NHL Blog Beat (Another CBA Edition) – August 16, 2012.

You’ve read the media’s opinion on the NHL CBA negotiations, now check out some of the notable viewpoints from around the hockey blogosphere.

PUCK DADDY/BACKHAND SHELF: Greg Wyshynski and Justin Bourne agree the “trading of salary cap space” in the NHLPA’s recent CBA proposal isn’t a good idea if all it gets used for is swapping cap space for cash.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If that is actually included in the next NHL CBA, it must come with the stipulation that the team trading their available cap space receive something (player, prospect, or draft pick) in return. Otherwise, it’ll be a cash grab for struggling clubs which can’t keep pace with the rising cap, which won’t resolve their problems and create problems filling their rosters in the future.

CANUCKS CORNER: Tom Benjamin praises NHLPA director Donald Fehr for his CBA counter-proposal, suggesting it would be great for the fans in one aspect: making future work stoppages unthinkable.

SBNATION: Ted Starkey acknowledges the current NHL CBA outlook seems grim, but it’s not as bad as it was at the same time back in 2004.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eight years ago, the two sides were firmly entrenched in their respective positions, hurling invective at each other. This time, at least, the dialogue is ongoing. Sure, a lockout remains possible, but as long as both sides are still negotiating, that’s a promising sign.

BLUESHIRT BANTER: Joe Fortunato believes the NHLPA may be winning the PR battle this time around.

WINGING IT IN MOTOWN: The “concessions” in the NHLPA’s proposal aren’t quite as “concessionary” as they seem.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of course the players “concessions” aren’t what they appear to be. The NHL’s offer was one extreme (deep cuts to the players share of revenue, sweeping changes to contracts and free agency,  and salary rollbacks), the PA’s is the other (a slight reduction in HRR to 54%, enchanced revenue sharing, no changes to salaries, contracts and free agency). They’re merely establishing their negotiating benchmarks.

What’s notable is the PA didn’t seek to abolish the salary cap, and are at least willing to consider a reduction in their share of revenue, provided a more enhanced system of revenue sharing is implemented. Had the PA refused to consider any sort of HRR reduction, then we’d face another significant impasse as in 2004 and 1994.  

ARCTIC ICE HOCKEY: Alex Hemsky crunches the numbers on the NHLPA’s prosposal.

RANT SPORTS: Steve Palumbo offers up ten ways to kill time in the event of an NHL lockout. None involve alcohol.


  1. I’m not a financial guru in any way….just a hockey fan for the past 55 years. I’ve seen hocket at its worst and its best. I remember the greats of years ago – Ted Lindsay, Johnny Bucyk, Maurice Richard, Jacques Plante, Alex Delvecchio, Ken Dryden, Jean Beliveau, and on….the one thing that characterized them all was their love for the game. They played hard, with passion. Today’s players seem to be more concerned about getting filthy rich (as are the owners), than they are about the good of the game. They talk about a fair shake; but how, in God’s green earth, can $100+ million be even remotely considered a fair shake??? 2-4 million seems to be th going rate for a journeyman hockey player. Wow!! An ER RN makes $100,000, if she’s lucky. So….who makes a more significant contribution to society???? Enough of the soapbox….I think both sides are despicable. Not just a salary is needed, but a per player salary cap. Contract term limits? Absolutely! How can any player, in good conscience, demand/accept more than a 5 year contract, given the injury factor? How can owners be so hypocritical as to bust the bank with their contract offers, and then demand what they do?! And yes, if the NHL is going to be so foolish as to establish teams in the southern tier/desert, why should northern teams subsidize this foolishness? Finally, if players are employees, why should they even be entitled to a share of profits???? Perhaps Tim’s workers should also get 57% of company profits. Modified communism, anyone?

  2. Bart, just a few points. Many of those old time players you laud for their love of the game later went on record, after their careers were over, about how they were screwed over by their respective team owners for decades. Ted Lindsay, in fact, was (along with Doug Harvey) the driving force for a players union in the late-1950s, and subsequently would pay a price for his efforts.

    Of course, it is impossible to really sympathize with what the players earn. They’re not poor, and as long as they manage their money well, never will be. Doesn’t detract from the fact that, in their industry, they have the opportunity to earn as much as they can within the boundaries of collective bargaining.

    As for the NHL’s “foolishness” for establishing franchises in the southern states, not all of those moves were foolish. The Dallas Stars did very well there for a number of years. The San Jose Sharks have also done very well. As for the rest, it was the owners of the northern franchises who voted for expansion in the first place. Those who today still own their franchises (Boston, Philadelphia, New York) happily pocketed the franchise fees and bragged about “growing the game”. Now, they don’t want to help those franchise survive? Pretty dumb, short-sighted thinking on their part.

    Is it “modified communism” for the NFL to have revenue-sharing? They’re the very model of how effectively it can work. Granted, the NHL doesn’t enjoy the lucrative revenue streams of the NFL, but they’ve significantly increased their revenue over the past seven years, openly bragging about it. Surely there’s a system that can be adopted in which the richer clubs can assist those struggling ones, with the eye on getting them self-sufficient?

    Contract terms won’t fix a damn thing. It’s the distribution of revenue that is the real issue. Everything else is chintzy.

  3. Attn Bart. Profit sharing is one of the best ways a company can involve it’s employees. I’ve worked in 2 companies that have profit sharing, and it’s great. My wages are competitive in the industry, but either annually or quarterly, I get a piece of the pie.
    Therefore, it helps me want to contribute to the bottom line. It’s not communism, rather, it’s a form of capitalism.
    I do agree with you on the length of contracts. Anything more than 5 years is insane. But isn’t it the owners that make the those contracts possible? I know I could demand $100,000/per year. But I also know what my chances of getting it are. Zero, because there is no one willing to pay that for my job. I can’t play one owner against the other, knowing one of them will give it to me.
    As Lyle stated, the unions are there because the owner’s where just that. Owners. Not of the team, but the players. Then the pendulum swung to where the players held the power. There is enough for the need, but not enough for the greed, to paraphrase Ghandi.

  4. Hey Bart,
    Fair share is relative to the overall profits of the institution. If player salaries had been capped at the rate from 1980 with a standard of living increase, they’d have a much smaller slice of the pie and the owners would take the rest as profit (because your seats certainly wouldn’t cost any less).

    If the players were replaceable, they might have to take that deal, but the players aren’t. Replacing the players would impact the owners’ bottom line more than increasing the salaries. That’s why they are worth the millions of dollars. They might not help society as much as an RN, but they make money for the industry. How you can confuse that with communism is beyond me.