See you in January.

Everywhere I go, people are telling me there won’t be NHL hockey this season. And that is exactly what NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players’ Association executive director Bob Goodenow would have you believe.

I’m not buying it. Here’s why:

Neither Bettman nor Goodenow wants to have his name associated with the NHL’s first year-long work stoppage because of labour woes.

If the league shuts down for the season and no Stanley Cup champion is is declared, that – and nothing else has accomplished in their respective careers – would be their lasting legacy. It’s not exactly the kind of thing you want to have on your resume.

The fact we are well into November with no sign of a peaceful solution on the horizon is no surprise. We have known for a couple of years there would be a lockout and we knew it wouldn’t be a short one. Both sides have been successful in giving the illusion they are prepared to forgo the season if it means getting what they want in the new collective bargaining agreement. Any flinching at this point would be perceived as a sign of weakness that the other side would eat up.

Both men talk a tough game, but don’t kid yourself – deep down they know that have everything to gain by ensuring there’s hockey this season and everything to loase by keeping the NHL shut down.

Bettman, in particular, must make every effort to ensure there is hockey this season. It is under his watch the league finds itself in such a desperate situation with problems on and off the ice. Bettman negotiated a collective bargaining agreement that, in hindsight, clearly favoured the players – and the he extended the deal.

Now he is holding the NHL hostage, seeking a deal that would guarantee every owner a profit regardless of how poorly they may operate their business. It is B.S., and if Bettman doesn’t understand that, he’s not only a poor negotiator, he’s delusional.

Here’s and idea, Gary: cook up a TV deal that covers the cost of all players’ salaries the way the NFL does and get back to me. In the meantime, pull your head out of the sand.

If the season is cancelled because Bettman won’t move off his sticking point, it is he – not the players – who should endure the wrath of disappointed and disgusted fans. At the end of the day, he’ll be remembered as a basketball guy who came in and screwed up hockey.

Goodenow, on the other hand, has been cool in negotiation. He has encouraged players to seek employment elsewhere while the lockout is on and emerged from a meeting with the players in late October with a united front after it appeared there were a few cracks in the wall of solidarity.

Goodenow’s first presentation to the league was a good one that included a luxary tax, a rollback on players’ salaries, a change in the entry-level system and a revenue-sharing plan.

Bettman shot it down in spite of the fact the players said it offered owners a savings of more than $100 million.

Are we to believe it was Goodenow’s best offer? Hardly. Nobody steps up to the plate with a “final” offer right off the bat. It is apparent the players want to play NHL hockey this season, so the onus is on Goodenow to present a plan that will kick-start some serious negotiating.

Goodenow could offer to increase the rollback in salaries; a more punitive luxury tax; increase the number of years of service a player must have before being eligiblie for salary arbitration; extend the period of entry level from three years to four while lowering the amount of money players can earn in that period; offer teams the right to take players to arbitration; adjust the qualifying offer system; and lower the age of unrestricted free agency.

All of these suggestions would benfit teams, but they do not come witha guarantee and that’s what Bettman is looking for. If they satisfy enough owners, though, Bettman would have react.

I believe Goodenow will make a second offer in early December, giving both sides enough time to work on a deal that guarantees there will be NHL hockey by late January.

See you at the rink.

B-Lloyd, peace.


31 Responses to See you in January.

  1. Serdy says:

    I think you are making to big of a deal out of these guys legacies. Ya, most people have some sort of picture in their mind on how they want to be remembered, but I dont think that is the main issue right now. What would you say if on the other hand, yes Bettman was the commissioner when the stanley cup was not given out for the first time in like 90 years, but he was also the man to SAVE the NHL by being firm and insisting on a healthy league that wasnt bleeding money. I think he prefers saving the league.

    If the Levitt report is correct, Bettman does not have everything to gain by getting the season started, only if they can pound out a good deal, getting the season started with a raw deal would be wrong.

    I dont know if you were just kidding, but nobody would be able to cook up that kind of TV contract. The first step in negotiating a tv contract is an audience.

