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*Official* CBA Negotiations and Lockout Thread

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By Ken Warren and James Gordon

Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk can expect to hear from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. And it won’t be to talk about the weather.

Melnyk broke the NHL’s internal policy against individual team personnel speaking about the on-going NHL lockout and collective bargaining agreement negotiations during a Wednesday interview on Toronto radio station The Fan 590. Among other comments, Melnyk said, “we should be playing hockey by now. Everybody knows it, and we’re not.”

Bettman and Bill Daly, the NHL’s deputy commissioner, are the only two league executives who have permission to speak publicly on the lockout-related matters.

“The league has a long-standing policy against club personnel speaking on collective bargaining matters,” Daly wrote in an email to the Citizen Thursday night. “It’s a serious policy and one that is well-founded in purpose and rationale.”

Daly says, however, that the league employs “discretion” and “common sense” in determining whether specific comments cross the line. He says the league will remind Melynk of the policy, but so far, the Seantors owner has not been fined or disciplined.

“We intend to talk to Eugene and understand the circumstances and context of his comments before determining next steps which, depending on their nature, are generally maintained as internal league matters and not disclosed publicly in any event.”

In other words, if Melnyk is fined or even slapped on the wrist, it won’t be made public.

While Melnyk’s words weren’t overly controversial, he came across sounding more like a passionate hockey fan than an NHL owner. He says fans don’t want to play the blame game over the NHL lockout — they just want to see some hockey.

“I’m extremely disappointed, like any fan, of where we are,” Melnyk said. “We should be playing hockey by now. Everybody knows it, and we’re not. Everybody can fingerpoint all they want, but at the end of the day, I don’t think anybody cares who’s at fault. All they know if we’re not playing hockey, why aren’t we playing hockey?”

Melnyk was also asked about the apathy some youngsters who may not even grasp the issues behind the impasse are feeling towards the league are feeling towards the league.

“I think of these kids too, 14 and under, kind of thing, they don’t even understand the concept of what’s going on. All they know is, there’s no hockey. So it’s a huge disappointment. You know, this should not happen, but it did, and you gotta do the best you can and live with it and hopefully resolve it and get back to playing.

Melnyk also revealed he was a rabid baseball fan when he was younger, but after the 1994 strike that wiped out the World Series, he was “gone.”

Now his baseball knowledge amounts to knowing “a guy named Rodriguez” and that he “makes a lot of money.

“I’m telling you, I couldn’t name another player and I don’t care.”

Major League Baseball suffered a great deal at the time and needed 10 years to get attendance back to where it was pre-strike.

As for the Winter Classic, which is expected to be cancelled Friday, Melnyk said: “Well I think it’s an important part of the game. It’s very widely, you know, it’s got a huge, huge audience. It’s extremely profitable for the NHL, which means its also profitable for everyone else. It is, you know, it has become a marquee event. It’s something that I think is very very important to everyone to promote the game everywhere. I mean, it’s a big, big deal.”

Melnyk also said he didn’t take advantage of the NHL’s window that allowed owners and general managers to talk to the players.

“Personally, I didn’t do any kind of outbound calls.”

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Roberto Luongo: "The only logical explanation I have for Gary canceling the Winter Classic is that he's banking on the Mayan calendar to pull through?"

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Bettman and the owners showing once again that they don't give a sh*t about the NHL or its fans.

The Leafs would probably pay the 250k deposit for the winter classic themselves if they could. But then that would hurt the owners bargaining position. So obviously them winning this battle is more important to them than what's good for the league.

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Year is toast. Players would rather sit out for a better CBA than play 50 or so games at this point. Nhl is toast cause they'll need a way to bring fans back

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Bettman and the owners showing once again that they don't give a sh*t about the NHL or its fans.

The Leafs would probably pay the 250k deposit for the winter classic themselves if they could. But then that would hurt the owners bargaining position. So obviously them winning this battle is more important to them than what's good for the league.

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Horrbile decision to cancel their only effective marketing tool. I mean when everyone is hungover on Jan 1st, the only thing worth watching is the WC which is broadcast nationwide. Shameful Bettman, just shooting yourselves in the foot. Beyond the maybe 50 players between the Redwings and Leafs, I don't think the players give two *stuff* if the WC is cancelled.

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I know Bettman just represents the owners, but I am really starting to wonder if its more than that. Its almost like he's brainwashed the owners into his devious plan. Yes, I do believe this is all pre-planned. At this point that plan involves cancelling the season, but not before toying with the NHLPA some more

This person really cracks me up:

Count Bettman@CountBettman

Winter Classic cancelled!!! Hey Columbus.... you're next! AH AH AH AH AH

Count Bettman@CountBettman

Excellent news!!! I just cancelled the NYC Marathon!! I'm on fire today!!

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Horrbile decision to cancel their only effective marketing tool. I mean when everyone is hungover on Jan 1st, the only thing worth watching is the WC which is broadcast nationwide. Shameful Bettman, just shooting yourselves in the foot. Beyond the maybe 50 players between the Redwings and Leafs, I don't think the players give two *stuff* if the WC is cancelled.

