Five things: Let’s think about this

1. Bettman at the Islanders presser

So Gary Bettman goes out at the Islanders-to-Brooklyn press conference (more on that in a minute) and basically says there’s no chance at an 82-game season. This was reported as news despite the fact that everyone on the planet more or less knew that was going to be the case anyway.

But I don’t understand two things about this.

The first is that Bettman said the reason for there not being a full-82 is that the NHLPA refuses to negotiate. This after the PA literally gave him three proposals last week, all of which were given a whopping total of 10 minutes’ worth of consideration each. So what Bettman undoubtedly means to say, and I’m sure this is mere oversight on his part and not an attempt to spin every bit of information about this lockout — not work stoppage — like a top,  is that the NHLPA will not negotiate based solely on the parameters being laid out in the league’s offers, which come off more as a joke than an attempt at settling the collective bargaining agreement. That, of course, isn’t the same thing as "refusing to negotiate."

But what’s perplexing to me is that people just let him say stuff like this with impunity. He’s been at a whole boatload of press conferences and other things where he’s said something along these lines, and while he hasn’t taken questions at all of them, he certainly did today. So why on earth are a bunch of paid journalists sitting there and letting him outright lie. I made the point on Twitter during the presser, but why didn’t one person stand up to say, "Uh hey Gary, listen, didn’t the PA just give you three proposals, not one of which you even gave more than a cursory glance?"

Not to get too political here but, well, I guess I’m going to: I think this might be the same reason no one in the mainstream American media is calling out Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for outright lying about things to better suit their cause. Remember when the moderator told Mitt Romney that Barack Obama said something Romney claimed he didn’t? There was FUROR over that. "Why is this woman allowed to fact-check?" people actually asked. The answer is, "Because she’s a journalist and doesn’t appreciate someone, no matter how much power they wield, lying to her face." There is a perception that the media is no longer allowed to bring that kind of thing up because it’s unfair to the person to whom they’re doing it, as though to be fair one has to report what was said, and not whether what was said was a load of crap.

The same can be said of the approach with Bettman. He is lying. Every day. Directly to hockey fans. And journalists to whom he is lying just sit there happily tweeting out his comments without anyone saying, "Hey Gary, yeah you’re literally just making things up so please don’t do that any more." I understand this comes off as pro-union stuff and that I am very much on the record as being pro-union in all this. But if the side that’s already denying us hockey knows it has to keep lying to our faces to even keep up with the PR battle, what are we — and the journalists who are eschewing "reason" in the interest of some perverted and twisted definition of "fairness" — even doing?

2. The Isles in Brooklyn

I know this is something most Canadian fans don’t want to hear, but the fact that the Islanders are moving to Brooklyn in three years instead of (random Canadian city) is far better for the team and the league.

For one thing, the team stays within a few dozen miles of the place where it won four consecutive Stanley Cups in the early 1980s, and that, to some extent, matters. Second, it does not expose the team and the league itself to fluctuations in the value of foreign currency, which as we all know crippled or killed nearly all Canadian-based teams not THAT long ago. Third, having another team in the No. 1 media market in the U.S. matters a ton for the league. Fourth, there are very few hypotheticals, at least when compared with "yes but will people in Quebec City/Markham/Wherever still show up five or 10 years down the road when the team sucks?"

Canadians think, in general, that having a ton of NHL teams within their borders is some sort of birthright but that really doesn’t make much sense from a financial or noterietal standpoint for the league. A team in New York City, even if it doesn’t sell out every night, is far better than one in Quebec as far as American media is concerned, and that’s really all that matters. Canadians are gonna watch hockey anyway, and doing more to court them, as opposed to potential fans in Brooklyn and surrounding boroughs seems like a remarkable waste of time.

3. Feaster hates video games

Funny note from the dudes at Pass It To Bulis: They are apparently running a fake Canucks season using NHL13, and within that league, there are rumors that they might trade Roberto Luongo to the video-game Calgary Flames. Jay Feaster, making a trip to Abbotsford last weekend to watch the Heat take on the Canucks’ farm team from Chicago, made it known that Vancouver media members were not under any circumstance allowed to ask him about this rumor from a video game.

I don’t know what’s funniest about this story, but there are a few candidates:

a) Jay Feaster knows about the video-game rumors.

b) He was so bothered that it MIGHT be brought up that he forbade it in advance.

c) Vancouver media might have actually asked him about it.

d) Any of this took place at all.

4. Gaudreau back to it

So after a not-great opener for Boston College in which Johnny Gaudreau and Billy Arnold’s team lost 3-1 on the road to Northeastern, the team is back to form in earnest, and perhaps not surprisingly, it’s Gaudreau leading the way.

He picked up two goals and two assists this weekend as the Eagles beat UMass 5-4 in overtime and on the road, behind a furious third-period comeback. UMass entered that period up 3-0, but BC cut it to 3-2 as Arnold scored 11 seconds into the period and was on the ice for the other at 8:26. UMass got that last goal back just over a minute later, but inside four minutes to go, Pat Mullane — Gaudreau’s linemate — scored twice in 70 seconds. Gaudreau netted the overtime winner after setting up the game-tying goal.

