Five things: Worrying stuff

Ryan Lambert
August 22 2012 09:29AM

1. Kent's Iginla stats

Boy if that wasn't the most depressing thing you just about ever read in your life, right?

For those that didn't read it, or just want the Cliff's Notes version, it's basically this: Jarome Iginla played against 29 skaters for more than 30 minutes last season, and got beaten — and often buried — in scoring chances by all but four of them. Those four were Marco Scandella, Jared Spurgeon, Nick Shultz, Dany Heatley. All, not coincidentally I'm sure, were on the putrid Minnesota Wild for the entirety of last season, save for Schultz, who was traded to the even-worse Oilers.

What can we deduce from this? That Jarome Iginla is now a shadow of his former self, and not the kind of guy you want to pay $7 million a season, no matter how many jerseys he sells (tons) or how wonderful his smile is (very).

Look, I get it. Jarome Iginla is and probably forever will be the face of this franchise, no matter how Mike-Modano-on-the-Red-Wings he ends up being. He's beloved by fans and more importantly business partners, he does what he's "supposed to do," and is therefore "good in the room," and he's a generally great, awesome, likeable guy.

But, especially if there's a prolonged lockout, this team really needs to be prepared to cut bait with him. Ironically, the team keeps him around as a means of staying in playoff contention, but as Kent points out, unless he's a third-liner and power play specialist — a role he would accept under no circumstances, which is irrelevant because it would never be asked of him — his value to the team on the ice is pretty much negative and therefore by definition restricting its chances to actually make the playoffs.

Things I'm not saying here include, "Jarome Iginla sucks," or "I don't value what Jarome Iginla means to the franchise," but what I am saying here is that it's probably best for everyone if, after this contract, he's made to either ply his trade for substantially less money and in a reduced role with this team, or to do it elsewhere.

If you want the team to improve, it starts with unloading the $7 million power play guy in the No. 1 right wing slot. In terms of goals versus threshold, Iginla was about in line with Frans Nielsen and David Krejci. You wouldn't give those guys Iginla money, and any willingness you have to do the same for Jarome is simply a function of nostalgia.

2. Whither the Heat?

So the Canucks owner is reportedly planning to buy the Heat and its operating company, and move the Canucks' farm team, currently located in Chicago for some reason, there. It makes perfect sense. The drive from Vancouver to Abbotsford, and vice versa, is just about an hour, and there's no reason on earth why any team in 2012 should have their farm team more than a couple hours' drive from the big club.

Unless you're, like, Tampa, Phoenix, or Florida, where the demand for and interest in hockey is approximately zero-point-zero, most NHL teams are located in areas that can more or less support a minor-league venture, at least within a two-hour halo.

The idea of having far-flung farm teams isn't a new one, of course, and it still persists today in many cases. Hockey-mad Minnesota's farm team is located in Houston; LA's is in Manchester, N.H.; Anaheim's is in Nofolk, Va.; San Jose's is in Worcester, Mass.; Tampa's is in Syracuse. This was a plan that worked pretty well back when I first started watching the AHL in 1998.

That was when the Lowell Lock Monsters moved into the new Tsongas Arena, and were an affiliate of the New York Islanders. At the time, there were only 19 teams in the American league, and most of them weren't exactly far-flung from each other, relatively speaking. Granted, this was and often still is a bus league and therefore geographic proximity was out of necessity, but the team farthest south and west was in Lexington, Ky., which was still only an hour and a half from Cincinatti's Ducks club. Seven of the league's teams were in New England, none more than four or five hours from another. Three were in the Atlantic provinces.

The Western Conference, at that time, were made up of four teams in New York state, one in Ontario, two in Pennsylvania, and the aforementioned Kentucky and Ohio clubs.

Now look at the AHL: It's a continental league, with teams from Abbotsford to St. John's and THREE in Texas. Have farm teams in your backyard. It only makes sense.

3. The Hartnell deal, or: Why on earth would you give him that?

I could see the Flyers' desire to get him locked into a six-year deal that pays him $4.75 million per season if his contract were expired and he was testing the market, but no, he has one more year on his current deal.

This is the very definition of buying high.

Hartnell had never sniffed 37 goals in his career before this season, when he played with the second-best center in the league last year behind Evgeni Malkin (Giroux) and one of the most dynamic offensive players in the history of the sport.

And nonetheless, he needed a career high 15.9 shooting percentage to get to within three goals of 40. He's already 30 and will be 31 when his current deal expires. I understand the desire to give him an attaboy contract and a modest raise (he makes $4.2 million against the cap currently), but the term and the money are both absurd overpayment for a guy who's going to disappoint next season, if this year is now considered anything like his baseline.

I saw some usage stats that showed this kind of thing is repeatable if he's put in the right situations, but even if he scores 30 two of the six years into this deal, that's only a third of the way through it.

The Flyers' ownership wouldn't be crying poor so often if it didn't keep giving bad players ridiculous money and term.

4. Shut up, Stan Fischler

I don't know what Canadians, in general, know about Stan Fischler.

In essence, he is the biggest Rangers schill in the business, routinely picking them to win everything from the Stanley Cup to the Super Bowl to the Battle of Alberta. And somehow, he's an even bigger schill for ownership.

