NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – August 19, 2012.

Red Wings Danny Cleary concerned about possible lockout, a suggestion the NHL is counting on “forgetful fans”, updates on Lubomir Visnovsky and Michael Del Zotto, and former Capitals head coach Dale Hunter happy to return to the London Knights.

CBC NEWS NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR: Detroit Red Wings forward and Riverside, Harbour Grace native Danny Cleary admits he’s not as optimistic over the NHL avoiding a lockout as he once was. He also claimed fellow NHL Newfoundlanders Adam Pardy and Luke Adam are also concerned. Cleary played in the Swedish Elite League during the last lockout but isn’t sure if he’ll do the same again in the event of another lockout.

NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Luke DeCock suggests the NHL is counting on gullible fans to flock back if there’s another lockout.

 “Fans came flocking back to hockey in the fall of 2005, and they’ve kept streaming through the doors since. Apparently, the NHL considers them gullible sheep instead of valued customers, because the league already took them for suckers once.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some hockey fans will likely be upset by DeCock’s suggestion the NHL considers them “gullible sheep” and “suckers”. To those, I ask this: would the NHL seriously risk another lockout if it didn’t believe its fans would come flocking back as they did last time? I don’t believe it would if the team owners were genuinely concerned about losing fan support with another labor dispute. The fact the league is subtly posing that threat speaks volumes about how it takes its fans for granted.

Visnovsky unhurt after crashing race car.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: NY Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky crashed his racing Ferrari yesterday during a race in Slovakia. He was uninjured.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Lame jokes suggesting Visnovsky’s accident was the result of his being distraught over being dealt to the Islanders soon followed.

NEW YORK POST: Speaking of Visnovsky, the NHL has schedule his arbitration hearing for September 4th. He filed a grievance over his trade to the Islanders by the Anaheim Ducks, claiming his “no-trade” clause was still in effect…The New York Rangers and defenseman Michael Del Zotto remain far apart in contract negotiations. The Rangers have reportedly offered a multi-year deal worth between $2.2-$2.5 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Del Zotto’s taking a gamble here, for if there’s a lockout resulting in another reduction of the players share of HRR plus a salary rollback, he could end up getting an offer worth considerably less than that.

CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Former Capitals head coach Dale Hunter is at ease with his decision to return to the London Knights.


  1. As much as I dislike what he wrote, it is the truth. They know the fans will come running back. I’ve said that what needs to happen, if there is a season ending lockout, is that ALL season ticket holders for every club to ask for their money back instead of the teams sitting on it and earning interest on hard earned money the fans made. Unfortunately, that won’t happen.

    Even if the fans stayed away from several of the first games played if it is a short lockout will send a message. Do I think this will happen, probably not. We are passionate about our sport, but there comes a time when the fans have to say enough is enough. How many lockouts will it take before the fans stand up and do this? I am not sure, but I do know this, it is better to send that message now than later.

  2. A lot of fans will come back because they love the game and a lockout means little really except for less games.
    I will be watching the games on tv when they return but have not bought a ticket to any pro sports game in the last 15 years because i hate the way everything became.

    Neither side is right on this one with players and owners both doing harm.
    Owners of high end teams have lots of cash to use against lower end teams with the cap circumventing 10 yr heavy front loaded contracts and ridiculous bonus structure.
    the players love that and could care less how it screws the budget conscience teams and turns all the top 10 picks into other teams prizes after they jump.

    players almost always take the greed route and avoid a lot of teams for the ones with big money and higher profile along with tax considerations and endorsements.
    even if they sign big contracts they still say i changed my mind trade me and i do not care if you end up getting back 30 cents on the dollar.

    or they get traded and say ugh hate that team/city i am coasting until dealt and again usually for 30 cents on the dollar.

    if top teams do not chase big names or add a free agent or 2 the fans get mad,they could care less what the contracts are.
    as stupid as the minnesota calaries were ask any fan there if they care.
    they don’t,they are happy as hell.
    ask any philly fan if they care that they tried to screw a budget team out of a star player just because they could because they are super rich.

    the fans scream sign sign sign and as long as they get the player the salary means nothing to them and that is why you have GM’s doing this nonsense.
    they need to appease the fans and get better at any cost.

    the last cba did not work because it had too many holes that allowed the 10 yr crap and super huge up front bonuses and that messed up a lot of the expected even playing field to sign or resign players.
    again it made it better for players to jump ship or force their team to way overpay and then still turn around and ask for a trade later.

    all sports are the same now,loopholes and big market steals from small market.

    how many times has your team signed a guy for big bucks and the fans were happy and then the guy coasted or sucked and you were stuck with him.
    or teams rebuild thru the draft and after 4 or 5 years watch them all leave.

    in your job you can leave and work for someone else and also get fired.
    in sports you can get huge bucks and if you stink or coast you still get the big bucks and the fans have to pay for that and there is no way out.

    all sports should be like the NFL where you can cut a player and end his contract.
    if it is always going to be overpay and steal there should be player risk as well.

    also i think if any team loses a player whether rfa or ufa there should be draft picks lost dependant on how much he signs for something like baseball does.
    if teams want too overpay because they can then they may not be so eager to go nuts if they may start losing picks.

    there are many things wrong on both sides and cannot properly be fixed but one thing for sure is right now it is not an even playing field for anyone,owners/players/fans and
    even the greedy can see that,they just really do not care.
    top owners and top players like it greedy and so little will ever change.

    if there was ever one line in a sports movie that will always stand the test of time it is,
    “show me the money.”
    and that goes for all sports owners and players.

    sorry,long,but end of rant.

