Lockout Thoughts

Jason Strudwick
December 11 2012 06:14AM

Before the lockout, I made a decision not to share my thoughts on the labour dispute here on Oilers Nation. After a couple of chats with friends at Christmas parties this weekend I can't hold my tongue anymore. I couldn't believe how far off some of my friends were with their information. I need to get my viewpoint out there so I can offer an alternate point of view to the player bashing that is happening right now.

As a former player and member of the NHLPA it should be no surprise that for the most part I am strongly behind their position. I agree they all do very well for playing a game. I think the players are willing and understand that a redistribution of revenue is required. I believe their concern is ‘Will this CBA be another short term fix or long term solution?’

After the last lockout, Gary Bettman made it very clear that the burned year was required and worth it because it would fix a broken system. Well, seven years later the NHL is at it again. Is there any reason to believe this lockout won't lead to another in however many years? With Bettman's track record, I am not holding out much hope. But I want to concentrate on this lockout!

I get that all fans are frustrated. We all enjoy watching hockey and this lockout sucks. It is very hard to understand what both sides are after. To be honest the media and fans are trying to read through the tea leaves as to what is really going on inside those meetings.

I don't think anyone outside those meetings really knows. Sure there are some "insiders" that may get a line or two from a couple of meeting participants. They report on that fraction of info that comes from a whole day’s worth of negotiations. I have a hard time believing it is the entire picture.

Then the rest of the world takes those nuggets of info and run with it! It takes on a life of its own and pretty soon the meetings are declared great or brutal. I can tell you from going through the last lockout what is reported in the media isn't the whole picture, this time is the same.

The players are taking a lot more hits in the PR battle these days. Emotions are running high for fans and media alike. This weekend I heard a comment that was surprising: 'Why don't the players take what the league is offering them? Look at how far the owners have moved towards them.’

In my opinion this is very inaccurate. The players are the only ones who have moved. Why? In terms of losing ground on last CBA deal the players are giving up everything. Even if you think that the players should give up everything you have to admit that my statement is true.

In terms of actual dollars will any of the owners come out worse than they were last year working on the last CBA they made up and signed? They won't! Not a dime. But the players will. Yes, the owners have moved from the opening offer but that was so far from reality I believe they did it on purpose so it would look like they are giving up a lot as time passed. In reality they will be gaining everything. It is a one way negotiation.

Let me give an example of how the players are feeling. Let's say you are selling you house for 500k. I give you an offer of 250k. Does that offer put you into a good negotiation mood? You reject it. Two weeks later I make another offer of 275k. You reject again. I offer 310k. You ask for an opinion from your real estate broker and he says, ' Yeah take it. Look how much he has come to you'. What? It’s still so far from where you started that you would rather burn the house down then sell it for that!

That is how the NHL is working. Yes they are moving towards the players but they are using house money or in this case money from the players.

At the end of the day this is a very public negotiation. Emotions are running high for everyone involved. But take a second, step back and put the dollar figure aside. If you look at it strictly from a pure negotiation standpoint you might get a better understanding of why the players are frustrated. They are the ones giving up everything! Is that how you would want to be negotiated with?

Put away the stupid ‘millionaire vs. billionaires’ slogan. I really do hate that phrasing. This is a dispute between owners and employees. It is simply a negotiation, nothing more. The employees in this case feel like they are being pushed around by theirs owners. Do they not have the right to stand their ground?

I do believe that the players will need to take a haircut on their salaries just like last time. In 2005, we took a 24% rollback. Although that was very high, I don't expect that to be the case this time. It isn't that I want it to happen but at some point it just makes sense to move forward.

I still expect a deal to be reached. There will be a NHL season this year. Both parties have too much to lose if another year is wiped out. How will a fifty game season look? I think we will find out soon who has been preparing and who hasn't. A sprint season like the NHL could have will quickly reveal who has been naughty or nice!

It doesn't matter to me if you agree with the players or owners or hate them all, I ask that you look at this dispute in a different way than you have been. Set the emotion aside and realize what this boils down to... a very public labour dispute. That's it!

The Nuge.

I think it is great that the Nuge will be playing for team Canada at the World Junior Championships this Christmas. What a great experience for him and his family! Not many people get the opportunity to play for Canada at this tournament and I don't remember hearing anyone say they regretted going.

What a chance for him to play in an intense setting. With it being in Russia it won't be the same but the expectations for Canada are, GOLD! He could actually get two such intense runs this year. If the NHL starts, the Oilers could maybe make the playoffs but if the NHL doesn't go he is guaranteed AHL playoff action.

Developing a winning swagger is very important for not only Nuge but the whole Oilers organization. There is a difference in saying 'we could win' and knowing 'we will win'. I am all in favor of any experience for any Oiler in the system that helps them develop that swagger.

