Maybe that is Gary Bettman, maybe it is Donald Fehr, but either way they both look like asses have their head in the sand right now.

The NHL and NHLPA are allegedly going to take a break from negotiating, further proving how BOTH sides are completely clueless on how much damage they are doing to the game. Even worse is that both of them, and sadly too many people on twitter, actually believe that the fans are on their side.

I can’t speak for every fan, but most are at the point of despising both the NHL and NHLPA. How can you actually be on either side at this point, unless you are a player, related to a player, an owner or one of his employees? I can’t see any reason to hitch your horse to either wagon.

Even worse is that the posturing, rhetoric and distrust have once again become the rallying cries for both sides.
The sad part is how many people are still trying to rationalize this lockout. I applaud you for trying, but let’s be realistic neither side truly wants an agreement. If they actually wanted an agreement, rather than trying to get the other side to blink, it would have happened by now.

Some of you will say this is how negotiating works, but is it is actually working?

Earlier this evening both sides sent out a press release after numerous outlets reported that Gary Bettman suggested they take a two-week moratorium since they’ve made no progress during recent negotiations.

The NHLPA released the following statement:  

"We believe that it is more likely that we will make progress if we meet than if we don’t. So we are ready to meet. If indeed they do not want to meet, it will be at least the third time in the last three months that they have shut down the dialogue, saying they will not meet unless the players meet their preconditions.

  "What does that tell you about their interest in resolving this," said NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr.

  The NHL, of course, needed to respond.  

"We are extremely disappointed in where we and the players find ourselves. And from our perspective, we have made repeated moves in the players’ direction with absolutely no reciprocation.  Unfortunately, we have determined we are involved with union leadership that has no genuine interest in reaching an agreement. Regardless of what we propose, or how we suggest to compromise the answer is "no."  At some point you just have to say "enough is enough," said deputy commissioner Bill Daly. 


This is like a bad TV show; essentially the same story line every week. Both sides suggest the other one isn’t interested in getting a deal done, however, both try to convince hockey fans that they "really care about the game" and just want to play.

It’s becoming nothing short of a lame and pointless dick measuring contest. Except both of them have two inch rulers, so neither proposal is that enticing or measured with any accuracy.

I think most of us can predict what will happen in the coming days.

Sometime next week, likely Wednesday or Thursday the NHL will cancel another two-week block of games. The NHLPA will reiterate that no games needed to be cancelled, because they were willing to play and negotiate in good faith during the season.

Then, sometime before the proposed two-week break is over they will agree to meet and start another mundane and unproductive round of negotiating.


Outside of a well-placed kick in the ass, they need a firm deadline on when the season will be cancelled. Both sides believe the other will blink first, so maybe a deadline ignites some serious negotiations, or maybe their inability to notice the incredible damage they’ve done to the game continues.

Either way, at least the fans can have some closure for the 2012/2013 season.


  • Is it just me or is the most infuriating aspect of this lockout the fact that they are fighting over money, yet they are losing millions every day. This is likely too simplistic of math, but if we say the season is 186 days long, 60 days for the playoffs and 14 for preseason that equals 260 days.

    If we divide $3.3 billion by 260 days that means they are losing $12,269,307.00 a day. Multiples that by 53 days (I subtracted 9 days of the actual 62 days since lockout started because preseason wouldn’t have begun until Sept 24th) and they’ve thrown away $672,692,307.00 of revenue.

    It must be nice to be able to walk away from almost $673 million.

  • Would fans be willing to ask for their season-ticket money back? Some teams have refunded the money, but many teams are holding it until the lockout is resolved. Would you ask for your money back, or have teams informed you that you would lose your tickets for good if you asked for a refund?
  • If that is the case, would fans on the waiting list gobble them up right away? Would you?
  • Will you rush back the minute the lockout ends? Will you cut back on the amount of games you go to, games you watch or merchandise you purchase?
  • Is it realistic to expect fans to stay away, or is the game to addicting?
  • Could you stay away if the Oilers made the playoffs?