The next night, in a 3-0 shutout, Gaudreau scored BC’s second and picked up the primary in the third. As of today, he has 2-3-5 in three games. Arnold’s only point was the goal against UMass.

If you’re wondering about Mark Jankowski, apart from the two-goal opening night performance, he has just one assist in three games and is a minus-3 with six shots on goal. Jon Gillies, on the other hand, has a 2.11 GAA and .924 save percentage, but Providence has had some tough opponents and isn’t scoring a lot, so he’s 1-2-1.

5. The Flames didn’t get Davidson

That was a fun one while it lasted, but he has bigger and far worse fish to fry.

  • everton fc

    Yeah, I don’t know if that first point tells anyone anything they didn’t already know. IMO there is absolutely no value in listening to anything Fehr, Fehr, Daly or Bettman has to say. I thought I did hear him say the reason was the PA wouldn’t negotiate off the NHL offers. Who cares? I don’t understand why you’re up in arms about that comment. Same thing both side have been doing since day 1.

  • T&A4Flames

    Re: Gaudreau, can someone enlighten me as to what his linemates are like? Do they have speed/size that opens up the ice for him? Or is it very much that he creates his own space? Thanks in advance.

  • supra steve

    Excellent article. Gadreau from all reports is back and even more dominant. Some people may shrug at this but it’s important that he shows he can and is a driving force on his own (as was expected) and not dependent on Kreider.

    Terrific report on the cowardly media who refuse to call the main faces in this mess on their blatant lies (especially NHL and owners). How no one has challenged Bettman at one of these press conferences is beyond me. Furthermore, has anyone asked any of the owners (especially the crook in Minnesota) how he can negotiate and sign 13 year $90mm contracts, then cry broke and demand they be rolled back 2 weeks later? Someone needs to shove a microphone in his and some of the other owners faces at one of these “negotiations” and demand a comment. If I was Illitch in Detroit, who was outbid on those deals, I would be steaming mad that they offered and got players to sign contracts they had no intention of honoring, and I essentially lost out on that basis.

    • T&A4Flames

      C’mon man. Seriously, you can’t think that Illitch or any other owner wouldn’t have done the same thing. Besides, there has reportedly been disention between the owners so maybe it isn’t Minny doing the crying. I would be more upset if I was part of the Preds ownership group. They were forced into a contract with Weber that they would probably rather not have done. But, they have to stay competitive to keep their fans. Philly had the resources to attempt that offer sheet, now the Preds are hurting a bit.

  • supra steve

    Imagine that, someone telling half truths in a labour negotiation. If you think the only one doing this is Gary, you have not been listening objectively to the other side.

    Funny that you expect one group of journalists to ask Gary the hard questions, but then are amused when another group want to ask Feaster about someone’s NHL13 trade rumours. And the reason Jay knows about the video game rumours is, some moron has already bothered him with questions about it.

    I was also a little disapointed to see JD go to the BJ’s. Thanks for the article.

  • Colin.S

    Couple things with your first point(though I agree with the overall tone).

    The NHL won’t even negotiate on ANYTHING other than the “Make Whole” provision with the PA. From what I’ve been reading it’s that the NHL is will to negotiate on the parameters of the “Make Whole” as long as the PA agrees to EVERYTHING else that they proposed. That is NOT negotiating at all.

    I thought this was one of the greatest clips at explaining some of what you are talking about with regards to the media:

    More and more “Journalists” are more publiscist than Journalist. Like does ANYONE take the Fan960s views on the Lockout seriously, they are pretty well on the NHLs payroll at this point in time. 960s biggest ticket is the Flames, does any believe they would take up any other position other than towing the company line?? They wouldn’t want to take the players side and risk the Flames not making players/management available for interviews. I mean the company that owns 960 owns a hockey team, it’s in their best interests to get as many people showing a favourable response to getting the players to take less money.

    I would SERIOUSLY like anyone to give me a reason why they support the owners in this OTHER than the players make to much money(matter of opinion). There is NO other reason than that to support the owners in this debate.

    Should the players share as a whole be reduced, sure it should, however it should be done as a negotiation with the NHL giving something BACK to the players as part of it, the NHL is currently offering NOTHING to the players, and most of the media is currently telling the public that it’s a “good” deal.

    • T&A4Flames

      Well, I’ll give you one big major reason I side with the owners on this & it has two heads. First off, the owners take the risks, if the world economy tanks real bad, the players get their guaranteed contracts, the owners may only be able to fill a building if they give free beers & hotdogs with the purchase of a ticket. & while we are on this head of the argument, why should a player like Gomez be guaranteed $7mill when he is paid to score 40 goals & gets 5. What business pays employees top dollar for non performance & cant do a thing about it. The second head of this is, the economy has been sucking, ticket prices have been going up up up just like the HRR. At some point, even those who can afford to pay these ridiculous prices cannot justify paying these prices. So who do I have to go to to say, hey, I wont pay these prices, you have to drop the ticket prices to retain me as a paying customer? Its the Ownership/Management. If I went to Jerome to say, hey look dude, I love ya but I cant afford to pay your 7.0Mill anymore, can you convince your buddies & yourself in the locker room to take a pay cut so the Owners can reduce the ticket prices? What do you think he would say? I know. “Sorry man, you really need to talk to Jay & Ken about that, I dont control what they charge for tickets.” So who do you think I would have a better chance in convincing to drop ticket prices?

