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The Business of Hockey Discuss the financial and business aspects of the NHL. Topics may include the CBA, work stoppages, broadcast contracts, franchise sales, NHL revenues, relocation and expansion.

Gary Bettman on CBC Newsworld

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Old
09-21-2004, 09:07 PM
  #1
Kravitch
 
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Gary Bettman on CBC Newsworld

Did anybody catch the Q+A they had with Bettman and Peter Mansbridge? It just ended, but it was interesting to hear.

Bettman pritty much guaranteed that there will be 30 healthy franchises in their current location by the end of the lockout.

There seemed to be alot of people in the crowd eager the hear if Winnipeg would ever return and if Nashville and Carolina would contract. Bettman had denied all of these questions.


I only caught the end of it so this is all I got to watch.

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09-21-2004, 10:46 PM
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Very good too watch and I will be eager to see Goodenow tomorow nite.

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09-21-2004, 11:03 PM
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Sportsnet's synopsis...

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/shown...ntent=s092157A

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09-21-2004, 11:12 PM
  #4
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I watched it, nothing surprised me in what Bettman said. I'm actually more intrigued about the Q&A with Goodenow tomorrow night.

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09-22-2004, 01:13 AM
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kravitch
Bettman pritty much guaranteed that there will be 30 healthy franchises in their current location by the end of the lockout.


That's really putting his neck on the line, making that strong a guarantee.

Of course, saying anything short of that would probably weaken the owner's position.

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09-22-2004, 01:30 AM
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacketracket
That's really putting his neck on the line, making that strong a guarantee.

Of course, saying anything short of that would probably weaken the owner's position.
for minute there it was painful - he got some roasting - he was brilliant in his spin - although its all about the horrible 6 - 10 teams

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09-22-2004, 04:13 AM
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr gib
for minute there it was painful - he got some roasting - he was brilliant in his spin - although its all about the horrible 6 - 10 teams
Yeah they really seemed to focus in the issue of attendance in some arenas. Kinda like when the fan from Winnipeg was practically begging Bettman to put back a team in Winnipeg.

It was nice though, it was the first time ever I saw Gary Bettman discuss the issue of a Jets return in public. It was interesting and understanding to hear his point of view.

He pritty much told Winipegers not to hold their breath, however, when/if the time is right, he said he will consider putting a team back there. So I guess thats some good news for Winnipeg fans!

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09-22-2004, 08:51 AM
  #8
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Leafs fans - the game is bigger than just Toronto

Just a friendly reminder to many of you Leafs fans that favour contraction. Bettman is the League Commissioner, not the President of the Leafs! I think Bettman has acknowledged that the past CBA's have not worked as intended and has contributed to a select few owners-GM's getting carried away in competing for players contracts. It must be said however; that these owners were pressured by their fans who wanted to see the Cup in their respective cities, as well as by coaches and GM's who wanted to win to keep their jobs, hence, pressured their owners to overspend. It was a viscious cycle that needed to be stopped and that's what's happening now. So it's time to move forward and stop blaming who was right and who was wrong. I suspect that if Toronto fans had to pay for their own tickets at an average cost of about $300-$1200 to see just one game for a family of 4 they might get off the "blame the owners and contraction bandwagon". There is now plenty of hockey talent to facilitate at least 30 NHL teams and 30 AHL team affiliates. We need a CBA that pays players 50-55% of gross revenue and then you will see all teams playing on a level playing field and will only have themselves to blame if they don't succeed.

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09-22-2004, 09:06 AM
  #9
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Bettman's CBC remarks

WHAT'S NEEDED TO MAKE A DEAL

"We need to have a system where we're not losing hundreds of millions of dollars, where all our teams can be competitive and where we have affordable ticket prices. I'm not going to be the least bit apologetic for offering the players a partnership where they get more than 50 per cent of our revenues and would have, under our current economics, an average salary of $1.3 million US. That's more than fair and would enable our game to get healthy."