At this point I’m not angry, but I’m disappointed that the NHL and NHLPA have shown there is a major gap between them and their fans and even sponsors. While they will tell you different, their actions clearly prove they believe their product is so strong it can withstand another lengthy lockout.

I honestly don’t know if they are correct or delusional, but I sense fans and sponsors won’t be flocking back as quickly or as happily as they did in 2005.

  • Your math is too simplistic, it’s been said for years that a big chunk of teams LOSE money during the first 10-20 games of the year….

    they are burning through those games, and will reach a deal around xmas time

    • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

      Is that factual or just hearsay?

      Gregor’s numbers make sense caused they are based on actual numbers. Until you show proof of what these “teams” lose, then no one knows. Let’s focus on actual proven numbers.

  • Muji

    NHL owners and NHL players – for whatever reason (lack of trust, grudges, lack of education, greed, whatever) – both really, really suck at negotiating.

    You’re saying, “well duh”. But that’s all there really is to it. It’s disappointing.

  • Starving Student

    The cynic in me HOPES that the season gets cancelled! That BOTH the owners and players lose enough to last a life time! That they sign a CBA for MORE then 6 years. Both sides need to learn that they can’t take fans for granted, 3 work stoppages in my life time already… ridiculous.

  • What I can’t understand is those players that are losing big dollars not speaking up?

    Players that were in both lockouts and players that are nearing the end of there careers.

    What does Iginla stand to lose? 15 million dollars over two lockouts! I would be on the phone to Fehr every day asking what the hell is he actually doing!

    The end result won’t get there money back or refund dollars lost.

    I would be sick to my stomach if that was me losing that kind of bread.

  • I dont’ understand how Bettman looks like an ass. The man is doing his job. He represents 30 billionaires that want to restructure their business. I really don’t see how that is a reflection of him, he is a lawyer and is doing what is asked of him and his firm. I don’t see how anyone should have animosity towards Bettman as an individual. I do not side with Bettman on this, I side with the NHL.

    We all know that the teams are ran by and owned by rich men. It would be a safe bet to assume that these rich men keep tight circles of lawyers, executives and all sorts of managers and advisors-men who know how a business is structered and should be ran. It would also be a safe bet to assume that the owners are in the full know how on what is at stake and how it is and should be achieved.(I could not say the same for the players)

    But, the better question is: who is behind the players? It can’t be Fehr, no. He is their front man, he is their Bettman. What exactly is their end game here and how it come about? Who are the real catalysts here? It can’t be Fehr and his firm, can it? Most of these players are fighting for things that don’t matter to them and the rest are just not giving a #@$% and playing elsewhere, they don’t care about the league or what happens to it, all they care for are the millions that they will get when they return to play hockey in N.A for fun. Most of the players don’t care about the teams they play for nor do they have a sense of loyalty to them. Since they don’t care about their teams and their league: where does the nerve to have say come into place? The owners want better structure of their business and the way it is ran, I don’t understand how players feel they have a say in that.

    I don’t think both sides are “clueless” about the damage they are doing to the game-where did you gather that information from? Despising is a strong word, you should only speak of despise on your own behalf.

    The NHL has an agreement, the NHLPA won’t agree to it. NHL is doing business with a union leadership that has no genuine interest in reaching an agreement. The NHL even says so in their statement! What the #@$% does the union want? I wonder if they are as confused as I am.?

    I would say that the PA is working hard to convience the fans that they “just” want to play. I guess when you don’t have much fight in the boardroom yo better take it to the streets.

    Why do they need a deadline? Who gives a #@$% about the fans and closure, this is big business we are talking about here. I don’t understand why all that b.s about the numbers lost and blah blah blah should matter to the fans. I am a fan of the Oilers! I could care less about them gaining or losing money, as long as they are on the ice trying to win is all that matters.

    • Jason Gregor

      Interesting take. So you think the NHL was fine to continually overpay players, when they didn’t have to, and then give an extremely low-ball offer to start the negotiations.

      And they aren’t on the ice right now, so you should care, no?

      • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

        Jason, do you expect the hockey players playing in the Stanley cup playoffs to play by the rules. No, you know and expect those players will do anything to win both within the rules and even outside the rules. Then why would anyone expect the GM’S and owners not to compete just as hard in the only why they can, by using money and even loop holes to try an assemble a winner. It’s funny for years before the first lockout players and fans would always refer to the teams that would throw money around as having “ownership committed to winning”. The fans, agents and player but these people in no win situations. The CBA negotiations is really the only time when the owner can realistically and legally, reign in their collective spending habits and say no mas to the players. And we can see how we’ll that has been received.

        P.s thanks for being one of the few media for asking tough questions, or pointing out how ludicrous the players logic has been. You have even given your buddy Struds some trouble, well done. I realize you are a little more neutral than I but maybe I can pull you over to the dark side.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    they don’t care about the league or what happens to it, all they care for are the millions that they will get

    Sorry for nit-picking but the entire reason players train, travel, and risk long-term health is because they get paid millions and this a job to them. I’m a little surprised more players don’t do what Radulov has done and play for 2-3 times more in Russia instead of the NHL.

  • Time Travelling Sean

    NHL is doing business with a union leadership that has no genuine interest in reaching an agreement. The NHL even says so in their statement!

    That is the most naive thing I’ve read in a while.

    Who gives a #@$% about the fans
    this is big business

    It is a big business because of the fans so they should give a #@$% about the fans.

    I could care less about them gaining or losing money
    as long as they are on the ice

    If they are bleeding money they won’t be on the ice or won’t be seriously competitive on the ice.

  • Cheap Shot Charlie

    Sadly, yes! I will run back as soon as NHL hockey is back. #so ashamed
    But, I’m going to hold off buying tickets, jerseys and hats as long as my weak will can stand it!
    So, there goes another $129.99 the league will be throwing away (waiting longer to collect)!

  • Cheap Shot Charlie

    Jason – A couple of points to make, not on your conclusions or story, but rather on the finances. You say they are walking away from $673M but that is not strictly true, and there seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding by every one discussing this issue as to the difference between revenue and profit. Profit equals revenue minus expenses. Expenses are player salaries and the running of the buildings, along with other items. If the teams have no expenses then they don’t need any revenue to offset them.

    The second point goes to the motivation of each side. If 2/3 of the teams are losing money as they say that means 20 of 30 NHL votes is actually financially better off every week that they aren’t operating. If you are losing $500k/week operating then you are happier not operating. On the other side, the players have no such equation. They lose, period, end of story. That is why the players will give in.

    • Jason Gregor

      I understand the difference. Since no one has been able to accurately figure out what the profits are I go by the numbers we know. They have walked away from $673 million in revenue, which means they’ve lost around 15% of whatever profit they’ve made. Either way both sides have lost money.

      And to say the owners aren’t losing anything is completely wrong. Ask Toronto, Boston, Rangers, Montreal, Vancouver and others if they haven’t lost anything.

  • The Soup Fascist

    The fact is it is more important for each of these guys and their egos to “win”, than to do what is right for the league, players and fans.

    Neither of these guys gives a rodents rump about the fans or the game itself.

    While I believe the players position is far weaker in terms that they as a group will be hit harder than the owners if the season ends, the Fehr’s are unphased as they believe they are the smartest guys in the room.

    And smarmy little Bettman, who I am certain suffers from Napoleonic delusions, is as annoying and unlikeable a frontman that has ever existed.

    As a season ticket holder I feel like saying “pluck you all”, or words to that effect. But will I give up my seats? No. Because some naïve part of me believes I will forget all this when these kids start to put it all together on the ice when this mess is eventually settled.

    Hope. It is a blessing – and a curse.

