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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.

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Old
12-21-2012, 10:19 PM
  #51
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The owners cannot collude to control prices. They can only set a cap in a collectively bargained environment.



If the players actually do decertify and stick to it, teams will have to negotiate individually--- no draft, no free agency restriction or ELCs... all of that disappears.
Those are the answers that I was suspecting (though not sure), but damn it seems like a horrid, risky world for the League. Also for the players actually, but if they're making their bed, they can sleep in it too.

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12-21-2012, 10:30 PM
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It's a vote to allow the executive committee to walk away from the players and eliminate Fehr as the PA head....
Hardly a ringing endorsement of his leadership.
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Kinda. Would change "union" into a "trade association" (with Fehr still the head).
Precisely. They'd simply morph into a "trade association", Fehr appointed to head that up, then depending what transpires thereafter, anti-trust suits flying, the league getting absolutely hammered, they could then hold another vote & re-constitute themselves as a union, again with Fehr as Executive Director.... fact of the matter is, the guys got the overwhelming support of well in excess of the majority of players, and, their prepared to take this thing beyond the wire and through the wall. 2 years, 2 full seasons gone, whatever it takes. People expecting & or prognosticating that they'll cave, that Fehrs' going to be taken out by the NHL who think they can sow seeds of discontent precipitating another overthrow & coup are in for a rude awakening. Not happening.

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12-21-2012, 10:32 PM
  #53
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Exactly.

The DOI is not a negotiating ploy, it's an expression of disillusion, delusion, and debillitation.

With the collective bargaining side of things. Lockouts may just kill unions once and for all in pro sports.

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12-21-2012, 10:37 PM
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Those are the answers that I was suspecting (though not sure), but damn it seems like a horrid, risky world for the League. Also for the players actually, but if they're making their bed, they can sleep in it too.

You see, I'm not really convinced that it would be worse for players.

What exactly do unions provide to players any longer? I understand why they were needed back when Lindsay and Flood were fighting against the reserve clauses and other ploys by owners to restrict their options, forever. We're past those days now and the court system is much more transparent. With players earning millions, they actually can afford legal counsel to keep owners on the right side of the antitrust laws.

In return for giving up a lot of salary under a collective bargaining process overall, what do players get in return for being unionized? Many of the things that unions fight for are interpretations of player rights when a gray area of CBA is exposed. It seems you only need a union to police the CBA?

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12-21-2012, 10:38 PM
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Precisely. They'd simply morph into a "trade association", Fehr appointed to head that up, then depending what transpires thereafter, anti-trust suits flying, the league getting absolutely hammered, they could then hold another vote & re-constitute themselves as a union, again with Fehr as Executive Director.... fact of the matter is, the guys got the overwhelming support of well in excess of the majority of players, and, their prepared to take this thing beyond the wire and through the wall. 2 years, 2 full seasons gone, whatever it takes. People expecting & or prognosticating that they'll cave, that Fehrs' going to be taken out by the NHL who think they can sow seeds of discontent precipitating another overthrow & coup are in for a rude awakening. Not happening.
How could this be advantageous to the players in any way?

If two years are lost then many teams will also be lost , careers and jobs would go down the drain and the owners would find some way to reconstitute a probably smaller league under a new system that would not be so kind to players..

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12-21-2012, 10:40 PM
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You see, I'm not really convinced that it would be worse for players.

What exactly do unions provide to players any longer? I understand why they were needed back when Lindsay and Flood were fighting against the reserve clauses and other ploys by owners to restrict their options, forever. We're past those days now and the court system is much more transparent. With players earning millions, they actually can afford legal counsel to keep owners on the right side of the antitrust laws.

In return for giving up a lot of salary under a collective bargaining process overall, what do players get in return for being unionized? Many of the things that unions fight for are interpretations of player rights when a gray area of CBA is exposed. It seems you only need a union to police the CBA?
Then you agree with eric Macramalla:
Eric Macramalla‏@EricOnSportsLaw

NHLPA comprised of millionaires and almost milionairs;given traditional role of unions seems less union v. business but business v. business

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12-21-2012, 10:42 PM
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How could this be advantageous to the players in any way?

