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*Official* CBA Negotiations and Lockout Thread

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How do so many of you have so much time or care so much to write out these novels of posts?

And I really hate that mentality, "NBA is boring, MLB sucks, etc", as if being Canadain you can only like hockey. I've actually really enjoyed the NBA season so far, plus there's the gratest league on Earth, the NFL, and a number of MMA orgs (UFC, Bellator, etc).

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I do.

My post was aimed at those who disagreed with Hamrlik's comments the other day - that he was being selfish and was damaging the Union's position.

Yet here we have many players who are playing for other leagues - to me that's the same thing.

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I do.

My post was aimed at those who disagreed with Hamrlik's comments the other day - that he was being selfish and was damaging the Union's position.

Yet here we have many players who are playing for other leagues - to me that's the same thing.

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I was watching the new "Match Game" on TV.. and the sentence was: "Betty wasn't sure it was a good idea marrying a hockey player. At their wedding, instead of throwing rice, his teammates through ______ ."

Most of the people on the panel answered with "pucks".. except for one who answered with "another hockey season over a useless labor dispute."

So good

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NHL lockout: 'Ass mode' costs mediator assigned to dispute

At least one form of "ass mode" has been disengaged in the NHL lockout.

Shortly after announcing Guy Serota as one of the federal mediators assigned to the dispute between the league and NHLPA, mediation service director George Cohen took him off the case. The reason: what Cohen called an "allegedly hacked" Twitter account attached to Serota's name.

“Accordingly, in order to immediately dispel any cloud on the mediation process, and without regard to the merits of the allegations, I have determined to take immediate action, namely to remove Commissioner Serota from this assignment," Cohen wrote.

From that account, which was deleted shortly after Twitter-at-large discovered it, @GuySerota made hundreds of tweets, stretching back months, that focused largely on bizarre, ultimately harmless interactions with celebrities, vulgar jokes and references to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson."

One of the Ferguson references came via a photograph of a shirt with the words "ass mode" across the chest. That's the tweet that caught fire—which is understandable, because it's hilarious.

In an email to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun, Serota reinforced his position: His account was hacked. That, again, is highly unlikely, because the goofy tweets started months ago, then were deleted upon Cohen's initial announcement. At first, the account was just renamed, but anyone following it still had access. Then, it was deleted. Finally, it was reactivated as @GuySerota—almost certainly by someone who'd already caught on to how hilarious the whole situation had already become.

Calls to a phone number belonging to Serota, according to public records, were not returned.

Serota, according to a LinkedIn page apparently belonging to him, has worked as a federal mediator for more than 15 years. He's also the chairman of the municipal planning committee for Penndel, Pa., in suburban Philadelphia.

Early indications are that Serota didn't lose his job, which is good—his tweets were good-natured. Just ... weird. If nothing else, he deserves some credit for bringing levity to a work stoppage that has done little beyond alienate fans who love the NHL and annoy the media who cover it.

So, basically, "ass mode."

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NHL lockout: Brad Richards thinks owners' tactics are 'a crock'—and he's not alone

NEW YORK—Brad Richards is the new face of a menswear line designed to be worn untucked. The New York Rangers center would very much like to get back to wearing a different untucked shirt, but he's less than optimistic that the arrival of federal mediators to NHL lockout negotiations will get him back in a hockey jersey anytime soon.

"I still don't think, if (the NHL owners') last quote is 'great offer, but you need to make another and we're not budging,' I don't know what a mediator is going to be able to do," Richards said on Tuesday at the press event to announce UNTUCKit shirts, his new endorsement.

Brad Richards is spending the NHL lockout productively, including by organizing a charity game, but that doesn't mean he wants it to end any less. (AP Photo)

"A mediator's not an arbitrator. There has to be a negotiation. There hasn't been. Them saying they came from 43 percent (in the league's initial offer) up to 50 is the biggest crock I've ever heard. We were never at 43 percent. No one's ever played at 43 percent. If you go on any benchmark of what negotiation should be, we were at 57 (percent of hockey-related revenue) and we agreed to go down.

"I still don't know what they think negotiation is, and none of us really do."

