NHL Lockout (Day 89) Morning Coffee Headlines – December 13, 2012.

Another NHL CBA meeting ends without results, as both sides could take this down to the wire before a deal is done.

TSN.CA: The NHL and NHLPA met separately yesterday with federal mediators, but just like the previous CBA talks involving mediators, nothing emerged to bring the two sides closer to a resolution. No new proposals were made and it is doubtful meetings continue today. No owners participated in yesterday’s meeting, while 13 players attended on the NHLPA side. The league continues to insist on a ten-year CBA (with an opt-out clause at year eight), term limits on player contracts and no variance (like amnesty buyouts or capping escrow) during the transition toward a 50-50 revenue split.

ESPN.COM: Katie Strang cited sources claiming, to the NHLPA’s understanding, the NHL’s stance hasn’t changed since last week, maintaining a “take it or leave it” position. Several of the players who traveled to Wednesday’s meeting were said to be unhappy over the league’s unwillingness to move off its position. According to Strang, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly “said the league never put its last offer on the table, although the mediator may have presented the union with a “what-if” scenario should it resurrect its proposal.” Scott Burnside, meanwhile, lists the 12 things to miss about the NHL, including Scott Hartnell’s hair and HBO’s “24/7: Road to the Winter Classic” reality series.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Daly may say the NHL’s recent proposal wasn’t put back on the table, but rest assured if the players were willing to accept it, that proposal would swiftly reappear. Indeed, the “take it or leave it” position suggests it remains in play.

Brenden Morrison surprised by issues in CBA talks.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Free agent Brenden Morrison, who participated in yesterday’s meeting, told NorthJersey.com’s Tom Gulitti  he ” never thought the issues were as big as they were back in 04-05. Apparently, I was wrong,”

SLAM!HOCKEY: The Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch reports sources say the NHL intended to cancel games up to January 14, but opted not to do so in order to entice the players back to the negotiating table. Given yesterday’s talks went nowhere, Garrioch speculates the league could soon slap a “drop dead date” on the union to get a deal done.

CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman suggests such a deadline might be what’s  needed to finally bring about a resolution to the lockout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Based on NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s comments last week suggesting anything less than a 48-game schedule wasn’t workable, media consensus had mid-January as the potential deadline, though Bettman has yet to impose a deadline on negotiations. If, say, January 15th becomes the deadline, that leaves potentially another month of talks before a possible resolution. It certainly appears as though both sides are willing to take this down to the wire.

SPORTSNET.CA: Mark Spector believes the owners need to be more flexible in these negotiations.

SPORTING NEWS: Jesse Spector believes keeping talks quiet (out of the media spotlight as much as possible) is the best path toward a CBA.

WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Chris Johnston of Canadian Press reports amnesty buyouts remain an issue the two sides must sort out. The league is against amnesty buyouts, considering it money paid to those bought-out players as outside the revenue share and the salary cap.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL: James Mirtle reminds us the new CBA could target existing long term contracts, perhaps with a “cap benefit recapture formula,” which would punish teams with players who retired early on long-term deals by putting the money they saved over the term of the deal on their cap after they’ve retired.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We haven’t heard much about that proposal since the PA introduced it about a month ago, as the focus has shifted to other issues, but I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see that wind up, in some form, in the new CBA..

STLTODAY.COM: Jeremy Rutherford examines how the next CBA could affect Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo’s next contract.

NEW YORK TIMES: Jeff Z. Klein reports expects claim the NHL’s “dysfunctional” business model puts the league in peril. The league to date has lost nearly ten percent of its games over the past 18 years to three lockouts.

13 Comments

  1. If Iam the players at this point …iam tired of being sticked between the legs in the crease, ……..getting a face wash in the corners…… chopped on the wrists while on the rush and pushed around after the whistle.
    Its time to drop the gloves on the owners ….and thats to play the same hard nose grit style of game …..

    The players at this point have to take the puck and go home …..they have to make the NHL ( owners ) say WTF just happened as they have been doing to the players and literaly walk out and say you know what were done with you guys …..were now on strike ….NOT LOCKED OUT !!!!

