Showing posts with label CBA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label CBA. Show all posts

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Travis Zajac's new deal.

Former Fighting Sioux forward and current New Jersey Devil Travis Zajac is the first player to sign a big contract under the new CBA.
Here is the break down of the deal:
2013-14 $3.5 million (includes $1 million in signing bonus)
2014-15 $5 million (includes $1 million in signing bonus)
2015-16 $6.5 million
2016-17 $6.5 million
2017-18 $6.5 million
2018-19 $6.5 million
2019-20 $5.75 million
2020-21 $5.75 million
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Sunday, January 06, 2013

After 113 days NHL Lockout is over… Yay!

I woke up this morning to find out that the winter of discontent is over; the NHL and the NHLPA have agreed to sign a new CBA, according to Minnesota Wild beat writers Michael Russo of the Star Tribune.
"We have reached an agreement on the framework of a new collective bargaining agreement," Commissioner Gary Bettman said at a joint news conference with NHLPA Executive Director Don Fehr at 5:45 a.m. ET. "The details have to be put to paper. ... It's good to be at this point."
Do you hear that? Yay! The NHL lockout over! The NHL will no longer be the No Hockey League. I suppose now the NHL will try very hard to win back the millions of fans that they upset and too for granted. If the reports that I have been reading are correct, the new deal is for 10 years with a mutual opt-out after eight years.

So we shouldn’t have to go through another lockout until the 2021 season. Winning back the fans that they took for granted is not going to be an easy task, especially in this economy. Many fans will stay home and watch the game on NHL Center ice or get the games through their regional sports channels. I can say many.

Now the NHL teams have to fish their players out of the different European hockey leagues, especially the KHL.
The Kontinental Hockey League was a favoured (sic) destination, especially with the Russians as Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin, Washington's Alex Ovechkin and New Jersey's Ilya Kovalchuk were among that league's scoring leaders, just as they usually are in the NHL. [TSN.CA]
So basically, for 113 days the NHLPA and the NHL owners who acted like a bunch of spoiled children. Finally got to work and signed a deal. This should have been done last summer. I think the fact that the NHL owners put that ridiculous proposal out in September, kind of slowed things down and polarized the two sides.

Now the NHL wants us back. I think they have one hell of a marketing job to do. It’s not going to be easy getting some of the casual fans back into the NHL arena’s to watch the games. The NHL had a lot of mojo after last season’s Stanley Cup Playoffs and they squandered that momentum.

There might be some people that don’ want to spend that $70.00 - $200.00 to see a national hockey league game. I spent $70.00, for lower bowl seats the last time that I went to a Minnesota Wild game in March of 2011.

Honestly, I will be back watching the game from my living room, and I can’t wait to see the Boston Bruins play hockey again. I can’t wait to watch my Bruins smash P.K Subban and the Canadians again, but I am still angry.

I can’t wait to watch the Brad “Little Ball of Hate” Marchand’s antics as he drives the opposition fans and players nuts. I already have a shot across the bow to one of my buddies that hates Marchand.

Lastly, I still think that the Vancouver Canucks led by the Sedins Twins and Alex Burrows are still a bunch of diving frauds.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Some CBA tidbits

Good afternoon, this is day 73 of the NHL lockout and we're no closer to getting an agreement than we were yesterday.

The NHL CBA talks have now decided to hire a federal mediator to help them in their squabble. Which for a short period of time gave NHL hockey fans a “sliver” of hope that there could be an end to this ridiculous work stoppage – the recommendation by the mediation team is non-binding.

This might be nothing more than window dressing. I am not giving up hope that just maybe, we finally can have a break through – we’re running out of time to have a meaningful season if this lockout drags on much longer.
Ed Tait; Winnipeg Free Press --- The U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service announced Monday a pair of mediators will now be involved in negotiations between the NHL and the NHLPA in an effort to bridge the gap between the two sides.

"I think both sides are prepared to try a new approach," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Washington Times. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained." Added NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr in a statement: "We look forward to their involvement as we continue working to reach an equitable agreement for both the players and the owners."
Then one of the first official actions to come out of the federal mediators coming on board was to have one of the mediators removed from the team because of a twitter kerfuffle.
Kevin McGran; The Toronto Star --- In what could only be described as a bizarre twist, mediator Guy Serota was removed from the talks only an hour after being appointed due to the odd postings on his Twitter account (@GuySerota). Some of the tweets included references to masturbation and religious attacks on comic Sarah Silverman. He said it was hacked. It has since been deleted and replaced with nothing controversial on it.

He was replaced as a mediator by John (Jack) Sweeney, director of mediation services, once the hockey world got a look at Serota’s sometimes awkward musings on the social media site that has famously seen its share of hoaxes (recently during Hurricane Sandy), impersonators and the humbling of celebrities, like Alec Baldwin.
The ole my twitter account was hacked excuse. You really can’t make this stuff up – twitter references to self-gratification – some people should not post on twitter. When will people realize that you have to safeguard your twitter account but also; one tweet could ruin your whole life with one click of a mouse.

This is one of the best eye opening articles that I read today.
Barry Rozner; Daily Herald --- The reason there’s no agreement yet is that Gary Bettman has made promises he can’t keep. And if he doesn’t keep them and loses half an NHL season — or more — in the process, he will be out of a job that pays him $8 million a year.

That’s why there’s been little negotiation from the NHL. That’s why there’s no hockey. And that’s why there won’t be hockey until the owners order Bettman to sit down and negotiate, or a union decertification forces the league to bargain instead of bleed.

See, Bettman promised seven or eight owners that he could get another lopsided deal. If he doesn’t get it after losing a billion dollars in league revenue, he’s probably out of a job.

