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Tim Willson

NHL Lockout

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Who is upset by the NHL lockout? Does anyone care? It's big news here in Canada, but one does get the sense that Joe Sportsfan in the US is not going to notice that there is no hockey this year.

I was a keen baseball fan until their strike more than 10 years ago (still annoyed that the Expos didn't have a chance to prove themselves in the playoffs), but I stopped caring. And as this labor dispute began heating up, I once again found it difficult to care about millionaire players (who really have nothing to complain about, but who want more).

Are you a hockey fan? Do you care?


"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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I care. I'm disappointed in the lockout. But it's been predicted for quite some time, so this isn't a big surprise. It's just been hard to get excited about the upcoming season with the threat of the lockout looming.

The problem is that hockey in the U.S. has never really made it into the mainstream as a sport popular enough to compete with baseball, football, and hockey. This is despite all the efforts of the NHL to promote it as such. Hockey has a passionate fan base, but limited primarily to the Northeast and a few major cities. The salary structure is going to have to adjusted to reflect this. I just hope that we don't lose the whole season, and that we have a sport to come back to.

I think the NHL needs to get back to its roots. I would like to see Canadian cities be able to compete again financially, because that's where the biggest fans are. I think the sport needs to take care of its most loyal fans, and that the players and owners come to their senses, good luck.

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Agreed -- there is a strong emotional attachment to the game in Canada, and a healthy fan base year (with successful, competitive teams) makes sense.

I can't find it on Google right now, but I think I heard Bettman say players have earned a total of $7-8-Billion (with a 'B') in salary over the last CBA, which was signed in 1995. That sounds about right, since the players have been getting about $1.5-billion per year, according to an article today quoting Bettman.

Using figures from an NHL-funded audit, Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league produces about $2 billion in revenue and the players take $1.49 billion of that in "player costs," with an average team payroll of $44 million.

That's unacceptable, according to Bettman, and he has proposed plans that would get the average payroll of teams to $31 million.

So, can a player look his wife in the eye and explain to her why he should give up an average salary of $1.3-million a year so future players can earn a higher average salary? They might not miss the money is the strike is short, but everyone seems to think this could last at least a full season.

But even if players think this strike might benefit themselves, it still seems appalling that any 1,000 athletes sharing $1.5-billion a year would go on strike for more. That's why I'm finding it tough to stay interested, even if the strike ends soon.


"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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Gee, every major sport in the U.S. has been through this a couple of times, so maybe I'm jaded. I'm also angry at no hockey as I live in the most rabid hockey town south of the border. This is not about players wanting more money. It is partly about owners who got themselves into this on their own not being allowed to dictate the terms of a restructure. Hockey has a unique history of ownership abusing its players which is fortunately in the past. Ted Lindsey wrote a book about his experience and Canadians made it into a movie. When I saw the thing, I emailed all oldtimer sports reporters I could find around here and they had nothing but confirmations of Lindsey's points, implying the film sugar coated some.

It seems to me that owners went nuts with expansion cash, elevating contracts and grabbing southern U.S. towns while the Canadian economy was in a tailspin. Now, with no TV contract here, they seem to be hoping the players will bail them out. Compared with any major sport here, hockey players make a pittance. They need to close some teams, but neither owners or players will go for that. I am tempted to think that the whole enterprise has to be rethought and the owners and union will have to fight it out.

I think that Hockey is in a unique position as a professional sport. Here, it is exotic or a cult sport. Die hards will always come back. I don't know for sure, but I have a hard time imagining Canadians walking away from the game like Americans did baseball when the World Series was cancelled (after 10 years, attendance is now better than before that lockout). So its base is solid and will probably survive some abuse as a result of this. The problem is what to do in the meantime.....


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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Now, with no TV contract here, they seem to be hoping the players will bail them out. Compared with any major sport here, hockey players make a pittance. They need to close some teams, but neither owners or players will go for that. I am tempted to think that the whole enterprise has to be rethought and the owners and union will have to fight it out.

But Rich, don't you think that if the players are getting 75% of the revenue, then they have NOTHING to complain about? (That is, if Bettman's figure of $1.49-billion of $2-billion in revenue currently going to player expenses.) It seems like there may well be an imbalance, brought on by a few wealthy owners at the expense of the game.