5cf6b487166aced0cd781e41bfef915e
Jason hosts the Jason Strudwick show from 9pm to 12am, weeknights on the team 1260. He is an instructor at Mount Carmel Hockey Academy and loves working with the kids. Having played over 650 games in the NHL, Jason has some great stories and unique takes on life in the NHL. He loves Slurpees and Blizzards. Dislikes baggy clothes and close talkers.
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#51 Trent
December 11 2012, 05:45PM
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There are NHL owners who lose money because they own NHL teams. No player loses money by playing in the NHL.

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#52 Dazed and Confused
December 11 2012, 07:24PM
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"Is there any reason to believe this lockout won't lead to another". Is that why the NHLPA originally offered a "5"year CBA agreement?

It was clear from both the NBA and NFL that the agreement going forward would be 50/50. Why would the PA hire Don Fehr to negotiate a deal. He has been involved in how many lockout/strikes in his career? He had a perfect opportunity to work a deal when the league first offered a 50/50 split with make whole and an 82 game schedule. There was "wiggle room" on the make whole from the owners if I remember.

Instead the players have now lost 600 million only to retrieve 300 million through the CBA? They have also lost 40 % of the season. I am not an owner fan but any means. But the NHLPA is equally to blame for this lockout.

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#53 Evilas
December 11 2012, 08:04PM
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Jason,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I apologize for the uncivilized idiots, but I know you saw them coming. You've taken harder shots than those and kept coming back for more. So please don't let this stuff stop you from putting your thoughts on paper, I would say 95% of the readers appreciate you sharing your perspective. I admit that I had no clue where the players were coming from, and I would have to say your article clarified that for me.

I really appreciate everyone's lucid views on this issue!

For the record, I am still firmly in the Owner's corner and it is not because I think players are coming off as entitled, I think they are only trying to get what they can. I know in the end the majority are losing, as they will never get back what they've lost. I think they picked the wrong guy in Fehr, he doesn't care about the league, he just cares about grabbing the biggest chunk of pie that he can....this is fundamentally my issue. It is so short-sighted and so detrimental to the league; I don't know how there will be more than 26 teams left in the league in 4 years. Ultimately he is doing a disservice to the majority of his clients. And in the end the fans lose again.....

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#54 blue31
December 11 2012, 09:33PM
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When people here are mentioning the "little union guy" vs. the "big corporations," they fail to recognize that the unions themselves are "big corporations" that have amassed millions of dollars and incredible political power on the backs of their members through forced dues and block voting. Money and power that can bring a community to its knees.

Money and power that often acts against their own members interests. I'll side with the owners every time. At least their motivation is upfront and honest.

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#55 Chris
December 12 2012, 12:01AM
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Bettman vs Fehr in the octagon to settle this once and for all. Loser accepts winner's last offer.

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#56 Thesource
December 12 2012, 01:08AM
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Ok house analogy.

The NHLPA is selling a house for 500. Bettman has a wife (the owners) who just love the house and absolutely want it. Bettman has the house appraised and it's worth 450.

Bettman offers 390, nothing. He offers 400, nothing. Finally under pressure from his wife he offers 425, he gets a counter offer of 498,900. Progress, kind of.

"Get the house", he's told by his wife. He offers what the house is worth 450. Happy, after offering a fair value, he gets a counter offer of 496,900. Or... we will sell you the house for 450 but you have to buy the Hyundai in the back and the lawnmower for 60.

"I'm tired of living in this f'in apartment", his wife yells. So Bettman offers 475. Happy his offer is higher than any reasonable man would offer, and that the house is his. But a little depressed because he knows due to this high mortgage his disposable income will be nothing and in the long term his wife will be angry at him.

He gets a counter offer of 495. Or 475 but the seller gets free suppers for a year. Or 450 but the seller gets all the buyers RRSP's.

Bettman in a fit of rage, goes to the podium.

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#57 BlameThePa
December 12 2012, 01:29AM
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@melancholyculkin

"There has been no talk from the owners of lowering the salary floor, or increasing revenue sharing, or dropping the cap and going to a luxury tax system, or anything that aims to address the inequality among the teams."

1) Ummm... obviously the owners would agree to a LOWER cap floor. It's the players would never want to agree to sign a CBA with a lower cap floor. If the owners put a lower cap floor on the table we'll never see the end of this lockout.

2) Re: Increasing revenue sharing. Definitely a good idea, but it does not solve all of the problems either. There are two things the owners are fighting for: (1) losing less money and (2) leveling the spending imbalances between the teams. Assuming Forbes numbers are accurate (and please note that this income is BEFORE taxes, so true income will be far less), the teams making money are not even CLOSE to being able to pay off the losses of the other teams and bring them to the cap roof. It's true that revenue sharing could make the poor teams lose less money. It's incorrect that revenue sharing can create a level playing field for the teams spending-wise. The NHL owners simply aren't making enough money to level the imbalances.

