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Bettman on CBA: “The owners will not play another year under the current agreement”

Aug 9, 2012, 2:41 PM EDT

Gary Bettman Getty Images

With labor negotiations heating up, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman echoed the owners’ refusal to play another season under the current CBA.

“We reiterated to the union that the owners will not play another year under the current agreement,” Bettman told reporters following Thursday’s meetings.

This statement is significant regarding the agreement’s expiration — Sept. 15. The owners’ stance on not extending the current bargaining agreement means it’s essentially a lockout date.

Previously, NHLPA boss Donald Fehr stated Sept. 15 “is not a magic date unless someone wants to make it so.”

“There’s nothing magic about Sept. 15. The law is that if you don’t have a new agreement, and as long as both sides are willing to keep negotiating, you can continue to play under the terms of the old one until you reach an agreement,” he said back in late June. “All I know is that in baseball, there were any number of occasions in which we played while the parties were continuing to negotiate.”

Jesse Spector of The Sporting News pressed the commissioner further on the issue of continuing under the current CBA.

“Asked Bettman if NHL could operate if deal was close — crossing t’s, dotting i’s — on 9/15,” Spector tweeted. “He said if they were close, they’d get it done.”

In other CBA-related news from today:

— Fehr said there’s a “meaningful gulf” between the two sides on revenue sharing.

From ESPN’s Katie Strang: “NHLPA made a presentation in response to league’s proposed revenue-sharing system today. Counter-proposal coming Tuesday.”

  1. mclovinhockey - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Fire Gary

    • elvispocomo - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:51 PM

      Fire the owners for keeping him there. It doesn’t help to have teams handing out $100M contract this summer like candy when they want to convince the players to take a rollback in salary and revenue sharing…

      • blomfeld - Aug 10, 2012 at 4:28 AM

        Yeah, but $64 million for two years of service is “cool” eh ? … up yours Elvis !

      • elvispocomo - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:32 PM

        What the hell are you talking about. You’ve lost it, blomfeld, if you ever had it at all.

    • lsxphotog - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:09 PM

      You may be onto something there…and I’m serious. Gary Bettman has done a lot of good with hockey in recent years, but his track records is tarnished. The fact the NHL was off television for so long should rest on his shoulders. The fact that we’re approaching what could be his THIRD lockout in his tenure should rest on his shoulders. The fact that the league has owned a team in a terrible market and hasn’t found a viable owner willing to keep the team where it is should rest on his shoulders…

      It’s his job to keep league operations smooth and maintain a viable product out on the ice. I wouldn’t say he has done that very well…not to mention we all boo him anytime we see him. LOL

      When do you lose your job as commissioner? Because, apparently you can get away with a whole hell of a lot before it’s even a consideration.

    • imleftcoast - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:27 PM

      I seem to recall the pinhead writers on PHT mocking those of us who predicted no hockey before December.

  2. semin28 - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:46 PM


    • sjshark714 - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:52 PM

      particularly since, regardless of when the season starts, the OWNERS will not be playing S***. If every time two teams get into a scuffle the owners of the teams come in and take a few punches to the skull… taking years off their life expectancy… then yes… the owners would deserve more money. Then again, maybe they have been doing that… it would explain their stupidity.

  3. sjsharks66 - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    They complain about the current state of the league then hand on contracts and offer sheets like nothing? Come on guys, you really cannot be that stupid.

    • madman69 - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:56 PM

      You have to go out and get the best players available at the value the player wants…it’s not the owners fault that the players and agents are driving up the “fair market value” where a player like Alex Semin makes over a million dollars more than Pavel Datsyuk. Someone was going to pay that much to get Semin so CAR just made sure it wasnt anyone in their conference…like PIT.

      • elvispocomo - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:08 PM

        Strange that I mention that just after you where both players and the owners have responsibility, but the NHL seems determined to not follow a good business model in that regard. Do you think a big company (Philly) would want to give lesser companies (Nashville) money (revenue sharing) so the lesser company could keep their talent (Weber) the big company is trying to recruit?

