Reflection on Both Conferences and NHLPA Sinking Lower ***BREAKING NEWS***

Breaking News: TSN.ca reports that representatives of owners and players will meet on Saturday. Stay tuned because as said, “many are confident that games will be played this spring.

I believe something can be done though don’t put too much hope into it, but….cross those fingers!

Hello everyone,

Short talks about the conferences held on Wednesday, just to see which side I think had more valid points.

Is the NHLPA sinking further? Modano new leader of the pack speaks up again.

And……an HTR member challenged me! Both sides got to talk on Wednesday, and I must say I was pleased to hear both Bettman and Goodenow talk of a serious matter. I never got to hear Goodenow talk, and the only talks I ever heard from Gary Bettman were the short during-the-game interviews and the Cup presentations.

Let me start with Gary Bettman’s press conference. I was never a fan of Bettman, in fact I have criticized him a lot on how he is controlling the game in the NHL. I said multiple times that rule changes should have been done, or tested, years ago when actual die hard hockey fans widely expressed their views that the game got boring. This is something that Bettman should have taken actions to fix, but never did.

I must admit that in that press conference, Gary Bettman was serious, and he answered almost every single questions significantly. He showed emotions of anger, and one thing that I was impressed from was his intelligence. The guy is an intelligent man whether you hate him or not. He spoke like a lawyer, but me being an high critic of lawyers, was impressed by Bettman. He explained numbers, he explained his offers, he explained the union’s proposal and offers, how they do not work.

He did right in mentioning that the majority of the fans are mostly in favor of the NHL and the salary cap. It is something that the players must take into consideration. The majority of us fans want the game of hockey in the NHL to be fixed and to be healthy. We believe that the system proposed by Bettman and the owners DOES work, but other fans believe that individual players must make money without a cap.

You people see the difference in those two ideologies? Pro salary cap fans say it’s for the good of the game, and union fans say “players have the right to earn as much as they can”. See the difference? NHL supporters are supporting the game of hockey, and the union supporters are supporting the players’ salaries…..you know, the ones that they criticized much of in past seasons claiming how useless and overpaid the player is.

Bettman explained very clearly that the $42.5M salary cap was stretching it, and the numbers prove so. Bettman’s argument deals more with the economic aspects of the league and the owners, while Goodenow’s argument deals more about “hey, you were okay about this years ago, why not now?” It just does not make any sense at all.

Bettman’s conference lasted for almost an hour and he spoke clearly, explained things very simply….and he had a very…conversational type of conference when asnwering the questions.

Goodenow’s speech turned out to mostly be a repetition of what he has always said. There was nothing new to his argument, just a pathetic PR type of conference where he victimized himself and the players.

He repeatedly mentioned that the NHLPA did not have a “negotiating partner”. See….he kept on attacking and criticizing the NHL in poor ways. Bettman did criticize the NHLPA….but by not calling them “non-negotiating partners” and not calling them liars. This almost sounds like a political campaign from two parties. The NHLPA did in fact have a negotiating partner, they just failed to approach the partner with a decent offer.

Basically, the general tone of the whole conference by Goodenow was that the players “gave up” a lot, and as much as possible to reach an agreement. The players sacrificed a lot in order to reach an agreement.

This is also what union supporters keep saying, that the players are sacrificing a lot of their salaries, and to them that is negotiating in “good faith”. It’s not. See, what Goodenow and his followers do not understand is that this is not about who is giving up more than the other. This is about the status of the game. It is about reaching an agreement that benefits the game. Not about which side is giving up more, it’s about doing the best thing for the game.

Also, I would love to know what calculator Goodenow uses. He said that in the next to years or so the NHL would save up to one billion dollars with the 24% rollback on salaries. Hey, that looks great Bob, but does your calculator include the new players contracts, therefore salaries, within the next three….four years? Do you actually know how much Heatly and Kovalchuk will make in 4 years? That one billion dollars is nothing but a meaningless number that is not subtracted by future salaries.

There was not much to talk about Goodenow’s conference since it lasted for….what…. 25 minutes? He was repetitive, and he basically dodged the idea of allowing players to vote by saying “the players voted for me”. Doesn’t mean anything Goodenow, you have to let the players decide on this lockout because it’s either make or bust for the NHL in the next decade.

