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Thread: NHL lockout looms

  1. #1
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    Default NHL lockout looms

    NHL lockout looms as talks hit wall | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

    NHL lockout looms as talks hit wall
    Players and owners can't even agree on core issues and won't meet again until next Wednesday.
    The Associated Press

    TORONTO - The first truly tense moments of the NHL's collective bargaining negotiations have arrived.

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    Donald Fehr
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    Gary Bettman
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    With NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players' Association head Donald Fehr not scheduled to sit across from one another until the middle of next week and the sides unable to even agree on the core issues that need to be addressed, a sense of uneasiness has suddenly enveloped the talks.

    After Wednesday's session, in which the NHL dismissed the union's initial proposal, Fehr set off for pre-scheduled player meetings in Chicago. The union boss will also oversee a session with players in Kelowna, British Columbia, before returning to Toronto to resume discussions on Wednesday.

    At that point, the league and the NHL Players' Association will have just 24 days left to reach a new agreement and avoid a lockout. The current agreement runs out on Sept. 15. The regular season is slated to begin Oct. 11.

    Where do they go from here? There is very little common ground between the proposals each side has put forth and neither seems particularly willing to move off its current position.

    "What the issues are and how they get solved and how deep the issues go are something that we're not yet on the same page," Bettman said Wednesday.

    In simple terms, the owners want to pay players less -- much less. Despite the fact the NHL's revenues grew from $2.2 billion before the 2004-05 lockout to $3.3 billion last season, a number of teams are still struggling. The financial success of the wealthiest franchises over the last seven years ended up hurting the poorer ones.

    That's because the salary cap was tied to overall hockey-related revenues and rose dramatically from $39 million in 2005-06 to $64.3 million last season, bringing the salary floor (the minimum teams must spend) up along with it. If next season was played under the current system, the cap would have been set at $70.2 million and the floor would have been $54.2 million.

    However, a new deal needs to be put in place before the NHL resumes operations.

    Under the owners' proposal -- issued in July -- the players' share in revenue would be cut from 57 percent to 43 percent and would include a change to the way the salary cap is calculated. Instead of being set at $8 million above the midpoint (total league revenues divided by 30 teams), the upper limit would be reduced to $4 million above. As a result, the salary cap would drop to $50.8 million next season, which is below where the floor currently rests.

    The league also called for the elimination of salary arbitration, contract limits of five years (with equal money paid each year, essentially eliminating signing bonuses) and 10 years of service before unrestricted free agency kicks in. All of those proposed changes are designed to slow the increase in salaries.

    The NHLPA estimated the league's proposal would cost players approximately $450 million per season.

    Rather than making a direct counteroffer, Fehr elected to design his own system. He attempted to appease owners by keeping the hard salary cap in place and also put a drag on salaries by delinking them from overall revenues. But he also called for an expanded revenue-sharing plan that would see the wealthy teams distribute more than $250 million per season to the poor.

    Under the union's plan, the salary cap would fall at roughly $69 million next season. It would increase to $71 million in 2013-14 and $75 million in 2014-15.

    In other words, the owners would only realize significantly more profit in the deal if the league continued to grow at a level beyond the 7 percent it averaged since the lockout. There's no guarantee of that, especially since the strength of the Canadian dollar has helped fuel the growth.

    One thing the labor situation has not disturbed is new contracts this summer. Whether it's been in free agency or teams simply locking up their own players, new deals are surfacing every week. On Thursday, the Flyers gave forward Wayne Simmonds a new six-year pact to remain in Philadelphia.

    "All the players are obviously going to show up if we're ready to play the season. But by Sept. 15, if a deal's not reached, I'm not too sure," Simmonds said. "This is my first time going through this and I'm really not too familiar with the process. But from all the players' accounts, we want to play. We're ready to start."

    Which brings up a good point. If they don't start with the NHL, will players head overseas?

    "I haven't started looking as of yet. Obviously, I'm hoping there's a season," Simmonds said. "I'm sure as it comes closer, I'll speak to my agent about that and see where things go from there."

    The Red Wings, for one, perhaps see the writing on the wall. On Thursday, Detroit General Manager Ken Holland canceled the team's annual prospects tournament in which seven other teams were slated to play in: the Sabres, Hurricanes, Blue Jackets, Stars, Wild, Rangers and Blues.

    "Due to the uncertainty surrounding the collective bargaining agreement and the advance commitments required from the various parties," Holland said, "we have determined that it is in everyone's best interest to cancel."

    The offer from Fehr this week was designed on the premise that the players would give up revenue for three years -- the system would revert back to the current rules in the fourth -- so that the NHL could work on getting its struggling teams on stable footing.
    NHLPA head Donald Fehr says players unified as potential lockout looms - ESPN

    The league is asking for far too much.

    For those of you who don't know, the League is going into it's collective bargaining negotiations with the NHLPA and demanding what amounts to a 1.2 million rollback in player salaries, restricting new and rookie players to one team for the majority of their playing careers, and eliminating the players ability to rely on salary arbitration for contract negotiations when they are in a restricted status... aka work for less than the market would say they are worth. This list goes on for restrictions and rollbacks.