  3. Of course the fans will come back, in the same numbers? Maybe, or it might take some time to build back up. What is offensive about the article is the fact the writer insinuates the owners are “playing with fans emotions”. This is a business above anything else, and a very expensive business. I have yet to read or hear one owner or Bettman say that there intent is anything but to lower costs and keep franchises viable. The issue is about “how” they lower costs.

    How many of you are not concerned about your own financial situation? Refinanced loans or credit? Looked at getting a second job(revenue stream)?

    Right now, according to The Wall Street Journal, there were 18 franchises that didnt post a profit based on hockey related revenues. Yes there are other forms of revenue to some teams, but that shouldnt be relevent to players who only participate in the hockey side of operations (should reporters for MSNBC get a raise when GE makes a profit in refridgerators or use that as a negotiating point?). The players solution? Get NYR, TOR, PHI to support all the other franchises financially. How thrilled are Leaf fans going to be when Nashville (Just throwing a team out there) wins the cup after recieving $25 million from their pockets?

    I am surprised all the blue collar (and white collar) workers dont see the comparable to the recent adventures of the big 4 auto makers. For years there was money to throw around, assembly line workers making $54 an hour, generous pension plans. Then, reality hit. The industry went into the tank, so what is the first thing to happen, lower costs…….cutbacks, salary rollbacks, factories closing. It sucked, and it was reality (and that included a govt bailout). Hockey isnt going to get a bailout, there is only so many places to relocate teams, or that want teams, and if things dont change, guess what, good bye jobs as teams fold…..what does it say about player uniformity when that is a viable option to those making $7 million a year (not Joe plugger with a 2 way contract)?

    Given the sporting market. The players proposal was absolutely ridiculous. It is based on two factors, the league continuing to increase revenue by 7% min and the Cdn dollar maintaining its current status. They offered nothing from their side of the table and in fact ignored many of the issues that both “fans” and owners have discussed; term length, bonus’s, balanced contracts….etc. As amusing as it is to see the tweets from players talking about how they “lost” or gave back money last time, there was a reason they did so, they themselves recognised the issues, or are we supposed to believe that 700 members decided all at once to be charitable for the fans sake? And their mantra of “we are willing to play” is equally misleading, of course you will under the current agreement, you lose or sacrifice nothing, and get a pay check…….once again, are we supposed to believe they are doing it for our “The Fans” benefit?

    The owners were brutally honest when they said that would not continue to operate beyond Sept 15th. They never said they wouldnt negotiate? They were willing in Feb, after the all star break, but Fehr said no, he was still learning the ropes. They submitted an offer that took the players a month to respond to (are we supposed to believe they didnt already have their proposal ready before then). It seems to me the players are saying one thing, yet at the same time dragging their heels to get closer to that deadline.

  4. Old Soldier: answer me this: if the current CBA – with its triple-tier cap system and escrow which ensures the players never get more than 57 percent of HRR in any season, which slashed the players share of HRR and rolled back salaries by 24 percent, the most restrictive cap system in North American pro sports, which the league touted as the cost certainty it needed to save itself, especially struggling franchises, which gave the owners everything they sought, without a meaningful system of revenue sharing – wasn’t good enough, why do you think doubling down on that formula again will improve things?

    All it does is perpetuate the current cycle: the big markets get richer, the struggling ones don’t, and general managers will find loopholes to work to their advantage. If the intent here is to “save” struggling franchises, an improved system of revenue sharing is required. Otherwise, the league’s proposal merely kicks the can down the road.

  5. I don’t see how watching the game we all love being played by the very best is “gullible”.

    You can argue that the NHL takes it’s fans for granted, I wouldn’t deny it, but we all know they will screw us every chance they get. Lockouts, ticket prices increases, too many regular season games, all sorts of abuse. But it is the greatest game and I can’t leave it. If there was another option to the NHL I would take it, but there’s not so I’m just going to continue to “take it” from them.

  6. I think the players should accept a rollback and a more limited way too earn bonuses, but most of these problems could’ve been stoped under the current CBA. “should not circumvent the cap”-contracts was the word. Ye, Brad Richards contract, Hossas, Kovys etc, etc they all cirumvent, but league aproved as if that could’nt be an issue down the road. Now they need to clean up this mess, and players have to accept it. It’s not like wont make more/yr then we do in a lifetime anyway, they should be fine.