NHL Lockout Morning Coffee Headlines – November 4, 2012.

NHL and NHLPA resume CBA negotiations, analysis of the NHL’s “Make Whole” offer, and a season-killing lockout could be good news for the Columbus Blue Jackets.


Is a thaw coming in the NHL-NHLPA “cold war”?

USATODAY: After over two weeks, the NHL and NHLPA resumed “face-to-face” CBA negotiations, as NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special counsel Steve Fehr met  in an “undisclosed location” on Saturday. The talks stretched through the night into early Sunday morning.

SPORTSNET.CA: NHLPA director Donald Fehr released a memo to the players on Friday, advising caution over the latest news of the league’s “make whole” proposal. While Fehr noted there’d been no formal exchanges of offers between the two sides since October 18, he did acknowledge there’d been informal discussions on a series of issues with the league as the two sides hope to find ways to get talks going again, of which the “make whole” option was among them.

THE GLOBE AND MAIL/CBC.CA/TORONTO SUN: Analysis of the “make whole” option by David Shoalts, Elliotte Friedman and Chris Stevenson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s important to note that, while Fehr downplayed Friday’s reports of the league’s offer to pick up the cost of the “make whole” proposal, he didn’t reject the notion outright. That the lieutenants of both sides were willing to meet face-to-face is a positive sign.  Hopefully, it’ll kick-start the negotiations and get them working toward a resolution.

While sorting out the division of hockey-related revenue is, in my opinion, the main issue here, it’s not the only one, as other issues (revenue sharing, contract lengths, arbitration rights, etc) still need to be addressed. I do feel, however, once the main sticking point is resolved, everything else could be quickly worked out, at least in comparison to the division of HRR.

COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline sees the positive side of a season killing lockout for Blue Jackets fan. It would provide new president of hockey operations John Davidson more time to evaluate the roster needs and how best to address them, a possible shot at the first overall pick next summer if the league goes with a draft lottery akin to 2005, moving the All-Star game for Columbus ahead to a full season, and addressing their salary issues.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You know your team has sucked for years when you’re looking at a season-killing lockout as a positive thing. Portzline’s article is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but it does illustrate how much work faces John Davidson in his efforts to reverse the Blue Jackets woeful fortunes.


  1. They didn’t meet the whole day they met 3 pm on and off from TSN the best source there is in hockey. If Teams like Columbus have hard times why are they in the NHL. Lots of places in Canada would turn it around

    • Scott, your comment is difficult to understand…..Turning franchises into winners doesn’t have much to do with location. How are things going in Edmonton, Ottowa or even Toronto? It has everything to do with who is running the team. John Davidson did a great job here in St. Louis. I expect he will do the same in Columbus (although I hope not as good as far as the Blues are concerned).

    • Scott: Nowhere did it say they met “the whole day”. It said they met on Saturday, and talks stretched through the night into early Sunday morning.

  2. If there’s going to be a deal it will be Daly and Steve Fehr who will initiate it. I still maintain the belief that this will be resolved this month, perhaps even this week. Neither side can risk this going on too much longer without damaging their own interests.

  3. I don’t usually do this but after reading what I thought was an informative article by Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province newspaper on the resumption of negotiations and why it had taken so long for both parties to get back to the barganing table I thought that it would be nice to share his opinion with NHL fans here.
    His article states that…
    “There is certainly a pretty solid understanding of why Steve Fehr and Bill Daly were the two to kick-start the stalled CBA negotiations after the owners indicated they may change the “make whole” provision in their last offer this week.

    Given the way the last meeting came to an end, it wasn’t going to be the main protagonists.

    As most people have heard by now, the more than a dozen assembled players at the last meeting were listening to Jeremy Jacobs pontificate on the merits of the commissioner. He was saying that while Gary Bettman is definitely the owners’ representative, he also “works so hard for the players,” which caused the assembled athletes to simply stare in disbelief that he would advance such drivel.

    After the Bruins’ owner was finished, the NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr granted that the commissioner did in fact work tirelessly for the owners. But then he added, “if he works for the players, can we fire him now?”

