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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#101 FastOil
December 11 2012, 02:02PM
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Nice piece Jason. Anyone on the outside can only guess at what is really happening, and I am not sure the participants have discovered what the other side holds closest. It seems to me the jousting is in effort to discover the other's root motivations.

I get why player's unions came about in sports, because of past poor treatment of players. Still I don't think a union/league structure is right for pro sports. Basically the old adage whoever writes the cheques calls the shots applies here.

Players are "employees" in the loosest sense. I think mercenary might be a better description, a highly specialized combative, relatively short term contractor, today's gladiator.

I suppose I fall on the owner's side because they take all of the risk in a business sense and succeeding over time is no walk in the park for most teams. And we are talking substantial amounts of money here.

At the same time I think the players need to be compensated and treated fairly, but need to understand that without enough financial reward, there is a lot less incentive for wealthy people to take on so much risk, and provide the currently numerous roster spots to take and benefit from. A smaller league means a lot less guys get a shot or can stick.

Far less incentive than there is for a young man realizing his dreams and finding his fortune, guaranteed.

What is needed is a new structure that addresses the unique nature of most pro athletes' careers, the fact that there are relatively few really elite players (players who produce at high levels over time), and the highly volatile financial reality for all but the very few bulletproof teams that represents really large amounts of money.

Of course that's not going to happen, and we can therefore expect continuing lock outs each time the owners feel their returns or team values aren't high enough, at least until the league can become truly North American and has firmly anchored itself right down to the Mexican border.

Perhaps at that point there will be too much at stake to not play hockey games. It might not be until then that the player's share of revenues aren't continually challenged. After all money is at the heart of this, and at a certain point the desire for it can turn the table the other way, as in the players striking and the owners not wanting to lose game revenue.

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#102 Lochenzo
December 11 2012, 02:27PM
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The NUGE!!! He hasn't even played a WJHC game, but it seems that everything about this year's Team Canada is already revolving around him. He's very calm so I'm not too worried about the Nuge playing through all of the attention that he's already getting and will get on the ice.

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#103 Marty
December 11 2012, 02:36PM
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@Jason Strudwick

Jason, thanks for posting the article - it's good to hear things from a player perspective that isn't just taking pot shots on Twitter. I can honestly say as a die-hard Oilers fan for many years that I'm just completely losing touch with the game and the team. Up until the lockout started I didn't realize how much time I actually spent (wasted) on looking at stats, reading articles, doing line combos in my head. Without the NHL (and btw I haven't paid for a ticket for about 2 years - just can't afford them anymore) I've realized that there are far better ways to entertain myself - NFL, WJC coming up (far better hockey anyways, IMO). I can't say I'll boycott the games since I haven't been a paying patron for a couple of years anyways but I can say that I've consciously made a decision that I'm no longer buying any NHL merchandise (just bought a $30 Packers hat). I really don't care if/when the NHL comes back - I'm loving life way more now that I'm not addicted to watching/reading about NHL hockey. That's great that the players are fighting for what they perceive to be right, and the owners are just as bull-headed - I just don't care anymore. At the end of the day, NHL/NHLPA needs their fans and I just think that they're burning too much of their bridge. I honestly think you're going to see this play out like MLB when they went on strike last time and took over a decade to build up a fan base as opposed to the last NHL lockout where we (myself included) came flocking back like sheep. This is the first and last post I'll spend my time writing in regards to the lockout - good piece - thanks for the insight.

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#104 FastOil
December 11 2012, 02:59PM
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"This is an owner shakedown" "It never ceases to amazes me how mentally vacuous the average person is"

Gidean not being pro union is not being vacuous. I see less good points being made by pro player people than those that are pro owner.

Pro player people typically spout union jargon, refer to bargaining, say that teams make money so the players should get more not less, etc.

The reality is, the NHL is the number 4 league, is not truly North American in support (losing it outside revenues that enrich the other leagues), and has financial problems in 2/3 of it's teams.

The players have no leverage until the owners don't want to cancel games because it costs them money. Nothing done in this CBA will change that.

If players truly cared about long term league health they would be insisting on measures to develop team stability (protecting roster spots) and developing Southern market penetration (increasing the chance for big time TV or other deals that will put a lot more money in the kitty).

