NHL AND NHLPA: OUT OF TOUCH

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. 

HERE WE GO AGAIN

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.

WHAT THEY NEED

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.

WHAT SAY YOU?

  • 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.

  • Oil Bog

    I can’t wait for hockey to return. As an oiler fan, I like the fact our future core is more concerned about playing hockey than politics. They seem to be yet affected by the world of professional sport and entertainment (not to say they aren’t but so far they keep saying the right things).

    This entire CBA process continually reminds me of reality TV. Everything appears to be staged and the real attention seekers thrive in the spotlight (player, owners, media). Its unfortunate real people get effected by this economically but until this is settled I am not taking it personally as a fan.

  • Though there are many infuriating things about this lockout, and many different things can be blamed for each side’s stance (such as expansion teams that are losing the entire league money, owners who broke their own rules and signed cap circumvention contracts thereby eliminating what a salary cap does for a league in the first place, and players who seem to forget they make more of a percentage than the owners of the teams), one thing bugs me the most. All this bickering and posturing over revenue, and hearing players in the KHL talk about no coming back if their full contract is not awarded, are all forgetting that it’s not their money that they are squabbling over. It’s the fans money. The fans who have to save up to go to a game and watch from the nose bleeds, the fans who go down to their local pub on game night because it’s only being shown on pay per view, it is our dollars each side is claiming a right to. Both sides seemed to have lost sight of that.

    It is refreshing to hear players like Teemu say that they don’t care so much that their last year of play is a lockout year, because they’ve already had such a great career. Instead they think it’s not fair to the fans, and it didn’t come off as pandering either, he seemed genuine.

    As for coming back to hockey, coupled with the arena deal going sour, I am getting very close to swearing off hockey all together because it is clear neither the players, nor the league cares at all about the people who generate the billions of dollars of revenue they are primarily concerned with.

  • geoilersgist

    I love hockey, I eat, sleep and breathe hockey. The sad thing is that I just don’t care anymore. The more I think about it the more I just want the season cancelled so we can stop hearing about the stupid lockout and the bickering back and forth. The game is being destroyed in the markets that don’t make any money and that can’t support their teams. If only the league would realize this and contract, to bad we still hear about expansion…

  • The Fish

    Excellent comments from top to bottom.

    These are all die-hard fans on here with an overwhelming “Don’t Care Anymore” sentiment.

    If this is what’s happened to the die-hards, imagine how the casual, but important, fan base is reacting.

    If I were running the league or players association, I would be getting concerned about this . . .

  • wiggs22

    Jason:

    what i dont understand is the thought process behind the players. Some owners are loosing money and cannot afford to keep a team with the current union deal. now if the owners caved and the system didnt change…i give it ~2 years~ and there is a possibility of teams folding. if there was a contraction in teams, there are less players in the union who would have jobs…less money to be paid to the players as well.

    the point is why don’t the players want to work with the owners…it solidifies there jobs and income

  • wiggs22

    the union keeps on talking about the MLB system and how they should follow it. How does this work? there is a huge difference in competition. there are huge haves and have nots. it seems to be the same teams every year who compete and a few “poor teams” sneak in.

    Why not use the NFL system as it creates equality in competition as every team has the exact salary to use….

    it does mean revenue sharing but in a more profitable way.

  • Hockey was fighting a losing battle against the major sports in the US anyways but the complete indifference that the media down there has shown to this sand box tiff I find quite revealing.

    THEY DONT CARE and frankly never did.

    What has become painfully evident to those outside the citadel of hockeys brain trusts is this. They have already lost in monetary terms anything that either side will ever gain from this “new” agreement whenever they decide to get it done.

    Personally I really didn’t need much verification that the sport of professional hockey was run by arrogant buffoons, that has been evident for years. However…. this mindless posturing has cemented it into the annals of history forever.

    Hold onto your legacy boys…….. its a real winner.

    PS…. and fwiw.. please refrain from spewing your fraudulent concern for we the fans. We are OK with just the injury, the insult can be stuffed up your proverbial a**es. Clearly it will fit nicely.

