There are certain topics that I have a leg up on writing about. Systems, the dressing room, player assessment and a few other things fall under the “ex-player” umbrella. There are other items, however, that don’t quite inspire me to write as many words, like, say, the CBA negotiations. (The players are presenting their counter-offer today, hurray!)


Because I don’t give a shit.

I never cared about the paperwork when I was a hockey fan growing up, I never cared when I was a hockey player that it affected, I just wanted them to get a deal done and tell me the parameters so I could start making assessments like “Hey, under the current agreement that Max Pacioretty contract is a real steal for Montreal.”

I feel that way mostly because of how little any of our opinions matter. Hollering about the nonsense on Twitter, Facebook, or face-to-face with your buddies isn’t going to make Gary Bettman or Donald Fehr go “We wouldn’t normally take this deal that we don’t like, but the fans really want there to be hockey, which we didn’t anticipate, so OKAY WHERE’S THE PEN?”

Not to mention, I live in fear of offering up a “You know what they should do??” opinion that sounds like the guy at the bar offering his opinion while being hilariously misinformed. “Yes, the Kings should sign Dominik Hasek, I agree, sir.

And not to sound intellectually lazy, but the CBA is one hell of a complex agreement. When trying to decide on a back-up plan to hockey (as in, pick a major in college), I considered law after talking with my Dad and Uncle (a former sportswriter and solid hockey mind) who explained “Only a handful of people in the world actually understand everything in the CBA. If you can become one of those people, you become very valuable.”

Many of us, myself included, have a cursory understanding of the important issues contained within, but we still run into moments where even veteran reporters are “breaking news” only to find out they were wrong on a certain process. Specifically, remember the discussion about what Nashville’s compensation was going to be if Shea Weber went to Philly? It was just a scattershot of reports, until a few people actually got it figured out. Most bloggers just waited for a report from someone they trust and re-reported it because, hey, they aren’t lawyers. When even the trusted few who follow it closely can’t pin down answers quickly, most of us would be fools to give opinions and advise.

More importantly, most fans (wisely) wouldn’t take the time to try to understand all the legalese and tiny rules because, why should they? We in the hockey media are constantly immersed in hockey, and we take questions from the hardest of hardcore fans who willingly do the same because they love the game, so we think everybody cares about all these little details as we do. That’s just not true.

What most want – and this is how it should be – is to get to use their season tickets, have an excuse to go have a couple beers on a Tuesday night and watch the best hockey players on earth dazzle. They want big hits, goals, wins and….just, actual hockey. It’s no fun when the sports news is about subsection 2b. of provision 143.1a. For fans, hockey’s supposed to be an escape, not a headache.

All that said…I will, of course, be covering the negotiations as best I can. I will be writing my opinion on the news as it breaks. It’s my job, after all.

I just want the hockey fans who are already sick of the doom-and-gloom tone, the lawyer-heavy interviews and the “BREAKING: NOTHING HAPPENED” stories to know that I get it if you could give a flying fuck about this stuff.

For fans, there’s nothing left to do but be hopeful and put it out of your mind. It’s not impossible that the puck drops as scheduled on October 11th. And if it does, you’ll be all the better for not tearing your hair out during the summer over the latest Gary Bettman sound bite.

Comments (7)

  1. One further item that makes it totally useless to get frustrated with is the fact that they are having negotiations, which means that what is publicly being shared as options are no where near what the contract will end up being. In reality the NHL is going to start with “We get all the money” the players are going to counter with “We get all the money”, then it will end somewhere in the middle.

    In the end Hockey players will be paid more than most of the ticket buying population can even dream of earning, and no one will walk away poor. If it’s not a great deal for the owners they’ll just raise ticket prices in the hot markets, and increase transfer payments to balance the books.

    • Great post Bourne, especially (personally) as a Phx Coyote fan. … Hearing friends talk about what Nashville would get in compensation for Weber going to Philly was like listening to politic information from middle-school kids.
      But at the end of the day, it is like you said, what we want to is to use our season tickets. And being a Coyote fan, you can understand that all I want is the FACTS. The past 3-4 years have been awful, with articles reporting the Coyotes have a buyer and are staying. Then the following week reporting the opposite.

  2. I actually don’t mind this stuff. Sure, i miss the hockey when its not played, but you know what? If every ten year or so, I get to take the $5,000 I spend on season tickets every year and put it to other uses, life will go on.

    And I enjoy the behind the scenes shenanigans that CBA negotiations reveal. Like it or not, NHL hockey is not a game anymore. Its a game that’s played for many purposes. Some of them are related to “sport”, but many more of them related to “finance”. And if I get to hear more about what’s really going on behind the NHL/NHLPA’s closed doors, ok with me.

  3. I can careless about the CBA in the sense of what is actually written on it but unfortunately it affects us all as fans. I understand it’s a business and people need to get paid. It just seems unfair that we the fans get screwed in this. I mean sure some group will be forced to fork over more money and that blows for them but common, lets get this show on the road!!

    The ONLY solace I have this year is that the 49ers are actually a good team and will provide entertainment while hockey is in hiatus, that and maybe tons of hours on NHL13 dreaming about what could have been.

    I do think that this negotiation has been handled differently from the players. They are no longer seen as the greedy millionaires tying to make more money. They’ve done a great job of painting the owners as greedy

    • “I understand it’s a business and people need to get paid. It just seems unfair that we the fans get screwed in this. ”

      Nothing to t worry. We all know that if the NHL can just get *more* “cost certainty” that ticket prices will *surely* go down!

  4. The CBA can definitely be confusing, even to people who have “experts” at their disposal. Just ask Paul Holmgren about signing Chris Pronger.

  5. I don’t mind a CBA article or two, but what gets to me is articles pumping one side or the other’s position. “There wouldn’t be a lockout if the players weren’t greedy.” “There wouldn’t be a lockout if the owners weren’t greedy.”

    That angle has always bothered me. I don’t pay one power bill to the generation company, and a second power bill to the distribution company, even though they are two distinct entities in my and many jurisdictions.

    I buy tickets, watch advertising, buy merchandise, watch more advertising in exchange for watching hockey at its highest level. If the various bodies who make that possible don’t get it done, they’ve all let me down, and I don’t particularly care to listen to their excuses as to why.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *