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True Blue 12-13-2004 12:07 PM

Brooks today
 
http://www.nypost.com/sports/21366.htm

Now I realize that Brooks is as pro-player (probably becuase with no NHL, his job in in jeapardy) as TSN is pro-owner. Still, he seems to think that any offer by Bettman & Co. WILL include a salary cap. He seems to think that the latest mantra coming from Bettman, that the latest offer is nothing but a ploy, is really ticking off the players.

"the NHL propaganda machine is back in full operation, disseminating the message across the continent that the union's offer is somehow a trick; that the players are offering to roll back their contracts by 24 percent only because they've been assured by Bob Goodenow that they'll make it all back and more pretty much within two or three years."

"In fact, Burke told Thursday afternoon by an NHL person of the details of the PA proposal before the union had the opportunity to release it to its constituents and scowling as usual, even went so far on Friday as to announce that the reason the players arrived at the 24 precent rate of reduction is because they'd been told by Goodenow it would take 24 months to recoup their losses. Aware that this kind of insult comes with the league's imprimatur, players around the league are already seething"

I have been as pessimistic as any, but even I got a ray of hope when I way the NHLPA's offer. If Bettmans' response is an outright rejection becuase the proposal does not have a cap, then the NHL is screwed. Reading player comments, I do not believe that they will cave. There have been several comments to the effect of , "we'll be in the same place next December" and "owners had better be prepared to fold the league becuase we will never accept a cap".
If this is true, the next step will be for the labor boards to decided wether or not BEttman has been baragaining in good faith when he is in front of them pleading for an impasse. If Bettman cannot use the last proposal as at the very least a platform from which to work with, then he has never had an interest in having a season. His lone interest would then be to break the union. A dangerous proposition, considering that his impasse has no guarantee in working. And if it is declared and he brings in replacement players, what happens if indeed the NHLPA organized a rivla league? I am somehow betting that more fans will show up to the new league and barely any will to Bettman's new NHL.

Pearl Necklace 12-13-2004 12:17 PM

Sounds like there is bad blood between Larry and Brian Burke. Here are a few of the words Larry associates with Brian;
desperate
insufferable
scowling
hawkish

Anyone know their history?

True Blue 12-13-2004 12:42 PM

While I have no doubt that Burke is trying to curry favor with Bettman, let's not fool ourselves about Brooks. As with most NHL beat writers, he is in danger of becoming, at best, a part-time employee. With no NHL, what need is there for Larry Brooks?
Like I said, as much as TSN has been a mouthpiece for Bettman, so too has Brooks with the players.

Son of Steinbrenner 12-13-2004 12:43 PM

is brooks getting paid by the nhlpa. I'm sorry i even read that article.

Fletch 12-13-2004 12:48 PM

I don't think...
 
too many people out there like Brian Burke, so it's not really limited to Larry.

As for him being pro-player... I don't think it actually started out that way. I think he, as well as many, just don't like Bettman and what he's done for the league the last several years. Further, I don't think he's crying too much for the Rangers' losses, which represent a big chunk of the total league-wide losses reported, since they were a result of complete mismanagement. I would also guess that had the league came back with something reasonable after the Players' offer, instead of going straight to a lockout vote and going silent, he may have become pro-owner. The NHLPA's offer was made in good timing, and was significant enough (and I will qualify that it doesn't go far enough in taxes) to make a good PR splash.

He makes a good point too - people in favor of the cap say the 24% will be made back - people against the cap say it's a do-over of the last few years when things when crazy (reminds of Christopher Walken on SNL singing Tomato-Tomato, Potato-Potato). But, does anybody really think that Holik will get his money back, or will teams be facing another UFA in a few years who just turned 31? Ditto Sakic, Yzerman, and many others over 35 who will lose that 24% and funds would be diverted to other UFAs and RFAs in the meantime. These players taking the hit don't make it back.

Kodiak 12-13-2004 03:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Son of Steinbrenner
is brooks getting paid by the nhlpa. I'm sorry i even read that article.

