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NHL strike - are the players being unreasonable?

Old 06-08-04, 05:22 PM
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NHL strike - are the players being unreasonable?

Now that the season is over and this is all over the media what are your thoughts on the subject?

With almost 2/3 of the teams losing money I don't know if we can avoid a salary cap. The anemic ratings for the Stanley Cup Finals certainly aren't going to bring in any more TV money and ticket costs are already too high for most people. I just don't see how things can go on as they are.

I know some people say they should just let teams fold and that there are too many especially in the South (some are kidding, some are not) but widening the appeal of hockey is the ultimate goal. If people can't see it in their area they aren't going to follow it... sort of like curling .

The hockey dynasty will probably be a thing of the past, but sometimes that is alright. I like the way it has changed football. To be honest (and no disrespect to my Avs) the teams in the finals had some of the lowest payrolls and played with more heart than I have seen in ages. Maybe the crazy salaries are to blame for the lack of passion.

Anyway, enough of my random thoughts... what are yours?
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Old 06-08-04, 05:49 PM
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The players know that in 1994 and 1998, when they were signing new Collective Bargaining Agreements ... the owners blinked first. So they're going in here thinking the owners are going to blink first again.
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Old 06-08-04, 05:49 PM
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I think the players deserve the money for what they do...84 game season in a brutal sport...but realistically the league can not support those salaries with the lack of revenue.

I think a cap is needed as well.
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Old 06-08-04, 05:57 PM
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Originally posted by KnightLerxst
I think the players deserve the money for what they do...84 game season in a brutal sport...
I totally agree with you. I can barely skate on ice, let alone play an all out game of hockey. I can see where the players feel what they do is as hard or harder than other pro sports players but there just isn't as much money in the game of hockey.
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Old 06-08-04, 06:11 PM
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Originally posted by KnightLerxst
I think the players deserve the money for what they do...84 game season in a brutal sport...but realistically the league can not support those salaries with the lack of revenue.

I think a cap is needed as well.
I think hockey players are underpaid compared to other sports, but even at the current salary levels, the league and teams just don't generate enough revenue. Right now, the owners are demanding a salary cap, and the players are saying no way in hell there's going to be a cap. Both seem adament and that's why many players/gm's/fans feel there won't be hockey next season.

I can't see the NHL adopting a hard salary cap like the NFL has, the players just won't accept it. Some players have said they're willing to sit out a year or two. The owners and players will probably settle on a soft cap (like the NBA) or some kind revenue sharing, like the MLB. I just hope they can settle things before the deadline, a strike would be devastating to the NHL.
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Old 06-08-04, 07:26 PM
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Yes. Hockey players can only get paid based on the revenues of the teams. The teams don't make enough money to meet what the players think the salaries should be. Use a formula like the NFL does and just give the players their fair share of the profits. That's what seems reasonable.
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Old 06-08-04, 07:29 PM
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They are underpaid compared to other sports, but the atheletes in other sports are grossly overpaid, and hockey players can't expect to make the same as football, basketball or baseball players as the sport just isn't nearly as popular here and NEVER will be.

Thus it's not going to bring in as much revenue, and as Jericho is saying, the players are foolish to think otherwise. Just pay them a fair proportion of the team's revenue.
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Old 06-08-04, 10:05 PM
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The league needs a cap that is linked to ALL revenues and there needs to be revenue sharing at a high level. And revenues have to be calculated by an independant contractor, NOT someone involved with the league or PA. I think a 45-55% cap would help the league innumerably.

But all in all, I think a strike is almost a good thing because it will help weed out the weak teams and owners.With a weeding out of teams and the talent base staying the same, I think we might be able to get back to more free wheeling hockey that people love. The talent is WAY too watered down right now.

As for the overpaid vs underpaid, they're obviously overpaid in a general sense but underpaid in a "vs other athletes" sense. But as has been stated above, the revenue generated has to have some match to the salaries paid.
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Old 06-08-04, 10:18 PM
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Personally, I don't trust either side.

What I would like would be a salary cap, and not one that allows signing bonuses at all. It has to be one that actually limits the amount of money teams spend, not just make them spend it differently.

Seeing as that is not going to happen, I would hope for a revenue sharing system so my Penguins have a better chance at staying in Pittsburgh.
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Old 06-09-04, 06:54 AM
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I have a solution...make underachievers like Jagr pay back his salary to the league for making an assload of money and sucking.

That money could then go to players who actually show up to play.

Can you tell I hate Jagr?
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Old 06-09-04, 09:17 AM
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I have already prepared myself for the fact that there will be no hockey season come fall.