    Evidently Mr. Bettman was not amused, which accounts for the recent 17 days of animosity which have been chilling talks. But neither are the players amused at this full frontal, particularly when the reason given for this whole lockout is that there are 10 teams in the league still losing money despite the fact revenues have soared over the term of the last agreement.

    To understand why the players find this argument so endlessly tiresome, you have to understand the economics and how revenue sharing works, and how more of said sharing could solve the problem. But there is also an historical component of which many of the veteran players are keenly aware, to say nothing of past teammates the players may run into who have an even greater understanding how these 10 teams came to be.

    When you try to identify which teams might be losing, were you to actually buy an argument that they’re losing money on a dollar-in, dollar-out basis, you would certainly finger Columbus, Anaheim, Nashville, Phoenix, the Islanders and Florida, for sure. Then Tampa, New Jersey and Carolina are likely candidates, and perhaps at this point Colorado after a long run of success.

    St. Louis could be losing, and San Jose might also be able to be included, although there would have to be some pretty fancy bookkeeping to turn endless sellouts into a losing proposition. That’s a guess on the teams give or take one or two, but look at that group, because that’s what really gets the players.

    How many of those teams were put in their present location by Mr. Bettman himself over his tenure as commissioner, often against the better judgment of many bright minds in the game?

    He wanted to expand the reach of television, and while after many years the league’s U.S. television revenue has finally begun to rise, it’s come at the consider-able cost of many dodgy franchise locations.

    Another huge driving force in putting those teams into the locations they occupy were the massive expansion fees the owners put into their pockets without giving a dime to the players. Now they want the players to pay for those mistakes, to cover the cost of those greedy moves by surrendering another huge share of the revenue.

    And you can bet there’s more expansion to come. The reason Phoenix hasn’t moved to another prime location like southern Ontario is because the commissioner doesn’t like to run out on fans, which is commendable.

    And time out here, we commend him for those sentiments. But there is also the promise of more expansion on the way, two more teams.

    That’s what that the uneven realignment structure was all about when it was announced. And with those teams, there will be massive expansion fees on the way, a $300-million tab not out of the question.

    And guess how much the players are expected to get out of that transaction? In the meantime, they have to watch that Coyotes team lose money by the carload at their expense.

    And then they’re treated to a lecture on how hard the commissioner works on their behalf? Imagine their delight.”

    • wow,that is one of the most one sided selective articles by an obvious super pro player writer that i have ever read.
      this guy must have 4 or 5 relatives that are hockey players.
      what is he going to write tomorrow,luongo to the leafs for gardner/kadri/kulimen and 2 first rd picks?
      thanks for giving the name tho so i know to avoid that clown like the plague.

      • you must be a Obama supporter, because the article by Captain Ahab was a great one and you sound like an idiot like Obama.

        • I referred to TRC as Mitt once but I’m pretty sure you must be him because neither CA or TRC sound like idiots. They are just passionate about which side they are on. They don’t make things up out of thin air. TRC actually conceded his math was (understandably) wrong-something Mitt would never do-on a point I argued proving he does not make things up out of thin air and he clearly does not flip flop on his points. CA’s post was good and you can tell what side he’s on. TRC post’s are good as well and you can tell what side he is on too. None of this suggest either one are idiots, just dedicated supporters. We know how Obama stands. Mitt? Like Bill Maher said “I’m expecting Mitt to anounce he is now pro gay, proud of his latino heritage and no old white guys are going to tell him what to do with his vagina.”

        • i am not american and could care less about who becomes your president.
          but based on the presidents you have voted in over the last few elections calling me an idiot is pretty funny.
          and from what i read about both those guys you are screwed either way,enjoy.

