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Denver Post writer interviews Bettman

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11-17-2004, 07:55 AM
  #1
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Denver Post writer interviews Bettman

ESPN NHL

TF: Why not accept a luxury tax, if it's so punitive as to act like a salary cap?

Bettman: No one knows how well a luxury tax will or won't work. It's experimental. It's unpredictable. We don't have the luxury of going any further with a system that doesn't work. Two, it doesn't necessarily eliminate the disparities that make teams more competitive, or give us the opportunity to have our product stronger across 30 markets. Three, it doesn't deal with the ripple effect. If one team pays a player a certain level, another team, even if his team doesn't want to be a luxury tax payer, is going to hear a player say, "I want to be the same." The comparability issue is not addressed. I don't believe luxury taxes work. That's why I hope when the union comes back with its proposal, it moves to a new venue in terms of its system and comes to one that will work, and work in the right way. See, nobody has ever said in a meaningful way what's wrong with a partnership, other than they ideologically don't like it. A partnership works for everybody and is fair for everybody.

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11-17-2004, 04:39 PM
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I am going to 'effin puke. Bettman is such a smarmy slime bucket. After reading that interview I feel a need for a clorox bath.......

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11-17-2004, 09:23 PM
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Snake oil salesman

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11-17-2004, 09:30 PM
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It just wasn't me then. Bettman comes off as such a bag of ****** in the interview. And I support management in the lockout.

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11-17-2004, 09:46 PM
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I think Goodenow is right when he says getting personal about Bettman does not bring a deal any closer, but I don't think some players can help themselves and even Goodenow is personalizing to an extent. Count the number of "Garys" when he is on the tube. When Tim Taylor was seen on the tube last night sneering about the "little man" at the top of the NHL you could hear the contempt. When Adam Foote calls him a basketball guy, he means it as an insult.

Every time he opens his mouth, the player position gets harder. The players will sink the league before they give in to Gary Bettman. The sooner the owners realize that and make him walk the plank, the better. No matter what shape the deal ends up taking, Gary Bettman has lost the players. They think he is a wimp. Casper Milquetoast, a corporate suit. Everything a hockey player is not.

The next big rumour discussed by the TSN crew involves a new offer from the players, but I don't think Goodenow can get away with offering more. He denied a new proposal was coming.

Anybody who was hoping player agents would influence the NHLPA toward the owner position can't be happy with what came out of the meeting today. I think Goodenow was very smart to lay out the entire correspondence from the NHL and let the agents review it. They came out way harder than they went in.

Tom

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11-17-2004, 10:15 PM
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And even said that Goodenow has a solution that can work. That it would be better for the owners to accept those numbers than waste a season.

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11-18-2004, 02:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
I think Goodenow is right when he says getting personal about Bettman does not bring a deal any closer, but I don't think some players can help themselves and even Goodenow is personalizing to an extent. Count the number of "Garys" when he is on the tube. When Tim Taylor was seen on the tube last night sneering about the "little man" at the top of the NHL you could hear the contempt. When Adam Foote calls him a basketball guy, he means it as an insult.

Every time he opens his mouth, the player position gets harder. The players will sink the league before they give in to Gary Bettman. The sooner the owners realize that and make him walk the plank, the better. No matter what shape the deal ends up taking, Gary Bettman has lost the players. They think he is a wimp. Casper Milquetoast, a corporate suit. Everything a hockey player is not.

The next big rumour discussed by the TSN crew involves a new offer from the players, but I don't think Goodenow can get away with offering more. He denied a new proposal was coming.

Anybody who was hoping player agents would influence the NHLPA toward the owner position can't be happy with what came out of the meeting today. I think Goodenow was very smart to lay out the entire correspondence from the NHL and let the agents review it. They came out way harder than they went in.

Tom

You've become so... passionate ... about Gary Bettman. For someone who supposedly doesn't care for the man you sure love talking about him. I think we all know what this means ... eh? eh?

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11-18-2004, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
They think he is a wimp. Casper Milquetoast, a corporate suit.



Tom
So Bettman should prove he is tough by caving to their selfish demands?

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11-18-2004, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by thinkwild
And even said that Goodenow has a solution that can work. That it would be better for the owners to accept those numbers than waste a season.
I laughed out loud when I heard the agent come out with that line.

1) The players offer was a complete and utter joke. The only reason the agents would support it is that it allows them to continue to line their pockets at an alarming rate.

2) Even if you accept the Forbes guesswork as accurate, the league is losing close to $100 M/ season. The players, not the owners, are the ones losing out on revenue. The owners are, as a group, $100M ahead by not continuing to play.

The owners are $100 M ahead and the player will lose over $1 B in salaries. Ya the financial pressure is REALLY on the owners, not the players, to get a deal done.

Too funny.

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11-18-2004, 08:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderstruck
I laughed out loud when I heard the agent come out with that line.

