NHL Lockout Morning Coffee Headlines – December 9, 2012.

Despite Thursday’s theatrics, the NHL and NHLPA appear closer to a deal. Read on for the latest.


Fehr remains hopeful of getting a CBA deal done soon.

NATIONAL POST:  NHLPA director Donald Fehr, speaking Saturday at a Canadian Auto Workers council meeting, maintained his claim the NHLPA and NHL were actually close to a deal before the league rejected the PA’s proposal and pulled its own offer from the table. Fehr said he hasn’t spoken directly with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman or deputy commissioner Bill Daly since talks collapsed Thursday. There’s been “some minor chatter” but no future meetings planned.

PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi believes the two sides are indeed close to an agreement despite the theatrics on Thursday. “Oh, there’s still work to be done, but if you cut through the rhetoric, the sides are not far away, money-wise, on the main issues. And it wouldn’t take much for a 48-game season to be saved, with teams starting play in early January”, write Carchidi, who believes compromise on the main sticking points (CBA term limit, player contract term limit, variance issues) is the solution.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with Carchidi. The two sides are much closer to an agreement now than at any time since negotiations began in July, and while it appears they won’t get a deal done to start the season in December, I do believe they could start the season by mid-January, if not before, provided the two sides resume negotiations in a timely fashion soon.

CANOE.CA: Former NHL star turned analyst Jeremy Roenick voiced his criticism of Fehr, believing the players should accept the league’s offer.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Pat Leonard believes this lockout isn’t about issues, but the owners resentment toward Fehr. “Their resulting reluctance to re-engage means the players may have lost — for good — the owners most crucial to jump-starting the talks in Manhattan last Tuesday”, writes Leonard, who suggests the league could cancel the remainder of the December schedule as early as Monday.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes the league’s actions on Thursday leading to a breakdown in negotiations was simply scripted as part of an effort by the league to stir up dissent among the players and remove Fehr from the negotiations. “The owners and Bettman walked away from the deal because they do not want to complete a deal with Fehr. They want him removed from the equation. That has become their primary mission, a priority greater than negotiating a CBA and saving the 2012-13 season”, writes Brooks, pointing out Calgary owner Murray Edwards on Wednesday telling NHLPA rep Ron Hainsey bringing Fehr back into negotiations could be a deal-breaker .

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Again, why would the owners tell the players bringing Fehr back in would be a deal breaker? Why try such a ham-handed effort to do an end-run around Fehr? That’s what is so puzzling to me. These owners and the NHL negotiators aren’t stupid men, but if they honestly believed they could get the players to agree to a deal without counsel, that was a very dumb move on their part. 

CBC.CA: Elliotte Friedman reports of a rumor going around that Ron Hainsey, who’s been deeply involved in the CBA negotiations on the NHLPA side, might never see another NHL contract again. Hainsey said he’s not worried about that. “If I play the way I’m capable of, everything will work out.” An NHL negotiator claimed Hainsey is the PA’s “bad cop” in these CBA talks, sometimes going over the line, though Friedman suggests there’s no hard evidence to support that accusation.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Kings enforcer Kevin Westgarth, who has also been quite involved in these negotiations, backed up Hainsey’s story about the league’s claim bringing Fehr back into the negotiations would be a deal breaker.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Here’s hoping that rumor about Hainsey not getting another NHL contract following this lockout is baseless. It would be a shame to see him blackballed simply for his role in these negotiations on the union side.

SPORTSNET.CA: John Shannon on the importance of revenue sharing if the NHL truly wants to ensure more stability among its franchises.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Revenue-sharing has all but disappeared from the radar in recent CBA talks. If the league believes reducing the players share of revenue again will aid its struggling franchises, it is seriously deluded. If slashing the players share of HRR from 75% to 57% and imposing a triple-tier cap system failed to aid those franchises, how does reducing HRR to a 50-50 split with limits on contract terms and salary variance resolve the problem?  Put simply, it won’t, not without a significantly improved system of revenue sharing.

 MLIVE.COM: 36 locked-out NHL players participated in “Rock Out The Lockout” charity game in Windsor on Saturday, in support of SPARKLES From Above, which supports childhood cancer patients.


  1. When the players put on a celebrity or charity game these days they almost sell out and do very well in a short period of time promoting it……this is a huge fact that the players are the game and the owners are greedy and arent really needed anymore!!!

