Ten Points: Yakupov, Eager, Kovalev and a little more CBA talk

A look at Nail Yakupov’s summer series play, what to expect from Ben Eager, the difficulty in choosing between Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle, a potential NHL return for Alexei Kovalev, and some more thoughts on CBA discussions.

1. Nail Yakupov and the Russia/Canada challenge series. I kept an eye on the Russia/Canada challenge series – not watching the games the same way I watch the Oilers, just sort of casually following the play. After Game 1, I was a little bit disappointed in Nail Yakupov, so for Game 2 I decided to track where he was playing, who he was playing against, and the scoring chances with him on the ice. Yakupov drew Canada’s top defence pairing and checking line most of the time, had an even split between offensive/defensive zone starts and out-chanced the opposition 6-to-2. Not mind-blowing numbers, but when I really started counting the chances I noted that the Russians were spending *way* more time in the offensive zone when Yakupov was on the ice – they were dictating the play. It’s a short series anyway, but I came away feeling better about Yakupov’s ability to make an immediate impact.

For more on this series, read Andrey Osadchenko’s interview with Nail Yakupov here.

2. The head-start of a summer series. If there’s NHL hockey to start the year, Nail Yakupov probably just got a bit of a head-start by playing competitive games in August. When Sam Gagner made the Oilers as an 18-year old, the fact that he’d already been playing hockey seemed to give him a leg up in training camp. Of course, with CBA negotiations ongoing, the point may be moot.

3. Ben Eager is what he is. There’s a lot to like about the very particular set of skills that Ben Eager brings to the ice (yes, including that line is just a transparent ploy to use the Liam Neeson clip above). He’s big, he’s fast, he has decent hands and sometimes he’s mean. That doesn’t mean that he’s capable of having his good games every game – his performance in Edmonton last season was the same performance he’s put on everywhere else he’s played in the league. He’s 28 years old; this is what he is. If he hasn’t weeded out the stupid penalties, the willingness to ignore a linemate getting run over from time to time, and the inability to be a force every night by now, over 400 combined playoff and regular season games into his NHL career, he probably never will. That’s why he’s a decent fourth-liner and not a power forward.

4. Slava Fetisov and reclamation projects. There’s a great quote from Red Wings G.M. Ken Holland in the book Behind the Moves about when Scotty Bowman made the decision to trade for Fetisov from New Jersey. It was the lockout shortened 1994-95 season, but even so Fetisov had played just four games for the Devils when the Red Wings dealt for him in April. Holland’s thoughts:

One of the things that Jimmy [Devellano] did – coming from the Islanders – to really try to put this [franchise] back on the map was to bring in veteran players. At the time, it was Rick MacLeish and Brad Park, and he was just trying to bring in veteran players to give some credibility to the organization and buy some time for the kids. Then Scotty Bowman, in 1995, he trades a third-round pick to New Jersey for Slava Fetisov, who was in the press box in New Jersey. I was scratching my head in the press box, thinking, ‘Why would we waste a third-round pick for a 35-year old who can’t play in New Jersey?’ He comes in, Scotty puts him right in the lineup and lets him play. He played great, and all of a sudden, a year later, it’s the Russian Five and in 1997 we win the Stanley Cup.

Fetisov scored 14 points in 14 games from the blue line after the trade, and 42 points in 69 games the next season (matching the career high he posted in his rookie season. His role was eventually reduced but he won two Stanley Cups as an integral part of that Red Wings team after sitting in the Devils’ press box. The Red Wings have made it a habit to find reclamation projects and get them turned around, and have harvested some pretty good players along the way – Daniel Cleary perhaps being the best example currently on the team.

Alexei Kovalev (Michael Miller/Wikimedia Commons CC-by-SA 3.0)

5. Alexei Kovalev eyes an NHL return. According to TSN, Kovalev already has training camp invitations and hopes to make an NHL roster this fall (if there’s a season). He’s coming off a terrible KHL season – one goal in 22 games – and at the age of 39 it will be interesting to see how he fares in training camp. He’s only one season removed from a 16-goal NHL campaign, so it’s understandable that there are teams out there willing to see what he looks like in an NHL training camp.

6. The financial impact of an NHL lockout. Great quote from the University of Alberta’s Brad Humphries on the financial impact of an NHL lockout (h/t to Copper and Blue). After looking at the effect of other lockouts over the years, he describes the impact as “none.”

The evidence is that nothing happens. So the economic activity is identical in periods when there was a strike or lockout compared to periods where there was not.

He’s backed up in that stance by the University of Ottawa’s Marc Lavoie, who found that hotels do basically the same business with or without a lockout.

Naturally, individual businesses are effected, but overall consumer spending doesn’t drop and according to the academics there isn’t a real decline in out-of-city visitors either. So, as much as not watching hockey will be unpleasant, the financial ramifications for Edmonton shouldn’t be particularly troubling. Then again, this would seem to raise questions about whether it makes sense for governments to pump public money into an industry that – again, according to the academics – doesn’t have a big overall economic impact when it disappears, but that’s a whole other conversation.

7. NHL revenues/contraction. It’s worth remembering that the league is coming off seven years of revenue growth – it’s more profitable now than it ever has been at any other point in history. It’s been suggested to me a few times that certain teams are in real trouble and the only solution is contraction, but that’s crazy. When Atlanta moved, not only was the league able to find owners willing to buy the team, but they were also able to arrange for a $60 million relocation fee to land in their own coffers. The cost of expansion is even higher – in the early-90’s, $30 million, than $80 million in the late-90’s, and now undoubtedly the figure would be in nine digits.

