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NHL Lockout about to end?

Old 05-31-05, 11:55 AM
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NHL Lockout about to end?

About time if you ask me...

Lockout will end soon
Then so long Bettman, Goodenow!
By MIKE ULMER -- Toronto Sun


Toronto Sun columnist Mike Ulmer says once the NHL and the players have an agreement in place to end the lockout, both Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow will be history among their respective organizations. (Photo illustration)
There will be NHL hockey in the fall. The end game has in fact started between the NHL and the players' association.

When league vice-president Bill Daly told reporters he saw a negotiated settlement coming soon, he started the countdown to a deal that should be wrapped up in the next month.

There is, in fact, little left for the players but to try to save face.

Adamant since the beginning that ownership was cooking the books, the PA and the league have been working on a joint review. It's the kind of rudimentary work that should have been done a year ago and it will reveal what every party but the NHLPA has long accepted -- that a few wealthy clubs, including the Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers -- make good money. Another handful come close.

Two-thirds of the league, meanwhile, is in the red.

The union, having been denied $1 billion US in salaries, is badly fractured. A splinter group that includes Chris Pronger, Jeremy Roenick and others nearly swung an end-run around PA head Bob Goodenow before the season was cancelled.

Throughout the process, players, hundreds of them, have been in contact with the league and with their individual teams. The message flowing from north to south: "Enough already, make a deal!"

Ownership hasn't broken the players' union. For one thing, hockey players are too honourable to sell each other out. For another, the laws of the land, specifically those regarding the use of replacement workers, make destroying a union problematic.

EXHAUSTED

But the players are exhausted and no further ahead than when the previous collective bargaining agreement expired in September.

The concept of an all-or-nothing opposition to the salary cap was a suicidal notion but it was definitive enough. When the players' association conceded the necessity of a cap just before the talks collapsed, the players were left without a platform to contest.

A new, far more moneyed ownership group -- Tom Golisano in Buffalo and Eugene Melnyk in Ottawa come to mind -- were able to outwait the players. The lockout was planned, budgeted for and ruthlessly executed. Except for rumblings from Leafs governor Larry Tanenbaum over the league's inability to make a deal, ownership has maintained a steadfast public face.

Some good will come from all of this.

The players will have succeeded in nudging the league toward more revenue sharing, which, in a league peopled with six Canadian teams and a bunch in the hockey hinterland, is an absolute necessity.

In the end, NHL players will be able to make a superb living with a hand in increased revenues should the game manage to reinvent itself.

Deep dissatisfaction among the paying public about not just the cancellation, but also the quality of the game, has humbled both sides. There will be more impetus to reshape the game, to free up the play and, in the wake of the Todd Bertuzzi attack, to police the game's vigilante culture.

The most noticeable change in the game should include who runs it.

The game will need to move on and jettison both Goodenow and Bettman, the two architects of the labour apocalypse.

Already, there is talk of Goodenow's imminent departure. Good form will prevent him from leaving before a new deal is signed, but the schism inside the union between Goodenow and its rank-and-file millionaires only can result in Goodenow being gone within the year.

Bizarrely, Goodenow will be most responsible for keeping Bettman in office. Ownership won't cashier Bettman until Goodenow is gone, but once he is, they too will reach for a new face. Bettman won't be renewed, not because of this CBA, but because of the past one, and the amount of earth that had to be scorched to fix it.

And so the authors of the disaster will be gone, each having fulfilled their destiny.

For Gary Bettman, that mission was the savage repudiation of a players' union that had convinced itself it was the game. For Bob Goodenow, it was to blindly lead his union into the slaughter.
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Old 05-31-05, 12:19 PM
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So is it safe to say the league will have the same amount of teams (i.e. too many)?
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Old 05-31-05, 12:49 PM
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I just hope that they have a plan for the pros to play in the '06 Olympics like they have the last 2 times.
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Old 05-31-05, 12:56 PM
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My guess is that all of the teams will come back from the lockout however, we will probably see some teams folding in the near future.

It will be interesting to see if the NHL will be able to retain fans interest in the US. They need a good TV deal badly. I believe that they have a network deal with NBC which doesn't pay much and recently ESPN cut ties with them.
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Old 05-31-05, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by LorenzoL
I believe that they have a network deal with NBC which doesn't pay much and recently ESPN cut ties with them.

How about it pays nothing. The NHL actually buys time from NBC and then sells the commercial time themselves.

