After five consecutive days of talks last week, there is no progress in the latest NHL labour negotiations. What we have all been asking for (get both sides in a room, and let them hammer it out), happened with no ending to yet another work stoppage in the current commissioner’s tenure. The negotiating tactics of each side has left a fan base to ask themselves when will this end, and will they still care when it does.
This battle of millionaires versus billionaires has been about money, and well, money. Certainly there are a few contractual issues that have to be ironed out and decided upon, but the end result will boil down to how to split revenue sharing, and at what cost will the players have to suffer. When the league was willing to “give in” to the players request to settle at a 50/50 revenue split, most thought that we were on our way to a settlement. However when the players union came back late as last week with a request to have player contracts honored in full for this season, you might as well have thrown the baby out with the bath water. The greed unfortunately continues.
Steve Fehr thinks that there are only three things that need to be solved to get a deal completed. Michael Grange describes the negotiations by one word. Weird. And flat out weird to be exact. In either case, the public is growing tired of the ongoing tennis match with two sides who’s egos apparently wouldn’t fit inside that stadium in Ann Arbour, Michigan (Winter Classic site). With each day that passes more players are heading off to Europe to stay in shape, make a few bucks, and move on from what’s happening here in the states. Read the rest of this entry
All of a sudden, hockey fans have something to hope for. On Tuesday, the NHL put forth an official offer to possible end the lockout, and this time, surprising to most, it doesn’t appear to be that bad.
I’ve written before that the NHL has been losing big in the public relations battle with their
sworn e nemy business partner, the NHLPA. Gary Bettman, Bill Daly, and especially the owners were coming off as money-grabbers who would rather make money than play a season of hockey, whether those perceived characteristics were deserved or not. However, the latest offer from Bettman’s side of the table appears to have changed public perception.
It looks like the NHL has squashed their “we’re not budging” attitude and put a brand new offer on the table.
Gary Bettman and the National Hockey League made a new proposition for Don Fehr and the rest of the NHLPA Tuesday morning, which includes a 50/50 split of hockey revenue across the board. In addition, Bettman promised a NO salary rollback with a revised 82 game schedule beginning November 2nd. This revised schedule would include one week of training camp, along with one additional regular season game, every five weeks, for all 30 teams.
Let’s say you own a business. For the sake of this piece, let’s say you run a sandwich shop. You make the best sandwiches in town. You bake your own fresh bread using locally grown ingredients. You use the finest fresh meats and vegetables. And you have an outstanding, mutually profitable relationship with all of the vendors who supply the goods you use to present your product, a product that has seen steady growth for more than a decade that has you drawing business away from the inferior franchised sandwich shop. And in the past fiscal year, your business has never been more profitable or visible and your business’ future has never looked better.
And let’s say, one day, you just decide to shut things down.
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The above video appeared on CBC in mid August. Not much has changed since then.
This article isn’t about taking sides, or making either one look better than the other. It’s also not about who’s going to suffer the most, or why this lockout is foolish, which it is. It’s about a better understanding of what’s taken place to get us where we are right now, and why both sides are right, and why both sides are wrong. On Friday morning as I was driving to a meeting I happened to put on NHL Home Ice just as former Florida Panther head coach Doug MacLean was coming on. Not knowing what Doug was going to talk about, I listened. He has just the right amount of passion, smarts, and dry humor to always catch my attention, and this time was no different. My summary is not verbatim, just my interpretation of what was being said. I’m not an expert on the situation, nor do I hold MacLean as the expert either. I do believe however that his points, which are directed at both sides make sense (I feel like that was my disclaimer).
The bulk of his time on the air focused around the NHL lockout and how the league and players found itself to be in the position that they’re in. Most of what separates the two sides is money of course. Each wants more, and neither appears to be too interested in making concessions to accept less. There’s been a great deal of discussion about the math and the numbers that separate the two sides, and that was one of the first things that Doug had trouble with. One side says that it’s a 7% spread that keeps the two apart, while the other side claims it’s 17.5% keeping them at odds. Like me, Doug has a hard time understanding how two intelligent men can be so far off…but they are. Read the rest of this entry
Livid. Frustrated. Concerned. Exhausted. Sick. Helpless.
If you’re like me, the above emotions describe exactly how you’ve been feeling over the last few months. You’re nauseated over the site of Gary Bettman at a podium. You hear the words “wide” and “gap” paired together and you suddenly want to punch the nearest wall. You imagine an October with no hockey and you want to crawl into a hole and not come out until play resumes.
But most of all, you feel completely and utterly helpless. That’s the worst part of this never-ending labor mess for me. I have friends (some hockey fans, some not) come up and ask “so how are things looking, you think?” and all you can do is shrug and muster a “not good.” That response has not changed during any point of the CBA negotiations. Perhaps in some twisted sense, it’s better that way seeing as how we haven’t really had reason to get our hopes up. At the same token, though, enough is enough. When is there going to be a light at the end of the tunnel for the die-hards? Read the rest of this entry