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Neuvirth supports Hamrlik, thinks lockout is about “several superstars with big contracts”

Nov 22, 2012, 3:57 PM EDT

Islanders Capitals Hockey AP

Roman Hamrlik isn’t a young man anymore (for the NHL, not for the earth), so it’s little surprise the 38-year-old Capitals defenseman is desperate for the lockout to end. After all, no player wants to be forced into retirement by a work stoppage, especially a player without a Stanley Cup ring.

Michal Neuvirth, on the other hand, is only 24. The Capitals goalie has his entire career ahead of him. Theoretically, he should be willing to fight for the best possible CBA, since he’ll be the one living with it for years to come.

Thus, it’s interesting that Neuvirth today expressed support for Hamrlik, who recently voiced his displeasure with the time it’s taking NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr to broker a deal with the owners.

“I agree 100 percent with Hammer,” Neuvirth told TVA Nova Sport (Czech Republic), “This lockout is not about majority of players, I think. It is about several superstars with big contracts.”

Of course, one of the staunchest NHLPA supporters throughout the lockout has bene Washington captain Alex Ovechkin, who just so happens to be a superstar with a big contract.

And when you consider what happened in August when Neuvirth reportedly said (though later claimed he was misquoted) that Ovechkin “isn’t what he used to be,” well, feel free to speculate, because that’s what the rest of the hockey world will be doing.

Anyway, perhaps this is why the NHL only allows two guys to talk about the lockout. In labor negotiations, not everyone has the same agenda.

  1. id4joey - Nov 22, 2012 at 4:15 PM

    Holy head hunting shots, batman! Those superstars will be shooting for his ears when the season resumes. Well! He’ll probably retract his statement at some time but the damage is done. Can you imagine the tension in the locker room when the caps resume team activities? That would make for great material on HBO. Can you say dissension?

    • trick9 - Nov 22, 2012 at 4:39 PM

      That tension won’t last long though since Neuvirth was always going to be traded before the next trade deadlide (assuming there is a season). He will be restricted free agent next summer and they have no intention to sign him to an extension.

    • mmcneels81 - Nov 22, 2012 at 7:25 PM

      My god, you’re annoying.

  2. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 22, 2012 at 4:18 PM

    I would’ve thought every player wanted to see his contract honoured. Neuvirth needs to realize that if the players don’t stand somewhat firm this time around the NHL will try to bone them even harder when this CBA expires.

    • stakex - Nov 22, 2012 at 4:36 PM

      The thing is though, if they lose the season (which they will if they stand firm) the non-super stars will lose more money from a years lost salary then they will save should they win this fight in the end. Not to mention if the season is lost, the players will not get a better deal then the owners are offering right now and most of them know that. So standing firm and losing the season will do nothing but cost a lot of NHLers a lot of money.

      Also, “contract honoured” is a subjective term. All NHL contracts are tied to the CBA, and if the players share of HRR is reduced the contract itself is reduced. Thats just how it works. So one way or another the contracts are going to be honoured.

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Nov 22, 2012 at 5:02 PM

        I know, the players are very much in a lose-lose situation, but they would be foolish to capitulate (and it’s clear that’s probably what will have to happen) until the 11th hour.

  3. iHeartHockey31 - Nov 22, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    Why does the NHLPA allow owners of teams allowed to refuse revenue that counts towards HRR in order to benefit other [non-HRR based] financial interests?

    • flyerfan2 - Nov 22, 2012 at 5:04 PM

      Fine, include all the player endorsements too. They are “hockey-related” since the players would not have them without playing hockey. I am sure Ovechkin and Crysbaby would be happy to share their endorsement dollars with their team mates.