ESPN cut ties, but that is probably a negotiating ploy. They can try for the same package for less money.
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Old 05-31-05, 01:09 PM
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Man I hope the lockout's done. I hate not having hockey.
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Old 05-31-05, 01:18 PM
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Originally Posted by B.A.
So is it safe to say the league will have the same amount of teams (i.e. too many)?
Everyone complains about the number of teams, but with the influx of European players like from Russian and the Czech Republic, the amount of talent available is far greater than it was in say 1980. Although I have no specific study, I'd wager that the amount of talent available per team is similar to that of the 1980s when no one complained about the number of teams.
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Old 05-31-05, 01:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Jericho
Everyone complains about the number of teams, but with the influx of European players like from Russian and the Czech Republic, the amount of talent available is far greater than it was in say 1980. Although I have no specific study, I'd wager that the amount of talent available per team is similar to that of the 1980s when no one complained about the number of teams.
yeah, but those teams were in the north, in Winnipeg, Quebec, Hartford, etc.

Now with hockey teams in Nasville, Dallas, Tampa, Miami, etc, people are more apt to bitch.
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Old 05-31-05, 01:35 PM
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I don't know if I'd agree with the idea of the NHL having far greater talent available (compared to say, 1980). As it seems many of the teams were left with a lot of young players. For example, the Florida Panthers.
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Old 05-31-05, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by LorenzoL
It will be interesting to see if the NHL will be able to retain fans interest in the US.
That will be interesting to see. It took the home run chase in 1998 for baseball to begin to really rise to it's former popularity, and it still really hasn't totally recaptured it.

And that was "america's past-time" compared to Hockey which wasn't very popular to begin with compared to the 3 major sports, and baseball only cancelled part of a year and the playoffs, not a whole season and post-season.
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Old 05-31-05, 11:44 PM
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Hopefully they'll actually try to cut down on the obstruction/interference and let the young guys like Sydney Crosby have room to skate and create plays. If the kid is as good as predicted in the NHL, it would give people a reason to come back to see him play. It would be sweet if the Pens get the number 1 pick and get to put Crosby on a line with Lemieux. A nice passing of the torch, and would help give a shot of life into the Pittsburgh franchise and the NHL.
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Old 06-01-05, 11:02 AM
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I really hope they don't bring those silly looking rounded end nets into play.
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Old 06-01-05, 11:37 AM
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Nah, what you want to do is pair Crosby with Alexander Ovechkin and have the two young guns from the two parts of the hockey world (Europe, North America) dominate all
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Old 06-04-05, 09:49 AM
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And more talks scheduled...

NHL talks continue to clock up hours


PIERRE LEBRUN
CANADIAN PRESS

Marathon talks will continue next week after the NHL and NHL Players' Association wrapped up more than 34 hours of talks this week.

The two sides met from 8 a.m. EDT to just before 10 p.m. at a downtown Toronto hotel on Friday, on the heels of 10-hour sessions Wednesday and Thursday.

It's not going to happen overnight but the feeling in both camps is that a deal appears possible in the next month or so although talks could still hit a snag.

"We continued our discussions on financial and accounting issues, and while we are making progress, we still have a lot of work to do," said NHL executive vice-president Bill Daly. "The parties have agreed to continue the process with a series of meetings next week, at which time we hope to begin discussing a myriad of other CBA issues."

NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin confirmed the two sides would meet next week, but was vague on what was discussed Friday.

"Earlier this evening we concluded three days of small group meetings. Once again a wide range of economic and systemic concepts were discussed. The parties have agreed to continue meeting next week."

While progress has been slow but steady, the two sides continue to plug away at it. Friday's meeting was the 19th session since the season was cancelled Feb. 16.
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/Con...5155&t=TS_Home
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Old 06-04-05, 07:37 PM
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It will be about time.
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Old 06-05-05, 06:36 AM
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I for one can't wait for hockey to return.
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Old 06-06-05, 02:59 AM
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From what they're saying, the players have completely caved on everything. They're gonna take the 24% rollback and a hard but fluctuating cap (based on revenues, season to season) The only thing they might get out of it is looser free agency restrictions.
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Old 06-08-05, 10:30 PM
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Report: NHL, Players Association agree on salary cap
June 8, 2005


NEW YORK (Ticker) - The lengthy NHL labor dispute may be on the verge of coming to an end.

