CBA and Proposed Ideas

Well the season is far from being close to a start, so what should we do as fans?

How bad of an effect is the lockout causing?

What is going on with players flip-flopping? And, no reason to support both sides.

Some more ideas to propose to resolve the CBA? Anyone?

And….here’s something nice for you to do. If you had the opportunity to manage a new era of the NHL, what changes would you make? In other words….what kind of plans would you propose to make the game better, and how will you manage to do so?What Should We Do?

So I guess hopes for the season to start early next year are fading, as it appears to be. And, we are going through desperate times, missing the cheering, the beers at the games, wearing our favorite jerseys with pride. I would like to call this The Great Depression for the North America hockey. That is where we are all at and something major needs to happen in order to terminate this dark era.

But look, this is all depressing and as time moves on, it will be harder. However, sitting around and not taking any positive actions is just wrong. So what should we do? This is a great opportunity to expand our minds with the rest of the hockey world, and that would be European hockey, minor leagues and junior leagues, learning more about prospects, giving better support for the minor league team of your NHL team, and see how the rest of the hockey world plays in general.

I am a Rangers fan and for the first time I am paying strong attention to the Hartford Wolf*Pack. Aside from the ‘Pack, I am looking into Rangers prospects almost on an every-other-day basis. This allows me to expand my knowledge of my team’s farm system and what to look forward to in the future. I also found it amazing how two young players have signed with two teams in the Italian Ice Hockey League. Italy is where I am originally from, born in Rome, so it really was so intriguing when Jamie Lundmark signed with Bolzano (where Jaromir Jagr played short-term) and Rico Fata with Asiago. It’s quite fun for me because now I get to visit the team sites and see what they are doing and it’s a big plus for hockey to spread in northern Italy. In fact, that’s where my family originates from, near Turin, and my grandfather went to Cortina so many times, where hockey is widely played.

So, go and check out what AHL teams are doing. This is also quite a breakout year for minor league hockey as many young NHL players are playing in the AHL, raising the level of talent in the league. In certain areas, some of the AHL games are televised on local sports channels. For example, some *Pack games are televised on MSGNetwork.

Other than minor leagues, go check out junior leagues and the college games. Canadians have the junior leagues; go out and watch them or try to follow them. There are tons of prospects that are well known and this is the new era of youth hockey. There is this whole new generation of hockey fans that are now in their 20’s and 30’s that have gone into these junior leagues, and US-college leagues, that are making so much information available now to ordinary fans. This is why we have McKeensHockey.com and HockeysFuture.com. You look back at ten years ago, the ordinary hockey fan didn’t know much about the upcoming entry draft. Nowadays, we have the sources to look at and know so much more.

So don’t sit back in despair waiting for the NHL to come back. Best thing to do right now is to check out what is going on outside of NHL hockey. I am also a strong supporter for the National Hockey League Fans Hockey Association and I encourage you to join it, and if you already did then spread the word.

How much damage is the lockout causing?

The lockout is causing some major damage in both the US and Canada. The worst part of it all is the unemployment from layoffs. People losing jobs because of such greed between two parties is ugly and distasteful. This is where I’d like to se the players take action. I mean, these guys have a job to play a game and receive a check with six zer0s. Meanwhile you got other employees that are part of the game’s function, making tons less, and are now without a job. Ethically and morally that is where I just can’t give a crumb of support to the players. Employees that work in the offices of the franchises, the employees that work in the offices of the broadcasting systems, and the employees that work in the offices of the stadiums, and the maintenance departments….many of them without jobs.

Economically, this lockout does not help either. So many stadiums are nearby small businesses where fans always stop by to spend money. I mean, I do not think it is major, but I do believe it has some effect to it.

This is also a horrible thing for journalism. I mean, you got almost every US newspaper that has either none to little coverage on hockey. What are hockey journalists doing right now? Nothing! I mean, poor Bruce Garrioch and Larry Brooks. No trade rumors for a full year!!! But seriously, this is not good for hockey. It puts everything to a complete halt in hockey journalism. And what about fantasy leagues? Talk about making a big fat zero for fantasy hockey leagues.

In our own minds, we just see the big negative picture, which is we have no hockey to watch…..well…most of us. But, it is far more serious than not seeing our favorite teams play and this is creating some extreme major damage to the game of hockey, specifically USA hockey.

