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*Official* CBA Negotiations and Lockout Thread

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If strong revenue sharing is required to keep the bottom-earning teams afloat, and if a good chunk of the top-earning teams are located in Canada, what happens if the Canadian dollar dips back down around $.70USD for any length of time? I'm no financier, but it seems like the most recent CBA and its "record revenues" largely coincided with a time when the Canadian dollar was abnormally strong. If our dollar dips back down, who gets bled to pay for those bottom-earning teams that can't sell a $25 lower-bowl ticket?

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http://thestar.blogs.com/thespin/2012/11/the-generation-that-built-this-league.html

November 22, 2012

The Generation That Built This League

The amazing thing about talking to NHL pensioners about the way in which their interests are not being represented at the table in current CBA as described in The Star today is that none really have much negative to say about today's owners or players.

Milt Schmidt, who is in limbo along with hundreds of former players about important Senior Benefits that require a new agreement between the NHL and NHLPA, says he's "grateful" for the decision in 2005 that gave players those benefits and doesn't resent modern-day players for the money they make.

"More power to 'em!" says Schmidt, a member of Boston's famed Kraut Line along with Bobby Bauer and Woody Dumart. "I can thank the good game of hockey for everything I have."

None express bitterness over the fact that current players - Erik Cole is the latest example - talk in grand, vague terms about fighting for the rights of future players, but don't seem to have the same regard for the rights and needs of players who skated in the NHL in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s.

Bob Nevin was one of six players in the Montreal hotel room back in 1967 when the NHLPA was first recognized by NHL owners.

"That union was hard fought for," he says. "But it ended up doing not as much as what we hoped for."

Nevin's pension for playing 1,128 NHL games is $8,500 a year.

"I remember Clarence Campbell saying we had the best pension in sports," says Nevin. "I'll remember that until the day I die. What was he talking about?"

At issue today is the monies owed players 65 and older as part of the Senior Benefit Plan established in 2005 by a letter agreement accompanying that year's collective bargaining agreement. The Senior Benefit is funded by $2 million annually from the NHLPA matched by the NHL. It is not legally part of their pensions nor part of the actual CBA, but it expired when the old CBA did.

Ex-players over the age of 65, or their surviving widows, receive $1,380 for every season played. Current NHL Alumni executive director Mark Napier is hoping to have the pool of money increased. Ex-players are owed their next payment in January, but without a new CBA, they may not get it.

Ex-Leaf Danny Lewicki says he hopes that today's players understand why they should support older players."I hope they realize what players went through for the love of the game," he says. "It wasn't for money, I can tell you that."

Lewicki remembers making his highest salary of $12,500 while with the New York Rangers, and then approaching GM Muzz Patrick for a $2,000 raise after a good season.

"Muzz threw me out of his office," says Lewicki.

Lewicki said he was pleased when the NHL and NHLPA agreed seven years ago to start jointly funding the Senior Benefit Plan, which expired when the current CBA expired Sept. 15.

"I was gratified, but surprised. Very surprised," he said.

Wally Stanowski, 93, says he used to "hate" the Leafs because of the "cheap" way in which the club dealt with its former players. He said he was approached by Ken Dryden to attend the closing of Maple Leaf Gardens, but he was in Mexico at the time and the offer quickly disappeared because he would have needed to have his flight expenses covered.

Stanowski said current Leaf GM Brian Burke has softened his view. He said when he was invited to drop the puck at a Leaf game two years ago, Burke gave him 12 tickets for his family and sent a chauffered car to pick him up.

"Burke changed my mind," said Stanowski.

Stanowski won a Memorial Cup in 1938 with the St. Boniface Seals, a team that had only 10 players and a budget of $800 to cover TWO seasons.

Stanowski, who played for the Leafs between 1939 and 1948, said the most he made with the Leafs was $5,000 in a season, out of which $900 was deducted for his pension and was supposed to be matched by the owners.

"But no team ever did it," he says. "They just washed their hands of it."

Schmidt, by the way, had a message for Stanowski when he heard that I was interviewing both for today's story.

"One night Bill Barilko hit me so hard that I did a complete somersault," said Schmidt. "I landed on top of Stanowski. So thank him for the soft landing, will you?"

Stanowski is a huge baseball fan, but says he rarely watches today's hockey.

"I think it's terrible," he said. "They keep shooting the puck in and going after it. What happened to possession?"