Overall, I agree that revenue sharing is part of the solution. But the fact remains that the players need to take a cut for the system to work.

3) Earlier you mentioned that the NHL should drop teams in order to remedy the situation. I agree that this would work. But that's not what the owners OR the players want (eg. overall, the players will lose far more money if 18 teams worth of contracts are cut from the league). The long term health of the league is better met by keeping teams alive (to expand interest in those areas), but having players take less of a share of the money.

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#58 Rob...
December 13 2012, 09:50AM
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phil wrote:

couple comments

1) players are the product, not just employees get that through your heads

2) the revenue share was at 54 percent for the players but bettmann threw in a escalator clause that jumped up the players share once revenues hit a certain level

Until most of those products are worth their asking price, I wouldn't be using that argument.

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#59 Aussie Oiler
December 11 2012, 06:50AM
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Let the workers put their fists in the air and fight for what is theirs!

Thanks Struds, it's good to see it laid out like that. And Baby Nuge will give us plenty to watch this xmas!

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#60 Lowetide
December 11 2012, 07:13AM
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Great article. Agree with pretty much all of it, and wonder how the NHL gets people to forget we were at 57-43 in April. No matter how this deal comes together, the players take a bullet.

The only thing (imo) the players have done wrong is be so public in their comments. It ALWAYS looks like a bunch of millionaires complaining. ALWAYS.

I think Jason Strudwick's personal lockout plan is a wise one for the NHLPA. No commnent. The chances of saying something innocent and having it be misunderstood is about 100% during a lockout.

jmo.

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#61 cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan
December 11 2012, 07:31AM
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oilabroad wrote:

Great points in there, not only are the teams not profitable today, they are not profitable with all kinds of public support... joe tax payer is paying the players salaries here while the players kick and screm about greedy owners... no offense to struds or anyone else here, but it is absolutely unfathomable to me how anyone could side with the players in this dispute when you look at the whole picture...

i can see the players point of view on this though. We were fed this line of BS by bettman back in 2004. The league lost an entire season, but we were told it was so the league could fix the economics blah blah blah.

the players, at that time, made fairly large concessions. 24% rollback...salary cap etc.

if the players give in now, who is to say when this upcoming CBA expires the owners dont go for more?

im not at all saying im on the players side or the owners side or whatever, but i can see where the players are coming from. At some point, you have to look at the people running the broken league and hold them accountable, rather than keep turning to the employees in hopes of trying to fix whats broken.

i have little sympathy for people making that kind of cash complaining about money, but i do see where they are coming from.... if that makes any sense.... cheese?

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#62 Old Time Hockey
December 11 2012, 07:46AM
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@book¡e

This is the truth right here....that's why I support the Owners at this time. The product is not worth the price, and player salaries are responsible for OVER inflating that price....period.

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#63 Lowetide
December 11 2012, 07:47AM
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book¡e wrote:

I don't care how much they have 'given up'. If they don't accept market realities, they will go the way of the Twinkie.

There's a fair distance between "market realities" and "kill shot."

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book¡e wrote:

I agree with the need to look at it as a negotiation. No one is morally right or wrong. However, the situation has been out of balance since the 1990's when salary escalated at a rate of 3x inflation. Salaries skyrocketed is one way of putting it. This was largely due to irrational owners playing with their new toy teams, unrestrained by the CBA. That's fine. If I were a player, I would be thrilled and would have happily taken the money.

However, in economic tems, salaries became much higher than was logical given the market (I.e the revenue that hockey brings in). As a result of the poor management by many teams, corporate welfare became sought by the league. Tax breaks, municipal funding for super-arenas and annual operating subsidies, exclusive monopoly rights to all other revenue related to such facilities(a MASSIVE subsidy), and so on. NHL teams used emotional And connected NHL fans to lobby businesses to buy Skyboxes and tickets to support the local teams. Essentially NHL teams became charities to lobby for like a Kids hospital. Fans could no longer afford to go (we're no longer ' demanding' to go at the current level of pricing).

So, from any view of economics, the league became unsustainable. As. Fan I care about this. The only solution is to rationalize league expenses with fan demand. I don't want to divert more public funding or more corporate donations to keep it viable. The players and the league need to stand on its own. 'Earn it's keep' one might say.

I don't care how much players make, but I care about the game. It's far better for me as a fan and a taxpayer if players make less. Players would play just as hard at half the salary.

I am sorry if this makes the players sad, but I would like you to look at this from our perspective. No disrepect intended, but the product you are selling is not worth what you are charging. Just like other products, you need to lower your price.

