Five things: So many issues

1. Puttergate

Lots of good Flames golf jokes on Twitter this week, and even more fan outrage, most of it directed at Eric Francis.

Now, in nearly all situations, vitriol directed at Eric Francis isn’t exactly something to be frowned upon. He’s a regular Gloomy Gus about this team (not that he shouldn’t be these days) and as such says a lot of things Flames fans do not like to hear about their team.

And so, when he ripped into them for skipping the team’s annual charity golf tournament, the first thought many had was that he simply made it up. He even conceded that, as far as the players were concerned, they had a very good excuse to not go to the golf tournament: A last-ditch effort to save the league from yet another lockout (brought on in no small part by Murray Edwards, let’s not forget). That’s a noble cause for hockey fans everywhere. Not as noble, say, as the Flames Foundation For Life, which raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for Calgary charities annually, but noble enough in the players’ eyes. One that can at least be seen as reasonable.

The response was devoid of reason. Granted, the Flames had committed to the event, and thus not attending in an effort to save their jobs for a few months (or more) was them going back on their word. In a sport in which ethics seem to play so large a part — every story ever is about what great guys Hockey Players are because That’s How They Were Raised — going back on your word, especially if it was your word to raise money for a charitable organization, is borderline unforgivable.

This however, did not prevent Flames fans from lashing out at Francis, despite the fact that Ken King confirmed in a team-issued press release that the players wouldn’t be in attendance just hours after the story first broke.

And then the Flames backed off their decision to sit out the tournament. Those players who were traveling to New York still did so, and those who remained behind in Calgary said "Okay we’ll be there," which I guess should have been the plan all along. After all, though Edwards is one of the most repugnant owners in the league, he is eclipsed by Philadelphia’s Ed Snider, for whom Scott Hartnell and other Flyers players appeared at an eponymous charity’s golf tournament earlier this week.

Let’s be perfectly clear about all of this: No one went to this golf tournament hoping to see Matt Stajan, but at the end of the day, a whole lot of money was raised for a very good cause and all it took was a front page story on the local fishwrap controversy-specializing newspaper to get that to happen. Oh well.

2. Arena deals and greedy idiots

Yesterday, two seperate bits of news shook out with relation to arena agreements in two very different hockey markets. And yet, they involve people asking for more than what they’ve already agreed upon simply as a means of a cash grab.

The first was in Edmonton, where they’re so desperate to get a new rink and downtown center built that the city was ready to cut owner Darryl Katz a $125 million check, and charge its residents (and visitors, one supposes) a "ticket tax" of $6-7 per seat to fund another $125 million. Katz himself is only putting up $100 million of his money, and the other $100 million is, they hope, being paid for by the province.

But despite the fact that Katz is ponying up just about 22.2 percent of the money needed for his rink, he apparently felt compelled to go to the Edmonton City Council with his pockets turned out and a cup with some spare change and pencils rattling around in it. He was promptly told to take a hike, as he should have been.

The nerve of a guy worth $2 billion (according to Wikipedia) to demand more money from the taxpayers who support his team to begin with, and essentially hold the city’s beloved squad ransom, because its City Council refused to give him EVEN MORE than the 77.8 percent already coming to him in taxpayer dollarsm, us stunning. But given that we’re dealing with an NHL owner in a city making a decent amount of money, maybe we start need to look at crying poor as par for the course.

Of course, when you mention teams making a decent amount of money, franchise No. 3,174,142 that comes to mind is the Phoenix Coyotes. And there, it’s not the owners asking for too much money, because of course there is no owner. Instead, the Glendale City Council, bastion of responsibility, decided that its agreement with Greg Jamison wasn’t quite good enough.

The result? They are trying to amend their agreed-upon deal to pay Jamison’s shadowy ownership group $72 million over the first five years of what was supposed to be a 20-year, $300 million contract. That money, by the way, was to be paid to Jamison’s group to operate the arena.

As discussed above, I am firmly of the belief that not giving rich people taxpayer money is a good thing, especially in a city facing a $35 million budget gap this year. Nonetheless, it is paying a hell of a lot of money already to keep the ownerless team. Therefore, since you’re trying to get someone to take it off your hands, it’s probably a good idea to NOT try to blow up the deal with the only semi-serious suitor in half a decade right on the launchpad.

But hey, I’m not a city council member or rich person, so what do I know?

3. Good news, Flames fans

We all know by now that we’re not getting a full 82-game season. But that might actually help the Flames out and allow them to achieve their goal of Going For It.

On Goal Analysis recently did, well, some analysis and determined who, since the end of the lockout, would be most likely to make the playoffs through a 50-game season. And wouldn’t you know it, hey, Calgary squeaks into the playoffs on that metric, finishing sixth with an average of 58.1429 points in those first 50 games. For the record, that’s a pace for 95.35 points over an 82-game season, which is typically good for about eighth.

But I know what you were going so say: At some point since the lockout, the Flames were actually good. Throw those results out the window, they’re being skewed upward by the good times. Well that’s what I thought too, but no! In the past THREE seasons, Calgary has averaged an even 58 points through 50 games, also good for sixth in the West. I couldn’t believe it either.

So, Flames fans, maybe you want to actually start rooting for a 50-game season.

4. Visnovsky to the Islanders

This has been the undercover best story of the offseason. Basically the timeline goes like this:

a) Lubomir Visnovsky and his $5.6 million cap hit are traded to the New York Islanders by the Anaheim Ducks for a second-round pick.

b) Rumors of Visnovsky, who believed he had a no-trade clause, being discontented with the trade and refusing to report to Long Island begin to surface.

c) New York News Day writer Arthur Staple does an interview with Visnovsky, who is all like, "Yeah I don’t know where all that stuff came from, I’m happy to go to the Islanders."

d) Visnovsky files complaint over trade in an effort to block it from taking place.

e) Arbitrator tells Visnovsky his no-trade wasn’t in effect so have fun in Nassau.

f) Visnovsky cries, probably.

It was awesome.

5. Help me out with a good cause…

I don’t ask you guys for much (except, I guess, to put up with me on a weekly basis), but in this case, I’m going to do it.

