Archive for the ‘NHLPA’ Category

There is an incessant need to assign blame in the way we analyze situations. We love our dichotomies. There are good guys and bad guys. People who are at fault and people who are victims. Winners. Losers. So on. So forth.

More often than not though, this isn’t how things work. Rarely, in the grand scheme of things, do things break up so conveniently. It would be magnificent for those of us who have to write about things, but it’s simply not the case. When it is broken up that way, it’s largely fabricated.

I’m here to tell you NHL Labor Dispute 2012 (TM) is not Gary Bettman’s fault. It’s not Donald Fehr’s fault. It’s not the owners’ fault. It’s not the players’ fault. It’s their collective fault.

They are all utterly terrible.
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The importance of player unions

Quick, let’s start the hockey season before the junior players are locked out as well.

Piecing together a few thoughts, the idea of a Canadian Hockey League Player’s Association makes simultaneously a lot of sense and a little sense. There have been denials on both sides, evidently, that anything will come of the alleged meeting with players representing all three leagues.

The sticking point for me is that to sell the idea of a union for players, you need a pretty big face, or players risk being blacklisted for their support. The best CHL players were last week, were scattered across the globe in Yaroslavl, Halifax, Breclav and Piestany for various August international tournaments. The NHLPA had Ted Lindsay, the NFLPA had Jim Brown and the NBAPA had Bob Cousy. The MLBPA had Bob Feller. Without a big-name captain or star, can this really get off the ground?

The CHL is an odd league. The best players only stick around for a year or two, using it as a stepping stone between minor hockey and the NHL, while the players who form the strongest bond in the community tend to be depth players until their 20-year old season.

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It may come as a jaw-dropping shock to some of you sports fans out there, but not all official athlete Twitter accounts are actually updated by athletes.

Having twitter can be good for their brand, and while a player may not care enough to actually use the social media network, he may care about his marketability. So, the solution then, is ghost-tweeters. I ghost for Clark Gillies rarely-used Twitter account (it exists solely for sharing information about his latest charity endeavours), and I know other people involved in social media who man the keys behind other more prominent accounts. It happens.

Knowing this leads to skepticism – am I getting real player opinions, or just propaganda? Right around the time the owners made their initial CBA proposal, there was a marked spike in the amount of “We just want to play, we’re the good guys” tweets from NHLers. The timing would make sense, given that negotiations were just starting, but they felt a little desperate, a little early. They knew negotiations wouldn’t be easy, so it seems unlikely that the pleas would come months before any deadline.  Read the rest of this entry »

Pic from

To a certain collection of young bucks, the 2004-2005 NHL lockout may seem like light years ago. Some may not even remember it. To most hockey fans, that lockout was like, yesterday. It feels like we just went through this whole CBA process.

Players that year had two options: do nothing, sit around and get fat and lose your edge, or go find another League to play in, if for no other reason than to try to stay remotely sharp.

I was going to University in Anchorage, Alaska, and had the distinct pleasure of having Scott Gomez come play for the local ECHL team (he’s from Anchorage, and had left his KHL team in the middle of the night due to some sketchy business, like being paid cash in a brown paper bag), and my god, was it hilarious. Read the rest of this entry »

We’re back! It’s been a long time, and for that, we apologize, but HOLY HELL nothing happens in August. With the NHLPA making a counter-offer to the owners we got close to real news, but knew we had to fill out the show, so….we got Scott Hartnell to come on and chat.

The topics we hit with Scott were:

* His charity, Hartnell Down 

* His excellent season

* The CBA proceedings

* Beerability

* And much more.

Pizzo and I covered the CBA prior to the interviews as well.

You can listen to it here: Read the rest of this entry »


"Dude, we need more cap space."

Earlier today Greg Wyshynski of Puck Daddy wrote a post on an interesting part of the proposed CBA, which would allow teams to trade their unused cap space (up to four million dollars worth, anyway) to teams in need of it. (The info was first reported by Larry Brooks and John Shannon.)

As Greg noted, the concept is actually rather appealing if teams get back picks or prospects in return. A salary floor team could trade some of it’s cap space they aren’t using anyway, and improve their team in the long run. As an Isles fan, I’d say “Yes please” to that. Read the rest of this entry »

I admit that I was pretty afraid of what would happen in these CBA negotiations when the Players’ Association revealed some ways back that Donald Fehr would be the guy running it after the various debacles that went down post-lockout.

All I really knew of whatever CBA negotiations were on the horizon were that the league was doing exceedingly well — though as it turned out, few of us would have guessed it would be doing this well in the summer of 2012 — and that Fehr was essentially the hardest of hard-assed union guys. The American sports fan saw the way he got Major League Baseball players to strike in 1994 and eventually won them the most insanely pro-player collective bargaining agreement of any professional sport in North America.

One thing the NHL didn’t need, I figured, was Fehr coming in and hard-lining issues like no salary cap and guaranteed contracts. Hockey is a lot of things, but “as popular as baseball” isn’t one of them. The NHL has a good TV deal, and MLB’s is so much better it’s not funny. Attendance at most NHL rinks is really strong, but the biggest sellout in the league comes about 15,000 people short of a sellout in the smallest ballpark. As such, while the NHL’s revenues are really good for what it is (a gate-driven league), and MLB’s blows them out of the water. Read the rest of this entry »