Category Archives: HTR Feature Article
To go along with their frustration over the lack of progress on the NHL labor front, some players are now becoming angry as the lockout continued into its second week.
“Why wouldn’t anybody be angry?” Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toewssaid Monday after an informal workout at Johnny’s IceHouse West in Chicago. “If you know anything about what’s happened in the last little while and the history of our game the last 20 years or so, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out. It’s pretty frustrating how things have gone. I’m definitely not happy about it.”
The fourth work stoppage (third lockout) in the league in the last two decades began Sept. 15 when the collective bargaining agreement expired and the NHL and NHL Players’ Association haven’t formally negotiated since Sept. 12 and have no talks planned. There are growing fears that the entire 2012-13 season will be lost in the labor dispute, like what happened when the ’04-05 season was canceled.
“We saw what the (owners) did in ’04-05 and who knows if they’re willing to do that again,” Toews said. “To me, it’s just carelessness. It’s them just trying to show everyone that they’re the owners and they’re the league. They can do whatever they want. If they want to hurt their own game and drive it into the ground that’s what they’ll do. Even if it comes down to that, it doesn’t matter as long as they get what they want.
“It’s frustrating it’s gone this far,” Toews said. “We’re a week into it already and a lot of people are starting to get antsy. Especially fans all over Chicago and all over the place. It’s not really fair to them, either.”
The players believe their last proposal to the league solves many of the issues between the sides, including a cut in the hockey-related revenue they’d receive and also a revenue-sharing plan that would allow the teams doing well financially to aid the struggling ones.
Well, it’s Day 9 of the NHL lockout, and there remains a distinct lack of urgency from the league and the NHLPA.
Even with 61 preseason games (and probably 1 per cent of hockey-related revenues) already wiped out, Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr have had hardly any negotiating sessions, prolonging a stalemate that appears its headed for at least December.
So if they’re not going to sit down and hammer this thing out, we’ll have to step in and act as an impartial mediator by putting together a compromise for both sides.
(In case you haven’t seen it, the two proposals currently on the table are spelled out in detail here.)
Those offers put the two sides at least $1-billion apart depending on how league revenues grow over the coming years, but there is a deal to be had somewhere in the middle of all this.
And the answer to how to settle this thing is with a new agreement neither side is going to like all that much.
Step 1: Let the players keep the $1.87-billion they earned last season – and not a penny more.
The union’s offer comes with a 2 per cent raise in Year 1, but it’s become clear in negotiations that that’s just not going to fly.
And the league wants players to take a big pay cut via escrow next season that won’t work either.
The players have dug in on this one, and it’s really not too much to ask in Year 1 of the deal. If NHL revenues grow at 6.3 per cent (which is roughly what they’ve averaged the last eight years minus the effects of the Canadian dollar), that $1.87-billion will drop the players’ share to 53.6 per cent.
And it’ll slowly trail down from there.
Seattle may be on the verge of getting a new NHL-caliber arena, and there may be investors willing to bring an NHL franchise to the Pacific Northwest city, but one pesky problem remains.
“I can tell you there are not teams for sale that are available to move,” Chicago Wolves owner Don Levin told ESPN the Magazine on Wednesday.
Levin would love to own an NHL team in Seattle, which he’s called “probably the best market in the United States that does not have a hockey team demographically.”
But how could he get one?
ESPN asked Levin about two potential relocation targets – the Phoenix Coyotes and New York Islanders.
On the Coyotes, Levin figures Greg Jamison will eventually purchase the team and keep it in Glendale.
The NHL’s New Year’s Day Winter Classic between the Maple Leafs and Red Wings is on the chopping block, a potential early victim of the lockout.
A league source told the Star that, barring a settlement, commissioner Gary Bettman plans to cancel it in November — to take away any advantage the players may have at the bargaining table because of the game’s popularity.
“Gary told (the board of governors) he was going to cancel the Winter Classic in November because he didn’t want the players to use the game as leverage,” the source said.
A source close to the players said the NHLPA had heard the same thing.
“It’s a scare tactic,” the union source said. “It just proves the NHL has no intention of negotiating any time soon.”
If the NHL season were to begin in mid- to late November, it would leave plenty of time to stage and hype the Classic — including HBO’s successful 24/7 series, a behind-the-scenes look at the teams involved. The event at the University of Michigan’s football stadium — known as The Big House — would draw a crowd of around 100,000 and has traditionally been a ratings hit in Canada and the U.S.
The Edmonton Oilers are in desperate need of a goalie, and Devan Dubnyk is unlikely to be the solution. With no elite goalie prospect in their system, an attempt at Bernier might not be a bad idea.
Corey Crawford is not getting the job done as a starter in this league. The Blackhawks don’t have anybody in their system ready to come out anytime soon, and they would likely be able to put together a package viable to the Kings’ needs. I’m sure they’ll be interested in Bernier if he ever gets officially put on the block.
Two goalies, two problems. Neither Sergei Bobrovsky or Steve Mason are starters in this league. And if they are, they’re the worst combination in the NHL. Instead of trading for a career backup in Bobrovsky, the Blue Jackets should have put together a package to get someone with real potential in Bernier. Even though they might not look for Bernier anymore, they could certainly “use” him.
The Maple Leafs have been in need of a goalie for a while now, and James Reimer is not the answer. If the Leafs want to build a successful team and make the playoffs consistently, they’re going to need a quality goaltender that can lead their franchise in the years to come. Bernier is a better answer than Reimer.
Martin Brodeur hasn’t been Martin Broduer in years and he’ll never be what he once was again. The Devils went and re-signed him in the offseason, probably because they would have felt bad otherwise. The more likely reason, however, is because they have no one to replace him with.