        A monopoly clearly isn’t in the teams’ best interests (where that’d suit companies more) since the health of the league promotes success. Revenue sharing will be necessary to some extent as a result, but if the owners want to be more successful and stop complaining about supporting the weaker franchises, it’s time to start finding ways to make them more profitable rather than just giving them money and expecting the players to have to make up the difference.

    • elvispocomo - Aug 10, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      I’d agree that rests a lot on the owners heads, but also on the players/NHLPA for not cautioning players more on the effect those contracts will have. Sure, the owners offered those deals, but the players accepted them, so they can’t just cry foul and say, “look at all the money you must be making, we can’t afford to rollback salaries!”

      The mandate of the NHLPA is to protect all the players, not just the ones that make the biggest money. With contracts like Parise/Suter/Weber, all it does is make the GMs cost cut in other areas and the depth players suffer as a results.

      While there is some disparity in talent levels from superstars to 4th liners, is it really a $14M to $600K disparity in salary? Does Weber add 20 times more value to the on-ice product for Nashville than Brandon Yip?

  4. elemeno89 - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:57 PM

    wasn’t the counter proposal supposed to be out this week? and what does the nhlpa and fehr gain by waiting this out? hope the savings are worth it. you’ll need the rollback cash to fill your pockets if there’s a lockout you greedy fishpoops.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:08 PM

      The players get their escrow cheques on October 15th (I can’t remember what the percentage is but they’ll be big cheques) so the majority of the players aren’t as worried about missing time and pay cheques this year. Meanwhile NBC has given the NHL a times lot on Black Friday (the earliest NBC will have started televising hockey) to showcase the sport, I’m not sure the league wants to miss that date. I’m also guessing that the players don’t think the owners have the willpower to take this to Armageddon for a second time in 8 years, so essentially I think the players are trying to call the owner’s bluff here.

  5. tmoore4075 - Aug 9, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    Counter proposal is supposed to be Tuesday. That’s when we will see if we’re screwed with a lockout. If it’s a stupid proposal that you know the NHL would never even talk about then we’re screwed. If it looks like the NHLPA is willing to deal and make some concessions in their proposal then maybe there’s a chance. But Tuesday we might get a good idea.

    I’m more scared now but not totally worried yet. Tuesday might change my point of view though.

  6. malkinrulez - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    There will be a lock out players took it in the shorts last time and now are expected to give back more when by all accounts NHL business is better than ever. Good example is Carolina and Minnesota spending like never before. Or there is a belief by ownership that all these massive contracts they gave out will only be 75% of what the player signed for. Either way it is depressing and aggravating!

    • madman69 - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:51 PM

      The massive contracts will still have to be paid out for their signing bonuses. Mini, Nashville, Carolina and Calgary will all have to pay out the full signing bonuses (which is where the players are screwing the league). Weber, Parise and Suter are all making a base salary of about 1 million a year the first three years. losing 250k instead of a few million is a lot easier to stomach for “your average joe”.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Aug 9, 2012 at 8:26 PM

        Calgary didn’t sign one of those contracts, the Wideman deal was just a regular contract.

  7. sonagain - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    So does that mean on Sept. 15 they will cancel the entire season, or will they keep working until they have an agreement and will start the season when they have an agreement (say in 2 months, for example, or after the new year), like the NBA last year?

    • coconutman1 - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:15 PM

      As Fehr said, they can continue to negotiate as long as it takes. I would imagine the entire season would only be cancelled if the sides are very far apart and feuding after the season should have started or a few months in. If they are close, I think they keep negotiating and begin the season when they’re done.

  8. dayno66 - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:42 PM

    Just a smack in the face to the fans. “We could play under the old agreement, but we won’t. Why? Well, just because. Screw you.” Thanks Gary…

  9. claysbar - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Millionaire’s and Billionaire’s squabbling over money while the average Joe get’s to skip a car payment just to take his family to a game. The fans are gonna suffer but I really feel for the local workers who get to try and figure out what to do with a possible 41+ extra nights off.