According to a report by the Globe and Mail of Canada, the league and the Players' Association have reached an agreement on a formula for a salary-cap system based on team-by-team revenue.

The sides, who are in the second day of a three-day session aimed at achieving a new collective bargaining agreement, have spent the past month discussing league and team revenues. Last week, TSN of Canada reported the league and the union agreed that a salary cap would be the main piece of the puzzle, but they had not yet agreed on the upper and lower limits of the cap.

Citing unnamed sources, the Globe and Mail is reporting the NHL and the NHLPA agreed a team-by-team salary floor and cap based on a percentage of each team's revenue will be instituted. While the actual percentage is not known, it is expected the cap will range from $34-36 million, with the floor from $22-24 million.

The $36 million cap, however, is not solely meant for players' salaries. Also included would be benefits as well as signing and performance bonuses.

A source did tell the Globe and Mail the sides "still have a ways to go" on reaching a new CBA, with negotiations on salary arbitration, free agency and qualifying contract offers now taking place.

A dollar-for-dollar luxury tax also will kick in at the midway point, allowing richer teams to spend more but preventing large gaps in payrolls among all clubs. It also is believed the players' offer of a 34 percent salary rollback would be part of the new deal.

NHL executive vice president Bill Daly declined to comment on the salary cap issue.

On February 16, commissioner Gary Bettman announced the cancellation of the 2004-05 season, making the NHL the first major North American sports league to have an entire season wiped out due to a labor dispute.

After convening with the NHL's Board of Governors in April, Bettman announced the league would not resume play until a CBA was in place, erasing the belief replacement players would be used for the 2005-06 campaign.

In March, the league officially canceled the 2005 draft, which was slated to take place in Ottawa in June.
http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/news?slu...v=st&type=lgns
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Old 06-08-05, 11:19 PM
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For me, hockey is the best sport in the world, but most people in this country don't feel the way that I do.

There are a lot of changes that need to be made and the league has teased us about it, but if they want people to come back and for the sport to finally grow, please eliminate the ties in the regular season. 10 minute OT followed by a shootout.

Damn the purists, these are the people who drove this game into the ground. Give in to the fact that TV drives revenues and people don't want to watch games that end with no winner 20% of the time.

The penalty shot is the best thing in ANY sport and I don't believe its excitement would be diluted at all if they used it to break a tie. It's FAR too rare as it is. ESPN highlights OFTEN don't even get to hockey highlights until 10-15 minutes into the show. The shootouts would OFTEN be the leads on Sportscenter and, for better or worse, that's where you need to be to get people to watch the games.

Tinker with the goalie pads, possibly remove the red line, call the obstruction (although it always gets called for 2 months and then stops), but announce the shootout when hockey comes back. The excitement would be hardcore.
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Old 06-09-05, 09:45 AM
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I would be game for shootouts as long as the kept the point structure they have in place now (i.e. a point for going to over time, another point for a win in overtime).

I don't think the casual sports fan not already into hockey would care, though.
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Old 06-09-05, 10:01 AM
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The best thing the NHL could do is go to Olympic rules and Olympic-size rinks, but that will cost the owners prime seats, and thus will never happen.

it is expected the cap will range from $34-36 million
Weren't the players previously offered a $40M cap that they previously turned down?
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Old 06-09-05, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog

Weren't the players previously offered a $40M cap that they previously turned down?
The players (with the exception of hockey fans everywhere) are the big losers in this whole lockout. All of the things that they fought against with the owners, they have conceded to every single thing.
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Old 06-09-05, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Red Dog
The best thing the NHL could do is go to Olympic rules and Olympic-size rinks
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Old 06-09-05, 11:08 AM
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The players have proved that they're morons. Goodenow really screwed them on this one.

All I can say is, I don't want to see shootouts in the playoffs. Regular season is fine, but playoff OTs have given us some of the best moments of all time.

Olympic size ice will never happen unfortunately due to greedy owners.

I really don't know how they're going to get fans back after this one. This drove away pretty much everyone. My friends and I who have had Islanders season tickets for the last 4 seasons didn't renew.

I'd like to see on the next opening night of the NHL for fans to boo both teams as soon as they take the ice.
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Old 06-09-05, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by TheNightFlier
I'd like to see on the next opening night of the NHL for fans to boo both teams as soon as they take the ice.
The big question is if they show up to opening night games.
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