      Obviously the end game is 50/50 split. Players have to know this is where its going. Seems to me the biggest contention is the “make whole/soft landing” issue. Why wouldnt the players who were around in 04 & Fehr just say they will work off the owners proposal & start to hammer out this make whole concept and call it what it is. Players would look like rock stars if they just take this approach.

      • Colin.S

        LMAO, the owners take Risks, I love when you owner defenders say this, exactly what Risk did Bell+Rogers take in buying the Maple Leafs? Katz in buying the Oilers? Oh but you say it’s a “risk” to buy the Coyotoes or the Panthers or some other southern Franchise, no thats not a “risk”, thats lunacy. You don’t then turn around and tell all the Players in Cities where the teams are doing MORE than okay and say, well this guy bought a “risky” investment in Phoenix so we are going to need ALL the players to take a paycut to help him out. Are the savings in the profitable cities going to help that city, no of course not. Before these guys EVER buy a team they are given FULL financial information to these teams, and if they still feel it’s a great investment, then whats the risk, they know the product they are buying. Look at the Panthers, that team loses butt loads of money, but thats not the end game, the Owner also Controls the Building and as Elliot Friedman mentioned in a previous article, he still made tons of money at the end of the year because of his lease he negotiated to get control of the arena using the Panthers. The players don’t get access to money the owners get negotiate those additional revenues owners get for “managing” all the days that NHL is not in the building.

        Why should Gomez be garaunteed 7 million dollars, cause some idiot GM decided he was worth 7 million dollars and then a SECOND idiot GM decided he was worth trading for. Scott Gomez was an investment, some GM thought that by paying him it would make the club money. That is REAL risk, cause not every signing works out, injuries, age or just complete declines in production. However that shouldn’t be confused with your first assesment of risk, Scott Gomez is payed within the confines of what determines HRR, so if he isn’t getting paid, that money filters to another player.

        Yup the economy sucks, and in the face of a sucky economy the NHLs business has only grown by approx 10% each of the last two years, man the NHL got hit hard there, ugh. Ticket prices keep going up, huh, I wonder who decides ticket prices, couldn’t be those owners now isn’t it. But you say HRR is going up, no, no its not, HRR has hit its MAXIMUM, 57% and it’s been that way for several years.

        LMAO, you think that Jarome and buddies taking a pay cut would reduce ticket prices, LOL, let’s do business sometime, I have some bridges and possible a tower in France to sell you. Do you honestly think if the NHL gets what it wants and we go to a 50/50 to start this season ticket prices will magically go down, the ~280 Million the owners get back will make its way to ticket prices, LMAO, so nieve. The owners decide the prices, and if they decided to reduce prices, players salaries would go down because players salaries are actually tied to things like ticket prices. And Jarome didn’t actually make 7 million last year he made less than 6.3 million due to Escrow at 12%.

        And Fehr and the players have acknowldged 50/50 already, they are willing to get there, just not with an immediate 12% pay cut and a whole new set of restrictions on contracts and play. Gary Bettman doesn’t want the players to “work off” their proposal, as was said a couple day ago:–nhl.html The owners are ONLY willing to discuss the Make Whole provision as long as everything else is agreed on. Tell me exactly what the NHL is giving back in these negotiations for players????

        • T&A4Flames

          Well you sound like my 20 year old son in many ways. You just dont get it do you. How do you equate league due diligence prior to granting a future owner a franchise to the no risk scenario. Are you nuts? These owners have a lot of other very successful businesses that they envelope a sports franchise with. And they do that well. Are players endorsements part of the HRR? Would the likes of Crosby have any where near those endorsements if he wasnt able to be “marketed & hyped” by the Owners NHL league? It is their league & if the “product/players” dont like the cost of playing in that league, then I suggest they form their own if its so simple & risk free.

          And I think you missed my point(you obviously misread lots of what I said), in that, when I see the owners increasing their revenue split, that precipitates us Season Ticket holders entitlement to request reductions in ticket prices. Of course its the Owners/Management that determine the seat prices not the players, I was just making a point but the players also share in those prices because I am quite sure that is part of the HRR.

          You think if a person were buying an NHL team and was going into it solely for generating a livelihood for himself, would even consider buying an NHL franchise that wasnt in a major market? And will Jarome & buddies continue to laugh their heads off when more pigeons/fans start to say no to donating to that big HRR pot? What is the NHL giving back to the players you ask? Well, the ability to put their specifac skill set to work in North America & earn more money than any other profession that isnt professional sports.

          One rule you should know & its called the Golden Rule, & its basically the man with the Gold makes the rules. Right or wrong, fair or unjust, that’s the way it is in everything, just at different levels.