  4. Oh, TRC:
    If it wasn’t true he could not have written it and just because you don’t agree doesn’t mean that it isn’t right. People, possibly like you, who when confronted with the written truth should not condem the writers and call them names as that just makes them look immature and uninformed. Instead they should rebut the article with facts of their own. Notice I said FACTS rather than condemnation, slurs or put downs.
    In fact this particular writer, if you actually took the time to check out his body of work instead of trying to brand him one way or the other, has taken several players as well as the NHLPA to task at times over their actions and/or position on certain issues. I find him able to see both sides and write factual articles on issues affecting both the owners as well as the players.
    Sports reporters are in a unique position and are able to stand on the fence, if they so choose, and sling stones and arrows at both sides as long as what they are writing is true and factual.
    Just because for whatever reason Fehr strikes fear into your NHL owner siding heart doesn’t make him all wrong and just because you place Bettman next to Buddah doesn’t make him without human frailty. What Mr. Gallagher pointed out in his article about Mr. Bettman’s unbridled desire to put teams in poor markets and thus incur unneeded financial losses bears consideration when looked at from not only the players position but also from the owners perspective.
    I can see Bettman getting on his high horse (or in his case a Shetland pony) after what Fehr said and not want to meet for quite some time. Possibly he was instructed by the owners to put his ego aside and get the meetings started again, even if he did send his stand in. At least there is dialog once again.

    • Sorry ahab you are as clued out as that writer.
      All i really need to see is that the NHL has gained huge profits since bettman took over.
      the poor markets were totally needed to get tv rights for the nhl but you and the writer are too blind over seeing bettman as the bad guy to acknlwledge that.
      he may have the personality of a piece of cardboard but he has done a terrific job incraseing rveneues and the presence of the NHL in the US.
      we know you are a big pro player guy so defending a big pro player writer is not a suprise.
      truth thru and thru???????????????/
      i see a lot of guesswork and innuendo regarding possible expansion and owner pocket filling in the future implying they are robbing the overpaid spoiled rotten kids of the NHL.
      NHL players are donkeys following fehrs carrot in front of their nose.
      bettman has made 3 offers and attempts to negotiate off them,that is a fact.
      fehr has made 1 offer of 3 choices all of which changed little or nothing but did tell 30 superior businessmen how to run their business.
      where was fehr last year when the nhl asked 4 times to starts talks?
      where are all the counters from fehr on the offers,oh ya,none,just whining and complaining he did not like them.
      fehr and his very selective the players are being screwed is a complete joke.
      have you seen what they are getting so far in the proposals????????????????
      a ton of stuff and they act like they are getting nothing.
      if this falls apart now it is all on fehr and his sitting on his butt doing nothing.

  5. Spector, just out of curiosity would you know if tuukka Rask is still hurt?

    • Rask suffered a slight groin pull on October 23, but returned to action four days later in a 4-3 shootout win for his team, Plezn. Last I heard, he’s been fine since then.

  6. Its true the owners only want to expand to put money in their pockets. Tony Gallagher is one of the most respected and well liked sports writers in the industry. Hes been around for a long time and is well informed. And he has sided with the owners on other issues.

  7. Ahab,just in case you are using too many tissues crying for the poor players getting nothing and could not read through the tears what they are getting,

    There has been a lot of headway in negotiations that really has not been spelled out to date, but because the owners are looking to reduce the players’ share from 57 to 50 in a new CBA, there seems to be a perception that the players would get nothing in a new CBA.

    That’s not entirely true.

    Among other things, the owners have proposed to 1) artificially inflate the salary cap in Year 1 so teams don’t have to trade or release players; 2) trade player salary and cap charges in trades (this is something both teams and players have wanted); 3) eliminate re-entry waivers; 4) Increase revenue sharing with further increases as revenues grow, and the top grossing teams making the biggest contributions (revenue sharing is something Don Fehr is passionate about; wants it so the teams that really need assistance are assisted); 5) Introduction of appeal rights to a neutral third-party arbitrator in cases involving on- and- off-ice discipline (player-proposed wish).