In his latest Fischler Report, published in the New England Hockey Journal and, assumedly, elsewhere (which also literally copy-and-pastes a Forbes article about the Panthers and Kings), the possibly-senile old man was back at it again. 

"Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin did a nifty bit of grandstanding when they flanked Donald Feh last week," he wrote, adding, "Too bad they didn't say a few words about how they and their brethren never had it so good despite the 24 percent pay cut they were hissing and moaning about at the start of the last agreement."

I don't know, exactly, what part of this is the most laughable. The fact that he expected or wanted Crosby and Ovechkin to be like "I don't know guys, we're makin' tons of money!" within punching distance of Don Fehr, or the fact that Fischler thinks the players are doing better than before. Yes, NHL salaries were averaging about $2.4 million in the 2010-11 season (and would have gone up for last year, slightly), and that's up from $1.83 million in the season before the lockout. Doing the math, that's roughly a 33 percent raise, and that's great.

But, like, haven't the owners seen a substantial increase in their revenues since then as well? Or did I just dream that billion-dollar NBC contract?

Now look, if you're on the owners' side, you're entitled to that opinion, but to act like one side is doing better than the other in this is, well, extraordinarily disingenuous and wrongheaded. Everyone in the NHL is getting rich, partly as a result of major-market teams doing pretty damn well the last seven years, and to act like it's the players' fault for not wanting owners to reach into their pockets again is ridiculous.

5. Something from the Flames' site

In breaking down the team's top-10 prospects (with Mark Jankowski oddly at No. 4 ahead of Akim Aliu) over the weekend, the Flames' management also took the time to explain their new approach to drafting, which I found terribly interesting.

Instead of looking at a players' individual skills — good hands, good speed, etc. — they now evaluate based on how they seem to "think the game."

"I would certainly say that is one of the more distinct changes we've made — to really prioritize people that have hockey sense the way we define it, and have the ability to think and feel the game so that if their skills are in order, they'll have the rest of the pieces they need to compete at the highest level," said John Weisbrod.

I think it's a great idea. In fact, that's why most teams adopted that philosophy years ago. That may partially explain the Jankowski pick, and if we're going to be hit with more puzzling decisions like that in the future, at least it'll all be entertaining.

686dfac3780611cb7acad6ce5166c6c1
Yer ol' buddy Lambert is handsome and great and everyone loves him. Also you can visit his regular blog at The Two-Line Pass or follow him on Twitter. Lucky you!
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#1 Kent Wilson
August 22 2012, 09:32AM
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Everyone in the NHL is getting rich

Well, aside from the Islanders and Coyotes, but that's hardly the players fault or problem.

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#2 The Beaker
August 22 2012, 09:41AM
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This i dont get is if "everyone is getting rich" why do people like doug maclean (and others, maclean on his own is an idiot) keep telling me shings like "18 teams in the league lost money last year" etc etc

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#3 Derek
August 22 2012, 09:45AM
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Even more absurd about the Crosby/Ovechkin comments by Fischler: Crosby and Ovechkin didn't play before the lockout. They never signed an NHL contract prior to the lockout. Their salaries were never rolled back, because they had no salaries. Why would they have ever "hissed and moaned" about something that didn't effect them?

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#4 Kent Wilson
August 22 2012, 10:18AM
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@The Beaker

It's possible, although I suspect some book keeping shenanigans on some teams that are crying poor (like the Sharks...if that team actually lost $15M last, their business end is being run by lobotomized monkeys).

It's possible in that the top-10 revenue teams may be running away from the pack and inflating the total net income of the league. The Leafs, the Rangers, the Canadiens, they all pretty much print money. The Canucks, Flames, Oilers and Blackhawks have healthy sales in every department from the gate to merch as well.

Then you have sad sacks like the Coyotes, Islanders and the Blue Jackets losing money hand over fist. Of course, those franchises problems include market viability, ownership and management problems - none of which are going to be solved by anything like a more severe salary cap or pilfering a few more dollars from the players share. Those are intractable, fundamental issues that can't be scrubbed away with a quick fix or "idiot proof" system - as evidenced by the fact that the establishment of the current CBA/salary cap didn't solve anything for them.

Then you have a big, squishy middle of teams who more or less break even give or take a few million every year, depending on varying factors like success during the regular season and if they make the playoffs.

Of course, for most of the mega-rich folks who own these teams, year-over-year profit isn't as important as total franchise value which is driven by idiosyncratic factors like quality of the team and market as well as bigger like, say, a salary cap limiting the players share of revenues or cushy leases with lavish, government subsidized arenas.

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#5 Colin.S
August 22 2012, 10:18AM
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The Beaker wrote:

This i dont get is if "everyone is getting rich" why do people like doug maclean (and others, maclean on his own is an idiot) keep telling me shings like "18 teams in the league lost money last year" etc etc

Because of Creative accounting and Stupid STUPID tax laws that make it appear as though you are losing money, all in an effort to make the rich richer and all that.

Again not EVERYTHING is included in HRR, so there are things that the owner makes that doesn't count to NHL revenue that they don't disclose as part of this "lost money".