  10. braddavery - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    I swear to God, if they lose ONE freaking game due to this garbage…

  11. madman69 - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:55 PM

    This issue all started 24 years ago today. When 99 was traded and 15 million bucks changed hands from one team to another everyone started to realize that this isnt a game. The players got greedy and the NHL realized they could turn a hefty proffit off of their teams. The only purpose of any large sports league is not to provide entertainment anymore…it’s to provide entertainment…at fair market value. The owners still have to make money…all of them. Would you want to run a business that continually loses millions of dollars a year while “large market” teams suck horribly and print money? if you’re answer is yes then you’re full of sh!t. The owners are doing this, not bettman, as much of a weasel as he is, he may be the best thing that’s ever happened to the business. If you think about it, he’s just the middle man between the owners and the PA and he doesnt have much say in it since the board of governors has more control than him.

    Things will ahppen and there’s nothing anyone here can do about it…so sit back and enjoy the ride and b!tch about it to all the people sitting in front of their computers eating their bon bons.

    • braddavery - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:09 PM

      Stop paying players so much if it is going to eliminate your profit margin. It’s senseless. If a team is losing money, how is that anyone’s fault but their own.

      • madman69 - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:27 PM

        That won’t go away in any sport. It just takes one player or owner to scew it up. Agent’s and players are more to blame for this than owners. They hold out for the best deal and go play for whoever will pony up. The wings, leafs, habs, blackhawks, kings, cannucks and all small market teams have it right…they won’t overpay for free agents or their own players (to overly ridiculous contracts) and it’s starting to screw them over. The front loaded contracts are what the PLAYER wants and to stay competitive in the leage the owner and GM have to bend over and take it from the player. The owners should make more money than the players. They sign the checks and make sure the ice doesnt melt or the lights go out. So yes, let’s punish the guys who make the league run by taking more out of their pockets. We’ll see how all the fans feel when 14 teams fold because they keep losing money. i’m sure everyone would love a league of 16 where everyone makes the playoffs…yayyyyyy for idiots!

      • captaincanuck84 - Aug 10, 2012 at 2:20 AM

        madman69, why should the owners make more money than the players? I agree that they take the responsiblity of “making sure the ice doesn’t melt and the lights stay on” but this is not the same as running a starbucks where you can get anyone off the street as an employee. These are highly skilled “employees” who are a valuable commodity, and like any job when you are highly sought after you make more money than an average joe. Ithink it should be a 50-50 revenue split between owners and players, and to clarify, revenue should include any and all money grossed relating to the hockey club.

  12. superross - Aug 9, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Why do we put up with this! I love hockey, but I used to love baseball too! I refuse to watch baseball because of the greed. Their are other places to spend our entertainment dollars! F U Gary!!!

    • braddavery - Aug 9, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      I love baseball, hockey and football. At least you know what you are getting with baseball. This “will there be a season/won’t there be a season” nonsense in hockey and basketball is disheartening and is a huge turn-off.

  13. schenn10 - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:18 PM

    And you wonder why every hates you Gary Bettman, you’re a greedy bastard. The athletes deserve a larger percentage of the revenue, they’re the ones who put people in the seats, not you. Do they not understand what they are going to do to the fan base. Hockey is a sport that is still GROWING in the US, if there is a lock out you will kill all that momentum…. and on top of that hockey is a sport for the FANS, you’re millionaires, stop being greedy.

  14. mclovinhockey - Aug 9, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Why not start thinking about the new CBA a year in advanced so the NHL does not lose fans, players and money just because of greed? Cause Gary is an idiot that’s why.

  15. quizguy66 - Aug 9, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Since when do owners play?


  16. footballer4ever - Aug 9, 2012 at 6:09 PM

    I am nowhere close of being a hockey fan, but i feel for your sport if it’s locked out. As an outsider, it has the feel of a lot of greed from business people who are not even fan of the game. Much luck for a resolution.