So Bettman is holding up the game to save himself, and one imagines he’s still convincing a small group of men that he can squeeze more from the players. That small group of owners, in turn, is keeping the arenas silent.
Doesn’t paint you a very good picture about the hopes of gaining a settlement for the CBA, unless certain owners want to have a new agreement.

Friday, November 02, 2012

Winter Classic to be cancelled

Original NHL logo, used until 2005. A version ...
Original NHL logo, used until 2005. A version of the logo features it in the shape of a hockey puck. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Michael Russo, beat writer for the Star Tribune also said on tweeter today the Winter Classic is dead. Russo is one of the most in tuned beat writers for an NHL team and if he says that the Winter Classic is going to get cancelled, I will believe that it’s true as well.
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP)--- A person familiar with the situation tells The Associated Press that the NHL has cancelled the 2013 Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because the league had not yet announced the cancellation of its signature event. The person also the NHL will schedule its next Winter Classic at the iconic stadium that seats more than 100,000 people.

Last week, the NHL wiped out all of its previously scheduled games through the end of November.

Detroit and Toronto, two of the league's Original Six teams, were going to play outdoors on Jan. 1 at the stadium known as the Big House. The league was hoping the matchup would break the world record for hockey attendance. Michigan and Michigan State's hockey teams drew a record 104,173 fans in 2010.
 Nice to see that the NHL is finally becoming the No Hockey League... One has to wonder if and when will the two sides finally put their differences aside and come to an agreement so we can have an NHL season. It's obvious that the NHL Owners are trying to get the NHLPA to crack and I don't see it happening this time around.
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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Spector on NHL: Bettman, you're fired

This blog post is for my good buddy Redwing77 – being a self-professed Gary Bettman hater I am sure that he will like this article by Mark Spector from Sportsnet.CA. I do agree that it’s time for NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman to go and tomorrow wouldn’t be soon enough.
When it comes to the National Hockey League and its incessant lockouts, there are still a couple of questions we've never found the answers to:

Like, how is it that the average NHL salary of $2.4 million sits between Major League Baseball's ($3.4 million) and the National Football League ($1.9 million), when hockey's revenues are nowhere close to those other leagues?

And we're still seeking an answer to why one side of this hockey debate gets 57 per cent of the revenues and doesn't pay any of the bills, while the other side gets the 43 per cent, all of the expenses, and carries the financial risk.

But, there is one thing we are absolutely certain of today, as hockey winds through its third lockout in the past 18 years:

It is time for Gary Bettman to go.

Get this thing squared up, Gary, then call it a day. See Human Resources, sign the papers, and move on with your life.
The only thing that would make it better would be to have Donald Trump to send Bettman his walking papers in the form of a video telling him that he’s fired.
You are not effective anymore, Gary, and the time has come to go in a different direction.

Pack up your things. We'll be in contact.

You're fired.
Like I have said in the past, any counter proposal that the NHLPA puts forward to the NHL Owners should include a proposal to have Bettman removed from his position as Commissioner of the NHL. Nothing good can come from Bettman remaining in the Commissioner's position. I also think that by Bettman being removed as Commissioner of the NHL would go a long way in healing the hurt feeling between both sides. It would also be interesting to know how many of the owners feel this way about Bettman who has become a very polerizing figure in the NHL.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hump Day Links

Hockey season is right around the corner – we’re on the stretch run now. There are roughly 38 day’s until UND plays it’s first Exhibition game against the University of Manitoba Bison.

As of right now there isn’t any good news for UND Hockey fans that watch their UND hockey on Cable one in Fargo, ND. Midco and Cable have yet to reach a deal.
Kirsten Stromsodt (@FargoNewsroom)8/29/12 8:31 AM Cable One, Midco yet to reach deal for UND coverage | INFORUM | Fargo, ND
Here is more on that story from the Fargo Forum – it doesn’t look good right now for the viewer’s in the Fargo area.
Tom Miller, Forum Communications – University of North Dakota fans living in Fargo might be left in the dark when it comes to television coverage of their team’s games.

On Tuesday, the UND athletic department announced the television coverage for the football team’s season opener Thursday night against South Dakota School of Mines.

There was a noticeable absence from the list of cable providers that have opted to pick up Midco Sports Network’s coverage.

Cable One, the lone cable provider in Fargo, has yet to agree to a deal with Midco Sports Net for the upcoming season.
Here is a pretty good read on the CBA labor negotiations – while Bettman thought that the owners’ proposal was a major step forward it seems like the players and the NHLPA have taken a more cautious if not non-committal approach to the latest proposal. From what I have read last night and today – it does appear there is a reason for the non-committal.
Rob Rossi, Triblive Sports --- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday that the league’s “counterproposal” represented a “significant step” toward avoiding a second work stoppage since 2004.

“I’m trying to get us onto a common language and hopefully this will do that,” he said of the NHL response to the NHLPA’s recent proposal, which called for players’ share of hockey-related revenue to drop from 57 to 54 percent.

The NHL has proposed a plan to gradually slide toward a 50-50 split of that revenue, though the specifics of what makes up that revenue are not completely defined, sources told the Tribune-Review.

The NHL and NHLPA each declined to divulge details of the latest proposal, and members of the union were hesitant to label it a “counter” to their plan.

Penguins union representative Craig Adams had not seen the latest NHL plan as of late Tuesday, but he planned to be among the players in attendance for the meeting today.

“You’re looking for baby steps, to move in the right direction,” Adams said. “I don’t want to say this is the right direction ... but anytime you can get to the table, discuss things and hopefully negotiate and find any type of common ground, that’s a positive.
It seems like that Bettman and the NHL owners are looking at the CBA’s of the NBA and the NFL and are trying to move their share to a 50/50 split with the NHL players, I don't think that is an unreasonable or unrealistic stance.

