NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – September 5, 2012.

Bettman to seek NHL owners approval for a lockout, a claim league lost $240 million over last two years, Alexander Ovechkin lashes out at owners and Bettman, more details of NHL’s latest CBA proposal emerges, Hockey Night in Canada host doubts there will be a lockout, Coyotes prospective owner reportedly has financing to purchase the team, and Avalanche name Gabriel Landeskog their new captain.

CSNPHILLY.COM: Tim Panaccio cites sources claiming NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will meet with team owners on September 13 to brief them on CBA negotiations, and have them vote on a possible lockout of the players on September 15.

NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: Jason Brough cited a “tweet” by RDS’ Renaud Lavoie claiming a league source told him the NHL had lost $240 million over the past two seasons. James O’Brien cited a “tweet” by ESPN.com’s James Murphy in which three unnamed players told him there’s a growing feeling the season could begin on November 23, as that would kick off NBC’s slate of nationally televised NHL games. O’Brien also cited a “tweet” by James Mirtle of The Globe and Mail, suggesting the Swedish Elite League might reconsider its stance not to sign NHL players unless they agree to play the entire season, apparently because of the drawing power of Swedish NHL stars like Henrik Zetterberg.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Bettman seeks a vote from the owners on a lockout, it’s as good as done, barring last minute negotiations between he and the PA. How long it lasts is anyone’s guess. Maybe it would be over by the time NBC begins nationally televising games, but I doubt it, because Bettman was smart enough to ensure lockout protection written into the league’s new contract with the network. Wouldn’t surprise me if the SEL has a change of heart about signing locked-out NHL players to short-term contracts this season. When you’ve got a chance to have your most talented NHL countrymen playing in your league, even for a short period, you seize that opportunity.

As for the league supposedly losing $240 million over two years, it’s hard to believe that claim when they’ve been crowing about setting records for increased revenue and attendance. According to Forbes.com, in 2010-11, 18 NHL teams lost around $118 million, while the other 12 clubs posted combined operating incomes of $252.6 million, of which six (Toronto, Montreal, NY Rangers, Vancouver, Edmonton and Detroit) earned the overwhelming majority, raking in a combined $228 million. 

Ovechkin (sporting new haircut) lashed out at the league over its CBA stance.

CSNWASHINGTON.COM: Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin lashed out at the commissioner and the team owners. He admits thinking about playing in Russia if there’s a lockout, but said he’d prefer to play in the NHL. He also believes some players might consider never returning to the NHL, hinting he’d consider it if his pay were cut by 15 to 20 percent.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports part of the NHL’s latest CBA proposal “would feature a “management rights” clause under which the league would assume unilateral power over issues including realignment, scheduling and playoff format.”

ESPN.COM: Pierre LeBrun reports the league’s new proposal opted to push the start date for unrestricted free agency to July 10.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve always hated the start of the UFA market being July 1, which is of course Canada Day. While the PA might not like having that period shortened by ten days, I think most Canadian-based NHL fans, bloggers and pundits would prefer a later start date. Whether that is actually implemented in a new CBA remains to be seen.

CBC.CA: Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean doesn’t believe there will be a lockout.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can only hope Ron’s right. His partner, Don Cherry, believes there will be a lockout lasting at least two months. Geez, these two can’t even agree on a lockout!

ESPN.COM: A source claims prospective Phoenix Coyotes buyer Greg Jamison has secured the necessary funding to purchase the club.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ve been hearing this for weeks. I’ll believe it when the sale is officially announced.

DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche yesterday announced they’d named forward Gabriel Landeskog their new captain, making him the youngest in NHL history.


  1. With regards to the Coyotes, you’ve got to imagine that Jamison’s funding is somewhat contingent upon the outcome of the CBA. Players have some leverage there. No CBA probably means no sale, meaning the NHL continues to hold the bag on the $140 million they paid for the team.