Contraction has been a favoured concept for a bunch of fans and media – people who don’t like the sun-belt teams, people who feel the NHL’s talent pool has been watered down, etc. But the league isn’t going to get smaller. They’re making money, and they make more money every time they award a new franchise. So, theoretically, it’s possible that they might fold a team – but only because the revenues from folding a team and then expanding are bigger for the league than the revenue to be made from moving a team.

Found via Twitter – and of course, this is meant as a joke, not remotely as an endorsed action.

8. The January 1 deadline. It’s hard to throw a rock these days without hitting an NHL reporter who believes there will be a lockout, and that said lockout will be over by December/January because the league doesn’t want to jeopardize its national television deal in the United States. Adrian Dater explains the reasoning here. If he, and others advancing the same theory – a theory that I see as making a certain amount of sense – than that’s the deadline NHL owners are looking at: not September 15, but January 1 (Of course, the actual deadline is a little earlier, as the league needs to have some time to prepare for the Winter Classic, but mid-December should give them enough lead time).

9. Decertification. There are those out there angry at the NHLPA for its role in the coming lockout, but there’s always an alternative: no NHLPA. Back in July, Tom Benjamin wrote about a potential NHLPA strategy: to roll over, give the owners what they want on a short-term deal, and then decertify. The impact, in Benjamin’s words, would be “the end of collective bargaining, the salary cap, the draft and any restrictions on free agency once the CBA expires.” Players would win big time – owners have already proven completely incapable of keeping player costs down to a rational level without some sort of salary cap – and fans would win in the sense that they’d never need to worry about lockouts again. The sacrifice would be the destruction of the old model, and a free market system that would see each team stand on its own merits without the help of the draft and restricted free agency and spending limits on teams like New York and Toronto. Maybe some would prefer that; for my part, I prefer a system managed through a partnership between the NHL and NHLPA. The trick now is to get to a point where there aren’t labour stoppages every half-dozen years.

10. TSN’s “Who’s Better” Contest. I’m enjoying watching TSN’s contest to pick the NHL’s best player under the age of 25, and am extremely unsurprised to see a Hall/Eberle showdown in the final slot. Oilers fans have helped to rig a contest that has seen Eberle earn more votes than Jonathan Toews or Sidney Crosby, and Taylor Hall beat out Steven Stamkos and Erik Karlsson. Good times.

  • For those who were unhappy with Yakupov’s preformance at this Tournament, lets just all remember that at this time last year Ryan Rishaug of TSN was telling everyone who would listen that The Nuge wouldnt play in the NHL during 11-12 because he was horrible at the Canadian WJC camp.

    The sky isnt falling, Chicken Littles. It’s just a few hockey games in August.

  • I was looking at the business of hockey section on http://www.forbes.com and I was reading an article about how team values are higher than they have ever been.

    I decided to rank the teams in-terms of their income (before tax, interest and depreciation of assets) and only 11 teams were had an income above zero. Edmonton ranked 5th at 17M and Calgary was 11th at 1.1M.

    It is amazing how we all are screaming that the owners are making way too much money when only 11 teams have a positive net income.

    I think there is too much of a misconception about how much owners are walking away with at the end of each season.

    I also find it completely odd to compare the NHL financial frame work of that of the MLB like Donald is trying to do. There is little similarities as advertising, ticket prices, # homes games are WAY different. Baseball is the most popular sport in the US and people will spend money to see it on a regular basis. While Hockey is apparently Canadian only a handful of Canadian teams exist. ESPN showed on television that 1.2% of Americans will watch hockey while 36% watch baseball. BIG DIFFERENCE.

    Sorry, I was just getting excited about the NHL season. I even bought a mini-pack for me and my best friend this year. I am a true blue fan… but if we postpone hockey for a year I am not going to be as interested as I once was. Too much business now a days in hockey…

    • 1) Careful about trusting the Forbes numbers. They’re the best we have and so I – and others – use them, but be sure to be a little skeptical about them.

      2) The big problem is that some teams – Toronto, for example – are making a pile of money but it’s all going to their coffers. I think what the league needs is a salary cap that makes the mid-range teams profitable, a revenue sharing system that keeps the lower tier teams in business, and relocation/collapse in the worst cases (Phoenix).

    • Completely agree. I don’t know how the players can realistically justify their offer. They take no risk, but are rewarded if the owners make more money. The owners weren’t much better, but at least they can point out that that portion of revenue would make all teams profitable/near profitable.

      One thing to remember is that over the past 20 years many owners tolerated losses and low incomes because the value of the franchises were increasing so rapidly. That is not the case for the most part today. Also if you have a 150M dollar asset, it better be making you at least 10% per year in return.

      There does need to be some revenue sharing, but at the same time, you will have to see a significant decrease in player share for the viability of the league. Maybe not to 46%, but other leagues are in the 50-51% range, and with the NHL landscape, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them on or slightly below that.

      • The league’s initial offer was 43% when you take into account HRR being redefined. Not only were they demanding that going forward, but also demanding a deduction on contracts already signed of almost 25%.

        Now, if you’re Johan Franzen and you negotiated a 10-year deal to help keep your team competitive, how are you going to feel when it’s suddenly reduced in value by 25%?

        I didn’t find the players’ offer all that compelling, but the owners’ offer was an invitation to a prolonged labour dispute.

          • On the contrary.

            For example – assuming that NHL growth continues at the same rate it has the last few years – de-linking salaries from revenue would see the players come away with 49% of total HRR in year three of the deal.

            Now, that looks a lot to me like a mechanism for dropping down to the 50% HRR range the owners (probably) want without a massive salary roll-back.

            You throw in the player option to revert back to 57% and it looks like the status quo, but it is a negotiation – and the players have given the league a mechanism they’ll be willing to accept to reduce their share of revenue.

            If that’s not a discussion point, I don’t know what is.