The 50/50 split seems very reasonable on paper – but is it doable? I don’t know how some NHL teams are going to be able to get the teams under the 70 million dollar salary cap – for example the Boston Bruins according to Joe Haggerty are 12 Million over the salary cap and there would be 16 teams over that threshold as well.

(Photo: AP/Julio Cortez)
I also wonder what kind of a proposal we will see from the players in the next couple of days. It's no mystery that both sides want to come to an agreement and find some common ground so they can get a CBA signed and the players can play hockey.
Bettman said he wouldn't ''feel better about this process until it is successfully completed.'' He defined successful completion as having ''a collective bargaining agreement.''
Here is what Former Fighting Sioux forward Zach Parise has to say about Gary Bettman, I think you'll find his comments interesting.
There's a growing feeling throughout the sport that it's an inevitability. Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise, who signed a monster US$98-million, 13-year deal in free agency, became the latest to voice that opinion this week when he told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that "Gary's pretty adamant about his third lockout of his tenure."
While there are teams that have enjoyed great financial success the New York Islanders are in dire straits – things are so bad that the Islanders have a student radio station doing their games.
John Ismossi, The Hockey Writters --- Since the failure of the many arena proposals the Islanders have been fairly quiet on their financial situation, but the state of their finances is no secret. Shackled to a terrible lease in a rundown arena with little hope to attract players and little hope for their increasingly small fan base the team has been losing money for years and they certainly are now as well. Cost cutting measures have been evident in recent years as the Islanders have turned their radio broadcasts over to Hofstra University and reduced payroll to the salary floor. In fact only by using the buyout of Alexi Yashin and the dead salary of Rick DiPietro have the Islanders done that. And this year the Islanders have barely tried to even reach the proposed salary floor, still nearly five million below it.
Darren Dreger of TSN lays out the NHL's newest proposal

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Monday, August 27, 2012

NHL lockout: raw power to the players

This is a good read that I found today’s Vancouver newspaper the Providence – this year’s CBA negotiations almost seems like a case of déjà vu – we have seen this act before – didn’t like it very much the first time. The Owners led by Gary Bettman are going to bully the players – the owners are hoping that the players will start squabbling among themselves – when this happens the owners begin the break the players down they will then get an agreement.
Tony Gallagher, The Province --- It is about naked power and leverage, nothing more. The players had to know that, because after they hoisted the white flag and agreed to give the owners everything they wanted after the last lockout, the owners retained the same leadership. To expect a different approach now would be unrealistic.

And the key word in that last paragraph is ‘agreed.’ The players eventually agreed to those conditions.

Not only is Gary Bettman still at the helm, it’s the same law firm calling the same shots, which were called the last time, from the same firm calling the shots employed by the NFL and the NBA owners. So there are no surprises here.

In an excellent piece a couple of weeks back, Larry Brooks of the New York Post asked what people would think of the players if they, like the owners are doing now, basically insisted upon a 24 per cent raise in all their negotiated salaries before they took the ice this season. And he pointed out that’s exactly what the owners are doing by insisting the players take rollbacks again this time on contracts that both parties have already freely entered into. Good point.
We are going to have a lockout this season. I believe that there is no way to avoid it; It’s my prediction that hockey fans are going to lose at least a ¼ to ½ of the 2012-13 season.

Why the whole season won’t be lost… During the 2004-05 season the owners waited the players out. This time we won’t lose the whole season. When the lessor paid players hockey players start feeling the pinch of the lockout – this is when the players will succumb to the owners demands. The lesser paid players will pressure the higher paid players to settle so they can go back to work and make a pay check.

Much like 2004-05, fans are going to fill the void of not having the NHL with NCAA Hockey, AHL and JR hockey. One will also have more time, to keep up with their favorite sitcoms. Lastly, there will be more time for family members because there will not be as much hockey on the television.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thursday Links – NHL = No Hockey League?

As most of you know the NHL Commissioner threw cold water on the NHLPA’s proposal and now NHL hockey fans have to worry if there is going to be a work stoppage that could cost us a good share of the NHL season. To quote Gary Bettman, "There's still a wide gap between us with not much time to go."

A while back, my good buddy Redwing77 suggested that the NHL contract a few teams – over on Sportsnet.CA Michael Grange has suggested the same things as well.
Perhaps the biggest challenge facing NHL owners is that they are in business with some real dog-and-pony shows. On one hand you have Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which -- on-ice performance aside -- is perhaps the most sophisticated sports ownership group on the planet. According to Forbes, the Leafs' 2010–11 operating income of $81.8 million nearly matched the next two most lucrative operations -- the Rangers and Canadiens -- combined. (And if you're looking for a staggering figure, the other 27 teams combined for $44.4 million in operating losses.)

On the other hand you have the New York Islanders, who could hold a rat rodeo in the bowels of the decrepit Nassau Coliseum and have taken John Tavares hostage. Phoenix is Phoenix. Columbus is a joke, and Florida can barely draw Canadians during March Break. But what if we chopped two teams and moved two more? More revenue for the league and the players to share, and less bad news for the rest of us. No-brainer.

