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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.

Lockout IV: One likes to believe in the freedom of hockey (Moderated: see post #2)

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Old
12-12-2012, 11:39 PM
  #576
Morgoth Bauglir
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Originally Posted by stuffradio View Post
Content and reality are two different things. Once they were being asked to start negotiating a new deal, they should have jumped on it because a new deal is what is going to happen. I remember last December or January or so hearing talks about a new CBA. I thought to myself, "They'll negotiate a new one with plenty of time, thus avoiding a lockout.". Guess what happened? They did zilch and went crying to the fans saying they just want to play with the current CBA while they negotiate! We all know that would be a distraction, because they chose to ignore it completely during the last season. This is the players fault because they did not negotiate in good faith like they should have. The initiation of the lockout is the owners fault. Stall tactics and not giving concessions is the players fault.
Any chance that a sports league would play without a CBA while negotiations were ongoing died in 1994 when the baseball players led by Don Fehr went on strike right before the playoffs. No sports league is EVER going to allow Fehr or anybody else a chance to pull that screw-job again.

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12-12-2012, 11:42 PM
  #577
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Uhhh except in this case it would be the owners pulling the plug, not the players.

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Old
12-12-2012, 11:55 PM
  #578
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OK, very weird/creepy fact. If there wasn't a lockout, there wouldn't be a 12/12/12 concert @ MSG tonight. (Rangers were supposed to host Canadiens.)


Edit: Barclay and Prudential both booked tonight with concerts/events.


Last edited by LadyStanley: 12-13-2012 at 12:16 AM.
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12-13-2012, 12:05 AM
  #579
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Originally Posted by LadyStanley View Post
OK, very weird/creepy fact. If there wasn't a lockout, there wouldn't be a 12/12/12 concert @ MSG tonight. (Rangers were supposed to host Canadiens.)
It's like it was meant to be.

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12-13-2012, 12:14 AM
  #580
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The players didn't negotiate during the season because they were content with the current CBA.
That could be part of it, but the *real* reason, IMO, is that Mr. Fehr had advised them that they would get a better deal with more pressure being applied due to no CBA. Very deliberate move by Fehr, who probably had every intention of forcing a lockout (after trying to pull the wool over the owners' eyes with the "we'll play while we're negotiating" line).

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That was naive of them, but it was the last CBA that was supposed to fix all the problems since the owners got everything they wanted and were able to shove it down the players' throats.
I thought it had been pointed out many times that this is simply inaccurate. The owners got the cap, which they certainly wanted, but my understanding is they gave up a *lot* to get it. As I recall, UFA status started at least a year younger, they wiped a year off existing contracts allowing many players to hit UFA sooner, etc.

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Fehr forces lockouts? Don't know how you came up with that conclusion since Fehr has never been part of a lockout. Meanwhile, this is Bettman's third. Just by that you threw out the viability of your argument.
Fehr "forces" lockouts because he has shown his hand with calling strikes right before the playoffs. This is now a tactic that has been used by PAs and can be used again. I doubt you'll see *any* league continue to play again under an expired CBA because they have to protect themselves from strikes.

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12-13-2012, 12:29 AM
  #581
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Columnist Purdy: stop bickering and get back on the ice.

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12-13-2012, 12:38 AM
  #582
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Originally Posted by Boltsfan2029 View Post
That could be part of it, but the *real* reason, IMO, is that Mr. Fehr had advised them that they would get a better deal with more pressure being applied due to no CBA. Very deliberate move by Fehr, who probably had every intention of forcing a lockout (after trying to pull the wool over the owners' eyes with the "we'll play while we're negotiating" line).

I thought it had been pointed out many times that this is simply inaccurate. The owners got the cap, which they certainly wanted, but my understanding is they gave up a *lot* to get it. As I recall, UFA status started at least a year younger, they wiped a year off existing contracts allowing many players to hit UFA sooner, etc.
How does any of that actually effect the bottom line? Whether players are UFA at 25 or at 35, when the NHL tied payroll to revenue at a fixed amount and instituted the cap then it no longer mattered at what age players hit free agency.

Realistically there are were two basic issues going into the lockout:

1. Revenue growth being driven by only a couple of teams, the disparity driving the salary cap beyond what too many teams can afford.

2. The cap loophole discovered by crafty agent's and GM's.

And that's about it. From a business/financial perspective if you have linkage in a cap then it doesn't really matter if players hit UFA status immediately after their ELC's or if you abolish the UFA concept and players are permanently on RFA contracts.