Contract length, RFA rules, and whatever nickels and dimes they are squabbling over wouldn't be deal breakers.

They are in it for as much as they can get (fair enough), and aren't interested in the futures of players to come as much as their own, or they would be doing something like what I mentioned.

Each side is as greedy and self serving as the other, which is normal. The difference to me is that the players are being foolish in that they haven't got leverage, are only losing themselves career money now as individuals, and whatever they do won't prevent future lockouts, unless there is a systemic change like I mentioned in the first post, which no one is talking about.

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#105 Clarkenstein
December 11 2012, 03:01PM
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Somebody wondered why Edmontonians were so pro-owner. I think if Darryl Katz had penned a similar story he would have been raked over the coals as much and possibly more. It's obvious the fans really have no respect for either side. And why should they? I'm not sure why you would decide to come on here and do a story Mr. Strudwick but you've been put in your place by many contributors that have my respect. You really don't have a clue!

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#106 book¡e
December 11 2012, 03:25PM
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Jason, I think that most people appreciate you posting your insights and interpretations. I know that I certainly do, so thanks.

I also fully agree that many people, both pro player and pro owner, in this situation get too emotional. However, the NHL 'sells' emotion and seeks to create people who almost worship their team so I guess it comes with the territory.

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#107 melancholyculkin
December 11 2012, 03:50PM
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@book¡e

Prior to the previous lockout the owners were spending something like 74% of revenue on player salaries (I don't know if that was HRR or net revenue). The lost season was sold as the sacrifice needed to fix the broken business model of the NHL.

This lockout is also being spun as required to fix the business model of the NHL. I think the disconnect between myself and others who sympathize with the players and those who sympathize with the owners is that I'm not convinced that taking back another 7% is going to fix anything. The owners clawed back 17% last time, and apparently that didn't work, so why should I believe it will work this time?

I view the lockout in terms of a CS problem. There are certain problems that simply cannot be solved, or solved in a satisfactory way. Sometimes this is because the input is simply screwed up. You can build stacks and parse trees and recurse until infinity, but at some point you have to realize it's not worth the effort and would easier to just change the input. It doesn't matter what you do, the towers of hanoi cannot be solved in less that (2^n)-1 steps.

If I'm to take the owners at their word that things are as bad as they claim, my question is why not just change the input? If 18 franchises are bleeding money, move them to where they can be profitable or fold them.

I don't see why it's the players responsibility to fix the NHL's mess.

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#108 rubbertrout
December 11 2012, 03:50PM
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The whole dispute is purely an issue of leverage.

I'm so sick and tired of players saying "they won't negotiate with us". I get that the owners went in with a lowball number and have only been moving to a position that actually doesn't see them "give up" anything compared to what the past deal allowed. The fact of the matter is that they have the leverage and they are applying it. Period.

Nobody is required to give up leverage in the guise of negotiating in good faith. If I have you over the barrel in a negotiation I don't need to take my foot off the gas just so I can meet you halfway. If I did that before in a prior negotiation that I may have given up too much in that doesn't mean that I need to do it again.

Is the NHL appraoching this in the fashion that I would have? No. Does that mean that they need to offer you $500K for your house because that's what it might be worth if there were a few interested buyers? No. If the NHL knows that you really need to sell that house and you don't have any other buyers for it they can grind you as much as they want by using that leverage.

The owners know that there are relatively few players who will have the option of playing elsewhere. The rank and file will eventually overwhelm the stars.

I do appreciate the different perspective though. I don't agree with it but I appreciate it.

Of course, the owners signing guys to all of those deals this summer when they knew that they were going to try and claw it all back is bad faith negotiating 101. You can pile on the owners for that all you want and I won't make a peep.

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#109 Archaeologuy
December 11 2012, 03:55PM
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@book¡e

"I support the owners because the players are standing up for something that is not sustainable.

When the owners have something to lose (i.e. the money lost during a lockout), lockouts won't occur as often."

^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^^

There's a reason there has been peace in Baseball for a while. They figured out a way for everyone to make money. When some teams are starving there will always be a reason to lockout the players.