I agree that Brooks goes over the top in his rhetoric (it's a requirement in his paper), but he has a valid point. No matter how you look at it, a 24% salary rollback is a HUGE concession. The players rightfully and legally bargained for that money. To say giving back nearly a quarter of that is a trick is a slap in the face to every player that is willing to take the loss to get the NHL going again. If Bettman and Co. just ignore this, it will create a rift between players and owners that might be too big to bridge.

Son of Steinbrenner 12-13-2004 03:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kodiak
I agree that Brooks goes over the top in his rhetoric (it's a requirement in his paper), but he has a valid point. No matter how you look at it, a 24% salary rollback is a HUGE concession. The players rightfully and legally bargained for that money. To say giving back nearly a quarter of that is a trick is a slap in the face to every player that is willing to take the loss to get the NHL going again. If Bettman and Co. just ignore this, it will create a rift between players and owners that might be too big to bridge.

i just have a hard time respecting anything brooks writes. it seems to me he has an agenda againts bettman. (Yes TB i know TSN has an agenda againts the players)

Kodiak 12-13-2004 03:39 PM

So forget that Brooks wrote about it and address the point. The point exists outside of Brooks's column. Is the NHL's PR campaign to label the 24% rollback a trick (and they are doing so, so don't try to argue that) an insult to a legitimate concession? If so, is such an insult conducive to reaching an agreement?

Levitate 12-13-2004 03:50 PM

if the NHL comes back with what the articles on TSN have indicated they will...the NHL is gonna be gone for a long time. it's not just rejecting the NHLPA's proposal, it's insulting it and all the players

Fish 12-13-2004 05:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kodiak
So forget that Brooks wrote about it and address the point. The point exists outside of Brooks's column. Is the NHL's PR campaign to label the 24% rollback a trick (and they are doing so, so don't try to argue that) an insult to a legitimate concession? If so, is such an insult conducive to reaching an agreement?

I think both Burke and Brooks are exaggerating their points in this argument. The basic tenet is that is the 24% roll-back a permanent remedy to the financial problems the league is in.

The NHLPA view is that the luxury tax system they are proposing will be enough of a disincentive to keep salaries from coming back to the 2004 levels any time soon. They also believe in their proposals that the entry level and qualification concessions, along with allowing owners arbitration will help contribute to the downward pressure on salaries.

The NHL on the other hand contends that the only way to guarantee salaries don't accelerate again is by putting a cap on them.

In other words the NHL wants to see salaries permanently capped, the players association wants to slow down the acceleration, but allow them to continue to grow

I do think the players made substantial concessions, but there's still room to manipulate the system, and perhaps turn it more into a case of the haves and have nots. The tax system they proposed would need to be substantially reinforced to really put the breaks on those big contracts...perhaps bringing the level down lower and taxing at higher rates.

The entry level contracts and qualification concession don't really add up to as much in the longer term I would think. They are necessary additions, but the ability for teams to bring players to arbitration would be a more significant move IMO. Still qualifying contracts at 100% seems too high, maybe they could make it 80% guaranteed and 20% bonus or non-guaranteed...something like that...it's a difficult problem no doubt.

Having said all that...

I'm getting a little ahead of myself here, but if the league does come back with a proposal that doesn't offer similar concessions from a cap side, or even highlights why there are problems with the players proposal then I think it's going to be even harder to support the ownership. After all, how serious can a counterproposal that was worked on for one week be?

It seems obvious to me now that the league really has no intention of negotiating. That is not to say that I think their position is completely wrong, just that they have no interest in negotiating anything other than their solution.

If I could swear I would at this point....

Fish 12-13-2004 05:49 PM

After all that I forgot to address the points by Burke and Brooks...

Burke is implying through the statements quoted by Brooks that we'd basically be back where we are two years from now. While not impossible, I would think that would be unlikely...while the players union were perhaps a little optimisitic in saying the Rangers for instance could fill their remaining 6 starting roster spots and additional support players with the 14 million that they would now have as a result of concessions, it would still seem unlikely that they would return to a 90 million dollar payroll which after taxes would be at somewhere around 113 million...not a huge deterrent, but one nonetheless. At the very least it'd give the league another 23 million to market the game ;)

On Larry's analogy with players today...he misses the point, what those individual players give today the players tomorrow will get. If a cap was put in place, those players tomorrow would get less too...