    It is the players on their high horse that is the problem not Bettman. A plan that would save $100 million, ya it might sound like a lot but its not enough, that like not even half way there, so really no, it was a crappy proposal.

    Though, I do hope you are right and there is hockey in January, but since the league keeps clearing out 45 days at a time, a deal needs to be made within a week or two to start a season in january. Not lookin good.

  2. the_hockey_bandit says:

    I have been hearing over and over that they are stuck in the wrong areas and they are speaking apples to oranges. If they understand each other and what each other wants, what is stopping the talks?

    If we were to see Bettman make a proposal that would begin negotiations then we would have a chance. The fact that everyone is blaming Bettman and Goodnow makes no sense to me. They are both the front puppets of their respective organizations. They will be held to blame if the season is cancelled, but they must get to gether to at least talk. Nothing will happen until they talk or even meet to start talking.

    Bettman had an interview with ESPN and he continually says they need to fix the system and get the revenue spending under control. He points out the growth in the last 12 years and the fact that it is alot larger.

    Well, that is good and all, but the price of tickets are almost to the point that you have to be a die hard hockey fan to pay for them, and when you do you want to see a good game, instead they are shown a trapping holding slow game that just drags on and on.

    If Bettman expects his revenue to continue growing he is going to have to realize that the ref’s are going to have start calling the holding and hooking to speed up the game. For a while the games will be full of penalties, until the players get the flow back, and we see just how watered down the talent is.

    I guess I am just trying to say that there are more problems than the CBA can fix, but that is the first step. If we accept the players deal (no hard cap), or the ownersdeal(cap) we still need to speed up the game to cover ourselves for the future. This would bring in new fans that the sport is desperately needing.

    To hockey fans everywhere…

    Stay true we will have hockey again!

    (If the brass knows what is good for them they will fix the game)

  3. habsoverserver says:

    If by hockey you mean, a fast paced skill game with end to end rushes, highlight reel goals and dramatic saves, I am sorry but that game has not been played for about 10 years and the outlook is bleak for 2005.

    It’s time for the fans to lockout the owners.

  4. hockeyhead says:

    i agree with you. plus, what are the 250 some odd players doing in europe right now? they are playing a style of hockey that i think we would enjoy. i would love to know what they are making over there. my guess is a lot less.

    so they can do it. they can play skilled hockey that we all love and do it for less.

    what is the problem? the problem is that the nhl needs to eliminated. let them play here with european rules and money structure. either that or stay over there. i watched the p-bruins the other night and a couple college games so there. poker occupies my tv time anyway.

  5. guinsfan4life says:

    Bettman’s legacy has nothing to do with the fact there is not going to be a hockey season this year. His legacy will be rooted in the fact that he actually will end up saving hockey–even though a season was lost in the process, which will be worth it. One season of not having a Stanley Cup champion means nothing compared to what the league faces if there is not a salary cap.

    Bettman’s main objective in this is cost certainity. Yes, he may have erred in extending the previous deal but that is in the past–and it is due to your one-sided arguement that you believe “he is holding the NHL hostage, seeking a deal that would guarantee every owner a profit regardless of how poorly they may operate their business.” That is the problem with the NHL. People look at each team individually–instead of looking at the bigger picture which is that the success of the league depends on ALL teams, not each team individually. That is how the NFL is different than the NHL. It would be equally easy for me to respond to your comment (quoted above) to say that Goodenow is holding hockey “hostage” because he is seeking a deal that would make every NHL player a millionare regardless of how poorly they play or how freely they spend their money.

    How can you foresee what will happen at the end of the day when that end is no where near in on the horizon?? If at anything, Bettman is gaining popularity for his stance because he isn’t backing down to the players demands and is sticking pat.

    What it really comes down to is that the players need to realize they are going to make their money—alot of it. And the owners are going to have to pay it–most of it (cause it ain’t ever gonna come from TV).

