10 Points: Mandel, Jones, Burke's hilarity and Ovechkin

Jonathan Willis
September 19 2012 04:36PM

1. David Ling. There’s been lots of actual news the last few days, but as I wrote this I found my mind was on David Ling, currently a member of the Nottingham Panthers of the U.K.’s Elite Ice Hockey League. Why?

Ling played 85 games for Columbus between 2002 and 2004. He picked up eight points. But during the 2004-05 NHL lockout, the then 29-year old recorded 88 points in 80 contests (along with 152 PIM) for the St. John’s Maple Leafs. He narrowly beat out Kyle Wellwood for the team scoring title, and outpaced Matt Stajan by a mile, but he also surpassed a long list of other players. Eric Staal would score 100 points in the NHL in 2005-06; he finished 11 back of Ling that year. Thomas Vanek, Zach Parise and a long, long list of other notables also finished behind Ling. Ultimately, Ling finished third in AHL scoring, behind Jason Spezza and Mike Cammalleri.

The point is just that the AHL is a very good league, and while Ling might laughingly be dismissed as expansion era filler and a career minor-leaguer, he bested a lot of guys with brighter futures that year. I don’t know who the 2012-13 equivalent of David Ling is, but the Oklahoma City Barons have a few guys – players like Josh Green and Dane Byers – who might just give some of the younger hotshots a run for their money this season.

2. Stephen Mandel’s statement. Edmonton’s mayor put out a statement yesterday ,seemingly in response to last week’s meetings and yesterday’s emergence of Daryl Katz in local media. There’s a lot of room for disagreement on the arena deal, but at least one paragraph of the release should have broad appeal.

I would openly ask the Katz Group to release their full position to the public – based on the itemized list which was prepared with both the negotiating teams, so that all items and their economic rationale can be fully understood by the people of Edmonton.

In his interview with Edmonton Journal reporters David Staples and John MacKinnon, Katz repeatedly stressed that he would not go into details because he wasn’t going to negotiate through the public. With the mayor’s request, it would seem that the only thing now standing between in the way of the Katz group explaining itself publicly is the Katz group.

3. Ryan Jones started 2011-12 on the fourth line. The NHL isn’t really a true meritocracy. Things like contract status, age, and personality effect where guys slot into the lineup. With that said, it’s worth remembering that Ryan Jones opened last season on the fourth line – behind both Linus Omark and Magnus Paajarvi. He passed them as the season went on.

I’m not the world’s biggest Jones aficionado, but he did find a way to make the best of a bad situation, by doing what the coaching staff demanded. He didn’t have a perfect record in that department – Ralph Krueger scratching him last year stands out – but he did enough to get a stint with Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle, something that eluded Omark and Paajarvi.

4. Brian Burke is hilarious. I don’t even need to add any other comment. I’m just going to quote two pieces. From CBC.ca on March 3, 2012:

Burke confirmed that Francois Allaire, who also worked with Burke, Carlyle and Farrish in Anaheim, would remain in his position as goaltending coach in Toronto. "I think we have the best goalie coach on the planet," he said.

From mapleleafs.com, September 18, 2012: 

“I regret that I have to deal with this matter publicly but I feel the need to respond. Was there interference from the staff as he said there was? Yes. But it was done reluctantly and it was done to change elements of our goaltending that was sub-par.” Burke, who hired Allaire away from his former team in Anaheim three years ago, said Allaire wasn’t going to be asked back after the club finished 29th in goals against with a bloated 3.16 average.

5. A rebel league? People like Cam Charron and Derek Zona have suggested a rebel league, similar to the WHA, as a good way of curbing the NHL’s tendency to have labour stoppages. I’d love to see it – if for no other reason than I really want to watch high-level hockey – but I can’t imagine one being viable in the long-term and it’s hard to imagine men with serious money being willing to fund something destined to die in the not too distant future.

6. “BIG BANG Night in Canada.” A press release from CTV landed in my inbox yesterday, announcing the creation of a new two-hour block of television programming on Saturday nights to help compensate for the absence of hockey. The network will feature four episodes of The Big Bang Theory in the same timeslot that Hockey Night in Canada normally runs. Senior V.P. of Programming Mike Cosentino:

If anything can fill the void felt today by every hockey fan in Canada, it’s humour from Canada’s most-watched series. From a scheduling perspective, this weekly stunt is an unmissable opportunity to bring even more viewers and advertisers to CTV on Saturday nights in primetime. Like hockey, THE BIG BANG THEORY has mass appeal with viewers whose statistics are similar when it comes to age, demographics, and loyalty, so there is natural synergy in this scheduling move.