At some point the owners will have as much or more to lose in a lockout, when that point is reached, the league will stop undertaking lockouts. Right now, players take a huge portion of revenue and owners have little to lose.

Great post!

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#65 Sliderule
December 11 2012, 08:21AM
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The thing that bothers me is that the pa is only balking at the 10/8 year term and five year contract limits.

Whatever the term is you have to figure that the NHL is going to want way more concessions on the next cba.Isn't it in the players interest to have an agreement that lasts as long as possible.

In regard to length of contract the 5 and 7 year term would really help teams to retain players This would be great for teams like the Oil.

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#66 Dawn
December 11 2012, 08:35AM
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Struds, you were surprisingly gentle there. It's a funny thing how public opinion sways back and forth like wheat in the wind. Nothing has changed since the summer, yet now the players are the "greedy" ones killing hockey instead of the despot owners of the early fall.

My sympathies have been with the players from the start. They are not employees. They are product. If you own a store and you are selling a paint brush for $10, that brush costs you $5. From the remaining $5, you pay your rent and bills and employees, the people that help you to sell the product on the shelves. In my view, that's where the 50/50 fits in.

From the beginning, we all knew this was going to be a take back negotiation - owners take, players give. Not because it was right, but because the owners have the power in the situation. Now I've always rooted for the little guy over big business. Say what you will about the players. But you can't deny they are the little guy. And I love to see them push back.

I don't doubt that there are franchises struggling. I seriously doubt the numbers floating out there. Florida, commonly cited as one of the losers, as it turns out is actually making money from their arena deal. You want to talk about players embellishing? It looks like the owners are the ones taking dives this season. Regardless, if the league and a few wealthy people want to dabble with expanding to substandard markets, the league should have a plan in place to support them until they can stand on their own. But no. They were happy to take the expansion fees. Then they cry the blues when they falter.

How is this faulty business model any of the players doing? And how is this CBA going to remedy that? It looks as though the league's plan is to shave 10 mil off the salary cap and cross their collective fingers that a miracle happens before next time. I think we all know what happens again next time. If the owners cannot be responsible enough to support their weaker brethren, I guess it is up to the players to pressure them to. And if in the process, they can make this lockout so painful to the owners that they hesitate to do this again every time, so much the better.

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#67 j
December 11 2012, 08:45AM
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Moses wrote:

I work for a large corporation. The NHL is a large corporation.

The company I work for has many locations. The NHL has many locations.

If my location or others lose money within the company i work for, I still make my wage.

If an NHL team loses money, the hockey players still make their wage.

I am Not in a partnership with my company, I am employed by them. If I was a partner, I would LOSE money when they LOSE money.

NHL players are not in a partnership with the NHL, if they were they would LOSE money if their team LOST money.

As far as I know, as long as a player is playing in the NHL they recieve pay cheques. There is no monetary risk being taken by a player by playing the game. The same can definately not be said for the owners of the teams.

I do not feel any sympathy for hockey players no matter how this situation is explained. Yes they worked hard to get to the NHL. We all worked hard to get where we are in life, but almost none of us have an upside as large as someone playing hockey in the NHL no matter what deal they get in these negotiations.

It takes a decent salary earner a decade to make what a minimum contract player makes in a single year in the NHL. I wont make in my lifetime what the average NHL player makes in a year.

Do I believe the owners of my company should make way more than I do? Absolutely without a doubt. They have all the money invested and assume all of the risk all the time.

When a single player in the NHL makes more money than several NHL teams profit something drastic needs to be changed. Any other business in that situation would contract very quickly either by wage cuts, job losses, and most likely some closures.

I could go on forever but I will stop here.

I agree with the general sentiment but the big difference is that the league won't allow the faltering teams (i.e. the poorly run/poor market businesses) to fold. Because of this, the 'market-place' analysis isn't completely accurate. In the NHL, the teams that are faltering are propped up and supported by the revenue sharing process (although this system in the NHL is also adminstered very poorly). In the current negotiations, the owners are trying to leverage the 'revenue-sharing' on the backs of the players i.e. the players are the only ones giving back to the pot of money (the overall league revenues). This money is intended to off-set the losses of the teams/businesses in red. In a market system, these red businesses would simply go away with the owners taking the full hit. I am not aware of any market system where a business owner can ask for money from another businesses' employees/ contractors to off-set their losses.

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#68 oilabroad
December 11 2012, 09:00AM
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Dawn wrote:

Struds, you were surprisingly gentle there. It's a funny thing how public opinion sways back and forth like wheat in the wind. Nothing has changed since the summer, yet now the players are the "greedy" ones killing hockey instead of the despot owners of the early fall.

My sympathies have been with the players from the start. They are not employees. They are product. If you own a store and you are selling a paint brush for $10, that brush costs you $5. From the remaining $5, you pay your rent and bills and employees, the people that help you to sell the product on the shelves. In my view, that's where the 50/50 fits in.