If two years are lost then many teams will also be lost , careers and jobs would go down the drain and the owners would find some way to reconstitute a probably smaller league under a new system that would not be so kind to players..

Why would the NHL teams commit suicide for most of them when a few may disappear regardless of what happens at this point?


Why are you convinced two years would be lost?

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12-21-2012, 10:42 PM
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You see, I'm not really convinced that it would be worse for players.

What exactly do unions provide to players any longer? I understand why they were needed back when Lindsay and Flood were fighting against the reserve clauses and other ploys by owners to restrict their options, forever. We're past those days now and the court system is much more transparent. With players earning millions, they actually can afford legal counsel to keep owners on the right side of the antitrust laws.

In return for giving up a lot of salary under a collective bargaining process overall, what do players get in return for being unionized? Many of the things that unions fight for are interpretations of player rights when a gray area of CBA is exposed. It seems you only need a union to police the CBA?
Guaranteed contracts, a high minimum salary and a league that are willing to fight to keep union jobs even though teams might be suffering in the short term. In a dog eat dog world the NHL teams in Buffalo, Ottawa, Pittsburgh and Phoenix might not exist. Possibly other teams. I'm sure the players as a collective enjoy those 100 jobs, even if it costs Crosby a few millions a year.

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12-21-2012, 10:45 PM
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Then you agree with eric Macramalla:
Eric Macramalla‏@EricOnSportsLaw

NHLPA comprised of millionaires and almost milionairs;given traditional role of unions seems less union v. business but business v. business

It's a legitimate question for me, pepty. What exactly do unions provide at this point that make it worth accepting the artificial salary restraint systems (including the contracting and movement rights)?

I may be overlooking something important.

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12-21-2012, 10:46 PM
  #60
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You see, I'm not really convinced that it would be worse for players.

What exactly do unions provide to players any longer? I understand why they were needed back when Lindsay and Flood were fighting against the reserve clauses and other ploys by owners to restrict their options, forever. We're past those days now and the court system is much more transparent. With players earning millions, they actually can afford legal counsel to keep owners on the right side of the antitrust laws.

In return for giving up a lot of salary under a collective bargaining process overall, what do players get in return for being unionized? Many of the things that unions fight for are interpretations of player rights when a gray area of CBA is exposed. It seems you only need a union to police the CBA?
But here's a hypothetical question,... without unions and thus without a CBA, wouldn't that change the whole dynamic of how a sports League would be required to act? I mean, the League itself loses some of its own structure, in a sense, if there isn't a players' union. How then can that "League structure" be redefined, with mechanisms that can also protect IT as a League? Not sure if you can figure out what I'm getting at, but if you think you can...

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12-21-2012, 10:50 PM
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Guaranteed contracts, a high minimum salary and a league that are willing to fight to keep union jobs even though teams might be suffering in the short term. In a dog eat dog world the NHL teams in Buffalo, Edmonton, Pittsburgh and Phoenix might not exist. Possibly other teams. I'm sure the players as a collective enjoy those 100 jobs, even if it costs Crosby a few millions a year.

Contracts can be guaranteed if you can negotiate your own contract. Not everyone will get them, but I think most veterans will, and of course, all elite players. The lower level, interchangeable guys would not, but the trend in the other capped sports leagues is that guaranteed contracts would disappear regardless.

Guaranteed minimum salary? Yes, that probably would disappear, but I'm not sure where the market would set salaries either. I think the spectrum will be wider, but I don't know that it would be extremely low. Teams still have to outfit a roster, so there must be sufficient payback to a player so he can actually accept that lifestyle and the risks.


I don't believe the NHL fights to keep a team alive because of the players. They do that because of the league brand, perception and maybe even deals they have with sponsors-- or their belief that they need to have certain teams in certain places to attract sponsors and national TV contracts. I'm not convinced the current system (proposed) can do enough for some teams in their current locations.