          • JW,

            When they are talking about the split being 57% 43%, or what ever it is, does that percentage represent the owners cut of the overall pie that they need to pay salaries, facility cost, front office staff etc. Or does it represent the amount of the total Pie that get allocated towards the players salaries and to the owners for everything else? They keep talking about these splits but not much about what that really represents. I haven’t really been looking hard, maybe it is out there but its hard to form an opinion without all the correct info.

          • And one of the players interviewed yesterday was saying the Owners were greedy. 57% and they don’t have any expenses other than personal when the owners need to pay all the front office staff, facilities maintanence and upkeep. It should be 50/50 and both sides can stop b*tching. Anytime a business makes less than the employees there is going to be problems.

          • It’s not a discussion point because it’s temporary. It has no purpose other than as an attempt to look good.

            It’s certainly not a mechanism to reduce their share because it does no such thing.

            You can’t say “it is a negotiation” on the players behalf but not give owners the same “negotiation” leeway.

          • I give both sides the same ‘it’s a negotiation’ excuse.

            The difference was that the players’ offer included something that might actually have some value down the road – a mechanism for reducing the amount of HRR that goes to them. The owners’ proposal was nothing more than a declaration that they were looking for blood and wanted to start the bidding low, LOW, LOW.

            I don’t think the players are saints, and I’m fully convinced that they’ll need to give up more than they want to for there to be hockey.

            On the other hand, last time around the owners were fighting for survival – now, they’re more interested in healthier profit margins than anything else.

            That’s there right, of course, but it’s not a motivating force that I find particularly sympathetic.

          • a mechanism for reducing the amount of HRR that goes to them.

            I don’t see a mechanism for anything other than a statement that “we will temporarily take less”.

            If done permanently de-linking salaries from revenue is not a mechanism to take less, it’s a mechanism to later take much more.

        • Wanyes bastard child

          I agree the owners were just starting really low, and I found that rather brazen as well. And I viewed the salary rollback as the same type of negotiating tool as the players’ option to revert to 57%. I expect there to be no rollback of actual salary, but have it a pro-rated cap hit going forward. I don’t see the impetus to rollback the salaries like last time, but there is a need to redistribute the revenue.

          The thing about the players’ proposal is it is predicated on a unsustainable growth the last 5-7 years. When you consider that, it gets less viable. I agree with Tiger in that the proposal was more a marketing tool rather than real substance.

          Both sides better be prepared to take less, or we won’t see hockey in a while.

          Also the twitter campaigning by players is already annoying. They should keep silent and let Fehr control the media for them.

  • I don’t think decertification is a clear win for the players to be honest.

    Yes the owners have struggled to keep the cost for high end players down, but I have little doubt that the 3rd & 4th liners could end up suffering.

    Why am I going to pay player X $500k per season to play 6 or 7 minutes when there are several hundred guys just like him, and I could pay one of them $100k? Not to mention a lot of the fringe benefits given to players that are negotiated in the CBA (including transportation and stay costs)?

    Not only that, but everything would have to go through the courts to settle things. The owners will placate the top 25% of players on most issues, but what about the rest of the players?

    • There are other negatives for players too – the end of guaranteed contracts, for example (something I was reminded of on Twitter).

      But I have trouble believing the minimum wage guys would really suffer. How many players are at league-minimum right now? The Oilers are paying Ben Eager $1.1 million on a long-term deal, and Lennart Petrell and Darcy Hordichuk more than $800,000. Petrell’s virtually the definition of replacement level – why wouldn’t the team save some money there?

      My guess is that somebody would pay him. I’m not expecting that to change even if the NHLPA opted to de-certify.

  • Stack Pad Save

    One thing that is really bothering me in this round of CBA negotiations is how Gary Bettman is also the de facto owner of the Phoenix Coyotes. I don’t have a law degree, however I wonder at the legalities of this and I am sure that it is changing and influencing how he would negotiate with the NHLPA otherwise.

    Also if there is a work stoppage though out the whole season would the Oilers get the first overall pick next year?

      • I don’t know on what basis people are expecting the Oilers to have a good shot at the #1 pick again if the season is cancelled.

        There’s a clear precedent for what would happen in that situation, so all one has to do is look at the format for the Crosby sweepstakes before the ’05 draft and see that, under that system, the Oil would have no shot whatsoever at the #1 pick.

  • Pat Hughes ruled

    What were you expecting from the players?
    Average education level: high school
    Owners: degress

    Business savvy:
    Players: On everage not that high
    Owners: Billionaires and corps.

    How long is it going to take for the owners to get what they want again and put an end to this sham of a debate. Sit down, get it done and stop wasting the public’s time.

  • Old Soldier

    Okay lets be brutally honest and realistic here.

    The player’s proposal was smoke and mirrors and simply created to win a few PR points and with some luck put a wedge between big market owners and small market.

    Why? Simply because in the long run (the next 24 months), the owners will get what they want unless the players can get the owners fighting each other.

    History has proven that every single time the owners are ready to lose a season; they end up winning the negotiations. When the owners start fighting each other or afraid of losing a season, the players come out ahead.

    Fehr and the players aren’t stupid, they know that revenue sharing isn’t going to fly (Rangers and Leafs aren’t going to support 14 teams), and that is completely realistic of the owners, remember the NHL isn’t MLB. MLB revenue last year was $7.7 billion compared to NHL $3 billion, and with limited growth (NHL attendance is 1/2 of MLB).

    A good comparable was the auto industry, when the big 4 went south, the first thing, every time, was staff cutbacks and salary and pension reductions. It sucks, but it is what it is, and that is the way the world works. “Sorry Joe, but we are losing money and I have to let you go” …..that’s reality. 80% of a paycheck is better than none.