From the beginning, we all knew this was going to be a take back negotiation - owners take, players give. Not because it was right, but because the owners have the power in the situation. Now I've always rooted for the little guy over big business. Say what you will about the players. But you can't deny they are the little guy. And I love to see them push back.

I don't doubt that there are franchises struggling. I seriously doubt the numbers floating out there. Florida, commonly cited as one of the losers, as it turns out is actually making money from their arena deal. You want to talk about players embellishing? It looks like the owners are the ones taking dives this season. Regardless, if the league and a few wealthy people want to dabble with expanding to substandard markets, the league should have a plan in place to support them until they can stand on their own. But no. They were happy to take the expansion fees. Then they cry the blues when they falter.

How is this faulty business model any of the players doing? And how is this CBA going to remedy that? It looks as though the league's plan is to shave 10 mil off the salary cap and cross their collective fingers that a miracle happens before next time. I think we all know what happens again next time. If the owners cannot be responsible enough to support their weaker brethren, I guess it is up to the players to pressure them to. And if in the process, they can make this lockout so painful to the owners that they hesitate to do this again every time, so much the better.

I dont even know where to start with this one...

Players may be the product, but they are acting like they are partners. If another brush comes out that is better and cheaper, a store owner can switch to the other brush; in this situation they are stuck with the old brush regardless of market conditions. If players want to go to non-guaranteed contracts then I would give them the rest of their negotiating rights.

How does Florida make money with their arena deal? Public money used to fund the rink maybe?? so the owners are making money from corporate welfare but are losing money from the actual hockey and you think the system is working??

The league is trying to close loopholes (long term back diving deals), and the players are fighting it as if it was a right they fought for... it is a loophole and circumvents the intention of the cap, of course the owners should be trying to close this loophole.

Owners paid a specific amount for their team based on the profit they would make from it, so how do you expect them all to now start 'sharing the revenue'?? That would mean some franchises would become virtually worthless while others would spike substantially when they are still not making any money at the gates, this argument is ludicrous...

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#69 dessert1111
December 11 2012, 09:01AM
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It all boils down to the NHLPA wanting a better a deal. We can argue about who's right and who's wrong and it doesn't matter. Fehr is going to try to get the best deal for the players and we just have to wait. That's their right. I'm frustrated too, and from a logical standpoint, I sympathize much more with Gary Bettman (never thought I'd see myself type that six months ago) for many of the reasons outlined above by very articulate and obviously intelligent commenters. But let's enjoy other leagues and the upcoming World Juniors, no? It's just a game :)

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#70 McCreeper
December 11 2012, 09:02AM
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The problem here is there are more employees that are not working outside of the players. Who gets to "negotiate" on their behalf. You know, the ones who clean washrooms, serve beer etc etc. while I like hearing your view I'd have to say its not accurate. Unfortunately money is now the single most important factor as to why owners run hockey teams. If they aren't making any then that means there are some fundamental issues that are wrong. Especially when revenues are in the billions of dollars. I side with the owners and only from a pure business point of view. The guys that sign the cheques clearly have the most say about their business. If they want to shut the doors I'd say that it is entirely their perogative, who are we to tell them they are right or wrong. I certainly don't have millions to purchase a team. I'm just happy to go to a game every now and them.

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#71 Rick
December 11 2012, 09:03AM
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This was kind of a strange article. The first 3/4's of it is spent in an emotional rant on the situation and then it's followed up with a a more lucid position about how this is just a negotiation between employee and employer and emotions should be set aside.

Clearly one thing is not like the other here.

Without rehashing the same tired arguments about why I think one group or the other is offside, my newest and largest emerging frustration is the overwhelming realization that any resolution made on the CBA in the next couple weeks will be geared towards salvaging the rest of the season but clearly with the players involved - Bettman and especially Fehr - the league will no doubt be right back in the same position once the newest and greatest CBA expires.

And I echo what Lowetide said, the player's biggest issue when it comes to the public eye is themselves. It would serve them well to take Jason's advice, keep the emotion out of it and better yet just don't say anything at all.

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#73 They're $hittie
December 11 2012, 09:04AM
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j wrote:

I agree with the general sentiment but the big difference is that the league won't allow the faltering teams (i.e. the poorly run/poor market businesses) to fold. Because of this, the 'market-place' analysis isn't completely accurate. In the NHL, the teams that are faltering are propped up and supported by the revenue sharing process (although this system in the NHL is also adminstered very poorly). In the current negotiations, the owners are trying to leverage the 'revenue-sharing' on the backs of the players i.e. the players are the only ones giving back to the pot of money (the overall league revenues). This money is intended to off-set the losses of the teams/businesses in red. In a market system, these red businesses would simply go away with the owners taking the full hit. I am not aware of any market system where a business owner can ask for money from another businesses' employees/ contractors to off-set their losses.

actually corporations lots of times keep red branches, stores, or locations in business. It is strategy to help as a brand or combat a major competitor.

