Its a one issue fight. Salary cap or no salary cap. I see too many indications that this is a fight to the death. I think there are enough owners willing to cease operations rather than do it without a salary cap that they will fold the league unless they get what they say they need.
The players have always won at the bargaining table. They are intent on winning this time. The only way that a salary cap makes it into the next cba is if the owners can break the union.
Worst of all is the notion that either side is negotiable. I've heard the players say several times recently that they are willing to negotiate fairly for a good deal for both sides, but the owners won't talk. Thats funny because often the next sentence from the players is that they will not talk about any proposal that contains a salary cap. its some of the worst spin control ive ever heard.
I think the NHL is dead as of today. Hockey in America is in real trouble as it is. Enough of the NHL's American market will simply walk away if the sport is not there.
In most of its markets hockey is a 2nd choice sport. Thats not to say that there is not room for it, its just that in many markets the lead sports team is some other sport. The NHL can't afford this. The players recognize that, but they don't care.
Many of the European players are more than willing to go back to Europe and play.
Many of the veterans don't need to play anymore. There are not enough guys that need to play and have to play in NA to force the players to make a deal short of their demands.
So, I think the NHL is dead. at some point in the next year, they will fold their tent and reorganize into a new company. the new league will be a canadian centric not american centric league. it will be built for canadian tv, not american tv. there will be 12 to 15 teams with at least the current 6 canadian teams. There will be no national tv in the United States.
I hate it, but I think that is where it is. What do you think will happen?
at this point I would not hold my hopes out that the owners will cave. the only way that the owners cave in is if the nhlpa caves in completely on everything else on the table. reduced free agency, no arbitration, no minimum offers, easy contract buy outs and so forth. in my view that is where it has to be. the players can keep arbitration, minimum offers and the current 2/3 of the value of the contract boy out aswell as get a reduction in UFA qualifying age. But they have to give in on the salary cap.
the owners are never going to give that cap up unless the players give everything else back. I just don't see that happening.
In my opinion, the lockout will only possibly be resolved at a point when there is an clear incentive (particularly for the owners) to play hockey, which would be either the Dec/Jan time frame because then the owners can for half a year of players' salaries get the revenue from the more lucrative second half of the season and the playoff revenue, when they don't have to pay the players any more money. If it is not resolved then, it is quite possible that it won't be resolved until Fall 2005 or January 2006.
The best scenario for the Caps is that the negotiations be resolved in December or January because then the Caps have to play miserably for only half a season to be the odds-on favorite in the lottery. In fact, I think if there was only a half season, Leonsis and McPhee would realize the opportunity at getting Crosby, sign only a couple of average free agents, dawdle at the negotiations for buying out Ovechkin's Russian team so he doesn't come over until the 2005-06 season, bring up a handful of the prospects in Portland and secretly go for last place. Yes, that sounds terrible and would not be good for attendance and reduce local fan interest in the Caps in 2005; however, it is likely that Leonsis could break even profit-wise with such a low payroll, and after the Caps got Crosby, they could bring over Ovechkin, sign a couple of dependable veteran defenseman, and possibly become the most improved, and probably one of the most entertaining teams, in the league.
The worst scenario for the Caps is for the season to be cancelled and the 2005 draft to be cancelled because if the 2005 draft is combined with the 2006 draft, I think the Caps will have essentially been deprived of one top-five or, at worst, one top-eight choice (i.e., if there is a season this year and next, good chance the Caps will have a top-five choice this year and a top-five or top-eight choice next year, but if no season this year, Caps will miss out on a top-five choice this year and only get one top-five choice next season). With many of their prospects playing this whole year in the AHL or overseas, no 2004-05 season would also worsen their chances at landing Crosby because the same Caps team next year is likely to be at least a little better than the same Caps team this year.
As for how the lockout is resolved, my only preference is that they do not lower the age of UFA; in fact, I think they ought to move it up to 33. When they set it at 31 a decade ago, players - particularly the above average players and superstars - were on average not playing effectively as long as they are now. I vaguely recall that a decade ago the talk was that UFA at 31 was going to be a boon to goalies primarily because goalies were in their prime in 31 but most players were in the twilight of their careers at 31 (with a few exceptions). I don't know if it is because most of the players are better conditioned now or with more teams there has been dilution in the talent level but back then it seemed like most of the better players retired by 35 because of a clear drop in performance, and now many players continue playing well until 37 to 39. Compare Rod Langway to Scott Stevens. There was a definite drop in Rod's performance in the early 30s and he retired before 35 - his performance dropoff in the low to mid 30s was like many top players of his era; Stevens is what now, 40, and if not for a concussion would still be performing at a high level - he is like a lot of the top players of his era. Basically, players today at age 33 are comparable to players of a decade ago at 31, and so the UFA should be raised to 33. I realize the players would never agree to that, although I think raising the UFA to 33, and eliminating the right of players to opt for arbitration could do nearly as much good at moderating annual average salary increases as a salary cap or revenue tax - and it would probably be a combo the players might be more willing to accept.