          • supra steve

            I got into it with Colin several weeks ago. He is likely to just keep responding, elevating his take from being disrespectful to being abusive/name calling. He will not be swayed no matter how well reasoned you present your thoughts, because he does not agree with you/me. I no longer read his posts, but in reading yours, I think I know where he is headed. Just my thoughts.

          • Bean-counting cowboy

            Yeah I hear you bro, Ive seen him in action before & should have known better. I’m like Rex, really, I’m ticked at the whole wham bam of them. You know, I have 3 lower bowl seats that cost $155.00 each & factor in parking, beers, nachos & I’m spending around $600.00 to take my kids to a game. Now they want to condense the 82 games into a shorter calender, so in effect I could be spending $2500 in a week to watch Stajan be Stajan, Iggy to float at centre ice & just over all a mediocre team. While these 2 sides fight over over this media hyped 3.3 Billion pot, I am starting to re evaluate where I want to spend my $$$, while these guys fight on the public stage over every nickel & making me look silly. The economy has had a huge impact on our business & cash flows. I know Eric is right & there is a huge waiting list for tickets & I am dreaming to expect any price reductions. I guess it will come down to my choice of whether I want to continue to contribute to this cess pot of greed. The longer this goes, the more likely I will let someone else go fill their boots, but I dont think I’m alone in how I feel.

          • supra steve

            I had some cheap (but not terrible) seats for half of last years games. My son and I enjoyed the games, but it got to be like having a second job and as the season progressed we started missing some games and didn’t always find takers for our (free) seats. A lot of work to drive into Calgary 20+ evenings during the winter. We will not be doing it again. It took me 5 years after the last labour dispute to go back to buying tix., this time it will probably take me longer to go back to supporting either side financially. Minor hockey is doing a great job of filling in for the NHL, and I may find a few evenings to attend some AJHL games as well. I will have no trouble finding another place to spend my entertainment dollars. Hold-em in Vegas does sound like fun.

          • Colin.S

            There is no risk, this business is not like any other traditional business. Hockey teams don’t have to worry about launch new products, becoming outdate(think things like Typewriters or pagers), or competition for Hockey(there is competition with other sports leagues, however they have a monopoly on Pro-Hockey). Pretty well when you do your due diligence you seem the income revenue and out going revenue, if you even have half a brain, you can tell if it’s a good or bad team you are buying and can see if there is a chance that revenue will grow(getting better as a team) or they will stay mostly the same with small growth. There is a reason that there was a few people that had interest in buying the coyotes, because using a sports team to get a city to give you full control of an arena can be a very profitable business. Again this is SO VERY VERY LOW risk there may as well be NO risk invovled with a team. The only time there is risk is when you decide that Garth Snow and Scott Howson would make great GMs.

            Yes, I said that ticket prices make up part of the players HRR, the same revenue the owners get. Now I want you(if you are a season ticket holder) first off to try and get a meeting with Ken King and then second try and ask for a reduction in Ticket Prices cause they get more money. After you leave his office and he’s done laughing at you, he’s gonna instead raise ticket prices cause of DEMAND, thats what drives ticket prices NOT player salaries. When teams like the Flames have waiting lists for season tickets and the like, they don’t decrease prices, prices go up. All the money that the Owners are getting back from the 7% the players are giving up is bigger profits for already profitable team. If you jumped on the Owners bandwagon in this cause you think Ticket Prices will be lower, you picked a bad bandwagon to jump on.

            The NHL is giving back the ability to play and work in North America, you mean they weren’t doing that before??? See in NEGOTIATIONS, there is suppose to be give and take, that’s why this **** hasn’t been settled yet, you have one side that has proposed nothing but take, take, take and given nothing.

            The man with the most gold makes all the rules, thats a great theory we should all just live with right? Should just get rid of minimum wage and workers rights cause they all get in the way of rich guys making money right, third world working conditions and child labour, pffft, if the guy with the most money thinks its okay, well its good to go.

            @Scube Steve, I have yet to see ONE reasoned and thoughout post as to exactly why the Players need to bend over and take the proposal that the league has suggested, ONE. All the arguements that I see from anyone defending the owners are mostly just angry/jelous people that the players make as much as they do.

          • Wow, you need some chanting & meditation therapy & think about what your fingers are typing. You lost me on this one. If you represent how the players are approaching these negotiations, there wont be hockey. Then I’ll be using my ticket refunds to go play some main event poker down in Vegas & have a blast I might add.

          • Colin.S

            No, the players are approaching this negotiation, like a real negotiation. The NHL has instead decided that you don’t deserve NHL hockey unless they can make bigger profits. The NHL has decided NOT to negotiate with any of the PAs proposals and instead will be “pulling” it’s proposal. But you can sit here and defend them all you like for whatever reason.

            But yeah damn those bad players for making all that money.

  • Subversive

    Kevin, the one thing you’re missing is that the players are both the employees AND the product. This is not a business where the owners can fill these jobs with just anyone. So, they get perks us regular folks don’t get.

    • supra steve

      Lots of employees are “the product”, not many get anything resembling these kinds of “perks”.

      And as many NHLers have shown a lot of European and AHL players…hockey players are indeed, all replacable.