In manufacturing and retail, Large retailers always choke the manufacturers to off set losses. Large retailers now there space is a premium and the manufacturkers need this space. because mark up is getting so low the manufacturers take the hit or there product gets delisted and they make no money.

So as for guys like horcoff, you can take the loss and try to help phoenix survive or when the nhl contracts and 250-500 guys lose jobs, you can be DELISTED.

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#74 j
December 11 2012, 09:08AM
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dessert1111 wrote:

It all boils down to the NHLPA wanting a better a deal. We can argue about who's right and who's wrong and it doesn't matter. Fehr is going to try to get the best deal for the players and we just have to wait. That's their right. I'm frustrated too, and from a logical standpoint, I sympathize much more with Gary Bettman (never thought I'd see myself type that six months ago) for many of the reasons outlined above by very articulate and obviously intelligent commenters. But let's enjoy other leagues and the upcoming World Juniors, no? It's just a game :)

A better deal? The players were willing to play this season under the old agreement while negotiating a new deal. The owners locked them out. In other words, the lockout has been completely orchestrated by the owners. League revenues have grown to $3.3B. The NHLPA would have gladly accepted a 50/50 split using the previous math. The owners came up with a new formula (HRR) and made sweeping demands (free agency, length of contracts etc) and locked the doors to the arenas. If any side has been more draconian and anti-fan, it is clearly the owners. The players are reacting - not initiating.

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#75 K
December 11 2012, 09:10AM
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Easy solution: divide the billion + they are fighting over among the fans who pay for the tickets & merchandise.

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#76 They're $hittie
December 11 2012, 09:25AM
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@j

ya play the season under the old contract system but without a signed contract. Then come playoffs where there are no paychecks and the player than strike.

Bettman love him or hate him is too smart for that.

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#77 Hayek
December 11 2012, 09:37AM
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Players have the right to stand their ground, but so do the owners. The fact is owners hold more power and will eventually get to a point in the future where the CBA will be similar to the NFL. The players are trying to slow this down, while owners are accelerating it.

If players were serious, they would put the wheels in motion to start a rival league, as that is their only solution. Collectively, I don't think they are smart enough individuals to succeed in this task, therefore outside parties would have to initiate this process.

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#78 ghostcoins
December 11 2012, 09:38AM
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@blue31

I wonder how many people relate to you. I've found myself getting pretty pissed off about it, and the longer it goes on, the more pissed off I get. I care too much.

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#79 blue31
December 11 2012, 09:50AM
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@ghostcoins

That's kinda my point. I WAS pissed off, but only in the short term. Like everyone else, I am looking forward to the next few years of Oilers hockey.

I can't control what the league or the players do, so no sense getting riled up about it. The many, many hours that I spent watching games, listening to games, going to games, listening to the radio talk shows, spending time on OilersNation, reading the Sun and Journal, following the tweets of Dreger, McKenzie, Matheson, etc., have been replaced by other things that quit honestly are more important.

It's not my intention to rag on hockey. I still like it. I probably don't love it anymore. It's not you . . . it's me.

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#80 ghostcoins
December 11 2012, 09:53AM
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@blue31

Well, I agree with that. I love hockey, and eat up every last crumb available... but it's not that important in the big picture. Maybe I'll spend some time with my wife, or learn the clarinet, or read about Stalingrad.

Yet, I'm still pissed.

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#81 mayorblaine
December 11 2012, 10:01AM
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i think you should have an opinion Jason, whether i agree with or not. i applaud you for speaking your mind.

as for the NHLPA, time to lower those lofty expectations.

as an aside weren't unions originally formed to ensure the health and safety of its workers and to protect their rights.

sure seems they've strayed of course a bit, no?

money is a lovely canvass to paint people's portraits on.

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#82 T__Bone88
December 11 2012, 10:08AM
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I find it strange that of the NHLPA representatives only 2 are not from North America (Zetterberg, Fedotenko). Would things be resolved if different ideologies were present in the negotiations.

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#83 Darcy
December 11 2012, 10:18AM
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How about the idea of bargaining in good faith. The PA came to the table very late in negotiations and both sides have since bargained as best they can for their own position. I find it hard to defend a Union that acts as negatively as its employer and still asks for public sympathy. The NHL seemed to have an offer on the table last week that asked for a yes or no answer. The PA took that offer to their boss who added a clause (compliance buyouts) that could cost the NHL a couple hundred million dollars. Then the PA brought that proposal back to the NHL and held a press conference saying how close the two sides were to a deal. That was acting in bad faith. I don't care if the NHL did something similar several years ago. The ' he did it first ' argument never worked with my parents and it does not work here.

