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Wolf357 10-15-2012 11:54 AM

The enveloping sadness of the NHL
 
This is without a doubt the best article I've read from any Sports Journalist in regard to the lockout

From the Denver Post

Enveloping sadness of the NHL
By Adrian Dater


Something really bad is happening between the people who love hockey and the game’s highest league. I can only try to put it in my own perspective here, of course. What it is increasingly coming down to is: it seems like a lot of us are in the developing stages of an irreconcilable divorce from the NHL.
I may be wrong, but I sense it. A slow but sure drift away from the league. I’m not talking about our love of the game itself but the league and its principals in power, who have once again decided it is better to play no games at all than play the games if it means getting two or three fewer percentage points in “hockey-related revenue.”
I may be wrong, but I do not feel like the bread-and-butter fan will be back to NHL games whenever the masters of the universe deign to drop the puck again on a real game. Not this season anyway. I’ve just talked to too many people that I trust to be hardcore hockey fans who say they really are tired of all this and don’t feel like giving their time, money and attention to this league as much anymore, even if they come back.
Strangely, I’m feeling that way myself. I just can’t seem to muster any passion for either side in this tired standoff anymore. At first, I thought I was 100-percent pro-player, but it’s wearing off some. Donald Fehr, I fear, doesn’t have any real passion for hockey players. He’s a lifelong baseball guy. He can say he feels 100-percent committed to the players’ cause, but I don’t sense it all that much. I see a guy who has basically been sitting on his hands the last month, as games get increasingly X-ed off the schedule, not trying to come up with any innovative solution out of this.
I see myself nodding my head less and less whenever Fehr talks about how this kind of thing only happens in the “cap sports” and always trots out how wonderful the example of labor harmony there is in baseball. Well, except Donald, baseball once was the poster child of labor disharmony, partially under your watch, with only one other example in pro sports history (the NHL of 2004-05) of a postseason tournament being cancelled because of labor strife (1994 playoffs and World Series).
The Major League Baseball you helped produce is “harmonious” only by the fact that half the teams in both leagues are lobotomized from the socialized medicine of revenue sharing, which keeps teams like the Rockies and Royals and Twins and Mariners and Padres and Brewers and A’s (fluke run this year notwithstanding) and Pirates and Marlins and Astros and Blue Jays from ever truly trying to compete with the big boys for titles. The peace and harmony you espouse is a league bereft of true competition, save for a four-leaf clover now and then for a welfare team. Then, their players sell out for the big-market teams. If that is your vision for the NHL – well, we already had that, from about 1994-2004. The same few teams won the Stanley Cup, largely based on payroll (a couple exceptions, yes, but generally…).
As for Gary Bettman, well: I’ve lost faith in you.
You had a pretty good thing going and we all gave you high marks for reintroducing a fresher on-ice product following the last lockout, and for fighting for a better national U.S. TV deal and for sticking up for franchises in trouble. But you blew it all with your incredibly ill-thought out first proposal to the players on a new CBA this year – the 43-percent, no arbitration, big-time reduced free-agency monstrosity you forged on everyone.
You had it so good; you had a player group that swallowed huge reductions last time, but still worked hard and in good faith to grow the game after that. They never whined about being routed at the bargaining table. They accepted it, and after a big-time increase in revenues that they helped provide, your thank you to them was to want an incomprehensibly bigger bite out of their livelihoods.
You’re so smart, Gary. Really. Rarely have I been as intimidated verbally as I’ve been around you. I grew up around Ivy League people my whole life and have a good vocabulary, and yet you made me feel like a bumbling idiot around you often times.
But you need a crash course in PR, sir. You don’t get that part of the world. You don’t seem to surmise that, no, it wasn’t in your best interests and in the interests of those you represent to try to sneak a foolhardy second draconian offer like that past the players. Yeah, you’ve come up a little since then, but you still won’t get into world of reality and make a real offer – something like a 53-52-51-50-50-50 split. The players would take that. Do you know this? They would. I’ve talked to them. Maybe you haven’t. They would take that deal TODAY if offered.
And what would you really lose by giving that kind of deal to them? They’re already at 54.3 percent in their last offer. You’re at 49 (on the first year of a deal). Ok, you know what? You give them 53 or 54 on the the first year – so what? You still gained three or four percent from last time. Can anyone on the owners’ side really get too mad about that? Of course not, and you know they don’t even care.
But for some reason, maybe it’s you telling the owners or maybe it’s them telling you – either way it doesn’t matter – but for some reason you have it that you can’t give them 53 or 54 percent on that first year. Because it’ll look like you “lost”, you “caved” on the players. But here’s the thing: WE DON’T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT IT. We don’t think you would be a loser if that was your cut of the revenues on the first year. You’re STILL ALL REAL BIG WINNERS IN LIFE. We aren’t going to judge anybody as a “winner” and a “loser” when this thing is over. Well that’s not quite honest; we all think you are losers for letting things get this far – owners and players.
But whether you get 52 or 53 or 54 on the first year of a deal that we all know is going to slide down to 50-50 – WE DON’T CARE. Only you seem to care. And what for? So Phil Anschutz can go back to his mansion in Colorado and say “Well everyone, I got 1 percent extra out of that deal with the NHL, aren’t you all so proud of me now?”
Or, Zach Parise, do you think we will be impressed when you go back to your family and friends and say “Hey guys, great news! We can all stop the food stamp applications, because we’re getting 54 percent this year instead of 53!”
We don’t care. We don’t care about any of this right now. We see grown men who have lost all touch with reality, who don’t know how good they really had it, who couldn’t do what normal people do, which is work on a solution that works well for both sides – in an industry that is guaranteed to be good to both sides.
It’s why people like me and my hockey friends are basically saying, “It was sad, but I had to let (the NHL) go. There was just no hope in saving thttp://blogs.denverpost.com/avs/2012/10/14/enveloping-sadness-nhl/11736/?source=rsshomebloghe relationship anymore.”