    Basically they are trying to rape the players for the mistakes their own GM's and owners have created, by offering ridiculously over-extended contracts. Also by over-expansion and placing teams in non-traditional markets, they have resulted an unhealthy economic status for half the league, which they expect the players to pay for. All of this despite the fact the league is posting record profits year after year for "healthy teams" who are unwilling to profit share as the NFL does with it's less healthy teams.
    Last edited by Sniggles; 08-19-2012 at 10:03 PM.

  2. #2
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    Pisses me off......the owners basically drove spikes into the hearts of the players during the last lockout, implementing everything they wanted and the players gave in....the owners won!!
    Now they say they can't survive on the current deal, one that they themselves came up with to cripple the NHLPA????? Basically the owners want a dummy-proof agreement in place to save them from THEMSELVES!!!
    I agree the current trend in 10-15 year contracts is retarded, 7-8 probably should be long enough, the % of revenue shared should be in the 50/50 range.
    Bettman is the fucking tool that felt the need to expand into non traditional marketplaces and now he wonders why they can't "make" it......doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize Phoenix is a losing market, Carolina, Florida.....meanwhile Hamilton and Quebec City sit idle with NHL caliber fans....hell Hamilton sold 16,000 season tickets in a day a couple years ago when Jim Balsillie tried to buy Pittsburgh and move them to Southern Ontario.
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    It's fucking disgusting

    Bettman takes over in 94, and this will be his 3rd lockout in 18 years, and just 7 years after the last lockout, which ended up wiping out the entire season

    Revenue has almost doubled since the last lockout, the NHL gets a semi-regular contract with NBC sports. L.A. (a market the NHL wants desperately) just won the cup, the Pantehrs made the playoffs for the first time in forever. Winnipeg just got a team back, Minnesota just made the two biggest signings of the off season, and that city fucking loves hockey.

    The NHL is at one of it's highest points in terms of revenue and popularity ever, and the are actually going to lock the game out?? I understand that up in Canada, they can lock out the game and the fans will be foaming at the mouth waiting for it to start again. But that isn't necessarily going to be the case with all the American markets, specifically the non traditional ones that may have gotten a few more fairweather fans as of late. Those are the kinds of fans that might once again forget the NHL exists if they go into a long work stoppage


    ^ I am also in agreement with the post above about Bettman's reluctance to see that hockey isn't going to work in certain markets. If they set up a team in Quebec City, and another one in Ontario to go along with Winnipeg, that would be 9 Canadian teams. WHich equals 9 healthy strong revenue generating markets pumping money into the league. Combine those with the strong American markets like Boston, New York, Minny, Pit, Philly, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, and all of a sudden, over 2/3rds of the league is in a strong position

    I am just absolutely disgusted at the thought of not being able to watch hockey this year. And so soon after the last lockout, it makes the league look like a joke

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    This is bullshit i've been hearing about this on the score for a while now and if the NHL owners pulls the plug on the season that would be tragic. The current state of the average NHL fan (especially where i live in Chicago) is a very fair weather breed. If a lockout happens i don't know if the NHL would be ever as profitable as it is now. Lets face it the NHL will never be bigger than the other three sports in the states but it still can make a lot of money. They would just be shooting themselves in the foot if they do this and this is just my opinion but would need to contract some teams when and if they do come back some markets really do not need a NHL team IE.. Tampa, Nash, Carolina, Columbus, Vancouver JK on the last one.

    I have been a fan of the Blackhawks since Roenick, Larmer, and Belfour were on the team. I still have a Toney Amonte Jersey hanging in my closet and of course the traditional nameless red jersey. I usually go to a couple home games a year if i can get a good price on tickets (which has gotten really tough since they won the cup).

    If the owners lockout the players i may be out completely because they are just being stupid at this point and greedy. It just makes me feel like old man Wertz is still running things and doesn't give a shit about the players or the fans
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    Can we go back to ZERO salary cap. I could always count on my Wings outspending everyone else then :-D

    But seriously this lockout is a bunch of BS. Both sides are asking for too much. Actually scratch that, the players are asking for a little too much, the Owners are asking for THE WORLD.

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    The players better do a better job than last lockout of explaining to the public what their disagreement with the owners is about. Last lockout all of the casual fans were lambasting the players for being greedy bitches when that is far from the truth. The owners are asking for some things that are revolting.

    A franchise should not have the ability to sign and keep a rookie for 10 years or however they like.

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    That makes it sound like how pro sports were in the 70's and earlier when the team basically owned the player when they drafted them
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    Quote Originally Posted by beardown98 View Post
    That makes it sound like how pro sports were in the 70's and earlier when the team basically owned the player when they drafted them
    What a shitty idea and system.

  9. #9
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    I pretty much blew my load talking about this over at the hockey site I go to, but this whole situation just pisses me off!
    <a href=http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m127/jadel92/BruinsBear-HatersGonnaHate.gif target=_blank>http://i103.photobucket.com/albums/m...sGonnaHate.gif</a>

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    So here is my big question and my main concern...

    What boring game/activity is going to come to light if the lockout happens? As I recall poker wasn't anywhere near a tv until a hockey lockout. Now it's everywhere. It is not a damn sport and should not be on a sport network, along with bowling and darts. There should just be a game network.

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