  2. Late November sounds about right for a DROP DEAD THIS SEASON IS OVER DATE.Last year NBA sat out nearly two months and started on Christmas day.
    They also did some re-scheduling and teams had to play in some cases three games in three straight nights as they wanted to play at least 60 games. Can’t see NHL forcing teams to play three games three straight nights and can’t see them playing less than 60 games so if lockout goes beyond late November do you knock off the first round of playoffs so that season doesn’t end late June ? If you do that 8 teams get knocked out of playoffs. Add games and end season early May ?
    Do you play a 50 game schedule ? What gives here. I see late November as the killing date for season. How about locking both parties in a room until they decide and food will be delivered to them with a few empty coffee cans for …………

  3. If the NHL lost that much,how come all we ever hear is,we made huge revenues and a growing fanbase.The owners of failing teams have no one to blame but themselves and Bettman.They wanted the last cba and all agreed to an escalting salary cap based on revenues.The cap grew to fast and the smaller market teams cant keep up,but they also found every loophole to give players insane contracts.I dont blame a player when a team says we can give you 100 miilion and he takes it,we all would.The leauge should leave the cap where its at lock it in at that for three years.No more 10 year 100 mill contracts with 25 mill signing bounus,change the buyout policy and free agency rules and do a 50/50 split.If teams are failing get the revune to them to help them or move the team,the coyotes saga is an eyesore to the leauge.

  4. The NHL as a whole could have easily lost that money. Yes there are a small number of teams that generated over 200 million in revenues, but there are twice as many teams that lost money. How much is part of the HRR debate. For all the media’s bandwagon leap onto the players mantra about losing money. How about the fact that owners in the NHL put over $1 Billion into arena upgrades, out of their own pockets and arent allowed to count that agaisnt revenue. What other business isnt allowed to consider building expenses against revenue?

    The fact is, and we all know it deep down, this league will not start up again until the revenue share is lowered, the cap is dropped and there is a roll back in salaries.

    If players like Ovechkin feel that is too much for them, then thank you for your time and good luck on your new ventures. The league has lost many more influential players than Ovie and survived and will do so now.

  5. I’ll admit I’m siding with the players in this CBA squabble.

    I’d like to see players come out and state that if they do sign in Europe or elsewhere it will be for an entire season no matter the NHL CBA status -and sign contracts stating as much.

    If the SEL will only sign players for a full season great. If the NHL wants players like Zetterberg, the Sendins, and so many other Swedish star players (as well as any other NHLers that sign elsewhere) back on their teams this season to try and mend their relationship with the fans and show that they are truly the greatest hockey stage then start playing fair and honest and work out a new contract that works for the owners (both big and small) and the players.

  6. I believe that there just might be a little “creative bookkeeping” going on with the NHL accountants in showing a 2 year $240 million dollar loss. That comes to $120 million a year or an average of about $4 million per team. Good bookkeeping can always show a loss if that’s what you want people to see, especially the IRS, but in reality we all know that these mega millionaire/billionaire owners are not in the business of losing money and if they had a company that they couldn’t profit from they would dump it in a heart beat.

    • Do ya think ? Lets see, the USA Government hasn’t bothered to come up with a budget the last four years, no one knows how much money is created out of thin air or where it’s going. Banks are getting Trillions fed to them ( Citi bank 2 Trillion alone the past few years), John Corzine loses 1.2 billion and gets a pass, cities going bankrupt and yet paying out landish pensions to government workers, etc, etc, etc and yet if a 12 year old starts a lemonade stand the full force of the government comes after them. NHL owners cooking the books ? Shocking – I’m shocked that there is gambling going on in this establishment to paraphrase Bogard

  7. 1) I don’t think November will be the ‘drop dead’ date. last time the season wasn’t cancelled until February. That said, I’d say if the league losses the Outdoor game it might look at that as a tipping point in season cancellation
    2) Thing that puzzels me in all these talks is that folks write about both sides having to make ‘concessions’ yet a consession is giving something up that you had previously. Only the players are ‘giving something up’ here. The only thing being discussed is how much.
    3) If the players look at these negatiations through that lense, this could be a LONG work stoppage. Will be interesting then to see how many players find alternative work in Europe, etc. I can’t see it being more than 50 or so players going over. Perhaps another 50 can either play in the AHLor go back to junior.(where eligiable) Leaving 500 unemployed players. Doubtful they can withstand a season plus without a pay cheque!

  8. I read the Ovechkin interview and he had me until he got into the whole “you have to look our for your future, family” statement. While I do side with the players this time around, comments like that from a player, just like the last CBA negotiations, isn’t something that will garner support from the “blue collar” fans.