      • bjbeliever - Nov 22, 2012 at 6:16 PM

        The day Crosby shares his endorsement deals with owners and teammates as a part of HRR is the day I feel sorry for the NHLPA

      • iHeartHockey31 - Nov 22, 2012 at 7:04 PM

        When you base player salaries on HRR & owners refuse to accept money from companies [in violation of FCC regulations] that would be counted towards HRR, used for revenue sharing for small market teams & the basis for ALL player salaries, you don’t get to turn around & claim there isn’t enough money to pay the players’ contracted salaries. If certain teams had accepted the money from 3rd party companies instead of refusing it, they might have enough money right now to do a 50/50 split & keep contracted salaries ‘whole’. The refusal to sell programming to 3rd party companies is a violation of FCC regulations, limits the potential exposure of the sport & hurts everyone else in the NHL & NHLPA. You can’t compare something like that to endoresements that a few select players have an oppurtunity to receive endoresements.

        The players aren’t asking for MORE money, they just want what was agreed to in their contract. The NHL’s arguement is that they don’t need to honor the contracts because of the condition that the total salaries were based on overall HRR. Certain teams are INTENTIONALLY lowering the amount of HRR that is available as a means of avoiding paying out full salaries.

        The previous CBA stated that ‘fair market price’ had to be paid to ‘teams’ for TV rights. When 3rd party companies offer money for those rights and are turned down, ‘fair market value’ should represent the amount teams were offered by other companies for their rights. ‘Fair market value’ should include the significant amount of customers [as stated by the FCC] & higher prices received for subscriptions when they are directly attributed to the players.

        The owners aren’t ‘poor’, they just reaarange their books to minimize the amount of money that is considered for HRR thus making it look like they’re ‘poor’.

        The NHL also can’t make claims about how they’re expanding the sport when they’re still making deals that allow blacking-out playoff games from households in major market areas. Yet people continue to wonder why the sport has no ‘casual fans’. Casual fans don’t have access to watch local games i several major market areas. Why is the league allowed to do this when part of the money players receive is now being lost due to the loss of those casual fans? How do small market teams benefit via revenue sharing when large market teams are allowed to refuse households access to games?

        Regardless of your feelings for the slick accounting being done, the FCC has passed numerous regulations in an attempt to specifically prevent teams from refusing to sell rights to competing companies & has gone so far as to specifically tell one team owner they MUST make such programming available, as part of a condition for a merger allowing them access to a major network’s programming. The refusal to sell such programming given the direct order is a violation of FCC’s specific directive. They’re breaking the law.

      • woodstakes - Nov 22, 2012 at 9:09 PM

        Dammit iHeartHockey31, there you go with a well thought out and logical statement. VERY well put my friend. The whole concept of HRR was/is flawed. Take for example the TV Contract the NHL just received… if my memory is correct there was a lockout in the NFL and the NFLPA made some sort of statement that if the NFL locked out its players they would go after their ‘share’ of the TV contract… one wonders why the NHLPA has not followed suit on something like that. I must assume that there is some ‘language’ in the previous CBA(s) that state that isn’t possible. I’m not sure at all on that, i’m not even sure if my memory is accurate on the NFLPA stating that or if it was just some writers rhetoric. As for the owners being so ‘broke’ it seems to me they have a hard time saying that when you look at the hard numbers: *Posted this previously but will again*

        “Beyond the dissonance between the owners’ desire to pay less and their continued demonstrated ability to pay more, there are hard numbers. In 2003-04, the last season before the only labor-erased season in the history of major North American pro sports, NHL teams paid $1.332 billion in player salaries, according to USA Today’s salary database. In 2011-12, NHL teams paid $1.699 billion in player salaries. Adjusting for inflation, salaries rose just over $84 million over the last eight years, an average of $2.8 million per team.”

        “While salaries are slightly higher than they were eight years ago, NHL revenues are not. In 2003-04, league revenues were $2.1 billion. In 2011-12, that figure reached $3.3 billion.”


        $1.699 Billion ’11-’12 (salaries) $3.3 Billion Revenue ’11-‘12
        -$1.332 Billion ‘03’04 (salaries) – $2.1 Billion Revenue ’03-‘04
        = $367 Million difference in salaries = $1.2 Billion Difference in Revenue

        So if you just take the hard numbers, no inflation that’s a difference of $1.2 billion in revenue increase from ’03-’04 to ’11-’12. Teams are paying out $367M or $12.23M per team more in contracts over the same period of time. So that’s $833M to the plus side, divided by the 30 teams that’s roughly $27.76M more per team… so if owners are so broke… where is all that money going??? It’s not going to the players, so who??

