Mario Lemieux's humble new abode, from StrathmoreStandard.com

Awaiting its completion since 2009, Pittsburgh Penguins’ owner Mario Lemieux is just about ready to move into his 20 million dollar mansion built north of Montreal, pictured above.

I just wanted to pass the image of that little chateau along so we could all better grasp the desperation most owners have to get hockey back: slightly more than none, at best. Why, if there’s no puck, all they’ll still have is mostly everything.

Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette wrote a column a few days ago that took a look at the owners who hockey actually matters to from an income standpoint, and how that’s affecting negotiations. He notes that nine of the 10 wealthiest owners aren’t involved in the slightest bit.

From Hickey:

So who is negotiating? A collection of losers who need a new deal because, during a period of unprecedented growth in the NHL, they can’t figure out a way to run a business.

Boston’s Jeremy Jacobs, Calgary’s Murray Edwards, Washington’s Ted Leonsis and Minnesota’s Craig Leipold were in the room this month when the NHL took all of 10 minutes to reject a proposal from the NHL Players’ Association.

Jacobs, who was the only owner present this week when the latest NHLPA proposal was rejected, is the only member of this group who actually makes money from hockey.

The Bruins, who would have headed into this season with the highest payroll in the NHL, clear about $3 million a year. But Jacobs, who was among the owners who went on a spending spree in the days prior to the lockout, is seen as a driving force behind the work stoppage and appears to be motivated by greed. He’d like to pad his profit margin without having to share with any of his less fortunate partners.

The other three owners are losing money and you have to ask why? They are all playing in healthy markets where the buildings are full, but they still can’t make it work.

Excuse the text block, but it’s an informative column laced with opinion that’s worth a read.

The Flames, Wild and Capitals, as Hickey points out, have lost varying amounts of money over the past three seasons (Flames made $1.1M last year according to Hickey’s post, lost money in previous two seasons), despite attendance figures near-or-exceeding capacity. Then there’s the Phoenix Coyotes, who single-handedly lose $25 mill per season, and continue to be run by the league. They’re involved in a way too.

The point I see here is that if the richest clubs were actually involved in negotiating these deals, we might have one by now. They’re better off with hockey than without, and aren’t pressed enough to need to scrap for each tenth of a percentage point.

Instead, those wealthiest of men (and their companies) have stuck to the sidelines, knowing the desperate others will scrape to get them the best possible deal, even though they’d be more than fine with a CBA not that dissimilar to the one the players proposed.

It’s not that the owners don’t want there to be a season, or that the players’ latest offer was that terrible. It’s that fraction of owners who need every nickel are the ones doing the deal.

(Stick-tap to Ryan Lambert)

Comments (15)

  1. no wonder crosby didnt want to move out

  2. Could you imagine playing mini–sticks in that house.

  3. Looks like a house that Hollywood loves to blow up in your rote action blockbuster.

    But I digress. This only makes the owners look worse, as a group. It also highlights the idea that maybe taking a more capitalistic approach would work better in the long-run. Instead of having every owner be strong-armed into staying involved or in their current cities a’la Phoenix, run these clubs more like real business: the losing clubs either get new owners, moved to a city with more financial interest, or shuttered.

    It could make for a more chaotic league in terms of scheduling, but then you run less risk of the majority of teams losing money year-to-year. The only other “simplistic” fix would be for the league to buy all the teams and distribute the wealth evenly with the current owners acting as branch managers, but of course that won’t work because most owners are owners for a reason, instead of managers. And it shows, since they can’t manage their budgets, for the most part.

    Sayonara, 2012-12 season.

  4. Just saying, when an article contains a statement like this, “A collection of losers who need a new deal because, during a period of unprecedented growth in the NHL, they can’t figure out a way to run a business,” I immediately wonder at how unbiased or accurate their opinion is. It might be worth a read, but not worth basing my entire opinion on (or even much at all).

  5. Yeah cause no NHL players have million dollar mansions..

  6. The fuckin’ owners are nothing but rich bitches who want to go out and buy these million dollar mansions rather than come to a deal with the players and be able to please themselves and the fans. I say get rid of these fuckin’ owners and get some replacement owners.

  7. I hear Crosby’s already called dibs on the top left room.

  8. Somewhere in the basement, James Bond is escaping from an elaborate deathtrap.

  9. Some interesting facts 2011/12- No player can earn more than $12.86 million per year.

    Brad Richards (New York Rangers) $12 million
    Ilya Bryzgalov (Philadelphia Flyers) $10 million
    Christian Ehrhoff (Buffalo Sabres) $10 million
    Vincent Lecavalier (Tampa Bay Lightning) $10 million
    Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) $9 million

    That a combined total of $51 million. Tom Cruise doesnt even do his own stunts & makes $75 million a year. Robert Downey Jr makes $31 million.. James Bonds- Daniel Craig makes a mere $18 million. Even Adam Sandler makes $37million!

  10. I got a question. If owner a gets to fuck with kid a contract can they say its now voided and go sign to another team?

  11. How can I sympathize with 750 players and 30 owners ((give or take a few I already don’t care!) all dividing up an estimated 3billion dollars. Fuq em. But to pick a side; I support the players and the union. Hear that scabs?

  12. As Chris Rock said, the players are wealthy. The ones that are rich are the ones that sign the players paycheque.

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