NHL Lockout Canadian Corner – September 25, 2012.

In today’s roundup of notable Canadian NHL team news: A call for both sides to be reasonable in Edmonton arena deal, some players were flattered to be compared to “cattle”, Mikhail Grabovski heads to KHL, and Jim Slater settles down in Winnipeg.


Oilers owner Daryl Katz threatens relocation.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: David Staples offers up an even-handed analysis of the dispute between Oilers owner Daryl Katz and the Edmonton city council over funding for a new downtown arena. Staples dismissed Katz’s implied threat of relocating the club to Seattle, but considers the threat a slap in the face of loyal Oilers fans. Still, he suggests a deal can be had if both sides are willing to be reasonable.

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: What bothers me about what Katz is doing is the fact the guy’s a billionaire, one of the richest men in Canada (net worth: over $2 billion, according to Forbes.com), and despite the fact the city has agreed to kick in $200 million to build a new arena, he’s squeezing the city for more by threatening relocation. Katz could afford the original deal, which would’ve been very lucrative for him once the Oilers started playing there. His excuses for why he needs more doesn’t bear up under scrutiny, as Staples and others have duly noted. All he’s succeeded in doing is pissing off one of the most devoted fan bases in the NHL.

If Seattle isn’t a viable option (and it isn’t), where’s he going to relocate to? Kansas City? He’d still get less revenue there than he would if he stayed in Edmonton. Hamilton? Not if the Toronto Maple Leafs and Buffalo Sabres have anything to say about it. Quebec City? Only if he sells the team outright to Quebecor’s Pierre-Karl Peladeau, who wants an NHL team of his own there, which would defeat the purpose of why he bought the club in the first place.

While the league has also hinted at relocation if there’s no new arena deal in place when the Oilers lease at Rexall Place expires in 2014, I find that threat hollow when one considers Edmonton has been consistently among the league’s top money-making franchises since the last lockout, and one of the reasons league revenue has risen as much as it did during the period of the just-expired CBA. It’s the height of insanity to leave such a strong market for a lesser one, all because a billionaire owner tried to get greedy. Sorry, I’m not buying what Katz is trying to peddle.

 VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Canucks goalie Cory Schneider, part of the NHLPA’s 31-player negotiating committee, suggests Jimmy Devellano’s comments referring to the players as “cattle” pales in comparison to Devellano’s remarks about an unwritten rule among teams about tendering offer sheets.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That comment suggests collusion among the owners, but given the Philadelphia Flyers failed attempt to sign Shea Weber this summer, one almost impossible to prove. 

CALGARY HERALD: Jarome Iginla and Braydon Coburn didn’t appreciate Devellano referring to the players as “cattle”.

OTTAWA CITIZEN: Jason Spezza declined to comment on Devellano’s remarks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nobody likes to be compared to a farm animal….unless your strength is akin to a bull’s, or you’re a guy whose penis is favorably compared to a horse’s, then it’s ok…;)

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs center Mikhail Grabovski has joined the exodus of locked-out NHL’ers heading to the KHL, signing with CSKA Moscow.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Despite the lockout, Jets forward Jim Slater is settling comfortably in Winnipeg.


  1. lol Spec

  2. Lmao. That’s probably the first and only time a sentence including the words “Horse penis” will ever appear on this site. Lol. Oh man…. Hahahahaha

  3. Consider this a warning.

    Keep it clean Lyle, or you will be banned for 24hrs!

    Stay classy.

  4. If the players read the full comment they would see that Devellano also referred to himself as cattle. Not a smart comment but he got fined for his actions.

    Players have been mouthing off since this lockout started.. and before that even.

    Pot meet kettle.

  5. Lyle, yes Katz is a billionaire, and he owns the Oilers. But he doesnt own the arena, and he wouldnt own the new arena. Most of the owners in the league dont own their arenas yet have much more favourable lease agreements, including everything Katz is asking for and more, including tax exemptions, shares of non-hockey revenue…none of which Katz has now.

    I am not defending Katz, personally I think this Seattle thing was a bit petty, and there is no one in the league who believes that the NHL would allow the Oilers to move without first trying to arrange a new arena deal or finding a new owner to replace Katz.

    There hasnt been a single analyst, economic or otherwise, who has said that the city of Edmonton would “lose” money in this deal, and I think that as misguided as he may be, Katz is simply looking to get the best deal possible, given how Quebec, Windsor, Seattle, Oklahoma all have new arenas or will have, at mostly public expense.

    • Regarding Old Soldier’s claim most NHL owners don’t own their buildings, five of the seven owners of Canadian NHL franchises (Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Vancouver) also own their arenas.

      While the new arena lease deal between Katz and the city of Edmonton means he wouldn’t “own” the arena, he holds the whip hand because he’s got the only anchor tenant which makes construction of a new downtown arena viable. It’s also my understanding he would receive all the HRR that new building would generate, compared to what he gets now from Northlands for Rexall Place. Katz already had a very good deal, but he’s now trying to squeeze the city for more. His threats of relocation make no sense for him financially, short of selling the team to Quebecor to move it to Quebec City, but that would be a move more out of spite than anything else.

      • To further my point, here’s what Katz would’ve received from the deal as originally negotiated, courtesy of the Edmonton Journal:

        (T)he Oilers were supposed to pay $5.5-million per year for the next 30 years in lease payments, and would keep all revenues from games, trade shows, concerts, and other events for eleven months out of the year. The team would also receive naming rights and $20-million from the city over 10 years for advertising.

        I fail to see where this did Katz any disservice.He’s getting share of non-hockey related revenues for 11 months out of the year, plus naming rights, plus $20 million over ten years from the city for advertising, in addition to all the hockey-related revenue.

  6. I guess I should prolly stop reading all this hockey related stuff, it is very frustrating. I can’t see how anyone can say this is all just business. The BofG is a union just as much as the NHLPA. The idea of moving the Oilers is just as bad as the NHL’s position to not move the Coyotes. If the teams were considered franchises just like a Tim Hortons, locations not making money would close or move to open in better areas. These teams are the hobby or play thing of billionaires.
    How about getting rid of the cap floor? or make it whatever # of roster spots multiplied by the league minimum (and add an arbitrary percentage) ? Introduce a luxury tax with proceeds going to the smaller market teams? Nobody held a gun to the heads of GM’s making them offer crazy contracts. I guess GM’s are not business people. But really, this isn’t a regular business. And sorry, I started with the Katz story and I went right to the lockout. having trouble letting it go.
    -How many teams that sent out letters to media, fans or season ticket holders even metioned the term “lock out”. They can’t even be honest and upfront with their fans. Talk about spin. A word of advice, If you ever shake hands with Bettman, count your fingers after.