There are also creative ways that leases are calculated and paid as well, especially if the Owner owns/runs the building, he can charge himself an outrageous sum of money on the lease, but because his other company on the other side of the lease owns the lease the money just comes back to him anyways and its not considered HRR. So his hockey team has a ****y lease and looks really bad on the books and can add up to a loss, but because the owner has hands in the lease holder company he gets his money back and can cry poor on the hockey side of things.

There was also an article I read on Deadspin that talked about how NBA owners were able to count the contracts of their players against a certain type of tax and created a giant loop hole that looked like they had big big loses.

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#6 loudogYYC
August 22 2012, 10:53AM
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Lambert/Kent/Flames Nation: Do you guys know what Shane Doan's underlying numbers look like? It seem like there are some teams willing to overspend for a 35 year old Doan, I'd imagine even more teams would do it for Iginla in the next off season.

I don't think Iginla would want to stay in Calgary after another playoff-less season anyway, regardless of money.

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#7 Kent Wilson
August 22 2012, 11:10AM
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@loudogYYC

Doan's underlyings are okay. Keep in mind he plays behind the Hanzal, Vrbata group in PHX and they are the heavy hitters in terms of match-ups and possession.

He's a decent second line option right now, but at 35 who knows how long that lasts.

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#8 Baalzamon
August 22 2012, 11:22AM
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"Anaheim's is in Nofolk, Va.; ... Tampa's is in Syracuse"

other way 'round, bro :)

"with Mark Jankowski oddly at No. 4 ahead of Akim Aliu"

that's actually not at all surprising. What surprised me was Aliu at #5. I don't even have him in my top 20.

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#9 Kevin R
August 22 2012, 11:38AM
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@Kent Wilson

I think what you just described is the inherent problem & huge hidden agenda of Bettmans. I know not many people like Bettman, but no one can deny the guy is intelligent, shrewd and opportunistic. So much what is happening with these ridiculous contracts, unneccessary extensions at such a critical time of negotiations, why is Bettman even allowing this to happen? He's too smart to have the cry poor, failing franchises because of salaries only to see Fisher & Hartnell get a ridiculous contracts. Unless, there is another agenda. I think there is a split of Owners who are fed up with Revenue Sharing to float franchises that have no business being in these markets when there are other lucrative markets that would be profitable & not sucking their $$$. Bettman has to represent every Owner, so his hands are tied. This thing is going to melt down to the point where the Owners will have to sort out the Revenue Sharing between each other before they can get these CBA off the ground. I cant imagine how much politics are going on amongst Bettman & the Owners.

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#10 Dr. Philosophy
August 22 2012, 11:40AM
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One thing I just haven't managed to wrap my mind around w.r.t. #1 is, if Jarome's so underwater by advanced statistical analysis, how in the world was he almost a PPG player last year? If he was constantly getting his head beaten in--to use a popular expression around here--how is he even possibly a consistent scorer, with the most points on the roster last year? (And, I might add, only -10 despite the PP time.) Is it possible that Jarome is somehow still an elite player notwithstanding the bad advanced numbers? The sort of player who can produce even when the ice is slanted against him? If so, we should be getting in line to give him $7mil/year. This guy can produce! He doesn't need sheltering on the 3rd line!

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#11 Kent Wilson
August 22 2012, 11:40AM
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@Baalzamon

Ditto. Aliu as a Flames top prospect is pretty silly. He's a journeyman AHLer who has a nice story and one good NHL game under his belt.

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#12 RexLibris
August 22 2012, 11:46AM
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"I think it's a great idea. In fact, that's why most teams adopted that philosophy years ago. That may partially explain the Jankowski pick, and if we're going to be hit with more puzzling decisions like that in the future, at least it'll all be entertaining."

While reading this I was reminded of Kent's earlier article about managers' attempts to identify and qualify "character". Hockey sense is perhaps a slightly more measurable asset, but it still depends on the abilities of the observer to recognize and appreciate the skill on display.

That isn't to say that I'm debating the merit of the philosophy. Eberle, Klefbom and Nugent-Hopkins were all selected based on their "hockey IQ" and this seems to be turning out alright so far. It is also a far greater asset in which to invest than the more traditional scouting line items. However, it is still largely unquantifiable and therefore leaves the door open to interpretation, and misinterpretation.

Perhaps quality of competition then becomes an even more important factor when evaluating talent.

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#13 Kent Wilson
August 22 2012, 11:48AM
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@Dr. Philosophy

The thing keep in mind is that totals aren't ratios and vice versa and that hockey is a game of differentials. That means lots isn't useful if isn't more. It's possible to produce a lot and still be underwater, which is true with Jarome - there's a reason he hasn't bee a plus player in four seasons despite the fact he continues to put up good counting numbers.

At the end of the year, he is probably on the ice for most scoring chances for on the team - but that's because he plays a ton every game and plays on the first unit PP and plays with the best line mates the team has to offer (this is often ridiculed as the Flames big problem - no one to play with Jarome - but nevertheless its always the best the team has available). Of course, he's also on for the most scoring chances against amongst forwards - and the chances against far outweighed the chances for.

