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So…about the CBA

Jun 12, 2012, 2:49 PM EST

Fehr-Bettman-Getty Getty Images

Now that the Stanley Cup has been awarded and another NHL season is in the books, it’s time for hockey fans to turn their attentions elsewhere. The draft is coming up. Free agency is next. However, the biggest story of the offseason is likely to be the CBA negotiations.

The labor agreement between the league and the players’ union expires Sept. 15. There will be several issues on the table, from supplementary discipline to realignment to participation in the 2014 Winter Olympics.

As always, though, money will lead all.

Currently the players are guaranteed 57 percent of hockey-related revenues. But with the NFL and NBA having just cut the players’ share in those two leagues, some believe NHL owners will attempt to do the same.

If that happens, expect the NHLPA, led by new chief Donald Fehr, to dig in.

Fortunately, there’s no guarantee it will come to that. The owners know the players surrendered a ton to end the 2004-05 lockout by accepting a hard salary cap. And what of the countless press releases by the NHL trumpeting the league’s successes?

Sure, there are still struggling franchises. On the other hand, there are plenty that are extremely profitable. According to Forbes, the value of the Toronto Maple Leafs rose from $280 million in 2004 to $521 million in 2011.

In stark contrast, the NHL was claiming huge losses prior to the lockout that wiped away the 2004-05 season. Some franchises were saying they were better off going out of business than carrying on without cost certainty, aka a salary cap. Even the majority of fans agreed something had to be done.

We’re not hearing that sort of sabre rattling this time around.

“I don’t understand all the speculation and the degree of negativity,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said recently.

Look, the league and union know they’ll get absolutely killed by fans and media if there’s another lengthy work stoppage. In fact, they’ll get killed if there’s any work stoppage. Seriously, in this economy? Not worth it for either side.

  1. buffalomafia - Jun 12, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    First nobody is worth that many millions of dollars!

    Second, have hockey on more channels so fans can watch it!

    Third, realignment is a must! That’s if the Coyotes are moving!

    Fourth have two 16 team conferences where top 8 in each conference makes playoffs! Have playoff where #1 plays #16 & so on!

    Last tell Cynthia Crosby that if he can give a check he should take a check like a man & quit crying!

    Remember hockey is for the fans! Make it happen!

    • kitshky - Jun 12, 2012 at 3:18 PM

      First off … if someone earns significant revenue for their bosses they are worth their fair share of it.

      Secondly … thats a pretty simplistic take on television but ultimately you’re not wrong. Look at the NBA splittling between TNT and NBC as an example. (and the ESPN blackout almost singlehandly killed the US market)

      Third … that’s debatable. It all depends on how it’s structured, ruining long standing rivalries could have a worse effect on the game’s popularity than what’s already been done.

      Fourth … (why I wasted my time replying to the first 3) … you want the game to grow you’re going to need stars to market. That’s how it works. If you’re serious about loving the game then you’d realize there’s nothing to be mocked about the games biggest stars suffering major brain trauma.

      5th … While I disagree with and quite hate it, the fact that it’s June 12th and you’re calling out Crosby does underscore that the fans passion is alive and well so overal I think we’ll be fine.

      • comeonnowguys - Jun 13, 2012 at 2:07 PM

        Realignment is a must.

        You have 5 of the top 25 major television markets regularly watching a substantial share of games starting at 10e/9c.

        Especially during the playoffs, that’s kind of ridiculous, and it’s not good for the sport.

      • kitshky - Jun 13, 2012 at 3:30 PM

        I agree, I was just commenting on the overly simplistic yet extremely determined way he was making his “points”.

        My point with realignment is that yes it should happen, but there are ways it can be done wrong, and when the NHL is involved … they’re probably gonna end up doing it wrong.

    • imleftcoast - Jun 12, 2012 at 5:44 PM

      Why the negativity? Bettman wants to take away 7% of revenues from the players who gave in last time, and he’s deliberately starting the negotiations late to create a fake deadline. No hockey until December.

      • imleftcoast - Jun 12, 2012 at 8:23 PM

        Five Gary Bettman fans? I would not have bet on that. I’m dreading no hockey in October, but I’m afraid it’s possible.

        NBC Sports, your dedication to hockey is underwhelming when you get the name wrong in the email selling Stanley Cup memorabilia.

        ————— Forwarded message —————
        From: NBC Sports
        Date: Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 11:22 AM
        Subject: Mavs Win!
        To: [Redacted]

      • killerpgh - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:19 AM

        Everything I have read has said it has been the NHLPA/Fehr that have not been willing to meet. Yet you are saying it is Bettman’s fault. I don’t see how. Have you read something that says other wise?

  2. sdelmonte - Jun 12, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    As long as there is a season, the fans will forget fast. The NBA came thisclose to cancellation, and no one seems to remember that. Therefore, there is a lot of time for the owners to play hardball, and to win as did the NFL and NBA owners. Even though Don Fehr is, IMO, a lot tougher and smarter than anyone in the NFLPA or NBAPA.

  3. malkinrulez - Jun 12, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    Who knew buffalo still had a team

  4. spizzjr - Jun 12, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    I speak for all isles fans when I say buyout amnesty clauses please

    • govtminion - Jun 12, 2012 at 6:05 PM

      Between the Isles and the Habs, I’d bet there will be a LOT of wishing for that one. And probably a new streak of players asking for no-amnesty clauses to match.

      • miketoasty - Jun 13, 2012 at 11:49 AM

        As a Pens fan, I completely agree. I guarantee most GMs have at least one person they would love to get rid of.

  5. chiadam - Jun 12, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    I’m somewhere between “getting ready for the season to start on time” and “hoarding canned pineapples and dehydrated milk for NHL’s nuclear winter II). On one hand, no one could ever be dumb enough to murder a season, almost wipe the sport off the planet, come back gradually, constantly trumpet record revenues, and then plunge into another lockout at the first possible opportunity.
    On the other hand, Gary Bettman is involved. So….

  6. phillyphever - Jun 12, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    Somehow, I got a bad feeling we’re in for a shorten season come this fall. On the other hand, HBO should consider booking Bettman vs. Fehr for PPV.

    • barkar942 - Jun 13, 2012 at 12:33 AM

      Perhaps HBO can just call it “The Road To the Summer Classic Negotiations”
      Follow Donald Fehr.
      “I don’t even know what icing is, but I know how to fire up any union”!
      And Gary Bettman:
      “Any time negotiations start getting tough with Donald, I just have to ask him “How About Them Yankees”? That gets him off on a tangent and makes him forget about what he was trying to negotiate for!”
      Follow both sides into the board room for the negotiation sessions. Then, follow both sides separately while they both prepare for the next round and bash each other behind closed doors!
      Donald: Bettmans’ a #%*@$!
      Gary: Fehrs’ an ^@*$@
      Could make for intriguing television!

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