Lopping off two teams (and before you say that's crazy, I talked to one former NHL governor who wished it was six) makes the league six percent smaller, but as the former governor told me, “You know that revenues wouldn't drop by six percent.” Right away, each remaining team's share of revenues would increase as they would only have to divide by 28 instead of 30; it would also mean two fewer clubs on the receiving end of revenue-sharing cheques. Lopping off the Islanders and Panthers would cut league revenues by $144 million (based on 2010–11 figures compiled by Forbes) but would increase the average earned per team from $103 million to $105 million.
I found a post by a Devils fan on the NJ.COM site that I really agree with… I thought I would share it with you because it probably the same way a lot of NHL fans feel. I wonder sometimes if the NHL would be better off spending their 7.5 million dollars on someone else.
Gary Bettman is a buffoon threatening a lock out, Last year was a breakout year for the NHL with TV coverage of all the playoff games. Building from that, the popularity is finally going in the right direction and he wants to derail the whole thing. The cap system he scrapped an entire season to get was supposed to save the team owners from themselves. The owners find a way to get around this "savoir cap system" with enormous long term contracts, spending themselves into financial trouble once again. Now Bettman wants to scuttle the progress the league has made withe the fan base by sabotaging the CBA negotiations, he should keep his mouth shut and the the process work. The attitude of of closing up shop if I don't get my way is counter productive, nobody wins with a lockout financially everyone loses; teams, players, cities, vendors, parking, restaurants/bars all lose a revenue steam
It does appear that he owners want to move back to 2004-05 lockout era and I am not sure that is even possible? The more I read – the more I think there is not going to be any easy solution – that is going to happen any time soon.
Under the NHLPA's offer, the difference would be much less significant.

Donald Fehr, the union's executive director, bristled at the parallels Bettman drew to other pro leagues -- "every sport has its own economics," he said -- and indicated that the gap in talks was actually created by the NHL's initial proposal in July.

"There's a pretty substantial monetary gulf which is there and when you start with the proposal the owners made how could it be otherwise?" said Fehr. "I mean consider what the proposal was: It is 'Let's move salaries back to where they were before the (2004-05) lockout started, back to the last time.' That's basically what it was.

"'We had a 24 per cent reduction last time, let's have another one.' That was the proposal. That's what creates the gulf."

The sides broke off from talks with two completely different offers on the table and no meaningful negotiation sessions planned for a week. A sub-committee meeting is scheduled for Thursday, but Bettman and Fehr won't sit down together again until Aug. 22.

It's impossible to ignore the looming threat of a lockout.[TSN.CA]
I also don’t know how the owners can sign players to outrageous salaries and then say – we would like to have the players take a 24% roll back in salaries – especially after the Weber, Parise and Suter Salaries. I think this is why the players and fans are cynical if not downright dismissive of the owners.

Think about this, the NHL has a works stoppage every 5.25 years – I don’t know if any professional can make that claim.

Glean what you what you want from Fehr’s statement about the owners.

Also, there was a feelings of optimism after the NHLPA made its proposal on Tuesday – those feelings of optimism – expressed by many on Tuesday – were squashed on Wednesday when the Owners led by Gary Bettman rejected the NHLPA proposal saying, “there’s still a wide gap between us with not much time to go,”
Pat Leonard, New York Daily News --- A lockout this fall would be the fourth NHL work stoppage in the past 21 years, and once again it’s clear that Bettman and the owners believe it to be their best negotiating tactic – dig their feet into the sand until they get what they want.

The league filed the notice of termination of the current CBA in May. The NHL’s opening proposal in July then was intentionally, drastically far from what the owners knew the players would accept. Finally, Bettman confirmed last week that the owners would lock the players out on Sept. 15 – when the current deal expires – if a new agreement isn’t in place.

“There’s only one party here that’s talking about Sept. 15,” Fehr said. “You make of that what you will.”

The players made clear they’re not caving to all of the owners’ demands, but at least their proposal indicated a desire to compromise with the NHL. The NHLPA is still waiting to hear similar rhetoric from the league.
In summary, yesterday, we found out that the NHL owners are not impressed with the NHLPA’s proposal – on the other side of the equation we found out that basically the NHLPA is not impressed with the NHL owner’s stance either.

Donald Fehr said. “I mean, consider what the proposal was. It is ‘Let’s move salaries back to where they were before the lockout started, back the last time.’ That’s basically what it was.

“‘We had a 24 percent reduction last time, let’s have another one.’ That was the proposal. That’s what creates the gulf.”

Gary Bettman said, “So there’s still a wide gap between us with not much time to go. … The sides are still apart – far apart.

It’s time for the NHL and the NHLPA to sit down and work out their difference and to come an agreement on a new CBA. They should make them sit in a room and tell them not to come out until you have an agreement. The owners and the NHLPA shouldn’t take the NHL fans for granted – if there is a lockout – some of these fans will not come back after the work stoppage is over.
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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tuesday at the Links.

I have been perusing the blogs and webpages today for hockey news and it’s really not a light day.

We are all waiting for the NHLPA to make its proposal to the NHL owners.

On a more important note - it’s with a heavy heart that I write this – former UND golfer Scott Eggers lost his battle with a month long illness at Altru Hospital – Eggers was someone that I hung around with back in the 1990’s and early 2000’s.

Scott was one of the funniest people that I have ever had the pleasure to be around he will be missed by many people. Scott was also one of the longest hitters of the golf ball that I have ever seen – he could knock the cover off of the ball. Scott was also the General Manager at the Valley Golf Course and I can imagine that today the place feels a little bit emptier than it did last week.

Here is some news from the lockout about the Winter Classic. Apparently the NHL can cancel the 2013 Winter Classic as late as January 1st, 2013. Let’s hope that is not the case.
Jeff Z. Klein, The Globe and Mail --- The NHL can cancel the 2013 Winter Classic at 115,000-seat Michigan Stadium as late as Jan. 1, the day of the game, because of a work stoppage “arising from the lack of a collective bargaining agreement,” the contract between the league and the University of Michigan shows.

The league would forfeit only $100,000 of its $3-million stadium rental fee, according to the contract. The rest of the fee would be refunded by the university.
The University of Alabama Huntsville has released its hockey schedule for the 2012-13 season and it’s not a pretty sight at all. The Chargers have a grand total of two home game against Division I teams. So after the first of the year, the Chargers have three more series; one series in January, on in February and one series in March.

Remember the offer sheet that the Flyers offered Shea Weber and then the Nashville Predators matched the Flyers offer sheet – both sides have yet to finalize that agreement. The Nashville Predators matched the Flyers gigantic offer sheet of 14 years for $110 million on July 24.

