NHL Lockout Morning Coffee Headlines – September 20, 2012.

Among today’s collection of notable NHL lockout headlines: the league announces cancellation of its September pre-season schedule, Alexander Ovechkin threatens he might stay in Russia after the lockout, the high cost of ensuring Sidney Crosby, and Patrick Kane sticking to straight and narrow this long off-season.

NHL.COM: announced the cancellation of the preseason schedule through September 30.

WASHINGTON POST: Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin threatens he might remain in Russia if players salaries are reduced in the next CBA.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m not taking Ovechkin’s comments seriously, as I believe he made them more out of frustration with the current labor dispute than in any real desire to remain in Russia if his pay is reduced in a new CBA. For one, he’s under contract with the Capitals until 2021. New CBA reducing his salary or not, it would be very difficult for him to get out of that contract. There’s also the existing agreement between the NHL and KHL not to sign players who are already under contract to prevent “poaching”, and I doubt the KHL would risk another nasty spat with the NHL. That agreement apparently expires in June 2013, but I believe it will be renewed. Ovechkin and the KHL would also risk IIHF sanctions, which would prevent him from participating in international tournaments, including the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

 I do believe, however, the NHL is playing with fire in terms of future young European stars. Reducing their pay and extending the entry-level contract from three to five years could result in an increasing number of European prospects drafted by NHL teams staying in Europe, where they could potentially earn more money than they would under the NHL’s entry level deals.

Insurance costly for Crosby.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Agent Pat Brisson, who represents Sidney Crosby, recently noted it would cost up to $400K per month to insure his client if he were to play overseas during the lockout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That could explain why Crosby currently has no plans to play in Europe.

CHICAGO TRIBUNE: Blackhawks star Patrick Kane is focusing on portraying a more positive image and working on his skating during this long off-season. Kane made headlines last spring after being photographed intoxicated at a college block party in Madison, Wisconsin. He remains uncertain if he’ll play overseas during the lockout.

CALGARY HERALD: Calgary native Domenic Pittis is among a number of players who’ve made their living in Europe at risk of losing his job to locked out NHL players, but he isn’t bitter about the situation.

“I know some guys are upset about it, but it’s an open market, right?” says Pittis, who turns 38 on Oct. 1. “And it’s kind of what you’ve been facing your whole life as a hockey player — ‘If there’s somebody better . . .’ So I don’t really hold it against those guys at all. I’m trying to play somewhere, trying to get some ice — and they’re hockey players, too, trying to do the same thing.

“Not knowing how long it’s going to go on . . . I am a little bit anxious. Sitting around and waiting is the toughest part. Definitely more stress.”

CSNPHILLY.COM: It’s believed NHL employees at the league offices will switch to a four-day work week effective October 1 because of the lockout. The move will cut salaries by 20 percent.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the plus side, at least those employees won’t lose their jobs. On the down side, they’re still seeing their salaries cut. They’re among the real losers in this lockout.

THE TENNESSEAN: The city of Nashville remains on the hook for millions in subsidies to the Predators, even if the team isn’t playing.

NATIONAL POST: Forget about the trustees of the Stanley Cup awarding it to any beer leagues if the NHL season is cancelled.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The “free the Stanley Cup” campaign was silly and pointless in the first place.

TSN.CA: Players who embellish to draw penalties could face stiff punishment when the NHL returns to action. Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler has been identified as an offender, Chicago’s Dan Carcillo’s has been caught on tape  several times, and there’s been complaints about Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin trying to mislead referees.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It may be difficult during game action for officials to catch those who embellish, but they can certainly be punished after a game when the tapes are examined. Hopefully, efforts to crack down on embellishment will prove worthwhile.

ESPN.COM: The NHL is keeping an eye on the OHL’s new fighting rule which targets those players who do little else but fight,  punishing those who garner their 11th fighting major of the season with an automatic two-game suspension.

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Speculation abounds over who will become the bidders for the Anschutz Entertainment Group sports empires, which includes the Los Angeles Kings and their arena, the Staples Center. Bidding could go as high as $7 billion.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Yesterday I suggested Philip Anschutz was selling off part of his sports empire to invest in an NFL stadium and franchise. This, however, isn’t the case, as he’s selling off the entire thing. My thanks to GJ Berg for pointing out my error.