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#110 Archaeologuy
December 11 2012, 03:57PM
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@melancholyculkin

Fair enough that it isnt the Player's responsibility to fix the mess, but they want a 30 team league too. Folding teams means lost jobs.

It isnt their responsibility to fix the league, but it is in their best interest to help come up with a solution.

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#111 The Soup Fascist
December 11 2012, 04:05PM
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Jason, congratulations for posting an article that has generated debate and - for the most part - reasonable discussion.

All I can say is I look forward to a day in (hopefully the not to distant future) when you pen another article that generates 100 plus comments that dissects the Oilers powerplay, debates which line combinations Krueger should be featuring, or why the Oilers defence is so much better than last year.

I appreciate the kajones it takes to have your opinion on the lockout up for scrutiny, but I am tired of Fehr, Bettman, the arena and the whole lot. Let's hope the New Year brings NHL hockey with it.

Best of the Christmas Season to you and your family!

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#112 TonyT
December 11 2012, 04:16PM
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@Jason Strudwick

Sorry Struds, while I respect your opinion and everything you do I can't agree with you.

Two things which put me in favour of the owners.

1) Players no matter at which end of the pay scale (and regardless of a pay cut) are making a guaranteed profit. While unofficial, 18 owners are not. This business is different from any other in that while the owners are working together as a league, they are in direct competition with each other as teams. And unlike the businesses the owners used to buy a team, their ultimate goal isn't essentially to turn a profit but to win a Stanley Cup.

2) People can argue all they want about overpaying players, but it doesn't change the fact that some players are overpaid. Sure the Oilers signed S. Horcoff to the contract, but any person with a sense of pride can't possibly take it. It the players don't want a dollar limit on contracts then the league shouldn't guarantee them.

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#113 Chris
December 11 2012, 04:20PM
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Archaeologuy wrote:

"I support the owners because the players are standing up for something that is not sustainable.

When the owners have something to lose (i.e. the money lost during a lockout), lockouts won't occur as often."

^^^^^THIS^^^^^^^^

There's a reason there has been peace in Baseball for a while. They figured out a way for everyone to make money. When some teams are starving there will always be a reason to lockout the players.

^^^^^THIS X 1000000 ^^^^^^^^

The players argue they need to stand up for themselves and be tough to get lasting labour peace. I'd argue that as soon as there is balance in the league and a strong majority of teams are making $ lockouts will be a thing of the past.

If this deal doesn't end up with the owners making money, there is a 100% chance of another lockout when this ends. The ONLY way to lasting peace is for the balance to shift to the point where everyone is happy. When neither side wins too much, we the fans win.

I think Fehr believes the best way to achieve this is with a free market system, no cap and a luxury tax to fund the weaker markets. MLB style, where players get $150 million 6 year contracts and the Yankees make the playoffs for 40 years straight by buying their roster.

End of the day I don't care who 'wins' I just want both sides to be making money AND league parity. I think Fehr couldn't care less about parity, just getting the most money for the players at all costs.

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#114 T__Bone88
December 11 2012, 04:58PM
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I'd rather lose a player to free agency than to lose an whole organization. I believe that is why fans are more pro-owner because of the brand at stake. The Oilers lost Gretzky, Messier etc. but the fans still watch the Oilers and I am sure people would be more upset if the whole Oilers foundation was to fold (I know I would) than to lose players like that.

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#115 melancholyculkin
December 11 2012, 05:34PM
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@book¡e

I support the owners because the players are standing up for something that is not sustainable.

Since the only solution the owners are offering seems to be "pay the players less" this requires me to believe that player salaries are the problem. I haven't seen any evidence for this claim.

(I should say at this point I'm an economic illiterate, so maybe the proof has been shown and just went over my head. I'd also like an explanation as to how franchise values seem to be rising across the board, but at the same time the NHL is apparently in dire financial straits.)

I actually take the opposite view. The owners seem to be the ones standing up for an unsustainable system.

What have the owners proposed, aside from clawing back more from the players, that is going to fix any systemic issues? Have they offered to get rid of or reduce the salary floor? Nope. Have they offered to increase revenue sharing? Not that I know of. Has there been any talk of dropping the cap and going to a luxury tax system like baseball? Nope, god forbid the owners lose their precious parity.*

(* Parity in the NHL is a bit of a myth. It really only exists because of the Bettman point and the fact that over 50% of teams make the playoffs. It amazes me how vehemently people oppose the baseball model, which I think would fix a lot of problems. The only real difference in terms of parity between baseball and hockey is the number of teams that make the playoffs.)