    When your ready to play hockey again you come knock on my door and put the net on the top of your car on the way to the pond ……This owner business of take it or leave it is just plain out bullying ….the players havent been able to build on anything and get a compromise or even a play in there end to make some sort of concessions either way ……..

    Does anyonme understand that the owners are stealing money from the players and reneging on contracts and guaranteed money they signed deals with ….thats out right stealing !!!!!! This $300 million make whole isnt even the full amount of contracts all ready signed …..thats UNREAL !!!!!!

    What business person says Iam sorry I made a mistake on the contract I signed I want some of my money back …LMAO ….thats absolutely ridiculous and INSANE !!!!!! How does that even happen or even get brought up as a negotiating tactic …..how can you play with money all ready signed to a contract …..Thats like ted Leonis saying to OVI ….your production is down I mad a mistake on your contract I need some money back …LMAO …..hey Brodeur …I have second thoughts …your are to old …I mad e amistake I need some money back ……Hey Eberle your still to young and not polished enough …I need my money back I made a mistake……Hey Evander Kane I made a mistake I signed you the day before the lockout I should have waited until the lockout was over ….I need my money back ……lets get real here folks!!!!!

    While the owners have made Billions more the players have given billions more over the past decade …simple really !!!

    Its all about the owners final chapter ……to the end game …WE WANT COMPLETE CONTROL !!!!!!!!
    AND WE WANT IT THE WAY WE WANT IT !!!!!……..SO ” F” YOU …..the players need to take control and walk away and put the preasure on the owners for a change !!!! Theve given enough!!!

    • Let’s stop acting like the NHL is a “regular business.” It’s quasi-socialism, just like the majority of professional sports leagues.

      You rant and rave about an owner not honoring a contract simply because they don’t believe a player has earned it, but you have to look no further than the NFL to see an example of how player contracts are not honored on a routine basis. In the NFL no contract is guaranteed and players can be cut at any time and the relationship is terminated; that’s why signing bonuses are so huge, because its the only guaranteed money a player will get when they sign the dotted line. Indeed, the history of most professional sports leagues was that players basically worked on a one-year contract every year, and you performed or you were out of a job… but they also had to do so with the option of exploring free agency. The concept of multi-year contracts, etc. was something that needed to be collectively bargained for. So the notion that player have an absolute right to guaranteed contracts ignores the realities and history of the economics of professional sports.

      Also, what other business model do you know of where the proprietor shares anywhere from 50-57% of “revenue” (since what HRR constitutes is a major debate) with the employees? In some occupations the employees work off commission, but I’m not aware of many where the employees’ income is directly correlated to the health of the business and its associated revenue. Further, in those examples, I’m sure there is no guarantee that “if the business is booming and we’re making money hand-over-fist, I want my proportionate share… but, if we start to lose money, I don’t want to take any of the risk.”

      You cannot fairly evaluate the positions of either side if your do not acknowledge the fact that the model used by the NHL (and most professional sports leagues) is in many ways contrary to the business concepts which form the foundation of capitalism.

      • without the option of free agency*

  2. How about the NHLPA demand that the owners dump Bettman in return for them dumping Ferh and then bring in the guy who solved the NBA contract? Fair is fair!

  3. I used to care.

  4. Hi backchecking:
    While we both know that there is not much chance of your scenario happening, it would be an interesting scenario (because we do not have a financial investment either way) to watch unfold and may actually tell us more about both players and owners than we really want to know.
    Guaranteed contracts, unlike in the NFL, have both helped and hindered the players, the owners and the NHL but again I agree with you that once both owner and player sign on the dotted line the terms of that contract must be honoured in full.
    It would be nice to see incentive laden contracts make a comeback, which might produce more desire among certain players but with hard and fast salary caps the chance of that happening again is just about zero.