In contrast, I think lowering the UFA to 29 or 28 will only serve to escalate salaries further and create further imbalances between the have's and the have nots -- whether or not there is a some other artificial restraint on salaries -- because now the UFA will be in the prime of their primes, the well-to-do teams will auction for them as usual, the have nots will lose their best players even earlier in their careers, the players in arbitration will continue to use the UFA salaries as comparisons, and so and so on.
drake posts..."They made some very costly mistakes in terms of salaries, economic mismanagement and bad arena deals, but those decisions have been made and significant retrenchment on salaries is just not something that is going to happen"
thats like saying you agreed to spend $10k for lower bowl season tickets and because you bought them once you must continue to buy them as the prices rise.
your only choices are to buy those lower bowl seats that you have found you can't afford or you must get out of the game and give up your tickets entirely.
the rise in average salaries from $750k to $1.8m over the last ten years is the owners fault. They agreed to the arbitration. They agreed to automatic 10% increase in salary to players below the league average. They agree to a cba with 2/3 of full contract value for a contract buyout. And some of the owners are willing to load their rosters with expensive veteran players. they agreed to that cba and they agreed to extend it to avert a strike the last time. that is the owners fault.
I think its pretty obvious that the sports revenue doesn't support those payrolls.
You are saying that the owners can't get "significant retrenchment on salaries".
They need to close up shop then. Either they can pay their bills or they can't.
With expenses as they are, they can't.
at this point I would not hold my hopes out that the owners will cave. the only way that the owners cave in is if the nhlpa caves in completely on everything else on the table.
What is really funny about most peoples comments is that they think that either side must "cave in" order for their to be a "winner" . . . like this is a game. The sad thing for the fans is that it sure looks as if both are prepared for a long fight. However, since the NHL GM and Owners won't have much to do for the next three -- four or five months they have the time to get the "rules committee" out of mothballs and start thinking out of the NHL box. be a little bit innovative finding ways to cost costs and increase revenues without taking the easy, quick and dirty approach of having the players absorbing it, all at once.
What have these Owners really done about marketing their business? I would say nothing. The quick buck was always there for them via expansion. Now, they have to go to work and actually run their business and it sounds like they don't like the taste of the hard work.
Seriously, does anyone out there know of even one thing the've done about "really" improving the game except for retracting knee-jerk decisions that they originally made? I say nothing . . . nothing at all. The game gets more boring every year and I'm basing that only on TV rating and attendance. Ticket price has something to do with it but not as much as the Owners would like to present. They are a (I'm generalizing) bunch of lazy FAT CATS -- including PHat Ted Log-on who I thought at one time was going to force these pylons to change the way they did business. Instead, he joined them. Leonsis is one of the pylons.
What there is now are FAT CAT players and FAT CAT lazy Owners. Cave-in??? That's where the present NHL operating plans are written, in a friggin cave . . . on a wall!
This is 2004 and the run the business like it was the 1930's. Now their MAIN GOAL is to bust the union. Not much of anything more than that. The rest of the stuff is all fluff. I'm not taking the player's side either, but they have to know they are dealing with the "Night of the living (brain) dead" when it comes to this collection of business retards.
No predictions, but I'm not convinced it will be a long delay. There's too much to lose on both sides.
This isn't a lockout. A lockout is where a party breaks an agreement and keeps the opposing away. This is a case where there is simply no agreement at all. Yes, the players would like to continue under the old model. But the old model is a thing of the past.
I hope it lasts for years. ;P jk...what would I do without West Coast games late at night??? I could be happy in the short term watching the P's but the NHL has to come back this season or it will be harmed beyond easy repair.
I would think that half way through the season some type of agreement is hammered out.
BTW that emu line was the best in many moons! Well done!
I can understand with many of the points brought by both sides but I do lean towards the owners. Unfortunately from all indications both sides are so entrenched its hard to imagine substantive talks anytime soon. One thing I think that both sides need to worry about is the future of the game. And not just about what a long lockout will do. There needs to be an agreement that not only addresses issues on both sides but one that makes sense for the future.
There is absolutely no trust right now at least on the players side on the owners reported financials. Until that is sorted out its hard to imagine anything happening unless one side caves completely. Most of the other major sports have salary caps of differing flavors. There is a reason for that. I have yet to hear any convincing argument on why the NHL doesn't need one...if anything they need to have on the most since they are on the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to professional sports. The NHL needs parity like the NFL. Where each year every team has a shot. I can understand fans of teams that do have money not liking this as did I back in the old days with the Redskins and how much more they spent than most of the other teams. More teams being competitive only helps the popularity of the sport. And what happens when it becomes more popular? More revenue....and there just needs to be mechanisms in the CBA that are fair to both sides as more money comes in.
And all the stupid tinkering with the game...is just retarded...just call whats in the rule book. Stick to your guns and call the f'ing obstruction penalties.