"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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But Rich, don't you think that if the players are getting 75% of the revenue, then they have NOTHING to complain about? (That is, if Bettman's figure of $1.49-billion of $2-billion in revenue currently going to player expenses.) It seems like there may well be an imbalance, brought on by a few wealthy owners at the expense of the game.

Sure, all of that is true, including the point about certain owners, ironically the historically marquee teams. Aren't both the Leafs and the Canadiens owned by conglomerates, or at least big brewerys? OTOH, it is speculated around here that the Wings only make a profit when they go deep in the playoffs. Illich is a great owner (hockeywise), but he won't disclose any info to that effect.

So, the owners claim that players are making all the money and the players are saying (I hope), "Gee, who's fault is that?" This can't be solved without completely open books from Bettman on down. Sure, the teams may not be making any money, but it sure would be nice to see how the executives themselves are compensated too, no?


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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I'm upset because I was going to surprise my wife on our anniversary in March by taking her to a Dallas Stars game like she has been begging me to do for years. Although I am pretty convinced that things will be settled by then.

She's also been begging for real diamond earrings, but a hockey game is cheaper.

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Frankly my dear? People have been complaining about hockey going south of the border for A LONG time now. Who cares? Basketball was started in Canada. There will ALWAYS be hockey in Canada. In the dead of winter, just go to your local pond (you know the kind you see on Tim Horton cups) or to your local skating rink (whether indoor or outdoor) and enjoy hockey in it's "PURE" form. No salaries. No contracts. No celebs. Just good 'ol fashion hockey where boys will be boys and we separate the men from the boys. w00t.gif


Brandon

"God is so great and merciful that he does not require that we name him precisely. God is even willing to be anonymous for a time. Remember how God led the Three Wise Men from the East to Christ? The Wise Men did not know the God of Israel or Jesus. They worshipped the stars. So God used a star to lure them."--The Twelve Steps for Christians

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BBBCanada wrote:

: Basketball was started in Canada.

Not quite.

In 1891 the game was invented by Dr. James Naismith, a Canadian who hailed from Almonte, Ontario. Having been given the task of creating a new indoor sports activity while conducting a physical education class at the international YMCA training school in Springfield, Massachusetts, Naismith designed what we now call basketball. The original game involved 13 rules and a peach basket hung ten feet above the floor. Even though it took place in the United States, at least ten of the players who participated in the first-ever game were university students from Quebec.


"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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Get outta here! Really? Started on American soil but by a Canadian. So who owns it then...historically?


Brandon

"God is so great and merciful that he does not require that we name him precisely. God is even willing to be anonymous for a time. Remember how God led the Three Wise Men from the East to Christ? The Wise Men did not know the God of Israel or Jesus. They worshipped the stars. So God used a star to lure them."--The Twelve Steps for Christians

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At least Canadians got to watch a bit of hockey with the World Cup. It was great being able to watch while I was there, even if the US bowed out in the semis. We were eating on a patio at a restraunt on Robson in Vancouver during the semis. After the OT goal there were some guys up on a balcony probably a block away and about 20 floors up, and we heard them chanting Can-a-da! Wondered which would be worse in the morning: their throats or the hangover.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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From today's New York Times' op-ed page --

(http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/20/opinion/20bidini.html)

Stick It to the N.H.L.

By DAVE BIDINI

Published: September 20, 2004

Toronto


"The most important thing is that people love in the same way. Whether they are monarchists, republicans, or communists, they feel pain in the same way, as well as hatred, jealousy, fear, and fear of death. Whether you are a deeply religious man or an atheist, if you have a toothache, it hurts just the same." - Krzysztof Kieslowski

"...it seems to me that most people I encounter aren't all that interested in the arts. Most of the people who are my age ... appear to be interested in golf, fertilizer, and early retirement schemes.... I will stop caring passionately about music, books, and films on the day that I die, and I'm hoping for Top 100 album polls in the afterlife." - Andy Whitman

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I hate to break it to him, but the old NHL, "the original six" was not the dream he thinks it was. Among other things, the Norris family who owned the 'Wings then controled three of the four American hockey venues back then. In questioning the truthfulness of a film I've mentioned before, I was in email contact with Jerry Green who just retired from the Detroit News, who confirmed much of the film and even suggested that many sports wags at the time of first expansion in the mid-sixties said that St. Louis was guaranteed a franchise largely on the fact that the Norris family owned a perfect venue for hockey in that town. The only good thing about pro hockey has always been the three periods contended on the ice. Hockey needs to be refigured at every level and in every corner. This is the opportunity and they aren't going to lose that much down here. Hockey never really had much down here so there isn't a lot to lose.