    EDIT: …. and Hope is also a super hot, but apparently bat sh!t crazy, US soccer goalie.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    this entire thing is the ultimate slap in the fans faces. and they know almost everyone is going to come groveling back because they cant flip off any of these Man-Children or the Lawyers/Billionaires who run this amateur circus. (pat yourself on the back you Level-headed Adult)

    we’re more than likely going to miss 2 COMPLETE seasons in seven years (Dreger and McKenzie warned us early on with their pessimism). that is f!#^$^$ absurd (imagine if the NFL lost a season with their soon to be 40-billion dollar TV deal… where only 9% of the TV SHOW IS “LIVE GAME ACTION”. have a blast watching 14 minutes of Prime Beef give each other concussions).

    ive been a fan for almost 30 years now and played youth hockey because of it. as a US fan, it’s been a huge impact on me, but at this point im becoming very indifferent. why should i take this seriously at all? i can disappear into so many other forms of escapism at this point that hockey could disappear into oblivion. all that stupid trivia/knowledge/playing the game can go to the back burner of my mind and id keep on chugging along fine.

    and by the way: the fans are the machine that makes this Garbage Can function through every facet of consumerism that leads back into the NHL directly/indirectly. people who say “who gives a ____ about the fans” have the economic understanding of a 12-year old who just wants his Big Boy TV Stories while sucking on a baby bottle of fermented/rotted vegetables.

  • Truth

    my despise for the NHL will never reach the NHLPA level, but suffice it to say they are trying.

    it is quite the feat to take a fan, who loves the sport more than any other sport, and make them disengaged and angered. for all my life, as far back i can have a memory i was raised as a hockey fan. oilers only of course.

    hockey is like anything else, money matters more. it is surpising that either side can’t grasp who is the basis for the money. odd.

  • 15w40

    Come back, don’t come back, it don’t care anymore. I am a sports fan & a hockey fan but it won’t materially affect my life if they all disappear to the KHL and the NHL folds.

    These jack-holes have held the game hostage enough that it doesn’t matter to me. As Roid Freud said, it is their god given right to shut this thing down of that there is no question. They may or may not be “clueless” about the damage that is being done but there is damage of that there is no question as well. Most of Canada and the regions of the States that are hockey states will be back.

    Its a free market and just as the owners have the right to run their business as they wish, so do the players have their right to supply their services to whomever pays the most. When the pie is sufficiently shrunk down and there is not enough HRR to sustain current conditions some of the players will stay in Europe whether its in the Swedish league or the KHL.

    The longer this goes on the more marginalized this league will become. Life is going on outside of this lockout. What will happen if the US goes over this fiscal cliff because of the gridlock in US government. Markets will crash again – this will affect some of the 30 owners. The buying public will be loosing money and jobs on both sides of the border. If they keep there heads buried long enough the view from inside there may be better than it is if they pull it out to look around………..

  • The Soup Fascist

    RE: Gregor’s questions about my loyalty. Of course, I’m a dumb fan and will return. After the last 5 years we’ve endured it would take more than a lost season for me to get off the bandwagon right as things start to look good.

    That said, I have already shared with my wife and friends that I plan on actively avoiding spending money on NHL the next few years. If the league comes back, I plan on watching games only on TV. I won’t buy tickets to a game. I’ll go if I get freebies of course, but I’ll make a point of skipping the concessions and going for a beer afterwards offsite, which is better anyway. I have cancelled my NHL gamecenter subscription of course, and won’t renew. I have instructed the wife and family to not spend 1 red cent on Oilers PJs, hats and other merch the kiddies usually get for Christmas and birthdays. Small potatoes perhaps but I hope if enough fans do this the entire league takes a hit, which will hurt the owners and eventually trickle down to the players in lost escrow/lower cap. But I can’t pretend I’m going to lose interest in the Oilers… not now.

  • 15w40

    Personally I think the biggest heads in the sand are the players themselves. Sure Fehr and Bettman are doing their jobs… But the players make no sense and seem to be blindly following their leader off a cliff.

    The sticking point now seems to be contracting rights. 5 year limits, 5% max variation. Crosby and crew march out there and say they will never give up these hard earned rights. They also spew out a bunch of BS about revenue sharing amongst teams. But lets look at the facts. 90% of players could only DREAM of a 5 CAREER never mind a 5 year contract. And never mind some 10 year cap circumventing back loaded trick contract. Those are only for the super elite/super ego/”superstars”. So if this whole thing is about maintaining the ability to sign obscene contracts that beat the cap system this has nothing to do with 650+ players and is all about those elite few at the top.