    Some other things that the players should like:

    1) Joint NHL/NHLPA Health and Safety Committee with equal representation by the league and union; 2) Establishment of a “standard of care” and “primary allegiance” obligations between the team medical staff and players (this is directly due to the tragic Derek Boogaard situation that remains ongoing); 3) Offseason rehab activities would no longer be required in the team’s home city; 4) Players have access to second medical opinions at the club expense; 5) Ice time restrictions and days off during training camp; 5) Improved facility standards in visiting locker rooms; 6) Ice condition improvements and standards; 7) More player friendly rules for parent-son trips, teams would have to pay for parents travel and lodging to first-ever games, other milestones; 8) Different standards for rent and mortgage reimbursements from teams; 9) increased access to tickets for visiting players and also a game ticket policy that minimizes the tax impact on players; 10) And also, the league has agreed to consider a player proposal for single rooms for all players on the road, which would be thousands of extra dollars spent on travel. Typically, players share rooms on the road unless you’re a longstanding player (600 games), or in a lot of cases, goaltenders.

    • Alright TRC, care to explain why the NHL didn’t just say ‘let’s repeat the last CBA?’ After all, your hero Gary and his Cabal proclaimed it to be league saving, neccessary and totally fair to everyone in order to justify the last lockout. He did nothing but brag for the last seven years on how much the revenues increased and how well teams like Phoenix were doing. Wait a minute…oh! That’s right! They need to change the CBA because the owners keep screwing themselves by finding ways around their own agreements and shooting each other in the foot on a constant basis while screaming ‘Poor me! Save me…from myself ’cause I’m a friggin’ idiot!’ Yeah, the players should just buck up and agree to whatever the owners want because they obviously have everyone’s best interest in mind, right? Now I’m not entirely on one side or the other here as the players have just as many ridiculous notions about what’s fair and what’s not but holy crap, Batman! Could you possibly be any more bias than everyone else you claim to be bias and therefore should be proclaimed stupid because they don’t agree with you?

      Now you listed some of the points of the proposal from the owners that might be in the players interest. Why not list the points that fall in the owners favor? Maybe because you are biased? Only points you make are valid while everyone else’s is drivel? Argue your points all you want but by dismissing everyone else out of context makes you just as biased as, well, take your pick; Donald or Gary?

      • Hi V.
        for a guy claiming to be neutral you sure do back the players a lot,wink wink.
        I am solidly pro owner all the way and have never waivered off that.
        i do come on strong against those that do the same as being pro player.
        since their stance is selective and bias i must be the same way to support my side.
        i agree the teams finding ways around the CBA was stupid and a way to cheat but since there was no way to stop it back then it is being addressed now which is what new agreements are meant to do,fix problems.
        i cannot cry for the players as they will probably get value on their contracts but even if they lost a small percentage have no sympathy.
        just as they have no sympathy for the much higher expenses of the last 7 years already gone from the owners pockets.
        this nonsense of saying they got screwed last time when it is obvious they did extremely well is also false tears.

        with REVENUES at an all time high the PROFITS for the players was substantial while the owners was down due to rising costs.
        players attitude of rising costs being not our problem and saying everything will be fine based on their idea of over 7% increase in revenues but not accepting their may be losses is not negotiating.

        what i posted above is what the owners put on the table and it is pretty damn good.
        as for what they get it would be the 50/50,5 yr contracts and a change in free agent years and i think something else that does not come to mind right now.

        these things are being discussed and may change but also could be leeway if there is change somewhere else or if the players end up losing a small percentage.
        so i see nothing they get as nasty to the players except for going 50/50,they will still end up very well paid.

        but for those that are upset at high costs of going to games it is very hard to side with millionaires that are crying because they do not want to pay tax on tickets they buy,do not want to pay for family to come and see their 100th goal or other memorable moments,teams help them out on rent/mortgage stuff and now want private rooms as well.

        millionaires too cheap to pay for personal stuff,owners are not digging into their pockets for it so who pays,oh ya,the fans.

        it is also funny that the owners are expected to put everything into hrr because it is the result of playing hockey but the players get to keep all earnings from outside the rink.
        if they were not playing hockey they would not get commercials/money from equipment companies to use their stuff/endorsements etc.
        so that is hockey related revenue but not allowed to be touched.
        that is millions more that could go into the pot and split 50/50.

        so this is why i dump on the players with no mercy,they never acknowledge what they get and just cry over what they do not get and ignore the big picture.
        you know,just like teenagers do at home.