Uh-huh. I included this rather blatant advertising because I do love the show (this is *probably* my favourite clip, though it’s hard to choose) but I know the only thing that gets me in front of a television on Saturday night is hockey. In other words: if CBC ends up airing AHL or CHL games, I’ll still be watching those. If they don't, the odds are very good I won't be watching TV on Saturday nights.

7. The Community Revitalization Levy isn’t made of magic. Daryl Katz’s interview with Staples and MacKinnon saw the CRL take on a starring role, with Katz implying several times that the projected tax revenue from it represented a pure windfall to the City of Edmonton. The CRL is an example of what’s known as “tax-increment financing” in the United States where tax revenues from big projects pay the cost of those projects.

Unfortunately, it’s not that simple, for a variety of reasons. An article from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis does a good job of explaining some of the pitfalls in arguments for spending public money on arenas. A big one is what’s known as substitution; to quote the article:

Economic impact studies also tend to focus on the increased tax revenues cities expect to receive in return for their investments. The studies, however, often gloss over, or outright ignore, that these facilities usually do not bring new revenues into a city or metropolitan area. Instead, the revenues raised are usually just substitutes for those that would have been raised by other activities.

In the case of Edmonton, the 2010 Zimbalist report points out the difficulties in greater and more local detail. Basically, there’s certainly value to using a CRL, but the old adage that “there is no such thing as a free lunch” applies.

8. Scotty Bowman on former Canadiens’ general manager Sam Pollock. Anyone who knows anything about NHL hockey knows that Sam Pollock was a vicious general manager who bent every rule (or, as Lowetide points out, rewrote them when necessary) and ended up with nine Stanley Cups in 14 seasons as Canadiens general manager (his name would end up on the Cup 12 times in all). Scotty Bowman, a part of those successful Montreal organizations, tells us a bit about Pollock’s management style in Behind the Moves:

Sam was very prepared, ultra-prepared. He was a hard worker, all hockey. Traveled a lot. He had good insight into his present time, but also into the future. The Canadiens’ slogan was ‘Kids go marching on,’ which meant that he liked players coming up, adding to the team. Frank Selke was like that too, and always had lots of players in the pipeline…. Sam was never a one man show. He was very prepared and always researched everything. He was very analytical. Before he made a trade, everybody had to be onside. I mean, he was a very strong man, but he would make sure that the people who were working for him were all in agreement. He didn’t fly by the seat of his pants.

There’s a lot to like there, but the importance of always having a crop of young talent pushing for work is hard to understate.

9. A slight change. Earlier this week, I took over from Kent Wilson as the managing editor here at the Nations. Kent’s been increasingly involved on the business side of things, so I’ll step in and handle more stuff like NationRadio and editing/formatting content for the website. In unrelated news, expect more glitches in everybody’s work. Aside from that and the fact that you’ll all now think fondly back to the days when NationRadio was posted on Sunday night, this should not be a significant change.

10. Ovechkin’s comments. I couldn’t resist including Alex Ovechkin’s comments on possibly staying in Russia post-lockout:

As to the future, it will depend on what kind of conditions there will be in the NHL with the new CBA. If our contracts get slashed, I will have to think whether to return there or not. I won’t rule out staying in the KHL, even past this season.

Two things. The first is that any NHLPA member with any sense is going to play up the possibility of playing somewhere other than the NHL; it’s a good bargaining tactic, and one I’d certainly make use of in Ovechkin’s shoes. Second: that doesn’t mean there isn’t truth to it. Depending on the exact conditions, there’s a real possibility that the NHL’s European content drops in coming years as KHL money becomes more competitive (and also allowing for the favourable tax situation in Russia). This is a threat with merit precisely because the KHL can be a real alternative in some situations.

Recently by Jonathan Willis

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, the Edmonton Journal and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.
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#1 yawto
September 19 2012, 04:42PM
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Hopefully we don't have to wait too long for the fist games of the season.

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#2 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
September 19 2012, 05:05PM
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The players are really starting to piss me off! So much propaganda comes from the PA and the players individually, it's making me sick.

They call it an "owners lockout"? Then why didn't they negotiate earlier? Oh yeah, it's a tactic. A tactic that makes the owners look bad to the naked eye.

They want a "fair deal"? Then why do they get more than half the revenues? Oh yeah, because they're "fighting for what they believe in."

Bull ****!

Now this from the Prince of Washington? The only regret I'm going to have if Alex stays in Russia is eating my hat!

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#3 DC
September 19 2012, 05:09PM
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The comment that really got to me from Ovi was "what we deserve to play hockey" Really? Lost all respect for Ovi. I still pay to play hockey. Good riddance. Enjoy the KHL Ovi.