Dallas Smith, 71, says he worries that if the Senior Benefit Plan isn't renewed, that the Emergency Players Fund that helps players in desperate need might also be lost.

He cites the experience of the late Fern Flaman, who suffered from cancer at the same time his wife was dealing with dementia.

"He needed help," says Smith. "He got some, but not as much as he needed."

Like most, he doesn't really pick sides in the current lockout, although he says in his day he had to "fight for every nickle" he could get in salary.

"I don't really blame the owners," he says. "But I hope to God something happens with our benefits. I don't think that (Donald) Fehr cares."

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Another player is losing his cool.

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nhl-puck-daddy/jeff-o-neill-wants-whole-gary-bettman-head-233216966--nhl.html;_ylt=AnphzlMTqNmJRfyLLaP7IoF7vLYF;_ylu=X3oDMTN1bmkzbGdyBG1pdANGRUFUVVJFRCBNZWdhdHJvbiBOSEwEcGtnA2M1MGQyZDY3LTMzMWMtMzA0MC04YThjLTU4YjEzODNlMDU0MARwb3MDMwRzZWMDbWVnYXRyb24EdmVyAzQ2ZGU3YTgwLTM0MzYtMTFlMi1iYWVlLTIyODk3NWMxZGE0OA--;_ylg=X3oDMTFoYWo1YzR1BGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANuaGwEcHQDc2VjdGlvbnM-;_ylv=3

The level of frustration is understandable, but its not only childish but its not even directed at the right party. The players seem to have this selfish view that they own half the league and are entitled to go head to head with the owners regarding important matters such as these.

They are having their butts handed to them, and are frustrated at the GALL the owners have pushing them around.

I have no idea how Fehr convinced them that he and his ego could walk in off the street and BULLY the NHL owners at their own game on their own turf.

The players are paying the price now and they only have themselves to blame.

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Now a discussion worth having. Do we both agree that if cap hit were traded it would be beneficial to small market teams, while trading salary would be beneficial to larger markets in as much as their cap is untouched?

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If strong revenue sharing is required to keep the bottom-earning teams afloat, and if a good chunk of the top-earning teams are located in Canada, what happens if the Canadian dollar dips back down around $.70USD for any length of time? I'm no financier, but it seems like the most recent CBA and its "record revenues" largely coincided with a time when the Canadian dollar was abnormally strong. If our dollar dips back down, who gets bled to pay for those bottom-earning teams that can't sell a $25 lower-bowl ticket?

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Two things.

First, if according to Bettman, the NHL is losing 18-20 million a day and the players are losing 8-10, that means the NHL is losing 10 doesn't it? So, I may be simple, but it would seem that the NHL is losing the greater percentage, or at the very least, an equal percentage? Wouldn't that suggest that the NHL already enjoys a greater share of the revenue split? I thought the premise was that the players were taking home the greater 57% share (or whatever)? Anyone care to explain Bettmanomics to me? It seems to me that there is yet another contradiction here - an admission of sorts - that the reality is not as it has been presented. If the players are losing 8 and the owners 10, then the owners are already taking home 56%, and if it's 10 and 10, then obviously already a 50/50 split. What would be the justification of the lockout?

Second, if the gap is 182 million, and the losses are 18-20 million a day, that would suggest that the lockout, which is in day 64, has caused losses of over a billion dollars - between 1 billion, 152 million and 1 billion, 280 million.

This would be the equivalent of you and I fighting over a day's pay - for seven full days - wouldn't it?

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Two things.

First, if according to Bettman, the NHL is losing 18-20 million a day and the players are losing 8-10, that means the NHL is losing 10 doesn't it? So, I may be simple, but it would seem that the NHL is losing the greater percentage, or at the very least, an equal percentage? Wouldn't that suggest that the NHL already enjoys a greater share of the revenue split? I thought the premise was that the players were taking home the greater 57% share (or whatever)? Anyone care to explain Bettmanomics to me?

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Now you got a long time NHL pro who has been through every lockout speaking his mind. He is sick of Fehr and his crap.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=410028

At this point the union has a choice. Same as I have stated all along.

They either try to defend Fehr''s EGO as a negotiator and make a whole pile of guys waste an entire year of their already short careers...........

Or they fire Fehr or have him step down and get a hockey guy to step up to the plate with Bettman to hammer a fair deal out.