Iginla is still dangerous in the slot. He still has a good shot. He's just a liability everywhere else and that has begun to tip the scales in the bad guys favor when he's on the ice...even if he can still produce nice offensive stat lines.

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#14 Bean-counting cowboy
August 22 2012, 11:59AM
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Dr. Philosophy wrote:

One thing I just haven't managed to wrap my mind around w.r.t. #1 is, if Jarome's so underwater by advanced statistical analysis, how in the world was he almost a PPG player last year? If he was constantly getting his head beaten in--to use a popular expression around here--how is he even possibly a consistent scorer, with the most points on the roster last year? (And, I might add, only -10 despite the PP time.) Is it possible that Jarome is somehow still an elite player notwithstanding the bad advanced numbers? The sort of player who can produce even when the ice is slanted against him? If so, we should be getting in line to give him $7mil/year. This guy can produce! He doesn't need sheltering on the 3rd line!

He plays a ton of minutes, including PP time & is a gifted scorer. That's how he puts up numbers.

However "almost a ppg" player does the team no good when you are 1.5 ppg AGAINST player.

Like Kent said in his article. It's like looking at an income statement. It's wonderful to make $30 million in revenue (score 30 goals). But it is not so rosy when your expenses are $40 million (40 goals against).

I think there is a role for Jarome to be effective as a compimentary scorer, but no playing against those same players mentioned in Kent's article again in the future.

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#15 RexLibris
August 22 2012, 12:03PM
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Hall re-signed for seven years at $6 million per. This is apparently going to be used as management's line in the sand contractually which means that Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins' and eventually Yakupov's contracts will be targeted to come in below it.

No word, yet, about any NTC/NMC.

And now back to your regularly scheduled broadcast.

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#16 Kevin R
August 22 2012, 12:17PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Hall re-signed for seven years at $6 million per. This is apparently going to be used as management's line in the sand contractually which means that Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins' and eventually Yakupov's contracts will be targeted to come in below it.

No word, yet, about any NTC/NMC.

And now back to your regularly scheduled broadcast.

Rex, I honestly cant see Eberle signing for less. Which means, if JT wants him at 5.5M, Eberle might just say, no thanks, lets talk when my contract comes up in a year & lets compare bedpans at that time. Then, how can you expect Yaks & Nuge & Schultz to expect way less if they perform at elite levels as well. You suddenly have 5 guys eating up over half the cap space. Nice problem to have, but its a product of having 3 first over alls in a row & 1 other that could have been & a young dman that you expect to be your cornerstone of your blueline. I think we've been seeing what top 4 dmen have been getting. Hope you arent clusterphobic because the math is going to start to close in on you.

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#17 Kevin R
August 22 2012, 12:18PM
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@RexLibris

Sorry meant to say ST above not JT. :)

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#18 cLyde
August 22 2012, 12:39PM
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Guys like Iginla and to a much lesser extent Doan would still be extremely valuable to elite teams. In Iginla's case, I would expect that his numbers in all areas would go up playing with elite players such as a Malkin, Crosby, etc. He would still be in the elite category if he were playing with those kind of players.

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#19 PrairieStew
August 22 2012, 12:52PM
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Fischler is old. I was reading his hockey bios ( Phil Esposito) back in the 70's when I was in elementary school. Always been a Ranger homer.

Hey owners - you allowed those crappy markets in, if you want to do something about it then commit to revenue sharing. It should be as easy as pie. Each team gives 50% of their hockey related revenue to a collective fund which is in turn divided up 30 ways. So if Toronto's revenues are 200 million, they put in 100 and if Phoenix's is 50 they put in 25. We know the average is around $120 so everyone takes out $60. Now Coyote revenue is up to $85 and Toronto's is down to $160. The Coyotes can make it with a $60m payroll and the Leafs can still make a ton with a $70m payroll.

This is so simple and fair for all sports - the Leafs or the Yankees or whoever aren't worth anything unless they have someone to play are they? It's the way of the old barnstorming tours - 50% of the gate and a return date in our yard/rink.

Now the league ( the owners !) will look seriously at viable markets rather than heading off willy nilly in to poor markets because they have some skin in the game.

On Iggy - said what I needed to say at the end of that thread - sorry a day late.

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#20 CLyde
August 22 2012, 12:53PM
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RexLibris wrote:

Hall re-signed for seven years at $6 million per. This is apparently going to be used as management's line in the sand contractually which means that Eberle, Nugent-Hopkins' and eventually Yakupov's contracts will be targeted to come in below it.

No word, yet, about any NTC/NMC.

And now back to your regularly scheduled broadcast.

That is even more than Hemsky gets for his 50-60 games a year. Wonder if he will still be in one piece in 3 years?

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#21 PrairieStew
August 22 2012, 12:55PM
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One more worry :

Did you see the reported offer by Buffalo for Doan ? 4 years $30m? Does that make Iggy underpaid even now ?

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#22 RexLibris
August 22 2012, 01:02PM
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Kevin R wrote:

Sorry meant to say ST above not JT. :)

Thanks, that had me scratching my head. ;-)

As for Hall/Eberle, interesting that you would value Eberle higher than Hall. I think Eberle signs for about the same, he and Hall are best friends and while Newport Sports aren't the easiest to deal with, I think their client asks them to make this an easier deal to arrange. There may be some clause inclusions, but looking over the contracts and ceilings, I would ballpark that the Oilers could (emphasize could) sign the four for roughly $24 to $26 million.

