NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 16, 2012.

Day One of the NHL 2012 lockout features plenty of analysis over how the league reached this point, the potential consequences, plus the plans for several notable NHL stars.


NHL lockout begins (hat tip to Kukla’s Korner/Sharkspage.

TSN.CA: The expiration of the NHL CBA occurred last night with little fanfare as the league officially locked out its players.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Remember, it’s not a “strike”. The players are not on strike, they’ve been locked out by the team owners.

TORONTO SUN: NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and NHLPA special council Steve Fehr met yesterday and will continue to keep lines of communication open between their respective sides.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ultimately it is NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA director Donald Fehr who control the show, but having their second-in-commands chatting could help to bridge the gap between the two sides.

SPORTSNET.CA: Michael Grange explains the mistakes and flaws in the current CBA which led to the current lockout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bettman and the team owners have been incredibly short-sighted with the last two CBAs, which were trumpeted as working in their favor but ultimately working out well for the players. The reason is quite simple: the owners are competitive as hell, and once the ink is dry on a new CBA, they have their respective team managements looking for loopholes to exploit. New Jersey Devils GM Lou Lamoriello was among the league’s negotiators during the last lockout and was the first to exploit loopholes by burying overpaid players in the minors to free up cap space. Bettman’s looking for a fool-proof CBA, but he’s not going to find it, because the people he represents are their own worst enemies.

THE TENNESSEAN: Josh Cooper on how this lockout could hurt the current growth of the NHL, just as the 1994-95 lockout stemmed the rise in the league’s popularity.

CSNNE.COM: A brief biography of Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, one of the league’s most influential owners.

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Pat Leonard suggests it could take an influential big market team, like the NY Rangers, to break ranks in order to bring a swift end to this lockout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If a rich, big market club like the Rangers, or Toronto Maple Leafs, or Montreal Canadiens, were to publicly break ranks, it would certainly bring about a quick end to this lockout, as well as potentially threaten Bettman’s tenure as NHL commissioner. That being said, I’m not anticipating such a move at this point, but it’ll be interesting to see how the resolve of both sides is tested as this lockout goes on, especially if we reach the New Year without a resolution.

THE NEW YORK TIMES:  The Swedish Elitserien is the only European pro league to ban NHL players from temporarily playing in their league, but it could face pressure to change its position.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The opportunity to have top Swedish NHL stars playing for its teams, even for only a few weeks, could prove too strong a temptation for teams in the Swedish Elite League to resist.

KUKLA’S KORNER: cited a series of tweets from Sovetsky Sports Pavel Lysenkov noting a number of Russian NHL stars, including Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Sergei Gonchar, and Ilya Bryzgalov, along with 2012 NHL first overall pick Nail Yakupov, have contracts with KHL teams, or are about to sign deals. Washington Capitals star Alexander Ovechkin will not play for Moscow Dynamo, and it doesn’t appear Sidney Crosby will be joining Malkin with Mettalurg Magnitogorsk.

DENVER POST: Ryan O’Reilly and the Colorado Avalanche will wait until a new CBA is in place to resume contract negotiations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Without a CBA, there will be no trades or free agent signings. I’m sure we’ll hear from anonymous insiders claiming teams are still talking trade or talking contract with agents during a lockout, but don’t take any of it seriously. Nothing will take place until a new CBA is in place.

ESPN NEW YORK: The NY Islanders made the last signing under the previous CBA, inking Matt Martin to a four year deal worth $4 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Congratulations, Matt Martin, not only did you get a new contract, you’re now the answer to a trivia question.


  1. Wake up players!!!!—A fourth line forward makes a million a year , or thereabout. It takes the “average joe” working a 9-5 job who makes $70,000 per year about 15 years of employment to make 1 million dollars for which a 20 point NHLer receives in 1 year!!!(unbelievable!!)….and $70k was generous as a lot of people make less. Let’s take a player who makes 5 million per year……that equates to about 75 years to make for the “average joe”. I think you get the picture! These players have never had a “real” job. I propose during the lockout, these players get a working man’s job and then you’ll see how fast they sign an agreement Consider yourselves very lucky to be playing a sport you love and making a lot of money at it!