The only ones who really benefit from this are the GM's, as it makes their jobs easier the longer they can control the fate of their players.

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12-13-2012, 12:51 AM
  #583
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Originally Posted by RandV View Post
How does any of that actually effect the bottom line? Whether players are UFA at 25 or at 35, when the NHL tied payroll to revenue at a fixed amount and instituted the cap then it no longer mattered at what age players hit free agency.

Realistically there are were two basic issues going into the lockout:

1. Revenue growth being driven by only a couple of teams, the disparity driving the salary cap beyond what too many teams can afford.

2. The cap loophole discovered by crafty agent's and GM's.

And that's about it. From a business/financial perspective if you have linkage in a cap then it doesn't really matter if players hit UFA status immediately after their ELC's or if you abolish the UFA concept and players are permanently on RFA contracts.

The only ones who really benefit from this are the GM's, as it makes their jobs easier the longer they can control the fate of their players.
My point wasn't about the results, it was about the claim that the owners got "everything they wanted" in the prior CBA negotiations and my understanding is that is incorrect.

I know that the owners didn't want to lower the UFA age in 2004 but conceded to the players' demands to do so as a way to help get them to agree to the cap. I can't remember, but have a feeling they probably didn't want to write off a year of the players' contracts, either. (That alone had a horrible impact on my team.) How it worked out monetarily I can't testify to, they're just examples of how the owners didn't get "everything" they wanted in the negotiations.

That said, the owners did propose changes to the UFA/RFA rules at the start of this negotiation, which the PA flatly refused. So, I'm confused. Is it because the change wouldn't make any difference to the owners, but would to the players? That's an honest question, BTW, I'm not being snarky. If the UFA/RFA ages don't matter, was it just a point the PA contested on principle?

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12-13-2012, 01:37 AM
  #584
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Originally Posted by RandV View Post
How does any of that actually effect the bottom line? Whether players are UFA at 25 or at 35, when the NHL tied payroll to revenue at a fixed amount and instituted the cap then it no longer mattered at what age players hit free agency.

Realistically there are were two basic issues going into the lockout:

1. Revenue growth being driven by only a couple of teams, the disparity driving the salary cap beyond what too many teams can afford.

2. The cap loophole discovered by crafty agent's and GM's.

And that's about it. From a business/financial perspective if you have linkage in a cap then it doesn't really matter if players hit UFA status immediately after their ELC's or if you abolish the UFA concept and players are permanently on RFA contracts.

The only ones who really benefit from this are the GM's, as it makes their jobs easier the longer they can control the fate of their players.
Lou, who has been absent in this negotiation, should get some credit for the loopholes.

In terms of 25 vs 35, it is the rich vs poor argument again. You win with guys in their prime and maintaining restricted status longer allows less than desirable destinations to field a competitive team. I am sure the wealthier wouldn't care if a player hit UFA at 23. But even they know that it won't fly with the majority of owners. The big market teams want names to fill seats. They don't need to be competitive to fill seats. They buy the names out of UFA but the thing is that they are buying past production rather than projected performance because the projections are against them. Prime is just about over at every position at age 31. At age 27, it is pretty much over for forwards, but dmen and goalies have a few years left.

The whole league has been growing revenue. The problem is that the bottom tier is generally not growing as fast as the top tier (there are exceptions).

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12-13-2012, 01:48 AM
  #585
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Originally Posted by Boltsfan2029 View Post
I thought it had been pointed out many times that this is simply inaccurate. The owners got the cap, which they certainly wanted, but my understanding is they gave up a *lot* to get it. As I recall, UFA status started at least a year younger, they wiped a year off existing contracts allowing many players to hit UFA sooner, etc.
I'm pretty sure that UFA went down 4 years. And that 54-57% wasn't something they wanted, but they figured they could live with it. I don't think any one thought that growth would happen as it did. That's the NHLs fault... but the CBA wasn't completely screwed. There's good things in there... it just needs to be tweaked. Contract length, a lower % and some more RS.

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12-13-2012, 01:49 AM
  #586
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Originally Posted by Boltsfan2029 View Post
That said, the owners did propose changes to the UFA/RFA rules at the start of this negotiation, which the PA flatly refused. So, I'm confused. Is it because the change wouldn't make any difference to the owners, but would to the players? That's an honest question, BTW, I'm not being snarky. If the UFA/RFA ages don't matter, was it just a point the PA contested on principle?
It shouldn't matter from the league's perspective as far as costs, as the players can only get 50% of HRR.