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#4 Racki
September 19 2012, 05:15PM
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Good on Ovechkin for speaking out, since he's in danger of being screwed into possibly only making eleventy-billion dollars a season should the NHL cut wages. I don't know how any hockey diva could be expected to live off of that.

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#5 jeanshorts
September 19 2012, 05:16PM
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If there's one thing hockey fans love it's staying home Saturday nights to watch broad comedies about science nerds! CTV you've done it again you sly bastards!

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#6 TonyT
September 19 2012, 06:23PM
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I think Ovechkin's threat would mean more from an established NHLPA player who didn't have a 13 year contract. As mostly anyone who was anyone signed long term deals in the 48 hrs leading up to the lockout, such a threat would be impossible to back up as would it not be a breach of contract (given transfer agreements)?

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#7 Jagrbaum
September 19 2012, 06:24PM
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Hi Jonathan,

In the event of a lockout for the entire season, would this years draft become a lottery for all teams or would the oilers hold the 2nd overall position by default?

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#8 TigerUnderGlass
September 19 2012, 06:27PM
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Increasing the total value of Edmonton property increases the amount of tax revenue. If downtown revitalization occurs this would effect a greater net boost in total value based on location alone than projects outside the core would.

There are a lot of ifs, it depends on too many other variables, and by no means does it ensure that it covers the cost of the project, but claiming zero difference to net value or revenue is wrong.

On another note:

This is a threat with merit precisely because the KHL can be a real alternative in some situations.

This is exactly why 5 year entry level deals are a terrible idea.

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#11 oilers2k10
September 19 2012, 06:43PM
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So NHL players make a video of how much they love the fans, only to threaten not to play for us anymore despite us paying them more/as much as they could make in any other league in the world? I'm feelin the love..what a bunch of bs!

So now Dominic Pittis is back in edmonton after the likes of Nash and Thornton took his job away in Europe.. Idiotic behaviour

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#12 oilers2k10
September 19 2012, 06:49PM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

Agreed on the ELC's. I don't think much of Ovechkin's comments as a legitimate threat - I think the NHL might lose some talent in the short-term, but not a lot - but five year ELC's are a terrible, terrible idea. As a high-end European player, it would make *zero* financial sense to agree to an NHL ELC under those conditions.

This is why higher performance based bonuses that dont count against the cap should be allowed in ELC deals

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#13 Pouzar99
September 19 2012, 07:12PM
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I also doubt Ovi will be staying away but guys who signed contracts before this summer have a right to expect to be paid what they signed for. I admit that Hall, Eberle, Skinner and company knew the owners position when they signed so have less to gripe about, but the owners want to roll back contracts directly or through escrow that were signed in good faith long before, in some cases years ago, which is simply outrageous. How can anybody support that?

Imagine, say, some Leaf players approached management and said, ''Hey guys you made over $100 million last year and we lost a lot of money gambling recklessly, could you roll up our contracts an extra million per year? Don't you think they would be told a contract is a contract.

The NHL has showed record economic growth since those deals were signed. Owners who continued to spend beyond their means, or who just want to use their leverage to extort a few million bucks from players have no right to demand rollbacks.

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#14 Pouzar99
September 19 2012, 07:30PM
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Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy! wrote:

The players are really starting to piss me off! So much propaganda comes from the PA and the players individually, it's making me sick.

They call it an "owners lockout"? Then why didn't they negotiate earlier? Oh yeah, it's a tactic. A tactic that makes the owners look bad to the naked eye.

They want a "fair deal"? Then why do they get more than half the revenues? Oh yeah, because they're "fighting for what they believe in."

Bull ****!

Now this from the Prince of Washington? The only regret I'm going to have if Alex stays in Russia is eating my hat!

Were you upset when the owners opened negotiations by demanding a second consecutive 24% cut of HRR, five year entry level deals, no arbitration and an additional three years before free agency? That's not an offer its a declaration of war.

Were you upset when Bettman said ''we have the greatest fans in the world, meaning I know these suckers will come back no matter what we do.

Were you upset when the owners announced they intended to use escrow to rollback contracts signed in good faith by players in some cases three or four years ago?

Both sides are looking out for themselves but with revenues up 50% under the old CBA don't you think such wildly unreasonable demands poisoned the negotiations from the start?

As for what percentage of HRR owners and players should get, how do we determine what is fair? It is the best players in the world fans pay to see. They are the ones risking their present and future health to play this game for a few years. There is no formula written in stone. If I pay to see a Bob Dylan concert I would like to think Dylan gets more than half of the money.

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#15 Semenko and Troy
September 19 2012, 07:34PM
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Speaking of the Elite Ice Hockey League, the Sheffield Steelers have a local presence to their team.