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12-21-2012, 10:50 PM
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Why would the NHL teams commit suicide for most of them when a few may disappear regardless of what happens at this point?


Why are you convinced two years would be lost?
I was responding to Killion, he seems to think it may take 2 years:

Originally Posted by Killion
Precisely. They'd simply morph into a "trade association", Fehr appointed to head that up, then depending what transpires thereafter, anti-trust suits flying, the league getting absolutely hammered, they could then hold another vote & re-constitute themselves as a union, again with Fehr as Executive Director.... fact of the matter is, the guys got the overwhelming support of well in excess of the majority of players, and, their prepared to take this thing beyond the wire and through the wall. 2 years, 2 full seasons gone, whatever it takes. People expecting & or prognosticating that they'll cave, that Fehrs' going to be taken out by the NHL who think they can sow seeds of discontent precipitating another overthrow & coup are in for a rude awakening. Not happening.

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12-21-2012, 10:53 PM
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It's a legitimate question for me, pepty. What exactly do unions provide at this point that make it worth accepting the artificial salary restraint systems (including the contracting and movement rights)?

I may be overlooking something important.
I'm not saying you're wrong and I think Macramalla is right too-it is really business vs business.

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12-21-2012, 10:54 PM
  #64
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Guaranteed contracts, a high minimum salary and a league that are willing to fight to keep union jobs even though teams might be suffering in the short term. In a dog eat dog world the NHL teams in Buffalo, Ottawa, Pittsburgh and Phoenix might not exist. Possibly other teams. I'm sure the players as a collective enjoy those 100 jobs, even if it costs Crosby a few millions a year.
You see, that's part of what I'm getting at too. If removing the union also removes protective mechanisms that help maintain a 30-team League, then how can the League protect itself and assure that all the players continue to have teams to play for? What mechanisms do the players imagine (if they're even thinking to imagine anything) that the League could still do to maintain a 30-team League and all of their jobs?

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12-21-2012, 10:59 PM
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But here's a hypothetical question,... without unions and thus without a CBA, wouldn't that change the whole dynamic of how a sports League would be required to act? I mean, the League itself loses some of its own structure, in a sense, if there isn't a players' union. How then can that "League structure" be redefined, with mechanisms that can also protect IT as a League? Not sure if you can figure out what I'm getting at, but if you think you can...

It would change the dynamic, for the league and the players (with a loose association, not an union).

Teams could still operate as a joint venture in terms of seeking new revenue streams, merchandising, promoting the league, etc. They could set up the rules and how games are officiated, managed, or align themselves as they see fit.

However, with any aspect of labor or talent, they could not do anything that would harm players in terms of the offers or pay they could get (sharing info, meeting to put caps or restrictions in place, blacklisting a player). Each team would have to market itself to players to attract their services, and agents would be free to market any player to any team.

I'm not sure how trades and movements would work, you could with some and not others? There wouldn't be anything like a waiver wire any more. If not precluded by the contract in place, a player could be reassigned.

I think teams would have to standardize some practices, like travel and lodging, as they must get their team to a location for a game (logistical considerations). It hurts them if they have to rely on everyone to get themselves to a game (this was mentioned elsewhere which I thought was really missing the forest for the trees).

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12-21-2012, 10:59 PM
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I don't believe the NHL fights to keep a team alive because of the players. They do that because of the league brand, perception and maybe even deals they have with sponsors-- or their belief that they need to have certain teams in certain places to attract sponsors and national TV contracts. I'm not convinced the current system (proposed) can do enough for some teams in their current locations.
Haha... of course not (to the first bolded part).

Can the NHL without unionized players and without a CBA maintain 30 teams, no matter where they may be located? Are there 30 markets that could keep enough pace over the long-term with the likes of Toronto, New York, Montreal, and a couple of others, without some sort of salary limitations?