We'll see.

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#23 Old Soldier
August 22 2012, 01:23PM
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According to Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal, 18 teams last year did not make a profit, based on "hockey related revenues". That is the stickler for players. They seem to think that other revenues generated by these teams are also part of the pool they should have access to.

Kind of like GE giving all the reporters at MSNBC a raise cause they sold more refridgerators.

And there is that word again....SHARE.

Why is the word share even used in negotiations with players? They do not SHARE liability if money is owed to creditors. They do not SHARE in building long term stability in a team. nd lastly, they are not SHARING those future revenues they are "willing" to let the owners keep for 3 years. Those revenues dont exist, and the numbers generated for those revenues are based on the Canadian dollar staying perpetually where it is, and the league continuing to grow at over 7% during that time.

If neither of things happen, and the league does not generate that revenue, the players arent going to SHARE the loss with the owners, they will simply revert back to the original agreement.

This is about business owner and employee.....not partners, not buddies, not shower pals...can you imagine the cost of living if every business had to act as if it were SHARING with its employees.

Sorry for the rant

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#24 Bean-counting cowboy
August 22 2012, 01:28PM
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Hate to say it, but I don't think the Oil will be in as much trouble as everyone thinks to fit under the cap. Just did some quick Excel calcs using capgeek. Most of the bad contracts come off the books when they're ready to re-up others. If they can keep Yak, Hall, Eb & RNH at 6 mil and under, horc resigns for 3 mil, Gagner for 4 they can still pay Schultz 6 mil, another top 2 D another 6, two goalies 7 combined & fill out the rest of the roster with 22 mil for 11 roster spots, all under 73 mil for the 2015/2016 season. (I assume the cap will be at least that high by then)

To make it work they would have to move or not re-sign Hemsky however - but no biggie.

The other issue is can they sign those 4 guys for under 6 each.

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#25 MC Hockey
August 22 2012, 01:32PM
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Iggy needs to be sheltered some way or somehow unless Hartley and co can get him to play some strong defense...perhaps that is possible but seems a bit unlikely. Hartley seems to want to gain trust of players so perhaps over time Iggy improves his overall game. However, with the right linemates covering for him, perhaps he can have positive ratios for scoring chances, possession, and points scored against his competitors.

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#26 Kevin R
August 22 2012, 02:00PM
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Old Soldier wrote:

According to Forbes, and the Wall Street Journal, 18 teams last year did not make a profit, based on "hockey related revenues". That is the stickler for players. They seem to think that other revenues generated by these teams are also part of the pool they should have access to.

Kind of like GE giving all the reporters at MSNBC a raise cause they sold more refridgerators.

And there is that word again....SHARE.

Why is the word share even used in negotiations with players? They do not SHARE liability if money is owed to creditors. They do not SHARE in building long term stability in a team. nd lastly, they are not SHARING those future revenues they are "willing" to let the owners keep for 3 years. Those revenues dont exist, and the numbers generated for those revenues are based on the Canadian dollar staying perpetually where it is, and the league continuing to grow at over 7% during that time.

If neither of things happen, and the league does not generate that revenue, the players arent going to SHARE the loss with the owners, they will simply revert back to the original agreement.

This is about business owner and employee.....not partners, not buddies, not shower pals...can you imagine the cost of living if every business had to act as if it were SHARING with its employees.

Sorry for the rant

Some good points, enjoyed your rant. But like most industries, salaries are a component to the revenue you generate. Consider the players as your commission salesmen. You have to link compensation to Revenue. I think the players will have to take a haircut on the percentage of revenues split that goes into the salary pool (whereby the risk factor is incorporated into the percentages) that determines the cap levels. Its just, some can make more money on the same product than others but they need all the parts (teams) to fuel that growth. Those that make more money want to invest more, but not to keep failing markets, but to increase their success. Thats why the Rev Sharing component between the Owners needs to be addressed before they go scalping the players. The current system works from a hockey standpoint, look at the parity in the league, its the difference in the economic markets the has too much disparity.

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#27 Kent Wilson
August 22 2012, 02:23PM
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PrairieStew wrote:

One more worry :

Did you see the reported offer by Buffalo for Doan ? 4 years $30m? Does that make Iggy underpaid even now ?

No. That makes Buffalo delusional.

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#28 SmellOfVictory
August 22 2012, 03:04PM
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cLyde wrote:

Guys like Iginla and to a much lesser extent Doan would still be extremely valuable to elite teams. In Iginla's case, I would expect that his numbers in all areas would go up playing with elite players such as a Malkin, Crosby, etc. He would still be in the elite category if he were playing with those kind of players.

A solid point. I wouldn't call Iggy elite under any circumstances anymore, outside of straight scoring ability, but if you put him with a guy like Crosby who could drive play essentially regardless of his wingers, that elite scoring ability would be an excellent compliment.

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#29 RexLibris
August 22 2012, 03:11PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

No. That makes Buffalo delusional.

I would rephrase that to say that it confirms that Buffalo is delusional.