To go with your boat analogy, the players are the ones rowing. The owners built it and 7 years ago discovered the keel and the mast are rotten.

So they said to the players "unless you throw 17% of your possessions overboard this boat's going down." (Not to mention they also burned 24% of what the players kept). Eventually the players agreed and all seemed to be well.

It turns out the making a boat lighter doesn't stop rot from spreading. So now the owners are saying "hey players, we need you to throw another 7% of your stuff overboard. Trust us this time it will actually work."

Meanwhile there's this guy at the front of the boat worth $1 billion who could totally help pay for a new mast and keel, but don't you dare ask him to help.

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#116 Buzzkiller
December 11 2012, 05:41PM
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Struds you're one of the good guys. Sorry but the players should be happy with the lifestyle that playing in the NHL provides them. But they are not. A deal was there but Don just can't resist asking for more. Do players really believe they were entitled to 74%, and now 56%. Gawd 50% is a great deal. Send your text to Don. Tell em to BOOK IT!

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#117 Wretched Oil
December 11 2012, 05:48PM
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Financially, the state of the poorest 10 teams says everything. The market isn't big enough for inflated player contracts and 30 teams in North America.

Do players want a few powerhouse teams and the rest a market of empty seats?

Maybe they should just get whatever contract they can wrangle and let the bottom feeders sink....?

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#118 Milli
December 11 2012, 06:26PM
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Hey Struds, I disagree, but would really like your opinion on 2 things. 1, Do you think the Don should have put it to a vote? 2, Read the tea leaves, how do you think it would have turned out? Thanks

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#119 justDOit
December 11 2012, 06:30PM
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My brother in law works at the Federal Reserve. If you try and talk to him about how a private institution should not have power over monetary policies of any free nation, his eyes glaze over and he thinks you're an idiot. He's too close to see the big picture.

Sorry Struds, but you should have stuck with your instincts on this subject and kept your opinion to yourself. I would never question your knowledge of hockey, but I think you're way off base here.

We last lost a season because the PA would not accept a salary cap - it would be devastating to the players, or so your union boss declared. Well, if you call seeing your share of revenue rise by almost 50% in 6 years 'devastating', then I guess he was right. But he wasn't and the new boss seems to be the same as the old boss.

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#120 Donnybrook
December 11 2012, 06:31PM
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Struds, what you fail to mention is that the players took such a "beating" last CBA that their salaries skyrocketed within a few years. It was felt at the time (2005) that the proper system was in place to control costs and help most teams make money. But like all radical changes, the initial moves helped move the ship in a new direction, but obviously there were hidden loopholes and other factors that were not foreseen, or never got addressed and these have to be looked at now. It's like changing from Communism to Capitalism. It's never smooth and one batch of changes doesn't solve the problem immediately. I'm sure there will be other issues down the road that will manifest themselves. That 500,000 house you mention is probably only worth 300,000 now and dropping. For 20 years from Goodenow onward, the players have done well in huge incremental increases in all facets, until the 2004 CBA rolled around. The pendulum needs to swing back now for some corrections, and some tougher measures need to be taken. Sorry, but the players are in a tough spot and they are the ones that are going to have to bend here.

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#121 Captain Obvious
December 11 2012, 07:09PM
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I've said my piece on the justice of the player's side many times so I'll just let this lie.

However, justice aside, my larger concern is that an NHL with a salary cap at 60$ million is going to make it very difficult to impossible to keep a good team together. I don't see how that makes for a better fan experience.

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#122 Shooter
December 11 2012, 07:15PM
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Jason, yes we only get bits of info but you have not shared anything we have not already heard. What have the players given up? No where does Fehr's offers come any where near 50/50. He demands full payment of all salaries regardless of games played or revenues for this season + extra? Then next year, no less than 2.025B and increases from there. Where did the cap go in his world? This info is what Fehr published for fans and media. Also, in what other industry do "employees" get even 50% of gross profit let alone revenues?

