With 82 games off the table, it’s time for a deal

The deadline has arrived. Whatever that means. Based on the last serious round of CBA negotiations, the League had put a finger on today to come to an agreement on a CBA while still fitting in an 82-game season. The day has arrived, yet no agreement is in sight.



The NHL and NHLPA have spent more time on the PR battlefield rather than the board room after a fresh set of offers were rolled out a week ago in hopes of ending the most recent NHL lockout. While the NHL came all the way down to a 50/50 revenue split, there were wrinkles in their offer that still irked the players. That led to the inevitable counteroffer(s) from the PA which basically revolved around their desire to have pre-existing contracts paid for in full.

The NHL will withdraw their most recent offer but only to accommodate for a regular season that will have far fewer than 82 games.




For most fans, the offers introduced last week probably seem pretty black and white. The league is striving for a 50/50 split, while players still want to be paid the money they were promised when they signed their contracts. It is fairly basic when the big picture is considered. However, for the two sides remain far apart in a battle over a $3.3 billion pie and the 2012-13 season hangs in the balance.


Since the 82-game season is now on the shelf, understand that this doesn’t mean that the season is completely out of the question. All this means is that fans are likely looking at something closer to a 60 or 50-game season. Of course, the two sides need to actually sit down and have a real conversation. If they could suck up their pride, start with the 50/50 split and work from there, perhaps there would actually be room for a deal to be made.

To this point those words have been as empty as an Islanders home game. Now the only mission between the league and PA should be to ensure that hockey is played this year.  Continue reading

History should speed up CBA talks

Some people never learn. Of course, when you’re talking millions and millions of dollars, it is hard to figure out any sort of logic.

The last time hockey fans were facing labor talks between the owners and Players Association, a lockout was nearly a certainty. What resulted was a lost season, a crap TV contract, fan apprehension and a complete loss of respect from a sports network capable of pumping any event full of propaganda.

Maybe losing any sort of foothold on ESPN’ airwaves was a minor setback, but “the worldwide leader” is nothing more than a televised tabloid capable of steering sports fans interest towards a singular message if they so choose. Regardless, the lost season in 2004-05 was a massive setback for the NHL and caused the necessity for a whole lot of rebuilding.

Only seven years later we are almost back to where we started. Salaries have ballooned (thanks to skyrocketing revenues) and the owners are getting over their heads when it comes to paying out cash. With just over a month to go, it appears as if the worst may be on the horizon, another lockout. Continue reading

At long last, the Coyotes are saved

While no official deal has been reached, it would appear that Greg Jamison will spearhead a group that has been endorsed by the league to purchase and save the Coyotes.

Jamison is the former CEO of the San Jose Sharks who is famous for making them profitable. Due, in part, to Jamison’s leadership, the Sharks are now a very stable club – despite being located in a non-traditional market. With Jamison at the helm, the league (and Coyotes), Glendale and Jamison are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle twice.

There has not been an official deal reached, just an announcement that an agreement has been reached to dot the Is and cross the Ts in this deal. There is still the looming specter of the Goldwater Institute, the watchdog group that destroyed the last bid for the team. That isn’t to say they were out of line. There is no doubt that they will comb through the final agreement and there is even a chance that they will attempt to put this deal to an end.

What could derail the Jamison deal is the portion of the agreement that will see the new figurehead (if you will) run Jobing.com Arena. If Goldwater determines the agreement to violate whatever silly law they referenced last year, things could get complicated. With no true knowledge of what Goldwater gets all knotted up about, I can’t truly say if this deal will catch any snags. After all, Gary Bettman even noted that they expect to structure the deal properly as to not raise any red flags.

Based on my knowledge of the history of this scenario, I do think that the city paying one of the new owners may upset a group that stopped a previous sale based on the city paying the owner to buy the team. Of course that is a wildly broad way of putting it, but the former deal saw Glendale selling bonds as a way to supplement the sale. Jamison’s group surely has found a way around such an issue, but I do wonder if Goldwater will take them to task over the owner being paid by the city.

Ultimately, I see this deal going through and the Coyotes finally getting some solid ownership. The team has been in Phoenix for 15 years and has yet to make money. That is a pretty terrifying piece of information. I suppose if there was anyone to turn the team around, it would be Jamison. Acting as the ringleader, he will be the one to guide the spending of the investment group he compiled. His experience with the Sharks speaks for itself and bodes well for the Coyotes franchise. Continue reading

Have we seen the final game in Glendale?

Thanks to a largely inconsistent showing and questionable goaltending from Ilya Bryzgalov, the Phoenix Coyotes were dispatched in four games by the Detroit Red Wings.

The bigger story coming out of this series is the fact that many believe that the final NHL game has been played in Glendale. I’m not so sure that is the case.

Since Matthew Hulsizer came forward to purchase the Coyotes about 5,872 stories have been published regarding the pending sale. Some revolve around what Hulsizer needs to complete the purchase, some talk of the major opposition that the Goldwater Institute has posed and some talk about the potential move of the team to Winnipeg.

I have said in this space before that Hulsizer probably shouldn’t be allowed to buy the team with all of this public help. If he can’t leg the deal then so be it. I also think that Winnipeg deserves to have the Jets/Coyotes return. Continue reading