The NHL and Mr. Bettman had two major opportunities to make hockey a top sport in the United States. Back in 1994 when the Rangers were the best team in the NHL, and Mark Messier was the center of attention. With Gretzky influencing the west coast, Messier was now influencing the east coast; call it the perfect situation for the NHL to be in. It was also a great story with drama as the Rangers have not won a championship in 54 years, and it drew that interest from sports fans. After a glorious Stanley Cup victory, the NHL and NHLPA decided to have a lockout.

This year, the Tampa Bay Lightning were a major story as well, though not as huge since TV ratings were falling. However, hockey in Florida became extremely popular and it started to build a strong fan base. I myself living on the east side, I am quite amazed at how many cars have the Florida Panthers license plate frames. Players like Martin St. Louis, Vinny Lecavalier, Nikolai Khabibulin, Olli Jokinen, and Roberto Luongo (arguably the best goaltender in the NHL) have caught attention from sports fans. This is a time where sports teams in Florida are not succeeding. The best time for hockey to take advantage over this situation, where teams like the Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Florida Marlins, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Miami Heat, and Orlando Magic have not, and some currently are not, succeeding or playing outstanding.

The Bolts would be the best sport team in Florida, and the Panthers the most exciting underdog team in Florida, had there been a season right now. Yet….two sides are showing their pathetic greed, and so the great opportunity is greatly missed. This is only causing fans to lose interest in the game of hockey.

And so all of this is causing an immense amount of damage to the coolest game on earth. Shame on you Mr. Bettman and Co., and shame on you Mr. Goodenow and puppets. Both organizations, NHL and NHLPA, need a major cleanup. Bettman and Goodenow, I want you gone because both of you are destroying this game. Shame on you both.

“I know I said that, but I did not really mean it like that.”

This whole fiasco of players criticizing the lockout, but a day or two later they say “oh but it’s not what I really meant” or “you guys took it out of context, what I really wanted to say is that the NHLPA is the good side, NHL is the bad side”. I mean, what is this dirt? Who was it? Brett Hull and Draper, and Johnny Madden…..now even Juraj Kolnik. It’s amazing. What is going on? It only makes me think that Goodenow and the NHL are almost like threatening these players to not speak their honest minds, and forced to say what Goodenow wants them to say. I find it disgusting on the NHLPA part, and it only strengthens my despise for Goodenow and the NHLPA’s greed.

So, kudos to Andrew Ference for meaning what he said and not taking any dirt from a dishonest man in Bob Goodenow. I think it’s just pathetic that there is this series of players changing their positions on the lockout. And, I am not putting full blame on them. I blame them for not showing any guts and stepping up like Ference did, which causes me to lose respect in Brett Hull and Johnny Madden who should know better. Give me a break, a decent young two-way defenseman shows, and excuse my language, more balls than a highly regarded veteran and a role player with solid leadership? It’s just….unbelievable with the amount of dirt that both sides are throwing. This is almost as bad as politics. Both sides are making their campaigns trying to win support. I am praising for fans to not show any support, and not to choose any sides. Both are greedy and greed is the root of all evil. It gets you nowhere people.

I don’t see how the owners, who are extremely rich, don’t see the obvious that Bettman is the reason why the game has gone down the drain, and it keeps on going down. The guy has been a total moron in handling the NHL and not improving it. This guy should have been fired a while ago, and expect him to get fired no matter what the outcome of this issue will be. But, the owners can’t complain, they got themselves in this situation and they are trying to suck up to us fans and make us feel bad about them losing money.

Me? Feeling bad about a millionaire losing money? Boohoo, I have $300M that I can use to spend and I lost $15M with this hockey team….oh the tragedy, oh the agony, oh the loss!” As it was a line used in one of Mel Brooks’s movies (try to figure it out)… “Get the flunk out of here!”.

And how dare those players making $5M-10M complain that they don’t want to make any less than what they are making. I mean…..from say, $9M to $6M. Yeah, $3M is a big difference, but if $6M does not satisfy you then I don’t see any reason for me to call you human.

Both sides deserve no respect and no support. They are completely excluding us fans, showing no regard, and what is important to them is money. Not us, not the game, just the money.

New motto: The Greediest Game on Earth

Any other ideas?

We do appreciate reading a lot of ideas that are submitted to us from HTR members, and I like reading them. However, it’s tough to post a paragraph for each submitted opinion sent to us. So, it’s better preferred if you post your short ideas as comments to articles that touch on the CBA lockout, such as this one. So if you have any ideas, post them under this article.