    • Such a poor insight on what a salary in the NHL means.

      All the salaries are rationalized by the revenue of the league, not a correlation to the ‘average joe’. If the players didn’t distribute the money they have among each other as allowed by the salary cap, then your putting more money in the pockets of the owners. Since we’re still buying tickets and souvenirs the money has to go somewhere and the owners/GM are still the ones at the end of the day offering these contracts.

  2. While being correct in saying it is a lockout and not a strike make no mistake that if the league agreed to let them keep playing while bargaining the NHLPA would have then called a strike at the halfway point after the players had collected many paychecks.

    That would have then still been a lost season but putting the hammer with the players instead.

    That is a trick of Fehr that he used in baseball.

    While many crap on Bettman as the only commish to lose a season also remember that Fehr is the only PA leader to cost baseball a world series.

    I will use the term work stoppage since i have no doubt both sides were preparing and pushing for one.

    • It is what it is. To my knowledge Fehr can’t make a decision without the backing of the union. The players would have to agree to strike and it didn’t come to that.

      Whatever makes you feel better I guess…

  3. 1) I agree with The Daily News’ Pat Leonard in one regard, it will take an owner, probably a big market guy to step forward to end this madness. as I wrote earlier this morning on my blog.
    2) However I don’t think we’ll see this occur publicly as Leonard suggests. It is after all the big markets that will have to change their stance with regard to revenue sharing, so if they came out in favour of changing that staus quo, we’d be more likely to see a change in overall ownership negotiating tactics leading to a change in their overall perspective on how the big and small markets relate to eachother
    3) I think once that is on the table the players would more likely be amenable to giving up more of their share of the pie, and this cold get wrapped up in a couple of weeks and not lose a season+

  4. @ Angelo

    This is about more that the dollars. While you are completely right about these millionaires crying over a few hundred thousand dollars, there is more here that we see on the surface.

    Imagine while at work one day your boss calls you into his office and tells you about how well the company is doing the profits have tripled in the past seven years. He is so happy with you he offers a big raise.

    After a few weeks go by and the profits are still growing the same boss calls you back into his office and says one of his competitors is struggling so he needs you to cut your salary so his competitor can cut his and be more profitable.

    What is your reaction?

    “Sure, I understand, you can take the money back.” Not likely.

    Realistically, the conversation starts with are you serious and ends with a one finger salute.

    Just because the dollars are higher, doesn’t mean that the point is any different.

    It seems to me (if it matters) that the players want to fix the system to make it so they don’t have to do this again in five or six years. While the owners want to offer the players huge (crazy) raises and then claw it all back a few years later.

    Honestly, does a salary claw back actually fix the problems??? No, not at all. We all know that, so do the owners. They are their own worst enemy. I could care less about the percentages each get. They need to fix the real problems. Share the wealth with the struggling teams or close the doors in cities where it’s not working.
    Simple solution…or is it?

    • I hear this point but it’s a average salary of almost 2 million dropping to 1.5-1.6 million in the first year. Boo Friggin’ Hoo. I work as a Police officer for $80,000 a year and I feel damn lucky to make that kind of money today. And I deal with the real world and it’s under belly. Oh, an we are bound by law to not be able to strike. These guys should get over themselves. The better the players play and get involved with the fans, the more money ppl put down for the product. That increases revenue, which will increase the cap again, and the rich get richer again. I have no sympathy for rich ppl arguing with rich ppl about how much richer they can get. I love the sport, hate the business it has become. The smart thing to do us go to the 50-50 split, lower the cap floor, limit contracts to 6 years, FA at 30 years or 9 years with your team. These privileged ppl need to just agree to 50/50 and get on with it. Greedy bastards.