    • T&A4Flames

      I have to agree with Kevin, the players are VERY WELL taken care of. I understand the sacrifices they’ve made to develop their god given talent to become athletes, but they are compensated very well. They don’t pay a dime for equipment, travel, meals, hotels, trainers, etc, etc. etc. I have absolutely no pity for the players. Even the guys that only make league minimum will make more in 1 year of NHL hockey than a lot of people will make in 10 years.

      That said, I do believe the owners need to take responsibility for the contract they negotiated in 2005. Asking the players to just give it all back in one fell swoop is a LOT to ask.

      • Colin.S

        They don’t pay for travel/meals/hotels and more, however those don’t get included for HRR purposes so it’s a wash. Essentially both players and Owners pay for that, a portion of the HRR is used to pay for all that, and out of that part the players don’t collect money, so thats hardly ANY deal at all.

  • @ Kevin R, I hate to break it to you but the league could get a 70-30 split with the players and your ticket prices would not go down. Don’t you remember the last lockout when Bettman promised that ticket prices would go down????? Ticket prices are driven by demand. The fact that teams sell out means that they can continue to charge the same or more. There is a reason tickets in phoenix are $20 and come with beer and food, because nobody goes! Ticket prices will do nothing but go up after this lockout so get your head out of the clouds, quit supporting owners who are lying to you and quit supporting Bettman cause he is pretty much insane. 50/50 revenue split won’t make the league profitable, taking teams out of awful markets is what’s going to help and better revenue sharing from the teams who are raking it in. Knocking a few million off the cap is going to do nothing and I will guarantee the moment this CBA expires there will be a new lockout.

  • RexLibris

    On another note, while it isn’t exactly a smiling Iginla, it should make Flames fans smile.

    The guys at Team 1260 are also running a simulation season for the Oilers, and….last night the Flames beat them 6-3. The boxscore is here (spoler alert, Stajan scores a goal!)

    Anyway, thought that might cheer ya’ll up a bit.

    As for the debate over owners’ side versus players’ side, how about this – I am not altogether on anybody’s side because nobody is altogether on my side.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    I typically side with the owners on these issues, but also acknowledge that Bettman can be one hard-assed shrewd man sometimes.

    I like Erik Duhatschek’s idea of league contraction.

    If the players won’t go for the current proposal, how about the leauge start with a 6 team contraction proposal. See how the Fehr brothers like putting 140 full time NHLers out of work.

    You can’t force the rich teams to share with the poor. They won’t go for it. They also wield the most influence with Bettman.

    That being known, how about cut out Phoenix, NY Islanders, Florida, Anaheim, Columbus, & Tampa from the league. If that doesn’t get the players attention then throw in NJ, Dallas, Nashville and San Jose for another 90+ players out of jobs.

    The league will then have positive profits from most franchises, higher level of play and more money to pay its players with.

    Seriously just push the big red button already and ‘take the deal’ before you risk opening up the case with the millions of dollars of foregone salary in it.

  • Derzie

    Both sides suck to a degree so it’s really easy to argue your case from either side. Bottom line is that they have lost touch with reality. They’ve become just another pair of companies fighting over profits. Both wrong. Both right. Depending if you are a sports fan, business owner, hockey player or all of the above, your perspective is correct. But there is still no hockey and this is a hockey blog. Sigh…

  • When people claim that the owners are the ones assuming all the risk (and also when people claim NHL players are overpaid), I default to talking about the players that dedicate their lives to making it to the big show and then don’t. If you grew up in Canada, you probably know a few guys that made huge sacrifices for their hockey careers and ended up selling tires anyway. To me, that’s serious risk. To me that’s the overwhelming majority when it comes to that situation. What age does a potentially pro athlete commit to his decision and ignore his own best interests in order to basically buy a lottery ticket that might (but almost definitely won’t) make him a millionaire? Is there a career that is as risky and potentially short as a professional athlete’s?

    • Bean-counting cowboy

      Perspective dude. Yes they have sacrificed, but any less than the small business owners that work 12-14 hours a day 7 days a week & make a fraction of a pro athlete like these players. I’m not saying the players should not be incredibly compensated, but how much is enough? You play hockey & you should make enough for you & every member of your immediate family to live like royalty for the rest of their lives? So the career is shorter, so what, I think working on the oil rigs is probably way more dangerous. Is there any less sacrifice & commitment becoming a doctor or surgeon? They probably make about the same money as a 4th line player, & they save lives. Perspective dude.

      • Now hold on a sec. Dedicating your entire life to playing hockey has roughly the same risk factor as dedicating it to med school? Damn. Where were you six years ago? I wouldn’t have all this student debt, and I’d be in peak physical condition to boot…

      • Colin.S

        You are right, perspective. Hockey Players work in a semi free market economy, thanks to the NHL, the Salary Cap and a lot of rules governing ELC/UFA have been put in place, so it’s not a true Free Market. However, even with the limited Free Market, players are available to offer their services to a team that feels those services would best make the team money. The teams are “Investing” in a player, its not a just a salary. Thats why the best players get more than your replacement level player, because the more skilled player will get a team a higher return on their potential investment(maybe not in the case of Scott Gomez, but that’s where real risk comes in).