I’ve been helping out at a tutoring/writing center here in my home city of Boston for about seven months now and, like all nonprofits, it relies heavily on the support of outside parties to continue operating. Every year they do what is called a Write-A-Thon, and participants write things in exchange for donations.

That’s where you come in. I’m going to try to write something about hockey every day between now and Oct. 12 (when the event ends) at my personal site, which is where you can also get more info about this whole situation. But the important distinction is that there will be no CBA talk whatsoever. None. I refuse.

If you’d like to donate — and again, it’s a really great cause that helps foster a joy of writing in kids from grade school to high school — you can do so by clicking here. My goal is to raise $500 in US dollars, and I hope you can help me out with that.

For more information on 826 Boston, visit their site. Again, super-cool and awesome organization.

Thanks for sitting through this part.

  • I take BIG Issue with Point one, and before you think I’m piling on the players, quite the oppisite in fact. Lets look at the facts that are presented.

    In Eric Francis original article it just says that players are “pulling out en masse”, never anywhere does it say that NONE of the players would be attending. It simply says not all of them would be there.

    Lets then jump to the Flames PR response to this whole mess. Again in their response they say “Flames players will not be in attendance”. Is that EVERY flames player, some flames players, 3 flames players? It makes no specific mention if NONE of the players are attending. Very clever wording.

    Francis doesn’t want to see the players succeed this barganning session, you sure as **** know Edwards wants the players to take a broom handle where the sun don’t shine, so both articles are very cleverly worded but never say that NONE of the Flames players would ditch the golf tournament. What it does say is exactly what is happening. Flames Players(plural) are attending the CBA meetings, not all of them of course, but the players are attending the meetings and can’t attend the Tournament, and that is what Francis most likely heard, and he sensationalized it that none of them were attending.

    And even if NONE of the Flames players attended I’d still support their decision not to. Murry Edwards has been SCUM latley, he one of the top driving forces of this latest CBA, why should the players attend a golf tournament whose primary purpose is to give their season ticket holders/luxury box holders a chance to rub elbows with the local NHL players so that those guys will buy more crap so that Edwards makes more money. If the Flames were so concerned about local Charity, why didn’t the Flames step up and make up any differences? Yeah they offered a refund to those who paid to be there expecting Flames players, but they never said they add extra to their foundation to match say last years donations. They don’t care, it’s a tax write off and a chance to meet celebrities.

    Edwards is spear heading a CBA negotiation that is going to lose a season of Hockey and hoping to take as much as 24% of players HRR salaries, not even going into new contract restrictions, ELC, arbitration and Free Agency rules. Why should the players cheerfully jump to the whims a billionaire who is putting the boots to them. The fact that so many people are so anti player is depressing and I hope they find themselves in a position where their boss decides they want a new Yatch and take 24% of their salaries.

    • T&A4Flames

      I completely disagree with you. Forget about all the labour problems and the “why should the players attend a golf tournament whose primary purpose is to give their season ticket holders/luxury box holders a chance to rub elbows with the local NHL players so that those guys will buy more crap so that Edwards makes more money” stuff. You’re missing the whole point and that is who actually gets hurt in this; the cahrities. Who cares if Edwards chooses to schmooz the attendees in hopes of building his business.

      It takes a lot to put on a charity event of this magnitude. You need to separate the business part from this. This is a chance for a guy with billions to give some back to the community and for the millionaire players to use their fame for the same purpose. It’s the business that both sides are in that allows for an event like this to happen.

      The organization and players all commited to this a long time ago and I’m glad the players found a way to accomodate both their need to attend the meetings as well as fulfill their obligations to this charity event.

    • Matty Franchise Jr

      Actually, en masse means “as a whole” or “all together”, while “Flames will not be attending” means just that.

      Quite specific when you think about it.

      • Colin.S

        Forget to include the third possible definition of “As a group”, a group of Flames went to NY, again as I said, Francis worded that story ever so well to generate hate and page clicks as much as possible.

        @Scuba Steve, that 43% and 57% isn’t set in stone at either from what I understand, certain expenses can be deducted from HHR, in fact adding all the teams Cap hits for this year, it’s over 100 Million LOWER than what the players are entitled for based on 57%. Though that is cap hits and not salary(actual salary is likely higher) so theres probably some held back in Escrow….. But in the end what is means is that Owners have more to work with and more room for profit.

        As well it’s incredibly hard to calculate what it costs to run a team, they don’t pay the same room rates regular joe does, or pay the same to fly to a place. As well depending on lease agreements or who owns the stadium/arena an owner would not be resposible for maintanence or upkeep. Then you figure in funny tax figures, for an example, the article is a little flawed but proves a point:

        However, easy way to figure how profitable it is to run a hockey team in Canada. So profitable that they are discussing a team in Quebec, Sask and 2nd team in Ontario.

        So when you throw out a cute “Profit (if anything’s left)?” comment, your either naive or stupid, take your pick. Hockey is INCREDIBLY profitable in Canada right now(lets see what happens with a weak CDN Dollar), if you don’t beleive all the Canadian teams minus Winnipeg are not reaping giant profits, again you are naive or stupid.

        • supra steve

          You can’t spell, but I’m the stupid one. Right.

          Also, there are a few teams in the league that are not located in Toronto, Calgary, or Montreal. How are profits in Tampa, Dallas, etc.

          I am now done conversing with you, clearly not worth any more effort since you have stooped to name calling. Have a nice weekend, nonetheless.

          • Colin.S

            OH NO! YOU INSULTED MY SPELLING, I MUST BE MORAN~! I must have a grade 8 education level.

            Seriously, get over yourself and get off the owners dick. If your only reply is to try and insult me, you obviously have nothing left to fall on.

            Players are playing on the CBA the owners negotiated, and if people are upset that players make to much, thats entirely dependant on us as the fans/supporters of the league and the owners. If we didn’t pay the ticket prices or watch the games on tv and if Owners didn’t charge so much for everything, players wouldn’t make near as much as they do.

            Get over it.

            Profits in Dallas and Tampa are ****, but I don’t care about them, like I said, I don’t care if an owner loses money, he bought the team, it’s his money, don’t care if he made an incredibly poor investment. My points relate directly to THIS team, the Calgary flames, and our scrooge mcduck of an owner who is making more than enough money, but still is one of the owners spear heading these CBA proposals that is gonna cancel the season.