WHY PLAYER SALARIES SKYROCKETED

"Under the term of this collective bargaining agreement, teams with top-third payrolls were three times more likely to make the playoffs teams in the bottom third. So what you spend has had a competitive impact on the quality of our game."

WHY NHLPA REFUTES NHL'S LOSSES

"The union knows the numbers are accurate. This is a red herring. And they do this because if they acknowledge we were losing as much money as we are, then they couldn't explain why they won't do anything about it."

AVOIDING THIRD-PARTY MEDIATION

"Ultimately, we and the players' union are going to solve this. We are the best equipped. We are the ones that understand the economics and the operation of our business better than anyone else. And ultimately, we are the ones who are going to have to live with this agreement."

CONSIDERING CONTRACTION

"There's no reason to do that. All of our franchises can be healthy and competitive. We can help make the game better, but we can't do it when we're hemmoraghing. And that's what we've been doing the last five years."

POSSIBILITY OF REPLACEMENT PLAYERS

"Legally, that's always an option. (But) it's something we haven't given any consideration to at all."

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09-22-2004, 09:49 AM
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Yeah!!

First off.. it was funny when that guy came on from.. :S Montreal was it? anyways...

Ryan Cartwright of Montreal had a zinger of a pre-taped question, telling Bettman he'd done more harm than good and he should step down.

"Thank you for that ringing endorsement," Bettman shot back. "I'm not planning on going anywhere.



He basically told him to hang up his skates... thats was funny...

On to some more serious talks... They claim they are losing hundres of millions of dollars yet they havn't done, or arn't doing, aything to stop it as of right now.

A). What the hell are owners doing still signing players?????? If there losing so much money why don't they wait until the new CBA for lower contracts? There contradicting thereselves here by saying there losing money and they have no money, and then they sign players for ; what they say ; "OUTRAGOUS AMMOUNTS OF MONEY"!

B). Easy Fix. Teams that are not getting fan base and are losing money, instead of making them increase there debit, Axe them, or move them to another city.

Put in your input


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09-22-2004, 11:10 AM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr gib
for minute there it was painful - he got some roasting - he was brilliant in his spin - although its all about the horrible 6 - 10 teams

Ofcourse Bettman has some good spin, he's a lawyer and a smart man in a lot of aspects. Then again he isn't the only one putting out spin, so are the NHLPA.

I dont know which debate has more spin, the NHL and NHLPA or the Presidential Election. Right now it's to close to tell.

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09-22-2004, 11:20 AM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joepeps
On to some more serious talks... They claim they are losing hundres of millions of dollars yet they havn't done, or arn't doing, aything to stop it as of right now.

A). What the hell are owners doing still signing players?????? If there losing so much money why don't they wait until the new CBA for lower contracts? There contradicting thereselves here by saying there losing money and they have no money, and then they sign players for ; what they say ; "OUTRAGOUS AMMOUNTS OF MONEY"!
Any specific examples of outrageous contracts handed out this summer?

I know for instance that the Oilers signed Jason Smith to a $10.4 million contract, however the Oilers have been operating under a $31 million salary cap for years. The $10.4 million over 4 years is actually a very modest raise for Smith.

I believe that most of the players who have been signed this summer fit a similar pattern-- valuable contributors but not superstars, around 30 years old, signing contracts that give them some security in upcoming years but forgoing the chance to hit UFA home runs the way we've seen in the previous several years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joepeps
B). Easy Fix. Teams that are not getting fan base and are losing money, instead of making them increase there debit, Axe them, or move them to another city.

Put in your input

Where are you going to move these teams?

Or, where are you going to come up with the $75 million per team that you'd have to give the owner if you fold his team?

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09-22-2004, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilers_guy_eddie
Or, where are you going to come up with the $75 million per team that you'd have to give the owner if you fold his team?

Well the owners do have 300 million war chest. Now i'm not saying i want to see teams fold. But they have the money if needed.