        Doctors and Others work in a free market as well, but the problem is there is a much LARGER supply of potential replacements than a professional athlete. Yup, working the Oil Rigs is dangerous, but a lot of those guys are very easily replaced by the next labourer who wants his job, and again the skills sets wouldn’t be so vastly different that it would be in a companies best interest to offer an overly large salary. As for Doctors, it’s not much different, generally there is a large supply of people coming out of University that there is constant supply. There is a differnce in skill between a new and more veteran doctor, however that is usually reflected in rates of pay. As well a doctor has a chance to make much more money if they are the most skilled at their job, like a doctor at the Mayo clinic makes a TON more than a family doctor working at a family clinic, because the doctor at the Mayo clinic may be one of the most skilled in their feild.

        The best example is companies hiring CEOs. Some CEOs can be making 10, 20 or 30 million dollars a year. And why are they making so much money? Because those companies Board or Owner want the best they can to run their company and make more money. An NHL team is no different, they want to contract the best so that their team is the best and they get the best return on invesment. Thats the reason why Sidney Crosby makes way more money then Tim Jackman, because Crosby’s skill set lends itself to a team being able to prosper off that skill set.

        The NHL has put itself into a place where the top players and even mediocre players make way more than they need because of over expansion. Do the players benefit from this, sure, but it’s the lowest tier players that do, that make up the smallest percentage of HRR, cause teams have to fill up the bottom lines with them to fill out rosters.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Yeah, Colin S. is a more than a little unreasonable and a little bit spastic.

    Thing is, no one needs to take a “side”. But there are a few givens that the players are going to have to accept before there’s hockey.

    Anyhow the “chasm”, as it were, is a lot smaller than what people think. They’re not too far apart, but quite frankly the players are having a tough time figuring this out.

    • Colin.S

      A few givens the players are going to have to accept? Like 50/50, oh yeah they agreed to that, and what else exectly are do they HAVE to accept?? Why can’t the owners accept anything? Please answer that.

      The players are having a tough time figuring this out? They have figured this out, they know the end game is 50/50 and have proposed MANY different ways to get to 50/50. The only people having a tough time figuring this out are the owners and owner defenders. The only caveat to getting to 50/50 was that the PA wants Owners to Honour the contracts it just signed, quite frankly the fact that after the PA suggested it’s third offer that we didn’t have the start of the season is disgusting and shows how little the Owners care about anything but the almightly dollar.

      • T&A4Flames

        Dude, did you recently get fired by one of Murray’s other companies? You really have a hard-on for the players.

        They make more than enough money, plain & simple. Ticket prices will rise with demand, yea, thats business. Don’t make the players out to be saints, they’re out to make money as well and they and their agents have had just as much to do with the rising salaries.

        I think all can agree, regardless of what is the outcome of this labour dispute, the only real certainty is who the real losers are, we, the fans.

        • Colin.S

          I could care less for the players, I care about the negotiating process and what a freaking joke the NHL has made it, and that the owners GREED, EGOS and ARROGANCE are stopping a fantastic sport from being watched by millions and with it happening 3 times now, they are soon going to be doing a better job of killing this sport than promoting it.

          “They make more than enough money, plain & simple.”

          I think a lot of people make more money then they ever should, but I don’t start railing against them and hoping they get their ass handed to them.

          “Don’t make the players out to be saints, they’re out to make money as well and they and their agents have had just as much to do with the rising salaries.”

          No actually, they haven’t had ANYTHING to do with rising salaries, unless you count getting more people to watch hockey as having something to do with it(and making the Canadian dollar go to all time highs). The last CBA that the owners pretty well FORCED the players to sign tied players salaries to revenues, so when hockey revenues rised so did players salaries. Players and Agents can’t ask for more than what the Owners are contractualy olbigated to give them. This isn’t a free for all like Baseball.

          • T&A4Flames

            “No actually, they haven’t had ANYTHING to do with rising salaries, unless you count getting more people to watch hockey as having something to do with it(and making the Canadian dollar go to all time highs).”

            If that is really what you think, that they haven’t had anything to do with rising costs then you really are blind and closed minded. You’ve rendered your comments pointless and not worth the time to read.

            You argued that you haven’t read 1 argument that made sense to be pro-ownership, but you haven’t made any solid player arguments either. Bottom line is both sides are are not negotiating in good faith. Anyone that sees 1 side so strongly is a complete fool. You need to calm down and analyze a little deeper.

          • BurningSensation

            Colour me among the pro-players.

            – Owners demand and recieve new arenas paid for by tax $ and then get sweetheart deals giving them full ownership, parking, concert revenues, etc. And when they don’t get these deals they snit-fit and fly off to Seattle in a thinly veiled attempt at fan blackmail.

            – NHL owners unable to stop themselves from committing suicide in a free market, lockout the players. And then after the players are treated like the unwilling centerpiece of a year long gang bang (with fans forced to watch) sign a deal on their terms. Then as soon as the deal runs out they lower the bar and do it again. And then again.