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#123 RyanCoke
December 11 2012, 07:47PM
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Using a house analogy again,

Fans paid for this 500k house and the owners offer 300k to the players who never owned the house in the first place... Take the money and run! The house wasn't even paid for or owned by you.

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#124 Spicolli
December 11 2012, 08:21PM
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Reality check!!!! Wow!! Did you just try and justify the fact that there are multimillionaires crying that they deserve more then what they are getting and that they deserve this without taking any risk what so ever. Enough is enough. The players are no longer living in a reality world. They have been brainwashed into believing that they "are" the owners and operators of each team. You have heard the saying "fans don't come to the rink to watch the owners" well your damn right they "don't" but the fans also wouldn't be coming to that same rink without the owners. I don't see the players putting any of they're "over paid" salaries on the line to build the teams new arena. All the players have to do is show up. Seems simple but even when they do, they still complain after being pampered like a spoiled prince. (More like a spoiled baby if you were asking me) Yes of course as fans we believe the players should get a fair cut of the pie the only problem in that statement is that what we the average Canadian hockey fan or the rare American hockey fan think is fair is not even in the same ballpark as the players idea of fair. Reality check is the understatement!! You as a former player should know you had it better then the average Joe and to be quite frank there is a very large portion of so called NHL'ers playing these days that are not so different then that same Joe. Reality is they should contract the league down to 24 teams and see how those players that don't cut it enjoy life in the "REAL WORLD".

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#125 book¡e
December 11 2012, 08:45PM
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@melancholyculkin

The only systematic economic issue is player salary, everything else is chump change. What should they do, cut the salaries of the cleaning staff? One the revenue side, I think they have exhausted all of the various forms of begging - governments and companies are starting to wean the NHL from their dependency.

All of the other measures are rooted in maintaining the value of the NHL through keeping a competative balance and trying to get players to be associated with teams for more than just a few years. This is part of 'fan psychology' which is critically important if you want fans making stupid decisions like paying $100s for worthless sweaters and 'limited edition' signed prints.

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#126 ray
December 11 2012, 08:59PM
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sorry struds..i love your show and opinions however when it comes to this...sorry...dont agree. First of all..this is notthe NFL where they dont even have to have one fan in the stands and the teams are already in a profit position because of their t.v. deals...NHL is a gate driven league where the fans mostly pays the bills....hockey players have to realize they were well paid 15 years ago comparing to even now what is considered a good salary!!! they should consider themselves fortunate enough to have a talent that will pay them alot of crazy money considering most do not have an education!!!! Both my kids went to university for a total of 12 years...and they are still paying...so i have no sympathy for these athletes that are crying the union blues.....besides...unions were created for a whole lot of different reasons than is being demonstrated here...research that struds!!!

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#127 charlie
December 11 2012, 09:34PM
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I've been reading this site ever since it was a flashplayer praising the super rookies of Gilbert, Cogliano, and Gagner... but after this lockout I am really over the NHL.

The worst player in the league can make $2.5 Million in three years. I have a REALLY good job, and could save that much up, but it would take OVER 20 YEARS.

The sh!tshow that is the National Hockey League does not deserve the dedication it gets from us fans.

Over it.

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#128 melancholyculkin
December 11 2012, 09:58PM
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@book¡e

The only systematic economic issue is player salary, everything else is chump change.

I disagree.

Let's pretend that the Forbes numbers are accurate. According to them there are 11 teams that generate revenue of $120 Million or more. At the other end you've got the NYI that generate $66 Million.

The salary cap is tied to league revenue. League revenues have grown every year, so the salary cap has grown every year. The salary floor has grown every year because the cap has grown every year.

League wide revenue growth is being driven disproportionately by the the Canadian franchises and the large market American teams. Revenue growth has not grown equally.

The salary floor forces teams like NYI to spend more than they can afford, and so they lose money.

The systemic economic issue that exists in the NHL is inequality in terms of revenue generated among the teams.

I fail to see how taking 7% back from the players is going to fix this.

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.

