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

The Instigator Podcast: Locked Out

The lockout is indeed on. While the CBA arguments went beyond the September 15 deadline, regular season games have now been cancelled and this has become a very real thing. Eric and I sat down to discuss the lockout, solutions for it and a host of other topics. We tackle the Alumni Plaza and, of course, play a little plus/minus.

Instigator Podcast #19 – Collective Bracing

Back for another episode, Eric and I talk a bit about how awesome home World Cup qualifying matches are (Eric just returned from Columbus), how terrible things are starting to look regarding the impending lockout and play a bit of plus/minus.

As always, catch me at @2ITB_Buffalo and Eric at @3rdManIn

Both PA and owners to blame as lockout looms

It seems like such a short time ago that fans were clamoring for details on the labor strife in the NHL. Seven short years it has been since the last lockout and the NHL seems set on yet another.

All it took was a lost season and fans for the owners and players to come to an agreement in 2004-05. Granted, the players were poorly represented and the league as a whole was in desperate need of an overhaul to the CBA. Yet the rapid growth the NHL has enjoyed since the last lockout has done little more to muddy the waters between the NHLPA and owners.

Point fingers if you must at the greedy millionaires and billionaires. Point fingers at Gary Bettman for trotting towards his third work stoppage. Point fingers at whoever you need to blame in this situation. Just understand that this is a two-way street but the owners are driving a much wider vehicle.

By no means am I a CBA expert, so I won’t try and talk number percentages or about any of the other specific details that will ultimately be hammered out over the next few days, weeks and months.

What is so perplexing in this entire scenario is the glaring ignorance portrayed by both sides. The league and owners, as a group, are far and away the greater perpetrators here but the NHLPA should not be fully absolved of blame. Fact is that both sides took their sweet time to talk despite staring at a situation that pointed towards a drawn out negotiating process. 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