To conclude this, Bettman’s conference was far more interesting and the conversations he had with the journalists were interesting and answered very well. He also showed emotion, which Goodenow showed nothing, and….yes….the “We’re sorry” to the fans should have been said at the very beginning by Goodenow. I know that’s somewhat being picky on my part, but he should have said it, and he would have never said it had it not been asked, and to me…..that makes a difference.

NHLPA keeps sinking.

It is NO secret that players within the union are taking silent actions. The latest comes from USA player Mike Modano, who said that there was a lot of “arguing” within the union during the latest proposals. Even Yzerman keeps being optimistic by saying “it’s not too late”.

It’s no secret that the union is starting to sink, just as I predicted and have been saying for a couple of months now. Look ath the player’s perspective. This is what I would be saying:

“Ok, we have not been paid this year. We did not play, and some of us played in minor leagues and others in Europe, and even not making the team in Europe. We are looking at 6 months of no hockey now, and maybe even further if we cannot agree with the owners. Where is my career going with this?

That’s not thinking, that is reasoning. Many of these players are making similar types of reasoning and have lost faith in the NHLPA committee. These players have to understand that it is for the good of the game of hockey, in this league, that there needs to be a salary cap at the $42.5-44.5M range. The league lost the TV contract, and thank God they did because watching ESPN was torture, and it completely showed its biased with Panger and Melrose being pro NHLPA (I bet the NHL and the owners would be looking forward to go with NBC). But, that’s how bad in shape the NHL is. It’s unhealthy. And the players must realize that it should already be an honor to play in the NHL, a privilidge, and that if they truly loved the game of hockey….then they would reach an agreement that benefits the game. This is not about which side gives up more, this is about making the game healthy.

I hope the majority of players will start taking action and praise the Lord if there is actually a chance that a deal could still be done by next week.

And again I say, forget about this season. The most important thing is that these two reach an agreement so we can all sit back, relax, and wait for next season and be confident that there is a next season and more seasons to come. So don’t cross your fingers much for the salvation of this season, cross them for an agreement to happen as soon as possible. With the no secret rumbling happening behind the NHLPA’s closed doors……hope is still alive.

So, what I love best is when people challenge me, and finally someone has challenged my ranting articles against the NHLPA. HTR member aafiv gets loads of credit for making some good arguments, although we’re so far apart in our ways of thinking, that we both think we are completely off.

His post is from my previous article, and here is how aafiv responded to my reply (which you ca check out in the previous article).

The league has expected both the union and the fans to accept on face value that the league is losing money to a certain degree. The league’s offer to open books included the books of four teams, not 30 teams. The union was right to not look at those books because the league would have used the opportunity to say “We showed you, and now you know.” when the reality is that it is probably not. This was a totally disingenous offer on the league’s part and you know it.

To make a correction, as I double checked, the NHLPA audited those four books and two came from the LA Kings and Chicago Blackhawks, this was a couple or so years ago. Now, there is no intent made by the NHLPA to look at all 30 books and to not even talk to Mr. Levitt. Why not make any of those efforts at least? They have no reason to not make one single effort to check out all 30 books, as proposed by Bettman, which he repeated in the news conference as well. You should know why the NHLPA backed away from that proposed idea, in fear of accepting the truth.

Furthermore, the Leavitt report is long on vaguenss and short on detail and has been disputed elsewhere so there’s no need to get into that here – as you also know.

Well, you could not possibly know if you did not read it, and where else has it been disputed?

The owners barely spoke in the first place because they had nothing to say. The offered their different version of the hard cap system and chose a strategy that was devoid of negotiation – the players made the only substantive moves to bridge the gap. You can’t deny that.

Well, I can’t deny something that is wrong in the first place. The owners had something to say and that basically was “fix the system”. That is the job that they told Bettman to do. Their startegies of negotiations were completely valid as they explained and showed what needed to be done for the game of hockey in the NHL. On the players’ side came proposals that were not even close to meet the needs of the NHL. Not even close. The game needs a salary cap and that is what the NHL and owners are showing and economically proving to the NHLPA, while the NHLPA replies with “sorry, we do not accept a cap” to then just say “wait! just bluffing!” Bluffing is not part of negotiations and you cannot deny that the NHLPA basically bluffed as some of its own players came out publicly to say so as well.

As you will recall – there I said it again – the owners proposed a hard-cap system of $31-million that linked payrolls to revenues. They backed off that at the last minute but I don’t see you calling the owners liars after months of demanding linkage. So I guess there’s hypocrasy to go around, hmm? You will also recall the league’s gag order and the fact that Bettman needed only 8 owners to support his war on hockey so you wouldn’t have heard any dissent out of the owner’s camp.