I want to be very strict on the players with the CBA, and it’s not in my favor for the owners. The reason is that these players are way too $poiled. And, so many of these players sign contracts that are categorized as “fair market value”, yet the following season they play as underachievers, and so all the sudden their market value is far lower. That needs to be fixed. Arbitration is a major problem. I used this example before with Tom Poti. The guy made $900,000 in his last season as an Oiler, finishing as a Ranger. It was a worse season than the previous one he had, yet the arbitrator doubled his salary; and so from $900,000 it went up to $1.8M. Mikka Kiprusoff is a great goalie, don’t get me wrong. But, the guy only played THIRTY-EIGHT games!!! He went from making $880,000 to $2.950M. That is outright ridiculous and the arbitrator should be fired for such decision. Kipper’s salary is more than tripled now, for playing 38 games and winning a Stanley Cup? So let me get this right….just as an example. If say….Roberto Luongo wins the Stanley Cup, then should he not be awarded about….$12M a year at least? The guy plays 70 games a year, outstanding numbers, proven he is an elite goaltender. Kipper only played a total of 80 games in his NHL career, and that is only eight games more than what Luongo played last season. Yet, just because of a Stanley Cup victory, the guy triples his salary? Should it not triple for Jerome Iginla then?

Arbitration has got to be regulated, and I think there must be an elected official that has the ability to veto the ruling.

I’d like to see the contracts structured in a fair way. Since the argument for players is “fair market value”, then ok….let’s stick with fair market value. Let’s say the fair market value for me, as an example, is $3M. So ok, I sign a $9M dollar contract for three years. There need to be some regulations in the contracts. I firmly believe that a player must do his job to earn what he is paid to do. So, say I received $3M because I scored….65 points the previous season. That is what I am expected to score again next season, from 60 to 65 points, with my new contract. But, say I slack around and I just cannot get my points on the board and I end up with 50 points. Now, I am not a $3M player anymore, I should not because that’s not fair market value; I underachieved that year. So in the contract, there should be a clause that takes action when this occurs, and what the clause does is cut my salary down to (what was agreed in the contract by both parties) let’s just say….$2.6M, or $2.5M. That way, it all stays fair market value…..and it is, after all, what the players use in their arguments. Right? But no, they are greedy. They use that argument when it only benefits them. How can people support these guys?

The plus side is, if I overachieve and score say….74 points, then the clause in my contract would say that my salary should increase to what the market value of 70 point scorers is; and let’s make it $3.8M, or $4M.It only seems fair no? It motivates me to be better and better and earn more.

I guess you can call this a similar way of bonuses and incentives, but it is different because it protects the team owners. A player is a liability, unless you have a consistent super star in Naslund or Sakic. So you look at a player like Kiprusoff, if he plays like…. 50 games, and has a record of 19-24-7, and his GAA is 2.40 and SV is .909….and has 3 SO’s…..then he should not be earning almost $3M. This also allows the team budget to stay safe, and save money to re-sign other players or make other adjustments to better their team.

It may look like a complex idea, and it could be explained thoroughly with adjustments made to perfect it, but this is the simple picture.

I think their should be a salary cap and a luxury tax. Salary cap could be $55-60M, and luxury tax set on $42-45M.

So anyway, if you have your ideas, you are more than welcome to add them as thread post comments on this article.

Your New NHL?

You can add your own rules, what changes you want to be made, like two line pass off-sides and so on. Contracting teams? TV deals? Any other ways of marketing the game? Stuff like that. I’d like to see which member gives his/her best version of the NHL, and I’ll be picking the best three, and then we’ll hold a vote on which one of the three members has the best idea of a new NHL. However, I won’t just be picking out three members….obviously I will be replying to your comments and ask you some questions, or maybe even challenge you! Why not, let’s make it exciting and competitive.

Thank you for taking your time to read this long piece. I feel like our members here need to read and participate, so….this is some reading material for you to take a look at. Hopefully you enjoyed it!

Micki Peroni

Vice-Admin HTR.com


9 Responses to CBA and Proposed Ideas

  1. rojoke says:

    I don’t know about Bettman being fired “no matter what the outcome” of the lockout is, but I do know two things. If they don’t get a hard salary cap, Bettman will be done before there’s a new CBA. If he does get a cap, then he’ll probably finish out his contract.

