Mediation between the NHL and NHLPA continues today, NHL Board of Governor chairman Jeremy Jacobs faces criticism, Forbes.com released its annual “Business of Hockey” report, Josh Harding diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and more.
THE CANADIAN PRESS: Chris Johnston reports mediators will continue its meetings with the NHL and NHLPA today in hopes of brokering an agreement on a new collective bargaining deal.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Rory Boylen is skeptical non-binding mediation will bring about a new NHL CBA, suggesting the two sides are too entrenched in their respective positions to allow for necessary compromise to achieve a deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: An opinion shared by a number of pundits and bloggers covering the lockout.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Jonathan Willis cited a recent report by TSN’s Bob McKenzie suggesting the gap between the league and the PA, particularly regarding the “make whole” provision, could be about to grow wider. McKenzie cited the possibility the owners could pull that provision from the bargaining table, a move which could ensure a serious breakdown in negotiations which could cost the season.
WASHINGTON POST: Katie Carrera on the possible damage the ongoing lockout could do to the NHL fan base, as well as the league’s sponsors.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggarty, in a report critical of Boston Bruins owner and NHL Board of Governors chairman Jeremy Jacobs, cited a story where an alternative governor of the Winnipeg Jets said his club was opposed to a lengthy lockout. That earned a reprimand from Jacobs that the Jets representative was “one of the “new kids on the block” and informed him that he would know when he was allowed to speak in the NHL board room.”
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Ed Tait reports Jets owner Mark Chipman and NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly denied the incident took place, with Daly calling the story a “fabrication”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Haggarty stands by his story. This is the second time in as many weeks a report about an NHL owner has been called a “fabrication” by the league. The reporters who broke both stories wouldn’t have reported it if their sources weren’t trustworthy. Because nobody went on the record , however, the league can dismiss the stories, though I would suggest calling them “fabrications” is unduly harsh, as that implies the reporters are lying, when all they’re doing is reporting what trusted sources have told them. Draw your own conclusions.
SPORTSNET.CA: Michael Grange questions if NHLPA director Donald Fehr learned from his late mentor Marvin Miller to improve the lot of the players with his hardline stance in NHL CBA negotiations.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: MLB players would answer Fehr certainly improved their lot. Whether or not he will have the same success with the NHLPA remains to be seen.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: The lockout has prompted the Minnesota Wild to cut employees pay by 20 percent.
DETROIT NEWS: Gregg Krupa suggests a deal might be close for a new NHL collective bargaining agreement, but believes the cycle of CBA/lockout will continue, suggesting the league isn’t doing anything to address the core issues still troubling it. Krupa suggests contraction and relocation may eventually be needed, but if expansion is to continue, he suggests doing so in Europe.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The NHL will fight contraction tooth and nail. Relocation, on the other hand, appears more likely, especially in the wake of the Atlanta Thrashers move last year to Winnipeg. The NHL has made some tentative steps toward Europe, but it appears any future expansion will take place in North America.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Ed Willes suggests NHL commissioner Gary Bettman lacks the vision and leadership to fix the NHL.
ESPN.COM: Hockey Hall of Famer and union pioneer Ted Lindsay believes players badmouthing Bettman serves no useful purpose. He also agreed with Roman Hamrlik’s suggestion there should be a vote taken among the players over continuing the lockout, and disagreed with how Hamrlik was treated for speaking out.
FORBES.COM: released its annual “The Business of Hockey” report, finding overall NHL franchise values rose 18 percent over the previous season.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: David Shoalts suggests the Forbes report bolsters the NHLPA’s call for increased revenue sharing.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forbes’ numbers should be taken with a grain of salt. NHL teams don’t make their books available for public scrutiny, so Forbes’ findings are estimations. As notable blogger Tyler Dellow recently observed, there are significant discrepancies in how Forbes reaches their numbers. Still, until a more accurate system of evaluating the value and revenue of NHL franchises is found, Forbes’ remains the only available option.
STARTRIBUNE.COM: Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, but hopes to continue his NHL career.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Harding in his battle with MS, and here’s hoping he can continue his playing career.