Steven Goertzen, who had brief stints with Columbus, Phoenix, and Carolina is now playing there.

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#16 Jagrbaum
September 19 2012, 07:43PM
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@Jonathan Willis

Thank for the quick response!

My friends and I were discussing the possibility of having 4 1st overall draft picks in light of the current situation and were not sure of the draft situation.

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#17 The Soup Fascist
September 19 2012, 07:44PM
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Pouzar99 wrote:

Were you upset when the owners opened negotiations by demanding a second consecutive 24% cut of HRR, five year entry level deals, no arbitration and an additional three years before free agency? That's not an offer its a declaration of war.

Were you upset when Bettman said ''we have the greatest fans in the world, meaning I know these suckers will come back no matter what we do.

Were you upset when the owners announced they intended to use escrow to rollback contracts signed in good faith by players in some cases three or four years ago?

Both sides are looking out for themselves but with revenues up 50% under the old CBA don't you think such wildly unreasonable demands poisoned the negotiations from the start?

As for what percentage of HRR owners and players should get, how do we determine what is fair? It is the best players in the world fans pay to see. They are the ones risking their present and future health to play this game for a few years. There is no formula written in stone. If I pay to see a Bob Dylan concert I would like to think Dylan gets more than half of the money.

I am pretty sure these guys are free to choose a less hazardous, risk-free career than NHL player, albeit at potentially a bit lower pay.

Same way a heart surgeon who doesn't like the stress can choose to be a podiatrist. That is the beauty of the system. They are free to make their own choices.

For example Rick Nash and Joe Thorton are free to choose to sewer two journeymen imports in Davos who were making a couple hundred thousand a year to feed their families and now are free to find another job.

Pretty sure we have discussed this from different ends of the spectrum before. I guess we choose to agree to disagree.

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#18 Jagrbaum
September 19 2012, 07:51PM
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Does anybody else find it interesting that the pre and post lockout drafts of 2004-05 are going to share some similarities to this years and last years drafts should the lockout continue.

1st overall Russians pre-lockout (Ovechkin/Yakupov)

followed by

1st overall highly anticipated Canadians (Crosby/MacKinnon)

I'm not saying that Yakupov or MacKinnon are going to be Ovechkin/Crosby. I'm merely making an observation.

Thoughts?

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#19 GVBlackhawk
September 19 2012, 08:17PM
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JW do you really think Josh Green and Dane Byers will challenge Eberle and RNH for the Barons scoring title?

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#20 Pouzar99
September 19 2012, 08:23PM
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Fair enough Soup. I am not saying it is all the owners fault. I am just responding to a poster that is only mad at the players to ask why isn't he also mad at the owners. I think both sides are to blame, but the owners more, and I am mad at both. I accept others might blame the players more and in the end there is no precise way of determining how to split the HRR.

I do think using your leverage to force rollbacks of contracts negotiated in good faith before CBA talks even began is indefensible however.

Mostly I just want this crap to end and the games to come back.

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#21 Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!
September 19 2012, 08:25PM
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Pouzar99 wrote:

Were you upset when the owners opened negotiations by demanding a second consecutive 24% cut of HRR, five year entry level deals, no arbitration and an additional three years before free agency? That's not an offer its a declaration of war.

Were you upset when Bettman said ''we have the greatest fans in the world, meaning I know these suckers will come back no matter what we do.

Were you upset when the owners announced they intended to use escrow to rollback contracts signed in good faith by players in some cases three or four years ago?

Both sides are looking out for themselves but with revenues up 50% under the old CBA don't you think such wildly unreasonable demands poisoned the negotiations from the start?

As for what percentage of HRR owners and players should get, how do we determine what is fair? It is the best players in the world fans pay to see. They are the ones risking their present and future health to play this game for a few years. There is no formula written in stone. If I pay to see a Bob Dylan concert I would like to think Dylan gets more than half of the money.

Bettman is nothing to brag about. He spewed that line out like a village idiot.

What was escrow set up for?

I can't argue about low balling on the first offer and what tone might that set for the negotiations, but Fehr isn't exactly an insecure sheep who's never seen that before and may get offended by it.

Fair is what makes you not shut it down and lockout your employees. Every day that goes by where games are scheduled, the owner are losing millions. We can say it like it's not a big deal but it is. Every game generates millions. And I'm guessing the owner are willing to do that because the expired CBA isn't "fair".

Average NHL salary is $2.4M. Take a 10% rollback and you're still a millionaire twice over.

Although you haven't explicitly stated who you side with, I can't believe it seems like it's with the players.