Well, you’re wrong again. The $31M salary cap with linkage was an old offer that was taken off the table a long time ago. So, it has zero relationship with the last minute offers. As far as the linkage goes, Mr. Bettman clearly explained why they could have flexed with the linkage, admitting that it would still make them lose money for at least two years, just to reach an agreement though. If anything, that proves a negotiating partner willing to come to a comprimise. In response, the NHLPA offered a soft cap, that was just a proposal in the first place, not even a real offer.

Had the NHLPA told the NHL months ago that if they took out the linkage part that they would negotiate a salary cap, then we would be better off. But, the NHLPA failed to show any signs of accepting any kind of cap as its stance was “no cap”. Just like in the 90’s where they completely refused to have a luxury tax, now they actually approve of it.

I’ll concede you a point for discipline, but your leap to saying the players bargained in bad faith goes too far. You may not like Bob Goodenow, I don’t particularly care for him either, but the players made more strides to solve this than the owners did. You’re not going to say that Trevor Linden’s attempts to jump-start things was in bad faith because you’d simply be wrong. Hands down.

The NHLPA did negotiate in bad faith due to their bluff. I will excuse the players that are upset about Goodenow’s bluff, and a number of those players came forward expressing their concern, as they still continue to do that. Again, it is not about how much one side has to give up…..it is about fixing the system for the good of the game of hockey in the NHL. If it is not fixed, then the players will be forced to lose just about all of their salaries and will be without pay and jobless if the NHL risks of going bankrupt, and with the current system….that is the way it’s going to go.

As for trevor Linden, I give him credit to a certain point where he pulled nice efforts to get together with the NHL people, but the guy has been completely meaningless before and after that event. Where is he now anyway? Nowehre, because other players are shadowing him.

In addition, I have answered to your questioning about how I say that the NHLPA have negotiated in bad faith. Some players did good in waking up and realizing the truth, but the NHLPA as a whole has negotiated in bad faith with a bluff and that is undeniable. You make tghe arguement that “yeah, well the NHLPA offered the cap only because the NHL took the linkage off”. Crappola! Had the NHLPA said that it would negotiate a cap without the linkage, things would be different, but they never ever said that months before, which is why its own players are questioning the negotiating strategies taken by the NHLPA.

If I were the union head, my first question when faced with bankruptcy claims and a demand for a hard-salary cap as aresult would be this.

“OK, you say you’re losing money and wany cost-certainty. Let’s come to a mutual definition of what “revenue” is and then open all 30 team’s books for a full audit by a mutually agreed to third party to see what the numbers really are. Then we can fight over who gets what slice of the pie. The we’ll audit you every year, once a year”

Absolutely, and I agree….the NHLPA should be looking at all 30 books, and I’d say they should be looking at them ANNUALLY. See, too bad you’re not in Goodenow’s position…..we would have had a deal done!

So anyway, this was a long piece, but hey…..what else is there to do for you anyway? Aafiv, you did a great job and I appreciated your disagreements that kept me busy in the first place, but more than that you had good points to respond to. Your articles will be well welcomed by HTR, and thanks again.

And to the rest of you…..keep those fingers crossed! Right now, cross your fingers….this very moment! Did you? If not….it will be your fault that no agreement will be reached! Of course I am kidding……or am I? Bahhhh, ok….I’ll zip it now.

Good luck to all, and thanks.

Micki Peroni

Vice-Admin HTR


21 Responses to Reflection on Both Conferences and NHLPA Sinking Lower ***BREAKING NEWS***

  1. kicksave856 says:

    Wow. That’s gotta be a record! My finger is cramped from scrolling!

    The first thing I noticed while reading this is that I agree with you on Bettman’s press conference. It was the most human he’s seemed in years, he spoke well, and he explained his points very well.

    NHLPA backers are going to argue that Bettman was lying when he said that $42.5 mil was stretching it. He may, very well, have been lying. We’ll probably never know. But that’s the problem with negotiations – you pretty much lie about what you can afford and keep upping it as the other side contends your position. Then, eventually, you come to your “final offer”, and no one knows if it’s truly “final” or not, because you’ve told them what you can afford and changed it so many times. Of course, this goes both ways, and my writing this does not mean that I side with the PA. Just making a point.

