In this morning’s collection of notable NHL lockout headlines: comments made by Red Wings senior VP Jimmy Devellano stirs up the Twitterscape, the 2013 Winter Classic could be canceled in November, players with big contracts could take a hit in next CBA, Swedish Elite League forced to opens its doors for locked-out NHLers, and latest on NHLPA’s efforts to block the lockout in Alberta and Quebec.
ISLANDSPORTSNEWS: Scott Harrigan recently interviewed Detroit Red Wings VP Jimmy Devellano, whose analogy describing the owners as “ranchers” and the players as “cattle” stirred up strong reaction on Twitter.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Reading the full interview, I don’t believe Devellano’s intent was to disrespect the players, but the “ranchers/cattle” analogy is a poor one and his attitude toward the players seems condescending, so no surprise it has generated strong reaction from the NHL’s critics. It’ll be interesting to see if the league fines Devellano for perhaps inadvertently violating its gag order.
TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran cited a league source claiming NHL commissioner Gary Bettman could cancel the 2013 Winter Classic in November (if the lockout lasts that long) as a means of reducing the players leverage at the negotiating table. Damien Cox, meanwhile, examines the potential impact of the next CBA upon the league’s biggest contracts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Bettman cancels the Winter Classic in November, that could eliminate any hope of a resolution to this lockout before the New Year. It could spur the players toward negotiation, but I think it would have the opposite effect, as it could signal to the players the league has no intention of compromise, forcing the PA to dig in its heels even more.
FORBES.COM: Patrick Rishe examines how recent industry trends (including last year’s respective NFL/NBA lockouts) will affect the players share of NHL revenue.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I believe the outcome of the NFL/NBA lockouts was the main reason the NHL locked out its players again. Once the NHL owners saw the other two leagues had a 50-50 split (or close to it) with their respective players, they wanted the same thing.
YAHOO! SPORTS: Nicholas J. Cotsonika explains how a lack of respect and mutual mistrust left over from the last lockout could make the current lockout a lengthy one.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If this turns into another very long lockout then it comes down to which side will break first. The owners believes the players will crack because they did last time, while the players are determined not to perpetuate a cycle where the owners keep locking them out to squeeze them for more. Problem is, as Cotsonika noted, time really isn’t on the players side, and the longer this goes, the worse it could become.
Donald Fehr pointed out last time the league made extreme demands at the start of the last lockout before eventually reaching agreement on the recent CBA, but this time, the league isn’t seeking a dramatic overhaul of its system, and the HRR gap between the sides has narrowed to the players wanting 54 percent, the owners offering them 47 percent. Again, I’m not advocating the players just cave in, but a 50-50 split is inevitable, and while I realize the PA believes the players are already giving up that much, at some point it will have little choice but to accept the inevitable. Offer up a straight 50-50 split, and negotiate off that toward a better system of revenue sharing and concessions on other issues.
EDMONTON SUN: The Alberta Labour Relations Board reserves its decision regarding NHLPA’s questioning the legality of the NHL lockout in that province. ALRB chairman Mark Asbell said he’ll need more time to review the arguments of both sides before rendering a decision.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: The Quebec Labour Board has set October 15 for the NHLPA and NHL to argue the legality of the lockout in that province. The PA attempt to file an injunction against the lockout earlier this month was rejected by the board.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Sweden’s Competition Board has ruled the Swedish Elite League (Elitserien) must allow its teams to sign locked-out NHL players, which could open the door for Swedish stars like NY Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist to return to Sweden to play out the lockout.
NEW YORK POST: New Jersey Devils forward Patrik Elias has no plans to play in Russia during the lockout, citing as one factor the hepatitis he contracted when he played there during the last lockout.
CBC.CA: The family of the late Derek Boogaard has filed as lawsuit against the NHLPA for $9.8 million, claiming the PA failed to help them receive the money remaining on their son’s deal with the NY Rangers. They’re seeing $4.8 million (the remainder of Boogaard’s contract) plus $5 million in punitive damages.
THE SPORTING NEWS: The city of Glendale may give Greg Jamison, prospective buyer of the Phoenix Coyotes, until September 30th to agree to changes on an existing arena deal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Seems like the city of Glendale is trying to sabotage the deal with Jamison. If they do so, the Coyotes will be a goner, which now appears to be what they want.