  5. Hi Uncle Slavko:
    I agree with you, but to be honest I don’t believe it would matter who was at the head of the players union as far as Bettman and the owners are concerned. Their goal from the outset of both this and the previous CBA negotiations was to not only demonize whoever the leaders were but in fact try to get the players to oust them. This time around it looks as though they took the pages from the last CBA negotiations play book and started following them, until they found out that the players were adamently behind Fehr and that Fehr had read and knew their play book as well as they did.
    Owners do not like unions and that is a long proven fact and no matter who is leading the union owners will always try to portray that person as the devil incarnate. It doesn’t matter that it is Donald Fehr, it could be Gandhi, and the owners would try to use their propaganda to make him out to be one of satan’s minions.
    Owners also do not like to be told what to do, it’s just in their nature, but they have grown used to telling people what to do and hearing, “yes sir,” in return and when they say “jump” their lackies usually say, “how high,” but when the players and Fehr don’t do either then the owners true nature shows itself and they lock their arenas and start issuing bullying type ultimatums.

  6. I find it interesting how quickly Bettman stormed into the building last week and lambasted Fehr and the NHLPA when Fehr was saying that steps forward had been made and that the conversations had been getting closer to an acceptable deal. Perhaps the “deal is imminent” was the wrong thing to say/imply, but, to storm in and essentially undercut every positive thing that had been accomplished and pulling the deal off the table because you weren’t the one making the announcement (that is my take on that “stunt”) is just childish.

    My understanding was that even though there had been tense times during the negotiations, they worked through them or at least cleared the air enough to continue to move foward. I’m getting sick of both sides saying “it’s their fault”. EVERYONE here is to blame. Fehr chose not to negotiate before the deadline, the owners are trying to save themselves from themselves, but, don’t want to tie their own hands. The players are seemingly making the concessions, only to have to make more because the line in the sand is constantly being re-drawn. At what point do they say enough, and walk away? They are trying to play the PR game with the fans, but, as Lyle has pointed out in the past, the fans are starting not to care and moving on with their money and time.

    It’s time both sides grew up and negotiated in good faith, honouring past agreements (ie contracts on both sides), sticking to “agreed” points and not moving the line because they realize they left money on the table and to stop using the media as a negotiation tool.

  7. LOL, plain out bullying…….when it comes to people telling me to open my wallet and telling me how to spend my money…..trust me I become a damn big bully.

    The bullying you refer to is the Owners saying “heres $300 M make whole (which the majority of owners dont want to include), but if you want that, we will give you your free agency, your arbitration, your pension, but we want term lengths and variation, CBA term, and transitiion elements.

    Read that sentence clearly…..the owners agreed to multiple the issues the players said were crucial to them and yet when the owners say they have 3 issues critical to them its bullying……

    AND STOP SAYING THE PLAYERS ARE GIVING UP THINGS…….there is no CBA…none. The last one expired. Its irrelevant. It holds no bargaining position in these negotiations except in players minds. The CBA being negotiated is being based on todays money and todays economy…..if you feel you lost in the last negotiations, tough, suck it up princess.

    And my last point……many pundits have reported that there are many players who wanted to vote on the last proposal….yet Fehr said no……..why? If the NHLPA is as strong and unified as they say, then an open vote of NO would really put the pressure on the owners….wouldnt it? Unless you are worried you wouldnt get that result and the majority would say yes.

  8. Hi Old Soldier

    ….if the owners knew they weren’t going to uphold contracts passed the new CBA discussions than they shouldn’t have signed players past the due date so as to keep them somehow tied to there team as a commodity ….you can’t have both …sign them to the due date or let them choose another team that pays them more for the short term.
    There then should be a discussion about contracts not being signed and agreed to passed any length of a CBA term.
    Also why did the owners sign all the players they did to the ridiculous contracts not only weeks but literally days and minutes up to the expiry date and time before the new CBA …sorry it doesn’t fly with me and if the shoe was on the other foot and other businesses conducted there business like this then there would be no value on anythig !
    The players are the product that the owners exploit to make there money just like the 8$ beer you buy at the rink that normaly costs a buck …..they rip me and you off at every turn like they rip everyone off when you can get over the hump with that you may see clearly.
    You talk as if the NHL club is the only business these owners own….it’s not ……they bought into it and wioth that comes the expenses and losses like every other business ….there are businesses that fail everyday …why is it when NHL owners say that they are loosing money that the whole world is ending …..BIG DEAL loose money like everyone else who runs a buisness…why does your ALWAYS have to propehet ALL THE TIME ….give me a break …..I waish I was a business owmner that worked in a society that when I cry for my losses I get someone to fix it for me so I can always make money ….please !!!
    To be a NHL owner comes the reality you are paying 22 guys who are the best hockey players in the worl;d a fair price for that service out of the hundreds of millions who wish they could be there each year world wide ……you want to own the best you pay the best the best !!!!!!
    Yeah Bettman deserves $ 6- 8 Million a year when the average players salary is $2.1 million and the only reason its at $2.1 is becuase of the superstar goalie and one superstar elite player on each team to raise the average ……hows that work out …other than that the league average is less that $1.5 with an average life expectancy of 2 – 3 years ….ask Clint Malarchuck or Marc Savard or Chris Pronger how that feels !
    Damaged goods ….the players deserve more respect and a process worthy of there talent and respect of the game for all the charity work they do and the lives they touch and the community they build.
    Having a player like Sydney Crosby in Pittsburgh makes the surrounding area of buisnesses in Pitt so much money its not even funny …..people make money off the backs of the players not the owners.

