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Winners, losers of the NHL lockout

Jan 7, 2013, 4:08 PM EDT

Scot Beckenbaugh AP

Now that the NHL’s latest work stoppage has ended, it’s time for the part everybody loves: Identifying the losers!

(Fine, we’ll identify some winners as well.)

For the record, we all know fans are losers in any lockout, so that kind of goes without saying for this piece. OK?

Winner: Owners

Regardless of what concessions were made to the NHLPA late in negotiations, owners managed to get a 50-50 hockey-related revenue split after receiving just 43 percent in the last CBA.

According to USA Today, that seven percent increase works out to an additional $231 million per season.

Loser: “Hard-line” Owners

Three in particular took major PR hits.

Boston’s Jeremy Jacobs was identified as a “hard-liner” early in the process and saw his name appear on numerous occasions in a less than glowing light (see here and here and here).

Minnesota’s Craig Leipold, another “hard-liner,” was accused of negotiating in bad faithby his own player.

San Jose’s Logan Couture took things a step further, saying that Jacobs, Leipold and Calgary’s Murray Edwards weren’t exactly winning over players with personality and charm in meetings.

“They’re hard-line guys,” Couture said. “They don’t give you the time of day, and they barely even look at you.

“They’re there for one reason, and that’s to help their teams make money.”

Of course, it’s doubtful any of the three really care. They’re rich.

Winner: Players…after they retire

The NHLPA walked away from negotiations boasting of a shiny new pension plan.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt the pension is the centerpiece of this deal for the players,” said Winnipeg Jets defenseman Ron Hainsey. “That’s not the only thing. There are other things that we were able to hold onto as far as free agency age, arbitration rights.

“But as far as the centerpiece that the players are going to be able to rally around and be proud of, I would say the pension.”

Loser: Players…playing right now

Going from 57 to 50 percent on HRR was a loss. Going from unlimited to an eight-year maximum on contract length was a loss. Pragmatically, having the salary cap drop to $64.3 million in year two was a loss — that could put a major squeeze on unrestricted free agents in 2013-14.

Players also lost a half-season’s worth of paychecks, and the respect of some fans after the ill-conceived “Puck Gary” hats and #LockoutProblems Twitter hashtag.

Winner: Scot L. Beckenbaugh

An instrumental figure in helping the NFL and NFL Referees Association broker their labor deal, Beckenbaugh — Deputy Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services — was a key figure in helping the NHL and NHLPA work things out, engineering the 16-hour marathon session that eventually ended the lockout.

Beckenbaugh was hailed as for his “extraordinary contribution” by FCMS boss George H. Cohen and received high praise from a number of NHL players.

“Scot Beckenbaugh, next time I’m in NYC, dinner is on me,” Edmonton Oilers center Sam Gagner said on Twitter. “Thanks for helping get us back on the ice.”

Loser: Guy Serota

See here and here.

Winner: John Tavares

Few players enjoyed more European success than the Isles youngster. He signed on with Switzerland’s SC Bern early in the process, played a lot of games (28) racked up a ton of points (42, fourth in Swiss league scoring) and scored four points in four games en route to winning the Spengler Cup with Team Canada.

Outside of his brush with cannibalism, Tavares also managed to avoid injury. In all, a solid lockout.

Loser: Evander Kane

Let’s see…

He signed with KHL Dinamo Minsk, only to be ripped by the head coach for being out of shape.

He left Dinamo after a 12-game stint that included one goal, zero assists, a minus-8 rating, 47 penalty minutes and a one-game suspension for a head-shot.

Upon leaving, he criticized the coaching — “you play six minutes a night and they want you to score three goals a game” — then headed back to North America, where he landed squarely in the “calling Floyd Mayweather Jr. on my money phone” picture flap.

Winner: Donald Fehr

He deftly handled public/media criticism. He maintained a calm, cool demeanor throughout the process (made even more apparent when his adversary, Gary Bettman, was visibly irate following the Dec. 6 debacle.) He fought the owners on a number of key issues and — most importantly — he got the players a better deal than most expected.

“There’s no doubt in my mind Don Fehr saved this union, saved the game,” said Florida forward George Parros. “He was a thorn in their side, I think, a bit, but what he did I think was incredible.”

  1. matt8204 - Jan 7, 2013 at 4:16 PM

    I don’t like Fehr, but the article is spot-on. He was calm and collected the entire time. The guy does not sweat, which is a huge asset in these negotiations. Bettman looked like he was going to break down in tears during that press conference in early December.

  2. klownboy - Jan 7, 2013 at 4:20 PM

    Uh, there are really no winners here. EVERYONE loses, especially we the fans.

    The NHL will be fighting an even more of an uphill battle in winning some of the fans back. The NHL (namely Gary Bettman) had such nerve in staging this silly lockout given that it is not as big as NASCAR in this country.

    I’m happy the NHL is back, but stop with the “winners’ bullcrap…

    • miketoasty - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:06 PM

      I don’t think you read the article, all the “Winners” points were pretty well thought out and spot on.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:16 PM

      This isn’t the fans job. This is a job to the players and owners. Grow up and stop viewing the lockout like a five year old.