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#84 Death Metal Nightmare
December 11 2012, 10:29AM
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food for thought on how poorly this league is being maintained for its fans:

730 potential days of NHL hockey games and meaningful events for fans could be lost over these last 8 years comes out to be 1/4 of the time the NHL is wasting our time. bravo.

which is better? the fact that 60% of the time you are watching football and baseball grown men are standing around with 9-11% of the time there being actual action? or the fact that 25% of the time the NHL hockey doesnt even exist in any meaningful manner for its fans?

thanks escapism/sports.

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#85 Darcy
December 11 2012, 10:54AM
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If Gary bettman is known as the Count, how about we start calling Donald Fehr 'Rasputin'. They could play that Boney M song whenever he comes into the room.

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#86 mayorblaine
December 11 2012, 11:01AM
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@Jason Strudwick

this should never about winning. i completely disagree with you on this subject but i total respect you for your opinion.

it's not about winning it's about having a voice.

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#87 Rick
December 11 2012, 11:08AM
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I think where your article may have done you a disservice is when you explain that the general public simply doesn't understand what the details are.

That they are mostly left in the room behind closed doors and we are only left to chew on the chosen sound bytes.

Fair enough, but if you aren't going to clarify the details and in the end still leave us only with the preveiously canned sound bytes you can't actually expect too many people to see things different from how they already do.

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#88 rob
December 11 2012, 11:17AM
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I love hockey,I hate nhl players.someone please take sucky baby Crosbys blanket away and send him to the corner for the duration!average salary 2.2 million,a 3.3 billion doller company and the players whine.FIRE THEM ALL AND START OVER WITH PLAYERS WITH CHARACTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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#89 Evilstu
December 11 2012, 11:46AM
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@Archaeologuy

That pretty much sums it up for me.

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#90 Mantastic
December 11 2012, 11:54AM
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I agree with what you wrote Strudwick but i'm just not behind the players at all. like any employee who dislikes their employer's rules, find a new job!

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Big Cap wrote:

So if the owners will pony up and offer the full amount of HRR that the players "expect" and feel "entitled" too…

Will the NHLPA except Non-Guaranteed contracts??

Second thought: Have the owners agree to the terms of the NHLPA. Then retract about 6-8 US based teams. See how that affects their precious union…

With the Coyotes situation going on and them losing money hand over fist, and having Gretzky lose millions on the fiasco, I wonder how many sleepless night Shane Doan had?? He doesn’t care who pays his salary because he's "entitled" to it and "deserves" it.

If the PA feels so hard done by and feels so bullied by there greedy owners do what 99.9999998% of the ON readers and posters would do: QUIT!! Find a new job. Good luck with your career move!! There are MANY MANY other similar jobs out there waiting for you. Don’t forget to ask your new employer for 50 plus percent of the company’s revenues!!

Agressive words of wisdom. I love it!

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#92 Romanus
December 11 2012, 12:33PM
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@They're $hittie

And Fehr essentially did that to Baseball. calling a strike late into the season to hold the owners hostage.

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#93 longbottom/P.Biglow
December 11 2012, 12:36PM
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Jason good blog and I appreciate your point of view. I do not agree with you but I appreciate it.

Now my point of veiw here being 50 I saw players getting screwed over in the past in the names of Howe, Richard, Ullman, Ellis, all under Al Eagleson. Then under Bob Goodenow the pendulum swung totally the other direction and the players had all the power.

Now it's time for the pendulum to settle down in the middle to where the players make a good living and the owners have the right to make a profit. This can be done and it's going to be painfull to the players of today but in a 3.3+ billion dollar industry they players would makeout like bandits if the top end players didn't make quite so much and the bottom end players didn't make more than 1.5m and the 2nd and 3rd line players make about the same. Saying that if they made 47% of the pie with no financial risk and the Owners made 53% and taking all the financial risks like paying all the bills. Then and only then would the NHL be a viable major league sport.

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#94 oilabroad
December 11 2012, 12:36PM
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Just out of curiousity Jason, did you ever get back what you lost on the last lockout?

That lockout was about a massive change to the system, a war that each side felt had to be fought... this CBA seems to be just about falling into line with other pro sports and closing loopholes in the previous CBA (something inevitable). I am really surprised guys who went through it last time like yourself arent the first ones out there telling the players to make the best deal they can as quickly as they can as you know the money wont be made up.

It really bothers me to see the union mentality so entrenched in guys that they are unwilling to speak up against it. (ie see Hamrlik backtrack). The voice of reason has to come from somewhere, and if it doesnt come from inside the group it would be nice to hear it from guys who went down that road before and came out of it knowing better.