1) The players offer was a complete and utter joke. The only reason the agents would support it is that it allows them to continue to line their pockets at an alarming rate.

2) Even if you accept the Forbes guesswork as accurate, the league is losing close to $100 M/ season. The players, not the owners, are the ones losing out on revenue. The owners are, as a group, $100M ahead by not continuing to play.

The owners are $100 M ahead and the player will lose over $1 B in salaries. Ya the financial pressure is REALLY on the owners, not the players, to get a deal done.

Too funny.
You nailed it exactly. The players will lose $1.1B this year and they will lose $1.1B next year. With a cap, they still get ~ 900M.

Message to Bob Goodenow: You can't 'win' (whatever that means). Get back to the table and get a deal done. After hearing Daly on TSN's OTR, he'll look at a soft cap. There you go Bob, start the negotiations. The NBA and NFL have caps. How is the NHL so special that it can operate without one?

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11-18-2004, 08:13 AM
  #11
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Both sides need to give a little.

Bettman has yet to convince me a luxury tax would not work.

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11-18-2004, 11:04 AM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderstruck
Even if you accept the Forbes guesswork as accurate, the league is losing close to $100 M/ season.
This is the fundamental error in your position. I don't accept the Forbes report as accurate or the Levitt report as accurate but the actual numbers don't matter.

The league does not lose money. The league is made up of 30 individual businesses. Those individual businesses either lose money or make money. How much they are making or losing is impossible to figure out because losses that include depreciation and interest are paper losses designed to create a tax shelter and because owners are taking their profits in tax savings and franchise appreciation. Some of the losses are real but every one of the 30 businesses is different.

Some of those businesses may indeed be better off not playing, but tell the Ontario Teacher's Pension Plan they are better off if the Maple Leafs don't play. Tell that to Comcast. Tell that to John McCaw or George Gillet. On the ownership side, everybody is not in the same boat. Everybody does not have the same interests. The reason the owners need a gag order and the players do not is because the players are solid and the owners are not.

The players do not all have the same interests but the Trevor Lindens of the league will stay out because he's rich today and because veterans stayed out for his benefit in 1994. The players know what it means to be a team. The individuals will make sacrifices for the greater good. That's what hockey players do.

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers will not stay out forever to benefit the Carolina Hurricane or the Edmonton Oilers or the Buffalo Sabres. The individual teams will not make sacrifices for the common good. They would not do it in the early 90's to save the Jets of the Nordiques and they won't do it now to save the Oilers or Sabres.

Sooner or later, the Leafs et al will throw Bettman overboard.

Tom

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11-18-2004, 11:16 AM
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The Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers will not stay out forever to benefit the Carolina Hurricane or the Edmonton Oilers or the Buffalo Sabres. The individual teams will not make sacrifices for the common good. They would not do it in the early 90's to save the Jets of the Nordiques and they won't do it now to save the Oilers or Sabres.

Sooner or later, the Leafs et al will throw Bettman overboard.
Keep dreaming.

The Leafs and other big markets will reap a financial windfall if they get cost certainty. It is very much in their interest to do what is best for the small markets in this case.

As for the league operating as 30 different businesses, you are partially right.

Normally they operate in that manner, but during CBA negotiations they have the benefit of taking collective action for the betterment of ALL franchises without being worried about collusion charges. During this process, they function as one business and it is not in the least surprizing that they are taken this one opportunity where they can legally act as one.

The owners are united behind Bettman and the players are going to pay dearly for misjudging the situation.

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11-18-2004, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Thunderstruck
The Leafs and other big markets will reap a financial windfall if they get cost certainty. It is very much in their interest to do what is best for the small markets in this case.
This is true, but they can't have cost certainty unless the players agree and the players will not agree. If they can't have cost certainty, it is very much in their interest to get what they can get.

Tom

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11-18-2004, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
This is true, but they can't have cost certainty unless the players agree and the players will not agree. If they can't have cost certainty, it is very much in their interest to get what they can get.

Tom
You are presuming they need these players and this union. I fear that is an assumption that will be tested be found wanting. My belief (not my preference, mind you) is that the NHL is going to "Patco" the NHLPA (President Reagan essentially fired every Air Traffic Controller and hired replacements). I am sure that the NHL will find some legal justification, or even pretense, to throw out the union.

Once Gary pulls the trigger, Goodenow and the NHLPA can take it to court but the reality is that the union will be toast. The lower 50% of players will break ranks and sign on. and the AHLers and Europlayers will be happy to fill in the blanks.

Just an opinion.

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11-18-2004, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
This is true, but they can't have cost certainty unless the players agree and the players will not agree. If they can't have cost certainty, it is very much in their interest to get what they can get.

Tom
The next CBA will contain cost certainty. If these players don't agree to it, they will find others who do.

I think you are in for a rather large shock at how many NHLPA members will decide to cross the line and play for the highest paying league in the world.