            Do you read that, the owner of the team you cheer for couldn’t give a flying **** if you have a season of hockey to watch cause he’s to busy trying to break the players so he can pocket the ~15 million in salary he’d get back from the players. Thats ALL PROFIT for him, that won’t decrease ticket prices, or make Sportsnet TV package any cheaper on Shaw, or change the price of a jersey, thats just money Edwards gets to profit.

          • Colin.S

            Start replying to the points made instead of being a 3rd grade grammar douche. Or does the hard hitting logic smash your brain with the might of thor’s hammer that insulting spelling errors is all you have left?

  • supra steve

    When the radio station that broadcasts all Flame games reports that the players have ALL pulled out of the golf tournament, I tend to believe them. Seemed like a provocative ploy by the local players that reinforces the stereotype of the “stupid hockey player”, though it is hard to believe that they are all THIS STUPID.

    I am of the opinion that these owners are rich men, with or without profits from their hockey team. I feel that this tournament is good press (and business) for the team AND the players, as it is the ticket holders that ultimately pay their inflated salaries. I also believe that the funds generated by this (and other) events go a long way towards making Calgary a better city.

    Congrats and a pat on the back to those that make these fundraisers possible and give their time and money. Shame on anyone who would seek to damage such an event for their own purposes.

  • T&A4Flames

    Francis, Fan960 and Sportsnet are nothing but mouth peices for the owners, the owners pour so much money into those places that they will say whatever the Flames want them to say. So if you really believe Boomer and Warraner in the morning are telling you the 100% gospel, I have a bridge and tower to sell you.

    The Flames foundation for Life is a Calgary FLAMES charity(see Edwards Charity), it’s not run by the players, the players have no say in how it’s run, the players involvement is simply showing up and promoting the charity. So forgive me if I see the other side of the arguement. The players not being there doesn’t hurt the Charity at all. In fact this should have been an oppurtunity for the Flames to step up and say the Flames would garauntee that no matter what the Tournament would raise as much as last year and if it didn’t the Flames would cover the rest. Wanna know why they didn’t, cause Edwards couldn’t give a ****, that might mean using some of his own money. And if this negotiations are any indication he loves money more than he loves hockey or charity.

    The Calgary Flames players are not contractually obligated to so up at these events. So when the Owners decide that for the sake of money(thats all these cba negotions are, billionaire owners deciding they don’t quite have enough money) they are going to ruin the livelihood of hundreds of players, forgive me if I have some sympathy for the players who are probably a little more worried about their future than helping a scumbag billionaire look a little better to the guilable public.

    Inflated Salaries, then what are the Owners profits then? Your totaly okay with owners making 30-40 million off of a sport but the players can’t have a fair shake? Hypocrit and a hater. The players were given a CBA last time and told to sign it, the fact they are making what they are making was the choice of the owners, not the players.

    And if you feel the ticket prices are inflated talk to the Owners not the players, players recieve a set amount of league revenues. So if ticket prices went down so would players salaries, so blame owners who have decided they want to charge that much to make more money off of you.

    • supra steve

      I’m not going to argue with you, your mind is made up. Don’t let things like facts, math (how many teams are making $30-40 million?), and charity muddy your opinions.

      • LOL, Facts and Math, what Facts and math, I gave you plenty. What Math do I need to know. Heres some math for you:

        I believe the NHL revenues were around 3.3 billion or so last year. The players were entitled to 57% and the owners 43%. SO the Owners got 1.419 BILLION of that, divide by 30 teams and that is 47.3 million per team. Obviously that is not an accurate #, because some teams like say Phoenix, Columbus and NYI aren’t making ****, so other teams are higher by default. As well not all Hockey teams revenues are not tied into HRR that teams must share with players, so that number is most likely quite a bit higher than we know as well.

        The highest cost of running a Hockey team is the players salaries, after that the 47.3 million per team is that teams to use. NOw they have GM costs, travel, coaches and all that and depending on lease status pay a lease to use the building as well. However I VERY much doubt that 47 million is eaten up entirely by that and then again that 47 million isn’t all the revenue available to an owner.

        No owner in the NHL or any other sport is running a team out of fun, they are running a business and to make money, and if you don’t believe that teams like Toronto/Montreal/Vancouver and if not Calgary/Edmonton are not making 10/20 or even 30 or more million dollars you are fooling yourself.

        If you believe these owners are champions of charity and running a team cause they enjoy it, you are a sucker.

        I donate to lots of Charities, I think Charities do a great deal of work, but don’t fool yourself about Charities either, especially ones RUN by big business, they are a great place to get Charitable Tax donations as well as generating good will with the public.

    • T&A4Flames

      Again, you’re missing the point. I don’t care if the owners have alterior motives and different agendas. The money from this event and others like it go to charity.

      I agree the players are, and should be, concerned about their futures. But, unless all these players were going to NY, some should feel obliged to do this event to benefit charity; not Edwards, not the Flames organization, just charity.

      Just my opinion.

  • Matty Franchise Jr


    Are you ok with some owners losing 10 mil while all of their employees made bank that year regardless of how well they played? On top of that going from 1 mil to 750k wouldn’t ruin my livelihood, I just wouldn’t be as ballin’.

    Regardless of who gets paid what. If I said I would do something for charity and then pulled out, I would be called a d bag.

    I love the players, watch the games because of what they do on the ice- but from an economic standpoint I can see why the owners aren’t happy. Check out the previous post by graphic comment. It’s pretty good post for a Nucks fan.

    • Couldn’t give a flying **** if an Owner loses 100 million dollars, they choose to buy the business/team or whatever. They DIDN’T HAVE to buy the hockey team, so if their team sucks, they can’t manage it, or they choose to buy a team in the middle of the desert, you get what you deserve.

      They gave the players this current CBA, don’t come crying poor now after you make RECORD revenues.

      If the Owners were not happy with their businesses, sell them, Owning a hockey team has never been their primary business, but its a great little cash cow, and it’s pretty easy to throw the players under the bus when blind fans see how much players are making and think they make to much.