8 Comments

  1. Wow, 7 billion for Anschutz sports Empire, earlier this year Dodgers went for 1.2 billion and San Diego Padres went for $ 800 million. As I recall in 1967 the Kings, Seals, Blues, Flyers, North Stars and Pens came into league at 2 million and Dallas Cowboys got into NFL in 1960 at $ 500,000 Money just doesn’t buy what it use to.

    • #1. Would not be good if you get the same today as you got over 50 years ago.
      #2. Thoose were teams, not a whole company that also owns a team and arena. :)
      If the bidding end up around 7 billion, should be healthy company that you can cash alot of money from. But that can’t be true – as Bettman and the owners have been saying, it’s nothing but red for NHL teamowners. As I’ve said before, that’s why Jamisson Group are hunting down the last couple of millions too buy Phoenix – too lose more money! :P

  2. Most regular Joe’s and Jane’s who are in a union and have been locked out set up picket lines around their places of employment and protest the fact that they have been locked out, but instead millionaire NHLers (NHLPA members) are going overseas and taking jobs away from non union members.
    I am just throwing this out there to see who has what to say but…what if those under contract to NHL teams set up picket lines around their home teams arenas and protested the fact that they have been locked out? I know that this would make for great press with millionaires protesting the acts of billionaires but what a great way to gain fan support. People would be there to get autographs and listen to the players side and reach the fans on a real grass roots level. I believe that this would do the players some good and the owners damage. For example Instead of seeing their favorite players winging it across the pond to play for even more millions they get to see them up close and personal for a few hours each day.
    As an added bonus these same NHLers would not be taking food out of he mouths of other professional hockey players and their families as they will be when they begin playing overseas. I can see the benefit to the fans of being able to watch many of their NHL players who they would otherwise never get to see but in reality it just puts more fans in the seats and makes more money for team owners, albeit different team owners.

    • Somehow I don’t see Sid the Kid or Alex O walking a picket line but I do think a good point is that Union members are taking jobs from non union members overseas, wonder how they would react if NHL owners were bring players from KHL and Europe to play here ? The media would go crazy.

    • I think the nhlpa should show their presence more, but I don’t know about picketing at venues. Don’t want to negatively affect other non related businesses/events like concerts. If more mid tier players were playing overseas instead of the top stars, I would say that would put pressure on the owners- their workers don’t need the owners as much as the owners need the players, but it is the richest of the players getting richer.

      Maybe there are some similarities between the nhl and pa, you have the rich owners/clubs and rich players then there are the poor clubs and the players working for the league minimum. The lockout hurts the second part, or poorer, of both groups. And fans.

      What are the conditions needed, what would a CBA look like that would work for Phoenix and CBJ? What would a CBA look like that would work for the richest teams? Gotta find that ground in the middle. I am guessing the present CBA works for the rich teams right now. I don’t think it is reasonable to expect the players to take a salary curt from their negotiated salaries. If that is the case, players should be allowed to walk away from contracts or be able to reneg.

      I just keep thinkin it is the fat cats getting fatter.

  3. Regarding “picketing”, NHL players are locked out, not on strike. They have nothing to picket.

  4. @ hillybilly – I’ve been thinking about something simular. Agree to cut salaries, and drop share of HRR – but those under non-entrylevel contracts gets an out, that makes them UFA’s if they are unsatisfied. I’m not saying that 20% drop of salary will hurt Crosby, but he would’ve signed a 7$m/yr deal if he wanted to make that much, not forced too make it 2 months after signing a 8.7 – that under last CBA he were going to get.

  5. Hi Lyle:
    I was just throwing out some thoughts yesterday about how “regular” people went about dealing with being locked out of their place of business rather than how elitist NHL players go about it when they are locked out.
    They would picket, or protest if you will, being locked out. This is something many unions do when owners of regular businesses padlock the doors and stop them from earning their pay. By doing this they are also able to enlist the support of other brother or sister unions, which helps put pressure on the owners. Imagine if no one would cross a picket line to go to or work any event happening at the owners arena, be it trade shows, concerts or what have you. By not allowing revenue to be produced by the owners building you may be able to bring him back to the bargaining table a little quicker and possibly in a better frame of mind to get a deal done.
    If the NHL were to bring in replacement or “scab” players to take their jobs you would soon see picketing and a lot of very hard and bad feelings but seeing as these same union players are going overseas and acting as scabs themselves and talking jobs away from non-unionized players I guess that makes it a good thing.