    There is one more disturbing thing about the whole arbitration process. Despite how intensely the owners despise it and want it scrapped, only three times did a team walk away from an arbitration award. And the Bruins did it twice, once for Dimitri Khristich and once for Bryan Berard. If the awards were so outrageously wrong, why did they pay up in the end? The thing that really messed up the process was when they brought in all those new stats like time on ice and hits. It would have been fine if it had been limited to just information for fans and such, but to allow them to be used during arbitration, that was just stupid.

  2. Flyers_01 says:

    While I am no fan of Bettman, I lay alot of this on the players and Goodenow. Yes the owners screwed up by paying the players to much. Yes the arbitration process is very stupid. The only sport more fiscally screwed up is baseball, yet most fans of that sport don’t seem to care that their local teams have no chance of winning, hence the large television contracts. The only reasons I can think of is that everyone loves to see the Yankees lose and that you could take a 2 hour nap in the middle of the game and not miss much.

    The NHLPA however seems to not give one lick about anything other than making sure the high end players can keep increasing their pay. In a recent interview the previous hartford whaler owner said that he had one meeting with Goodenow in which he said he couldn’t afford the escalating player salaries as the revenue didn’t cover it. Goodenow’s responce? Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. The other question i have is this : How can NHL players play in a rival league and yet be in the NHLPA? Not only that, many if not all of these rival leagues have a salary cap. How can the players justify playing under a salary cap when that’s the one thing they won’t agree to on their day job? While universally they don’t make as much it keeps them from having a reason to question Goodenow’s stance or to ponder if this is really what they want or to even have a need to get it resolved. Who cares, I’m over in sweden .. wheeee. It seems to me the younger players care the most as they aren’t already set for life like the older players who are leading the union but are also mostly go unheard or are misunderstood after getting a visit by Goodenow.

  3. nhand says:

    Great idea for this segment Micki.

    I have one suggestion for fans during the lockout and for when the NHL decides to return. Do not, under any cir*****stances whatsoever, buy anything that has to do with the NHL. Ask you favorite NHL team for a full refund of your tickets, hang your jersey in the closet, don’t buy any team or league-related clothing or memorabilia, no video games etc. Don’t give one single penny of your hard earned money to those who don’t give a damn about your patronage. On top of that, I would love to see the fans continuing this strike of sorts for through the entire season that the NHL comes back. If people really want to send a message to those who are not showing them any respect, it’s time to stop supporting the NHL whole-heartedly. I’m tired of people in sports taking advantage of the weak nature of most fans. I don’t begrudge the owners or players for making the money they make. That’s not the point. They should make money…lots of money…but what we have gotten into here is embarassing to the point of absurdity. There’s plenty of money to go around kiddies. Try not to destroy yourselves with your own greed. That will only serve to alienate the most important ingrediant in the NHL equation…we the fans.

    Fans, make up your minds for yourselves. Realize that you do have control of the sport if you want to. Don’t go for a year. See how the NHL responds to that.

    Once the NHL does realize how important the fans are to the equation, and when the parties involved do come to their senses and realize they can all be wealthy, the NHL will inevitably be back. So what would I want to see when it does come back. Well, here are a few suggestions.

    First, I’d like to see a new three party system (think like the way the U.S. gov is divided up) to be used in the management and operation of the “New” NHL. I would like to see an owners branch, a players branch, and a hockey branch. The owners branch would be responsible for providing an outstanding and reasonably priced sporting experience for the fans who pay the coin to fill their pockets. The players branch would be responsible for playing their asses off for the fans who pay the coin to see them play. The hockey branch would be responsible for protecting the game of hockey from both of the other parties. The hockey branch would protect the owners from themselves and the players from the path of greed and emptiness. The hockey branch would be the guardian of the game and responsible for keeping the game operating for all of eternity so fans (who pay the coin mind you) can enjoy the sport they love on a consistent and uninterrupted basis. (It’s nice to dream isn’t it?)

    Most importantly to the “New” NHL to me would be new leadership for the league and NHLPA. Bettman has allowed two work stoppages to occur during his tenure. That’s two too many. He has allowed the increase of salaries beyond the scope that is economically feasible to the league. He lacks the vision needed to effectively grow the league into the success it should be. I’m not saying the NHL will ever be the number one sport (it won’t), but it would be nice to be number 3 or 4 again. I’d like to suggest Brian Burke to replace him. Anyone else have any suggestions here? Goodenow. Do I even need to address this monster? Get him out of there. NHL players, try and educate yourselves to the reality of the situation. Goodenow has you so duped it’s sort of embarassing. Thank him for increasing your income during the previous CBA extensions, but send him packing for not being in touch with the reality that is NHL economics of the day. Young members of the NHLPA, stand up and be heard. Don’t rely on Goodenow or your players reps as the only source for information on which you will base the future of your lives. You will still make an excellent living in the “New” NHL. Stand up and be the saviours of your sport. Tell the veteran players that you thank them for their help, but it’s time to move forward.