That is the crux of the problem in resolving the labor dispute: the players do not feel like the owners are really negotiating because they believe the NHL's goal has been a 50-50 split of revenues all along, while the league points to the distance between its initial offer and its last one, and claims it can go no further. Last Wednesday, the players put a proposal on the table that left the sides only $182 million apart on the core economic issue, and the league rejected it two hours later.

The NHLPA went into that session hopeful that its offer would lead to a deal. The fact that the NHL came back with an outright rejection, rather than an attempt to negotiate, sent a clear message.

"We made that offer because there were a lot of players that pushed to make some kind of offer that would show them we want to negotiate," Richards said. "We thought that it would happen. When it doesn't, it really brings into question what is this all about? Do you want a negotiation? If it's take it or leave it, it's not going to work that way. It might have united the players even more toward that stance that we just want to see some kind of give on something. There's nothing, and they even went backward on some issues."

On Saturday, Richards was in Atlantic City to take part in Operation Hat Trick, a benefit game for victims of Hurricane Sandy that he helped organize. While there, he found agreement on that viewpoint with his fellow players, including Vezina Trophy-winning teammate Henrik Lundqvist and All-Star wingers James Neal and Scott Hartnell.

"Everybody I talk to, the pulse is we're very together," Richards said. "We're all asking real questions because we want to know where it's going. We're scared for the game. That's the biggest thing. Where's the game going to be if this keeps going? ... Right now, it's take it or leave it, and it's a deal that makes no sense for the future of the league."

Not all 700-plus union members agree, of course, as was most prominently displayed in veteran defenseman Roman Hamrlik's comments calling for a vote and a swift resolution. While Richards believes the NHLPA should not buckle, he did voice his respect for Hamrlik's right to speak his mind.

One question that cannot be answered, though, is how many of the NHL's 30 owners are in favor of continuing the lockout. If there is dissent among ownership ranks, it has been silenced by the threat of million-dollar fines from the league, and knowledge that Sixth Avenue has a long memory and the power to withhold signature events such as the Winter Classic, All-Star Games, and drafts.

"I'd encourage everybody that cares for the NHL and the game of hockey to speak up," Richards said. "That's what we need. Players are allowed to talk to Don (Fehr) on any issue and we can talk publicly whenever we want. We need a little push from the other side, too, if they really care about hockey, because it's going down the wrong road."

While the NHL and NHLPA careen toward doom together, the union does still have the option of decertification, but it does not sound like that is something that will happen quickly.

"Everybody knows it's been discussed," Richards said. "There's so many details that, as players, we've got to learn about, and that takes time. The one thing our leadership has done is, we're informed every step of the way, and we know everything before anything is done. Just because it's a popular word right now, it doesn't mean we're absolutely doing it. We want to make sure everybody knows what it entails -- the risks, the pros and cons, all that stuff. It's not just 'let's do this, and everything's gonna be great.' There's a lot more details."

For now, nothing is great, but Richards does not want to make plans to play overseas "until someone tells me there's no NHL this year." He said that he will re-evaluate his options at the turn of the year.

The clock is ticking on that, and the season as a whole.

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How do so many of you have so much time or care so much to write out these novels of posts?

And I really hate that mentality, "NBA is boring, MLB sucks, etc", as if being Canadain you can only like hockey. I've actually really enjoyed the NBA season so far, plus there's the gratest league on Earth, the NFL, and a number of MMA orgs (UFC, Bellator, etc).

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The NHL's rising share: When is enough enough?

"Millionaires against billionaires."

You've likely heard the expression countless times during the NHL lockout, and it's part of the perception problem that happens for a league when it engages in prolonged, season-altering spats over a $2- or $3-billion-dollar-a-year pie.

From the fan base, it incites anger, frustration and, more than all, apathy.

Let's go back though, for a closer look at why we're here. As we all know, coming out of the 2004-05 lockout, the general consensus was that the league had won.

The union was crushed, its leadership ousted, players had caved on the (then very low) salary cap and salaries were about to take a huge nosedive.

They did. As it turned out, however, many of those changes were temporary.