It's NCAA hockey from here on out boys. Go Blue and go Lake State. The CCHA will be the best hockey going in North America this Winter.


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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Of course, there's always minor league pucks. I'll need to get some tix for the IceDogs. Always cheaper than seeing the Kings or the Dux. (Although my wife's company has some great seats at the Pond, that we've used before.)


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Sigh. I remember when Louisville had a semi-pro hockey team. I went to a good number of their games.

And now this lockout... arrugh... where am I going to get my hockey fix?

Edited by Clint M

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Lousy news -- the 2004-05 NHL Season has officially been wiped out.

Game Off! NHL Cancels Remainder of Season

By IRA PODELL, AP Sports Writer

NEW YORK - The NHL canceled what little was left of the season Wednesday after a series of last-minute offers were rejected on the final day of negotiations. Story here.


"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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Long overdue. The Godenow and Bettman press conferences tell it all about how far apart they are. ESPN commentators were commenting on how players were not aware of the cap offer that Goodenow mentioned. None wanted one. Rumors of a split in the Players Union.

We NEED fewer teams.


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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so now add to the negotiations the reentry process for players from defunct teams.


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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Some big names likely realized today that they won't play another game in the NHL. You have to wonder why so many players were willing to give up $5-10 million dollars (so far) to fight a battle that really won't affect them very much. (The impact of a salary cap would be greater over time, when most of these players will be retired.)

And regardless if the NHLPA thinks the league is cooking the books a bit, surely they can see that anything CLOSE to 75% of revenues going to the players is more than fair. I mean, do the players think they deserve ALL of the money generated in the course of a season? I can't really blame the owners for drawing a line in the sand.


"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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And regardless if the NHLPA thinks the league is cooking the books a bit, surely they can see that anything CLOSE to 75% of revenues going to the players is more than fair. I mean, do the players think they deserve ALL of the money generated in the course of a season? I can't really blame the owners for drawing a line in the sand.

While I don't think that it ever was that simple from the players POV, the best deal that they could have gotten was on Tuesday night. OTOH, most of the Europeans are playing as we speak, as are some North Americans. Chelios, Draper, and Hatcher are all playing for the Motor City Mechanics out in the suburbs. I'm curious as to whether and how long it will take for UHL paychecks to gt old and stale....

They gotta shrink the league.

P.S. Going through some old posts, I have a thought: The league hasn't fully disclosed yet, has it? Is there a point to having an NHLPA? I'm afraid that there will be diluted product in the near future while this still goes on. It will not be resolved in a way that appears open and above board.


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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Is someone going to come up with a way for Lord's Stanley's Cup to be awarded to an amature, minor league, college or women's team this year?


A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

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The parent company of the Pistons also owns the Tampa Bay Hurricanes. I heard Tom Wilson, president of this company (or at least sports operations) interviewed this morning on the radio. The full implication of the conversation was that the 'Canes are keeping the Cup for another year. IN FACT, in order to receive their rings, the players all had to fly on their own dime, either to Tampa or Auburn Hills to get their rings! According to league rules for the lockout, the team could not do anything to help them, even with respect to a cremony. Apparantly the rings were handed out in a five minute meeting! Wilson offered hope that there would be an opportunuity for a public ceremony in Tampa sometime in the future.


"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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Is someone going to come up with a way for Lord's Stanley's Cup to be awarded to an amature, minor league, college or women's team this year?

That's a GREAT idea -- in the spirit of the early days of the trophy. Of course, the NHL keeps it for itself now, so it's unlikely... but still a great idea.


"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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