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I know Bettman just represents the owners, but I am really starting to wonder if its more than that. Its almost like he's brainwashed the owners into his devious plan. Yes, I do believe this is all pre-planned. At this point that plan involves cancelling the season, but not before toying with the NHLPA some more

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So you don't think the player's are getting nervous about all these cancellations? Jarome Iginla is set to have lost 22M+ in his contract. It's a reality check. Owner's call the shots and it's always been that way. It will always be that way. Players are losing their paychecks, shortening their careers. For what? Players who have spoken to the media have no idea what's going on and are just listening to Fehr's nonsense.

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Lmao, where are you getting this Iginla losing 22m nonsense?

WC is pure profit and marketing for the owners, as I stated it's the one time a year you might actually get some southern markets to watch a hockey game. Look at Luongo's twitter, check out the article on the Senators thoughts about the cancellation, bottom line is players could give a sh-- if the WC was cancelled.

Judging by the players multitude of different responses from the NHLs last proposal, I'd say the players have a mind for themselves. However, this being a lockout and not a strike, it is best for the players to stand united, and when dealing with guys who have for their lifetime believed in the team aspect, it's a pretty indestructible force.

I still don't understand why you clowns think the owners require your support, when their decisions are unilateral, not taking into consideration any of their fan base. Supporting the owners is counter intuitive.

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Rey, surely you understand that owners are responsible for the contracts they sign, right? If they think players are getting too much they could stop giving them ridiculous contracts. They can spend to the floor and not the ceiling. If owning a NHL team is a bad investment that's on them as the one who knew that going in but did it anyway. No sense complaining if your lemon team is still a lemon after you buy it.

Yes, players are (and should be) nervous about the lost revenue, but so should the owners. If they are really doing as badly as they try to say (read back a few pages for proof that's a lie) they will be even more hurt by the lost revenue and potential backlash from fans.

You seem to think it's the players' fault we're here and the NHL thanks you. That's what their expensive (how can they afford it if they're poor?!) PR firm wants you to think not because they care about fans but because they know pissed fans don't spend money. They want you to forget they locked out the players even though the players offered to play under the old CBA until a deal was reached, which would have been better financially for all involved and owners could have asked for a binding no-job-action agreement to ensure players wouldn't later strike. They want you to forget they are the ones turning down offers to negotiate. They want you to forget their first proposal, by all accounts, was never meant to be taken seriously despite being offered with an ultimatum and being followed by a lockout. They want you to forget they are coming off years of record setting revenue despite the crappy economy. They want you to forget they offer less revenue sharing among teams than any other professional league despite the fact that small improvements in that alone could make most teams profitable. They want you to forget owners got everything they wanted last time and will in all likelihood lockout players again next time if they are yet again allowed to use it as a means to get what they want. They want you to forget that it was the owners who found ways around the rules they created last time. And they want you to simply push the players to just give in out of desperation for hockey now with no concern for how bad that will be for fans in the long term.

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Lmao, where are you getting this Iginla losing 22m nonsense?

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Rey, surely you understand that owners are responsible for the contracts they sign, right? If they think players are getting too much they could stop giving them ridiculous contracts. They can spend to the floor and not the ceiling. If owning a NHL team is a bad investment that's on them as the one who knew that going in but did it anyway. No sense complaining if your lemon team is still a lemon after you buy it.

Yes, players are (and should be) nervous about the lost revenue, but so should the owners. If they are really doing as badly as they try to say (read back a few pages for proof that's a lie) they will be even more hurt by the lost revenue and potential backlash from fans.

You seem to think it's the players' fault we're here and the NHL thanks you. That's what their expensive (how can they afford it if they're poor?!) PR firm wants you to think not because they care about fans but because they know pissed fans don't spend money. They want you to forget they locked out the players even though the players offered to play under the old CBA until a deal was reached, which would have been better financially for all involved and owners could have asked for a binding no-job-action agreement to ensure players wouldn't later strike. They want you to forget they are the ones turning down offers to negotiate. They want you to forget their first proposal, by all accounts, was never meant to be taken seriously despite being offered with an ultimatum and being followed by a lockout. They want you to forget they are coming off years of record setting revenue despite the crappy economy. They want you to forget they offer less revenue sharing among teams than any other professional league despite the fact that small improvements in that alone could make most teams profitable. They want you to forget owners got everything they wanted last time and will in all likelihood lockout players again next time if they are yet again allowed to use it as a means to get what they want. They want you to forget that it was the owners who found ways around the rules they created last time. And they want you to simply push the players to just give in out of desperation for hockey now with no concern for how bad that will be for fans in the long term.

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Unfortunately, if you had a brain. You would know that the NHL Owners aren't Bettman aren't going to move unless Fehr gives in. The players lose much more. Neither party gives a crap about the fans.

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Well petty insults, it seems I underestimated your inability to coherently convey a message. In all honesty your probably not worth this post, as it currently seems you are plugging your ears and stomping your feet like an 8 y/o.

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Edit: Was looking for a really good post on Hfboard, but it got deleted, probably by mods since that place has been taken over by the mods these days. Anyways, it compares all the leagues. NHL players make more than every other major league, despite being worth the least.

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