    So when I look at the beach I see 650 players like Smid, Petry, Petrell, Jones, Sutton, Hordichuk etc etc with their heads firmly in the sand, while Crosby and Weber sit near by on a chair sipping margaritas. These guys are blindly losing millions, possibly their careers for contracting rights and a money fight that doesn’t impact them.

    Personally if I was one of the 650 I’d be happy that Crosby can’t sign a 10 year mega deal and suck up 20% of my teams cap space. Why don’t they speak up?

    • 24% body fat

      Actually the biggest head in the sand arent the players. It is the good and elite players.

      Stop putting Crosby and Ovechkin front in center. Ya we may be missing them but no one has sympathy fot those two. Or even the other rich boys standing around them.

  • 24% body fat

    How can you not be on the owners side in this. This is the only professional top tiered league probably in the world that has more than on third their teams losing money. 5 teams made a total of 212M and the rest lost a total of something like 88. If the Players are too stupid to see that the econmics arent working than they will soon be out of jobs.

    Yes record revenues, but records costs also. Why should Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, New York and Montreal share their profits and send money to states teams who piss it away. What is Edmonton and Vancouvers incentive to make money when they have to share it. They are low enough that they could drop ticket prices and spend stupidly and break even than not have to share, leaving them with around the same financial outcome.

    So lets contract ten teams that dont make money. Well now you have 230 players out of a job. Ya thats what the union wants.

    How F($*ing stupid can they be. No other professional sport gets over 51 percent of revenue. But the league that fails to make money they want 57.

    Thanks Eric Lindros, you wanting to be paid more than gretzky when you never accomplished anything started all of this.

  • 15w40

    Players lose 100% of their revenue, as they lose their entire salaries.

    Owners do not lose 100% of their revenue as most own their NHL arenas and subsititute hockey for ther events such as concerts.

    In addition, even though NHL is a $3B industry, that is revenue, and not profit. It’s easier for them to think long term, and have a goal of increasing profits long term by lowering player costs.

    Quite simply owners will win in every scenario that doesn’t involve a rival league forming. Players are naive to think they are negotiatiating from a position of strength.

  • Jason Gregor

    Just a note…It is “I couldn’t care less.” If you write “I could care less,” then you are in fact saying you could still care.
    Just a small tip on Positive Fridays.

    • What is “I couldn’t care less”?

      If I write “I could care less” I know that I could still care. Whats with the English-English transalation? Are you doing this just to prolong the negotiations?

      NHL didn’t overpay players, individual GMs did that.(not NHL as a whole)
      Most of these players are overpayed only because most of them don’t live up or care to play to expecations of their contract. Most of them get the Heatley syndrome once they get their money.

      When you negoatiate(if you ever have) do you give the biggest offer right away or do you try to low ball to see where the party stands and what they are willing to give?

      You are right, they are not on the ice right now. Why should I care? There is nothing I can do to make them come back sooner, so no need to bother my self with it. The Oilers are a team I cheer for, not a business I am a part of. Once the business is figured out then I will get back to cheering for them.

      Say you buy some Euros for your trip to Evropa and you do so with CDN dollars, for some reason you decide not to go and a week later you go back to convert your currency back to dollars. Economy has changed and the CND dollar is not at the same value: are you going to sit there and b!tch and ask for what you gave them earlier, are you going to sit and wait till the dollar goes up again, or, are you going to take what they give you and move on?

    • Truth

      Now that Peckham has been released from San Fransisco (on his own accord by all accounts), any chance you can get him for a follow up interview as to the reasoning? All of that talk of him getting and staying in game shape sure didn’t last long .

  • GSP

    Let me preface this by saying I am a diehard Oilers fan and have been for 20+ years. I am a season ticket holder and usually go to 20-30 games a year.

    I never thought I would ever say this but..I am seriously thinking of not renewing my tickets next year. This entire ordeal is so ridiculous and pointless. I find I am really not missing going to the games that much but instead my anger and frustration goes up daily as a result of all the crap that is spewed from each sides mouths.