    If the players hold their line too hard, they become public pariahs (whereas the owners remain mostly faceless entities no one likes, and they really don’t care), and then the players run the risk of watching franchises close. That is not an idle threat. The owners really don’t lose if franchises close, their teams have fewer cities to travel too so costs go down, they get a deeper talent pool, they don’t have to contribute to revenue sharing, and the odds of their winning rise slightly.

    But, the players lose almost 60 jobs per team, NHL, and AHL with NHL contracts. Those contracts are the journeymen and pluggers who have to fight every year to get a contract and earn a paycheck and they outnumber the “stars” by a large margin. If it comes to a vote in that situation, which do you think wins. Also there are a limited number of places to move these ailing teams, which also seem to be places players don’t wish to go to.

    I truly believe the owners are also holding that one trump card that terrifies the players. If the league loses a season, and the player’s haven’t backed off their demands, I see guaranteed contracts being thrown into the mix. That will change attitudes quickly. To me, the “win – win” is to toss egos aside, use the owners proposal as a starting point and start playing “we give you this – you give us that”.

    • You also have to remember that there are twice as many games played in a season in the MLB. Also the seating capacities for NHL are approx 16,000 – 21,000 as compared to the MLB with 34,000 – 56,000. Its pretty easy to see how the MLB could bring in greater revenues.

  • BurkeTheTurd

    @ Crash

    The Nashville Predators signed veteran defenceman Scott Hannan to a one-year, $1 million contract on Friday. Last season, the 33-year-old blue liner scored two goals and added 10 assists for 12 points in 78 games with the Calgary Flames.

  • Jaw17

    Why don’t they just keep the salary cap where it is untill that’s down to the 50-50 split with the extra 7% the players would get going to teams under the poverty line, they could also lower the salary basement.
    It doesn’t make sense to me that they can’t agree on a solution when they had so many options.

  • Just as a friendly reminder, revenue is not the same as profit. Also, players are not the only people teams pay. Some teams own/run other teams. Depending on how Oklahoma and the Oil Kings are doing financially, it’s entirely possible (though not entirely probable) that the Oilers, as well as others, *are* actually losing money.

    People seem to be making a bunch of assumptions based on gross numbers that don’t necessarily mean anything.

    • Dipstick

      Hall won by handful of votes. It was a well orchestrated attempt to make it a tie by posters on the HF boards.

      I think that Eager suffers from a lack of attention at times. When I am playing and begin to get fatigued, I will start to forget my role and that is when the trouble starts. Maybe he is just a bit simple, like me.

  • Wanyes bastard child

    I know it is part of living in Alberta but I do lose patience at time with all the owner-loving, union hating, mouth breathing right wingers on this site. The players create the wealth and deserve the lion’s share of it.
    Besides the fact that the players are the only reason anybody cares about hockey, the fact that they take all the physical risks, lose their teeth, play through pain, shoulder separations, broken ankles, torn knee ligaments and concussions that cloud their future lives, the owners make at least half of the money by any fair measurement.
    Besides pocketing massive expansion fees every team a franchise is created or moved owners get wealthier just by standing still. Note that the Edmonton Investors Group nearly doubled their money, buying the team from Pocklington for $107 million in 1998 and selling to Katz for $200 million in 2008.

  • RyanCoke

    From what I saw of the Canada/Russia series, Yakupov played alright. Everybody knows that he can score but I was quite impressed with his playmaking skills. It was a short series and it was hockey in August. I wouldn’t put
    too much stock into how he played either way.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Jay Dub

    I don’t want to comment on, or even think about the upcomming labor disruption. No oiler hockey depresses me. I will take exception with your assertion that, because Taylor Hall was voted superior to Karlsson, the TSN contest was rigged. No way the sens could pry Hall away from the oil by offering a 180lb girlie-man from Sweden.

    Regarding decertification, the players should just take a vote, decertify, and then join the teamsters. A few union brothers could then ‘visit’ NHL headquarters, like the Pirahna brothers in the old Monty Python sketch, and a new deal would be instant.

    My brain hurts.

  • The Soup Fascist

    One of the mouth breathers here. The players create the wealth? Really? Well I better call up Phil Kessel and say thanks for building the ACC.

    Oh and great job Horc, thanks to you and your buddies dishing out $216 Million of your dollars to buy the Oil. Mucho appreciated!

    If your contention is the owners are a bunch of cigar-smokers just pulling in money hand over fist benefitting from the hard work of the players, please feel free to buy a clue. Try walking into the Oil dressing room with this one: Tell the fellas you talked it over with Katzy and if they are willing to come up with a measely $10 mil each and be responsible for their share of the new building and future op costs, the 23 guys on the roster can own the Oil and “rake in the money”. Then do that 29 more times in most markets where the metrics are worse than Edmonton. You would be thrown out of there faster than Lindsay Lohan from a convent.

    Actually I am shocked the players don’t just give notice to the NHL, en masse, put up a few rinks, run their own show and wait for the money to pour in. I mean, to a man they are highly-intelligent, educated folks who can step right in and manage a multi-billion dollar business, right.

    Nice try on the EIG. They “doubled their money” after 10 years of tying up, for some, a large % of their networth and TWO significant cash calls. Trust me when I say the risk they took was huge compared to the reward.

    Your thinking is flawed by your obvious jealousy of folks who have taken risks, worked hard and believe it is oK to make a (dirty word coming up, Posey) … PROFIT.

    I realize that it is terrible thing for people who are wealthy to create more wealth. As I am sure you know, Jaro Pouzar was a wonderful Oiler who escaped that pesky little oppressive system of the time in Czechoslovakia known as communism. “Ironic” isn’t a strong enough word.

  • Pat Hughes ruled

    I would rather have Hannan than Sutton. Why did the Oilers sign Sutton before free agency started again?? Hannan cost less and does more because I don’t recall Hannan being suspended for dumb hits and why was Sutton in the press box during the end of the year?