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#30 RexLibris
August 22 2012, 03:18PM
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@Bean-counting cowboy

The timing of the veteran contracts is what will likely allow the team to retain their youth. Horcoff, Hemsky and Smyth will all be coming off the books, as you say.

While I like the Justin Schultz signing, I'm not anticipating that he'll be a $6 million defenceman. Klefbom might be the more likely candidate for that kind of money, or perhaps Marincin as a longshot. I think the blueline corps is eventually going to be a group with no clear Weber-esque player but a very talented group with fewer peaks and valleys between them. Their value will likely lie in the collective rather than the individual, which is a sound strategy, in my opinion.

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#31 PrairieStew
August 22 2012, 04:25PM
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@RexLibris

I thought the Erhoff deal was bad enough, but $7.5 m for 4 years for a 20 goal scorer who is turning 36 !

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#32 cLyde
August 22 2012, 05:18PM
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PrairieStew wrote:

I thought the Erhoff deal was bad enough, but $7.5 m for 4 years for a 20 goal scorer who is turning 36 !

Knowing that Doan won't sign in Buffalo makes me wonder if this is a pr move by the owner to show the fans and future free agents that he is willing to do whatever it takes to build a winner.

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#33 44stampede
August 22 2012, 07:29PM
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From the way I see it, the rich (or probably the most vocal and powerful) owners don't want a socialist type league where the strong prop up the weak. They see this as common sense and can't understand how the players would think that is capitalistic/the right thing to do. I also happen to believe that most of the owners like being able to hide a bunch of revenue and simply claim to be losing money (though I don't doubt much that some are).

The players see the NHL in general making a ton of money and that the rich are obligated to pay the poor. Not tax the employee.

I can see both sides thinking they are right and the other wrong.

There has got to be a middle ground where a little of both is done. Pro sports is a different business than most. Either you have to get rid/relocate 3-5 teams or figure a way to have everyone make a buck.

I also think, in a perfect world, that things HAVE to be skewed a little more towards the owners. I've said it before and Old Soldier brought it up again, if the team actually is losing money will the players take a pay cut to help mitigate that loss so everyone makes a buck? There is no way in hell. I also think that owners need to be way more transparent with the money they make. If the team is actually losing money then great, get some help but if they are simply crying wolf, screw 'em. Of course this will never happen so again, some middle ground will have to be reached where neither side is going to be too happy.

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#34 beloch
August 22 2012, 08:07PM
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Regardless of whether you think the players deserve more or less, there's one thing I think we can all agree on:

The owners are being #$@%ing dicks.

Their initial offer was ridiculous. The initial offer from the NHLPA was reasonable, but Bettman basically took it to the bathroom and used it like a farmer's almanac. If there's no hockey this fall, it's the owner's fault. They will receive all the blame and no sympathy from me.

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#35 SmellOfVictory
August 22 2012, 08:13PM
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beloch wrote:

Regardless of whether you think the players deserve more or less, there's one thing I think we can all agree on:

The owners are being #$@%ing dicks.

Their initial offer was ridiculous. The initial offer from the NHLPA was reasonable, but Bettman basically took it to the bathroom and used it like a farmer's almanac. If there's no hockey this fall, it's the owner's fault. They will receive all the blame and no sympathy from me.

The initial counter from the NHLPA was also ridiculous, albeit slightly less so.

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#36 RexLibris
August 22 2012, 08:54PM
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PrairieStew wrote:

I thought the Erhoff deal was bad enough, but $7.5 m for 4 years for a 20 goal scorer who is turning 36 !

Wait and see if Iginla is re-signed for less. I'm not trying to start an argument, but I think Flames fans would have to admit that Mr. Edwards and Mr. King could tell Feaster how much and for how long on a new contract for the captain.

As for the owners and the players, I can't fully rescind my support for the owners because the last time it was about the very survival of my city's team. That being said, I think the players are coming out a little bit ahead. We shall see. If the players are the ones that ultimately scuttle any deal for a half-decent season...?

One thing that should be worth taking note of, last time around this forum didn't exist. Now, at the very least, we can all come together on the Al Gore (as per Lowetide) and grumble about it.

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#37 beloch
August 22 2012, 09:33PM
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SmellOfVictory wrote:

The initial counter from the NHLPA was also ridiculous, albeit slightly less so.

How was the NHLPA's counter-offer ridiculous? They actually offered a modest reduction in player salaries. That was completely unexpected given the tone the owner's set with their initial offer.

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#38 PrairieStew
August 22 2012, 09:37PM
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@RexLibris

The reason it is so hard to support the owners is that this is the system they wanted and were willing to sacrifice an entire year for. Make no mistake - it was a 100% win for the owners last time and 57% of hockey related revenues was their number. It begs the question - if 43% of 2 billion was enough for the owners to operate and make a profit 8 years ago, why is 43% of 3 billion not enough now?

You can bet that most of the team values have also increased 30 to 50%.

I think there is some room for the players to give space on the salary floor to help out the stuggling teams, the difference between the cap and the floor is pretty tight right now.