  6. simplyhabby says:

    Blah Blah Blah lockout blah blah Bettmen Blah blah Goodenow blah blah blah soloution blah blah blah cap blah blah blah hockey is boring blah blah blah

    I thought i would never have said this but the NHL simulation roundup on Sportnet.ca is way more interesting over the same old blah blah blah.

    The lockout news and opinion and been regurgitated so many times. Seriously how many times can it be said that something has to be done in the NHL and both the players and owners are at fault?

  7. 19Yzerman says:

    No NHL! = No Habs vs B’s rivalry?

    CRAAAAAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    European pay levels with European rules sounds good though.

  8. hockeyhead says:

    i do want the core teams…..the defining teams of the nhl but the way it is structured now…it would be better to burn to the ground and let the phoenix rise with a new league and REAL ice hockey.

  9. hockeyhead says:

    i know… i wrote an article on “the worst” things in the nhl such as worst cheap shot or worst goal and so on. it didn’t make the cut. i wanted to talk about something else.

    i miss coming here and having heated debates and so on,

    i must admit that i don’t miss the brand of hockey but i do miss watching the bruins as i would be doing everytime they play. i saw a p-bruins game the other day and that was ok. just ok. but it is cool to see prospects. hannu is going to be a good goalie.

  10. guinsfan4life says:

    I’m feeling you on that one. Man it seems like we rehash the same thing day after day after day after day after day…

    and still it is the same conclusion.

  11. 19Yzerman says:

    I see what your saying. Before there was an NHL there was the Habs and after an NHL is gone there will still be Habs? Wouldn’t that be strange. A team that outlasts a league.

  12. habsoverserver says:

    We won’t know until Sept of 2005 at the earliest. My guess is 2 articles per week + 6 comments per article until the new season starts in Sept 05. I’d say we have to regurgitate this about 500-600 more times.

  13. hockeyhead says:

    we need knobbygobbler to return or one of his sixty personalities to spice up the conversation.

    it is times like this when you miss a darkhorse or knobby. someone that likes to cause a reaction. i would be glad to do it but i need a bruins-canadiens playoff controversey to get my blood flowing.

  14. 19Yzerman says:

    You guys are right. No matter what the article reads. the replies will revert to the NHL vs NHLPA lockout.

  15. 19Yzerman says:

    I thought Kovalev did that with his gimpy wrist!!

    Oh!!!!!! someone gave me a BC two hander!!!!!!

  16. simplyhabby says:

    I think the highlight of this lockout for me is seeing the minor league games. I live very close to hamilton (Montreal’s farm team) and I have had the pleasure of watching Kosistyn, Danis, Locke and Hainsey play. I have to watch a hamilton Providence game just to rekindle some memories. ITs not the same but the AHL is not dominated by a lockout and it makes for entertaiing hockey as a lot of guys have something to prove.

  17. simplyhabby says:

    LOL and you said you are not a pessimist. Unfortunately you are right being a realist ut a realist in this situation is a pessimest. We have to face the fact that its extremely likely the season is toast.

  18. 19Yzerman says:

    pessimist? realist?

    Lets be idealists and see how commical we can be with info that is realated to this site.

    Like This

    KnobbyGobbler is a MotoCross racer who bites the Knobbys off of the opponents tires in the pits before the races so they cannot execute turns with any velocity and Darkhorse is the name of her bike. I would be nice to knobbyGobbler because she is the woman in the blue thong bikini in that ad for screensavers.

  19. PayUpSucka says:

    I obviously can’t speak for you guys, but after watching classic reruns coutesy of TSN, i’d much, much rather todays’ hockey any day of the f cuking week than that puss y sh it i’ve been seeing on TSN.

    Hockey in the late 80’s early 90’s was great, but pre 1985 was just like watching my old man and his friends play in their beer league.

  20. hockeyhead says:

    is your dad bobby orr, brad park, phil espo, ray bourque.

    i know what you mean but i would say pre 70. watching the hall players going end to end is pretty cool.

  21. PayUpSucka says:

    You’re right it was pretty cool to watch #4, Nifty, Phil, Lanny, and all the starts, but the no names are what really made those games boring to watch.