Bonzai12 10-15-2012 02:33 PM

Gotta say I am losing interest in hockey. I was already tired of the Avs pinching pennies, and now the whole league is doing it. They you've got Fehr who was going to have the players on strike no matter what. I could have told you this was going to happen from day 1 when he was hired.

Just sad. Really sad. I actually am hoping Europe steals back hockey from the United States, because I'd love to travel over there more to watch some games. I'm tired of watching money ruin this sport over here.

The Infamous Tank 10-15-2012 03:05 PM

I'm glad others feel this way too. The best thing that can happen for the fans this time is to have a dramatic decrease in interest from casual fans. I hope that they lose so much that it takes the leauge YEARS to get back to where it was at the end of last season not just in terms of money, but fan interest and mainstream media coverage in the United States. Hopefully then they will realize they can't keep jerking us around, but certain fans(no one specific) who have developed Stockholm syndrome will keep going back no matter what and this vicious cycle will continue.

henchman24 10-15-2012 03:26 PM

I am also losing interest. Losing two seasons would probably tip me over the edge. Hell, I don't know if I will really be all that interested if they start up this year. This is coming from a person who played hockey from 5-19, and played in a high level junior league and would have played in college if I didn't get majorly injured.

I use to live and breath hockey, but I had a hard time with the 04-05 lockout and pretty much tuned out the 05-06 season (happened right after my injury so that had something to do with it as well as I had to 'retire' from the game). I came back to being a big fan at the end of 06 and since I have gone to at least 7-10 Avs games a year. Apathy is starting to set in and if the season is lost, I really see myself taking a few seasons off as a fan.

Congo Jack 10-15-2012 04:49 PM

I'm starting to focus more of my attention towards football and actually talking to people....it's new and strange for me.

AvsFanRCN 10-15-2012 06:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by STEVE RANDESKOGAH (Post 55014541)
I'm starting to focus more of my attention towards football and actually talking to people....it's new and strange for me.

Ditto, I've gone from watching the odd bronco game last season to spending all Sunday watching football, and watching the Monday and Thursday games. I'm probably never going to let go of hockey, but I've shifted a bunch of that focus to football, and unless there is an avs game in the way I'll be watching football.

CB Joe 10-15-2012 07:55 PM

My two issues about this article.


Quote:

I’m not talking about our love of the game itself but the league and its principals in power, who have once again decided it is better to play no games at all than play the games if it means getting two or three fewer percentage points in “hockey-related revenue.”
Two or three points, that equal hundreds or millions of dollars. Calling it two or three points is understating the gap between players are owners.

Quote:

Yeah, you’ve come up a little since then, but you still won’t get into world of reality and make a real offer – something like a 53-52-51-50-50-50 split. The players would take that. Do you know this? They would. I’ve talked to them. Maybe you haven’t. They would take that deal TODAY if offered.
If the players would take that deal, why hasn't their side offered that deal in negotiations to this point?