From the PA side, it matters for the individual player. They have a limited window and each wants the best opportunity possible to gain mobility (or simply the ability to choose where they go/stay).

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Old
12-13-2012, 05:48 AM
  #587
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Any chance that a sports league would play without a CBA while negotiations were ongoing died in 1994 when the baseball players led by Don Fehr went on strike right before the playoffs. No sports league is EVER going to allow Fehr or anybody else a chance to pull that screw-job again.
Actually, in the model the NHL adopted that is a non concern. The players would be absolute fools to go on strike right before the playoffs. As they would only be guaranteed 57% of revenue, and a large part of revenue is made during the playoffs get hurt far worse than the owners. Basically every dollar lost in the playoffs comes 57 cents out of the players pockets, and 43 cents out of the owners pockets, and the owners do not have to pay other expenses.

Players strike, their escrow accounts probably got from losing 10% of their salary to 30%. Bad move.


The reason for the lockout is that the players, knowing they are liekly to take a hit in compensation, would have no reason to bargain. If your boss comes to you and says "times are tough, we need to cut back your salary about 10%, but we will keep paying you your old salary until we come to an agreement", why would you ever come to an agreement? But if he came to you and said "times are tough, we need to cut back your salary about 10%, we have 2 weeks to get to a number or you go on temporary layoff until we decide", you will have your number in 2 weeks. Unless you are a player of course ....

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12-13-2012, 09:19 AM
  #588
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Originally Posted by ottawah View Post
Actually, in the model the NHL adopted that is a non concern. The players would be absolute fools to go on strike right before the playoffs. As they would only be guaranteed 57% of revenue, and a large part of revenue is made during the playoffs get hurt far worse than the owners. Basically every dollar lost in the playoffs comes 57 cents out of the players pockets, and 43 cents out of the owners pockets, and the owners do not have to pay other expenses.

Players strike, their escrow accounts probably got from losing 10% of their salary to 30%. Bad move.


The reason for the lockout is that the players, knowing they are liekly to take a hit in compensation, would have no reason to bargain. If your boss comes to you and says "times are tough, we need to cut back your salary about 10%, but we will keep paying you your old salary until we come to an agreement", why would you ever come to an agreement? But if he came to you and said "times are tough, we need to cut back your salary about 10%, we have 2 weeks to get to a number or you go on temporary layoff until we decide", you will have your number in 2 weeks. Unless you are a player of course ....
I agree. The strike rebuttal is one of theory. Is it impossible that the players would strike? No. Is it likely? Probably not.

The most obvious answer to the lockout is that if the owners didn't mind playing under the old CBA, they wouldn't have chosen to terminate it.

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12-13-2012, 09:36 AM
  #589
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It shouldn't matter from the league's perspective as far as costs, as the players can only get 50% of HRR.
You're looking at the overall split that the NHL pays to the players as a whole, not how a GM builds his individual team.

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12-13-2012, 09:39 AM
  #590
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Fehr forces lockouts? Don't know how you came up with that conclusion since Fehr has never been part of a lockout. Meanwhile, this is Bettman's third. Just by that you threw out the viability of your argument.
As has been pointed out Fehr has been involved in 6 (4 strikes and two lockouts) work stoppages including 5 in a row in MLB. He has been involved in 8 labour negotiations. His track record is no better than Bettman's. In my opinion, and it has been mentioned in this thread previously by others, the only reason Fehr hasn't been involved in more lockouts is his tactic of striking before the baseball playoffs blew up in all of the PA's faces and no major sports league in NA will ever, EVER, play without a CBA in place again; therefore all work stoppages, aside from illegal strike actions, will be lockouts in nature.

Here's a fun fact. Between them, Bettman and Fehr, have been involved in work stoppages resulting in 64% of all games cancelled in the 4 major sports in North America.

The bottom line is; this is the owner's league, they can pay what they want for labour down to minimum wage in each of their respective areas of operations. The NHL is far from a monopoly insofar as professional hockey is concerned as can be witnessed from the >200 NHL players playing in leagues around the world.

What this lockout is all about is that the owners want to pay less for labour and the players (understandably) don't want to take less pay. All we can say to those players is "you're free to play elsewhere if you don't like the conditions here," and let them go on their way.

Hockey and soccer are the exception amongst major NA sports in that they are played at an extremely high level in many affluent markets across the globe. There are more markets for hockey players to ply their trade and make a good to great income than any other NA sport except soccer. Baseball is played in many countries but most of those countries can't afford to pay players even a sizable fraction of a percentage of what the players are paid in MLB.