Apparently the NHL favorite mouth piece – NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is making 7.5 million dollars a year. That’s right – Bettman is making almost as much money as a first line in the NHL.

Buffalo Sabres TV announcer Rick Jeanneret has been was recently inducted into the Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame but also the Hockey Hall of Fame. Jeaneret is one of the most entertaining TV annoucers in the NHL.

Former Minnesota Wild and current New Yorks Rangers forward Marian Gaborik is progressing in his rehabilitation after he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder. Rangers forward was hurting during the first round of the NHL Playoffs.

The Montreal Canadiens have signed forward Max Pacioretty to a six-year contract extension. Pacioretty’s contract is worth US$4.5-million per season.

The hits keep falling for the Philadelphia Flyers as defenseman Andreas Lilja, is the latest from the Flyers to have left hip surgery last month. Lilja will not be back in Flyers line up until late October or early November.

Gone from the Flyers line up – Chris Pronger concussion (career threatening), Matt Carle signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Andrej Meszaros surgery for a torn Achilles out for six – eight months. It could be a tough season, if there is one, on the blue line for the Flyers.

UND goalie Aaron Dell agrees to pro contract with ECHL's Colorado Eagles. Aaron Dell leaves UND with some pretty impressive numbers – 3rd in GAA 2.15 – 5th in Save % .912 – 7th in winning % .696.

Here is the 2012-13 WCHA Men’s Composite Schedule [click to view]

Apparently, the New Jersey Devils are still facing money woes

Monday, August 06, 2012

Not time to panic yet...

Every time I hear or see Gary Bettman speak – I see a pompous, smug and condescending jerk. While I believe that there is a lot of time left before we start having to worry about another lockout – I do believe that Bettman is taking us to another labor stoppage. I am with my buddy Redwing77 I think it's time for Bettman to go.

The first proposal from the NHL owners looked ridiculous at first but it appears that the owners aren’t going to move "very" far from their initial offer.

The owners have been talking for weeks now and not a lot has come out of it other than more talking. According to Kevin Paul Dupont, the Onwers need a new way to deal with themselves. In a way I agree, not everything is equal – some teams are hurting financially while other teams are rolling in bucket loads of money. See graph of NHL revenue sharing. [click to view]
The Associated Press (AP) --- Commissioner Gary Bettman's league faces the possibility of being the next sport to endure a labour dispute — what would be its third in less than two decades — and there is growing concern that talks over a new collective bargaining agreement are stagnating. The league and the players' union have been meeting for weeks and still — nothing.

"The last thing [we] need to do is have some kind of a work stoppage, because we've made great strides with the positive spin hockey's had," Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller said. "I think the years coming out of the [2004-05] lockout, we got a lot of the fan base back, a lot of positive energy. Mix that with the Olympics here in North America, a couple of good playoffs, and we have a fan base that's loyal and, honestly, the best sports fans out of any sport.

"We can't alienate them. This is up to the NHL and the NHLPA to just get it right."

Easier said than done. On Wednesday, the two sides polished off another set of talks at the league offices and not much progress was made.

"The owners did flesh out their proposal a bit further," NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said. "Gave us some of the numbers which is very helpful. It will take us some time to review that information, digest it, bottle it and figure out what the appropriate response is."

Yet with talks about to enter their seventh week, and with only six weeks remaining before the current CBA is set to expire, concern is mounting about a shortened season.
I think the fans need to tell the players and the owners to get into a room and start talking – we should also demand that they stay there until they have found a solution. The fans are the ones that are going to lose in this dispute and the league can’t survive without a fan base that is enthusiastic about NHL hockey.

So we slug on during the dog days of summer – not much more has happened on the lockout front – there still is time to get a deal done and the fans hope that the Players and Owners can find a solution before they start cutting into hockey fans favorite past time – watching NHL hockey.

Friday, August 03, 2012

Summer Dreaming...

If you’ve read Goon’s World for any length of time (thanks for reading by the way), you will see that this is for the most part, a 24/7 365 days a year blog dedicated for hockey… When I am not watching hockey, I am actually thinking or dreaming about hockey (NCAA and NHL Hockey). Let’s just say,  hockey is my religion of choice for me.

While listening to a podcast of the Pipeline show last week while riding my bike, Fighting Sioux junior defenseman Dillon Simpson said something that got me thinking – it’s going to be hockey season very soon. While I am not very good at math – we’re roughly about 2 months away from the start of the college hockey season. "If" the NHL gets their stuff together with the CBA, we are about 9 weeks away from the drop of the puck in the NHL.

The summer is beginning to wind down and incidentally the fall semester at UND starts on 22 August – so like I mentioned above -– we're getting down to crunch time – hockey season is just around the corner... The college hockey season begins the 6th and 12th of October with exhibition games against the Manitoba Bison and the USNDT under 18 team.

In the final season of the WCHA as we know it – the University of North Dakota Hockey team will begin its defense of the Broadmoor Trophy – in case you were counting – UND is going for the 4-peat … That would be unprecedented if UND won the trophy for season in a row.

Yesterday was a big day for the University of North Dakota sports – Per Jayson Hajdu UND has officially gone Division I in all of their sports.
The University of North Dakota is proud to announce that it has been elected to full Division I active membership status from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), officially completing UND's transition from Division II status. UND President Dr. Robert Kelley received a letter from the NCAA today confirming the University's active membership in Division I athletics
If you’ve been paying attention this summer, you will have noticed that the NCAA has been very busy – yesterday, the NCAA levied a very heavy punishment against BGSU defenseman freshman defenseman Ralfs Freibergs, basically Freibergs is going to get to play 3 regular season games and possibly about 2-6 playoff games if BGSU doesn’t decided to have him file for a redshirt.
Kevin Gordon Sentinel Tribune --- Bowling Green freshman defenseman Ralfs Freibergs has been suspended for 33 games by the NCAA, the result of his junior hockey team in Latvia playing in a professional league, Falcon hockey coach Chris Bergeron said.

