In 1994/1995 the NHL and NHLPA avoided a season-long lockout and played 48 games. The lockout ended on January 11th, and the the regular season started January 20th and ended May 3rd. The Stanley Cup was awarded on June 23rd, which horribly late considering the Dallas Stars, 1999, and Carolina Hurricanes, 2006,  hoisted it on June 19th.

The NHL  won’t wait until mid-February to cancel the season, like they did in 2005, and since they are in love with announcing game cancellations on Fridays, you can circle January 11th as their day of reckoning. They will either have a new CBA in place by then or for the second time in eight years no team will hoist the Stanley Cup.

So both sides have 47 days to pull their heads out of their asses negotiate a new CBA and avoid even more embarrassment.

The NHL might look dumb right now, but they aren’t completely stupid which is why they won’t cancel their season before Christmas. They know some fans will still buy some merchandise as Christmas gifts, so if they end up looking like the Grinch it won’t happen until January.

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I still believe the two sides will reach an agreement pre-Christmas, because their most recent proposals aren’t that far apart, and likely because I’m an eternal optimist. Sadly, I sense the negotiations have become more about ego than money, and unless the owners put pressure on Gary Bettman or the players lean on Donald Fehr to make a deal happen, we’ll be stuck watching Gary and Donald play an ill-advised game of chicken.

The NHL and NHLPA have agreed to bring in a mediator according to Pierre Lebrun. This is a good move, but keep in mind they used a mediator in 2004/2005 and that didn’t end the lockout. This is a smart move, but far from a guarantee that the lockout will end.


I honestly think both camps are clueless to the damage they are doing to their game. While the players keep tweeting to fans, "We really want to play and we respect you," their actions don’t match those sentiments. The NHL’s blinders might be on even tighter, because they aren’t just alienating their fans, they are on the verge of seeing major sponsors walk away from their game.

Brian Cooper is the President of S & E Sponsorship Group. They represent many current NHL sponsors and Cooper shed some light on what some of the main sponsors think about the NHL brand.

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"Sponsor like Kraft, Scotiabank, Canadian Tire and Sirius XM, of which we represent, they are not getting any positive association with the league," said Cooper. That isn’t a surprise considering there are websites built by fans that list current NHL sponsors and ask fans not to support them.

The interesting part is within the details of their sponsorship deals with the NHL. "If there is more than 25% of the regular season games cancelled you get a pro-rated rebate, however, if less than 25% of the games are cancelled you pay the full amount," Cooper informed me. Last year NBA sponsors had to pay the full amount of sponsorship, despite  the NBA only playing a 66-game schedule.

Even if the lockout ends, many sponsors could be leery of attaching their brand to the NHL.

"The problem is even when the lockout ends; many sponsors won’t want to come back with a promotion that connects them to the NHL or the NHLPA. Fans are currently disgusted with both sides, and attaching one of our brands to the NHL via a promotion could have negative feedback," Cooper said.

"Right now the sponsors are taking a hard look at this. Their frustration level is incredibly high. The NHL holds the cards to a certain degree, but they are definitely going to get damaged over this. I think in the next round of negotiations with their sponsors there will be a weariness to pay top dollar and a weariness to go in with the existing formula in case of a work stoppage."

This lockout could erase all the positive financial gains they’ve gained over the last six years, and the NHL has no one to blame but their own mismanagement.