Elever 10-15-2012 11:10 PM

^ That's a fairly simple one. The avg player has little to no say in the negotiations partly because most of them are brainwashed (which I believe is a good thing so that they don't break rank as much like the last time and they actually stick it to the NHL and give us an entertaining labour negotiation) AND because they don't get much more than a vote. It's those on the exec committee, mainly the Fehr's who will decide what happens. Of course they'll take some guidance from the players but they'll be tough negotiatiors and they aren't gonna propose anything which involves a pay cut very soon (they would however be wise to propose a proposal which means a revenue share decrease but not a pay cut assuming revenue stays the same or grows which is now unlikely after the damage which has been done). And it's the same on the owner's side, you know that Bettman and a smaller group of owners who are leading negotiations are more insistent on an immediate pay cut than others.

So the logical/rational sides aren't the ones in charge of negotiations which is why we have this. Of course both sides have to present a united front based on the party line of whomever is leading the negotiations but they don't have an actual united front regardless of 30-0 votes or whatever.

If I was an NHLPA member, I would think moderately and accept a proposal with a decreased % split but I too would not want that presented as of yet until I feel that owners are willing to give something up based on the previous CBA. So the owner's can go on about how they're waiting for the NHLPA to make an offer, I wouldn't care, I'd want the NHL to make a proper offer first.

expatriated_texan 10-16-2012 09:44 PM

Quite frankly, I'm amazed this article doesn't have a couple of pages of folks bashing AD already...or is he right..we've (meaning NHL fans collectively and Colorado Avalanche fans more precisely) already given up on it....or is he right and we (meaning those of you who routinely eviscerate his every column or more precisely...blog) have no bones to pick about it because he's hit a nerve.

I like AD, I think he could be better but he's nowhere near the worst I've seen. I think he takes a lot of grief on this site that he shouldn't because folks sometimes confuse his blog with actual news stories. I guess the whole purpose of my comment here is I'm actually asking folks to say if they agree with him for once or not. This one kinda hit it on the head of the nail. I've already cancelled the Center Ice package and purchased season tickets to my local college team's home games with that money. I simply refuse to spend additional money on NHL games this season so I'll be following the AVs from the newspaper and here if they get a season going. If they don't get one together soon...well, I'm just have to blow the dust of the guitar and start playing that again or find some other hobby like ice-sculpting...but of one thing I'm sure...another shortened season or year without hockey will cure me of my NHL addiction for good.

Bender 11-02-2012 08:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by expatriated_texan (Post 55049877)
Quite frankly, I'm amazed this article doesn't have a couple of pages of folks bashing AD already...or is he right..we've (meaning NHL fans collectively and Colorado Avalanche fans more precisely) already given up on it....or is he right and we (meaning those of you who routinely eviscerate his every column or more precisely...blog) have no bones to pick about it because he's hit a nerve.

I like AD, I think he could be better but he's nowhere near the worst I've seen. I think he takes a lot of grief on this site that he shouldn't because folks sometimes confuse his blog with actual news stories. I guess the whole purpose of my comment here is I'm actually asking folks to say if they agree with him for once or not. This one kinda hit it on the head of the nail. I've already cancelled the Center Ice package and purchased season tickets to my local college team's home games with that money. I simply refuse to spend additional money on NHL games this season so I'll be following the AVs from the newspaper and here if they get a season going. If they don't get one together soon...well, I'm just have to blow the dust of the guitar and start playing that again or find some other hobby like ice-sculpting...but of one thing I'm sure...another shortened season or year without hockey will cure me of my NHL addiction for good.

Yeah, sounds about right. I've also cancelled Center-Ice (pretty sure Bell would have charged me for it anyways, even though there isn't a season...a-holes) and I'm certainly not buying any NHL merchandise in the near future either.

At this point, I'm pretty pissed off and I'm a hardcore fan. I don't care who's right and who's wrong, I just don't care. I'm pissed at both sides equally. I think the owner's 1st offer was a complete joke and I ALSO think the players should have negotiated off the owner's last 50-50 proposal to save the complete 82 game schedule and get things going. Since they didn't, as things progress, I don't see how the players are going to get a better deal from the league than what was offered. They don't know how to split up $3.3M??? Yeah, good luck getting back to that now that you've pissed off casual and hardcore fans.

The ONLY way they get me back onboard as invested as I WAS before, is if they offer Center Ice for FREE for whatever season they DO have (if any).

squirrelbait 11-04-2012 08:46 PM

Just on the 'well if you want that, and will agree to that, why not offer that in the negotiations?'

I think we all know how a negotiation works and we know how the NHL (and PA) are operating in this negotiation (which i don't think is unique in any way).

Should they come out and offer precisely what they want out of a new CBA, and lets say it's in line with what was mentioned in the article, then the NHL will use that merely as there new starting point for negotiations, and demand further concessions from that proposal so as to come to a deal. They won't just say fine. Then when the PA reject it due to it being below what they want, the NHL can come out and say they aren't negotiating in good faith. They made an offer and refuse to budge from that.