The Latvian born Freibergs has played junior hockey in the United States the last 2 1/2 seasons, but played in his home country before that.

He played with the Latvian national team in the World Junior Championships in 2009 and 2010 . To prepare the team for the WJC, Latvian officials had the team play in a Latvian professional league.

The NCAA penalized Freibergs one game for each game he played in the league. "Ultimately, anything professional, when it comes to the NCAA, is something that will have penalties with it," Bergeron said. "We knew, as a program, as a staff, this was a possibility. It's not something out of left field."

BG has 36 regular-season games this season, so Freibergs will be eligible to play the Saturday game of its next-to-last series of the regular season.
This is what former Princeton Tiger and current LA KingsKevin Westgarth had to say about the prospects of the NHL having another lockout. I agree with Westgarth; I think we are going to see a lockout – actually – I would be very surprised if it didn’t happen. In my opinion, I think that the owners are trying to weaken the NHLPA.
Pat Leonard, Blue Shirts Blog --- Finally, the LA Kings’ Kevin Westgarth said it best on Wednesday when asked what he believes is the players’ No. 1 issue, considering the feedback he’s received from his peers:

"Generally, like the fans, we are concerned about – I think everyone has a little post-traumatic stress from last time,” Westgarth said, referring to the lockout and missed season of 2004-05, when the union lost the battle and eventually agreed to the salary cap in place today.

“It is something (where) they locked us out last time. It’s foreseeable for them to lock us out again. So guys obviously want to play, but obviously we need to get the right deals together, as well.” Read that one more time: “It’s foreseeable for them to lock us out again.”
Boston Bruins heir apparent Tuukka Rask is ready to take over the reigns as the starting goalie in Beantown this fall. According to Capgeek, the RFA Rask has a new one year deal worth $3,500,000.
Tuukka Rask was caught off guard - just a little - when he heard fellow Bruins goalie Tim Thomas decided not to play next season.

Surprised? Yes.

Shocked? Not so much.

''I wasn't expecting him to do that, obviously,'' Boston's new starting goalie said Thursday at a charity event. ''But I really appreciated what he's done and I appreciate his decision to want to be with the family and take some time off hockey.

''It really didn't shock me that much, but I'm more sad to see him leave because we had a really good connection and friendship going on. But I'm sure he's happy now where he is, and gets to spend time with his family.''
Here is some interesting news – former Edmonton Oiler, Vancouver Canucks and New York Ranger forward Mark Messier has been awarded a $6-million in a settlement with the Vancouver Canucks. [Vancouver Sun] Mark Messier played with the Vancover Canucks from 1997-2000 and returned to play for the Rangers from 2000-04.

Former Fighting Sioux forward Chris Vandevelde was on an Edmonton Oilers podcast recently and this is what he had to say about his recent success in the AHL playoffs. Also, the Edmonton Journal also has this story on Vandy as well. There is a chance that Vandevelde could make the Edmonton Oilers roster out of training camp.
Jonathan Willis, Edmonton Journal --- In 68 regular season games in the AHL, Chris VandeVelde scored just seven goals. In 14 post-season games, however, he tallied six times. What happened?

I’ve spent a lot of time looking at VandeVelde’s last couple of seasons over the last two weeks. Between evaluating the Oilers’ prospects for our prospect series here at the Cult of Hockey and the Top-25 Under-25 at the Copper and Blue, his name would have come up anyway, but combine those two series with the fact that VandeVelde turned down his qualifying offer, subsequently signed an identical deal, and now is in the conversation as a possible Oilers roster option in 2012-13 and he’s been top of mind.

VandeVelde was on Oilers Now a few days ago, and host Bob Stauffer asked him about that bump in goal-scoring during the post-season. VandeVelde had some difficulty answering the question but even so I found what he said interesting:

"I mean I just… I, you know, I was shooting more and I had confidence and that’s a huge thing. Any player with confidence is obviously better, and just making good plays, playing with good line-mates, that’s just how it went and we had a good run there."
Here is a break down for UND's conference Affiliations. UND’s 2012-13 Conference Affiliations – this is an exciting time in UND sports as now all of UND’s sports have a conference to play in.

America Sky Conference: Men’s golf

Big Sky Conference (BSC): Men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, football, women’s golf, soccer, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, volleyball

Great West Conference (GWC): Baseball

Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF): Men’s swimming and diving

Western Athletic Conference (WAC): Women’s swimming and diving (affiliate member)

Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA): Men’s and women’s hockey (2012-13 final season)
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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dog Days of Summer Links...

This summer has been slower hockey news wise than last summer – not a lot has happened this summer – last summer the college hockey world blew up, with the formation of the NCHC. Another two leagues, merged to form the nWCHA.

A lot of people are also watching the 2012 Summer Olynpics... I also must admit, that I have not watched any of the Olympics except for the woman's volleyball game yesterday between the USA and Brazil.

Looks like former Boston College Eagles Cory Schneider is going to be the man between the pipes for the Vancouver Cancuks and Roberto Luongo could be headed to South Florida. The fact the Panthers aren’t going to trade Gopher forward Nick Bjugstad also show how much they like the young forward.
Kevin Allen, USA Today --- 2. Roberto Luongo hasn't been traded: The Florida Panthers are the best fit for the Vancouver Canucks goalie, but GM Dale Tallon won't give up prized prospect Nick Bjugstad to land him. The Panthers are as excited about his potential as they are about Jonathan Huberdeau. Bjugstad is playing at the University of Minnesota and seems ready to play in the NHL. Luongo was popular when he played in Florida before, plus he could be the lift the team needs to offset big moves by the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning. Canucks GM Mike Gillis is acting as if he is willing to go into the season with Luongo on his roster. But that would clearly be an uncomfortable situation with Cory Schneider seemingly set to be No. 1. Plus, no GM wants a $5.333 million cap hit as his backup goalie. Keep in mind that the Toronto Maple Leafs still are interested in upgrading their goaltending.
Senators forward Daniel Alfredsson is coming back to the Ottawa Senators for a 17th season, Alfredsson is 39-years-old and will turn 40 on December 11, 2012.