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#22 The Soup Fascist
September 19 2012, 08:34PM
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Pouzar99 wrote:

Fair enough Soup. I am not saying it is all the owners fault. I am just responding to a poster that is only mad at the players to ask why isn't he also mad at the owners. I think both sides are to blame, but the owners more, and I am mad at both. I accept others might blame the players more and in the end there is no precise way of determining how to split the HRR.

I do think using your leverage to force rollbacks of contracts negotiated in good faith before CBA talks even began is indefensible however.

Mostly I just want this crap to end and the games to come back.

I concur the owners could not organize a two car parade in terms of working within a reasonable guideline. A bunch of hypocrites - GMs and agents working to skirt rules and jump through loopholes to circumvent the spirit of the agreement and screw each others counterparts.

But where we diverge is that it is wrong to try and fix the problem using the leverage the owners have. Otherwise this goes on forever, IMO.

Both sides are out to lunch in terms of what is best for the game and the people who buy tickets - and, yes little Napolean drives me nuts. We can agree this is crap and needs to end. I am a diehard season ticket holder and pretty much have had my fill.

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#23 DSF
September 19 2012, 08:51PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

I concur the owners could not organize a two car parade in terms of working within a reasonable guideline. A bunch of hypocrites - GMs and agents working to skirt rules and jump through loopholes to circumvent the spirit of the agreement and screw each others counterparts.

But where we diverge is that it is wrong to try and fix the problem using the leverage the owners have. Otherwise this goes on forever, IMO.

Both sides are out to lunch in terms of what is best for the game and the people who buy tickets - and, yes little Napolean drives me nuts. We can agree this is crap and needs to end. I am a diehard season ticket holder and pretty much have had my fill.

The huge mistake Bettman is making here is that he doesn't accept that the players have the hammer.

At some point, if the NHL doesn't come to the party , Fehr will drop the hammer.

The salary cap will be taken off the table.

Nuclear winter.

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#24 The Soup Fascist
September 19 2012, 09:28PM
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DSF wrote:

The huge mistake Bettman is making here is that he doesn't accept that the players have the hammer.

At some point, if the NHL doesn't come to the party , Fehr will drop the hammer.

The salary cap will be taken off the table.

Nuclear winter.

I can't see it. To get 700 guys to stay cohesive while executing such a caper would be difficult. There are too many Andy Suttons, Brendan Morrows, Shane Doans, Brad Stuarts and hundreds of others who would never, EVER recover the losses such a "nuclear winter" (good phrase) would ensure.

While overall hockey players are likely a little more careful with their money generally, look at a Vince Young who managed to blow through $26 mil guaranteed and is now broke. Tough to go back to cutting coupons after bi-monthly 6 digit paycheques.

Interesting scenario - but I DO NOT see it.

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#25 Wax Man Riley
September 19 2012, 10:29PM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

I can't see it. To get 700 guys to stay cohesive while executing such a caper would be difficult. There are too many Andy Suttons, Brendan Morrows, Shane Doans, Brad Stuarts and hundreds of others who would never, EVER recover the losses such a "nuclear winter" (good phrase) would ensure.

While overall hockey players are likely a little more careful with their money generally, look at a Vince Young who managed to blow through $26 mil guaranteed and is now broke. Tough to go back to cutting coupons after bi-monthly 6 digit paycheques.

Interesting scenario - but I DO NOT see it.

...and the guys you mention would be the ones that come out smelling like roses after the fallout. They have been in the league a long time and have made a lot of money compared to average North American income.

It's guys like Bryan Rodney that have played 34 career NHL games and are 28 years old that will suffer most. They are in their prime and struggling to get in on their best days.

To be fair, he did make $105,00 in the AHL last year, and is up for $225,000 this year (not bad) but if he loses a spot to one of the NHL players, then what?

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#26 The Soup Fascist
September 19 2012, 10:49PM
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Wax Man Riley wrote:

...and the guys you mention would be the ones that come out smelling like roses after the fallout. They have been in the league a long time and have made a lot of money compared to average North American income.

It's guys like Bryan Rodney that have played 34 career NHL games and are 28 years old that will suffer most. They are in their prime and struggling to get in on their best days.

To be fair, he did make $105,00 in the AHL last year, and is up for $225,000 this year (not bad) but if he loses a spot to one of the NHL players, then what?

Agree on the AHL vets and I said the same thing about the imports on Euro teams that are losing jobs. These displaced minor league / Euro vets get the poopy end of the stick.

Not sure how you see 35 plus year old NHL veterans would benefit from the scenario DSF painted, though.

A year or more lost salary and the time value of that money would never be made back over the one, two or few years they have left. A prolonged strike would cost them $. Not saying you need to hold a telethon for them, just stating that older nhl vets would not have the appetite for a prolonged stoppage - and that is where the cracks in the foundation will begin.