      Also the players ‘commitment’ to the tournament was just asumed, it happens every year. Well this year the d-bag owner decided they don’t want to negotiate in good faith and only want a cash grab, so why should the players not be concerned about their future with the CBA deadline days away.


      Yeah the money goes to Charity, A charity the Flames run, the Flames have more than enough money to cover a shortfall one season when the owner of said teams charity is the one ****ing over said players not attending the charity. See the point.

      • T&A4Flames

        @ Colin

        Nope, I don’t see the point. Like you said, “No owner in the NHL or any other sport is running a team out of fun, they are running a business and to make money.” I just don’t get what you are arguing. I’m not short sighted enough to think that the owners don’t, at the very least, understand the other positives that come out of running a charity event. Sure it makes them look good; sure they can conduct business. I’m simply saying, the charities benefit from the event.

        And hey, don’t get fooled into thinking these events don’t benefit the players in other ways as well. It’s a great networking tool for them. Players make supplemental incomes as well. Do recall all those Scotiabank commercials featuring one Jarome Iginla? Very conceivable to think that the terms of those commercials could have been negotiated through holes 1-18 and onto the 19th hole. Bottom line, charities benefit largely from these events and if I ran a charity that benefited from this event, I wouldn’t care if other business was conducted. My charity benefited and I would be greatful to both the players and the franchise that put it on. Besides, the more business that is worked out at this round of golf, may mean a greater benefit to my charity next year.

        If I were a player being paid millions to play the game I love, and actually pay to play it at a lot lower levels, I would not feel right about bailing on a promise to help out the charities by simply showing up for a round of golf. I recognize the importance of the labour meetings, I would just hope that both things could be given proper attention.

      • PrairieStew

        Heres the thing Colin. I supported and participated in the Tabbi every year, they raised huge funds for the Childrens Hospital. This event was expensive to enter, had phenomenal corporate sponsors, it had well heeled business people in the Calgary community enjoy a day of golf with hockey players & other well known athletes. Over the years I golfed with Kelly Kisio, Ryan Getzlaff, Andrew Ferrance, John Helton, Herman Harrison. I sat with Ivon Corneyer & Marcel Dionne at dinner the year of the Canada Cup. The owners of the Country Hills Golf & Country Club donated the golf course & golf carts. The athletes were the big draw to allow those who could afford the day a chance to have fun with these highly visible athletes in our community. These athletes, especially hockey players make 7 figures a year & not only are they obligated to do this for a community who indirectly pay them 7 figures a year to play a “sport”, this is the least they can do & they should just thank God every day they are blessed with a talent that pays them the riches they make. You are really coming across as an entitled spoiled child. Give your head a shake.

        • Reidja

          I’ve been out of the country lately and have missed this thoroughly boring argument, so maybe a cold eyes review of the issue makes it seem trivial…

          One question to illustrate: what does a Flames player’s summer itinerarary have to do with affluent Calgarians giving to charity? I mean, I know what and to where I’m giving this year. No external factor is going to cause me not to give… I don’t get it.

          Again, having missed the fallout of this obviously charged issue, I think it goes to show that this whole tired argument about the NHL CBA is getting more emotional. I’m glad I’ve checked-out of it.

          • PrairieStew

            Well I agree, I think we are becoming tired of the CBA fight over sick amounts of $$$. I guess the moral of my ramble to Colin is more along the line of when you are able to get so much out of a community & be so fortunate to make more money in one year than 65% of people make in their life times, you need to give back. These charity events are geared to be something special so affluent Calgarians give even more to special causes. Most of these affluent, successful business people already give signficantly already. These players & high profile athletes are the catalysts that make these events come together & its for very worthy causes. I guess I get a little sensitive to Colins approach & trashing successful business/owners & mixing in what the Flames Foundation does for our community with that hate for owners. I will not pick sides in this CBA fight, they are both wrong, split the wheel barrells of money 50/50 & call it a friggin day.

          • Colin.S

            The owners are using this same charity event to make the players look bad because they know that the players have to attend their CBA meetings. The players did somethint optically bad, but the owners used that same situation to turn the public against the players as well. Again where do you think Francis got this information? He got it directly from the Flames so he can fan the flames of hate against the players for doing nothing but being fortunate enough to be the most skilled players in the world at hockey. Where the players lose is that the Owners and managers salaries are not made public like players salaries. If the general public saw the salaries of these owners or managers, or even some of these guys that are going to that golf tournament I think the players wouldn’t get near the heat they do for what they get paid.

            The players were set up to fail before the Tournamet was even on the Calendar.

        • Colin.S

          I’m spoiled, why am I spoiled, cause I support a players right to earn a fair share of what owners are making off of hockey?

          You are the ones demanding these players attend functions you paid money to, that sounds spoiled to me. These players are under ZERO obligation to attend any charity events, it’s not in their contracts(I don’t believe teams can put in a charity clause, don’t see anything the CBA about it). Players attend for any number of reasons, least of which is because you say they are obligated cause you feel they are overpaid so they have to attend to make you feel better. You should feel PRIVELEGED when these guys can take time out of their schedules for a day of golf and fun and considering what their schedules are now, about to be locked out by greedy owners, you should be understanding of the players position, and not one of entitlement that they have to enrich YOUR life.

          Do you know who pays these players 7 figures a year by the way? The Owners of Hockey teams, NOT YOU! If hockey teams didn’t charge the ticket prices they did, or the outrageous concessions, 20$ for parking or 10$ a month for the Sportsnet package, players wouldn’t be making near as much. OWNERS, and I repeat this again so maybe you understand, OWNERS have decided how much these players should make, not you. If you want to direct hate at how much these players make, direct it at the party responsible for it. They are the ones that are deciding what HOCKEY is worth, and they are the ones deciding what players are worth, no one put a gun to the Feasters head and told him Wideman was worth over 5 million a season, that is what the Flames CHOOSE to pay him. If you felt so strongly that players shouldn’t be paid millions of dollars a year, you can choose NOT to direct your money at hockey teams thus reducing the revenue they have available to pay these players.

          If you feel that strongly about players salaries, support other hockey leagues, such as the WHL, instead of the NHL.