    A contract is a mutual agreement and document of worth by two parties for the time frame signed by each party …sorry my friend! Thats what reall business man who do deals up hold!

    The NHL is at record profits and the owners say there loosing money ….must be nice to move profit from you have from one holdings company to another that shows a loss and gives you a better tax benefit so you pay less money each year and then fudge your books to show a loss to tell the NHL and hockey world …GIVE ME AN Fen break there loosing money ……there Billionaires!!!!!!

  9. The bullying owners may have included $300 million as has been said but they chose to extend limits and terms or in fact take part of what the players offered and come back with a counter proposal, whichis what everyone is PO’ed at Fehr for doing with the leagues offers.

    Fehr said no because, as he has proven time and time again during these “negotiations,” that the league has and will come back every time with a better offer.
    Was that the best offer the players were going to get?
    I doubt it, and I wait for Fehr to be proven right once again when the league comes back with its next, last and final best offer.
    Also, what if the last offer proves to be the best. Bettman still has that one tucked away and ready to bring out and put back on the table if that is what it takes to get a deal done?
    I am still of the opinion that even if Fehr had the players get teady to vote on that offer something would have had the league take it off the table at the 11th hour. When the owners are ready to have their arenas filled, at least some of them anyway, with high paying customers once again they will give up the union busting tactics and concede to the players some of what they want and a deal will be done.

    As far as there not being a CBA except in the players minds, then why is the league still taking for granted that there is a salary cap? Why then is the league negotiating revenue percentages based on how much the players received last time? It is a bit more complex than just saying the last CBA is dead and gone and we all move our clocks back to zero and start fresh from there.

  10. Captain Ahab

    Agree the league is over 90 years old ….this isn’t the first negotiations …take away the salary cap which the owners abused to get there pretty little pets and superstars to fill the seats and there pockets and you have an open market which each owner will abuse again to get all the best players on one team …they giuy with the most money …its the owners who abuse each other and would eat each other if there was no salary cap …not the players fault for being the talent that makes them money!

  11. Hi backchecking:
    I agree with you about the owners and how they would go after each other. In fact no sooner was the ink dry, or possibly even before, on the last CBA than they had their lawyers looking for loopholes with which to circumvent the clauses and terms that they had just worked on negotiating. I believe that even before they sign off on this new CBA (whenever that happens) they will already have had their leagal departments looking for openings with which to exploit. I am all for free enterprise and wholesale, all out competition but with these NHL owner’s, their word means nothing and they are only out for themselves, unless of course they happen to be able to show a loss and then they come hat in hand looking for welfare, oops, I mean revenue sharing.
    As far as the salary cap goes, interesting fact that you don’t hear much about especially from Bettman, during the previous CBA negotiations the players offered what I believe was a 5 year fixed cap at $45 million and Bettman turned it down. By turning this cap offer down Bettman in fact cost the owners and the league $1 billion. Yes, during his reign Bettman has seen NHL revenue grow to somewhere around $3.3 billion but just imagine what it could have been. Plus as an added benefit, this time around they would have been negotiating from a $45 million salary cap limit.