Redwing77’s favorite over-hyped goalie Cristobal Huet wants to play in the NHL after spending two seasons playing hockey in Europe.

Nail Yakupov, the Edmonton Oilers first round draft pick is going to play in the 2012 Canada-Russia Challenge in Yaroslavl and Halifax, N.S., in August. The Oilers have gotten the first over-all pick in the past three drafts.

David Shoalts of the Globe and Mail asked the question if revenue sharing is the only way to avoid a lockout?
It is clear from union sources that whenever it is made, the players’ proposal will suggest far more revenue sharing between the league’s richest and poorest teams.

“It’s a key component of the system we have now and will be a key component of any system we have in place,” said former player Mathieu Schneider, special assistant to NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr. “If the overall goal is the health of the entire league, then there needs to be some meaningful revenue sharing.”

When he was head of the Major League Baseball Players Association, Fehr was the architect of the revenue sharing that was introduced in 1996. Now, 48 per cent of the revenue of MLB teams is subject to revenue sharing, which includes 31 per cent of the richest teams` local revenue.
It will be interesting to see if the bigger/richer teams will buy into revenue sharing or not?

Former SCSU Husky Matt Hendricks and former Fighting Sioux forward Zach Parise both think highly of the Capitals new head coach Adam Oates. The former Boston Bruins and RPI forward was an assistant coach with the New Jersey Devils last season.
Katie Carrera, Washington Post --- Matt Hendricks, who resides in his native Minnesota during the offseason, said he’s eager to work with the Hall of Famer. Before the hiring was even official, Hendricks received a strong endorsement of Oates from fellow Minnesotan Zach Parise when the two played in a charity game together.

Parise “said he had an incredible time working with him and that he learned a lot,” Hendricks said in a phone interview this month. “That’s definitely a good and impressive thing to hear coming from Zach Parise.”

Hendricks added that everything Oates said about ratcheting up the offensive game and playing a style similar to what the Devils and Kings displayed in the Stanley Cup final is appealing.
A Tradition of Excellence has the former Fighting Sioux players and who is left to be signed. Looks like Jason Blake and Mike Commodore are the two remaining players yet to be signed both are unrestricted free agents.

Jason Blake Anaheim UFA
Taylor Chorney Edmonton UFA St. Louis 1 Year, 2-Way Contract
Mike Commodore Tampa Bay UFA
Matt Frattin Toronto RFA Toronto 2 Years, $1.7 Million
Chay Genoway Minnesota RFA Minnesota 2 Years, 2-Way Contract
Brian Lee Tampa Bay RFA Tampa Bay 2 Years, $2.3 Million
T.J. Oshie St Louis RFA St. Louis 5 Years, $20.9 Million
Zach Parise New Jersey UFA Minnesota 13 Years, $98 Million
Chris Porter St Louis UFA St. Louis 1 Year, 2-Way Contract
Chris VandeVelde Edmonton RFA Edmonton 1 Year, 2-Way Contract
Matt Watkins Phoenix UFA NY Islanders 1 Year, 2-Way Contract
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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fehr gets next move in labor talks

I have been reading some of the articles about the CBA discussions and the Blue Jackets Extra has had an interesting article about the on-going CBA discussion.

You have to wonder what the players are going to do next in the CBA talks. I am a little anxious, because Donald Fehr is involved in the talks on the side of the players - that being said, Fehr was successful in 1990, as he won a negotiated settlement worth $280 million against the MLB owners over free agency collusion when he was the executive director of the MLBPA.

It will be interesting to see what the players come up with in the way of a counter proposal. None of us want to see another work stoppage.
Aaron Portzline, --- If whispers around the league are any indication, and if union executive director Donald Fehr’s reputation still holds true from his days atop major league baseball’s union, it will include aggressive, creative ideas to dramatically increase the NHL’s level of revenue sharing.

It will pit not just owners vs. players, but owners vs. owners.

“Knowing Donald Fehr, I will be shocked if that’s not part of his proposal, and a big part of it,” said Gary Roberts, dean of the Indiana University School of Law. “Salary caps do not work very well — or for very long — if you have a great disparity of revenue between clubs.

“You either set the cap so low that some teams make enormous profits — that doesn’t sit well with the players — or you set it so high that the clubs in smaller markets just can’t keep up.”
Here is one proposal that the players are kicking around according to the Columbus Dispatch beat writer for the Columbus Blue Jackets Aaron Portzline.
One source told The Dispatch that Fehr “has considered lots of creative ideas.” One idea, the source said, would allow small-market clubs to “trade” their salary-cap space to wealthy clubs for draft picks or cash.

“The mechanism isn’t hard to come up with,” Roberts said. “It’s the internal politics of it that make it difficult to put in place. You have the most wealthy, most powerful owners in the sport who are going to rise up and fight this. “But before you label them as greedy, and unwilling to share for the good of the league, you have to consider their perspectives. They bought those franchises and paid a price that was based on the expected revenue stream. Now, all of a sudden, you’re telling them they have to take a big chunk of that stream and give it to somebody else.”
This is definitely a creative proposal and it will be interesting to see if the owners accept this idea or not because it will pit the big market owners against the small market owners.
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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Players perspective

National Hockey League Players' Association
Here is a players perspective on the present labor dispute... I think he is right the players could really stand to lose a lot if the owners don't budge on their demands - it's possible they might not budge at all. I also think that the owners are trying to break the players union or at least make it less powerful...
CBC Sports --- ally, what can players do? If owners want to stand pat, eventually players would be forced to cave, or take their chances with another league. (Not going to happen. Ever.) We are hockey players, and that’s all we really want to do.

