Kukla's Korner

Puckin' Around With Spector

Entries with the tag: nhl

Forecasting the PR Strategies for “NHL CBA 2012”.

With the NHL formally serving notice last week to the NHLPA of its desire to “terminate and/or modify” the current collective bargaining agreement by September 15th, hockey fans know for certain another potentially contentious round of labor negotiations will begin soon.

Given the toxic atmosphere between the two sides during previous CBA talks, there’s concern among some pundits, bloggers and fans that there could be yet another lengthy lockout.

Speculation has been brewing for months over what the league could seek (another reduction in players’ revenue share, lowering of the salary cap, salary rollbacks) and possible reaction/counter-proposals from the PA. We probably won’t know the official positions of both sides until mid-summer.

In the meantime, the only certainty is the league, led by commissioner Gary Bettman and his trusty team of labor negotiators, will be calling the tune for this dance, as they always have. It is anyone’s guess which side could emerge victorious, and as history has shown, those which claim victory in these labor squabbles often find it costly.

It’ll be interesting to see if the league employs the same public relations strategy as it did during the previous two lockouts, painting the NHLPA leadership, the players and their agents as the bad guys.

Since it worked so well in the past, it wouldn’t be surprising if the league resorts to that playbook again.

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  Tags: bettman, cba, nhl, nhlpa, pr

Big Market NHL Teams to “Max Out” This Summer?

For the seventh consecutive year, the NHL salary cap limits are expected to increase.

Thanks to a projected $3.2 billion in revenue for the 2011-12 regular season and playoffs (the most for a single season in NHL history), the salary cap “ceiling” for 2012-13 could rise to $69 million, as well as raising the salary cap “floor” to over $53 million.

It could go even higher, for if the NHLPA employs its five percent salary escalator clause, the ceiling could go as high as $72 million, and the floor to $56 million.

In other words, the projected cap minimum for next season could be as high as the salary cap ceiling of 2009-10.

While the salary cap’s constant escalation leaves NHL fans wondering what the 2004-05 lockout was about, it’s good news for the nine teams (Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Toronto, San Jose, Vancouver and Los Angeles) with payrolls currently in excess of $54 million for next season, giving them considerably more available cap space to worth with.

It’s also good news for traditionally free-spending clubs like the Detroit Red Wings, and New York Rangers, as well as the Montreal Canadiens, Calgary Flames and Washington Capitals, who’ve been big spenders for some time under the salary cap.

That projected increase, however, could be short-lived.

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  Tags: cba, nhl, nhlpa, salary+cap

Coyotes Need Fan Support To Survive.

After three years of uncertainty, the Phoenix Coyotes ownership issue could be on the verge of resolution.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on Monday acknowledged a tentative agreement had been reached with an ownership group (led by former San Jose Sharks CEO Greg Jamison) which would keep the team in Glendale, Arizona.

This doesn’t mean it’s a done deal, as the NHL Board of Governors must approve the sale, plus the Jamison group would have to not only work out a new arena lease agreement with Glendale City Council, but one which would pass scrutiny of The Goldwater Institute, a local taxpayer watchdog.

Nevertheless, this news could signal a significant step toward ensuring the Coyotes remain in Arizona.

Critics wonder why the league has fought so hard and for so long to keep the franchise there, pointing to the poor attendance - especially over the past five, when they’ve been either last or second-last in overall attendance - as proof of poor fan support in that market for the NHL.

The consensus among the critics is the Coyotes would be best served relocating to a more “traditional” hockey market.

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  Tags: coyotes, glendale, nhl, phoenix

NHL GMs Face Salary Cap Headaches This Summer.

Over the past couple of weeks, reports have appeared suggesting the NHL salary cap, under the current collective bargaining agreement (CBA), could increase as high as $69 million for 2012-13, and if the NHLPA uses its right to escalate that figure by five percent, to potentially $72 million.

Given the established $16 million gap between the cap maximum (“ceiling”) and the cap minimum (“floor”), if the ceiling is $69 million, the floor would be $53 million. If it were $72 million, the “floor” would be $56 million.

That number, however, could be temporary, for it’s expected the league will seek to reduce the players share of revenue, from the current 57 percent down to around 50 percent, in the next CBA, which would mean a salary rollback to facilitate a reduction of the cap ceiling and floor.

Enlisting the aid (via Twitter) of James Mirtle of The Globe & Mail, and David Johnson of HockeyAnalysis.com, I examined this possibility in a recent post on my website.

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  Tags: cba, nhl, salary+cap

What Will NHL Trade Deadline Look Like Under New CBA?

The passing of the final NHL trade deadline under the current collective bargaining agreement raises questions about the potential impact the next CBA could have upon future trade deadlines.

Currently no one knows what the next collective bargaining agreement could contain. What follows is speculation as to potential issues which could affect the trade deadline under a new agreement.

Date for the trade deadline. Under the current CBA, the trade deadline was moved from the 26th day to the 40th day immediately preceding the final day of the regular season.

It’s been suggested the current date falls too early in the season, resulting in too many “buyers” and not enough “sellers’, compared to mid-or-late-March, when most of the playoff contenders have been determined, thus putting more “sellers” into the trade market.

This is unlikely to be a significant issue in the next CBA, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the date remains unchanged.

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  Tags: cba, nhl, nhlpa, salary+cap, trade+deadline

Trading Stars At The Deadline Doesn’t Always Pan Out.

It’s an accepted wisdom among fans and pundits that the NHL trade deadline is one of the best opportunities for a struggling non-playoff team to net significant returns for a star player who no longer fits into their future plans.

Former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin become a subject of derision near the 2008 trade deadline from Toronto hockey fans and scribes for not waiving his movement clause to facilitate a trade which, in their minds, would’ve fetched a return of riches guaranteed to turn their moribund Leafs into a future Cup contender.

The recent news of the Columbus Blue Jackets fielding offers for team captain Rick Nash (not an unrestricted free agent, but nevertheless a major star player) has some of their fans dreaming over the wealth of promising talent their woeful club could receive in a trade deadline deal.

Unfortunately, the reality is significant trade deadline moves usually don’t work out for the team trading away its star, as the return is rarely as worthwhile as hoped.

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  Tags: lightning, maple+leafs, nhl, penguins, sabres, trade+deadline

KHL Still No Serious Threat to NHL.

When the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) was founded in 2008, more than a few observers suggested it had the resources to not only retain the best Russian talent, but could also prove a viable rival to the National Hockey League for the world’s best players.

One reason for that belief was the presence of wealthy Russian investors, many of whom earned their fortunes via the country’s lucrative petroleum industry, making it possible for KHL teams to offer up competitive salaries to top free agent players.

Russian professional athletes also don’t to pay income tax on their salaries in their home country, which was also seen as another potential enticement.

It was also believed the KHL, born in part out of frustration over the NHL’s unwillingness to properly compensate Russian teams when their best young players were signed by NHL teams, would stand a better chance of retaining that young talent than the old Russian Super League.

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  Tags: jagr, khl, nhl, putin, radulov


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