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#39 cLyde
August 22 2012, 09:46PM
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PrairieStew wrote:

The reason it is so hard to support the owners is that this is the system they wanted and were willing to sacrifice an entire year for. Make no mistake - it was a 100% win for the owners last time and 57% of hockey related revenues was their number. It begs the question - if 43% of 2 billion was enough for the owners to operate and make a profit 8 years ago, why is 43% of 3 billion not enough now?

You can bet that most of the team values have also increased 30 to 50%.

I think there is some room for the players to give space on the salary floor to help out the stuggling teams, the difference between the cap and the floor is pretty tight right now.

These owners are very competitive and greedy people much like the players. However, unlike the 1950's, all players are getting rich playing a game with no financial risk. If everyone of these guys quit over this today, we would go watch a whole new group of players without too much long term remorse because the crest on the front of the jersey is more important than the name on the back.

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#40 WTFmang
August 22 2012, 09:58PM
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Do the players get paid 57% of league revenue (I assume divided by the number of players in the league) on top of your contract at say 7mil in the case of captain joe blow?

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#41 Kent Wilson
August 22 2012, 10:07PM
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@WTFmang

No. The players contract is used in the calculation of the total player compensation. The cap itself typically ensures that total player compensation doesn't go over 57% of league revenues. So the league projects potential revenues for the season and then sets the cap ceiling based on that amount. However, sometimes the estimates may not prove accurate.

The players total compensation (all their salaries combined) is not allowed to exceed 57% of total league revenues in any given year, so the league polices this by taking off a percentage of each player's salary and putting it into an escrow account. At the end of the year, the league revenues and total player compensation is calculated and if they exceeded the 57% by a given amount, the money from escrow is given to the league/ownership group. Players will receive money from escrow if the calculation swings the other way.

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#42 SmellOfVictory
August 22 2012, 10:27PM
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beloch wrote:

How was the NHLPA's counter-offer ridiculous? They actually offered a modest reduction in player salaries. That was completely unexpected given the tone the owner's set with their initial offer.

Wasn't a big enough reduction, in my opinion. The revenue split should be 50/50, and nothing else should change.

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#43 Kevin R
August 22 2012, 11:25PM
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Kent Wilson wrote:

No. The players contract is used in the calculation of the total player compensation. The cap itself typically ensures that total player compensation doesn't go over 57% of league revenues. So the league projects potential revenues for the season and then sets the cap ceiling based on that amount. However, sometimes the estimates may not prove accurate.

The players total compensation (all their salaries combined) is not allowed to exceed 57% of total league revenues in any given year, so the league polices this by taking off a percentage of each player's salary and putting it into an escrow account. At the end of the year, the league revenues and total player compensation is calculated and if they exceeded the 57% by a given amount, the money from escrow is given to the league/ownership group. Players will receive money from escrow if the calculation swings the other way.

Kent, I am curious if the math of the 57% of revenue carries over to the cap & cap floor that flows to all the players. Now with all these front loaded contracts, is there anyone who has looked at the impact of actual $$$ being spent versus cap hit & the percentage of those numbers of the revenues. Seems to me, players are getting paid more than the 57% of the revenues in actual $$$. I wonder what % Weber, Parise & Suters front end loads work out to alone?

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#44 don't trade our core
August 23 2012, 05:58AM
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I see the team up the highway locked up Hall. Too bad, I thought a good way to grab some high end talent would be to poach it from the oilers thru RFA offer sheets. Oh well, three more chances. Maybe they won't sign Eberle and we can take a shot at him. Somebody has to do something because that team looks to be scary in the near future.

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#45 Resolute
August 23 2012, 07:28AM
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beloch wrote:

How was the NHLPA's counter-offer ridiculous? They actually offered a modest reduction in player salaries. That was completely unexpected given the tone the owner's set with their initial offer.

They offered a modest reduction in salaries, but only under certain circumstances that have no guarantee of being met. But significantly, they propose to axe the one thing the NHL was willing to cancel a season for: linkage. By that very fact alone, the union's offer became a joke. It was designed for public relations, not to act as a framework for a deal.

But here's the funny part. The union did suggest one level of linkage, but only when it benefits them. If revenue growth exceeds 10% annually, the union gets 57% of it. So while they detached the linkage if revenue should fall, or grow at a slower pace, they want their cake and to eat it too at the high end. And then there is the hilarious "players' option" that would reset everything back to the current system in year four. In other words, the union wants to put is right back to square one on September 15, 2016, and offered an option that guarantees they will not negotiate a new deal until after that option is taken.

It ain't happening. The linked cap is not coming off the table, and the union knows it. Rather than work within the framework established in 2005, it wants to diddle around and waste time. So be it. We'll see how they feel in a few weeks when they start losing paycheques.

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#46 Steve
August 23 2012, 07:36AM
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PrairieStew wrote:

The reason it is so hard to support the owners is that this is the system they wanted and were willing to sacrifice an entire year for. Make no mistake - it was a 100% win for the owners last time and 57% of hockey related revenues was their number. It begs the question - if 43% of 2 billion was enough for the owners to operate and make a profit 8 years ago, why is 43% of 3 billion not enough now?

You can bet that most of the team values have also increased 30 to 50%.

