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Columnist: Where’s the proof NHL owners aren’t unified?

Oct 8, 2012, 2:59 PM EDT

If there’s dissension in the ranks of NHL owners, the Toronto Star’s Damien Cox wants proof, not conjecture and anonymous sources.

Cox went on a bit of Twitter rant Monday as speculation swirls that some NHL owners aren’t fully behind commissioner Gary Bettman:

If we had to guess, Cox’s tweets came in direct response to an article written by the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch in which a “league insider” was quoted as saying, “My guess is you’ve got about 10 teams that are pretty nervous right now.”

Garrioch went on to theorize that the owners of the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, and Buffalo Sabres may be quietly unhappy with the league taking such a hard stance against the players.

“Theoretically” Cox admits some owners may not be fully on board with Bettman’s negotiating strategy. “But theory doesn’t make fact.”

Of course, owners are forbidden from speaking to the media about the lockout, so if there’s actually disagreement behind the scenes, unless one of the dissenters is willing to pay an enormous fine (not to mention get on the bad side of the commissioner), we won’t be hearing anything on the record.

  1. id4joey - Oct 8, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    It is not unrealistic to think that some owners are not in unison with GB and other owners. Some ‘die hard’ hockey markets are loosing money these days. Not all these owners are on team GB. The NHLPA would prefer to have the owners share more of their HRR with the weaker non traditional hockey markets, whereas the owners are asking the players to contribute more.

  2. blomfeld - Oct 8, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Oh they’re united alright … maybe more united than United Airlines ? The only problem however is that they’re united for the “wrong” cause. Eliminating October from the schedule probably wasn’t such a bad idea. But a far better objective would have been to eliminate the “weak sisters” (ie: the sunbelt teams). Contraction and northward migration are the keys to “long-term” viability for the NHL, no two ways about it. Therefore at least 4-6 teams either have to “relocate” or “close shop” asap ! If not, then the “overall” financial health of the league will continue to suffer and so-called “impasses” like this one, will occur with increased frequency.

    • davebabychreturns - Oct 8, 2012 at 4:06 PM

      Maybe they should start with the Kings. :)

      • blomfeld - Oct 8, 2012 at 5:31 PM

        “start with the Kings” ? …


        Judge: What say you to the charge of 1st Degree Heresy ?

        Davebabychreturns: Hey man, I was just kidding around ?

        Judge: Shut up I say ! … Guards, take this infidel away !

        Davebabychreturns: Look, take it easy man … what’s going on here ?

        Guards: We said shut up ! … KAPOW ! .. KABOOM ! .. KAZAM !

    • csimonetta9 - Oct 8, 2012 at 6:18 PM

      Why do i keep seeing blomfeld on every article and seeing his comments always thumbed down? Take a hint buddy.

      • blomfeld - Oct 8, 2012 at 7:05 PM

        here ya go pal … never good to leave anyone out eh ? :)

      • hockeyflow33 - Oct 8, 2012 at 11:20 PM

        Because he’s a moron

      • blomfeld - Oct 9, 2012 at 3:03 PM

        Hockeyflow ? … yeah, I can think of something else that “flows” too ! … starts with an “S” ? :)

        ps: sorry friend that I left you out … so here ya go !

  3. tmoore4075 - Oct 8, 2012 at 3:46 PM

    Cox is a douche and just tries to be a know it all. I’m sure Florida, LA, Nashville, and Phoenix (well the team since they don’t have an owner) don’t want to lose time. Florida makes the playoffs for the first time in years and want to lose that momentum? LA finally gets to the top of the mountain only to not have the banner going up this week and now the Lakers have jumped to the top again. Nashville needs the money to pay Weber and the Coyotes go on a long playoff run for the first time ever so missing time there doesn’t help either. Cox knows not all of them are on board just wants to sound smart by asking for proof but he just sounds like he always ass.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Oct 8, 2012 at 4:27 PM

      Florida is losing a lot of money so I’m sure they’re with Bettman, Nashville now has a vested interest in Bettman’s wanted to revamp contract lengths and also make cap years real dollars paid so I’m sure they’re with Bettman. The Coyotes are owned by the other owners so they’ll be with Bettman. Bettman only needs 8 owners to agree with him, it’s probably not hard to find those 8 teams if one really looks.

      1. Phoenix…owned by the league, done deal
      2. Columbus…they want better economic conditions since they lose a ton of money
      3. Nashville…if for no other reason then because of contract lengths
      4. Minnesota…Leipold is Bettman’s boy, he’s with him till the end
      5. Florida…losing a bunch of money
      6. Boston…Jeremy Jacobs is notorious for being a hardass to the players in these negotiations
      7. New Jersey…the owner with the money wants out, Bettman won’t let him out, he needs to lose less or please Bettman
      8. Islanders…Charles Wang has no clue what he’s doing, but he’s losing a lot of money doing it

      There’s 8 sure things for Bettman just off the top of my head, as long as he has them it doesn’t matter how the other 22 feel.