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#95 They're $hittie
December 11 2012, 12:37PM
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Love the debates.

Anyone understand why Edmonton is so pro owner?

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#96 oilabroad
December 11 2012, 12:45PM
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Chainsawz wrote:

Jason,

While agree with most of everything you wrote, I take exception to the owner vs employee statement.

This is an owner vs employee/product negotiation.

The player is an employee. He is also the product that the owner makes money on.

I love the arguement that players make more than their owners. It has so many holes in it. Only a handfull of players actually make more than the owners but I guess to some people, it must be all of them. But only a handfull owners in the business world make more money than they pay their employees plus the amount of capital they spend. Hard selling that point to a community college town like Edmonton though.

I also love the comments about replacing NHL players. That'll do wonders for tv ratings, ticket sales, merchandise, and franchise values.

And when a league hardballs the players, it called great negotiating. The other way around, it is deemed whiny and entitled.

The leverage the players have is that for the most part they are the most talented 750 hockey players in the world. They can't be replaced by a factory in China. That's why its hard for the layman to wrap their head around the players position in these negotiations.

If I was worth to my company what an NHL player is to the league, I would shoot 10,000 m3 of the most refined oil in the world out of butt and I was only one of handfull of people in the world who could do it. I'd feel very "entitled" to a fair share of the revenue from that oil coming out my ass.

Have you looked into your criticism at all... on average according to the last forbes report, owners made somewhere around 3M per franchise, players make 2.4M... if it werent for the leafs, rags and habs, the owners would be making significantly less on average... but then again that could be just bad math from my community college education (and the guy at forbes who wrote report)

Ask most of the guys spending money on the Oil Kings this year how big the divide is between WHL and NHL if you think these guys can't be replaced. Or look at the numbers some of the guys are putting up in the KHL this year, a lot of them are mediocre at best... so yeah these guys are replaceable You put 30 scabs on the ice, call it the NHL and I guarantee you Rexall is sold out every night... but then again it could be just that I only have a community college education and I dont understand all the big words you were using

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#97 Saazman
December 11 2012, 12:51PM
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Hey I have worked at Rexall for 18years. I happily sell beer to those that need the "coolaid" to get through a game let alone a season! This would be my third labour dispute! It has cost me money. I have not complained in the past I have excepted that it is part of the buisness. That said, I have just realized that I don't care about hockey as I used to. I don't miss the game that much. I have time (like many others) to do thinks I typically wouldn't have.

But at the end of the day I hope the lockout lasts all year. When there is a deal we can look back and say "how on earth did they let it happen" I will only hope they screwed each other as hard as they could! Cause they will both pay. It will result in changes in the league. Teams will move and maybe even fold. Then there will be less players and owners...

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#98 OIL4LIFE
December 11 2012, 01:00PM
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I see the whole cluster as this. It is a lock out!! Not a strike!! That puts the owners in a position that until they get a deal. They are at fault. The players said they would play ( if they would have or not we don't know) there for I have no hockey because of the owners.

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#99 Chainsawz
December 11 2012, 01:05PM
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oilabroad wrote:

Have you looked into your criticism at all... on average according to the last forbes report, owners made somewhere around 3M per franchise, players make 2.4M... if it werent for the leafs, rags and habs, the owners would be making significantly less on average... but then again that could be just bad math from my community college education (and the guy at forbes who wrote report)

Ask most of the guys spending money on the Oil Kings this year how big the divide is between WHL and NHL if you think these guys can't be replaced. Or look at the numbers some of the guys are putting up in the KHL this year, a lot of them are mediocre at best... so yeah these guys are replaceable You put 30 scabs on the ice, call it the NHL and I guarantee you Rexall is sold out every night... but then again it could be just that I only have a community college education and I dont understand all the big words you were using

Only about 270 players out 750 are making more than 3 million a season. If you factor in the other parts of my arguement you respectively ignored (players are employeees+product), it's still not that much of reach that compensation is already fair.

I've tried other brands of hockey and I've already come to my own conclusions, thanks. I have no doubts Rexall will sell out for scabs in Edmonton, won't in all NHL cities, and that success in Edmonton might last for all of a month.

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#100 oilabroad
December 11 2012, 01:20PM
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Chainsawz wrote:

Only about 270 players out 750 are making more than 3 million a season. If you factor in the other parts of my arguement you respectively ignored (players are employeees+product), it's still not that much of reach that compensation is already fair.

I've tried other brands of hockey and I've already come to my own conclusions, thanks. I have no doubts Rexall will sell out for scabs in Edmonton, won't in all NHL cities, and that success in Edmonton might last for all of a month.

ask the owners of the 18 teams losing money if compensation is fair... if it was we would be watching hockey right now. The system is broker, if you dont understand that then I guess your ivy league education was a waste of money

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