          • T&A4Flames

            Dude, you should have quit at the last comment you made in reply to my comment; regarding your solution. It was well thought out, intelligent sounding and lacking excessive emotion.

            Your back to sounding like a tool.

            Support your side, that’s your right, but my opinion is that your way off base on a # of things. Seriously, ” You should feel PRIVELEGED when these guys can take time out of their schedules for a day of golf and fun and considering what their schedules are now”. I don’t think Hockey players schedules are that difficult to navigate around. This golf tourney would have been on their schedules probably for a year.

            Jarome’s comment said it best last night, “it’s a good living.”

          • Colin.S

            There a LOTS of people in Canada who have as much or more money than Hockey players make in a year or will ever make in their life times. So why is that Hockey Players are OBLIGATED to attend these functions and make it their priority?

            Why is it that we single out people who play professional sports and tell them that because they are being payed well for their job that they have to do 10, 20 or 30 times more charity work than anyone else who makes millions?

            It is a good life for the few guys who have career longevity like Iginla. The average players career is less than 5 seasons and more players play only a single season in the NHL than guys who make it past 10 seasons. A lot of guys don’t know if they even have an NHL contract next year, look at this list of CURRENT NHL UFAs: A LOT of those guys are never going to play in the NHL again and a lot of them never earned “NHL” money. Most of those guys were on two way deals, earning AHL dollars, I earned more than a lot of guys do in the AHL(Fun Fact, my base salary was higher than Ryan Howse ahl salary).

            You know what else the NHL players had on their schedules that they hoped they would be able to attend, THE FREAKING NHL SEASON!!! But that doesn’t seem to happening either. These players already have busy schedules at this time of year anyways. Compound that fact that many of them are trying to find out if they are even playing or will have a pay cheque this year, forgive me if I side with the players here and have no problem with them leaving a golf tournamet run by one of the owners currently trying to destroy the upcoming hockey season.

            This is a group of Owners whose own wealth makes players salary look like food stamps and is now crying poor and wants nothing more than a cash grab, Edwards doesn’t need 24% of the players salaries, the Calgary Flames certainly don’t either. If he was so concerned about Charity he would have found a way to make an amicable deal and the season starts on time. Instead he’s going to throw away an entire season of Hockey, many of the full/part time employees of the Calgary Flames are also gonna be without work, along with many others around the league in other buildings. Many others within the Flames organization are also going to be with work, ie trainers, because of Edwards.

            It has been reported multiple times that Edwards has been the driving force between all the proposals the NHL has submitted so far, so for people to say shame on the players. NO, shame on our greedy douchebag of an owner who doesn’t think he has enough money.

          • T&A4Flames

            The same arguement could be made for the players. Why don’t you see them as “greedy douchebags?” Why is it that they don’t “think they have enough money?”

            Listening to the hotstove show this afternoon and someone said part of the arguement from the players is revenue sharing from teams in strong financial situations with the weak ones. Well, does Crosby or Ovechkin or Iginla want to share their wealth with the players making 1mil. or less?

            I just don’t get your hatred for the ownership. It takes 2 to argue and both sides would be guilty if we lost this season.

            As for those players that will play less than the average hockey career, gues what. They have to get regular jobs like the rest of us who weren’t quite good enough to make the NHL. That’s life, and hey, they may go out into the real world and find a way to make their millions anyway, just like Murray Edwards did. He is a self made million/billionaire as I understand it. The players are given all the luxuries of life so that they can focus solely on being the best player they can. They want more.

          • Colin.S

            Players were given a CBA and told to sign it, this is the CBA the owners sold the players and the public that was going to save the NHL and give it stability and cost certainty. Players can’t be greedy, they are only given a certain amount of revenues. And even individual players can’t have a contract that goes over a certain % of the cap either. As well players don’t set the price of tickets, concessions, merchandise or TV deals, thats all the owners, owners determine that, if they were so inclined they could reduce that amount and the players would be forced to take smaller salaries. But again the owner makes money by raising prices on everything and again thats all the owners cause THEY want to make money.

            Actually yes, the players want to share their wealth with each other, in their proposals they have included enhanced and bigger revenue sharing from some of the richer clubs to poorer clubs ensuring that those clubs can continue to exsist. If those 2-3 poor clubs were to fall off the map, that would actually INCREASE their revenues, so for them to be fighting to keep those franchises around actually costs the Ovies, Crosbys and Iggys of the world.

            Actually the only side arguing is the owners, the players have consistently said that they would continue to play under the current CBA until a new deal could be worked out and bargained in good faith unlike the current Owners mantra of lets lock the players out, destory all good will built up with fans, lose whatever US fans you gained, and then hope after the lockout that the Canadian dollar stays high and the fans come back. The players are the farthest thing from guilty, they would like to keep what they have, but are willing to give back a little for some increased revenue sharing and keeping the season going.

            HOW DO YOU ARGUE THE PLAYERS WANT MORE!!!! They are not striking, unlike the owners they are not asking for a 24% increase in their salaries. They want to keep playing hockey, they want to keep making money, they are not making a lockout simply for the fact of making more money. Seriously, the entire owners proposal is to make players salaries as low as possible and then not negotiate in good faith by getting rid of low UFA age and Arbitration rights.

            And yeah it’s so easy for a player to find a regular job. They don’t go to University or College for the most part, our CHL system does not help them in grade department for the most part either. So for these guys to lose a season and possibly their career cause the owners in Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto, Philly, NY, etc are not rich enough is stupid, and the fact that people support the owners and not the players shows how screwed up our society is.

          • T&A4Flames


            Paragraph 1:

            Yea, the owners WANT to make money. What a novel idea; owning a business to make money. Makes sense. How can you say “the players can’t be greedy.”. Of course they can. How many times have we seen players hold their respective teams hostage on the last year of a contract? “Pay me or I will take my skills elsewhere” being the mantra. Parise and Suter both screwed their teams and then pitted other teams against each other to get all they want from the team they wanted to go to anyway. They could have could have taken less to go where they wanted and leave money for the team to sign other players and improve the team. Lastly, your right that the owners or management group set the prices. But they are set within a budget, a budget that helps pay the players. All that work by a large group of managers, supervisors, team leaders and staff. All the players have to do is stay in shape and show up to play hockey.