    • nothanksimdriving123 - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:41 PM

      Fans losers? Hardly. We lost some chances to have fun, but most fans currently have money they otherwise would have spent on the NHL. True losers are the lower paid arena staff and workers in related businesses who suffered serious dents in their wallets. I’ll shed no tears for anyone but those folks.

  3. lordfletcher - Jan 7, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    I hate souding biased (Wild fan) but I think our owner Craig Leopold has been more honest and open to everyone and shouldn’t necessarily be pegded as a bad guy owner from the lockout, he has just been misunderstood. The deals he made to both Parise and Suter are deals he had to in order to inject life back into this market and in no way was he ever saying that he regrets the two deals that he made. His point was to not HAVE to make these deals in general. No owner should have to shell out a fraction of a billion dollars to help make their team competitive, this isn’t baseball and thank jebus for that.

    I hope my point makes more sense than I can put into words as of right now… but again, it’s just my opinion, I could be completely wrong and Leopold could be the worlds biggest ass. Who knows, cheers :)

    PS glad we’re playing hockey soon

    • hockeyflow33 - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      It’s beyond disingenuous to say he signed the two largest contracts during the offseason in good faith when it was quite evident that he was planning on only having to pay 75% or so of the contract’s face value.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:27 PM

        Parise and Suter both turned down bigger offers than Minnesota’s. but since they didn’t either resign with your favorite team or your favorite team didn’t sign them, I understand your frustration.

      • hockeyflow33 - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:46 AM

        Maybe I didn’t state it clearly but I meant the Minnesota owner is a giant douchebag for signing these guys to massive contracts when he thought their face value would be restructured in a week.
        When signing a contract, it’s expectant that both sides bargain in good faith. The owner for the WIld did not do that.

        I have no problem with Suter and Parise or where they signed.

      • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 8, 2013 at 1:49 AM

        Okay that’s great and all, but Leipold didn’t hold a gun their heads and made them sign contracts. Let’s not forget Leipold wasn’t the only owner or GM that offered both of them that kind of money. Philadelphia offered Suter over 105 million and Parise left even more on the table in Detroit. So to single out Leipold is beyond absurd.

        As part of your job as a agent is to know the market and everything else about the teams and owners. Both players and agents knew the owners would try to get salary rollbacks. As far as I have heard the owners didnt get roll backs.

        Now, if Minnesota uses their 2 amnesty buyouts on Suter and Parise, then yeah I’d agree he would be a douche. But until proven otherwise Leipold is on the hook for 98 million over 13 years… Twice. Not to mention 2 lump sum payments of 10 million each… Twice. One of which had already been paid. If you take out the signing bonuses, it’s really a 13 year 78 million dollar contract for each.

      • hockeyflow33 - Jan 8, 2013 at 2:50 AM

        This has nothing to do with the amount of money they signed for or anything of the sort, it’s an extremely poor business practice to try and undermine employee contracts. If your words is worth garbage because you try and back door guys like this, why would other star players want to play for you?

        It clearly pissed off Suter and just doesn’t reflect well on yourself. It’s a Jeremy Jacobs move.

  4. islesjb - Jan 7, 2013 at 4:30 PM

    There are NO WINNERS!! EVERYONE LOSES!!!!!!….. Except for John Tavares- props to PHT for acknowledging the greatest player in the history of any sport that has ever been played in the history of the world

    • bcisleman - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:22 PM

      Over the top, but I wouldn’t be surprised if JT has a really big season.

      • islesjb - Jan 8, 2013 at 8:58 AM

        maybe slightly

  5. hockeyflow33 - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:20 PM

    No one likes Jacobs, or his fraud of a son. They penny-pinched for years and until they hired Chiarelli, foolishly spent money. Everyone in New England despises the Jacobs and will through a parade on the day they sell the team.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:46 AM


  6. lsxphotog - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:33 PM

    This was an good writeup. I enjoyed reading it.

  7. bricktop02 - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:36 PM

    I never knew how bad you guys have it up there in Boston with Jacob’s.

    • lordstanley65 - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:23 PM

      Man, you have no idea…when our kids act up, we don’t scare them with the boogeyman, we tell ’em Jacobs is coming. He’s Montgomery Burns without the charm

    • hockeyflow33 - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:48 AM

      For years a number of high profile free agents refused to sign with the Bruins because of their hardline negotiating style, (cheapness).

  8. swedeg - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:02 PM

    I’d say Leipold was a winner. Sign the best two free agents, and be way under the cap next year with the best prospect pool in hockey. If his PR took a hit it was with people outside of Minnesota, and to be honest, we don’t care. Thanks for making the Wild a real franchise, Craig.

    • greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 7, 2013 at 10:30 PM

      Leipold just signs the checks. That credit goes to Chuck Fletcher, who in turn got the green light from Leipold to spend what he needs to, to make this team competitive

  9. bubblehead22 - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:39 PM

    Loser = Fans

  10. Jeff - Jan 7, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    The losers are the players, league and associated acts. It’ll be a long, long time before they get a dime of my money again.

  11. bcjim - Jan 7, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    @guyserrota could have settled this in half the time! Via twitter blasts alone.

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