I think there is some room for the players to give space on the salary floor to help out the stuggling teams, the difference between the cap and the floor is pretty tight right now.

What is the value in any argument that starts with 'isn't 43 % enough to make a profit'. Obviously, the converse argument is 'why is 46% not enough for the players to make a living'. Everybody involved is making 'enough', except for the franchises that don't belong in the league. So if those franchises are going to be kept, it should be a shared responsibility between the players and the league to keep them afloat.

So the only question is what is a reasonable split? Well, the first number that comes to my mind is 50-50. What numerical formula are you ever going to come up with that will quantitatively determine a 'fair' split of revenues? Each side is always going to want more. The PA is saying they could 'lose' 450 million dollars in salary under the owners proposal. It's not theirs to lose! That CBA has expired. They no longer get 57% of revenue. A new deal has to be negotiated. By their argument, the owners have 'lost' a lot more than that by going from 52% to 57% over the course of the last CBA.

Just go 50-50, start watching the fans pour in, pull in the semis, cart your money home and stop bickering

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#47 Resolute
August 23 2012, 07:49AM
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And as far as a split goes, even at 50-50, the NHLPA would be getting a higher percentage share than any of the other three big leagues do. Both the NHL and NHLPA know that MLB, the NBA and the NFL are all in the 46-49% range for player compensation.

The "they got their deal in 2005" argument is also irrelevant. It is 2012, not 2005. In 2005, the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche were mega-rich markets that wanted nothing to do with controlling salaries. In 2012, both markets are struggling. Nobody thought in 2005 that the Loonie would spend most of the term at or above par. Despite the interesting piece at Canucks Army, I don't think anyone really anticipated that the disparity in revenue growth would be *THIS* bad. Colorado, for instance, has been almost flat for the life of the deal. I think their growth actually trailed inflation.

Both sides recognize two things: 1. improved revenue sharing is important. Both sides propose to increase it, and to offer it to more recipients. The players' offer, iirc, was worth about $25 million more per year. 2. The players' share is going down. While the union pulled that "see! 50-50 in 2014-15!" stunt, the truth is, their best case scenario is actually about 54%. Consider the owners' offer of 46%, and we can see 50-50 as the end point, with some negotiations left for how HRR is defined.

And note to Ilya Kovalchuk: concert revenue is not HRR.

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#48 cLyde
August 23 2012, 08:45AM
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Steve wrote:

What is the value in any argument that starts with 'isn't 43 % enough to make a profit'. Obviously, the converse argument is 'why is 46% not enough for the players to make a living'. Everybody involved is making 'enough', except for the franchises that don't belong in the league. So if those franchises are going to be kept, it should be a shared responsibility between the players and the league to keep them afloat.

So the only question is what is a reasonable split? Well, the first number that comes to my mind is 50-50. What numerical formula are you ever going to come up with that will quantitatively determine a 'fair' split of revenues? Each side is always going to want more. The PA is saying they could 'lose' 450 million dollars in salary under the owners proposal. It's not theirs to lose! That CBA has expired. They no longer get 57% of revenue. A new deal has to be negotiated. By their argument, the owners have 'lost' a lot more than that by going from 52% to 57% over the course of the last CBA.

Just go 50-50, start watching the fans pour in, pull in the semis, cart your money home and stop bickering

Love the last sentence. It is very hard to side with the players. They take no financial risks, are treated like kings and make an absolute boat load of money and live very rich lives and are set by age 30. All for playing a game. Consider this as well. Rhett Warrener recounted a story about taking his brother on a Yankee/Red Sox weekend all paid for by his per diem money that he had just been stuffing in his gym bag that year. Most meals are provided yet these guys get given a per diem. Pretty tough to feel for them.

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#49 Reidja
August 23 2012, 08:49AM
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I think that Buffalo's proposal to Doan highlights that some teams overrate this type of player and that we have to trade Iginla ASAP. If we wait until his counting stats catch up (regress I should say) with his underlying stats we wil have missed the opportunity to cash in on one of this teams most valuable assets. And the asset pool is very shallow here...

On another topic. Seriously, trying to solve the CBA issues between the owners and the owners; the owners and the league; the owners and te players; and the players and the league is a fools errand. Brush-up on the happenings around your favorite NFL club's training camp instead. Invest some NHL ticket dollars in a fantasy league. Check out cricket. Anything but hypothesize about something that none of us have even the slightest knowledge about.

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#50 Steve
August 23 2012, 09:17AM
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Reidja wrote:

I think that Buffalo's proposal to Doan highlights that some teams overrate this type of player and that we have to trade Iginla ASAP. If we wait until his counting stats catch up (regress I should say) with his underlying stats we wil have missed the opportunity to cash in on one of this teams most valuable assets. And the asset pool is very shallow here...

On another topic. Seriously, trying to solve the CBA issues between the owners and the owners; the owners and the league; the owners and te players; and the players and the league is a fools errand. Brush-up on the happenings around your favorite NFL club's training camp instead. Invest some NHL ticket dollars in a fantasy league. Check out cricket. Anything but hypothesize about something that none of us have even the slightest knowledge about.

I agree. That was going the be the jist of my previous post, but got drawn in to offering my own solution. Let's let it go.

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