    It would seem to me that the players really dont need the owners they need a decent size arena and a promoter…. an internal NHLPA blind draft per position and they could easily get a league formed.

    This is not as far fetched an Idea as one would think ….I dont think anyone has really looked to do it !!!
    The players are not under contract right now so there is really no legal issues they can walk away and go on strike just as they got locked out by the owners during this period they dont have to except any deal from the owners and start up there own league in that time period.

    They could get back to the grassroots and start a new venture where the players control themsleves as free agents and represent themsleves in a new league built and formed here in Canada that they own it would be fantastic …they wouldn’t require owners …there would be no lockouts and all the revenue would go to them to share as they are the product instead of the circus the owners are portraying is a league of NHL players whom they want to pay as if they are pets and owned products like robots!

    To purchase an NHL franchise Bettman is asking for $400 million from an expansion team!
    He will most likely expand 2 new teams and announce this not much longer after the lockout.
    This will bring almost $1 Billion in revenue to the league and the owners and teams on the bottom.
    Bettman needs to stop expanding into markets that are costing the league money and essentialy asking the players to subsidise the venture to create jobs for themsleves when it faild miserably for the owner who purchsed it!
    IMO I think the owners are fudging the books to make a loss and use the team as a tax break where they can take money from the holdings and move it into another loss so they dont have to pay taxes on the true businesses the own that are there real bread and butter ….this has never been exposed but is widely a practice for multi millionaitres and Billionaires in the world so we have to suspect that it is happening 100 % from these smart business owners who know how to cheat the tax man the government and control a league by saying they aren’t making any money when the league is at record profits …….does anyone get this or see this ….that the owners are lying at every angle or opportunity and are trying to get the public support by saying there NHL franchise is broke ……HELLOO open your eyes people !!!!!!
    The owners are blinding you all with there Iam sick story please feel bad for me so I dont have to pay NHL Hockey players what they deserve spo I can make millions more instead ……the public needs to open there eyes and realize this is all about the owners making sure they dont have to pay anymore than they want to by creating a contract to tell them so !

    Open your eyes ! The NHLs product is the players 750 of which are the best in the world out of the hundreds of millions of people who strive to be around the world ! they deserv to be paid as such !

    Bettman need sto address more Canadian teams where Hockey flourishes and actually makes money for the players and owners not in small markets where they are dead weight …lets start there!

    • The players will need deep pockets to start a league, they need rinks, tv deals, training rinks, airplanes, doctors, staff, etc.. the NHL has the best rinks and TV channels locked up.. ha ha , players with their own league, it is a pipe dream and I wish they would try as they would come back crawling .. fact is the players need the owners just as much as the owners need the players

    • Now what decent size arena would there be for these players to play in. The majority of the NHL arenas are owned by NHL Owners.. so that’s out.

      I wonder if the players OWNED this new league if they would feel differently when they have to pay expenses as well as themselves..

      Another funny thing is Chris Campoli is so behind Fehr.. but I wonder if he realizes that he will probably be one of those 100 or so players that don’t have a job at the end of this…. They fight the good fight so Crosby, Toews get their bucks… and he gets nothing…

  2. Although Brooks often off the wall, the facts support his claims.

    Everytime the sides are close to a deal, the NHL backs away and the evil Bettman claims that the latest league is take it or leave it, no negotiating.

    The league was opposed to mediation and, although they later allowed it, they are refusing it again. Why? B/c they don’t want deal now.

    They offered to negotiate w/o the principals and w/o owners on the committee, but then when it happens, owners on the committee appear.

    Then when they are very close to a deal, they pull away when the players want Fehr to negotiate the final details.

    The deal will happen when the owners want it to happen.

    And, finally, just shut up, Roenick.

    • the owners back off because they offer a spelled out deal and say here it is,we will give an extra 100mill and you can have these 3 other things you want and we will be happy getting back these 2 things we want.
      clear cut package as a whole.
      then master con man fehr says tahnks we will take evrything you offered but what you want back we will alter to this and this and oh btw we want these 2 new things added in as well.
      the con artist has pulled that every single time and that is why the owners back off.
      fehr will end up costing the players a lot more overall.
      i am no roenick fan either but just a couple of weeks ago he was all for the players hanging tough but after the last offer now even sees it was a good offer and that fehr is the problem.
      the make whole was based on games played and with every cancelation that will be going down and more salaries lost on top of that.
      all that just to say no to 5 yr contracts and a 5% over contracts to stop those stupid long joke contracts?
      sorry,i just do not see that worth it since they will still get their money and plenty of it.