The players need to realize that the league doesn't bring in near the money that the three big leagues do, particularly from television. A salary cap is going to have to be implemented and people are just going to have to live w/ it. And if a few teams fold in the process - fine.
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Old 06-09-04, 12:40 PM
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Originally posted by B.A.
I have already prepared myself for the fact that there will be no hockey season come fall.
Yeah a lot of players and coaches are even seem to be assuming that there won't be a season next year, as are most fans. That's why everybody is looking forward the World Cup in Aug/Sept. The players will be well rested and going all out knowing that it might be their last hockey for a while. It's going to be some great hockey.

Originally posted by B.A.

The players need to realize that the league doesn't bring in near the money that the three big leagues do, particularly from television. A salary cap is going to have to be implemented and people are just going to have to live w/ it. And if a few teams fold in the process - fine.
I think the players need to realize that if they go into the negotiations expecting the owners to blink first, the strike will likely last a long time. Sure the players want to be paid, but if the owners don't have the money, it's just not going happen. I wouldn't be surprised if a few teams are contracted. It probably won't happen because it seems like a last resort type of thing, but I think that over-expansion the last 5-10 years has lead to some of the problems.
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Old 06-09-04, 12:43 PM
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I think the best way the NHL can save itself is to have a 12-team conference in North America (4 Canadian teams and 8 U.S.) and a 12-team conference in Europe. I think ratings would rise here and would explode in Europe. Go to an old-MLB style schedule with inter-conference play only in the All-Star game and Stanley Cup.
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Old 06-09-04, 01:09 PM
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ESPN didn't even have Tuesday am SportsCenter after a game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, instead they had some sort of effing poker bullshit.

This tells me *exactly* how ESPN/ABC/Disney feels about hockey. If they're PAYING to show hockey, why not show HIGHLIGHTS????

Disgusting.
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Old 06-09-04, 04:10 PM
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Originally posted by weargle
ESPN didn't even have Tuesday am SportsCenter after a game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, instead they had some sort of effing poker bullshit.

This tells me *exactly* how ESPN/ABC/Disney feels about hockey. If they're PAYING to show hockey, why not show HIGHLIGHTS????

Disgusting.
Probably because the majority of sports fans turn the channel when Hockey highlights come on.

I read in some paper that NHL players take home 72% of teams revenue compared to 60% in the NFL. That's crazy. The NFL is the most popular sport in the U.S right now and Hockey is almost not a major sport any longer. Perhaps they need to go the WNBA route with less teams and a shorter schedule.
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Old 06-09-04, 05:40 PM
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I preface this by saying I am a huge hockey/NHL fan and am very upset that there won't be hockey next year.

These 3 things need to happen:

- Eliminate/contract 4 teams. The talent is incredibly diluted in the NHL. There are 3-4 guys on most clubs that have no business being the in the NHL. As a side benefit of this, I am not an opponent of fighting in hockey - I think it is a very necessary. But reducing the amount of players would reduce the amount of rosters spots available for talented players, thus reducing the Rob Ray's and Donald Brashear's. This would put an end to all the whining about fighting in hockey.

- Shorten the schedule to about 70 games. The season is too long, with Tampa Bay just finishing a what? 107 game season?? Less money to players, while adding more importance to December/January games.

- Institute a hard salary cap on draft choices. And institute a soft cap on all salaries and tell the players to take it or it leave it.

Sacrifice all of next season and make them realize the owner/league mean hardball. The latest TV contract is proof NHL is not a 'major' sport in the US and if the Jagr's keep getting $14 mil a year, there won't be a league in 10 years.

My recommendations for contraction: Atlanta, Nashville, Phoenix, and either Carolina or Tampa Bay. This has nothing to do with records/talent, but more because the fanbase is new and those markets don't draw well as it is. Hockey is a regional sport and putting a team in every podunk town isn't going to change that. Put a better game on the ice and people will watch.
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Old 06-09-04, 07:14 PM
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hmm...

I was considering joining a group for season tickets this year too..
Deposits are due in 3 weeks...
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Old 06-10-04, 12:46 PM
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Originally posted by PeMo
I preface this by saying I am a huge hockey/NHL fan and am very upset that there won't be hockey next year.

These 3 things need to happen:

- Eliminate/contract 4 teams. The talent is incredibly diluted in the NHL. There are 3-4 guys on most clubs that have no business being the in the NHL. As a side benefit of this, I am not an opponent of fighting in hockey - I think it is a very necessary. But reducing the amount of players would reduce the amount of rosters spots available for talented players, thus reducing the Rob Ray's and Donald Brashear's. This would put an end to all the whining about fighting in hockey.

- Shorten the schedule to about 70 games. The season is too long, with Tampa Bay just finishing a what? 107 game season?? Less money to players, while adding more importance to December/January games.

- Institute a hard salary cap on draft choices. And institute a soft cap on all salaries and tell the players to take it or it leave it.

