NHL Canadian Corner – Saturday, August 11, 2012.

A Winnipeg columnist tees off on NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, Senators prospect Mika Zibanejad to play in North America this season, Flames provide no update on new arena, and Canucks players and alumni participate in golf tournament honoring the memory of Rick Rypien.

WINNIPEG SUN: Paul Friesen takes NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to task for threatening what could be the third lockout during his stewardship of the league. Friesen assumes the Jets ownership, and those of other NHL cities making currently making big bucks, are happy with the current system, while also chiding the owners for pushing so hard for the current system in the first place.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Overall, I share Friesen’s disdain for the league’s current stance, but he’s fooling himself if he believes the Jets owners are happy with the current system. Sure, they’re making lots of money from it, but they also see an opportunity here to try and make even more for themselves at the expense of the players. Friesen almost makes it sound as though this is all Bettman’s doing and the owners are just along for the ride. The owners are the ones seeking more givebacks from the players whilst paying lip service to revenue-sharing. Bettman is doing his job by negotiating on their behalf.

Zibanejad to play in North America this season.

OTTAWA SUN: Senators prospect Mika Zibanejad will either play in Ottawa or their AHL affiliate this season.

CALGARY HERALD: The Flames lease agreement on the Saddledome expires in 2014, raising speculation over a new arena. So far, the Flames are tight-lipped on the subject.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s understandable why the Flames want a new arena, as the current one is 30 years old now, one of the oldest in the league, and the club could benefit from a modern, large venue. Still, the Saddledome is also among the more iconic arenas in the league, due largely to its distinctive shape. It’ll be a shame to lose that.

VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks players and alumni are participating in a golf tournament honoring the memory of Rick Rypien, who took his own life last summer at 27. The proceeds will benefit mental health initiatives.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A worthy cause, and good to see Rypien hasn’t been forgotten by his old teammates.


  1. Lyle: Help me out here, i don’t understand how locking out the players (losing multiple games, or the whole season) will allow the owners to make more money? Doesn’t everybody lose, BIGTIME??? The most recent season they made a ton of money! They’re willing to lose money this year, in order to “POSSIBLY” make more the following years? They don’t fear, by shutting down this year, they could do irreparable harm to the league, and to their own wallets?
    I can’t get my head around that kind of arogance and machismo?
    I used to be a big Major league baseball fan! After the strike i have never gone back to ONE major league game!
    I suspect if they go through with this…many fans will become XXXfans!

  2. If the owners are only paying 43 percent of their HRR to the players, they’re making more money. Sure, initially, in the first season, they could all face a loss, depending of course on how long another lockout lasts. Ultimately, however, they’re confident the fans will return, pay out even more, and continue riding that wave of rising revenue since 2005-06.

    I certainly empathize with your frustration, and perhaps you and some current NHL fans will turn away in justifiable disgust over this situation.

    The fact is, the owners aren’t worried about that. For every fan they lose, they know they’ll gain two or three more over time as memory of a lockout fades and fans get wrapped up in the action of the season again.

  3. If the owners lockout the players, don’t they still have to meet their contractual obligations? I can’t see why if a player is prevented from playing, by the owners, they can refuse to pay him??

    • The players cannot be paid if they’re locked out.

      • It would seem if you have a contract you could sue (and win) if not paid… why can the owners avoid that? i don’t doubt you… just don’t understand how that works!!!

  4. the owners can’t keep treating their paying customers like chumps, this posturing will only hurt them in the long run. the paying customers know none of this is being done for their benefit, when the owners got their cost certainty after the last lockout not ONE team lowered prices by even so much as a nickel. blame for the out of control salaries has to be laid at the feet of the owners who keep paying these ridiculous salaries, sure the agents find loopholes because that’s their jobs but ultimately it’s the owners agreeing to pay. it’s unbelievable how the owners have to keep going to the players for cuts when all they really need is a little self control. you can’t save someone from themselves, i fully believe if the players offered to work for $1 a year the owners would find a way to screw that up. what the owners need to do is show some leadership and resolve the mess in Phoenix once and for all, then develop a strategy for dealing with troubled franchises where the problems don’t linger year after year. if they have to contract the league and disband revenue challenged franchises (waiving players on those teams throughout the league)then so be it. the product on the ice will be better for it and the league will be stronger without the constant drain of trying to prop up franchises in areas that don’t support them. revenue sharing won’t work when there are more franchises losing money than making it.

  5. OMG stop whining. So many generalizations made this is starting to sound like Fox and MSNBC reporting the US elections.

    Yes there would be no hockey if there were no fans. There would be no hockey if their were no players or owners either, so thats just a assinine statement. Of the three parties, who has sacrificed and took the financial risk for there to be a league? The owners, no one else. Yes they are Billionaires and Millionaires, but most of them decided to take on a losing venture, accepted the fact they would lose money, just for us to be able to enjoy professional hockey. If they didnt take that risk, we would all still be standing in freezing arenas watching 8 year olds.

    What no-one is saying is the owners have an absolute “right” to make and enjoy profits, and they are under no obligation to share those profits, as long as per legislation they treat their employees fairly. Do you see you Tims ensuring the staff are getting 50% of revenues (not profits, but revenues). The average NHL salary is $2.4 million. The average NHL career is 5 years. So any average player generally earns $12 million over his career, take half for taxes and that leaves $6 million. It would take any family of 4 (both parents working) over 96 years to make that. Does that not seem a bit extreme? Are we to ensure that athletes grandchildren dont ever have to work?

    As far as criticizing the CBA, one thing not being said often, is that the players are recieving more money as a whole, and as individuals than at any other point in NHL history. Yet we still continue to argue the players “lost” the CBA. There is no-one, not even the owners, who saw the revenues jumping as high as they did. If the revenues had only gone up say 5% then I dont think we would be where we are, the last CBA would have worked fine. Seriously, did anyone see the average NHL salary being more than the average NFL salary…thats how much revenues jumped.

    With revenues jumping to the extreme they did, the league does have to correct for the “Market”, as any other business would in any other market. What I see as happening this time around, is nothing more than taking something that improved the league, and to patch the holes, correct a couple loop holes.

    The irony is, I am willing to bet a paycheck that 5 years after signing this CBA, the players will be setting new record highs for income…..

    • I would agree that the owners have a right to make money, but the players do as well. the problem as I see it is the weak sister teams. Remove the cap floor and let each owner opperate his team as he sees fit. If he goes broke it is his problem. He can either sell the team to an owner who can opperate the team were it is or move to another location, or, he can fold the team. By not having to prop up or own these teams the successful owners will make more money without having to ask the players to give back. Also the league will be stronger. There will more competion for jobs with the players from these folded teams now seeking work, With more quality players available to the remaining teams player salaries will come down. I also think the split of hrr should be 50 50.This will make a true partnership between owners and pllayers. Now that I have solved the cba problem, let’s play HOCKEY!!!