I don’t have anything against Donald Fehr or Gary Bettman, but I’m happy we won’t have to hear from them until next week. Up until this point neither has said anything of real substance. I wouldn’t expect them to. Most fans don’t want to hear either side bitch and moan about how they are being wronged, especially when they are taking about money. They all make more than 95% of the fans ever will, so don’t expect sympathy from "the best fans in the world."
Asking them a question is pointless because they will only give an answer that they feel might sway the fans to their side. At this point the most pressing question I have is when did Gary start wearing an earring (or what looks like an earring in the above photo from Sportsnet.ca)? That is very risque for the commissioner of a pro league to do, so maybe Gary is lightening up during his potential third lockout/strike.
Seriously though, I welcome the silence, at least publicly from both sides. It should give them some time to come up with a proposal that the other side might actually consider. I know, I know I probably sound drunk for mentioning such a novel approach, but I can dream.
At this point I’m not on either side.
I believe that if both sides were truly transparent to each other, we’d likely get a deal done. After speaking to people on both sides, I get a sense that either the leaders aren’t being completely transparent to their own members, or that some of their members really don’t know or care about the issues. It’s probably a bit of both.
Here is what I don’t want to see or hear anymore.
- Players please stop tweeting that Gary will be making his salary during a lockout, while your beloved leader Donald is a saint because he won’t be. It has ZERO barring on the negotiations, so don’t be petty. When you sign a contract and then under perform for the next two years, do you give your money back. Didn’t think so. It has nothing to do with the real issues.
- Unless you are going to clearly define what is HRR (hockey related revenues) please don’t constantly bring it up. The formula, which seemingly seems to change weekly, is more difficult to comprehend than a one-year old trying to tell you what they want. It can’t always be a bottle and/or a new diaper, which is why once kids and parents start speaking the same language the outbursts seem to diminish, at least until they are teenagers. Although, if Don and Gary gave each other a bottle of scotch we might see some progress. Some of the best negotiations in fantasy pools have occurred over a beer, or ten.
- Can we all please stop mentioning that contract length is a real contentious issue. Of course the NHLPA says they don’t want to limit the length of contracts, and I’m sure they don’t but will they die on a hill/issue that only impacts 3% of the union? They could easily settle for seven years. And then maybe have a clause that allows teams to sign players who are potential UFAs, and who they drafted originally, for a max of eight years. This isn’t a major concession for the players. They might claim it is, but in reality it isn’t.
Do you know how many players in the NHL currently have deals longer than seven years? 23 out of 740.
PLAYER YRS CAP HIT AGE WHEN SALARY IN FINAL YEARS
DEAL STARTS (ED)
Kovalchuk 15 $6.66 mill 27 $7m combined in last 2 years.
Dipietro 15 $4.5 mill 25 $4.5m in last year.
Weber 14 $7.85 mill 27 $1m in each of last 3 years.
Ovechkin 13 $9.53 mill 23 $10m last year.
Parise 13 $7.58 mill 28 Avg of $1.33m over last 3 years.
Suter 13 $7.58 mill 28 Avg of $1.33m over last 3 years.
Keith 13 $5.53 mill 27 Avg of $2.1m over last 3 years.
Crosby 12 $8.7 mill 26 $8.7m in last year.
Zetterberg 12 $6.08 mill 28 $1m in each of last 2 years.
M.Richards 12 $5.75 mill 23 $3m in each of last 2 years.
Luongo 12 $5.33 mill 31 Avg of $1.2m over last 3 years.
Hossa 12 $5.27 mill 31 $1m in each of last four years.
Lecavalier 11 $7.72 mill 29 Avg of $1.25m over last 2 years.
J.Carter 11 $5.25 mill 26 $2m in each of last 2 years.
Franzen 11 $3.95 mill 30 Avg of $1.33m over last 3 years.
Backstrom 10 $6.7 mill 22 $8m in last year.
J. Staal 10 $6.0 mill 25 $6m in last year.
Quick 10 $5.8 mill 27 $2.5m in last year.
Ehrhoff 10 $4.0 mill 29 $1m in each of last 3 years.
B. Richards 9 $6.66 mill 31 $1m in each of last 3 years.
Nash 8 $7.8 mill 26 $8.2m in last year.
Campbell 8 $7.14 mill 29 $7.14m in last year.
Doughty 8 $7 mill 21 $7.65m in last year.
If the max length was seven years those players would still get their money.
Even if the NHLPA agrees to six-year max contracts, with extra year to keep drafted potential UFAs, it would still only impact a few small amount of players. Currently only 14 players have seven-year deals.
E. Stall, $8.25 mill cap hit
Gomez, $7.35 mill
Rinne, $7 mill
Spezza, $7 mill
Chara, $6.9 mill
Kopitar, $6.8 mill
M.Koivu, $6.75 mill
Datsyuk, $6.7 mill
Karlsson, $6.5 mill
Elias, $6 mill
Hall, $6 mill
Myers, $5.5 mill
Pronger, $4.9 mill
J.Johnson, $4.35 mill
If they agree to six-year max terms then a whopping 5% of the league wouldn’t be allowed to sign 7+ year deals. Not a big issue considering the star players will get their money regardless. They’d likely just get back-to-back six-year deals. So let’s stop wasting time suggesting that length of salary is a massive concession for the NHLPA.
The real battle will be splitting the revenue. And it isn’t as simple as saying make it 50/50, because there are other issues in play. Players can’t complain they should get a share of every revenue stream of the owners, unless they are willing to pay their share for arena upkeep, renovations and new facilities. While the owners can’t complain that they are paying the players too much, when they are ones who allowed their GMs to sign the deals in the first place.
Unfortunately, it won’t be easy, but this will be the main battle. I’d like them to do more talking privately and less publicly, because the only public chatter we here is never about the real issue.
Focus on the real issue, splitting revenue, and the rest will easily fall into place.
- What was the rush to name Gabriel Landeskog the captain in Colorado? He has one-year of NHL experience. Being captain has as much off-ice responsibilities as on-ice, and I’d argue the off-ice ones take more effort. If the season were to start on time, Landeskog couldn’t even organize a team night out at the bar, because he isn’t old enough to get in. Steve Yzerman played three years before being captain, while Sidney Crosby and Jonathon Toews wore an "A" before being named captain. The Avs just put a lot of unnecessary pressure on Landeskog.
- I wonder what the Panthers will give up to get Luongo? They shouldn’t have to give up much, because the Canucks don’t want the distraction, and few teams will take Luongo’s contract. They shouldn’t give up more than one good young player, and a mid-range salary player.
- The Oilers need to start transitioning their leaders, and I’ll be shocked if Ralph Krueger doesn’t give an "A" to Taylor Hall or Jordan Eberle. Krueger has stated the kids are the future, so I’d expect him to follow through on that and give one them a letter. Hall is more emotional while Eberle is more cerebral. They’d be good leaders, but in different ways. Krueger should give name one of them an alternate captain before the season starts, hopefully before November.
- I’d have no problem if they gave Ladislav Smid a letter either. He’s becoming more like Jason Smith all the time. Competes hard, blocks shots, but he skates better and moves the puck more efficiently. His work ethic and desire needs to be matched by more of his elder teammates.
- I’m happy for Jason Strudwick on landing his own radio show, weeknights from 9 p.m. to 12 a.m on the TEAM 1260. He’s passionate about hockey, but if you really want to get him going talk about the Tour de France. I think he loves the long races because it reminds him off all the bag skates he had to endure when he was a healthy scratch.
Good luck Struds, I know you’ll do well.