        • As a business owner I am very much attuned to the fact that the owners put up all the risk while if they are successful both the owners and the players reap the rewards and if they are not both positive contributers everyone is screwed. Because of my experience with ungrateful employees I am a little biased in favor of the owners as employees don’t usually have the background, experience or education to look at all the factors that regulate their industry. Ungrateful employees tend to not understand the big picture. Dumb employees aside, I also recognize what a valuable employee brings to the table and try to compensate them accordingly based on what I can afford because without top notch employees who do understand the big picture and recognize what they can be a part of and buy in to my business model, I would not be as successful as I would like to be.

          My problem is actually with union mentality which is a me, me, me mentality. Donald represents the players union and whether or not he has the same title, Gary is in respect a union representative for the owners.

          Much like the NHL, in my business I supply the best product possible at the best prices I can afford but without elite customer service I would not survive as my market is a volatile one and customer service is, at the end of the day, the deciding factor that will make or break me. I must have the best of the best and I must do what I can to get them. I try to provide the best work environment as I can as well as compensate my best staff as well as I can in order to retain exceptional employees and maintain an exceptional business.

          I hope my staff understand that we need each other in order to compete and survive with others in our industry, but at the end of the day I, the owner, have the say and I, the owner decides what I think is best. My employees can agree and get with my program or they can work somewhere else. That is both my decision and their’s as well as no one on either side is forced to do something they don’t want to do.

          At the end of the day the owners put up all the risk and all the capital which gives them the right to have the final say. That being said, without a mutual agreement that benifits both sides they will all be out of the 3 billion dollar NHL sweepstakes and I think both sides are not recognizing that they are debating two out of three things nessecary for a successful business – quality and prices – and both sides are totally ignoring the most important part of the successful business trifecta – customer service – and that both sides are jeaprodizing a good thing. Without good customer service there will be no customers.

          What the NHL had going for them was being the last professional sport that had the romatic idea that there was player and owner loyalty. Now they join the ranks of just another business sport focused on the almighty dollar and I am totally depressed at the idea that there won’t be another owner dedicated to a premier product on the ice like Mike Ilitch or player dedicated to his team and fans like Trevor Linden ever again.

          This unessecary lockout – and it IS unessecary – just straight up pisses me off.

          • Very well said V and very well done.

            I was never an owner but did work in a small business for a time and did see ungrateful employees,stupid employees and also solid and loyal employees.

            i fully understand the pay and hope the good ones stay mentality and that it must be done.
            but one big difference is that if you give a huge raise and that employee now produces less by not working as hard or starts taking extra time off or other things bad you can tell him to clean it up or they are gonzo.
            NHL players do not have that problem,they will get paid regardless and that is the main thing that rubs me raw.
            i admit i go nuts when i see a player making 1.5 m have a couple of really good seasons and then sign for 5 yrs at 5 m a year and then go backwards.
            It happens far too much and it is a total rip off to the fan.
            For every Steve Yzerman or Doug Gilmour that gave it everything no matter what there are another 5 that take the i got my money so no need to try hard all the time attitude.
            I think you are right also saying hockey fans are very upset over losing their game as it was because now it is all business and money over sport and passion and that came from both sides.

  8. i’m sure if we were to get right down to the actual dollars and cents we could see exactly which teams were making money and which ones weren’t. the problem is most of the owners are businessmen with multinational corporations and teams of lawyers and accountants who could run the money through so many shell companies that they could make it look like Bill Gates was losing money on Microsoft. what i’m trying to say is that there’s no trust between the players and the owners and they can’t even nail down a basic framework on how to calculate just how much money is being made by a team or even what constitutes Hockey Related Revenue. if they can’t even agree on how much money is being made why would the players sign a collective agreement despite there seeming to be an understanding of a 50/50 split after all is said and done?