  5. 1 more thing. If the league strikes for a whole season, or a little less, and 1-2 teams fold then who won? Players lose 30-60 pro and 30-60 semi pro jobs, fans lose their fav team, other owners get new fans buying their logos. Owners still win. The owners that left aren’t in the rich boys club anymore so they don’t matter. Less revenue to share with struggling teams at the expense of 60-120 NHL calibre player jobs. Players don’t sign the paycheques. They just reap the benefit of playing a sport and being treat like heroes. Take your reductions in salary and get back to work and work harder so you can make 20 x’s the average guy this year and 24 x’s the average guy next year.

  6. Way too many people dont seem to understand the difference between HRR(revenue) and profit. HRR is based on income generated by the product on the ice and television before any expenses taxes etc. Profit is the money remaining after all expenses are deducted from all revenue(including non HRR). That is why even though the NHL generated $3.3 billion in revenue (which seems like a huge amount) after all expenses only 8 teams actually generated a significant profit.

    That is why the players side only speaks of revenue, and not of profit, like it is a big pile of money in a vault being divvied up by the owners. The only way the remaining teams can be profitable or even just break even, is 1. Contraction (with minimum 50 players jobs per team) and all revenue generated in those markets including TV, 2. 100% revenue sharing, which no team in any league is going to agreet, or lastly, 3. Cost reduction including players salary. Which one is a realistic option?

    Yes this whole situation is ridiculous to some degree for us Joe Average fans to accept and understand. What makes things even more ridiculous is the idea that either with a lockout or without or with a strike or without, history has proven that the players “will eventually agree” to an agreement that is actually worse than the one offered on Friday. Last CBA, when the NHL made it’s “take it or leave it offer to the players”, the players didn’t budge. Every offer made by the NHL after that cost the players more and more until they finally signed an offer significantly worse than the original offer. This past winter, the NBA gave its players a “take it or leave it offer”, the players didn’t budge, and they eventually signed a much worse agreement lowering their share of revenue to 50%.

    Once again, the league has offered the players its “take it or leave it” offer on Friday. History has proven that the league will not offer any thing close from here on in, so that leaves the question, what do the players actually expect to gain from dragging things out longer, and what kind of advice are they really getting. As it is with the existing offer, the rollback will be about $220K for the average player (much higher obviously for the big boys $900K for a $6 million contract). That’s a month pay, for the average NHL player. A significant hit, without a doubt, but as so many like to say, you can’t compare an NHL player to Joe Average, and they are right, when you still have over $1 million in income after taxes on an average contract, that $220k hit doesn’t compare to someone making $60K a year.

    I find it hard to sympathize with someone who can still pay cash for a brand new house every year after taking a pay cut. And seriously, what about the advice they are getting. You have players (Heatley and Phillips) suing their financial manager, a man they trusted completely with their money, who happens to work as a landscape labourer? I am not making this stuff up, seriously, can we honestly expect the players to make intelligent decisions that affect all stakeholders?

    We all “know” where this whole negotiation will end up, and yet even with that knowledge we will lose part of or a whole season to get to where we knew it was going anyway and all the hyperbole by the players and their media worshippers isn’t going to change that. Face reality, split everything 50/50 and let’s play hockey. Or lets lose a season, yell and scream, end up at a 50/50 split and we all just got a year older.

  7. The true problem is the fans paying the ticket prices.
    I’m a Bruins fan and to take a family of 4 and sit in the lower section it’s a
    Thousand dollar night. I did it once and that’s all I can afford.
    As long as fans keep paying hundreds of dollars for a ticket owners and players will make millions.
    If they capped ticket prices to 50.00 almost all arenas would be filled and fans could afford to go to games. Also owners would make less meaning salaries would come down.

    • I was a season ticket holder for the Kings in the early years ( late 60’s) and a seat in the lower corner 3 rows up from ice was $ 5.00

  8. Just to prove my point I’m buying 4 tickets to see the USA woman’s soccer team play in Hartford,ct for 26.00 each. My two girls play soccer and this will be a fun night out for 100 bucks.