  • The Soup Fascist

    Contraction isn’t going to happen. The optics of contraction are to messy. The fallout of such a move would likely see a sharp devaluation of NHL franchises. Bettman will need to be a magician to make the Pheonix franchise continue in the same manner it is now. Tampa Bay. Florida. I can buy tickets for a weekend game for less than $40.00 in the lower bowl of thier arenas. The pricing is riduculous. You buy that same seat in Edmonton and it 225-275 depending on the location in the arena. Montreal and Toronto. Even more. My point is that there is a huge disparity in how much revenue is recieved by the league from certain teams. The NHL is belly aching about the fact its not making enough money. Go figure. The proverbial goose is the the 7 NHL teams in Canada. Bettman in his zeal to capture the American TV market forgot for a long time where his bread was buttered. Hopefully post lock out we will see the league announcing an expansion into these 4 markets. Southern Ontario,Quebec City, Houston. Tx and Hartford. Ct. Pheonix I would love to see moved to Seattle Washington.

  • Pat Hughes ruled

    Romanus, are you saying that you can’t read or that only financial risk counts? Why would that be? Here’s one for you. Who takes a bigger risk? Leaf corporate owners who risk only making $50 million a year instead of the usual $100 million plus? Or Chris Pronger who will likely never lead anything resembling a normal life after his concussions? That isn’t risk? Or Crosby, who is possibly one hit away from the end of his career? Or all the lesser players, like Boggard, Rychel etc who paid the ultimate price for being tough guys?

    So I take it you are one of those folks who think it is fair for Caterpillar, while making record profits, to demand their employees take major salary and benefit clawbacks and when they don’t immediately cave, close the plant and open a new one where people are so desperate they will work for anything.

    Hockey players are elite athletes an entertainers who do a hell of a tough and highly skilled job for a few years and then most face the rest of their life with little education on no job preparation. They need to make what they can while they can. You can’t outsource their jobs to China where you can pay guys $1 an hour. Without these elite players there is no NHL, no games to attend. Would you pay to watch Ed Snider sitting on his fat butt counting his profits? The players create the wealth and deserve the lion’s share. Is it their fault that greedy owners created new franchises in untenable markets to get massive expansion fees and now want to cheap the people they fleeced on revenue sharing?

    In 2004 I criticized the players for resisting the salary cap, which the league needed for competitiveness and reasonable cost control. The owners broke the union, dictates terms of the new CBA, circumvented it themselves and now say it is no good and they can’t even play under it for a few months until a new one has been hammered out. Wake up and small the coffee.

    • Reg Dunlop

      Pouzar99 are you a member of a union? If it’s all about the players and they are deserving of so much then why don’t the players start their own league and reap all the rewards – exactly – it wouldn’t be possible because they don’t have the skills or resources to do it. By no means do I think the owners are angels that have all the answers, but it is a symbiotic relationship where they both need each other. And at the end of the day the owners pull the strings, the players are here for the short term, the owners (for the most part) own the teams for far longer than any individual player plays. I don’t think the owners should have dictatorship, but they should have a majority of the control. If the players, just like in any industry prove their value then they will get what they deserve…otherwise like I stated earlier start your own league just like in the real world where many of the best in their fields/industries start their own businesses…

      • Romanus

        Oh and another thing, you said “Note that the Edmonton Investors Group nearly doubled their money, buying the team from Pocklington for $107 million in 1998 and selling to Katz for $200 million in 2008.”

        Are you privy to the financials of the Investor Group? Do you perhaps know how much they lost or made in the time that they owned the team? Probably not…and the fact that they saved the team while losing money every year or barely breaking even probably never crossed your mind. Unions have their place in some situations but at the end of the day if their wasn’t some businessman that created a company guys like you wouldn’t have a job so you get no sympathy from me about how hard you supposedly have it!! If creating and running a business is so easy you do it…otherwise quit crying about how hard done by members of unions such as the NHLPA are – brutal!

        • The Soup Fascist

          My point is not to knock the EIG. In fact I think they are local heroes. I talked to Cal Nichols quite a bit at that time and admired what he was doing and am thrilled the EIG folks were able to end up making some money in the end. Those guys took REAL risks and deserved everything they got back and more.

          I only mentioned it because it is a local example and shows how almost all franchises appreciate in value by a significant amount every year. THAT was the point. The fact that during those difficult years the value of the franchise grew tremendously should tell you something.

          And no, I am not and never have been a member of a union but I am a total supporter of the union movement. Without them workers will always be treated like dirt. Alberta is a bit unusual because exceptional labour demand at times gives workers highly unusual leverage. Besides I already told you I am rich. Did you think I was joking?

          I have said and agree that both sides need each other but in this case it is clear that the owners are demanding outrageous concessions to a deal they designed and are far more to blame than the players for a work stoppage. The player offer is complex and is dependent on the continuing growth of the game, which is likely but not certain.

          The players are more important than the owners. The 700 guys on NHL rosters are the best in the world. They are irreplaceable except with inferior individuals who people will not and should not pay big dough to see. There are plenty of very rich
          guys who can buy a hockey club. The current owners can be replace and frankly many of them should be because they don’t care about the game, the players or the fans. I’m not saying the players are saints or that they aren’t looking after themselves. Of course they are. But they love the game. They play their asses off in the playoffs for no extra money and for their country in international tournaments. You pay to watch the corporate owners of the Leafs, Habs and Rangers. I’ll pay to watch Hall, Nuge, Yak and Ebs.

    • Romanus

      Thank you for a post that has some meat to it.And offers good insights and relevant context in a supportive manner.

      I believe it is a saw-off and a hockey player is no different stockboy and an owner is no different than Safeway,business is business and we all take risks relevant directly to our dynamic of opportunity.