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#129 Thesource
December 11 2012, 10:01PM
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@Jason Strudwick

I hate to say it. But you're an ex-player expressing frustration from a players perspective in a one sided pro player blog, on a site you know is full of above average hockey fans who are full of anger, information, and an anti-player sentiment in general. You must have expected a little bit of personal attack, which came from barely mentioning in an offhand way that you are a player. Followed by you getting really defensive and sounding kindof Crosby. Then it's funny because it comes down to "winning" the blog comments, or "winning" public opinion maybe ? I'm so tired of the word winning (I know, I know.. I may be the first oiler fan in the past 20 years to say that, but I digress).

Fun stuff. Awesome comments section today ! Good work everyone ! And Merry NHLless Christmas. :) I'm off to go win something.

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#130 book¡e
December 11 2012, 10:06PM
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melancholyculkin wrote:

The only systematic economic issue is player salary, everything else is chump change.

I disagree.

Let's pretend that the Forbes numbers are accurate. According to them there are 11 teams that generate revenue of $120 Million or more. At the other end you've got the NYI that generate $66 Million.

The salary cap is tied to league revenue. League revenues have grown every year, so the salary cap has grown every year. The salary floor has grown every year because the cap has grown every year.

League wide revenue growth is being driven disproportionately by the the Canadian franchises and the large market American teams. Revenue growth has not grown equally.

The salary floor forces teams like NYI to spend more than they can afford, and so they lose money.

The systemic economic issue that exists in the NHL is inequality in terms of revenue generated among the teams.

I fail to see how taking 7% back from the players is going to fix this.

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.

Revenue sharing is an important part of the solution and I agree that the league should consider it. The other proposals would lead to the have not teams dying as they would have non competitive teams in a (hopefully) emerging marketplace.

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#131 book¡e
December 11 2012, 10:08PM
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They are all communists!

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#132 Spicolli
December 12 2012, 12:59AM
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dougtheslug wrote:

I guess this represents the kind of uninformed drivel that motivated Struds to write his "cri de coeur". Players take "no risk what so ever"? For every player that cashes an NHL paycheque there are thousand that invest thousands of dollars, hundreds of thousands of hours, and unmeasurable tears and sweat and see not one slim dime paid out on their investment. And for every player that has a 5-6 year NHL career, there are dozens whose careers are cut short by injury, and live out their lives with damaged joints and post concussion syndromes, all for our entertainment. What "REAL WORLD" are you living in? And as for players not putting up their money to build an arena, it looks like in good old Our Town, neither is our owner. He wants us, the taxpayers, to do it for him. Some risk taker!

Doug please try this new method of rehab I have for you and your condition. Step one: give your head a shake. Now step one rarely works and after reading your comments I'm confident that you must move on to the next step. Step two: bang your head against a very solid object if no solid object can be found, urgently seek one out. Now in extreme cases such as what I believe you are dealing with take the next step. Step three: find a very sharp object and stick it in your ear as far as you can and when you think it's in far enough dig deep and try a little harder because in order for this rehab to work in extreme cases such as yours it needs to get really deep. Ok so what you tried to tell me is that because a hockey player actually made it to the professional level that he now is entitled to collect for all those who didn't make it. Guess what. Everyone in the 1st world makes a decision at some point on where they want to be. Some attempt to become professional athletes. I repeat they "attempt" to become, that means they have taken into consideration that the risks and sacrifices they make may not actually bring them to they're fairy tale ending. Guess what?? Every professional makes that decision they sacrifice they're time to make it to the dream job but as every other profession some make it and some do not. You want me to feel sorry for those who didn't. No chance!! I guess its time to live in the "real world" if you don't make it. You sleep in the bed you made. No one is gonna bail a student out of their tuition if they went to law school to become a lawyer but couldn't pass the exams. Two words for the players. Boo Hoo!!! As for the arena comment. Yeah I wasn't expecting the players to pay for arenas they play in because we all know they don't stay in one city long enough to go thru the good and bad times of owning a profesional team. Nope instead they demand a trade. The easy way out. To say that Mr Katz is not taking risks is nutz! He is putting a ton of his own cash into a building that is not only going to be a hockey team venue it's also a city/provincial venue. Oh and guess what! he wouldnt have the option of asking for a trade. What is it you want from him? Would You like him to build a couple new schools too??? Maybe a new wing on the west Ed mall?? All you need to do Doug is stay home!!! Never come to a game or any other form of entertainment that will be provided once the arena is built The "real world" is this. You work your butt off at what ever you do and when you get to the top you shouldn't complain that it's not good enough. You made your decision to get there now either be says afield or start on a new venture in life. And if that's not enough well try step one,two and three in my rehab program for idiots like Doug.

