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Kings’ Westgarth: Owners’ proposals aren’t fair

Sep 6, 2012, 3:00 PM EDT

Jared Boll, Kevin Westgarth Getty Images

Los Angeles Kings enforcer Kevin Westgarth has been heavily involved in labor talks through the summer. With a lockout looking more and more likely, he’s speaking his mind.

Westgarth spoke with Danny Picard on his show “I’m Just Sayin'” and sounded off in a big way on the NHL owners. highlighted some of the juicier thoughts to chew on, one of which takes the owners to task.

“As you said, the fans are frustrated, and I think the players are frustrated as well,” Westgarth said. “It’s something that we do want to take care of. I think the owners and the NHL got essentially everything they wanted last time, and for them to come with the variety of proposals they’ve brought so far just strictly isn’t fair. We’re looking for a fair deal just so we can get back to playing hockey.”

Westgarth also teed off on NHL commissioner Gary Bettman who essentially said the players should be paid less.

“Gary [Bettman] has said it himself, he said he feels that the owners should be paying us less. That obviously- I tend to disagree with that. It’s a league that has had record revenue the last few years. The game is just growing.”

It’s tough to argue with a guy who can both punch you while waving a Princeton education in your face.

  1. xaf605 - Sep 6, 2012 at 3:15 PM

    Hockey doesnt start on time,oh well life goes on.

  2. freneticgarfieldfan - Sep 6, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    player #237 (out of 700+) dumping his view. I’m glad there are only some 400 more to survive.

    • lostpuppysyndrome - Sep 6, 2012 at 7:55 PM

      And also player #237 who graduated from college with a BA and years of business experience under his belt.

      • tealwithit - Sep 7, 2012 at 5:03 AM

        I’ve been hoping to hear from one of the guys who’s educated in business, but this is really not what I was expecting. I mean, of course he’s going to say he doesn’t think players should be paid less. But I wouldn’t have expected the old “record revenue” thing to come from someone who knows that revenue means nothing until escalating costs are factored in and the net income is calculated.

      • tatdue - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:26 PM

        @tealwithit – You talk a lot of crap about how nobody understands the business side of things in this dispute when obviously you don’t understand yourself….You should look up the term Hockey Related Revenue as it pertains to the CBA and learn something. Almost all expenses of running the hockey clubs are deducted from the gross revenue (except player salaries) to come up with the value of Hockey Related Revenue. At this point the money is split…currently 57% to the players, which is their salaries, and 43% to the owners, which is their profit (for the most part since every team does a different amount of business, some are winners and some are losers, this is why the owners need an enhanced form of revenue sharing) Now granted not every expense is taken out but on the other side not every bit of income is calculated in either (like the profit each team makes from their affiliate farm clubs among other things) At the end of it all the problem is the owners greed because the only thing that they are interested in talking about is players salary reduction period. Tell me how Toronto or the Rangers or Detroit getting a 24% rollback on player salaries helps other teams? The terms teams need to meet to qualify for revenue sharing are ridiculous. Out of the 10 or so teams that lost money or came close to it only 2 qualified for help. This is a problem! The players have not asked for anything. On top of that they already said that they are willing to help but that’s not good enough for the owners because the owners want to take advantage of the situation by lining their pockets under the pretense of helping the poor teams. Makes you wonder why they bought the Yotes?…maybe just to bring down the numbers so they could cry poor during this CBA debate I think….

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Sep 7, 2012 at 2:30 PM

        @Tatdue, that’s a good point about the revenue sharing qualification bit. I think it’s kind of smart that they make the qualifications stringent. Owning a team is a business after all, and increased revenue sharing starts to amount to welfare for the owners. Maybe a way to address it would be to lower the qualifications for revenue sharing, but setting a limit on how many times you can apply for it within a given time period, like 3 times in a 5-8 year period or something.

        Aside from a small handful of teams that I don’t even think should exist in their current locations, I have no doubt that most of the teams could make profits with proper management and on-ice success. Again, it’s a business, and like any business, sometimes you lose money and sometimes you make money. I don’t think the owners are obligated to handouts because of poor business decisions or being in crappy hockey markets.

  3. bensawesomeness - Sep 6, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    The next CBA should have a clause or something in it that says that if there isnt a deal in place, say, 5 days before it expires, then both parties get locked in a room til it’s done – or are at least forced to have negotiating discussions from 9-5 for the 5 days leading up to the expiration

    This whole waiting game thing is ridiculous on both sides. Things in hockey are rough – fights, hits, hell, Stamkos took a puck to the face, and went back out on the ice – you man up and get the job done.

    Man up and get the deal done, guys.

    • tealwithit - Sep 7, 2012 at 5:09 AM

      The expiration date should be set at the start of the off-season, and the free agency period should be held up until a new CBA is agreed upon. That way, there would be more time to get a deal done before the start of the season (negotiations don’t get serious before the CBA expires, and there’s not much that can be done about that), but the players and owners would still have an incentive to hurry up and come to an agreement so they can start signing contracts.

      • tatdue - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:34 PM

        That I do agree with…Holding up free agency gives the owners something to gain by getting the CBA out of the way (like giving them their gift before Christmas but not letting them play with it…lol) As it is now it always comes down to the wire because they always depend on the lock-out to get their way. I think incentive might work a little better….maybe

      • tealwithit - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:54 PM

        Nothing’s going to provide incentive like the threat of losing games, obviously, but it seems like putting the start and length of free agency on the line could only help. Glad we can agree on something.
        Plus, it would keep that summer’s contracts from being signed in bad faith… Meaning owners wouldn’t be handing out deals that they didn’t intend to pay in full, knowing/hoping the new CBA would “save” them.

  4. sampulls - Sep 6, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    Deal isn’t fair….let’s think about that….players should be guaranteed millions per year…and owners should take all the risk and lose millions year….but the deal isn’t fair.

  5. cspsrbums - Sep 6, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    He right owners are not filling the seats players do and Bettman needs to go he is a clown 3 lockouts so far under him. The owners make money they just move it around to show a lose for taxes. I will watch game but illness damn if I purchase any merchandise from the NHL for a long time if they have a lockout, all fans should do the same don’t even gets hot dog

    • tealwithit - Sep 7, 2012 at 5:11 AM

      Was that english?

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Sep 7, 2012 at 12:13 PM

        I just pretended Bryzgalov was reading it, which made it sound slightly less ridiculous. Illness damn indeed.

  6. numbcracker2109 - Sep 7, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    Owners take all the risk? Someone should ask Marc savard about that one

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