      Having said that what these negotiations need is for someone to take on the Robert Kraft role and work as a peacemaker between the sides to try and get it ironed out.

      • tmoore4075 - Oct 8, 2012 at 4:49 PM

        See I think you are looking at it the wrong way. I think more big teams are driving this then the struggling ones. Philly is one of the teams driving this. It’s been reported that Snider and Jacobs are two of the biggest players behind wanting to the cut the players share dramatically. Why? They don’t want to share. The bigger market owners have much more power than the struggling franchises. What Dan Boyle was getting at (at least imo) was that he believes quite a few teams would be happy with what the NHLPA put forward in their deal which was heavy revenue sharing. But teams like Detroit, Philly and Boston don’t want to share. So they are fine with holding tight.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Oct 8, 2012 at 7:57 PM

        I am going to guess that Florida either broken even or made a little bit of money this year. They lost 7 million in 2010-11. Home playoff games usually the home team makes a million or so, give or take a little bit. That’s an extra 4 million since they played 4 home games. There attendance was also up from previous years, so it’s conceiveable that they at least broke even.

        Minnesota would want to start to the season yesterday if it could. When you sign Parise, Suter, and Granlund to contracts over the summer, they have every reason to want to play now.

        The point is you can’t assume the owners are fractured. If teams are lose a ton of money like Columbus, Phoenix, Anaheim, San Jose, Nashville, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Buffalo, and Washington are better off not playing hockey and not losing as much money.

        Let the players go off to Europe and everywhere else to play hockey. The paychecks aren’t nearly as good, the quality of living isn’t nearly as good. How many players really want to up root their family, espically those that have kids in school?

        Until Fehr and the NHLPA realize their place in sports, which is behind the NFL and NBA, nothing will get done. They need to get to a 50/50 split which is what those 2 just did in their new CBA’s. Hockey is a nitche sport, whether you like it or not, it is. 50/50 compared to those 2 sports is generious.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Oct 8, 2012 at 9:29 PM

        The players seem to be willing to get to 50/50 but they don’t want to do all the heavy lifting themselves they want extended revenue sharing, they’re the only one of the 4 leagues that doesn’t have extensive revenue sharing.

      • Doesnotmatter - Oct 9, 2012 at 6:46 AM


        The quality of living in Europe is not nearly as good as in USA ??? What ??? Are you serious ? I agree with most of your post but you missed with this one.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Oct 9, 2012 at 10:56 AM


        I guess my point didn’t come out as I thought it sounded.

        I ment it’s harder on players that have families for them to play in Europe compared to here. Espically those who have children in school, up rooting them from friends, etc.

      • Doesnotmatter - Oct 13, 2012 at 6:12 AM


        I think I was unnecessarily harsh in my reply. Yes, moving to Europe on a more or less permanent basis ( I have no idea how long this lockout will last ) would be tougher for Canadian and American players. The same thing is true for some European players with families. But here’s what the owners and the NHL didn’t really think about. How about a Continental league with teams from Russia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, Finland, Germany, etc. Even London or Paris could support a team. OK, end rant. I know its a bit out there but it could happen.

  4. id4joey - Oct 8, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    If eliminating October from the schedule is so beneficial, then why does it happen only when the CBA expires? Why don’t they make it the norm? They need the revenue to be in the black, so I don’t think eliminating one month is the cure.

    • blomfeld - Oct 8, 2012 at 5:42 PM

      Id4joey … the answer is that October produces “red” ink as opposed to “black” ink for the majority of teams … and the 4-6 x “sunbelt” teams which are currently on life-support, simply can’t sustain further “red” ink at this juncture, lest the entire Bettman Experiment crumbles like the rotten structure it is …

  5. davebabychreturns - Oct 8, 2012 at 3:59 PM

    Jeez, taking sides in this means associating oneself with either Damien Cox or Bruce Garrioch.. not the most palatable options.

    That being said, if Damien’s got a few hundred thousand dollars to spare he could probably get a quote if he really wanted it.

    • elvispocomo - Oct 8, 2012 at 5:41 PM

      No kidding, particularly on the first point.

  6. jernster21 - Oct 8, 2012 at 4:07 PM

    They’re united enough not to speak out and get a million dollar fine, that’s basically what it comes down to.

  7. acieu - Oct 8, 2012 at 4:33 PM

    Stomp on the players Gary the owners are 100% behind you. The columnist is dreaming!

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