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  • The OKC Barons have won five straight and outscored their opponents 24-11. Taylor Hall had six asissts in two victories in Charlotte over the weekend, while Jordan Eberle had four goals. The good news for the Barons is they’ve started to score 5×5. Only four of their 24 goals during the winning streak have come on the PP.
  • Eberle has 11 goals on 50 shots and a ridiculous shooting percentage of 22%. Is it possible that Eberle is that good of a scorer? And that contrary to what many think he might be able to maintain a SH% of 15-17% when he returns to the NHL. I know many feel he won’t be able to, but he’s proving it again, albeit at the AHL, that he doesn’t need many shots to score.
  • People should be more amazed by Justin Schultz’s shooting percentage. He has ten goals on 54 shots, which is a mind-blowing 18.5%. Since the lockout the highest SH% by an NHL D-man with at least ten goalswas 12.8%. Lubomir Visnovsky had 10 goals, on 78 shots in 57 games with the Oilers in 2010, and Mike Green had 31 goals on 243 shots in 2009 with the Capitals. Schultz’s shooting percentage isn’t something I will concern myself with once he gets to the NHL, but right now he’s scoring at a ridiculous rate.
  • The U of A Golden Bears football team has a short list of five candidates for their head coaching position. You can expect the Eskimos to have a short list for their vacant GM job finalized by early December.
  • I think Joe Flacco will become the Kevin Glenn of the NFL. Solid QB, with good career stats, but he won’t lead you to a championship.
  • At 33 years of age Ricky Ray has the almost the exact same stats as Anthony Calvillo, minus a few TD passes, but Ray has three Grey Cup rings. Calvillo had one at age 33, but won two more in his late 30s.. With Calvillo starting to slow down, they’ve lost to Hamilton and Toronto in back-to-back playoff years, Ray should have at least two more Grey Cup appearances coming out of the East. He could finish his career with four or five rings. And some delusional fans, and Eric Tillman, will still think he isn’t a competent QB. Strange.
  • Whether you like Justin Bieber or not, it was a great move by the CFL to have him perform at half-time. The CFL got huge brand awareness of it, and lots of coverage on non-sports outlets. You don’t need your half-time show to represent your fanbase. Bieber is considered one of the top-three most influential artists in the world right now, and having him at the 100th Grey Cup was a brilliant move. And good on him for showing up and playing for free.
  • Do you want to be in a music video? Tomorrow night country music artist Brett Kissel will be shooting a video for his new song; Hockey, Please Come Back. Shooting starts at 6 p.m. at the Pint off Whyte (8032 104 street). Show up wearing a hockey jersey. It can be any NHL team, a retro one or even something like the Charlestown Chiefs from Slapshot.


  • Starving Student

    Wasn’t really too upset with the Biebs performing at half time. It was a Canadian milestone (100th Grey Cup and all) and love him or hate him, Justin Bieber is now a Canadian icon on a global scale. Can’t say the same with Carly Rae and whatever the band was before her. Which begs the question. WHY ARE THEY THERE?! YOU HAD GORDON LIGHTFOOT! Why not a TRANSITION to POP music rather than basically ALL pop music. I understand you want to attract a new fan base, but you still need to appeal to the fans you have NOW. IT’S THE 100TH GREY CUP! Where was the Hip? Sam Roberts? I would have even preferred the Barenaked Ladies over what they had!

    If the season’s doomed, here’s hoping its announced sooner rather then later so we can all start talking about teams folding and fantasizing about the dispersal drafts!

    • geoilersgist

      Agreed I wish they would just cancel it all ready I am tired of hearing about it. I would also like the season cancelled just so the young lads can continue to tear apart the AHL.

      Justin Schultz.

      That is all.

    • Jason Gregor

      He didn’t win it…The defence did…

      Dilfer was 12 of 25 for 153 yards. He was never even a decent regular season QB.

      He only had 4 years where he had more TD passes than INTs.

      Flacco is a much better QB than Dilfer.

      • His superbowl ring would beg to differ

        Honestly though, you have so badly missed the point that you are pretty much making it for me. How does pointing out that Dilfer sucked make it LESS likely that Flacco could win his own ring one day?

        Funny enough – you probably forget that Dilfer had a real shot at 2 rings too. Bucs missed the Superbowl by a hair. Would 2 have changed your mind?

        • Jason Gregor

          Actually you missed the point. Flacco has yet to prove he can play great in the big games. Kevin Glenn made a career of that. He’d be solid, even great in regular season, but in post-season he could have one really good game, but never enough to win.

          Dilfer was on a Superbowl winning team, doesn’t mean he was ever a great QB nor did he make enough plays to help his team win.. You think a ring makes him a very good QB. Not close.