    As for the game itself, I’d like to suggest the following…

    Bring back up the tag-up rule for offsides (I just saw this at an AHL game the other night). It worked well when it was used and it works well in the AHL.

    Get rid of the ties in the game. Hockey (and all sports for that matter) is about winning. Do this by awarding one point for a win. Use OT or don’t use OT. If you use OT, make it suddent death like it is now. If the players, owners, and league is worried about the games causing all kinds of scheduling delays, too bad. Make preparations for these situations. Or don’t use OT at all in the regular season. If the score is tied 1-1 with a minute left, it’s time for all out war if you want the win. Could make for some exciting hockey.

  4. beefer says:

    I kinda like your suggestion about getting rid of ties, but I’d do it alittle differently. I’d have a team awarded 2 points for a regulation win, 1 for an OT win(5min OT during the regular season), and a big fat zero points for either a tie or loss. This would make teams play a lot harder and go for the win for fear of earing nothing. The only way ties would hold some meaning would be as a tie breaker for playoff seeding.

  5. simplyhabby says:

    Nice to see someone cheering the minor leagues. For the longest time…even last year when the Mississauga Ice Dogs made the OHL final, you had to practically pay my co-workers and friends to attend a game. This is quality hockey and hopefully this lockout will allow the sport to grow further on the minor level.

    Nice to see that Pleacknec, Hainsey, Kositsyn, Ward and Locke lighting it up for Hamilton. Unfortunately, it makes me miss the NHL even more because I see thae Habs having a lot of prospects playing thier hearts out to make the NHL.

    What this lockout is doing for hockey in the US will be very comparable to the damage to baseball in Canada from the MLB lockout. The Jays were defending 2 time champions with amazing attendence. When the lockout finished, yes the Jays were not a champion team but attendence has fell ever since. The CFL is outdrawing the Jays.

    Gary Bettman needs to go. Half the problem is that I am sure the players would accept a salary cap to a certain extent but they just don’t trust the owners who are lead by Bettman. Would you trust him? Probably not. The players obvioulsy have a greed issue too of course. I would really like to see Gretzky and Mario become more involved in the negotations. Both of these guys are higly respected, knowledgable of the issues and both have something to gain and lose.

    In the new NHL, there has to be 4 fewer teams. The teams that are financially responsable should not be supporting teams that cannot survive. Why do you keep pumping blood into a team that has a fatal wound? This will also reduce the amount of games in the season which should reduce the injury time lost.

    There are various rule changes such as tag up offsides, removing the blue line will speed up the game.

    Brian Burke had a great idea when he stated to expand the blue ice around the net and allow the goalies toplay the puck in that blue ice without fear of being hit. They leave the blue ice with the puck, they are free game. Compromise for compromise. A goalie should not be restricted to leave his net. it is a risk he must take and to increase that risk will make them think twice but they are still protected by the expanded blue ice.

    I stated this previoulsy in other posts, keep the rule changes simple. Exotic changes only hurt the game because there is a lot of people who don’t understand the sport, so adding crazy changes will not help with their understanding.

  6. nhand says:

    Beefer, that is a good suggestion. Thanks for improving my suggestion. Shame we don’t have a game to try this with. Maybe sanity will return the magical fantasyland that is the current NHL.

  7. wingedim says:

    I was up that way over the weekend and watched an amazing Junior B game over in Cambridge. Those guys played their hearts out and it was great. The week before that I went to a Cleveland Barons game even though they lost (to a star studded Moose team) it was also a very good game with lots of action.

    I’ll agree with you on the similarities to what the MLB lockout did in Canada vs what this lockout is doing to the US fan base. I remember thinking that with the Expos doing so well that year that it COULD’ve been an all Canadian World Series. I’d have loved to have seen that. Since then however, both Canadian teams cannot put forth a consistant, competetive team. That and the Expos are now in DC and unless something happens unexpectedly, the Jays will never have a solid team again.

  8. Beckfan5 says:

    Not doing too well in the world of hockey when you only get 7, well now 8 replys to your post in 6 days huh Mik?

  9. mikster says:

    I know…..this lockout is killing!!!

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