  9. When i read many comments about this never ending finger pointing drama, i laugh now at the players and owners for doing this to themselves and my sympathys go to the fans and people whos jobs this affects( and by this i mean by people whos livlihood and families rely on the meager paycheques they make not the owners and players crying poverty in armani suites and sunglasses that cost as much as i get paid in a 2 week period). Regardless of what everyone says the players DID cause this in end. The nhl wanted to start negotaitions a year ago…A YEAR AGO! i hate bettman btw…how was that in anyway his fault when the union said no. I have read some nhl players twitters about how would we feel if we were asked if we would take a rollback on our wages…WAKE UP! your asking people who dont make as much as most players…EVEN 4th liners make in our entire lifetime oh and as for the physical and mental abuse they take..seriously gimme a break most peoples jobs and by this i mean people who have to take any job they can get break arms legs get cancer from exposure to chemicals lose houses sweat bullets trying to feed their children..this list of mental and physical trauma could go on and on yet we pay your apparently meager wages with this money for a night out to escape the everday hardship of real life, and i dont wanna hear well then why dont these people pick up a stick and try what they do..sorry that doesnt work either for most people who are not born with oppurtunity like they are, i know people who have unreal skill, brains, heart ability all of that but life just doesnt work that way for everyone, i hope they lockout until the union gives, regardless of what happened the owners did everythig they could to be able to stay competitive under the last cba even cut each others throats, but now the owners and players have an oppurtinity to make things right, and they both know the realities of what its gonna take, if im an owner of an nhl team that actually makes a profit im asking the question why am i footing the bill for teams who lose money, and an obviously crooked union full of players who pretend to care about the sport and fans when they had oppurtunities to help fix all the problems, even help the idiot owners save themselves from each other , the obviuosness of it all is apparent why is it only people who work 9-5 for nothing can see this…..

    • I find it funny that among all these rants about how spoiled the players are there isn’t one comment about how the owners are crying poor and it’s a pile of BS.

      How do these owners get their money? By investing in business ventures that loose money?? No way. They all, and I mean all, dump any portion of a business that is costing them money. EVERY rich person does this. Maybe we aren’t aware of this because we could add all our paychecks together and still have less than they do.

      The business people make their businesses look like they are loosing money in order to write it off at the end of the year in their taxes.
      I know, you think I’m full of it, but it is reality. This is one of the ways that they make tons of money.

      Look at Walmart….if a union comes in…they close the store. WHY? Cause it will cost them too much money. Hello….think about it…IF you invested $300 million in a team and it was loosing $25 million every year, how long would you be able to survive.

      Open your eyes people, both sides are just as bad here.

      I would love to make as much as the players and have this problem, but I’m not going to let my jealousy augment my ability to see both sides of the issue.

  10. the mann you are are right on many points but one….the reason for the lock out is to stop the bleeding of teams losing money, thats the reason for the lockout, halt all operations, until an agreement can be made to stop teams from losing money, and even if your point of they use the teams only to write off on taxes which i have a hard time swallowing that theyre only used for that purpose no business man buys any team knowing full well theyre going to lose money….unless your off your rocker, especially millions of dollars off of your rocker, but well put both sides are absolutely at fault , its absolutely correct spot on and both sides need to pull there heads outta their ….

  11. I understand the call that players make to much money. And I thank the one person who is a policeman, but not to be rude, people do not pay 50 to 100 bucks to see you do your job. SUPPLY AND DEMAND. There are very few people who can play NHL hockey.Players are the reason that people pay to see games and buy merchandise.I have a different question and hopefully Spectors can answer.

    If the players were to recieve 57% of HHR and that was going to put the cap at 70 million and the floor at 50 million(?), what happens if 1/2 the teams were closer to the floor than the high end of cap. Would not the percentage be lower than the 57%. So now the owners want to lower the percentage to below 45%. If half the teams keep to the cap floor than percentage would be lower than the 45% of HHR. And how would the this help the teams that did notmake money. The 7 or 8 teams that made the largest amount of profit (Tor, Det. Boston, NY Rangers, Philly, Montreal, Chicago) will just make more money.

    The teams that lost money over the years since the last CBA will still lose money and the next CBA the owners will cry that they need the players to give up more. The restricting of UFA and the entry level contracts is just a way to keep the big teams from stealing the best players from the poorer teams.