Showing posts with label NHLPA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label NHLPA. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

NHL CBA negotiations now a game of chicken?

National Hockey League Players' Association
National Hockey League Players' Association (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have sometime's wondered if this is what's really going to happen. I was also wondering if the NHLPA will realize they can no longer get anymore out of the owners and then sign the best agreement, they can get.

It would appear that the owners aren't going to give them much. Me personally, I would advise the players to sign the deal that's on the table soon, if there is no movement by the owners so they can save the season.
Bruce Garrioch,OTTAWA SUN --- The NHL and NHL Players' Association have turned to a dangerous game of chicken with the season on the line.

Who blinks first?

NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr did reach out to NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly for a short telephone conversation Tuesday, but no talks are scheduled even though both told QMI Agency Saturday they're prepared to bargain.

Daly said in an email to QMI Agency Tuesday that NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr is trying to bide his time to see if he can get his best deal for the players when the loss of the whole regular season is truly on the line.

But Daly also admitted a meeting wouldn't solve much because the NHL isn't going to go any further than the offer tabled two weeks ago in New York as the massive losses continue to mount for both sides.

"It disappoints me and saddens me because it's just more days lost," wrote Daly. "But, I'm not sure what meeting does from our side. There is nothing left to give and its clear Don is aiming toward a 'deadline' showdown."
This NHL Lockout has been a gong show, there is no reason this should have come to this. I like most are now wondering, when is the 2012-13 season is going to begin. Is there going to be an NHL season, if not, will there be an NHL season next year? We're running out of time for a season this year.

During the regular season, I watch 4-6 NHL hockey games every week. I follow the Boston Bruins and the Minnesota Wild and watch whoever is playing when neither team is on TV. This fall, much like the 2004-05 season this fall has been empty. My life has a void again, like the 2004-05 season. I find myself watching movies and bad sitcoms to fill the void. The people that are casual fans might not come back when the lockout is over.

A recent study of 1,000 Canadians found that the found the NHL lockout is so bad for the league's image that it's comparable to BP's Deep Water Horizon's destructive oil spill. Yeah! That's not good. So you have to wonder if this game of chicken the two sides are playing is doing more damage than good.

All that I want for Christmas is a meaningful NHL season.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holding out hope for an NHL season.

I think many NHL fans are holding out hope that this could finally be the beginning of an agreement. It will be interesting to see how the NHL Owners respond.
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Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Can we have some F'N NHL Hockey?

We just went through what seems like the longest election of our time...At least the American's did.  To make things worse, the NHLPA and the NHL owners are still locked in a labor dispute and we still don't have an agreement after 52 days. Can we please get this thing settled? Lock both sides a room until they can come up with an agreement.
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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Is a deal close between the NHLPA and the NHL Owners

You have to wonder if a deal is close to being done. Articles like this give me hope that we can salvage a NHL season.
Dan Oldfield, CBC Sports --- We've heard that the No. 2 guys in the NHL and the NHLPA, Bill Daly and Steve Fehr, held a "marathon" bargaining session this weekend. We also learned there are plans to bring the parties together for more formal talks this week. What does that mean?

I’ll be bold here and say it means a deal is inevitable.

One can only believe that a marathon session (with several breaks) means that Daly and Fehr had something to talk about and they were clearly checking compass directions with other key players. More than that, there obviously is reason to return to the table. They would not be doing this merely to restate positions already well known to each other.
The two sides are meeting today in New York City. According to the NHLPA the following players Craig Adams, David Backes, Martin Biron, Chris Campoli, Sidney Crosby, Mathieu Darche, Ron Hainsey, Johan Hedberg, Milan Lucic, Manny Malhotra, Steve Montador, Shawn Thornton, Kevin Westgarth.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Is there an end in sight to the NHL lockout?

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 13:  Don Fehr, execut...
I have been reading some of the articles that have popped up in my twitter feed group/list that I created and I am not sure what to make out of some of the tweets and stories that have appeared this afternoon and into this evening.

One of the questions that I think that is starting to come up is did the NHL owners over play their hands and are they finally realizing that the players aren’t going to break? So are the owners ready to crack?
Pierre LeBrun, --- Fehr reiterated to on Tuesday that he believes the league in that meeting Thursday told the NHLPA there isn't much wiggle room on the rest of the deal, apart from "make whole," other than "minor and insubstantial" tweaks.