            Paragraph 2:

            How exactly does that explain Crosby et al paying from their pockets to support the lower paid players? Your explanation breaks down to the owners paying up, not the players. Unless the players fork out a % of their own paychecks that goes towards supplementing the low paid players, sorry, you are so completely wrong in your assessment here.

            Paragraph 3, 4:

            Of course they want to keep playing and making money. Bettmen said they wanted to start negotiating last summer and the players weren’t willing to start. Also, under that scenario, the players would never concede anything. They’re playing and getting paid. The rest you are making assumptions on unless you are a lawyer working on the inside.

            Paragraph 5:

            Ok, so now you are blaming the owners for the players not having an education? The owners probably went to school and the fact that you players get paid more than doctors, teachers, scientists etc. etc. is the real indication of how screwed up society is. You are putting more worth on a player who was simply born with a gift than a person who worked hard by going to school, studying, writing stressful exams, perhaps toiling at the bottom, scraping to get buy until their opportunity was their for them. Now they are reaping the rewards of their hard work and an uneducated player is saying I deserve more of what you have worked so hard for because I have skill. Shake your head Colin, you would break the owners bank and give it all to a hockey player. What of the owners, it’s ok for them to lose their careers and all their well and hard earned money?

          • Colin.S

            LMAO, wow, let me guess, you want Romney and Ryan to win the presidential election in the states to right? LOL, **** poor people, let billionaires make more money!

            How can you say, “the owners WANT to make money. What a novel idea; owning a business to make money. Makes sense” and than turn around and get mad and say Parise and Suter SCREWED their teams. No they didn’t their teams could have traded them, or done whatever it took to sign them. IN NO OTHER PROFESSION do you have system that limits for so long where a person has to work. A doctor, lawyer, teacher can all choose to work anywhere. A player doesn’t have that luxury, they have to wait an absurd amount of time before he can make that decision, as well the whole draft system itself isn’t fair to the player either. You are showing a Bias and its so bad, you are mad at players cause of what they make and their percieved disloyalty and your opinion of how a team should be constructed.

            LOL, show up and play hockey, theres a reason why these players are making millions and all these wannabe’s in this thread that want to see the players fail are keyboard warriors. That attitude right there, that it’s just staying in shape and being born with it.

            Did you even read the second paragraph, the players have in their proposal that they would take less of league revenues if the Owners put up increased revenue sharing. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT, the owners DO NOT have in their proposal an expansion of league revenues. It’s the players putting it forth to help out players on teams with weak revenues. The owners couldn’t give a single **** cause they only care about their one team and making as much money off of it as possible.

            Bettman wanted to start last summer before Fehr was comfortable and before he could get the players on the same level and same page. He was hoping to out manuver the players, it wasn’t cause he was championing a new CBA, it’s cause he thought he could have got the proposal he presented this year passed last year with a weak union. So if Bettman wanted a CBA done last year to keep hockey going for years and years to come, why can’t they come up with a solution this year that they keep going till they come to a solution.

            Again why should the players concede anything when the owners are not willing to concede anything either? It should be a partnership, the owners rather see the players as things they own and should be taken out and beaten behind the wood shed till they accept whatever garbage proposal the owners feel they should.

            And I don’t blame the owners for the players eduction, I blame the system in which our players are brought up. Between games and practices and travel do you honestly think these players are given the education they truly deserve. And even if they do go the college route, if the player is good enough, they are presured by team that drafted them to LEAVE school to join the AHL or NHL team.

            I would break the owners bank and give it to a hockey player? Where have I said that, I support the players in THIS fight because of what they are fighting. The CBA they are playing under was put forth by these owners and now they are crying poor. NO WHERE in any proposal that the players have put forth have they asked for MORE money, they know they have to give up some money and in their proposals they have done that.


            “it’s ok for them to lose their careers and all their well and hard earned money?”

            This is a SIDE business for them, this is an investment, it is a business that is VERY Profitable for almost all teams except those built in the middle of a desert or Florida. If the owners are not making money on it they can sell it or fold the franchis or declare bankruptcy on it like that guy in Phoenix. Almost all these owners BOUGHT into the league, hardly any of them have built these teams from the ground up. Before these owners buy these teams, they do their due diligence, they know the CBA they are buying into, for them to cry poor now is such a pile of garbage. But thanks for buying into it.

            Is it okay for Owners to go back on contracts they WILFULLY signed with a player and now demand 24% back?

  • supra steve

    Kent: Story Idea.

    How much does it cost to run an NHL franchise? I think 43% before expenses and profit (minus player salaries) seems like a horrible deal for owners. What do the Flames pay to run/repair the Dome? Other employee costs? Travel? Advertising? Profit (if anything’s left)? Etc.

    Colin (careful what you say, he might be reading and he’s very volatile) doesn’t care if the Flames lose $100million, I however am not sure that they would continue to provide their product at such a cost.

    Also what is a “reasonable” return on investment (at least 20% I should think) for a similar sized business. Is it reasonable to assume that the owner should walk away with at least as much profit as his five highest paid players (combined) make for a year of playing a game?

    Seems like a big research project, you might want to give it to Rex.

    • T&A4Flames

      If it helps, Doug MecLean was on Edmonton sports radio this afternoon and said when he was GM of the CBJ, he knew that he could spend up to 39mil. when he went over, they were losing money. Now, that was a few years ago and I’m sure things have changed a bit but…..

    • PrairieStew

      $35 million is the number that has been thrown around. I think that is high, because the League settled for 43% of 2 billion at the end of the last lockout, or less than $30m per team ( figures rounded) for operations and profit.

      Doug MacLean said on Hockeycentral yesterday the Blue Jackets lost $17.3 million in the lockout by having no season, and that was with layoffs and cuts. He quoted 30 -35 which I guess I will have to believe.

      Here’s my stab at the numbers and the solution.

  • BurningSensation

    I have to say I’m with Collin (and the players) in this fight. The owners gang-raped the PA last time around and took Goodenow’s head as a trophy.

    The result was unprecedented revenue growth (seriously,7% year over year is HUGE), and now the revenue stream is over $3.3B.