There is no other choice. Nobody in their right mind honestly thinks hiring Fehr was worth it anymore. The most the union can hope for is to try to salvage some credibility for the next CBA down the road.

Cut your losses now and live to fight another day.

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My original worries about trading cap and salary diminish somewhat if you bring in the %variance rule. Without the %variance, you could have either one of the following situations:

-front loaded contract (rich teams sign to minimize cap hit - Luongo)

-back loaded contract (poor teams sign to maximize time they can keep player - Tavares)

I think there can be an argument made for the %variance rule. The original spirit of not having that rule was to allow teams to plan cap and salary for multiple years and have flexibility on the spending timing and hitting cap targets. I think the %variance might actually hurt the owners if they don't leave enough wiggle room though.

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Eberle, Hall, Kesler and Spezza were all RFA when they re-signed. Luongo was given one of the best contracts in the league and made captain to retain him. Iginla and Alfie are both Captains. Sedins and Kipper well they are Scandinavian and great ppl.

How many UFA's sign in EDM, WPG,OTT,CLG?

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The numbers from what 3rd party sources have gleaned are that the players and owners are currently splitting total revenue about 50/50 (maybe 49/51 in the player's favour). But the owners get to deduct a bunch of expenses before calculating hockey related revenue. Bettman has misled people by suggesting that the owners have been having to run their businesses with 43% of the take under the last agreement.

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Next time you engage me In conversation please quote my entire post.

UFA's like Hudler getting @4 mill and Wideman @5.25 mill over multi year deals are the type of examples you listed. My point stands.

Any knowledgeable hockey fan knows big name UFA NHL players rarely come to Canada to play. Canucks have had some success lately because they are a top tier team. Hamhuis and Garrison signed here.

Do you really think there was a chance of Suter and/or Parise signing in Winnipeg

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Way to move the goalposts man. You said that Canadian teams have trouble retaining their stars, which is just 100% false. As for UFAs, Calgary has Bouwmeester and Wideman, Ottawa signed Gonchar, etc., etc. You have no argument here.

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Even if this is true, it has nothing to do with your original post on this subject, which said that the UFA age should go up because Canadian teams have trouble "retaining their stars." Since that's been proven wrong, you've changed your argument to "small market Canadian teams can't sign (arbitrarily defined) high end UFAs." Even that is debatable.

Look, of course there are teams that will have trouble marquee players. Winnipeg is one of those teams, but it has nothing to do with being Canadian. Columbus, Nashville, Florida, etc. would all have trouble. That's reality, and it's not a problem that needs fixing, especially when it's so easy to re-sign your home grown talent.

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Don't remember Bettman sayin anything else but HRR is the basis, so where is the deceit? Totally OK for the NHLPA to question the authenticity of HRR numbers but I haven't seen Fehr doing that. Either he is OK with the numbers presented or this is a discussion they are having behind closed doors. Since the eventual agreement will be a % of HRR it is imperative that those numbers are accurate. Your assertion that some expenses are deducted unjustifiably isn't substantiated by the parties.

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The way I read things the NHLPA wants a $ gurantee that their income will never fall below the previous year. I just cannot see the NHL ever agreeing to that. Both parties put forward revenue projections that were IMO over optimistic; NHL + 5% per year and NHLPA + 7% per year. These projections were made without knowing the full ramifications of a lockout as well.

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The Owners have all the cards here, The only reason they don't cancel the season is because they are business men and any dollars they can make from salvaging this season will be great. Once reasons and costs a start to build then they will consider canceling the season.

Its my opinion that the NHLPA think that they are the product in this endevour, but they are not. They are but pawns and elite players are bishops. Many sons will hopefully play hockey when they get older and maybe play for the cup. Which they will only be able to do in ............ THe NHL~!

The product is the Jerseys, the Game, the Family outings, the Ice, the Logo, the Play offs, The Stanley Cup....but players come and go.

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Ya, I'm worried that teams like the Islanders will inevitably have a fire sale on some of their young stars, and competitive teams that don't match their asking price get shafted. The Islanders would theoretically want cheap contracts coming back, or else draft picks. So the Islanders stock up on picks, draft young guys, keep them till their ELCs are up, sign them, and then deal them to another team. Essentially teams like the Islanders would have a monopoly on young talent, but maybe I'm taking this too far.

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