Not helping things is the growing distrust between the two sides, the controversy over the league’s 48-hour window allowing GMs to talk to players being the latest example. It’s the kind of thing that doesn't inspire either side to believe anything the other side is saying.

Having said that, all rhetoric aside, I believe the ability of both sides to figure out "make whole" is paramount to having any chance of ending this lockout.
This is the article that makes me think that the end to the lockout might be closer than we all think. I mean seriously, we know that there are some NHL owners that aren’t doing that well financially and last year one blog said that there were a half dozen teams that might not make if there is a lockout that lasts for a whole season.
James Mirtle, Globe and Mail --- So the NHL is tired of talking to “a baseball guy” and trying to take its message directly to the players, looking for a sympathetic ear.

Such an end-around isn’t unusual – after all, it happened during the last lockout – but it usually comes as part of an endgame strategy.

Are we that far along already? Maybe.

But this time around it is as much to do with (a) testing the players’ resolve and (b) frustration with NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr’s dour consistency as anything.

It’s also a sign the league is getting a little anxious – and that a compromise that can end this lockout could actually not be as far away as the rhetoric suggests.

What the NHL is really doing here is fishing for weak points in the membership: players who really don’t want to miss paycheques and are willing to consider the not quite 50-50 offer on the table.
I guess only time will tell and here are a few more tweets that popped up tonight, that you can peruse and see what I am talking about.

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Friday, October 05, 2012

College Hockey takes center stage

Originally posted at the Hockey Writers - Combine
Obviously, the NHL Lockout has been a major buzz kill for NHL hockey fans so far this fall and there doesn’t seem to be a solution coming anytime soon – nor does either side seem like they have any incentive to reach a deal.
For most, the NHL has become the no hockey league where both sides don’t appear to be doing what any of us would consider serious negotiating.
This afternoon, I read a tweet on twitter from a ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun that the NHL owners are strongly suggesting that the NHLPA put forth some kind of a counter proposal to the NHL Owners –  not to be outdone of course  – the NHLPA asked the owners to come up with sometime as well. I just don’t think we’re going to get any kind of an agreement in the near future.

While the NHL owners and the NHLPA continue with their childish shenanigans  – the NCAA Division I college hockey season is upon us and starting this weekend there will be quite a few NCAA teams that will be playing their exhibition games against Canadian Interuniversity Sport.
While none of these games count in the standings, it’s a good way for  head coachs to evaluate their teams. Also, these game can serve as a measuring stick for the CIS teams that want to see how their teams compare against the NCAA Division I teams. The CIS teams also have many ex-CHL’s on their rosters that play in the CIS after they are done with their junior hockey eligibility.
Bonus Hockey

Starting tomorrow night, there is also going to be three official Division I hockey games. All three games are out east,  the Maine Black Bears of Hockey East take on the Quinnipiac Bobcats of Atlantic Hockey Association at Alfond Arena, Orno Maine.

Moving down the coast and west, the Falcons of  Bowling Green plays the Niagara Purple Eagles of the Atlantic Hockey Association in Dwyer Arena in Niagara New York and finally, Merrimack College of Hockey East plays against last season’s Frozen Four team Union College of the ECAC at the Achilles Center in Schenectady, N.Y. unfortunately, none of these games are on TV this weekend.
The only game that will be on this weekend is the University of North Dakota takes on the Manitoba Bison of CIS at the Ralph Englestad Arena in Grand Forks, North Dakota – that game is on FCS you can check your local listings for the channel,  the game is also on DirecTV 626  at  7:07  PM Central Standard Time – unfortunately Fox College Sports isn’t on Dish Network.

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Evening Humor and CBA discussions.

My wife put this picture on my Facebook page so I thought I would post it because I thought it was kind of funny. I believe that everyone needs a little humor in their lives - especially for hockey fans with the prospects of the hockey lockout causing the loss of an entire season. As this this work stoppage drags out, It looks like there is a very good chance that we're not going to have an NHL hockey season this winter - I don't see how this lockout ends very quickly.

