO) than you are in actually discussing the issues.

That’s a pretty hilarious comment coming from the guy who apparently spends 50% of the time misrepresenting what is said and 50% of his time making fun of his misrepresentations.

You’re not interested in a suspension of preconceptions and biases in order to develop a position free of logical flaws. You’re interested in claiming that your self-described suspension of preconceptions and biases free YOU of logical flaws in a way more severe than anybody else’s.

As always, you fail again to properly ‘interpret’.  And again, it’s likely intentional.  I’ve made no comparisons between the rightness of my opinions vs. any others.  In fact, I’ve said it’s completely fine to reach conclusions however one wishes using whichever process one wishes.

I approach these issues in a certain way.  That’s all.  If you want to roll around on the floor in some presumed outrage over whatever inferences you want to draw from that, hey, knock yourself out.  It passes the time, right?

Posted by HockeyinHD on 09/24/12 at 02:00 PM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I approach these issues in a certain way.  That’s all.  If you want to roll around on the floor in some presumed outrage over whatever inferences you want to draw from that, hey, knock yourself out.  It passes the time, right?

I’m comfortable with the level at which I’ve interpreted your comments and what drives you to make your comments in the manner you do. 

Like I said before, if I so commonly miss the mark on what you’re saying, that’s a reflection on how poorly you get points across. You seem to be the only person around who says people don’t understand what he’s saying when they disagree. I’ve explained why that is.

If you want to sit comfortably in your bubble as you mentally conjure an image of me or anybody else rolling around on the floor in some presumed outrage, then be my guest. The presumption is yours and you are willfully alone in holding that presumption.

Watching a pretender to Janus stare into two mirrors simultaneously entertains me.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 09/24/12 at 02:08 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.