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12-21-2012, 11:03 PM
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How could this be advantageous to the players in any way? If two years are lost then many teams will also be lost , careers and jobs would go down the drain and the owners would find some way to reconstitute a probably smaller league under a new system that would not be so kind to players..
Because they gain the upper hand, the leverage theyve been lacking. The NHL began this process in filing with the Courts & NLRB, the NHLPA now reacting, and believe me Pepty, I dont care if you bring in the brightest Legal minds from the other 3 pro sports leagues & Proskauer Rose to take on the NHLPA, this thing goes anti-trust, the NHL is screwed and they know it.

The complaint filed with the NLRB is also a sham, as that organizations going to take forever to decide anything, all the while pushing the two sides to find a solution on their own, a seemingly impossible task now as if reports are true that Gary Bettman cant even handle being in the same room with Fehr anymore, its gone personal, then it could be Gary who's walking the plank this time around. His moves have been recklessly confrontational, and now this latest high wire act, no net, leaving the league exposed.

If teams & players jobs are lost, its the NHL thats responsible for it, not the cattle. I dont believe it will get to this point, as I think the fear amongst any number of the franchises after hearing from their own Council will cause mass panic attacks once they realize what Bettman & his strategists have very foolishly thrown a lit match at.

Edit Note; 2 years a number mentioned in several substantive media reports, and I believe it. I believe Fehr has the backing of over 95% of his constituents, has vocalised & versed his opinions, the options & strategies clearly & succinctly, the players in for a penny or a pound, with him & each other all the way Baby. Whatever it takes. People crucify them all they want for walking away from all that cash & a "business life" (if you can call it that) of luxury, short careers or not. Is it stupid, foolish, headstrong? Thats for you to decide.


Last edited by Killion: 12-21-2012 at 11:16 PM.
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12-21-2012, 11:06 PM
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Haha... of course not (to the first bolded part).

Can the NHL without unionized players and without a CBA maintain 30 teams, no matter where they may be located? Are there 30 markets that could keep enough pace over the long-term with the likes of Toronto, New York, Montreal, and a couple of others, without some sort of salary limitations?

I don't know the answer to that question. I think the league is in a real bind right now because the players, as a group, may simply decide that they don't want to keep going through this cycle every time another group of teams cannot keep up. Keep in mind that I believe the linkage system is what has made it harder for some teams to function financially. Of course, the NHL wants to keep pushing that cost down to what the poorest can afford, but that like's pushing down on a vat of water, which has a fixed compressibility and you simply don't know how far down you can push before it just won't go further given the volume involved.

I think some of us think that the league is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't. Not sure really.

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12-21-2012, 11:11 PM
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With the collective bargaining side of things. Lockouts may just kill unions once and for all in pro sports.
Exactly.

It destroyed both the NBA and the NFL.

Both leagues are suffering under the misguided attempts by management to pull the wool over their employee's eyes, and it's the fans and players that pay for it every single day.

My only hope is that when he's done correcting the NHL's mistakes, Mr. Fehr sets his sights on the NFL and the NBA.

This kind of continual owner oppression is an anathema to anyone who values freedom.

Two million a year means nothing if it comes with a dog collar.

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12-21-2012, 11:17 PM
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Exactly.

It destroyed both the NBA and the NFL.

Both leagues are suffering under the misguided attempts by management to pull the wool over their employee's eyes, and it's the fans and players that pay for it every single day.

My only hope is that when he's done correcting the NHL's mistakes, Mr. Fehr sets his sights on the NFL and the NBA.

This kind of continual owner oppression is an anathema to anyone who values freedom.

Two million a year means nothing if it comes with a dog collar.


You with the strawman arguments now, Timmy?


It's business.

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12-21-2012, 11:17 PM
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If teams & players jobs are lost, its the NHL thats responsible for it, not the cattle. I dont believe it will get to this point, as I think the fear amongst any number of the franchises after hearing from their own Council will cause mass panic attacks once they realize what Bettman & his strategists have very foolishly thrown a lit match at.
The players risking the burning down of many of the franchises where they work, I simply don't see the logic in that maneuver from the players perspective, unless they've decided that they'll risk which ones among them will lose their jobs to the KHL.