            – Before the NHL even let’s the players carve out a section of the revenue pie, they first make a large portion of it off limits as ‘non-HRR’. So 50-50, isn’t.

            – As ‘negotiations’ go, NHL owners fail to comprehend the concept. The league trumpets massive growth and revenue gains, then begins ‘negotiations’ by demanding clawbacks on salaries and a reversal of any function of contract negotiations players had ever gained in the past (contract length, arbitration rights, earlier free agency, etc). ‘Negotiations’ continue by ignoring any proposal the players make and hiring the same GOP spin doctors who turned a policy guaranteeing universal health coverage into ‘death panels’. Serious negotiators these owners.

            – In the month prior to the lockout the owners signed $200m worth of contracts. And then immediately proposed cutting that by a quarter after the lockout. This is the definition of ‘bad faith’.

            – Rather than admit that teams like Phoenix are simply not viable economically (you could add $67m to league profits by moving them to a location that merely breaks even, and add $100m to that by moving them to a city like Quebec City, or double that again by putting them in S.Ont), they insist on bailing them out -year after year.

            Do the players make ‘too much money’? No. In European soccer (the biggest sports business in the world) the players make 70% of the revenue. In baseball (the biggest sport in North America) players are part of a genuine free market, no cap and no floor – yet somehow teams still manage to make huge profits.

            So F Bettman and F the owners.

          • Colin.S

            “If that is really what you think, that they haven’t had anything to do with rising costs then you really are blind and closed minded.”

            And you don’t understand how the CBA works. The players Salary isn’t a rising cost, AT ALL. It is a FIXED cost, as determined by revenues, the players get a MAX 57% of league revenues. Even if EVERY player took the league minimum salary, at the end of the season, through escrow, the players would equally receive the remaining dollars up until the players got 57% of revenues(minus league expenses). Much the same if EVERY player got max allowable dollars, once the players hit what was 57% of revenues, all the dollars over that would be equally taken back from the players through escrow and given back to the owners.

            So there isn’t some back room meetings by players with agents asking how they can continue raising salaries. Escrow this past year was set at 12%, so the Iggys making 7 million actually only made 6.3 million, Scott Gomez making 7.5 million only made 6.7 million. Salaries are a FIXED cost, which is why ceiling floor/cap.

            Players are not intentionaly raising costs, players costs are being raised because revenues are going up, if Revenues go down, so do player costs. I don’t get how that is not the simplest thing to understand. Players DO NOT determine costs, they can’t artificially raise their salaries or conspire to raise salaries like Baseball.

            There isn’t a great arguement that is FOR player either. It’s more a looking at the bigger picture. The last time out the NHL got EVERYTHING they want, they wanted a salary cap and salaries tied to revenues, however they gave the PA some better contract rights. This time the NHL is looking for reduced salaries, restrictions on ELC/RFA/UFA and has a general disinterest in actual negotiations all while giving NOTHING, again important to note, NOTHING back in return. As well, players salaries are NOT the main issue in the NHL, though the NHL would love you to believe that it is. The biggest issue is the Revenue divide between high Revenue teams(Toronto/NY/Van) vs low revenue teams(PHX/FLA/CLB) and this CBA again does nothing to address or even attempt to fix it, instead they want to put the blame on players salaries, and people who are jealous or dislike high plaries salaries eat that up.

          • T&A4Flames

            Ok, and your seeing one side of that CBA, or maybe you don’t understand the CBA from both sides. The escrow goes back to the players and in 5 of the 7 years since the last lockout players received their escrow and 2 of those they got more than expected.

            Sure, the players receive back their 57% and the rest, 43% goes to the owners, just like it was negotiated. That is where the owners have to really except responsibility for a mistake made. The players made out quite alright with the lat contract so maybe the NHL knows what they spare doing.

            I’m not absolving the owners of anything, what I have been trying to get across to you is that BOTH sides are at fault and to sympathies with the players is just silly. In any other scenario, would you feel pity for multi millionaires who are going to miss out on a few cheques and ultimately a fraction of their multi million $ contracts? If money is managed properly, any player who plays even 1 year of NHL hockey can be set for life and in a lot if cases, generations are set. Your arguement for rising player costs is absolutely rediculous. Contracts are negotiated not computer generated by some assimilated #. Escrow plays a small part in that but ultimately, the contract is raised because agents and player ad will pit GMs against each other to out bid for services.

            It’s lame ass attempts at arguing like yours that push me to cheer for the other side.

          • Colin.S

            “what I have been trying to get across to you is that BOTH sides are at fault and to sympathies with the players is just silly”

            How are the players at fault? For what, accepting a deal they were forced to accept and entirely crafted by the owners. And why should there be sympathy for the owners, OH BOO HOO, YOU ARE MOSTLY BILLIONAIRES AND ARE USING HOCKEY TEAMS TO GAIN LUCRATIVE LEASE DEALS ON ARENAS YOU NEVER PAID FOR AND GET ALL THE REVENUES ON! OH THE HUMANITY!

            “In any other scenario, would you feel pity”

            I DON’T pity these players, I have anger at obviously greedy, cocky, peice of crap owners who don’t care about you, me or the NHL, just how big their bottom line is.