        IDK apparently a lot of teams are WAY richer than we all thought and maybe if the elites think we should have 30 teams in the locales we do, well maybe they should figure out another way to share the revenue. Because, getting back 7% or even 15% more ISN’T going to save 15-18 teams it’s just going to make the rich teams richer. Yet, they are unwilling to adjust the way they are doing things; it’s ALL the player salaries that are the problem here. I don’t THINK SO!

        Then you look a little deeper at more articles and you start seeing where people have broke down the revenue on what the players took and what the owners took and it sure looks like A LOT of mismanagement of funds on the owners parts. Sure some teams just don’t have the revenue coming in, but some of the others have plenty and somehow they’re saying they are broke… but the PLAYERs aren’t breaking them its the “other than hockey related costs…” so what exactly does that entail? That could mean anything… nepotism perhaps? Some owner putting his brother-inlaw in some position that pays him $500k a yr, because he doesn’t want to put him in some position with any of the companies he owns that actually made him a 1%er or the fact that they turned away money, just so the players wouldn’t get a share, EVEN if it would help them pay those “other than hockey related costs…”.

        **Sorry so long.. had a lot to say.. just another FRUSTRATED FAN!**

      • blomfeld - Nov 22, 2012 at 10:36 PM

        Ah my friend … for you I give “special” price !” :)

        Great posts by Ihearthockey31 and Woodstakes. Yes indeed, financial chicanery is no doubt at play here by Bettman and the owners. But what else are you to expect from people like that ? Agreeing to this connection of salary & HRR was a major blunder on the part of the players in my opinion and now they’re paying for it. They would have been far better off by just keeping it simple, offering “X” amount of service for “X” amount of dollars. The HRR thing is like a “maze or trap” in which they can never have a clear picture of anything ! In fact, you could almost call it a “Ponzi” Scheme, with Bettman playing the part of Bernie Madoff. Personally, I have absolutely no sympathy for the high-end guys like Crosby, Ovechkin and company. What’s upsetting however, are the majority who fall somewhere in the middle or below. Just like in real “everyday” life, they’re the ones who end up getting royally screwed ! 😦


        blomfeld – Nov 12, 2012 at 10:52 PM

        EUREKA !

        Of course the owners will “never” be forthcoming with a complete and honest accounting of their revenues and costs ! From their perspective, that’s the “genius” behind this entire business of setting salary levels by a percentage of “apparent” HRR. The players will “never” be made privy to all of the inflated costs and hidden revenues on the owners books … never in a million years ! And therefore the players will never win this fight. Of course Fehr wants them to believe they can for his own selfish purposes. But the reality is that they can’t, while “hoping” they can makes about as much sense as someone hoping for a visit from the Tooth Fairy.

  4. shotzongoal - Nov 22, 2012 at 6:17 PM

    Good for you Michael. Finally some sanity in the madness.

  5. timmons94 - Nov 22, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    As a pens fan. Amen amen amen. Not just Crosby or Ovechkin. But let’s thank Jeremy Jacobs for making this a turkey day with no hockey to look forward to tomm.

  6. mmcneels81 - Nov 22, 2012 at 7:28 PM

    Hell yeah, Neuvy!! Caps, breaking ranks and saying things that have to be said! Couldn’t be prouder of my team!

    • leeeroooyjeeenkiiins - Nov 22, 2012 at 7:49 PM

      I’m a freaking Lightning fan and I’m proud these guys. Hopefully they’ll cause other players to think this through a bit as well.

  7. antkowiak666 - Nov 22, 2012 at 11:01 PM


  8. jimw81 - Nov 23, 2012 at 10:19 AM

    People are overvalue the tv contract. Put in production cost and equals ufc contract with fox platform of channels.

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