      So the fact of the matter is that a hockey players first two years should in all manners secure him a permanent future equal to an average persons dynamic,several million dollars in the bank earning interest with low to no overhead because you are on the road all the time,even the grocery bill at hime is cut in half,any responsible manager would have that immediatly done,secureing an Everyman status even with serious injury–lets not forget how insured players are as well,and this isnt fraudulent WCB insureance either,its real wage replacement value.

      As far as high and unbalanced salary dynamice within the league,well we asked for it,the fact is that these salary arms races are caused by a poorly run NHL that doesnt allow a stable enough environment for the game to evolve properly from within,the officiateing has been re and mis-directed so many times it has affected NHL hockeys natural evolution,this was done to cover up mismanagement on a league level through the disguiesing of the rapidly riseing dynamic of reduce talent levels teamwise in the NHL,cause by a combonation of expansion and KNL sucess and stability.The games rule changes combined with the phoney baloney Bettman interference from his powerbase has forced refs to evolve the game more through their own calls or noncalls than is natural,and because we have a two ref system with no off-ice video to support them in a realtime manner we have a league run and controlled dynamic that Gary the Weasel Bettman has used to tarnish my favorite game.

      We need an off-ice video replay supported refereeing influence,technology allows us to put a real ref in the stands at every NHL game off ice and support him in realtime,the best refs in the game can have many years added on to their careers this way.The video replay judges are a league disinformation tactic because they avoid the real issue which is CONTROL within the game when we see a real time mistake like an obvious game changeing play is missed by TWO refs,it only makes sense that based on the catalysing reasons for two refs that we evolve that with a hands on,off-ice game official with full powers to correct on ice call and to overrule them with video evidence at their disposal.

      Or lets go back to one ref and get some more open ice out there.And support that with current technologys,but two refs onice?? without instant replay on game changeing mistakes?? is proof of a league inspired dynamic conspiracy,that might be pretty deep if it is opened up like a can of worms.

      So you see even the league can influence through long term concerted effort and influences a dynamic for teams in which their players salarys can be affected.Thereby affecting the balance of negotiations like we are seeing here,if a pattern can be identified between concerted league actions or indirect but catalysed influences there are lawsuits all over the place for something or another thats for sure.

      So really,I know players personally who made the NHL and didnt properly manage their finances and are liveing like Everyman,but that is common throughout society as a whole,especially in BoomTown Alberta,ha ha ha.And I also know business people who lost millions by NOT selling out to the competition at the right time,so the risk issue is naturally balanced.

      The core issue is the bidding war teams get in over purely physical skills because their team SYSTEMS suck so bad the only way they can generate offense is through buying a bigger gun to try to make a bigger hole.No joke here,but I met a great-grandchild of the woman who killed the worlds record grizzely bear ,useing a single shot .22—she had been squirrell hunting and surprised it and it charged her,she shot it in the eye,dropping it.Point being any man with any rifle as big as they chose would not have an iota of a chance to do any better than she did with literally a pea-shooter,because her shot was SYSTEM INDUCED—-she commonly shot squirrels through the eyes to not damage any meat.System induced.A .375 H&H in the hands of a good shot is NOT system induced and hes probably dead or mauled in that dynamic wherein she surprised the bear and herself and they both had to react instinctively as fast as they could.I have shot the guns I speak of and can assure you i am right,and I wouldnt stand anywhere within 200 no 300 yrds of a full size adult male grizzly bear under any circumstances,guns can be bad boys to and not work for you at bad times.And bear covers that 300 yrds a lot faster than you can imagine if it is motivated,never mind 300feet.

      My point is that the league would have us believe that teams need a big gun because of the climate from within which NHL teams have been forced by league lnfluences to incubate the systems of play they use on a game to game basis.To put the stake in the heart of the issue on behalf of the system i created that defies this trend,the NewAge Hockey System,the league fostered an environment in which crappy systems of playing hockey evolved and they cant bail their own arses out of the dynamic,well good thing the NHS can do just that for both teams and the league and utimately the fans as well.

      You want to stabilise hockeys fiscal future stability as a game??Easy,want to control spiralling salarys without work stoppages or team bankruptcys??easy.You want to provide a continually improveing and evolveing product to the paying NHL fans?/easy.Just support teams that implement the NHS,system when you get a chance to beat a drum ,beat it for the 8-3 games ok??And if there is a loser ina 7-6 game beat the drum for both teams,but as NHL fans who pay premium dollars to see a premium sports dynamic,do not beat the drum for a 2-1 NHL game and let the league hear from you not just the owners through their pocketbooks,because remember what a big role i showed you that the league plays in that dynamic.As with anything pro sports evolve and the biggest steps cannot come without support from many areas,because this evolution is catalysed by sucessful system implementation league wide createing an even and competative playing field,the NHL has to begin to look at old tapes themselves and relearn how to ref high octane offense because with the NHS ALL NHL teams will be able to play this style effectively and sucessfully.

      Yes,I think a new and superior system of play like the NHS which i created must be the catalyst for positive progressive change within the game of hockey,will it be the NHS??Judeging by LAs Stanley Cup win useing a hybrid adjusted with NHS core values sourced directly from me via online postings in my systems inaugural year —-I think it will be,will other systems catalysed by more offense also be vying to do the same thing??I hope so.

    • The Soup Fascist

      Why are you more worried about Chris Pronger than a worker on a drilling rig or an iron worker in terms of physical risks? I am not anti-player but your premise the owners of any business are inconsequential is non-sensical.

      At the end of the day employees have a choice what business they want to be in and what type of risks are involved with the job. Chris Pronger had the choice to make $7 million a year as an NHLer or $100K as an accountant. What is difficult to understand?