Watch the video's below, it appears that the NHL Owners and the NHLPA are in no hurry settle this work stoppage.

Think about this, the NHL has locked out the NHL players and instead of working out their major differences - these two sides are talking about player safety. While I think that player safety is an important issue there isn't going to be any hockey until they work out the percentage of the Hockey Related Revenue that the players and the owners share... Right now it's 57-43 in favor of the players. It appears that the Owners want a 50/50 split.

If you watch the video you don't hear any urgency in Billy Daly's  voice - it's like the NHLPA and the NHL owners are saying, yeah well... We met this weekend and talked about a few issues and it's good that we're talking - were not making very much progress... I think that hockey fans want to see some negotiations that are focused on ending this lockout and going forward so we can have an NHL season.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

(video) What we are missing.

Since there is really no watchable hockey action right now, I thought I would include this video that I thought was pretty good. Some good editing and the video is worth a look. It's time for the NHL owners and the NHLPA to get series and try to get an agreement so we can have the 2012-13 hockey season. Music is by Bruce Springsteen.
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

(Video) Former Sioux Jonathan Toews appears in the message from the NHL Players to the fans

I hate to say this, but today kind of feels like a funeral. It's also kind of a case Deja Vu all-over again, we have seen this act before - and we didn't really like it very much. Here is the video from the NHLPA players and former Fighting Sioux forward Jonathan Toews is in the video.
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

CBA Update 8/29/2012

English: NHL Commisioner Gary Bettman in 2007.
This is what we know after today’s negotiations – the NHLPA is not at all thrilled  with the NHL owners latest proposal. Donald Fehr also said that the NHLPA will have their own counter proposal of their own – that could happen as soon as tomorrow.

So the new buzzword to out of the CBA negotiations this afternoon is Hockey-Related Revenue and Gary Bettman wants to change the definitions what a HRR is - to me that looks like they owners are moving the goal posts on the players.

Apparently, NHLPA head Donald Fehr isn't all that thrilled with that because the NHL owners made 3.3 Billion in revenue last season. "Our preference is to keep the same definition of (hockey-related revenue)," Fehr said.
Sean Gentille Sporting News --- After about 90 minutes of meetings between the sides in New York on Wednesday, Fehr told reporters that the league proposed what currently represents a 46 percent share of hockey-related revenue for players. That's up from the initial offer of 43 percent, which was presented on July 13, but down from the 57 percent the union currently receives.

According to multiple reports, the NHL proposal had three years at a fixed salary cap starting at about $58 million—a drop of about $12 million—before returning to a system where the cap is based on overall league revenues with a 50-50 split; and no rollbacks for current contracts.

That, at least according to Fehr, was not entirely accurate due to league-proposed changes to the definition of hockey-related revenue; the players might be getting 50 percent in the latest proposal, but it would come from a smaller pie.

"Our preference is to keep the same definition of (hockey-related revenue)," Fehr said.

Also, Fehr said, players would pay more in escrow in the early years of the deal, which would essentially function as a salary rollback. The union, according to multiple reports, projects to pay 15-20 percent in escrow off the top of each paycheck, compared to about 8 percent currently. That money is held out to guarantee appropriate division of revenue, then paid back at a later date—assuming the league meets its projections.
Also, Garry Bettman had this zinger today, saying the players should have no "entitlement" to 57 percent revenues.Yeah, that comment is going to win Bettman friends with the fans and players.

While that condescending comment from Bettman is actually on it's face is true -  then why are the owners paying the players these exuberantly huge contracts? Don't pay players 110 million dollars over 10-12 years and then in the next breath say that you're broke.

I am not sure how these owners can look at us with a straight face and say that the NHL players are being paid too much - especially after the deals that they signed this summer. Does Gary Bettman and the NHL owners expect Suter, Parise and Weber to have their deals cut down?

I just don't see how they can walk these contracts back and get the players down to 58 million when the current cap is at 70 million, there are 16 teams currently over that mark.

Then it appears the owners aren't being honest about the revenue split as well - it apparels that the actual revenue split that the owners are proposing now is about 54.1 to 45.9 - which is really not much of a move from 57 - 43 split that was proposed in the June 13, 2012 proposal from the NHL owners.

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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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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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