          Flacco has been very good in regular season, something Dilfer never was, 2,800 passing yards and 15 picks isn’t great, but Flacco’s postseason efforts mirror Glenn.

          You brought up Dilfer for reasons that had zero to do with comparing Glenn and Flacco.

          You tried to make a point, but used an awful comparable. Dilfer was never even top-five in regular season. My point was Flacco is a very good regular season QB, and has yet to prove he can lead his team to a ring in the postseason. Just like Glenn. Dilfer never led his team anywhere.

          And the Bucs losing to Rams in conference final meant they were “just a hair away from the SuperBowl” Nice reach. I guess now teams that lose in conference final, are a hair away from winning…

          And you might want to check your facts…Dilfer didn’t play in that game, Shaun King was the QB v. the Rams. Nice try.

          • This is beyond ridiculous.

            I didn’t bring up Dilfer because I think he’s good. I brought him up specifically because of how bad he is. How are you not getting this?

            You said Flacco is not good enough to win a superbowl. THE POINT IS THAT IF DILFER CAN WIN A SUPERBOWL ANYONE CAN WIN A SUPERBOWL.

            Why the hell would Dilfer need to be a top 5 QB to make my point? The worse he is the better it makes my point.

            I’d like to point out at this time that I am a Bucs fan. Equal to or greater than my fandom of the Oilers, so believe me when I tell you that I am well aware of how bad Dilfer was.

            Of course I don’t think a ring makes him good. I’ve argued regularly against the ring = good line of thinking. I was mocking that fact that in the past you’ve suggested exactly that.

            One last thing – nice touch with the misquotation.

            I said a hair away from the superbowl, not “winning the superbowl”. Wildly different statements no? Don’t tell me to check my facts and then pull something like that.

          • Jason Gregor

            Go read the original line, which you actually quoted.

            It said “lead a team to a championship.”

            Did Dilfer lead his team? No. He won a ring because his defence was unreal.

            Unless the Ravens find a young Ray Lewis or Ed Reed they will not being winning a championship anytime soon, because Flacco has shown he can’t compete with Manning, Brady, Roethlisberger, Rodgers, Brees, E. Manning.

            He’s solid in regular season, not great, but in postseason he’s never emerged.

            If you can’t see the obvious connection between Glenn and Flacco being solid, but never great, then so be it.

            Dilfer has no bearing on the comparison, since he was never even consistently solid in regular season like Glenn and Flacco.

          • If you can’t see the obvious connection between Glenn and Flacco being solid, but never great, then so be it.

            You keep going to this yet my comment had nothing to do with comparing those two guys. Compare them all you want. It has no effect on my point.

            Dilfer has no bearing on the comparison, since he was never even consistently solid in regular season like Glenn and Flacco.

            Also wildly irrelevant.

            Let’s just forget it. I feel like we are in very different conversations.

          • yawto

            The funny thing is I have read each of your posts and while I understand what Gregor is trying to say, what you are argueing makes no sense. You guys are in two different conversations and you are the one who is not getting it. I like how you are a die hard Bucs fan but no comment on how Gregor mentioned your boy Dilfer did not even play in that game to be a “hair away from the superbowl” For someone who is such a devout fan, you would think you could remember who your starting QB was in such a memorable game.

            Just saying.

            And BTW, you are the one who brought up Dilfer which has nothing to do with what Gregor was saying. You are the one who came into a discussion about apples talking about rocks.

          • 1. The entire thing about Dilfer almost having 2 rings was a joke making fun of the fact that in the past Gregor has associated titles with being good. It had NOTHING to do with my point. My entire point revolved around Dilfer sucking at football. You would have to be willfully blind or painfully ignorant not to grasp that. In fact, If Dilfer had actually started that game I would never have made that joke BECAUSE THEN IT WOULDN’T HAVE BEEN OBVIOUS I WAS JOKING. Who knew. More on this later.

            2. I notice that you are all over me for the above irrelevant item, but you don’t seem to care about Gregor’s blatant misrepresentation and misquotation of my comments. How is the Media guy not held to the same standards you want me to follow?