    I also thought Goodenow’s time with the media was complete drivel. To come this far and still not have anything new to say is pretty telling. I can’t wait until he ends up in a room full of lawyers, regarding impasse, and they have to keep telling him, “Ok, just stop now. We have that quote in our notes already. You said that in November 2004, twice in January 2005, two more times in February 2005, and this is the third time you’ve said it today. Why not just send a tape recording and save yourself the plane ticket?”

    It does, indeed, sound like a political campaign. But it sounds like it’s JFK debating Ross Perot. It’s just no contest. Of course, if we could vote on this, it’s all be said and done and we’d be arguing Flyers-Devils points right now.

    I’d cross my fingers, but I have to wait for my scrolliosis to clear up.

  2. Aetherial says:

    The NHL’s second-to-last offer included a mutually appointed arbitrator to determine revenues. THAT was not good enough or the union… Why?

    My favorite interview so far was with an Oiler’s player, I *think* it was goalie (I keep thinking Corey Scwab?… but I did not think he was an Oiler?)

    Anyway… This guy was claiming that a cap was bad for the league. The radio host immediately asked him “why”.

    Seriously folks, you should have heard him stumble and mumble. He just kept saying stuff like “come on, you KNOW it is bad for the league”. His only other answer was “what if Tie Domi goes to Carolina and Darcy Tucker ends up in Nashville” or something like that.

    Radio host: “so?”

    Player: “How is that good for the league”

    Radio host “How is it bad?

    If you look at the whole history of Goodenow’s reign he has always been a combatitive negotiator.

    He always holds out until the deadline, thinking he can make a deal. He expects to break the owners each and every time.

    In the past he has always been right.

    This time, he was wrong.

    Linkage was never the issue, trust was never the issue (the players PROVED it wasn’t by refusing to have an auditor).. nothing was every the issue except this…

    Salaries had to go down… Goodenow was bound and determined to get an agreement that would ensure salaries would not (not in the long run).

    Of course it could be argued that “that is his job.”

    Well my friends, THAT is the fundamental reason why we are here today.

    It is/was the job/intent of the union to get every cent they can, NO MATTER WHAT. It doesn’t matter if they lose half their jobs from contraction. It doesn’t matter if the league never grows because there is no balance. Their goal is max dollars at any cost and the “ignored cost”, in this case, is the end of this season.

    Say what you want about the owners but they are asking for something that DOES help competitive balance, like some other leagues have already realized. On top of that… they ARE losing money, the players KNOW this and it is not a matter of whose fault it is… it just has to stop. That is the REALITY of ANY business.

    The players need to sub into reailty, finally… and it seems like maybe some are. It must be like waking up from a drug-induced stupor for some of them.

  3. nocuphere says:

    Mick you put alot of effort into this one bro.

    I’ll keep this short and sweet.

    “It should be Gary that apologizes to the fans, he created the lockout”

    That’s all I needed to hear from Dick Goodenow.

    To resort to tot-lot antics during such an important event in NHL history clearly shows the brain power and lack of mental stability this man has. Those comments mad me sick to my stomach.

    You’re opinion of Bettman was deserving, I believe him. I mean he is the only party that actually backs up anything he says.

    I used to hate Ed Schnieder, but after listening to him for 5 minutes, I quickly became a fan, and lets not forget Peddie’s comment about player’s not knowing how to decipher numbers. Classic. He’s right!

    My opinion of Bettman and the NHL became even more supportive when I heard the Chairman of the flames in his news conference telling us that his players know the financial stability of the flames, and they know that something drastic had to be done to keep that group together.

    I have no sympathy for the players now what-so-ever. To cave the way they did on the cap makes me pull my hair out, to think that 5 months ago this deal could have been done. The hard stance against the cap was a farce.

    Anyway i’ve vented enough. I feel bad for the Yzerman’s and Messier’s out there, but they need look no further than their own union for blame. The union has lost any credibility now that they’ve caved on the cap and will be lucky to get half the 42.5 next time round.

  4. markjohnston says:

    great article as always mikster

    I’m too excited by all these rumours of union mutiny to care about past deals.

    god, I hope something happens in the next few days and we have a season of sorts.

  5. Aetherial says:

    To be fair to the players…

    I think that they (naturally) have varying opinions on the issues, including the cap issue.

    The fact is, they may have appeared united against it, because that is the way their leadership told them this could be beaten. I think a lot of them (more than the ones who came forward) understood perfectly and were willing to accept it.

    I do understand though why they would not go against their leadership.