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11-18-2004, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by mattbnh
I am sure that the NHL will find some legal justification, or even pretense, to throw out the union.
How do you expect they will get around the antitrust law? If there is no union, the law says the 30 NHL teams must compete in every respect, including compete for labour.

Tom

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11-18-2004, 01:37 PM
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How do you expect they will get around the antitrust law? If there is no union, the law says the 30 NHL teams must compete in every respect, including compete for labour.

Tom
And we get to find out exactly how much the players are really worth.

Bring it on.

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11-18-2004, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderstruck
The next CBA will contain cost certainty.
No, it won't.

Quote:
If these players don't agree to it, they will find others who do.
Who? Teams can't make money with replacement players. They have to cover the fixed costs, which according to Levitt are $750 million a year. Replacement players in these ice palaces? Corporations paying $100,000 for a luxury box to entertain clients watching Lonnie Bohonos, Corey Hirsch and Rob Ray?

If you charge $15 you might draw some fans, but it probably isn't worth opening GM Place for $15 a fan.

Quote:
I think you are in for a rather large shock at how many NHLPA members will decide to cross the line and play for the highest paying league in the world.
First, I was told that the players would negotiate a deal before the lockout started because they make so much money, it didn't make sense not to take the salary cap being offered. Then I was told the players had to miss a few paycheques before they would fold. They were like everybody else with big mortgage payments to make. Their wives would make them take the deal.

Then I was told the union was cracking because Mike Commodore and several other players offered their opinion. Then I was told the players would come to their senses at the player meeting. Then I was told player agents would be pushing for a settlement. The season couldn't be cancelled, no sir, because the players were pissing $1.2 billion down the drain.

Today, it is obvious the players will sit the season before they will give in to the little basketball man. If the season is cancelled because the owners have done nothing but table six concepts (each less than 100 words in length) and refused to negotiate anything else, the players will be very, very angry.

So now I'm expected to believe that 1) The owners get an impasse declaration past the NLRB - unlikely in my view - and be able to implement a CBA they like, and 2) I'll be shocked at the number of players who cross the picket line.

In which life are we talking?

Tom

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11-18-2004, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Thunderstruck
And we get to find out exactly how much the players are really worth.

Bring it on.
How many teams do you think survive?

Tom

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11-18-2004, 02:48 PM
  #21
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How many teams do you think survive?

Tom
All of them. Labour costs will be at a fraction of it's current inflated level.

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11-18-2004, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Thunderstruck
All of them. Labour costs will be at a fraction of it's current inflated level.
Then you don't understand the implications of a free market. There would be no entry draft, no standard player's contract and no reserve system at all. Every player in the league could sell himself to the highest bidder every time his contract came up for negotiation. No salary caps, no agreements between owners to restrict salaries in any way, shape or form.

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11-18-2004, 03:10 PM
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The players will cross, not because they like Bettman, not because they are happy with the deal, not because they aren't "very, very angry", but because of the very reason that they are failing to negotiate right now--greed.

Sure some will be too pissed off or have enough money put away to hold off for a season or two. A smaller group will be able to do so forever.

Many others will look at already having wasted one of the precious few years they have to make money playing hockey and the sheer stupidity of continuing to follow the individuals who gave the poor advice in the first place. Their anger will be directed in more than one direction then; just as Roenick's is right now.

When they've looked at the prospects of playing in Europe for a fraction of the money, just to spite Bettman and the owners, they'll decide to do what pro players always do--go for the money and get their share of the highest paying league in the world.

It's really quite simple.


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11-18-2004, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
Then you don't understand the implications of a free market. There would be no entry draft, no standard player's contract and no reserve system at all. Every player in the league could sell himself to the highest bidder every time his contract came up for negotiation. No salary caps, no agreements between owners to restrict salaries in any way, shape or form.

Tom

And clearly you don't understand that the swords cuts both ways.

A market flooded with UFA's would immediately deflate their value.

No standard player contract = end of guaranteed contracts and easy removal of non-performers.
No arbitration rights.
No automatic raises for those making less than the average.

The union can de-certify at any time. If they really are better off under a "market system" with each individual offering his services to the highest bidder at the end of each contract, why haven't they already done so?


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11-18-2004, 05:22 PM
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom_Benjamin
I don't think Goodenow can get away with offering more.
:lol More!? They've offered *nothing* so far. 5% may as well be called 5 cents.

Quote:
Originally Posted by triggrman
Bettman has yet to convince me a luxury tax would not work.
I don't know how to put it any more simply than this. Let's pretend you and I are the NHL. Two clubs, not 30.

Current CBA: You make $100. I lose $200. League loss: $100

Revenue sharing: We pool our money, $100 + -$200=-100. We each lose $50. League loss: $100

Luxury tax: You pay some of your money to me in tax. You make only $80. I lose $180. League loss: $100

Luxury taxes and revenue sharing are only effective once the entire NHL as a whole is profitable. And the only way to do that is to lower expenses. And the big expense is player salaries.

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