Players aren’t trying to gouge anyone. Really, how can they? There is nothing to be gained from a player’s perspective. At least nothing that is worth arguing over given the shape our game is in. Players were raked over the coals in the last CBA negotiation and we came out with our heads above water. The NHLPA membership as a whole, has survived and thrived under the resulting labour system. The owners had every opportunity to do the same.

Let me pose this question: When was the last time a player held out? Not once in the last seven years has a player under contract to an NHL team held out for more money (CBC note: Nick Boynton missed five games in 2005 and Kyle Turris missed the first two months of the 2011-12 NHL season). It’s not about greedy players. Players just want to play and be compensated fairly in accordance with the money our services generate.

What else can we do? Our careers do not span very long, so why not make as much as you can while the time is right? Contracts are offered by team general managers and honoured dutifully by players. No one holds a gun to anyone’s head during negotiation. So, why now, do we find ourselves in the same boat as 2004-2005?
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Monday, July 16, 2012

CBA musings

I have been trying to make heads or tails of the new CBA proposal by the NHL owners and let me just say that I have a bad feeling that it could be a long drawn out fight. We should be very worried about the NHL season starting on time – my gut feeling – I am going to predict that the season is delayed until at least November or December.
Jonathan Willis, --- If the NHL gets its way on some of its demands – particularly it’s insistence that players sign five-year deals capped at the rookie maximum – that trickle will expand. To use an Oilers’ example, why would Nail Yakupov be willing to sign for five years on a contract with a base salary of less than $1 million when he could expect to make much more money much sooner in Russia? Particularly if, upon the completion of his five-year entry-level NHL deal, he could look forward to five more years of restricted free agency? Even if he were willing to do so, it seems likely that future drafts would see European players increasingly consider the Kontinental Hockey League as a viable option.

Another interesting wrinkle is the NHL/KHL memorandum of understanding. As things stand, the KHL respects NHL contracts, not poaching talent on deals, and the NHL does likewise. If, however, the NHL starts kneecapping its teams’ ability to compete financially with the KHL, the incentive of the Russian league to respect NHL rules would undoubtedly be greatly reduced.

The possibility exists that the league owners don’t care. What they’re asking for is a huge spike in the amount of money they get to take home, massive restrictions on the negotiating power of individual players, and a much longer time period before talented youngsters start earning big money. With the possibility of huge spikes in take-home money and greater certainty that drafted players will stay in the system for the long haul, an exodus of European talent back to Europe may not bother them in the least.
Initially; after perusing some of the proposals that the owners put forth – I decided that I don’t like the idea of extending entry level deals from three to five years. Why? There is no reason to do that. A player after playing in the NHL for three season should have the ability to get a substantial raise if he has been successful. All that is going to do is steer top European players to the KHL instead of the NHL. I wonder if the Minnesota Wild would miss out on a player like Mikael Granlund?

Also, I don’t think the players are going to take a big cut in pay from the owners especially after some of the ridiculous free agent contracts that have been signed this free agent signing period. Donald Fehr is on record as saying that player’s roll backs are not going to happen on his watch.

Just for comparison purposes the NFL and NBA players are making 47 and 50 percent of their leagues revenues. So it will be interesting to see what the NHL players agree to, I wonder if they would go very far below 50 percent.
By comparison, during labour disputes in the past year, players in the NFL and NBA agreed to revenue shares of roughly 47 percent and 50 percent, respectively. []
Based on the fact that the NHL made 3.3 billion last season – I don’t have a lot of empathy for the owners.

I also think that you might want to plan to do something else during the months of October and November – don’t plan on watching the NHL – because this disagreement is going to take a while if the owners don’t come down off their high horse.
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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Voiding Roberto Luongo contract would be ‘in complete violation’ of CBA: prominent agent

If you haven't seen this article it's worth taking a look at. I don't see how the NHL could void the contracts of players that have already played a season under their current deals.
VANCOUVER — Prominent player agent Kurt Overhardt doesn’t figure the National Hockey League will void the registered, front-end loaded contracts of Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo and three other players.

Overhardt, who possesses 20 years experience in contract law, employment law and intellectual property law, noted that arbitrator Richard Bloch’s decision on the Ilya Kovalchuk deal was “subjective” and that the 17-year contract should have been upheld.

As a consequence, Overhardt cannot see the NHL throwing out the Luongo, Marian Hossa, Chris Pronger and Marc Savard contracts. On Monday, Bloch ruled in favour of the league’s decision to void Kovalchuk’s $102-million deal with New Jersey, agreeing with the NHL that the contract “has the effect of defeating” the league’s salary cap.

“What basis did [Bloch] give?” Overhardt said in an interview from his Denver office. “What did he hang his hat on? The decision was completely subjective. There was no bad faith found between the parties, There was nothing within the collective bargaining agreement that he found was actually in violation of the document. So, therefore, logic and law and the facts dictate the contract should have been upheld.”

This, of course, leads to the already registered contracts for Luongo, Hossa, Pronger and Savard. Hossa has played one year on his contract while the other three will see their deals kick in for the 2010-11 season.

“Any and all speculation that the league is going to claw back these other contracts ... would be in complete violation of the collective bargaining agreement and it would be a complete infringement of the players’ rights under the CBA,” Overhardt continued. “Any attempt to do so would be absolutely predatory behaviour by the league, would be in bad faith and not in the spirit of the CBA.”

BallHype: hype it up!