    I think, sometime in the future, they will. I think they are very angry at the cap getting thrown out there at the last minute…

    The union leadership, in this case I think it means Bob Goodenow, has not only made a horrible error in judgement but I think he has embarassed a good portion of the union along the way.

    Not *all* the players are unreasonable and stupid… just some.

  6. the_expert_44 says:

    bill guerin- “we might be the first union in history to offer a cap and be shut down”

  7. Aetherial says:

    Their cap limit was a joke. It would do NOTHING to address the problem.

  8. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    I heard that interview too. I didn’t know it was a player, I started listening just as the guy told the fan “well what if Darcy Tucker went Pittsburgh, and Tie Domi went to Carolina.” (you got the teams wrong) The radio guy said “well what’s wrong with that, I think the Penguins would love to have a guy like Darcy Tucker, besides what’s wrong with it?” The guy is obviously against souther expansion, I like the thirty teams I posted before. Newfoundland Irish Drunks would be a great team, but the Halifax Scottish drunks would be way better.

  9. mikster says:

    See, if i were the Stars….i’ send him straight to the minor league team and leave him there to rot after an agreement is reached.

  10. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    It was proved that if you added up the IQ of all the people in the Stars management, it wouldn’t be higher then the IQ of a puck, when they didn’t trade the big mouth bastard.

  11. kicksave856 says:

    Wait a minute here. Now even Sportscenter is saying that there’s a group from the Players Union flying to the League office with a deal in hand.

    What’s going on here? This is ridiculous.

    Ridiculous.

  12. kicksave856 says:

    Wow. No one’s even buying it, huh?

  13. nocuphere says:

    You’re right, not all, but enough. Looks like we may have a season after all, what a soap opera.

  14. Flyers_Fan_In_LA says:

    The union is being broken. The players are going to NYC with their hats in their hands to take a deal from the NHL.

    Bettman wins.

    The question is – will the fans be back. the answer might rest solidly on the shoulders of a VERY young Sidney Crosby.

    If I was Bettman, I would allow the players to play the role of the HERO in this matter. We all know he is going to win but he NEEDS the players to have a way out. THEN he needs YEARS of growth and significant changes to the game that makes it better on TV – espeicallty HDTV

  15. guinsfan4life says:

    Great job Mick, as always.

    I’ve been an advocate of the owners the entire time and have voiced my displeasure with the players and their stance.

    There isn’t anything you can say the players union have working for themselves at this point. The Players union failed…greed never wins out in the end and hopefully this will be proof.

  16. beefer says:

    Very good point about letting the players look like the heros. I was thinking the same thing. Bettman looks ‘good’ for winning and getting what the league needed, the players prevent the major backlash against them by saving the day, and Goodenow looks like the big tool(while hopefully ending up out on his arse).

  17. HockeyMessiah says:

    THAT’S IT!!! I’m going to the Newfoundland Irish Drunks training camp!!! After all, I’m from Newfoundland, I’m of Irish descent, AND I’M DRUNK!!!

  18. LeafyMcLeaf says:

    I’m Irish too. I’m also Scottish. That gives me the excuse to hate anyone for no apparent reason. (Brittish Bastards) One time at school in class everyone was making fun of the Irish, the teacher took it because he’s Irish. Of course then someone put up his hand and said “Aww come on that’s not true,” I took a sigh of relief… before he continued “We all know the Scotts are the real drunks” Of course this guy was Scottish too and his name was Scott so I knew he was just kidding.

  19. rojoke says:

    The most intriguing thing about this latest piece of news is the rumour that if there is a deal done in the next 48-72 hours with a hard cap in place, there will be a change in the NHLPA. Bob McKeznie said on TSN last night that there is the possibilty that Bob Goodenow will tender his resignation. He also said that he could be replaced by former PA president Mike Gartner, who is rumoured to have had a hand in coming up with the supposed deal that will be discussed today. If this turns out to be true, then all can say is this to Bob Goodenow. You won a lot of fights for the players over the last ten years. Do you really want to quit because you may have lost this one? Or is it because the players did what you didn’t want to do? And people called Bettman a dictator.

  20. kicksave856 says:

    I’ll choose answer “C”.

    He knows that if he doesn’t resign the position chances are he’ll be fired.

  21. watson says:

    BREAKING NEWS, NO HIGH LEVEL PROFESSIONAL HOCKEY, THEY KILLED IT, IT WILL NEVER SURVIVE UNLESS THEY GO BACK TO 6 TEAMS

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