      • If Fehr is such a con man, then why did his negotiations with MLB go so well?

        No, this garbage is ALL on the owners. They want to break the union again.

  3. Games will be cancelled next week till end of December what I have seen.

  4. Here’s a fun fact… Just because…. I learned this during one of the mini-bios that they do between periods of Kings’ games.

    Kevin Westgarth is married to former NFL coach Bill Cowher’s daughter. They met at Princeton. I’ll bet Westgarth still calls Cowher “sir”. I would. You definitely don’t want to see that chin in anger.

  5. @ Backchecking

    Getting great attendance at an charity event is vastly different than filling an arena with 16,000 people 82 games per year. You have to consider leasing agreements, public safety, insurance, hiring concession workers, etc. Also, the NHL owns the rights to the Stanley Cup, so there would be no cup awarded. This was briefly flirted with during the last lockout. They tried to revive the WHA without success.

    If anything, your scenario would happen much more likely in reverse. The owners could hire replacement players and anybody who wants to cross the line. We only know about Kopitar, Datsyuk, Malkin, and Crosby because the NHL gave them the platform to succeed. I have no doubts that there are other stars out there that would be just as popular if given a chance.

  6. I do not believe they are close to finalizing anything.

    As for Larry Brooks he is a mouthpiece for the NHLPA…. nothing more.

    Mr. Neuvirth was right with his comments that these negotiations are for protecting the superstars. If that was not the case… they would have voted on the last offer. They were close to getting a deal on Tuesday/Wednesday but Fehr told them to not do that… wait for a better offer.

    With fans and sponsors getting on the Owners.. do you really believe Bettman would refuse to do a deal because of Fehr. That’s a bunch of crap.

    The players hired a ‘rogue’ negotiator to win this CBA. The issue is.. IF they would have accepted the last NHL deal they probably would have won the deal… other than the 5 yr contract limit.

    There are about 90 players with contract limits of 6 yrs.. and quite a few of them were signed by their own teams… So 610 NHLPA are basically following the superstars.

    So wait for a better offer… while you lose $$$ every day for the NHLPA and for this league.

    Fehr doesn’t know hockey. Doesn’t give a damn about ruining the game of hockey. He is a master manipulator but the NHLPA does not see that. Now Bettman is not much better.. but I have never seem him as upset as he was on Thursday evening. The Owners want to get a deal.. that’s why those 4 moderates in Chipman, Burkle, Tanenbaum & Vinek were so upset that they were played as fools by the NHLPA during those 2 days of discussions. I wonder if the relationship between Crosby & Burkle will ever be the same as it was.

    • Meant to say there are 90 players with contracts of 6 yrs or more….

  7. I too believe that they are really not that close to getting a deal done. In fact as I have maintained all along and been proven right all along, every time the players say that they are optimistic about negotiations and believe that a deal is about to be done, Bettman, obviously at the owners behest, pulls whatever offer off of the table or says that it is a take it or leave it scenario and the players either agree to what’s on the table “in it’s entirety” or it goes away. He’s done the same thing by saying that the latest offer was “time sensitive” and would be off the table in however many hours. That is not negotiating, that is giving the players ultimatums and no one wants to be dealt with that way.
    For the owners to say they don’t want Fehr in the room as far as negotiating a deal is as dumb as the players saying we don’t want Bettman in the room while they are negotiating. Childish at best, meant to drive a wedge between players and their counsel at worst, either way hardly what one would expect from the league, or in fact maybe they should have expected that tactict given how they tried to do the same during the last CBA negotiations.
    As far as the players agreeing to the owners request for a players/owners meeting. They agreed to a meeting but did not agree to negotiate a CBA, especially with some of owners being lawyers, and again especially without their legal representation in the room. The players may not be smart but they sure aren’t that dumb.
    To say that it is just Fehr causing problems or that he can tell the players not to accept what they consider to be a good offer is ludicrous. If Crosby, Brad Richards, Shane Doan, Ryan Miller, Jonathan Toews, Westgarth and whoever else has been sitting in on the negotiations feel the deal presented to them was worthy they would have demanded that Fehr call for a vote. After all Fehr works for them and for him to go against the players would lead to him being ousted. He has been very vocal about keeping every one of the 700+ players informed every step of the way and if that was not the case we would have heard about it long before now. In fact Mark Chipman, True North Sports & Entertainment chairman said, “Regrettably, we have been unable to close the divide on some critical issues that we feel are essential to the immediate and long-term health of our game, and while I sense there are some members of the players association that understand our perspective on these issues, clearly there are many that don’t.” This goes to prove that it is not just Fehr that is opposing the owners offers.
    And finally, as far as Roenick goes, he should not open his mouth until he learns to put his brain in gear first.