            3. “Just Saying”? I think it’s safe to say, without the slightest hint of hyperbole, that you are probably one of the worst people alive for using that phrase.

            4. Yes I brought up Dilfer. I did so because he is th eposte boy for bad QBs with a ring. Gregor claimed that Flacco wasn’t good enough to win a Superbowl so I pointed out that if Dilfer has a ring anybody can get a ring. How does this not make sense? How is this difficult to grasp? Does this really not make sense to you?

            Dilfer has everything to do with bad quarterbacks winning the superbowl. He should be immediately discussed in any conversation about that topic because he IS that topic. How can you question his relevance?

            By the way, this is how you know I was joking about the two rings bit; because I am not stupid enough to make a point based on Dilfer being bad at football and then seriously claiming he is good.

            5. Gregor can defend himself. I don’t think I’ve ever come across anyone who is so fully up in arms whenever contradicted. It’s great because I like to argue.

            6. You missed most of the conversation because it took place on twitter. I think it very unfair of him to argue with me for a couple hours and still not follow, but that’s life.

  • Jason Strudwick

    There is nothing that hold either party to the recommendation presented by the mediators……..this is a smoke screen that benefits both parties.

    Why not pressure both sides to binding mediation……..at least that way the fans can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

  • vetinari

    Over the last week or so, I have operated under the assumption that this season is cancelled and it will make anything to the contrary just an unexpected surprise… and a little evil part of me wants both sides to forego a year of pay/revenue to get a sense of what they are taking for granted. I can’t think of any other profession (other than professional athlete or team owner) that can absorb a full year of no pay or no revenue and still survive.

  • B S

    Gregor, your analogy of a game of chicken (I realize you’re not the first to use it) reminded me of the time my brother bashed his head on the platform, falling off the monkey-bars. Fehr and Bettman are playing on a really short set of bars, and one or both of them are going to end up like my brother (3 hrs in a waiting room with blood gushing out of his forehead).

    I’m glad to here the sponsors are feeling the pressure from fans, it validates the efforts to press for an end by boycotting the NHL. I know I’ll probably watch it many nights when it comes back on, but I’ve already made an effort to watch my spending, try and shrink that pie their fighting over as much as I can (drop that difference from $182 mil. to $100 mil. and it might not be worth fighting over anymore).

    Ray didn’t “win” the grey cup, Calgary handed it to Toronto. I’m actually more disgusted with the Stampeders than usual, Ray’s only good quality is his long bomb, his short game has always been terrible, it should have been relatively easy to cover as they’ve been doing it to Edmonton for years.

    • Jason Gregor

      His short game is terrible? He has the highest completion % ever, and many of those passes weren’t long bombs.

      I’ve never heard anyone say Ray was bad at completing short passes. Guy has won 3 Grey Cups, named MVP in one of them and has 10 TD passes to 2 INT during Grey Cup games. I’d say he’s proven he’s a winner.

    • RPG

      IMO to say Toronto was handed the Grey Cup is absurd. Ray had all day to throw, Kackert was a machine, and their D could have collectively won the MVP award. Give respect where it’s deserved. Also your scouting report on Ricky Ray is flawed to say the least.

  • Oilertown

    I don’t understand the booing thing for Beiber. Is this a Canadian pastime?

    I don’t care for his music but why boo a Canadian artist that is one of the top acts in the world?

    Ricky Ray. I’m glad he’s doing well in Toronto. I’m with Spydyr – I don’t mind him being traded but they should have had someone set up that could QB. I would have rather had Ray around than the gong show we had this year.

    • B S

      It may have been that he followed Gordon Lightfoot (you know, a true Canadian icon), a Canadian who played Canadian music, rather than over-synthesized, american style pop crap. Fame isn’t everything, sometimes there’s value in respect. Stompin’ Tom might not be as famous as Bieber, but I have a lot more respect for him as an artist.

      To answer your question, Bieber might be a top act globally, but that only gives him fame, not respect, and his disrespect for heritage didn’t help him: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/08/03/justin-bieber-aboriginal_n_1739360.html.

