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.
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.