    I guess I just prefer the 240lbs guys smashing bodies with reckless abandon, then watching Randy Ladoceur skate to the oppositions blue line untouched. haha.

    Just so tired of the one speed pace that was the norm, no disrespect to the guys you mentioned, but their careers would’ve only lasted an average of 3 to 5 years in todays NHL.

    Forgive me for saying this because I too love #4, but Scott Stevens or Darius Kasparitis or Hal Gill would have made Orr part of the blueline if he tried to waltz through the neutral zone in 2004 like he did bak in the day.

  22. hockeyhead says:

    he will admit that he tried to do too much with the puck. they have been showing a lot of retro stuff and so many guys intentionally went knee to kknee with the guy it is enough to make you sick.

    it is funny to watch the goalies back then. they couldn’t stop a beach ball. all stand up.

    i agree tho, mid eighties too mid 90’s were prime.

  23. PayUpSucka says:

    Bobby Orr is the greatest player ever period. He did handle the puck alot, but only because he could and there was nothing anyone could do about it, except take his knees out. Too bad we’ll never see another one. Leetch, Coffey and Neids are the only D i’ve seen in my lifetime that were even close to him.

  24. hockeyhead says:

    my bias opinion says that bourque (not phil) was close, however i would say that ray was the best all around d-man.

    yaa, coffee was the closest you will get. his team helped out a lot with his numbers as well.

    good times.

  25. 19Yzerman says:

    Bobby Orr was lucky to play in the Era he played in because he had the liberties of going dirctly to the net whenever he saw fit. Which was often enough to score one of the greatest Stanley Cup Clinching goals ever.

    If he played in todays era for the Devils. His defensive responcabilty would have him dropping back to greet players in the nuetralzone for the TRAP.

    He was one of those kind of players that only come once and the mold was broken.

    Its a shame his career wasn’t longer.

  26. 19Yzerman says:

    I just recalled a interview of Bobby Hull who talked about Orr and he said one game after the first period Hull was skating past the ref who looked at Hull with a grin and said what are we going to do about Orr? Hull said well since he had the puck the whole time in the first period lets do this. Give Orr a puck and throw a second puck on the ice for the rest of us to play with!!

    Hull said”He always had the puck”

  27. Aetherial says:

    haha, I can’t believe you of all people said it but I could not agree more… I think the fans should lock out the owners also!

  28. 19Yzerman says:

    Problem!!!

    Getting all hockey fans to agree to stay out of arenas without anyone crossing the lockout line or forming a line in the first place. Most fans are now suffering from an overwhelming dose of hockey depravation that fans will flock the home arenas and to their easy chairs with joy and antisapation like little children on christmas eve.

    I wrote an article to test these waters. It was more focused on demanding other forms of hockey then it was about boycotting the NHL which would have been fine by me either way. I still feel the fans need to do more then just sit back and wait for the dust to settle. The thing is that most people are just waiting and are not willing to put any effort into letting both the NHL and NHLPA know we are displeased with the way they are both conducting the whole situation. Everyone is loosing right now and as soon as they both realize that there will not be any winner. Then!! and only Then!!! will things begin to move forward. This IS!! HAS!! and ALWAYS!! Will be a Lose, Lose ,Lose situation

    The NHL loses!!!

    The NHLPA loses!!!

    and

    We The FANS lose!!!

    http://hockeytraderumors.com/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=4913&mode=nested&order=0&thold=0

  29. jgibbs32 says:

    you better be right… o_O

  30. corky says:

    Hey guys, I am getting into hockey more, but if I sound like I don’t know what I am talking about I just got into hockey, thats why, but I just bought espn nhl 2k5 because I think hokey will be back soon.

  31. Eric86 says:

    Way to copy the Hockey News article WORD FOR WORD, this was actually written by i think Mark Brender, it is a shame that none of my original articals can make it on this site but someone who copies and pastes an article together can. This site is a joke, but i’ll continue to look at it because there is nothing else on hockey to read.

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