Sacrifice all of next season and make them realize the owner/league mean hardball. The latest TV contract is proof NHL is not a 'major' sport in the US and if the Jagr's keep getting $14 mil a year, there won't be a league in 10 years.

My recommendations for contraction: Atlanta, Nashville, Phoenix, and either Carolina or Tampa Bay. This has nothing to do with records/talent, but more because the fanbase is new and those markets don't draw well as it is. Hockey is a regional sport and putting a team in every podunk town isn't going to change that. Put a better game on the ice and people will watch.
You make some interesting points. The whole idea behind expanding the league is to build the fanbase to lead to TV revenue, etc. Is it possible to build the fanbase if there aren't local teams for people to cheer for? Will hockey be doomed to a 2nd class status? As for the length of the season, it has to be that long to generate enough revenue to pay the players. If you shorten the season you are going to cut revenue and prices will go up even more, possibly squeezing out many middle class fans.

I honestly don't understand how people can watch golf, tennis and every other ungodly boring sport on TV and not watch hockey. For heaven's sake, we have poker on 6 channels a day, who can watch that...

Is there anything hockey can do to get people to tune in? or is it because of our flawed ratings system? maybe the people with Neilson boxes just aren't hockey fans? I just think it sucks that people are missing out on such a great game.
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Old 06-10-04, 01:24 PM
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Originally posted by PeMo

- Eliminate/contract 4 teams. The talent is incredibly diluted in the NHL. There are 3-4 guys on most clubs that have no business being the in the NHL. As a side benefit of this, I am not an opponent of fighting in hockey - I think it is a very necessary. But reducing the amount of players would reduce the amount of rosters spots available for talented players, thus reducing the Rob Ray's and Donald Brashear's. This would put an end to all the whining about fighting in hockey.

- Shorten the schedule to about 70 games. The season is too long, with Tampa Bay just finishing a what? 107 game season?? Less money to players, while adding more importance to December/January games.

My recommendations for contraction: Atlanta, Nashville, Phoenix, and either Carolina or Tampa Bay. This has nothing to do with records/talent, but more because the fanbase is new and those markets don't draw well as it is. Hockey is a regional sport and putting a team in every podunk town isn't going to change that. Put a better game on the ice and people will watch.

There have actually been serious discussions about shortening the schedule to 72 games for next season (if there is one), and most owners are supporting it. However, it would eliminate all the games between East and West teams, which might not be such a good idea.

I agree about eliminating 4 teams. Over-expansion is one of the ways Gary Bettman has screwed up the NHL. The talent level in the NHL is diluted, which is why just about every team plays the trap and why there is so much obstruction. It's the only way coaches can win with inferior talent and the reason scoring is so low.
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Old 06-10-04, 09:49 PM
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Originally posted by beavismom

The whole idea behind expanding the league is to build the fanbase to lead to TV revenue, etc. Is it possible to build the fanbase if there aren't local teams for people to cheer for? Will hockey be doomed to a 2nd class status?
They could put a hockey team in every community in the country and I don't think it would help the fan base. Hockey has been all over the United States for over 10 years now and TV viewership has gone down. Attendence would obviously go up, but TV is the problem. I don't think owners complain about attendence (maybe select teams) but TV is where they really can make money.

As for 2nd status - depends what you define as "2nd". Hockey will never be as big as the NFL and probably not as big as MLB or NBA, and the rednecks will keep watching Nascar. As a diehard hockey fan, I could honestly care less what the ratings are - as long as most games are available to me on some channel. I'd rather have 16 teams and watch the Cup Finals on ESPN2 then have strong TV ratings just so it's on network TV. I want the quality of hockey to be on the ice without watered-down rosters.
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Old 06-11-04, 06:08 AM
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Re: NHL strike - are the players being unreasonable?

Originally posted by beavismom

With almost 2/3 of the teams losing money I don't know if we can avoid a salary cap.
So the owners say, and I wouldn't trust them as far as I can throw Bud Selig.

The truth is, the salary cap is the owner's way of making the players pay for management's inability to make and keep budgets. No team loses money unless they want to. You also don't know how the owner's compensate themselves. If the business makes a $5 million profit, but ownership pays itself $5.1 million in salaries and benefits, the business has indeed lost money, and you'll have a great ESPN soundbite, but it would be grossly disingenuous to claim any economic deficit for the owners.

As to another poster's rant about players getting 72% of revenue, so what? Employees are an even higher fraction of revenue for most employers, and as revenues rise we would expect employees to take an ever higher percentage of revenue, especially in a business as lacking in capital expenditure as major league sports. As long as revenue rises faster than non-player expenses, and profit is a constant percentage (increasing dollar amount) of revenue, player salaries can grow faster than revenue without impacting profit, which is exactly what's happening.

Last edited by aynrandgirl; 06-11-04 at 06:13 AM.
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