    • You are wrong about a few things according to the reports i have read.
      The owners/players talks to clear the air and see what the problems were ended up doing exactly what they were set up to do.
      The players aired out and the owners said well lets see if we can fix it up and told them what they would be willing to do.
      As reported everyone was all happy with how it was going and they went to day 2 to work harder and see if they could iron out the remaining problems.
      again looking good until the break and the players go and talk to don the con.
      he for sure sells them that the owners are cracking and to push harder and they will give in and we then get the reports of the players turning cold and the meetings turning bad.
      a player even comes forward saying he was excited and that the deal looked good and don the con replies yes but we can get more.
      say whatever you want about lawyers vs high schoolers they did a very good job and sorted everything out pretty damn well and the deal was right there and it was a good one.
      of course until don the con dangles another carrot in front of their noses and sells them on the owners are cracking.
      now the deal is dead,4 moderate owners that leaned to players are now pissed and have become hawks all thx to don the con.
      don has nothing to lose,he is playing using other peoples chips to bet with so he will always say we can get more.
      they blew it bigtime and now it will cost them.
      i am pro owner and was surprised they offered that much but also remember 1994 when baseball made a good offer and was rejected by fehr.
      not long after fehr got the boot and the new leader got the deal signed and labour peace ever since while don the con faded away to nothingness until now.
      almost 20 years in obscurity,why do you that that was?
      i agree now a deal is not close but it was on day 2 of the owner/player talks and a real negotiator instead of a con man would have this done.
      after this latest fiasco i would now rather have no season and the players get crushed because they deserve it and after they get killed in the courts the new NHL 2.0 will be way better.

  8. Hey TRC: As always I try to see both sides and you being pro owner is apparent, as is me being pro players, and while you and I are not privy to what has been said. Ams can only go by the propaganda both sides spreads, i believe it is really unfair to use conjecture as far as speculating what was said by Fehr to the players, or in fact by the players to Fehr because as Chipman said even when it was the players meeting with the owners there were some players who didn’t seem to like what they were hearing as presented by the owners.
    Also again I reiterate, if the players in attendance thought that the deal was good enough they would have demanded Fehr to have everyone vote on it.
    Another point about you saying that Fehr tells them to wait and a better offer will be forthcoming, even if in fact that were true about this time around, every single offer where Bettman (the owners) have said that the offer will be as good as it gets, he has continued to come back with better ones. Why not say no if in fact there is a belief that the best offer is yet to come? I don’t think for a minute that if the owners want to have a season that they will hesitate to put everything previously on the table back on, plus a little sweetener. It really all comes down to when the owners want a season to begin.
    I still believe that there are other underlying issues regarding why the owners locked out the players and they are yet to be made visible and all this hyperbole is part of a well thought out plan by Bettman and the owners. What it is I have no idea but based on Bettman and his past dealings with the players union and those they have elected to lead them I can only assume that it is as devious as it will be damaging.

    • Ahab,devious plan to take place carefully scripted over 4 months?

      ya okay and there were 2 shooters on the grassy knowl,the moonwalk was faked and OJ was innocent.
      i guess you believe all that and now i fully understand why you believe Don the Con.
      btw,see the latest poll?
      fans are 70% now in favour of the owners.
      so 7/10 know a con job when they see it.

      • Facts, man, facts! Their were two shooters but only one on the grassy knowl. The moon landing wasn’t fake but the footage was and there is no such thing as innocent or guilty-only rich and poor. Oh yes, ‘the latest pole…’ the only poll I see is the one these sleezy owners and their strippers are dancing around. Sheesh.