      If “the man” is being unfair employees have a choice: stay or go. If you as the consumer do not like the way a business operates, vote with your wallet. If the NHL is in your mind unethical feel free to stay out of the rink, turn off Sportsnet and don’t buy Oilers jammies.

      That is the beauty of the free enterprise system. But what do us mouth breathers know?

      • The Soup Fascist

        Can’t you read? THE OWNERS OF BUSINESSES MATTER. Got it? Both sides matter. But the NHL owners dictated the 2005 CBA which meant massive pay cuts for the players and now they hate the CBA they constructed and undermined themselves and demand more massive cuts from the players despite the fact their own profits are soaring and the game is in its best financial position ever. And because the players are trying to minimize how much more they are going to lose this time we are going to be denied hockey again for months. If you think that is the player’s fault you might as well say 2+2=s 5. Or that Ignorance is Strength, if you are literate enough to get the reference.

        I care a lot more about the physical risk of the working stiff on the drilling rig or the iron worker than I do about Chris Pronger but I thought this was about the CBA negotiations. The players are the ultimate example of irreplaceable skilled workers but they are not to blame for the negotiation problems in this instance.

        As I have said repeatedly I opposed the players in 2004 because they refused to accept the salary cap which the game badly needed. Neither side is always right or always wrong. This time it is clearly the owners who are to blame. Unless the owners should always be able to dictate the terms and the players must accept no matter how unfair the terms are, the owners are to blame for the coming lockout.

        Of course the players have also agreed to keep playing under the CBA the owner dictated and made record profits under, while they negotiate an even more lucrative deal for the owners, but the owners refuse. Some of you guys sound like small business owners who hate workers who want more than minimum wage and even ask for benefits. The greedy creeps.

        I have no idea why you think there is only one kind of risk. For the owners there is only financial risk, and really there is no financial risk for the owners who run the game. It is mostly the more recent expansion suckers who are struggling. The player take the substantial physical risk and provide the skill and grit that fans pay to watch. Why do you think that has less value than financial risk, such as it is?

        Both sides need each other but the owners are more willing to shut down the game because they figure they will make more long term that way. Last time they were right. This time they are wrong.

  • Reg Dunlop

    Soup Fascist – And what good is the ACC without Phil Kessell or his teammates? What good is any NHL hockey rink without the elite athletes who play in it? Do you think folks would pay to see you and Romulus stumble around the rink with Ed Snider?

    Yes, owners and rinks, often paid for by the community as most of our new rink will be, are needed, but it is the players people come to see. Always has been. Always will be. Their skills provide the entertainment and if you don’t think they take major risks then you should look up the injury lists at mid-season or a list players who have accidentally or purposely killed themselves after years as hockey tough guys. Or the guys whose careers have been shortened or ruined by concussions. Now follow that with a list of injured or concussed owners.

    There is no scientific formula for exactly how NHL profits should be shared but we know that when owners had complete control they screwed the players blue. Gordie Howe, Stan Mikita and company got paid dirt while the owners filled their pockets. We also know that the owners who aren’t doing well are the ones that got suckered by the rich owners into paying exorbitant expansion fees to play in loser markets. Are you suggesting the players should totally bail them out so the Leafs, Rangers, Habs, Flyers, Bruins, Hawks and Red Wing owners who pocketed all that expansion lucre don’t have to?

    As I said above the current CBA was designed, dictated and undermined by the owners who now insist it isn’t good enough. They have one edge on the players. The players love the game and want to play. That is what they do. They hate being locked out, knowing their careers are short and that the game is the most important thing in their lives. The owners don’t give a crap and they know that fans in Canada and the big US markets will come back while only the loser deep south markets will feel the real pain, and they don’t care about them. They can just allow those clubs to be sold to new markets, charge more massive expansion fees, and pocket the profits. The only brake on that is it reveals what a bush league the NHL is, apart from the players who give it credibility with their skill, passion and fearless play.

    Free market capitalism only works when there is strict regulation and a balance of power between management and labour. Otherwise you get the contemporary USA, where the top .1 per cent has more wealth than the bottom 40 per cent and essentially owns the country and its politicians but this isn’t the place to explain politics to you. As for jealousy, my seven-figure investment portfolio speaks for itself.

    Suffice it to say the current revenue split between owners and players, dictated by the owners in 2005, is reasonably fair for the risks both take and represented a massive pay cut for the players then. To ask for another massive pay cut, plus 5-year entry level contracts, 10 years until free agency and an end to salary arbitration is outrageous and the players would be nuts to agree. The players want to be partners with the owners, not their servants. The Hockey News poll shows massive fan support for the players.

    Only in Alberta, where environmentalist-hating climate change deniers who think science and math are commie plots, do people support the owners. You probably loved Pocklington too. A corporate welfare bum who still owes the province $20 million. Who took the risk in that case? And don’t tell me hockey made him bankrupt. He made a ton on the Oilers. It was his mismanagement of his other companies and his lavish lifestyle, which continues, that did him in. Or us in. That gave us the Gainers strike and the taxpayer bailout of Fidelity Trust. How ironic that the two owners who controlled the fate of the greatest hockey player of all time are both now convicted criminals.

    • BArmstrong

      “Free market capitalism only works when there is strict regulation and a balance of power between management and labour. Otherwise you get the contemporary USA, where the top .1 per cent has more wealth than the bottom 40 per cent and essentially owns the country and its politicians but this isn’t the place to explain politics to you. As for jealousy, my seven-figure investment portfolio speaks for itself. ”

      I’d love hear you explain politics to the rest of us. But let me point out some oddities in your statement.

      1) “Free markets” can only be “free” if unfettered by regulation.

      2) The top 1% of US taxpayers pay 30% of the total collected – Eat the rich Dadio.