    A football fan. Yes, Football :)

  17. sjsharks66 - Aug 9, 2012 at 6:14 PM

    I’m Brendan Shanahan and Gary Bettman has been suspended indefinitely until he knows how to run the National Hockey League.

  18. cosmoandmelovepens - Aug 9, 2012 at 6:19 PM

    They should split it 50/50 greedy jerks.

  19. danphipps01 - Aug 9, 2012 at 8:15 PM

    What he didn’t say was that they’ll cave and do exactly that before losing another season’s worth of profits. Because apparently he honestly thinks he can convince the world the owners would sooner suffer through another lockout and actively lose money than accept a slightly smaller slice of the pie. Brilliant. =/

  20. dannythebisforbeast - Aug 9, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    Bettman is a tool. NHL has horrible management ,PR etc. simple fact letting Brendan Shanahan to be The czar of discipline an have a major effect on outcome of playoff series is minor league,
    How does he get that job? If you ask me hockey in HD improves TV watching 1000 times and yet he cannot improve TV contracts. It’s like a family owned operation when it needs to be much more business savvy

  21. bellicosejeff - Aug 9, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    WOW. Most of you have absolutely no idea what a sports commissioner does. Bettman does not vote on the CBA…or anything for that matter. Hey, I’m all for hatred towards a complete stranger too but come on people! Look up the NHL constitution, Article VI, section 6.1.. READ IT. The commissioner is the voice and face of the league and the owners (who are the league), he runs the league offices, enforces league rules, hires his own staff, among other duties, but he gets no voting power. The league is run by the owners. They own the teams, they own the league, they make all the major decisions. Bettman is their employee. Now, he can negotiate on behalf of the owners. As in they tell him what they want and he tries to get it for them, but again he gets no vote. He sure as hell isn’t setting parameters for the CBA discussion on him own. Quit blaming Bettman for anything you may not like about the league. It’s not only incorrect, but it makes hockey fans in general look stupid.

    The owners (or Board of Governors) run this league, and they make all major decisions, not Bettman. He is the owners puppet, nothing more. So if you boo Bettman or hate Bettman. Please, openly hate and boo your team’s owner(s). That would actually be the accurate outlet for any of your league dislikes. However it’s much easier to just be ignorant, so I fully expect the Bettman hate to continue until we eventually have a new commissioner. Then everyone will hate him too.

    Don’t ranting now, thumb me down, smack talk me, whatever, I don’t give a fat baby’s d*ck. Have fun with it!

    • superross - Aug 9, 2012 at 10:17 PM

      Bettman, the rat, was hired by the owners to be a lightning rod and he is paid quite handsomely. Since most of us will never know who owns all of the teams in the NHL all we can do is vent a Bettman. So Phuck him and the owners he represents!

  22. superross - Aug 9, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    madman69 I hope you were hammered when you wrote your comment. If not, you write very well for a mentally challenged person!

  23. caniacx4 - Aug 9, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    First of all, have to get rid of these long ridiculous contracts they are getting into. Five years max! These boys play 1 play away from a season or career ending mishap. I.e. Crosby how many concussions ? 1 hit away from the suite seat and then you are on hook for millions and millions for years and years ….getting out of control. Our team is guilty of it for sure this summer.

  24. turtlematt18 - Aug 10, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    The owners are out of their minds. $100 million dollar contracts and offer sheets and they want to lower the players revenue. They are the ones to blame. What about the fans. The owners are trying to take advantage of the passion that fans have for the game of hockey which is at an all time high. The last lockout owners were kissing fans asses when it ended. For instance the Bruins were letting kids to the game free with an adult up until thanksgiving.

  25. blomfeld - Aug 10, 2012 at 3:02 AM

    “They appear to be vermin … can that be so ?”

    “Yes friend … Bettman, Fehr and company “all” sport the whiskers & tail of the common rat”

  26. jeb7524 - Aug 11, 2012 at 9:19 AM

    I am beyond caring about this. I will watch college hockey and low level minor league hockey instead. Enjoy another year off NHL players.

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