Easier to keep 30 owners towing the line than 700 plus players. Waaay easier. Trying to keep the individual wants / opinions of 700 players (and their wives) co-ordinated is like herding cats - possible in theory / impossible in practice.

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#27 Walter Sobchak
September 19 2012, 11:07PM
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@DSF

Really? I see the hammer as Bettman telling Fehr that he can't see NSH, CBJ, DAL and PHX sustaining without a workable HRR and a prolonged work stoppage therefore will contract them.

I don't know how you seem to think that the players have any power here?

NHLPA tried to call Bettmans bluff once, didn't work out.

What makes you think he is going to fold? The NHLPA taking the salary cap off? nope that will certainly lead to this.

The NFL broke the NFL's union for ever by using replacement players. This is another form in which Bettman will use if a lockout is prolonged into next season.

If you consider the fact that % 90 of players are in the lower pay grade, these players will fold first leaving only the select upper players sitting out.

The NHL will draft, pickup ex NHL players, use some AHL players and players will slowly but eventually will cross, because in the end it's about the hockey, the history, the Stanley Cup and the fans will return, cause at he end of he day it's about the crest on the front and not the name on the back.

They will break the union if this goes longer then the year.

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#28 Tayranchula
September 19 2012, 11:22PM
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Ling will never be Tony Hand. The guy had video game stats.

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#29 RexLibris
September 19 2012, 11:30PM
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There's an old African saying that I think applies here: when two elephants fight, the grass always loses.

I Bettman and Fehr both have proverbial hammers. Bettman can keep calling off games, cancel the season even, and prevent players from getting their NHL salaries. The owners will have to stay cohesive, but for some of them who had tremendous profits after the last lockout, they might be inclined to think that another will only increase their value. Others who have lost might find themselves in the position of losing less during a lockout.

It is the ones that are in the middle, the ones that have a gradually closing window to capitalize on their roster and who make decent profits right now (Vancouver, Calgary, L.A.) that may be tempted to break ranks or push for a resolution.

The players have their own "hammer" in that they can target two, maybe three, easily identifiable soft spots on the NHL's underbelly. The Winter Classic, the All-Star game in Columbus, and the Stanley Cup playoffs.

I think Fehr knows that these, and perhaps a restless fan base, are his only weapons to use against the NHL ownership group. He'll need to maintain union (sorry, I mean association) solidarity to get close to those dates, but they are his best chances of putting pressure on the league.

From my perspective, I figure if they aren't playing by Dec 15th, they aren't playing at all this season.

If that happens I can't think of another team that would take it on the chin more than the Flames. Iginla could walk as a free agent, Kiprusoff might just retire, they'd lose a crucial year of productivity and trade potential, and Matt Stajan would still have a year left on his contract. Might be the final nail in that coffin.

Anschutz is selling the Kings (and the Galaxy, shares of the Lakers, the Staples Center and AEG entertainment). I have to wonder if he is hoping to get out of the labour dispute business and into something more economically stable, like Oil futures.

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#31 Walter Sobchak
September 20 2012, 12:00AM
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@RexLibris

Not that I'm on any side here, I'm not. But two or three teams and a winter classic outdoor game will not be anywhere near enough to sway the owners. Think of how many teams are just getting by.

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#32 Mumbai Max
September 20 2012, 02:18AM
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DSF wrote:

The huge mistake Bettman is making here is that he doesn't accept that the players have the hammer.

At some point, if the NHL doesn't come to the party , Fehr will drop the hammer.

The salary cap will be taken off the table.

Nuclear winter.

It astonishes me that anyone could think that the players could 'have the hammer'. If the NHL ended permanently tomorrow, 30 of the owners would continue running the businesses that have made them billionaires. None of those is hockey related. Their personal income would not be impacted in any way. The players, with perhaps a 10% exception would have to pursue careers that would pay them a tiny fraction of their current income. "fries with that sir?". How can the party with by far the most to lose, possibly hold the hammer. Addled conclusion.

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#33 mayorpoop
September 20 2012, 05:58AM
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DSF wrote:

The huge mistake Bettman is making here is that he doesn't accept that the players have the hammer.

At some point, if the NHL doesn't come to the party , Fehr will drop the hammer.

The salary cap will be taken off the table.

Nuclear winter.

how in the world do you think that the players have the hammer?

take the cap off the table? good fill your boots. what the owners businesses are going to lose to in the long term will be much less painful than the players losing out on their livelyhood.

most owners didn't get to owning an nhl team without having other assets to fund it. they can wait a bit i suspect.

no way the players deserve even 50% of the HRR. they are employees not partners.