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09-22-2004, 12:40 PM
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilers_guy_eddie
Any specific examples of outrageous contracts handed out this summer?

I know for instance that the Oilers signed Jason Smith to a $10.4 million contract, however the Oilers have been operating under a $31 million salary cap for years. The $10.4 million over 4 years is actually a very modest raise for Smith.
I agree that this contract was pretty much bang on market value for a defenseman of Jason Smth's quality, but isn't that the point? The owners want to reduce player salaries by 30%. If they succeed, Smith is overpaid by 30% for the next four years.

The other deal that surprised me in this way was Conroy's for the same reason. It was not a bad deal under the old salary structure, but it is way too high if the owners win the labour dispute.

Quote:
Or, where are you going to come up with the $75 million per team that you'd have to give the owner if you fold his team?
Why would anyone have to do that? If the Oilers don't want to play in the NHL, they fold and the owner loses his investment. Let the market contract the appropriate teams. Bettman actually said that if they do not get what they want, teams will fold.

Fine. Let them fold.

Tom


Last edited by Tom_Benjamin: 09-22-2004 at 04:06 PM.
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09-22-2004, 12:50 PM
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
I agree that this contract was pretty much bang on market value for a defenseman of Jason Smth's quality, but isn't that the point? The owners want to reduce player salaries by 30%. If they succeed, Smith is overpaid by 30% for the next four years.

The other deal that surprised me in this way was Conroy's for the same reason. It was not a bad deal under the old salary structure, but it is way too high if the owners win the labour dispute.
Are you saying the owners' position is that each individual player is overpaid by 30%?

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09-22-2004, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilers_guy_eddie
Are you saying the owners' position is that each individual player is overpaid by 30%?
Not at all. It is there position that the players collectively are overpaid by 30%. Change the system to an NBA model and the best players will probably get more. I don't think Smith would though. He's exactly the kind of guy who would take the big pay cut.

The guys at the bottom don't make enough to save the owners real money with cuts. The top guys will get more with earlier free agency. The guys in the middle to upper middle class will get tagged in my view.

Tom

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09-22-2004, 04:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joepeps
They claim they are losing hundres of millions of dollars yet they havn't done, or arn't doing, aything to stop it as of right now.

A). What the hell are owners doing still signing players?????? If there losing so much money why don't they wait until the new CBA for lower contracts? There contradicting thereselves here by saying there losing money and they have no money, and then they sign players for ; what they say ; "OUTRAGOUS AMMOUNTS OF MONEY"!
I'll use the signing of Phaneuf by the flames as an example. So you ask why the Flames through milliions of dollars at Phaneuf when they had the ability to sign him for less with a new CBA?? Its simple. Just like how Bettman responded to a similar question last night, the GM is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Could you imagine the outrage that would have occurred if Phaneuf was not signed and it turned out that he was re-entering the next draft?!?! As a GM, you would not be excused for such a move.

This applies to other moves but other teams. You say, don't throw outrageous money.. but the way the system is setup, if you don't, someone will.. and when that happens, the city and the media will be all over you and it could potentially cost your job

So then you say, why not the owners decide to simply stop by themselves?? ie a secret cap that they tie their hands with?.. simple.. thats collusion... the union will sue because it wasn't negotiated with the players

so its stupid for goodenow to chastise owners for not setting budgets for teams... cuz if all 30 teams set identical budgets of about $35-40 million, his union would claim collusion and would try to stop the league from doing that

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09-23-2004, 12:47 PM
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
Not at all. It is there position that the players collectively are overpaid by 30%. Change the system to an NBA model and the best players will probably get more.
I don't follow the NBA remotely. I do know that it's a sport played by tall men, and involves throwing some kind of ... round thing at a hoop on a pole, but that's about it. However, I find the notion that the salaries of the top players will actually increase under a cost-controlled system is hard to buy into.

