Archive for the ‘Lockout Thoughts’ Category

Burn

If I told you the NHL lockout reminds me of maple forests, would you think I was insane? Because I think I might be.

Despite learning about it every year of my elementary school life, I don’t think much about ecology.  Or I didn’t, anyway, until the lockout. It’s one of those things that urbanites- even waste-recycling, local-eating, carbon-footprint-reducing environmentalist urbanites- tend to understand in dualistic, romantic terms: the pristine harmony of untouched wilderness vs. the corrupted, polluted haunts of man. A few years in the city and it’s easy to fall into the platitudes. Balance of nature, circle of life, etc etc. I forget the details of how ecosystems actually work.

In the fall, when the lockout was just beginning and the world was still green and there was still hope the hearts of hockey fans, I took a trip north, to spend some time among plants. The northern forests are the ‘nature’ of my childhood, the familiar wilderness. The Canadian version is a little rockier, a little lakier, but it has a homey kind of beauty. Spare, thin trees reaching to great irrational heights, spindly leafy ground plants, chipmunks and deer, everything a pale green light splotched with shadows. I’d never been to that forest before, yet it felt like I’d been there a thousand times, like I’d been going there every year since I was four years old. I am that much of a city girl, that it seems to me as though they are always the same trees.

They’re not. What looks to me like pure, beautiful, balanced nature, preserved in a pristine harmony by the zealous care of the Parks Service is no such thing. It’s full of havoc and death. What we think of as the balance of nature is no happy equilibrium. It’s a constant succession of traumas, of disease, murder, starvation, suffering. The state of nature is a perpetual imbalance. Although it always pulls back in the direction of the happy medium, that point of perfect harmony is seldom reached and never holds for long. Something is always overgrowing. Something is always dying out. Read the rest of this entry »

If you’re a hockey fan diligently following the NHL lockout, you’re likely following Nick Cotsonika on Twitter, and hopefully reading his columns. To me, he’s been one of the media’s shining stars during this mess – he’s informed and careful in what he does, but allows himself the freedom to speculate on what could be going on, because what’s the harm? He’s more informed than you or I, he might as well let us know which way he thinks things are leaning.

Nick is also a family man, and apparently spent some time last night reading a book to his 5-year old, which sums up the NHL lockout better than any analogy I’ve heard throughout the entire debacle: the melting ice cream cone.

Here’s his fantastic series of tweets that succinctly sum up what’s going on between the NHL and the PA: Read the rest of this entry »

Interesting things

I’m not a lawyer, but I know of a couple of hockey bloggers who are lawyers. One of them is mc79hockey, who wrote a post up early this morning about aspects of the NHL’s suit against the NHLPA. His takeaway point is that, if this suit goes further, eventually the Canadian courts ought to get involved, which is a win for the 100 or so players working for Canadian teams, because “the various American acts referenced in the NHL’s claim don’t apply in Canada.”

Again, I’m not a lawyer, but I’ll presume the province of British Columbia has more labour-friendly laws than the state of New York. The NHL chose New York, as mc79 says, “parties who have some choice of jurisdiction…would prefer to have their case heard in a jurisdiction that is more friendly to their position.”

You may have noticed that some players named by the NHL, including Cristobal Nieves and Shane Prince, are not NHL players. Prince was a second round pick of the Ottawa Senators in 2011 who played in the OHL, signed an entry-level contract under the previous collective agreement and now plays for the Senators’ AHL-affiliate, based in Binghamton. the NHL suit says that Prince “resides in Spencerport, New York” and Cristoval Nieves, an unsigned college player drafted by the New York Rangers, “resides in Baldwinsville, New York”.

Read the rest of this entry »

The KHL’s leaderboard is peppered with NHL players who felt like staying in shape and earning some dollars instead of sitting on the couch getting fat during the lockout. Because of that, the list of the top-10 scoring leaders includes Evgeni Malkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk, Alexander Ovechkin and Predator-of-yore Alexander Radulov.

None of those fine gents, however, sits first in points. That honour belongs to Sergei Moyzakin.

Moyzakin was drafted in the ninth round (263rd) by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2002, and like most Russian picks Columbus has made, he didn’t pan out for the organization. More specifically, he didn’t suit up for a single game for them. Read the rest of this entry »

We are, at long last, inching close enough to a deal in these CBA negotiations that you can start to make out the details of it, still a ways off from finalization of said agreement though we may still be.

Included among these, as tweeted the other day by Chris Johnston of the Canadian Press, is that the NHL would very much like the salary cap to decline to $60 million after this season, if it happens, which I’m not so sure it will. This season would remain with a cap of $70 million — down very slightly from the approximately $70.2 million it was supposed to have been — and that’s a very nice concession from the league to the players that those on cap-constrained, mostly-good teams don’t have to get shuttled off to Long Island just yet.

But that day is coming, and it’s coming fast. We’re halfway through December. If you figure everyone has to have their ducks in a row by the draft or so, maybe by free agency, that gives you about six or six and a half months to figure out how they’re going to unload a ton of big-money contracts and become compliant with the new cap, which is now about 14 percent lower. The obvious answer to this question is the one to which the NHL turned in 2005: Amnesty buyouts. You get to buy out a few guys on your team with no cap implications whatsoever, and that’s a hell of a way to get under the limit, especially if you have any particularly bothersome big-money deals that expire in the near future (Scott Gomez).

Read the rest of this entry »

I dunno, I was sick of pics of Bettman

Earlier today a tweet from a very informed reporter, Chris Johnson of The Canadian Press read as such:

28 games. Yeesh.

That would leave the NHL with a season that would conceivably be the same length as playoffs. How’s that for a small sample size?

We keep hearing Bettman and the NHL talk about the shortest possible length of season, and how we’re coming up on a drop-dead date, but seeing that tweet makes me wonder: why do we believe that Gary gives a shit about the “integrity” of the NHL? He’s cancelled over 2200 games in his time with the league.

I wouldn’t be shocked if the NHL was willing to go shorter than 48. Would you be?

Last night the players and owners were embroiled in the thick of CBA negotiations until early Thursday morning. No agreement was reached, and we’re told no agreement is imminent, but things did move in the right direction despite the tensions. Despite what we’re “told,” people are still hopeful.

Both sides exchanged CBA proposals yesterday, making it a monumental day en route to actually getting a deal done, with the players offering theirs up first, and the owner’s making the last move of the day. The day was highlighted by frequent separations into personal caucuses and re-meetings by the two sides, prompting one of the more informed reporters, Chris Johnston, to get the hashtag “LockoutYoyo” going (another Twitter trend – the damn NHL podium – I’ll get to in a bit).

The nuts and bolts of the owner’s offer:

* They would put $300 million towards the “make whole” agreement ($250M to players, $50M to pension fund). The players had asked for $393M, the owners had previously proposed $211M. So y’know…getting closer here, kids.

* The owner’s proposal was for a 10 year CBA (with an opt-out after 8) – here’s to hoping that part takes, I’m not doing this again in five.

* The league would leave unrestricted free agency and arbitration as is, which is a concession compared to their previous offers. Of course, it’s not actually a concession given that they’re just proposing to leave things as-is.

* The one area the owners were unwilling to budge: they really want contract lengths maxed out at five years (with no more than a 5% increase or decrease in pay year-to-year on all deals), but would be able to sign their own players for up to seven. Apparently this bothers the players. …And now, a little rant: Read the rest of this entry »