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#34 Dipstick
September 20 2012, 07:29AM
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The owners surely have the hammer. The players could play for a rival league? Yeah, in which rink? Almost all of the major facilities are controlled, if not owned by the team owners.

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#35 michael
September 20 2012, 07:51AM
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@Mayor Poop. I agree with you that the entitlement that the players earned this past CBA was out of proportion to thier actually stake in the NHL. Giving away 57 % of the profits to your employees is ridiculous. Yet the NHL signed that deal. Bettman made a massive mistake last time around and is paying for it now.I would think that the NHL is going to go for the throat this time around and hammer this HHR down to 48%. The owners own the team. Strange? Not the players. The players who have a big investment in how well the teams do should realize that killing the goose does not get them the golden egg. At best these overpaid millionaires had better come to the conclusion that less is more and that getting paid 6 million is better than not getting paid at all. Oh for the days of Harold Ballard. Harold would have told them to all bugger themselves and got new players. Lockout? Fire them all and see what happens then. Remember what Reagan did to the air traffic controllers in 1980? The players are to smart for thier own good if you ask me.

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#36 The Beaker
September 20 2012, 08:24AM
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Small point of order. They are not giving 57% of the entire profits or revenues to the players. HRR doesnt make up the entire revenue for the organization. Also, I dont know why people keep getting stuck on that. It isnt a matter of whether an "employee base" has a "right" to a specific share of the profit or not. To be honest getting stuck on that as some sort of moral arguement is rediculous.

They could just say something like "players are only going to get paid out of ticket revenue but will get 100% of that revenue". The problem is people in here would go "BUT THEY DONT DESERVE 100%!!! THATS OUTRAGEOUS"

They players would take 50/50 split of the pie tomorrow if the pie was larger. The % thing is an illusion.

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#37 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
September 20 2012, 08:55AM
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DSF wrote:

The huge mistake Bettman is making here is that he doesn't accept that the players have the hammer.

At some point, if the NHL doesn't come to the party , Fehr will drop the hammer.

The salary cap will be taken off the table.

Nuclear winter.

Good Ole DSF

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#38 madjam
September 20 2012, 08:57AM
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You want the players to have complete ability to go wherever they want to play and seek out the most dollars for their services ? Just like most of you are free to do ? That's the free market system and democracy . Deluged with hippocrits that want to restrict player movement and limit their earnings .

You blame players and demand they take less while backing only (generally ) one owner who is already making a good profit - more than all of their salaries combined and others . Well if owners demand more , what hippocrit should demand the players take less ? Would you stay in a job at minimum wage if an alternate was willing to pay you double or more ? I doubt you would stay and get less . It's up to owners to correct their indiscretions .

Compromise union has already made , but owners want to widen gap even further by demanding more of their portability and wages . When owners ready to compromise their exhorbitant position then a compromise could be made and the posturing of owners ended .

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#39 mustang0304
September 20 2012, 09:22AM
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#8...Don't let the door hit you in the a$$. Have fun in Russia

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#40 NewAgeSys
September 20 2012, 09:22AM
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The Soup Fascist wrote:

Agree on the AHL vets and I said the same thing about the imports on Euro teams that are losing jobs. These displaced minor league / Euro vets get the poopy end of the stick.

Not sure how you see 35 plus year old NHL veterans would benefit from the scenario DSF painted, though.

A year or more lost salary and the time value of that money would never be made back over the one, two or few years they have left. A prolonged strike would cost them $. Not saying you need to hold a telethon for them, just stating that older nhl vets would not have the appetite for a prolonged stoppage - and that is where the cracks in the foundation will begin.

Easier to keep 30 owners towing the line than 700 plus players. Waaay easier. Trying to keep the individual wants / opinions of 700 players (and their wives) co-ordinated is like herding cats - possible in theory / impossible in practice.

It seems more like 731 leading all NHL hockey fans around by the nose.700 Players-30Owners and 1 Gary"The Weasel" Bettmen=a team of 731 co-operatively fleecing the fans year in and year out.

No one is mentioning the fact that the fans will ultimately pay for this work stoppage and this loss of revenue owners are experiencing.

Mandel has run into a superior and fiscally secure negotiator who cannot be manipulated but must be actually "negotiated"with,and he and city council are wayyyy over their heads here.Katz has no qualms discussing the deal but he wont do it in a weak dynamic forum,hes smart,the City is trying to manipulate him and he wont have any of it,we are over a barrel, he knows it and we know it ,and the longer we squirm the more it costs because huge projects are about to sap the manpower away and triple building labor costs. Ryan Jones showed the majic ability Sam Gagner showed in his climb up the ranks to the top six ,didnt he??I wonder whats up with that??I think Jones would look good wearing an "A" one day soon.Jones will stand up for the team and speak his mind,I see leadership written all over him,because he seems to be honest on the ice which means you should expect that to transcend his game on all levels.He will take one for the team,and I think he did that just before he was sat down by Krueger as has been pointed out.Thanks Jonesy.And I might be wrong but it looked like Jones made some adjustments to his stick that game,looks like some funny wraps of tape there on the blade??Dont forget Jones filled in for Hall on the PP for a while as well.And scored while doing so.

Brian Burke is being Brian Burke,hearing his name reminds me of how happy I am that Kevin Lowe has evolved past that point as a Hockey professional and is devotong all of his energy to the Oilers in a much more refined manner.Glad we have Lowe,he still has even more room to evolve a great upside.

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#42 DSF
September 20 2012, 09:48AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

The players do have a hammer, but it's more of a double-edged sword than hammer and it's got nothing to do with the cap coming off the table (the owners *will* die on that hill which means the NHLPA would lose that battle).

"The hammer" is decertification.

Who wins would depend on the players resolve.

I agree decertification would likely be the next step and the NHL would likely respond with an end to guaranteed contracts.

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#43 druds
September 20 2012, 09:48AM
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Jonathan Willis wrote:

The players do have a hammer, but it's more of a double-edged sword than hammer and it's got nothing to do with the cap coming off the table (the owners *will* die on that hill which means the NHLPA would lose that battle).

"The hammer" is decertification.

If its a hammer its a rubber one, name me one time that a sports union decertified. You nailed it on the head the hammer is lethal for both parties.

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#44 sec206
September 20 2012, 09:53AM
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totally pumped for 2hrs of crap on ctv to replace HNIC

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#45 druds
September 20 2012, 09:56AM
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If Ovechkin wants to play in the KHL forever , I say gabye! Hey I dont see the league collapsing if 6 or 10 players decide to play out their careers in Siberia flying around in 40 year old soviet-era deathtraps. Hey the sweater is what counts not the name. The league didnt collapse when Crosby didnt play and it wont shed a tear if several overpaid goofs decide to play for the Motherland. Semin? yeah I will tear my hair out if I cant watch that lazy sob drift around the ice.

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#46 OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F
September 20 2012, 10:03AM
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How anyone can conclude that the players have any sort of advantage here is beyond me.

The players have far more to lose here then the owners do.

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#47 TigerUnderGlass
September 20 2012, 10:17AM
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druds wrote:

If its a hammer its a rubber one, name me one time that a sports union decertified. You nailed it on the head the hammer is lethal for both parties.

You mean besides the NFLPA decertification just last year?

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#48 G Money
September 20 2012, 10:17AM
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DSF wrote:

The huge mistake Bettman is making here is that he doesn't accept that the players have the hammer.

At some point, if the NHL doesn't come to the party , Fehr will drop the hammer.

The salary cap will be taken off the table.

Nuclear winter.

Indeed, this is 100% correct.

The players have the hammer in much the same way Sam Gagner has the height and weight advantage when he challenges Zdeno Chara to a scrap.

And I guess the fight will end in much the same way - when the owners' fists can no longer take the beating imposed upon them by the players' faces.

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#49 uFeelShame
September 20 2012, 10:47AM
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We keep hearing about 3.3 billion gross revenues, but what are the expenses after player's salaries are paid out? What I would like to see is a breakdown by team what their NET revenues are. Who's making money and who's losing it. The league has increased revenue by a billion since the last lockout, but it seems more teams are in financial trouble now. Doesn't make sense. Something in the system is costing too much $'s. In a perfect world, the league would contract around 4 teams right off the hop.

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#50 mayorpoop
September 20 2012, 11:35AM
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The Beaker wrote:

Small point of order. They are not giving 57% of the entire profits or revenues to the players. HRR doesnt make up the entire revenue for the organization. Also, I dont know why people keep getting stuck on that. It isnt a matter of whether an "employee base" has a "right" to a specific share of the profit or not. To be honest getting stuck on that as some sort of moral arguement is rediculous.

They could just say something like "players are only going to get paid out of ticket revenue but will get 100% of that revenue". The problem is people in here would go "BUT THEY DONT DESERVE 100%!!! THATS OUTRAGEOUS"

They players would take 50/50 split of the pie tomorrow if the pie was larger. The % thing is an illusion.

help me out: under the current CBA is not the split of HRR (don't care how it was defined then and now) 57 and 43%. that's what i hhear and read. i want to make sure i'm understanding things right.

these are not moral objections btw. it's not a right or wrong issue. it is a fair not fair, logical - illogical objection on my part.

the pie shouldn't be larger. percentage's aren't illusions they are reality.

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