      (jealousy could also play a role).

  • Jason Gregor

    The lockout will hurt American teams more. I don’t think the players or owners understand the impact of Obamacare and how will impact the economy.

    The economy is going to get much worse in the USA and people will not be spending money to watch hockey.

    I’m arguing this from an economic perspective and not political.

    • Dawn

      Just curious, is Obamacare that much worse than what we have here? I wouldn’t suggest that adequate healthcare has ruined our economy given that it’s currently evidently so much better than in the US. Seems like GOP propaganda to me. (Sorry for straying off topic.)

      As for the lockout, they deserve what they get if sponsors and fans both depart in droves. What responsible industry shuts down 12.5% of the time for a pissing contest? The owners know full well they could have ended this a long time ago with a few little tweaks. You would think a smart successful businessman would want that. I guess when you buy a team, your balls grow bigger than your brains.

      I’m not suggesting that the players have no part in this fiasco. But it’s hard to imagine them reacting differently given the hamhanded way the league went about things. Someone teach them the meaning of finesse please.

    • Please for the love of god tell us all about your talents… I’m sure you’re just a diamond in the rough waiting to be discovered.

      If not, then you’re just a nobody with an axe to grind who will be relegated to always critiquing but never being critiqued.

      In other words, a jealous loser. Enjoy.

      • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

        I assumed twelve year old little girls didn’t read this blog. Your emotional defense of your crush proves my assumption was wrong.

        You are correct. I have not tried to commoditize my non existent performing talents to sell to the world, therefore I do not have the right to criticize.

        I now understand that Bieber’s soul-stirring vocal ability combined with his raw, hyper-masculine sensuality makes him irresistible to you and your girlfriends. His cutting edge urban fashion style just completes the total package.

        Your brilliant post helped me see the error of my ways. Enjoy.

  • oilabroad

    I have a question Gregor I am hoping you can answer for me. Why do players hire agents to negotiate their contracts but they don’t use them to negotiate on their behalf on a much more complicated contract in the CBA? It seems to me, agents would have a better understanding on how the cba would affect that specific player than the broad brush that the union paints with, and their would be more likelihood of cooperation with the NHL as they have to still negotiate individual contracts with the teams as well. Maybe the agents are more involved than we hear but honestly based on some of the comments we are hearing from the players, I just don’t see it.

    • Jason Gregor

      Likely because agent represent each player on an individual basis. Agents know the CBA and how it benefits each player they represent, but having to represent an entire group would be much more difficult.

      You couldn’t have 100 agents representing the union, there would be too many agendas.

      Although it would make twitter an even more hilarious place if 100 agents were negotiating for them.

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Just a comment based on your show. Why would Tebow come to the CFL? From what I gather he at least 1.5mil in the NFL and is a backup. Not sure the guy would leave to come to the CFL at this point in his career.

    Heck Vince Young who is doing nothing and was looking to get back into the came has little intention at this point in coming to the CFL.

    I think fans need to realize that big name guys aren’t coming from the NFL to the CFL. Can barely get guys that are on practice rosters to come over, so forget guys that were on rosters lately.

    • Jason Gregor

      A guy asked via text what were the chances. I agree Tebow has no interest now, but the texter brought up coming here and playing to showcase himself.

      It worked for Flutie. People still underestimate the skill of the CFL. Tebow isn’t magically going to become a better passer in the CFL. His delivery won’t change, sure his scrambling ability would help him, but unless he wants to be the next Nealon Greene, he won’t have much success just scrambling.

      I think too many people forget that the best scramblers, Flutie, Allen, Ham were also very good passers. Tebow and Young haven’t proven they are great passers at any level. Even in college both were decent passers, but great scramblers.

      With only 3 downs you need a passing QB first, if he can scramble that is an added bonus.

      • With only 3 downs you need a passing QB first, if he can scramble that is an added bonus.

        This is so very true. I have always considered Steve Young to be the ideal model for a CFL QB. You obviously aren’t going to get a Steve Young to play here, but the closer you can get to his specific traits the closer you are to the ideal CFL QB.