Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr can’t really be serious about staring each other down without moving their lips until the current CBA expires Saturday, can they? Well, can they?

Call me nuts – you wouldn’t be the first and you won’t be the last – but I’ve consistently said the past several weeks I believed both sides in the NHL labor impasse, Bettman and the owners in one camp and Fehr and the NHLPA rank and file in the other, wouldn’t risk postponing the start of the 2012-13 season because there’s just too much at stake.

With a bigger pie to split up than ever before and no obvious deal-breakers in terms of completely overhauling the system this time around like in 2004 with the insistence by owners they get a salary cap, I didn’t see any need for a stalemate that would put the scheduled start of the season at risk. Perhaps I overestimated the common sense factor.

With little or no meaningful progress last week, the sides did a drive-by at the bargaining table Friday, but it wasn’t much more than that. They didn’t meet for even a meaningful minute over the weekend and, as of writing this, there was no word of any scheduled meeting to start this week with the deadline looming.

If this is the obligatory stall-and-wait tactic to see which side blinks first and offers up a major concession, let’s just skip that and have Bettman and Fehr get down to the face-to-face stuff and the real numbers. The owners, after all, aren’t going fold – they’re looking for claw-backs in the revenue split despite getting almost everything they asked for last time. Now, they want (need?) further protection from themselves. Knuckleheads.

A little fiscal restraint since the lockout that cost us the 2004-05 season likely could have prevented this tick-tick-tick routine, but nooooooooooo. How much $$$ for Ryan Suter and Zach Parise? How much for fill-in-name-here? Now, if the players don’t agree to cough up, what, a swing of five or six or seven percent in the old split Bettman will lock them out?



I get it why the prospect of a delayed or shortened season is particularly frustrating for long-suffering fans of the Edmonton Oilers. Why wouldn’t it be? After six years out of the playoffs and bushel of kids looking ready to bust out and maybe push for a playoff spot, or at least play some meaningful games beyond January, we might just be getting started then?


I went to Spruce Grove Sunday morning to meet a fellow at a 7-Eleven. He was selling some used wheel dollies – I need them to move my 1960 Biscayne around my new glass shop this winter. When he called to set up the time and place to pick them up, the caller ID on my phone read: Brent Krahn.

I figured I might not only get my dollies, but a decent story about Krahn, the goaltender who was drafted ninth overall by the Calgary Flames in 2000 but, hobbled by injuries, went from prospect to suspect to, well, minor league oblivion. Krahn has one NHL game on his resume, and that came with Dallas in 2008-09.

Krahn was easily the biggest bust among the top 10 picks in the 2000 draft (this was Kevin Lowe’s first draft as Edmonton GM and the Oilers took the altogether forgettable plodding Traktor Boy Alexei Mikhnov), getting into just one game with the Flames.

Turns out it wasn’t THAT Brent Krahn. "I get that all the time," smiled the wrong Brent Krahn. I coughed up the money, took the dollies. No story.

AND . . .

I’m not sure if the draw will work out, but I’d like to to run up against Jason Gregor’s team (stacked no doubt, like his foursomes in golf tournaments) at Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer Sept. 22.

My guess is Gregor will load up with pals like Jason Strudwick and might do pretty well in the all-day event, in support of the Canadian Cancer Society. I’m thinking he’d wax my outfit – I’m playing on a team with Lyle Best, a big-time community-minded guy, a high-profile Oiler-backer and somebody who has been touched more than once by this terrible disease.

Win or lose, all I want is for my 54-year-old knees to avoid the need for a sixth surgical procedure and to raise a whole bunch of money for the cause. If you’d like to make a financial contribution to my campaign, you can do that HERE at the Road Hockey To Conquer Cancer website. If not me, then any team that is taking part. I can’t think of a better cause.

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • yawto

    Come on RB, it was all in fun. Good luck in tournament, when I get paid Friday, wife and I have agreed to throw our support behind the old man’s team. Expect a donation and stay healthy. Who else is gonna punish those troll who keep fisting.

    • When these guys were drafted, particularly Blackburn, I was sure both would have long NHL careers. Goes to show what bad breaks and injuries can do.

      Blackburn seemed like a can’t-miss prospect. Krahn was a bit off the board at No. 9, but he had a very solid WHL resume.

  • yawto

    We just been having a run if good fortune lately and said we wanted to even out the karma. I said something would pop up we could throw our support behind then I happened to open tonights article and had a fist on a RB blog. It was like a sign. Not looking for gratitude, just saying sometimes things click.

  • yawto

    On a hockey note, the billionaires and millionaires can fight over the 10$ in royalties from my purchase of nhl 13. Tuesday when I get it, I will dive in video hockey and keep myself occupied until they can figure out who gets what. Selfish asses.

  • If the lockout hits december, I hope the players shut it down. The owners have a lot more to lose is the new year with the winter classic, playoffs and whatnot. I side with the players only because I want the oilers to have the most cap room possible to keep their young core, and assemble a dynasty team. Also would be nice if the oil can get a top pick again. Mackinnon, jones or one of the other highly touted centers or defencemen could round out the roster a little more. I draft bpa once again.