    So we have enormous revenue growth, cost certainty, and naturally the owners would really like to have another gangbang at the players expense to the tune of a salary rollback!

    The facts are that despite the huge increase in revenue most of it can be attributed to the rise in the Canadian dollar (from $.65 to $1.02), which made even a formerly impossible Winnipeg franchise a money making machine, and a new Gazillion dollar TV deal.
    So the ‘haves’ (Bos,. Philly, NYR, 6 Canadian teams, Chi, and a few others) made out like bandits, but the ‘have nots’ (especially Flo, Clb, Nsh, Pho, Dal, and Ana) all got kicked in the teeth by a rising cap floor, and the NHL’s crappy ‘revenue sharing’ isn’t enough to help them.

    None of which is the players fault.

    The leagues bottom feeders are all sunbelt teams, coincidence? The league’s economic model is broken, but the players shouldn’t be held responsible for fixing it.

    As for the whole ‘to golf, or not to golf’, who cares?

    • PrairieStew

      You are right a 10 or 15 % player rollback won’t fix the problem. The salary floor is estimated to be $54 million on the current deal. Take 15% off and you are at $47 million. Assuming the $35 million to run the team you need $83 million to make a profit spending only to the salary floor. According to the Forbes report the following teams have revenues of less than $84 million. NYI, Phoenix, Winnipeg, St Louis, Columbus, Florida, Carolina, Nashville, and Colorado. 10 teams that would not make money spending to the floor under a 15% player rollback !

      At the other end if you roll back the 15% to a cap of $59.5 million, and add in the $35 million to run the team – the Leafs would make $98 million ! The Flyers, Rangers and Habs would make around $70 each. Under that system, you can bet that teams like the Flyers and Rangers will continue to bend the contract rules to spend their money to get an advantage.

  • T&A4Flames

    Wow, this labour thing is really getting tempers up.

    It’s millionaires vs. billionaires, I just don’t care enough to get angry.
    We all have our opinions and one, obviously, have the side they are supporting.

    At the end of this the players will still be millionaires and the owners billionaires. The league exists because people with money operate it and give the guys with talent and skill the chance to get rich for their talents.

    I don’t get how you can fault the owners for spending. It’s a competitive business who’s business is to be competitive. Why did CGY just pay Dennis Wideman 5 yrs at 5.25 per? Because CGY is not a favorable destination right now. But to stay competitive, the management had to overpay.

    You either pay to stay competitive or you fall out of existence. As long as that is the bases of the business, players will always get their millions and the smaller markets will struggle to keep a business.

    • PrairieStew

      I guess that is what the frustrating thing is for the fans. With every contract they sign the owneres of the teams have the opportunity to exercise restraint. Who says you have to spend to the cap ? Stop giving out phony contracts that circumvent the cap (Hossa, Pronger, Kovalchuk, Parise, Suter etc,) and then comeback and ask all of the middle class and league minimum guys to take a haircut for your excesses.

    • Colin.S

      I don’t fault the owners for spending. I fault the owners for stupid spending and then crying poor the next day after giving Parise, Suter, Weber and more lifetime contracts and then have the balls to come out to get public and say they want our support cause they are losing money. While all lying through their teeth because maybe 2 or 3 teams actually lost REAL money. I’m sure 8 or 10 teams lost money on ‘paper’ but so do a lot of Baseball and basketball teams, but not a chance the owner was ever out REAL dollars.

      I hate being lied to, especially when the owners are signing these players to STUPID contracts while in the middle of crying poor and telling the NHLPA they need to take a 24% discount or the league will go under(LOL).

      This contract negotiation should be done in half an hour, here how it would work:

      6 year deal, every year of the deal the players lose 1% of HRR(as currently defined, no changes) so it eventually settles at 51%. So what about cap teams and escrow? Any contract signed before the expiry of the last CBA is calculated differently from new contracts. For example lets use Crosbys contract. In the first year of new CBA Crosby gets everything he signed for, but on paper his cap hit and dollars are 1% lower, that 1% is not given back though, Crosby still gets it, it just doesn’t count against cap or Players % of revenue. The next year on paper 2% is taken off the cap hit and out of % of revenue, but still gets the full amount he’s owed. This goes on till the next CBA or the contract expires. Any new contracts signed do NOT get that exemption nor do players signing extensions, all new contract must fit under new CBA. So at the end of the CBA Crosby’s salary/cap would be approx 7.9M however he would still get 8.7M. For the couple dozen lifer contracts the owners have handed out that owners are just gonna have to swallow that pill, you made the contract you honor it. But for the vast majority of contracts they will quickly be under the new CBA.

      However, the Owners must give a little back as well. For every 1% that the owners get back about 3-5% must be given to weaker teams in revenue sharing. Which is nothing, if Growth stays flat, but year 6 thats only an extra 30 million or more on top of exsisting revenue sharing, but it helps out the weaker teams. That 3-5% could be higher, but I don’t see why, if the bottom 2-3 teams are losing a combined 30+ million dollars those teams wouldn’t exsist

      NO CHANGES on contract length, free agency or changes to ELC.

      Why this works, if the NHL growth continues, the players pretty well lose ZERO dollars and get to keep every single dollar they signed for, but the owners get a bit of suppose relief they need. Also some of the weaker teams get a bit of extra revenue to play with.

  • Jeff Lebowski

    I am 100% with the players. The owners got their deal last time. These owners just can’t manage themselves.
    I was happy with the salary cap and subsequent parity. It begged for astute management. However, owners and GMs proved incapable.
    Suter and Praise’s contacts are prime examples. Lowered cap hits but still $100M has to be paid out. It’s not the player’s fault.
    People think players and agents are extolling these sums but it’s dumb ass owners who go over the top. Regardless of the structure the same pattern will always occur with owners one upping each other.

    • Captain Ron

      At a brief glance it appears to be a three tier’d system: Profitable franchise owners… Break even franchise owners… Losing franchise owners

      The trouble is some of the profitable franchises generally seem to dictate the market value for players especially free agents. While what you say about some of the owners being unable to control themselves is mostly true, I don’t think for a minute that free agent players like Parise and Suter don’t enjoy playing “both sides against the middle” when listening to offers for their services. Under the terms of the current CBA they are certainly entitled to do this but it also contributes to the escalating cost of player salaries as a whole.