Like it or lump it the owners have the stick here and they are wielding it to great effect. The only question the owners have is how little can they get away with paying their labour without opening the market for the best players to go elsewhere and get paid more for their services.

Do I side with the owners, no. Do I understand what they are doing and why they are doing it, yes. Do I think that the NHLPA is being unreasonable, not really except to say that eventually the penalties of not playing will overcome the benefits of witholding services in search of a better deal. I think that for any player >30 years of age the point of dimiishing returns has been reached and all that the PA should do is try to limit the damage while getting back to work as quickly as possible because they are doing the players more harm than good.

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12-13-2012, 10:53 AM
  #591
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here is something to ponder. Most North American players here in Europe first part of most of their contracts end over the next few days and nearly all are heading back home for the christmas break and are not due back till the second week in jan 2013

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12-13-2012, 01:30 PM
  #592
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It shouldn't matter from the league's perspective as far as costs, as the players can only get 50% of HRR.

From the PA side, it matters for the individual player. They have a limited window and each wants the best opportunity possible to gain mobility (or simply the ability to choose where they go/stay).
It absolutely should matter from the League's perspective. Bettman has two constituencies to satisfy: the Big Market clubs making money and the Small Market clubs that aren't. The proposed contracting rights help the smaller market clubs hang onto their talent and bid for free agents. I'm no Bettman defender, but he's walking a fricken tightrope.

Fehr's walking a tightrope, too, as you note.

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12-13-2012, 01:44 PM
  #593
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If he wanted to, Gary Bettman could end the lockout by the time you finish reading this.
Not just because he is commissioner, but because he -- and the NHL -- have already won. Look at what is happening. The league is getting its 50/50 split. It is getting term limits on contracts. Both sides are haggling over length, but we know it is going to happen.
http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/opin...-on-paper.html

Quick Question for those following more closely than me:

The NHLPA has accepted contract term limits? When did this happen? What limits have the PA offered?

Thanks guys.

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12-13-2012, 01:53 PM
  #594
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Elliotte Friedman

http://www.cbc.ca/sports/hockey/opin...-on-paper.html

Quick Question for those following more closely than me:

The NHLPA has accepted contract term limits? When did this happen? What limits have the PA offered?

Thanks guys.
In their last counter-proposal they had 8 years maximum contract length.

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12-13-2012, 01:58 PM
  #595
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Originally Posted by LadyStanley View Post


Drew Litton editorial cartoon on lockout and looming cliff.
Please.

The cartoon should show the NHLPA pushing the NHL off the cliff.

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Old
12-13-2012, 02:26 PM
  #596
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In their last counter-proposal they had 8 years maximum contract length.
The league want 5 the PA offer 8 they should settle at 7 or 6 but then it would define who won and ego is a big issue in those negotiation. I say flip a freaking coin at this point!

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12-13-2012, 02:37 PM
  #597
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If the owners wanted they could get
1)50/50 split in HRR
2)increased revenue sharing
3)7 year max deals (with counter offer) and dumping salary in the AHL still counts as cap hit...which would eliminate all cap circumvention
4)only have to partially honor existing contracts (every other pro sports league honors contracts)

...but apparently this is not enough for the owners...and are willing to play hardball for another 3-4 weeks to milk everything they can out of the NHLPA.... yet its Donald Fehr that is portrayed as the hardliner.

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12-13-2012, 02:58 PM
  #598
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Originally Posted by objectiveposter View Post
If the owners wanted they could get
1)50/50 split in HRR
2)increased revenue sharing
3)7 year max deals (with counter offer) and dumping salary in the AHL still counts as cap hit...which would eliminate all cap circumvention
4)only have to partially honor existing contracts (every other pro sports league honors contracts)

...but apparently this is not enough for the owners...and are willing to play hardball for another 3-4 weeks to milk everything they can out of the NHLPA.... yet its Donald Fehr that is portrayed as the hardliner.
I think the NHL would take that deal in a heartbeat.

That isn't what the players are offering though.

Nice try blaming the owners though.

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12-13-2012, 03:01 PM
  #599
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4)only have to partially honor existing contracts (every other pro sports league honors contracts)
Care to elaborate this? How is NHL only partially honoring existing contracts under their last CBA offer?

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12-13-2012, 03:40 PM
  #600
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In their last counter-proposal they had 8 years maximum contract length.
The league's was 7yr for same team and 5yr for new team, correct?

And you are saying the PA offered 8yr? Is that for both same team and new team? 8 across the board? Or did same team have a ten yr limit, or smething?

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