Welcome to what will hopefully become a weekly staple here at Panther Parkway: The Friday Feature, where we have a friend of the site speak out on some of the issues of the game, and give us their honest and direct opinions with no strings attached. Up first is someone that I consider to not only be a good friend to me, the site, and many of you, but a person who’s opinion I am truly interested in hearing. You know him as “Coach K”. Who is he?
Kosta Papoulias (Better known as Coach K), is a radio personality and associate producer with the Web Sports Media Network. He appears regularly on Montreal Hockey Talk (www.montrealhockeytalk.com), a smash-mouth, uncensored Montreal Canadiens post-game show. Kosta has spent the better part of the last 18 years behind the bench at all levels of hockey, and speaks often to some of the best minds in the game, sharing his insight and analysis. Coach K lives near Montreal, with his loving wife of 13 years, Carole, and their 2 daughters, Amanda and Kristina.
Let’s get to it:
1) So Coach K, knowing the passion you have for the game, and the knowledge you have, I’m going to get right to it. What is your position on the NHL Lockout, specifically is one side more out of line than the other?
Again, considering the mistakes most GMs make in their professional player assessments, the agreement itself wasn’t flawed. The cap allowed small market teams an opportunity to become competitive and created some parity in the league. Also, league revenues grew at a steady pace for the entire 7 year period that was encompassed by the last CBA. The problem wasn’t the agreement, but more Gary Bettman’s stubborn belief that teams in Columbus, Phoenix and Long Island could prosper. If the NHL commissioner was more interested in keeping the league healthy, instead of stroking his ego and maintaining a dying legacy, we may not be in the situation that we are in today. Like Atlanta’s move to Winnipeg, if teams were relocated to cities that could sustain a steady stream of revenue and season ticket sales, the last agreement wouldn’t look so bad.
3) In your estimation, when will the regular season begin, and why do you think it will be then?
From the information I am gathering, there is a rift growing between the NHL owners and Gary Bettman. Firstly, during the last negociations, Bettman created the infamous escrow account, which he promised would go to the owners in the event of a team being relocated or if expansion were to occur. Granted, because of the fantastic response from fans in Winnipeg, the escrow account remained untouched. Now that a work stoppage has occurred again, something Bettman again told owners wouldn’t be necessary, the escrow monies are being redirected back to the players, whose salaries built it in the first place. That’s the principal reason Bettman wants revenue to be 50-50.