    FO + D

  • Max Powers - Team HME Evans

    Will i cut back on the amount of merchandise i purchase? Yes.

    In fact i will continue to buy “replica” oiler Jerseys from China. Not only does that not put money in their pocket, it actually takes money out 🙂

    Suck my balls Katz, Bettman and Fehr.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    I hope the season is gone.

    The players will learn the hard way…again.

    Fans will be less forgiving this time and salaries will go down down down.

  • Ryan14

    From the NHL/NHLPA perspective, they don’t care if you are angry. If you are angry you care and thus are still a fan and will be back at some point. They should care if you’re apathetic, in which case you aren’t visiting ON 2 months into this nonsense. I think they are grossly overestimating people’s tollerance and willingness to spend their money and time elsewhere.

    Personally I’m jacked for all the extra $ I have for skiing this year.

  • Oiler Country

    I can’t write anything except to echo what mostly everyone has already wrote. What we cna do as fans is to stop buying merchandise, stop buying player supported hockey gear. Show your social networking voice and for instance, like twitter, unfollow all players associated with the NHLPA and all NHL teams. Explain to Hall, Gagner, Paajarvi, Whitney, Jones and Eberle it’s not them you are mad at it’s by their association with the NHLPA is the reason for your actions of not supporting them. Drop your support for your teams by unfollowing (on twitter) and unliking (facebook.

    Once the lockout ends, do what you want, but I’d be willing to bet you wouldn’t be so quick to throw your support behind the team like you once did.

    You want problems? …I have a huge problem.. I have the oilers logo and Oiler Country as my online name. If I am to do what I say, I will have to start a whole new online identity.

    GASP!! …time to figure a strategy..

  • Gaylord Meatface

    I think the 3rd party, namely us the fans, need to somehow be heard.

    How?

    The only thing that will make them react is money.

    Gregor, what companies advertise with or have contacts with the NHL?

    Somehow we have to let it be know to:

    1) Stop buying all Molson/Coors products
    2) Refrain from watching any CBC shows
    3) Refrain from watching NBC or companies owned by NBC
    4) etc etc.

    If you put the revenue stream in the cross hairs they will have to react.

  • Ryan14

    This lockout won’t effect the games I attend or watch at home. They won’t see a dime from me in terms of merchandising however. My f you to these guys is buying from less than reputable sources.

  • Ryan14

    Both groups dont really believe that the fans will do anything drastic, otherwise they would have made a move on this ages ago.They know we will be back.. and we will you all know that.

    I think the media for what its worth should just stop reporting on this lockout 100%. Dont give them any press, besides its the same boring stuff that you guys have had to print for weeks now… so why bother.. there is no news. Besides I cant stand looking at these two mugs any longer.
    As you said Jason its my 2 inches are longer than your 2 inches {Gary] Its the battle of egos, loosing millions of dollars. And, these are suppose to be educated men.. sounds like idiots, to me,keep saying no. Any fool can come up with that answer.

  • Ryan14

    I guess it’s a good thing that these guys are making so much money now, as a collective, that they have no idea how to share it amongst themselves, but come on if either side really wanted a resolution to this problem wouldn’t they just hire an arbitrator?

    It’s not like it would kill the league to take 48% and it’s not like it would kill the players to take 52 or 53 or 49 either. This is about digging your heels in the sand because you think you’ve been slighted by the other side.

    Makes me feel like I’m on the playground again.

  • Ryan14

    “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 disagree – I think all parties involved in this mess could be accurate to the 1/32 of an inch with a 2-inch ruler. They certainly have no balls, so small dicks seem a given.

  • Ryan14

    This lockout is friggin gross.. I am so sick of hearing about it.. both sides are to blame here but.. ill tell you what.. I will gladly play for a million bucks and put up with the “unfairness” and being treated “badly”. Gimme a effin break.. your getting paid plenty.. And for the owners.. control your spending already.. I think the roll back is a joke but in the same breath.. The players also need a reality check.. I have 2 jobs mortgage, 2 cars, 2 kids and a wife… like i said.. id love to play for a million a yr.. Why dont they just go off the last CBA and tweek it??!! Last i saw or ever heard.. An NHL player wasnt stressed over paying bills.. When the NHL comes back i will still follow.. but as for paying for NHL stuff… i may be done for awhile..