I suggest that basketball and hockey are very different sports, and the rationale for paying a star basketball player doesn't necessarily apply to hockey. How many players on a basketball roster? 12, right? How many players dress for a game? 8, right? In hockey it's 23 and 20, respectively. In basketball, top players play over 3/4 of each game. In the NHL, very few forwards play more than 40% of a game, and only a few defensemen play more than 50%. The one case where the NHL team could get the same mileage out of a star player as an NBA team gets out of a star player is in the case of a goalie who'll start 60+ games.

I don't know how it has worked in the NBA, but in the NHL we've seen examples where teams devoting a significant portion of their payroll to 1 or 2 stars at the expense of depth has been a mistake. I can only assume that in a cost-controlled league, that effect would be magnified.

Leaving that aside, how would teams actually free up all of this money? I don't know how they do it in the NBA, but simple math says the logistics have to be simpler. Just to pick an NBA roster at random, the Timberwolves have a $64 million payroll, with Garnett making $16 million, Sprewell making $14 million, Sczerbiak making $9 million, and 4 other players making between 4 and 6 million.

If, say, the Timberwolves wanted to make a $15 million offer to Player X, how do they free up the money? Well, they could...
-trade Garnett
-not make an offer to Sprewell after his contract expires
-trade Sczerbiak and one of the guys making 4-6 million
-not make an offer to 2 of the guys making 4-6 million after the year, and trade another.

Now, say the Oilers (or some other team operating within a $31 million salary cap) wanted to acquire Jaromir Jagr. How do they free up $10 million?
-trade 2 guys making $3 million, and 8 guys making $500k
-trade 3 guys making $2 million, and 8 guys making $500k
-trade 6 guys making $1 million, and 8 guys making $500k
-...etc. And given the premise that those middle-range players will be making less and the theory that the top-level guys will be making more, the logistics would become even more unworkable.

I mean, I don't know how things work in the NBA, although I've heard that there are loopholes in the salary cap that might facilitate the movement of star players. But even if there weren't, the roster sizes play a role.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
I don't think Smith would though. He's exactly the kind of guy who would take the big pay cut.

The guys at the bottom don't make enough to save the owners real money with cuts. The top guys will get more with earlier free agency. The guys in the middle to upper middle class will get tagged in my view.

Tom
In my view, the first guys who will feel the effects are rookies, because even the NHLPA is willing to lower the rookie cap. They'll make less, and they'll make less on their following contracts as well.

The guys who will really feel the effect, in my view, are (as I guess you put it) the "upper middle class". I think the most punishing effect will be on the guy who reaches his first UFA contract, looks around, and wonders why nobody is offering him $4 million a season. Todd Marchant wouldn't get a 6 year, $19 million offer. Darius Kasparaitis won't get $4 million a season or whatever it is he got when he hit the open market. I think signing this contract indicates that Jason Smith realizes that those contracts are just not going to happen under the next CBA. I'd argue that he's already accepted his 30% pay cut, because I think that under the old CBA he'd have just filed for arbitration to make it to age 31, hit the open market, and some GM from out east would have offered him $3.5 million or more.

I'm sure the Oilers put some thought into what Smith might be able to earn under a new CBA, and decided they were comfortable making the offer. They were satisfied with paying him $2.3 million of a $31 million payroll last season, and paying him $2.6 million of a $31 million payroll going forward shouldn't be an issue.

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09-23-2004, 12:54 PM
  #19
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Last I read, none of the systems put in place in other sports resulted in lower salaries for the top players. The big guns still get the big paychecks, and those numbers keep going up.

I don't think the league is opposed to individual players getting big paychecks. I think the NHL is concerned that, on average, several teams consistently lose money due to the overall salary levels, and the NHL is also concerned about having a more even playing field between high-revenue and low-revenue teams.

I don't think those issues have to be tied together in one solution, and I'm not convinced that a hard cap is required to fix either of those problems. I'm also fairly certain that the situation will get worse without signficant change.

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