Not sure if I should post this here or in the prospects thread, so feel free to move this.
So if the lockout continues we'll all be looking to fill our hockey fix with something, right?
You can obviously head up north to catch a Sundogs game, or follow the Pirates where a lot of soon to be Coyotes will be on display. If you want something different though, you can keep track of some prospects further out in their development in the CHL. Since the CHL seasons are starting over the next few days, here are some of the kids in the system and where they'll be if you want a one stop list of players and teams:
WHL Edmonton Oil Kings
Henrik Samuelsson, RW (2012 1st Rd)
Medicine Hat Tigers
Kale Kessy, LW (2011 4th Rd)
Marek Langhamer, G (2012 7th Rd)
QMJHL Moncton Wildcats
James Melindy, D (2012 3rd Rd)
Cape Breton Screaming Eagles
Justin Hache, D (2012 7th Rd)
OHL Oshawa Generals
Lucas Lessio, LW (2012 2nd Rd)
Connor Murphy, D (2012 1st Rd)
Andrew Fritsch, RW (2011 6th Rd)
If I missed anyone, feel free to mention them and I'll add them. This is just CHL players, so no need to mention Ruutu, Tikkinen, Larraza, Holland, Fejes, etc.
ISN: Jim, the common perception is that the NHL lockout is the fault of Gary Bettman. Can you shed some light on that?
"I think it should be clear up front that Gary Bettman works for the owners, not the players, and he is now entering his 20th year doing this. The owners direct him on what to do. I was at the meetings last week and I'm here to tell you when there was a call to vote for the lockout, it was 30 to NONE in favour by the owners. So I ask you Scott, why is that Gary Bettman's fault and not the owners?"
"Another reason people come down hard on him is that a lot of folks truly believe he is the driving force behind all the decisions on how owners proceed. Some of this is true, but I can tell you he is directed by 30 separate business owners who all give him advice and he has to take all of this and come back to all of them with what makes the most sense as a group. Not an easy thing to do, but he does it and does it well."
ISN: OK moving forward, what's with all the money flying around before the lockout, when all the fans see is huge contracts to for example Sutter, Weber, Myers, Lucic? Let's take for example the offer sheet Philly proposed to Weber in the face of Nashville owner. What message are they trying to send ?
"Listen Scott, there is a hard cap in place as we all know. You can't go over that period. If Weber gets this much, then another player gets less. Now does that mean it's right for another team to do that? My answer is this: They (Philadelphia) operated within the CBA and it's totally legit to do. Having said that, I will tell you there is an unwritten rule that you don't do that, but they did, and just like everything else in life, some people are great to deal with, some aren't. If you are asking me if it's right, I would say there is, again, an unwritten rule...we all know it in the NHL, but not everyone follows it."
"Each owner / team has a decision as to how they want to pay their players, as long as they are under the cap. Now Donald Fehr would have you believe by getting rid of the cap, the owners would make more money and that the sky is the limit, but trust me Scott, the owners would lose their *****. We've tried that. It doesn't work. There is just too much cost involved in running and owning a team."
"It's very complicated and way too much for the average Joe to understand, but having said that, I will tell you this: The owners can basically be viewed as the Ranch, and the players, and me included, are the cattle. The owners own the Ranch and allow the players to eat there. That's the way its always been and that the way it will be forever. And the owners simply aren't going to let a union push them around. It's not going to happen."
ISN: So what do you think is the solution?
"I'll make a suggestion Scott. Let the players take 43% and let the owners take 57%. Just reverse it from where it is now and let the owners run the rest of their business and manage their expenses. Now keep in mind this time around it's not just revenue sharing that is the issue. There are many, many more components at play here, from entry level contracts, years of service, insurance, etc. I mean a whole bucket load of disputes that are just as important for the owners to need to get a fair deal done."
"Yes, they are billionaires. Good on them, they deserve it, but they also make their employees millionaires. Not a bad trade off for a guy like Lucic getting what, 6 million dollars a year? I mean good on him too, but he should be grateful. Understand though that these players want for nothing...its first class this, first class that, meal allowances, travel money on the road, the whole shebang. Offer sheets don't hurt the players one bit."
But of course they will, if people have access to them.
The nearest AHL team to Phoenix is in Prescott. A nice little drive, a very nice venue for the game, and a break from the 100+ temperatures. I'm sure that the Sundogs will have lots of people attending.
If you really want to boycott all NHL and affiliates, you could attend a beer league game or two. The hockey may not be great, but it's just as fun. And you'd probably make some beer-leaguer's day if you went up and asked for an autograph or something.
Of course, the game times can be a bit difficult. Our game on Monday was 10:40pm-11:55.
Prescott is a CHL franchise, not AHL. Closest AHL team would be San Antonio.
People are missing the point if they think the lockout is because owners are handing out fat contracts and can't control themselves. There is a minimum cap floor teams are required to spend to, possibly the best example I can think of being Florida last year: they had to spend a lot of money to get to floor and probably not all spent that efficiently.
Most owners are going to do what they can within the CBA rules to ice a competitive team. The current cap and spending structure means unless you're a top tier revenue team you'll have to run your franchise at an operating loss to do so. The owners goals for a new CBA are somewhat akin to negotiating an armistace so more teams can be both competitive and profitable at the same time.
Even if the owners won every single goal in a new CBA there will still be owners signing players to huge contracts next summer.
Depending on how long the lockout lasts, I'm very interested in watching some Portland Pirates games once the season starts. Are the games available for free streaming somewhere, or would I have to pay to watch the games on TV?
The parents of former NHL player Derek Boogaard -- who died last year -- have filed a $9.8 million lawsuit against the NHL Player's Association, claiming the org. FAILED to take the proper steps to help them collect the balance on Derek's NHL contract after he passed away.
28-year-old Derek died on May 13, 2011 from a fatal mixture of drugs and alcohol.
I don't know. If you heard the number of times my married teammates talk about "completing the hat trick"....
I told him what a beer league hat trick was and he looked at me in horror. I am pretty sure that he's now convinced that we all sit around before and after games talking about it. And I'm the only female on the team, so the idea bugs him.
I was listening to either Toronto or Montreal sports talk on I<3Radio at work last week.
They had James Duthie on and he shared a quick little nothing story that doesn't seem like much on it's face, but in my eyes was incredibly damning.
Basically, he said he was at this huge sports luncheon a couple of years back and he just happened to be sitting next to Donald Fehr. I guess Duthie being the hockey guy he is decided to ask then baseball man Fehr if there was any truth to whispers that he might be up to for the NHLPA job. Apparently Fehr laughed in his face and asked why in the Hell would anybody retire from the MLBPA gig just to head up a an outfit like the NHLPA. The mere notion was comically absurd.
So, why would a man of his age and accomplishment do a 180 turn and become head of the NHLPA? He doesn't care about hockey or hockey players in my opinion. I think this is a pride thing. He just wants to go out with a bang. He has a chance to go up against the only hard cap in sports. His nemesis. I think he wants only to push this thing so far to the brink that he can soften that cap and ride off into the sunset. The problem? That cap will never soften. Never. Will he take the whole thing over the edge of the cliff just because he can? Does he care if he destroys a league with a hard cap? Would he take pride in doing so?
I am paranoid, i know. But that little anecdote really sat poorly in my stomach. I haven't been able to shake the feeling of doom since i heard it.