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#133 Thesource
December 12 2012, 01:11AM
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@Spicolli

In all fairness, I read the post, and I don't have a clue what he's saying. A few too many. On a Tuesday.... hmmm, why not I guess.

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#134 mayorblaine
December 12 2012, 05:19AM
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did anyone expect this level and degree of anti-player sentiment?

apprently know one thinks the fan can grasp the issues, whether they fiscal or philisophical. there are many many many smart and passionate fans out there who "get" it.

what they "get" has to matter to them and how they relate it to a game they have likley loved since their memory has allowed.

i think and hope the league and the players severly under-estimate the vitrol to which fans accompany this stopage.

John Short (an absolute legend, the best in the business) was on Gregor's show and he said something to the affect that the fans are patsys and enable this type of behaviour. he his 100% correct.

i am going to show my distrust and displeasure. for real. it won't be easy, but i will. please fellow fans DO NOT let the NHL and NHLPA off the hook. don't be a patsy.

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#135 Rama Lama
December 12 2012, 12:56PM
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Looks like Struds is hiding.......typical!

Players need to get a reality check......he who invests gets to call the rules!

Players are not partners because they hold NO RISK......their profit comes in the way of a nice little check each month. If the company loses money they still get a check.

If you dont like you current employer, go steal another players job in Europe or Russia.

These guys make me sick and live in a parallel universe where reality is not required!

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#136 Pucker
December 12 2012, 02:15PM
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Loved the RNH hi-lites. Really looking forward to the WJHC. It's not just RNH. I've been watching these for many years and actually get disappointed when the games are in a NA time zone. With the games in Russia, I'm up at 3 or 4 in the morning and don't feel guilty whether I'm drinking coffee or beer. . . Jason - thanks for posting this. 135 comments. I'd say 57 to 43 to the good.

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#137 phil
December 13 2012, 03:02AM
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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

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#138 Bucknuck
December 13 2012, 05:20PM
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It's been months since I bothered to read comments on Oilersnation, and for once I am interested. So THANK YOU Jason for posting this article. It struck up an interesting array of reactions.

In my experience as a manager and as an employee, I realize that most employees in the world think they are worth more than they are getting paid. It's the nature of the beast. I don't think players are exempt from this.

I've watched union leaders use this mentality to keep themselves employed and in so doing they screw the people they represent out of months of salary so they can strut around and be important and get "the best deal" from the owners. I've even seen plants closed down and people lose their jobs because union bosses thought closure threats were a tactic.

I think I would put Fehr in this category. No matter what deal comes to the table at this point, the players have lost half a year of salary. There is NO way to get that back, so now it is a point of pride and "fairness" and "making them come to us" which to me is union rhetoric to stroke the players pride and to keep union reps employed.

The fans lose, the players lose, and the NHL loses. You know the only person winning in this whole deal? Don Fehr's ego.

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#139 Runningcar
December 16 2012, 02:21PM
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@Buzzkiller

Jason, I respectfully disagree with you. I have spoke with several former NHLer's who now have established business operations of their own outside of hockey. They have experienced paradigm shifts away from those of the NHLPA. They don't want someone with no investment attempting to dictate their operations. We are in a free market economy. Should the players not feel happy with their current employment, they have options to work elsewhere. The unions coercion tactics are it's nemesis.

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#140 Matty
December 16 2012, 07:22PM
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Sorry Struds. If your house is worth $500k,then the market will agree. In this case there is a very limited market, and I it doesn't agree. The fact that you still think the house must be worth $500k speaks to the sense of entitlement by the players. If the players think they can all do better elsewhere, then they should all go. I'll be fine with whomever stays to play for the Stanley Cup.

I know the "millionaires vs billionaires" statement bothers you, but that's what it is. It's a fact.

You've only furthered the case for the divide between players and the everyman. You don't understand regular people. I enjoy your hockey insights immensely, but we are different planets philosophically.

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