    As Gregor has pointed out, I think both parties are equally to blame and both are ignorant spoiled brats!!

    As for the season ticket refund thing…The oilers are holding all of my money until a decision on the season is made. Granted I am getting 4% interest which is much better than any bank..but if I am at the point where I just say I want my money back now…I dont think that is an option at this time from what I have been told by the Oilers.

  • Jason Gregor

    I think Steve Fehr’s e-mail from last night sums up the situation nicely, no sense in discussing the relevant items when you can spend you time arguing over who actually wants to negotiate a deal less.

    The whole lot of them are certifiable.

    As far as continued support vs giving up tickets, the beauty of today’s NHL economic landscape is that if you are concerned about losing you tickets to the waiting list in a market like Edmonton, you can keep them and still send a clear message by not purchasing any food, drink or merchandise at the arena. That’s money the team relies on in the modern NHL as much as the ticket sales specifically.

  • Jason Gregor

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I miss HNIC. Now my wife thinks Saturday night is date night. How the hell am I going to get out of this if the league ever does come back? I think this season is already too late for me.

    Thanks Gary. Thanks Donald. Go screw yourselves. I’m done for this season.

  • Mumbai Max

    Stop me if you have heard this before.

    Declare an impasse.

    There is no legal need to have a CBA at all.

    40 million cap. 20 million floor.

    NO CBA. No entry level contracts. Free agency at 30. No guaranteed contracts. Max 2 year contracts.

    Players can come back for 40% of face value of their existing contracts. This is perfectly legal as the old contracts are linked to the old CBA. If they refuse they are free agents.

    Within months 90% of the players would be back on the ice, because 40% of the 2.4M current average is still 1 M and MUCH more than most of them can make anywhere else.

    Classic Win Win

    Fans win (cheaper), owners win, and the players win because they do not have to get real jobs. Fries with that Steve?

  • Mumbai Max

    Molson Coors is already preparing to sue for non-delivery pertaining to their sponsorship agreement. I have to think that there are at minimum a dozen high profile sponsors who have paid the NHL and have received nothing this season who will follow suit.

    The league and the players are too busy trying to figure out how to get to 50/50 (while still ‘winning’ the battle), neglecting the fact that the industry could well be in shambles when they return.

    Talk about cutting of your nose to spite your face…..

  • Jason I’m a bit surprised by the number of responses you got . I haven’t been following this for about 3 weeks now and figured someone would write about the Subway series . I’m nearly 70 and played ,coached and was an Oiler ticket holder for years . After the last lockout I figured it was over but this time for me I’m just disgusted . Mainly with the owners who over the years have been so greedy to bring in more and more teams thereby watering down the league quality of play. For me drop 6 teams . Enough .

    • Jason Gregor

      IT would be great to drop four or six teams, that would increase skill of the games and also rid NHL of the worst money-losing teams. Sadly, I doubt either side sees this as a viable option.

  • As much as guys say they don’t care or that they won’t be back it’s really not the case. The NHL knows that we will all eventually be back. Who are we kidding? In the short term attendance may sag and some non-ticket revenues will drop but at the end of the day most of us will flock back to our beloved team because that’s just what fans do. Revenues will slowly return, some owners will make money, some will lose. Some players will make tens of millions and some will just make millions. Jerseys and hats and coffee cups and other garb will sell. Guys (and gals) will go to the games and cheer for their favorite player. We’ll spend evenings on our couches watching the games our 60″ TVs or go to the sports bar and talk about which waitress is hottest and how good the wings are tonight. It’s just the way life goes in North America (and some parts of the world). We all want to be distracted from our lives and the world by something that doesn’t really matter that’s easy to digest. That something is sports. Most of us are sheep. When the shepherd calls the flock will follow. Sometimes there’s some really good grass that we just can’t leave but when one goes to the shepherd the others will follow not far behind.

    My request is that we all just stop obsessing about it? It is what it is. Period. Let’s find something better to do.