            “Your arguement for rising player costs is absolutely rediculous. Contracts are negotiated not computer generated by some assimilated #. Escrow plays a small part in that but ultimately, the contract is raised because agents and player ad will pit GMs against each other to out bid for services.”

            Really, you have shown that you know how NHL salaries are divided up, but you are still so ignorant on this, it’s just sad at this point. The Salary cap was set at 39 million following the lockout, that means each team was allowed to spend up to 39 million, and there was a cap on what the maximum contract was allowed under the cap as well. It was NOT because players and agents pit GMs against each other for that players services, it’s because Revenues have sky rocketed since then that the Salary cap would have been around 70 million this year. Players and Agents are asking for more cause every year revenues have gone up there is more to ask for. Salaries are not going up because players and agents are conspiring to make them go up, they can’t, there is a SET AMOUNT they are allowed to negotiate from. When you consider that the salary cap has gone up 80% or more and there is the same amount of players now as there was in 2005, it’s only natural that players salaries could have gone up a lot as well. As well the base salary has not gone up a lot since 2005 either, so it’s the high end players that are getting the biggest benefits to higher revenue, thus higher salaries.

            Again, and I want to you understand this as best you can. Players and Agents are negotiating the best possible contract, but even at their best pitting GM vs GM, they are restricted as to how high those contracts can go because of the Salary Cap, Escrow and HRR%. So despite Players and Agents best efforts, there is a limit that they can make players salaries go unless revenues go higher. Infact should Revenues go down, there is NOTHING they can do to make salaries go higher, short of the salary cap being abandoned that is.

          • T&A4Flames

            Wow Colin, your still arguing at 1 in the morning.

            Thanks for the financial lesson, but I already had an understanding of all that info you wrote.

            “It was NOT because players and agents pit GMs against each other for that players services, it’s because Revenues have sky rocketed since then that the Salary cap would have been around 70 million this year.”

            Ok, let’s look at the recently signed Parise & Suter contracts. After signing they both come on the TV & say how happy they are, it’s where they wanted to be. So, if that is the case, why all the posturing from them & their agents? They pretend to show interest in Philly, Det & a # of other teams including keeping their respective teams, NJ & NSH on the hook. If MIN is REALLY where they wanted to go, then why not just go to them & say, “let’s work out the best contract possible.” They do it because it drives up the price and ultimately the size of their contracts. ie, they want MORE MONEY. You call me ignorant to these financial issues but I know you are very naive in your thinking, and it’s because you have a closed mind. Love the players and their union, that is your right. But, you will never convince me that players along with their agents don’t drive up the salaries, regardless of how impressive the revenue increases have been. Although, I will concede that it does factor in however not in the way you seem to think.

            “I DON’T pity these players, I have anger at obviously greedy, cocky, peice of crap owners who don’t care about you, me or the NHL, just how big their bottom line is.”

            Again, you absolve any of this greed and arrogance from the players. Naive. Neither side cares about you or me as much as they care about the size of their pocket books.

      • Colin.S

        The owners would like to have the 50/50 sooner than later. None of the PA proposals had the 50/50 split sooner than year six. I thought that was obvious.

        But I’m going to give you a different take on the whole situation.

        From the last lockout, it is generally agreed that the players capitulated on virtually every point. Yet here we are years later, and it’s obvious that the players did very, very well for themselves, despite the perception that they lost out from the recently expired CBA.

        So then, even if you (yes, you Colin S.) believe that the players are “going to take up the ass” in this CBA, perhaps they’ll still do really, really for themselves, and there’ll still be bad teams, and there’ll still be good teams, and some owners will make money, and some owners won’t, and perhaps we’ll all be able to watch hockey again someday.

        And yeah, hey, don’t work yourself into a tizzy. You’ll give yourself an aneurysm. You’re the only one that’s mad here. The rest of us are disappointed at both sides.

  • As far as the Isles in Brooklyn – as opposed to Canada – I agree with you 100%. But honestly, the answer to “but will people in Quebec City/Markham/Wherever still show up five or 10 years down the road when the team sucks?” is DEFINITELY YES. Which is why, when the league finally gives up on Phoenix next year, Quebec City will be a great destination.

  • Colin.S

    Wow, this was quite a comment thread to read. You see what this lockout is doing to us?? It’s turned the FN comment thread into a battleground! Everyone is losing their minds! I blame the snow.

    Also- NHL plays a 72 game schedule starting December 1st. You heard it here first

  • Colin.S

    Who are these owners and why don,t they speak for themselves? They keep us all guessing as to there reasoning on matters of economic common sense.They are rich men who have done nothing to indicate they are smart with money. How anyone could back this paticular group of fools is beyond me.After this is over and the players give in to there unreasonable demands ,they will again spend like drunken sailors.EGO-MANIACS

    • supra steve

      My prediction of Colin’s response:

      “You must be taking it up the a__ from the owners, plus you are a %=#*/!.”

      No offence Colin, I hope you are well. But I’m still not reading your stuff and by the responses you are getting, I know I’ve made the right decision.