It's still curious to see where each person here on HFBoards is choosing to side with. I'm a League guy, been following the League for 40 years, and players have come and gone. In this day and age, there's only one NA hockey League at the level of the NHL, and it's the NHL... There's only one League in the world at that level actually, and I've seen no evidence that the players have been treated badly in any shape or form. But yet, here they are, putting it at risk, putting the 30-team League, that we see before us, at risk.

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12-21-2012, 11:22 PM
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I don't know the answer to that question. I think the league is in a real bind right now because the players, as a group, may simply decide that they don't want to keep going through this cycle every time another group of teams cannot keep up. Keep in mind that I believe the linkage system is what has made it harder for some teams to function financially. Of course, the NHL wants to keep pushing that cost down to what the poorest can afford, but that like's pushing down on a vat of water, which has a fixed compressibility and you simply don't know how far down you can push before it just won't go further given the volume involved.

I think some of us think that the league is damned if it does and damned if it doesn't. Not sure really.
A 50/50 split of revenue doesn't seem like a deep push downward, not to me. And no matter all the other variables, it still works out to the players getting 50% of the League revenue. I just don't see how that's excessive, and it's especially comparable with the other major leagues.

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12-21-2012, 11:25 PM
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The players risking the burning down of many of the franchises where they work, I simply don't see the logic in that maneuver from the players perspective, unless they've decided that they'll risk which ones among them will lose their jobs to the KHL.

It's still curious to see where each person here on HFBoards is choosing to side with. I'm a League guy, been following the League for 40 years, and players have come and gone. In this day and age, there's only one NA hockey League at the level of the NHL, and it's the NHL... There's only one League in the world at that level actually, and I've seen no evidence that the players have been treated badly in any shape or form. But yet, here they are, putting it at risk, putting the 30-team League, that we see before us, at risk.

Killion and I are both lifelong NHL fans, and similar in longevity to you.

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A 50/50 split of revenue doesn't seem like a deep push downward, not to me. And no matter all the other variables, it still works out to the players getting 50% of the League revenue. I just don't see how that's excessive, and it's especially comparable with the other major leagues.

It's not just about the money, but how it's divided and whether players have even fewer options in deciding where they'll play. Contracting rights are the hill the NHL promised to die on.

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12-21-2012, 11:27 PM
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The players risking the burning down of many of the franchises where they work, I simply don't see the logic in that maneuver from the players perspective, unless they've decided that they'll risk which ones among them will lose their jobs to the KHL.
There are far worse things to do for a living than to be paid well in Euro's, lower tax rates, be supplied with housing and a car, play fewer games, less burnout. The lifestyle in Sweden, Finland, Russia or wherever else aint too shabby. If 60, 80, 120 jobs are lost, these are guys making league minimum or maybe a million, which after taxes etc they can easily make in Europe. Sign with the Leafs or Philly, NYR or wherever on a one way and play in the AHL/NHL/AHL/NHL type dealeo. Up & down. Maybe stick, maybe not....

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12-21-2012, 11:34 PM
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Killion and I are both lifelong NHL fans, and similar in longevity to you.

It's not just about the money, but how it's divided and whether players have even fewer options in deciding where they'll play. Contracting rights are the hill the NHL promised to die on.
Here's another question, since you seem to be up for answering them.

Would it make any sense for players to say, fine, you can limit contract lengths to the degree you want (nothing more) and we're satisfied with the Make Whole, we'll accept the 50/50; but we'd like for you (the owners) to give us back something on Free Agency? "We mean", you're limiting us on Contract Length and limiting us on Free Agency, so you're getting us from both ends. How can you expect us to give you one if you don't give us something at the other end?

Do you think such a compromise offer would have any chance of getting acceptance from the owners, or would the players even want to do such a thing? I know, probably too simplistic, it's not as simple as I'm describing it, right.

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