Fletch 12-13-2004 05:56 PM

The owners are right...
 
in saying that there is only one guarantee. The players on the other hand believe it needs to be slowed (the pace of increasing earnings of players), but there will still teams out there who have the ability to pay more than the proposed cap level and should be able to do so - all the while giving back an amount to compensate other teams/make it easier for them to sign players. The proposed tax doesn't go far enough, obviously, but it's moreso buying off on the concept. Here, with the rollbacks we're at levels of a few years ago (and it will take time to work those back up again, as it would go from the bottom up). So it's a re-do. Now buy off on the concept that if there was a tax in place (a real one) several years ago, would the league be in such a situation? Admittedly it does take some imagination, a spreadsheet and assumptions.

Fish 12-13-2004 06:14 PM

Also...and this was a question I posed on my own board...

What would the difference between a heavy luxury tax and a cap that allowed teams to defer payments for contracts similar to what the NFL does? Is it the perception that it's flexible make that much of a difference...to me the players union still haven't done a good job of why a cap is so bad, while in offering these concessions they've admitted there's a problem with the current financial situation.

The owners for there part have yet to demonstrate they're interested in negotiating...

Fletch 12-13-2004 06:22 PM

It is perception, mostly...
 
with a real tax, there is an artificial cieling. let's be serious, this is hockey. Even the Rangers know their revenues are only going to be $X, and with a tax, they have to spend less. What the artificial cieling is is debateable, but depending on the tax, a fair amount less than what amounts were spent last season. But let's say the Leafs, or any team, are at the cap amount. They have a great team and need one more piece to the puzzle. They'd like to have that one guy, and that one guy would love to play in Toronto, thinking that he's 38 years old, from Canada (let's say Ontario(, and has never won a Cup, and Toronto has the team, but needs another piece to the puzzle, or so it's believed. And how nice would it be for that Canadian to go home and help his hometown team win the Cup for the first time since '67 (?)? Of course, with the Cap, he has to go to Carolina, for maybe even more money (but let's just say it's the same), and languish in the pits of the league in the armpit of U.S. hockey because Carolina's one of the few teams with cap room and some cash to spend.

Of course the flip is for a team to have the ability to spend a little extra here and there; to go the extra mile to bring it home (which is why the owners wouldn't want the cap).

NYR469 12-13-2004 06:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Son of Steinbrenner
is brooks getting paid by the nhlpa. I'm sorry i even read that article.

you should be even more sorry that he is right...i'd love to be able to call him an idiot and a union shill and say that his doom & gloom attitude toward the league is a load of crap, but sadly (very sadly) he's pretty accurate...which is bad news for us fans...

Fish 12-13-2004 07:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fletch
with a real tax, there is an artificial cieling. let's be serious, this is hockey. Even the Rangers know their revenues are only going to be $X, and with a tax, they have to spend less. What the artificial cieling is is debateable, but depending on the tax, a fair amount less than what amounts were spent last season. But let's say the Leafs, or any team, are at the cap amount. They have a great team and need one more piece to the puzzle. They'd like to have that one guy, and that one guy would love to play in Toronto, thinking that he's 38 years old, from Canada (let's say Ontario(, and has never won a Cup, and Toronto has the team, but needs another piece to the puzzle, or so it's believed. And how nice would it be for that Canadian to go home and help his hometown team win the Cup for the first time since '67 (?)? Of course, with the Cap, he has to go to Carolina, for maybe even more money (but let's just say it's the same), and languish in the pits of the league in the armpit of U.S. hockey because Carolina's one of the few teams with cap room and some cash to spend.

Of course the flip is for a team to have the ability to spend a little extra here and there; to go the extra mile to bring it home (which is why the owners wouldn't want the cap).

That's a great example, and one I'd certainly support...but you might be able to build that into your cap model too...either by allowing players to defer salaries during the season or maybe even deferring the contract for the hometown hero until the next season....perhaps not quite as elegant, but maybe it might be more appealing to a team because they ultimately pay less.


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