    Well back to REAL work…

    Peace

  • oilfan in yyc

    I continue to read ON because I hope you are also able to survive this asinine lockout. Having said that, I believe all media outlets need to stop reporting on it, quit sending reporters to grab the same sound bites from Bettman and Fehr, and quit publishing their press releases. They need to be completely ignored.

    • The Soup Fascist

      How dare you bring perspective, empathy, compassion and real life lessons into this discussion, Oilanderp!

      Don’t you know this is about millionaires, billionaires, greed and egos?

      Geez, some guys just don’t get it.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Once the poison enters the bloodstream, rehabilitation is highly unlikely.

    This lockout is just a necessary part of the business. When things do return….you best stay away from my spot on the couch you bastages.

    My 2 cents, not sure if it’s the norm amongst us hoser types.

  • Mike Krushelnyski

    If we do have a season this year, I hope fans across the league can organize and agree that everybody skips their team’s home opener. Watching teams put on their opening night spectacles and player introductions to totally empty buildings would be a wonderful little f**k you to the league and the players after the massive f**k you they’ve given the fans.

  • OilerLand

    My personal solution to this annoying situation is very simple. For every game that I miss this year I have promised myself that I will not attend, watch or buy anything for that same amount of games when they decide we are allowed to watch our favorite sport again. It’s unrealistic for me to give up on this sport that I love so much for good and I’m sure I’ll still read about everything and follow these blogs but after the last lockout I feel massively disrespected to have to go through this again. Imagine the fear and pressure if an idea like this was to spread!

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    The league is tired of negotiating against itself, it is really as simple as that as far as the moratorium on talks.

    I don’t know how anyone can side with the players on this. The NHL is actually trying to put in a system that makes all teams viable and the players just want guaranted money until the end of time.

    The players do themselves no favours with their comments. They come off as the uneducated man children that they are. I mean Jamal Mayers thought moratorium was some big fancy word and couldn’t even pronouce it yet he thinks he knows how business works.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    I don’t really miss the NHL or care either way how this all turns out.

    I drop by here at least twice a week to read all the posts from people who promise to swear off hockey once it returns. It proves more entertaining than any Oiler game I’ve gone to in the last 3 years.

    To promise yourself not to go to the games or watch them on TV when they return is the same as pacing outside your local convenience store before it opens promising yourself that this will be the last pack of smokes you will ever buy because you’ve really had a chance to think it over by waiting. Not very convincing.

  • cableguy - 2nd Tier Fan

    Stop me if you have heard this before.

    US and Canadian federal courts rule that the obstinate and greedy NHL owners have broken anti-trust rules.

    Henceforth, there is no requirement for the NHLPA and consequently it disappears and the CBA has no legality.

    No salary cap, maximum or minimum.
    No entry level draft of amateur players.
    All players are free agents.
    No entry level contracts.
    No guaranteed contracts.
    No rules.

    Players agents can negotiate as they like with gullible GMs and owners. The rich NHL owners can afford to attract the emerging stars, just as they have before, and always place their franchises in a winning position. The less than rich owners will lose their stars and operate as though their franchises are on a similar to that of the AHL, as before.

    Fans of rich owners win, fans of poorer owners lose. Players win because rich owners will pay players whatever they need to win.

    For Oilers fans, does this sound familiar to the 1990s?

    Fries with that Steve?

    Classic Win Win for some, Lose Lose for others. And the rich owners provide Bettman with a huge bonus. Priceless, if you aren’t an Oilers’ fan!

  • Milli

    Here are my plans, and I am a die hard fan. We are heading to OKc for a game and then to Houston for a Texans game. I know that Okc is an Oilers product, but oh well. I made a decision not to buy cancelation insurance because I will not drive to Edmonton, I will not drink alot of Herion beer at Rexaal. Not this year, no matter what. And, the price for Air, Hotel and barons tix you ask. Try this on, less than $600.