      So there is culpability on both sides.

      It seems simple and complicated all at the same time.

    • Yes and no.

      No one can predict what a certain market is going to do for any length of time really. That’s why they renegotiate periodically as you never know, with all the different factors, when it may become lopsided. Sure the owners are part of the problem.

      It’s the way the market is now. Teams over-pay for certain players. If you don’t, you risk becoming irrelevant and losing even more players (not wanting to come to a team that is going down) and more fans (because theoretically the team is worse without said player). It’s a slippery slope and the players are not just these innocents in this. They know what’s happening. They want their cake and to eat it.

      One thing that is bad for players that could be real (if numbers are close to being correct) is that 2-3 teams could fold/relocate if something is not done. I am not for patching it up either so although a deal needs to be reached, not at the expense of a longer term fix.

      To me it matters most what the REAL numbers are and this is something that will never be divulged.

    • supra steve

      The last CBA negotiations ended with a player rollback of salaries and the owners appeared to have triumphed, I agree. But since “the owners got their deal last time”, why did the players extend it (as was their right to do) for an extra year? Then they offer to continue playing under that deal while negotiations continue through the 2012-13 season.

      Why do the players want to continue under this oppressive deal? The answer is, because it turned out to be a great deal for the players. Can anyone disagree with that?

      The cap has increased every year, so that those teams that are profitable/competative feel pressure to “spend to the cap” (approx. $70million currently) every year to show that they want to stay competative. The cap was not originally envisioned (by owners) as what every team should aspire to spend, but as an absolute maximum for Detroit, NYR, TML, etc.

      Then, there are the teams that have terrible revenue situations. No problem, just stock your team with as many marginal NHLers or young cheap prospects as you can so you don’t lose money. What’s that, you have to spend a MINIMUM of $54million on player salaries? Ouch! Speculation is that other expenses may run as high as $35million, so a CAP FLOOR team needs to generate $89million to more or less break even. Ouch!

      No problem, some of you don’t care if owners lose millions every year, so no problem. What? Those owners don’t want to lose millions every year? Fine, shut down your club, survival of the fitest.

      So we just shut down 7 clubs, they sucked anyway. What? 150 players just lost their jobs? Ouch!

      In the end there SHOULD be a compromise. Players will have to give on both the cap ceiling and the cap floor as well as on contract length. I think they are prepared to do that, how much is the question. Owners should look at some form of revenue sharing. The Flames were beneficiaries of some league money back when the dollar was $.65US, they need to share to keep this whole deal rolling.

      But for the sake of all that is holy, get that team out of Arizona. And while you’re at it, put another team into southern Ontario.

      I can’t blame the players for trying to get as much as they can (I can blame their agents). But they need to realize, when Suter & Parise get their $98million, a lot of other players will need to settle for less. There are only so many slices of pie to go around.

      • Colin.S

        Sense, you make NONE! Oh where to start.

        Ofcourse the players would like to keep the current arangement now. There is more to it than just the players got a “good” deal. No one expected the Canadian dollar to go from 65cents to ABOVE par with the US dollar making Revenues jump off the Charts. It was the Owners who decided to tie the players 57% to ALL revenues, not the players.

        Yeah it’s a decenet deal for the players, but it’s not great, with the state of the dollar and revenues sky high, players playing in NY, Toronto, Pittsburgh, Philly and all could be Making a TON more without the salary cap those teams could well be spending 100 million or MORE on players salaries, and other teams like Calgary, Vancouver, LA and more spending well more than what the Cap currently is. So as good for the Players as this deal looks, it has SEVERLY limited what they could actually be making.

        Where do you get this “pressure” to spend to the cap. They do or they don’t. There is no pressure. Teams can decide their budget and go from there. They are not forced to go to the cap. And the cap was not instituted as a means to prevent teams to out spend other teams and competitive imbalance and other BS. It HAS to be there because players are only allowed a certain percentage of revenues by implementing the cap it prevents players from getting to large of that percentage and having to give back a lot through escrow.

        And the Cap minimum, well that again was an OWNERS decision to include that. And that has to be there so that again players are given that 57% of revenues they are entitle to.

        And the costs to run a team are all up to the team. Expenses MAY go to 35million, but they don’t have to. The choice of what to spend on the hockey ops side of things is an owners decision. Again if he didn’t do the due diligence before he bought the team, thats his problem, not a players problem. As for those teams going under. Thats why the PLAYERS have come forward in their proposal with increased revenue sharing, to help those struggling teams. What of the Owners, there was NO enhanced revenue sharing, they couldn’t care if one of their franchises fails, so if they don’t care, why should the players give up 24% to save them?

        If you haven’t figured this out, this CBA is about two different groups of owners. The very low end owners who have teams in the dumbest of locations that could actually use a slight reduction in players salary to have a healthier franchise and on the other side INCREDIBLY rich and wealthy teams that want MORE money and don’t care to share it with those who actually need it.

        Ofcourse there should be compromise. The give on the Cap Ceiling and floor, that is tied to Players revenues, those are never set by the league, they are the result of league revenues and the players share of them. The players have already showed they are willing to take a bit less of the revenues, but the owners have pretty not moved on how much they feel the players should give up.

        And why should players give up on Contract lengths, ELC length, UFA age/time or Arb rights? Teams and Players should be free to sign for how ever long they want. What they should do is change how a Cap Hit is calculated, if they Cap Hit was the actual salary they made that year, then those stupid lifer contracts would stop IMMEDIATELY without having to have a restriction on it. And that way if a team wants to lock up a player long term they still have that option.

        They players are not trying to get anything, they are trying to keep what they have, or if they have to give up anything they feel the owners should have to give up something as well. Professional sports should be a collaboration between players and owners, the players shouldn’t have to give up everything to make rich owners more money. Without the players and their skills there is no Professional sports.

        And I think players well know that when Suter and Parise get big contracts there is less to go around. But don’t hold it against them. They may only ever have one chance at getting that pay day. Whether it be injury or rapid decrease in production, that pay day may be there one day and gone the next.