It only makes logical sense and is in your best interest to make an offer that you know you can make concessions on, as both sides have done.

WarriorOfGandhi 11-04-2012 11:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wolf357 (Post 55008471)
This is without a doubt the best article I've read from any Sports Journalist in regard to the lockout

Quote:

By Adrian Dater
lol.

Bonzai12 11-05-2012 09:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bender (Post 55475363)
The ONLY way they get me back onboard as invested as I WAS before, is if they offer Center Ice for FREE for whatever season they DO have (if any).

That's actually an outstanding idea. Make both the players and owners fund this with a piece of the pie to get fans back.

Foppa 11-06-2012 07:45 AM

Does anybody else feel like they'll need a primer course before they start following again whenever the NHL does start back up? I mean we are the hardest of hardcore fans. We sit around and debate about 18 year-old prospects and generally have what many people would consider an unhealthy knowledge of our teams and the league and prospects.

Yet in this barren time of the lockout I've visted this board maybe a handful of times, really only to see how people are coping. I have no interest in how prospects are doing. I don't care how many points Landeskog is putting up in a second-tier Swedish league. I don't care who is lighting up the KHL. I have no idea who is going to be any good or what our team is actually going to look like if the NHL takes the year off and doesn't start again till 2013.

Does that make me a bad 'hockey fan'? There is still hockey being played out there by players who normally I invest a great deal in but I just don't give a ****.

Bender 11-06-2012 11:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Foppa (Post 55559657)
Does anybody else feel like they'll need a primer course before they start following again whenever the NHL does start back up? I mean we are the hardest of hardcore fans. We sit around and debate about 18 year-old prospects and generally have what many people would consider an unhealthy knowledge of our teams and the league and prospects.

Yet in this barren time of the lockout I've visted this board maybe a handful of times, really only to see how people are coping. I have no interest in how prospects are doing. I don't care how many points Landeskog is putting up in a second-tier Swedish league. I don't care who is lighting up the KHL. I have no idea who is going to be any good or what our team is actually going to look like if the NHL takes the year off and doesn't start again till 2013.

Does that make me a bad 'hockey fan'? There is still hockey being played out there by players who normally I invest a great deal in but I just don't give a ****.

No. I think it just makes you jaded and rightfully so.

Personally, I really just enjoy the 'prospects' part of hockey so that's why I'm here but I'm still VERY pissed off at the NHL for making me wait for a 'possible' NHL season especially when all the haggling doesn't seem to make much sense in the grand scheme of things.

As punishment, it's going to be A LONG TIME until the NHL gets even a penny out of my pocket again, whether that's NHL Center Ice or just buying an Avalanche Hat. They need to LEARN that these stupid lockouts are annoying to us FANS, the people that find an interest into what they are doing and essentially allow them to earn the money that they are earning.

If more fans adopted this line of thinking, the NHL and NHLPA would think twice before another labor stoppage, when the result is a direct 25-30% drop in interest and league-wide revenues.

FoppaForsberg* 11-06-2012 12:57 PM

Once NHL starts back up, I'll be right there. I live too far away to go to an NHL game( Only been to two; Carolina and Colorado) so it's not like I'm wasting my money.

SuperTheGreat 11-06-2012 05:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Foppa (Post 55559657)
Does anybody else feel like they'll need a primer course before they start following again whenever the NHL does start back up? I mean we are the hardest of hardcore fans. We sit around and debate about 18 year-old prospects and generally have what many people would consider an unhealthy knowledge of our teams and the league and prospects.

Yet in this barren time of the lockout I've visted this board maybe a handful of times, really only to see how people are coping. I have no interest in how prospects are doing. I don't care how many points Landeskog is putting up in a second-tier Swedish league. I don't care who is lighting up the KHL. I have no idea who is going to be any good or what our team is actually going to look like if the NHL takes the year off and doesn't start again till 2013.

Does that make me a bad 'hockey fan'? There is still hockey being played out there by players who normally I invest a great deal in but I just don't give a ****.

I don't think there's anything wrong with being an NHL fan, or even an Avalanche fan, exclusively. I'm in the same boat, for the most part. I'm not scrambling to watch any KHL games, and don't really care what everyone else is doing overseas, beyond being happy that they're playing, developing, and hopefully remaining healthy & conditioned for when the NHL starts back up. I love the Avalanche and my fanaticism is reserved for that team. I do watch playoff hockey even when we're out, but most of the fire to do so is laced with venom for the Red Wings and my purpose is to watch them get eliminated. I'll watch when they come back to the NHL, and that makes me an Avs fan, not a bad hockey fan. I believe the same goes for you, too.


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