  • a lg dubl dubl

    Sheesh, blogging has come to this. Worthwhile charities, not so smart 1st round draft choices,and gut feelings as to the timing of the 12-13 season.

    Regardless of when it begins, the Oil will be better than they were last year. The kids are one year older, Yak and Schultz excellent additions, and a coach that I suspect will be feast rather than famine.

    They may not make the playoffs this year but they’re sure going to be fun to watch. Yet another reason to cheer for them is that they’re ‘our,’ guys, not hired guns via free agency, not 30+ guys via trade deadline to put the team over the top, but OUR guys, home grown as home grown can be. (Doubtless there will be the odd veteran acquisition in some fashion but the majority of the team when it starts winning playoff games again will have known only the Oiler organization.)

    I really thought Chicago had a shot at a mini-dynasty of sorts after they’d won the Cup. Turns out they f****d up the salary cap enough that the team was unable to overcome the fire sales that resulted. Pray that the Oil don’t do the same. . .

  • a lg dubl dubl

    I have being thinking the same thing, no concept of a cap to argue about, just money.
    With Bettman knowing that there are, fringe players with short careers, younger players wanting a cheque, and old players wanting to finish their careers. There should be a magic number for a pay cut that those players will take to play the season. I wouldn’t think it would be that hard to find it.

    Add the fact that only a small percentage of players would be effected by a 6 or 7 year max contract it seems like it should get done. What am I missing

  • Been following your blogs for awhile die hard oil fan, but admitting that screw the lock out!!! Still what ever you strudz or Gregor sponsor I am in for. Send me the contact info to donate please

  • The routine of both Bettman and Fehr with negotiations during this past given time period before the season was to start, has been a joke for both sides.

    I am angry that the owners are the ones who keep stabbing each other in the back with buying players at about a hundred million dollars now, of which not one is ever worth that, regardless of sport. I am angry that the NHLPA has done evrything in it’s power to exploit the now last CBA as well.

    First is that both sides had such a good long period to pout this negotiating paractice into play….like since last season then spring. next is that each side took it’s own lousy sweet time to put the proposals and counterproposals into play as well.

    I see not one person from either team (NHL/NHLPA) standing up and saying we’re burning the candle at both ends…then proving it publicly… to get this new CBA finalized.

    Too logical and too easy for the players or the owners….what is stupid is that one side (owners/Bettman) says you go down to about 46% in upcoming revenues, but yet, the other side (Fehr/players) can’t or won’t even say back…whoa…we’ll come down and you go up a little more?

    I love watching hockey more than any other sport but this is getting to the point of being that I can’t stand Bettman any longer or the whining of very rich people who can’t share the monies. Greed kills.

  • Gee Kay

    Just a reminder to the people bitching about the content of posts in the last little while, these guys are churning out content on a daily basis to keep us entertained, and they are pulling it from nothing! Be thankful they are intelligent and creative enough to keep finding ideas.

    • Appreciate the sentiment, but don’t waste your time.

      The vast majority of “why are you writing about this?” or “What a stupid story” comments come from people who contribute nothing else. You won’t find them discussing items done by any of the writers.

      Bitching about content, as opposed to actually taking part in discussions about what’s been written, is what they do.

  • Bicepus Maximus - Huge fan boy!

    I’m so sick of this bs, I’ve been a hockey fan for 42yrs and can’t believe we are back to the same point we were in 2008. The GREED of these owners and players is mind blowing, I’m not buying any jerseys or anything else ever again. I won’t be going to anymore games either if they don’t start on time…I’m done. There is the Oilkings I will watch them and support them instead. NFL is something I’m going to watch a lot more of now…to hell with the NHL….Greedy little babies

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Are we better to have glass coverage, or pay out of pocket for a windsheild every 5 yrs or so Rueben? Cash price different than insurance replacement, are you able to do sunroofs as well?

    Have a couple cracks in my Exploders windshield, things are starting to get backed up for Oct 1st already.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    @ Robin

    To your point about protecting the owners from themselves, the cba is the collection of rules the owners are to operate under if they quietly agreed to not give out a contract over a certain value or term I believe it’s collusion. Now that your in business you will experience this for yourself, if your not willing to go the extra mile, lower your price, extend your hours ect some one else will even to their detriment. The NHL is this truth amplified as more than half the teams lose money losing and many lose money winning and only hope if they spend on the players, scouts, coaches and management they will be successful enough to be profitable. In a league with 30 teams the bottom teams should make money. The rangers, leafs ect should make a lot since they cost their owners a many times more than the nashvilles. My two cents.

    • Don’t recall mentioning owners striking agreements among themselves about salaries.

      I’ve been a business owner for years. This is a new business, so I understand the concepts you are trying to draw parallels to the NHL with.

      There is a middle ground between spending like a fool and squeezing every dime. The owners would be well-served to find it.

  • @ robin
    Fair enough. I guess that’s the problem they need a framework in place that still allows lower teams to ice a squad and not lose money with reasonable revenue sharing not equalization payments. They should play the year with replacement players and lower ticket prices that’s one way to find out what the players true worth is in the equation and maybe settle this for more than six years.