      3) Why would the top 0.1% of US earners elect OBAMA (hint, they didn’t – the UNIONS did)

      4) Your seven figure investment portfolio won’t be enough when your precious socialist governments around the world hyper-inflate your currency. Half a million CAN$ for a new Chevy Volt will cut into your plans. I wonder what the current $75/hr GM welder will make then?

  • Reg Dunlop

    Just so the coma-inducing NewAgeSys doesn’t get the final word in tonite, I have observed that 3 topics get folks here riled




    Well, I forgot unions, Jordan Eberle, inter-racial marriage and doomsday prophesy, so it’s more like about 10 things.

  • The Soup Fascist

    @ Pouzar99

    You started the discussion by saying you have no patience for “owner-loving, union hating, right wingers”.

    Brilliant statement. You have no credibility with me or the majority of the people on the site when you generalize people with name calling, simply because they do not subscribe to your own myopic view. The good news is “newage sys” finds your comments spot on, so you should certainly take comfort in that.

    Please do not link the struggles of Gordie Howe and Ted Lindsay of 60 years ago with what we are discussing today. On a cap team the average player makes 3 million a year. Not exactly kids working in collapsing mines here, sport.

    Your generalizations are laughable. Because I believe in free enterprise, I love Pocklington and hate the environment? Again, you either are trolling or incapable of listening to any lucid discussions that disagree with your own views without name calling or discrimanatory comments.

    At the end of the day the only people who are really getting the bad end of the stick in terms of a potential lockout are the fans and the folks who end up being collateral damage (team admin folks, ticket sales, vendors, etc). Some owners certainly have “pooped in their own nest” and the players desperately need a reality check. Because at the core of the business and sport is the guy who is willing to plunk down his $50 / $150 / or $250 to watch a game.

    But obviously you are not going to open your mind or be able to discuss without sweeping generalizations or name-calling so this will be my last comment on the subject. Good luck with that attitude. I am sure it has served you well, pouzar99. I mean, as you told Hairbag, myself and everyone else on this site, YOU ARE RICH. ‘Nuff said.

    • BArmstrong

      “you have no credibility with me or the majority of the people on this site”I put my B.S protectors on at that point.

      “the good news is NewAgeSys finds your comments spot on,so you should certainl take comfort in that”

      What kind of a crap-disturber are you anyways,do you think you can insult people and incite argumentative dynamics by talking out of the side of your mouth in cyber-space??

      You should shorten your posts,they are filled with opinionated garble and offer nothing substantial beyond ammunition for you to incite negative dynamics,the scary thing is that you have developed enough savvy to walk the line and try to phrase your cheap-arse snotty comments in a polite format so as not to breach some specific bar you have mentally set.You are what you are based on how you treat people.

      I can post for hours and not manage to insult one person or attack anyone personally,anything I say is hockey related,you talk about all kinds or grey area crap that is centralised around opinions which yes as mommy taught you “we all have a right to have”this allows you to stay in a conversation you dont belong or deserve to be in even if you started it,speak of and with substance and if you get philosphycal then give some supportive dialog to that in an opinionated format,but for gods sakes stop setting up childish dynamics so you can throw this same old spiel out there,it is harder to listen to your crap than it is to write long posts about the NHS.

      And stop useing me and the NHS in a derogatory reference format,moron ,ask some questions so I can kick you in your Crown Royal Sack little contrarian,and jam your stats in the stove-pipe,they are meaningless,

      God you know the system and all the right excusatory things to say to defend yourself through the recruitment of the party line,you even speak for others here,you havent a clue what the majority of the readers of these posts think you mental midget—-leave me and the NHS off your hit-list—-because you have no clue how many people READ these posts,and they dont report to you.I dont even care what catalyses your responses, you are like a broken record,and judgeing by how you wrote what you wrote you are also a hippocrate.Now thats a response from the NewAgeSys,next time keep your cheezy derogatory comments to yourself,you bully.

      If you choose to critique my system then do it with some cojones and step up to the plate with some technical data,or shut up,no one has to prove squat to you or anyone else,you prove the NHS for example is wrong,I dont need to,and until you can do so you have no more ground to stand on than i do so unless you are willing to work to back up your criticisms ,just shut up and dont offer anything that is contrarian to invoke negative dynamics and feelings .

      As a final note,as it is I spend hours posting thousands of words and dont find a need or requirement to engage any other posters except in a defensive mannerism,and 100% of the time it is over a personal attack that has little or nothing to do with data posted,it is catalysed by opinions,and opinions can only be countered by other opinions,so when someone who constantly bases their own posts on opinions and not data then when they spout off at others for their posting of opinionated comments,I see Shaun Avery waveing his stick in the goalies face “because it isnt against the rules”and I want to kick him in his crown Royal Bag for degradeing the rules and all the players who respect them,double shot to the Crown Royal Bag{thank you Mr.Strudwick for the CRB reference}

      And I am here to defend the NHS anytime to any type of hockey related question that is data based or can be documented through data or results.So if you cant bring with a little more juice then please just sit down and dig into your popcorn bag ,and let someone with something tangible to say step up to the plate where the NewAge Hockey System is concerned.

      Had you kept the lip shut regarding me and the NHS,i wouldnt have had to waste all this time on you and your post,as you very well know haveing to post a response is required—not desired ,little pest.

      • The Soup Fascist

        I apologize sir. Your credibility and standing on this blogsite are beyond reproach. I cannot tell you how upset I am to find you do not like me. Be well, friend. Be well.

  • OutDoorRink

    pouzar99 said;

    “Only in Alberta, where environmentalist-hating climate change deniers who think science and math are commie plots, do people support the owners.”

    Only a typically idiotic socialist brings his unscientific and dangerous environmental propaganda into a discussion about hockey.

    pouzar has identified himself as a left-wing activist, aka ‘Useful Idiot’. ’nuff said. The real Pouzar would despise you. Go occupy something.