But the reason for that wasn't necessarily the players "winning." The main reason was league revenues, to the surprise of most, exploded, with the Canadian dollar providing roughly 12.5 per cent of that growth and the rest coming from rising ticket prices, sponsorships, TV deals and demand for NHL hockey.

And the way the last collective bargaining agreement was written, when revenues went up, everyone won.

Consider this: While the average player salary jumped from $1.8-million to about $2.4-million (about 33 per cent) between 2003 and 2012, the owners' share went up from $500-million (as per the league's own Levitt Report) to $1.42-billion in those nine years (185 per cent).

That was the correction the league was looking for, even if it came with players getting a whole lot more than expected.

globenmailgraph.jpg

The above graph contains some estimates where specific data isn't available, but for the most part, that's a very accurate representation of how the owner and player shares have grown over time (and project to in the future).

For future seasons, I've used the owners' latest proposal as a basis and projected revenue loss this season (12 per cent) and minimal growth over the next four years after the lockout (2.5 per cent in 2013-14 followed by 5 per cent a season).

You can also see what the players have proposed will happen with their share (in orange), which is absurdly similar to what ownership has on the table.

Now, the two shares will meet for the first time in Year 3 or 4 of these proposals, putting them at 50-50 presumably until the next CBA comes into effect.

And, once again, if revenues rise rapidly, both sides will make out very well here.

This isn't meant to be an indictment of either side's position here, but merely a presentation of what this fight is over and to ask the question of whether or not this new correction will fix things for good.

What's indisputable is that the owners have enjoyed a far, far greater share of revenues than in the Dead Puck Era, and player salary growth has been relatively moderated (compared to 2004 and earlier) in light of how quickly the business has grown.

I think the vast majority of hockey fans and pundits would agree that that correction during the last lockout was likely needed, as player salaries very much were taking over the game.

Now? That argument is much less definite. The proposal the players have on the table would most likely flatten their share for four years until the owners' caught up to it, from which point they would be identical going forward.

So, yes, the perception may be that the players side won handily the last time when it appeared the owners got their way. That's fair enough, especially considering some of the mammoth contracts out there.

But the concerns you hear now coming out of the NHLPA are over what that red line looks like.

It's tilting up and up.

Is this where it stops? Or will another correction be needed again in six or seven years?

For the sake of the fans and the league, let's hope they get it right this time. At some point, enough is enough.

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Yeah me too.

But I do think people can still show some solidarity even if they go play somewhere else temporarily, aslong as they're are actively participating in PA discussion, proposals, news, talks, exc.

They aren't showing as much solidarity as people who stay here and attend every meeting and are with the PA non-stop but then again these are important years of alot of players career's that they will never get back.

So I understand both sides of it.

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I don't see how a reasonable independent mediator can't be helpful, unless one or both of the parties aren't cooperative. It seems to me if both sides cooperate to allow the mediation to complete properly, it should be a reasonable deal (though not necessarily preventing a future lockout).

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Can anyone explain how a lockout can be allowed as per the NFL ruling when there is no CBA or a union. I understand their ruling was based on the notion that federal courts cannot interfere with labour disputes but doesn't labour law also make reference to lockouts in a union/employer/CBA scenario. Hence, where there is no union or CBA to negotiate with, how can the league meet the legal requirements to hold a lockout.

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Can anyone explain how a lockout can be allowed as per the NFL ruling when there is no CBA or a union. I understand their ruling was based on the notion that federal courts cannot interfere with labour disputes but doesn't labour law also make reference to lockouts in a union/employer/CBA scenario. Hence, where there is no union or CBA to negotiate with, how can the league meet the legal requirements to hold a lockout.

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No CBA doesn't mean no union. If there is no agreement, that doesn't mean the parties that need to come to an agreement cease to exist.

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I do.

My post was aimed at those who disagreed with Hamrlik's comments the other day - that he was being selfish and was damaging the Union's position.  

Yet here we have many players who are playing for other leagues - to me that's the same thing.

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Well...it's not.

Just because they are doing another job while being locked out of their old one, doesn't mean they don't fully support those appointed to negotiated in their behalf.

I'm in a union. If we went on strike, I don't think I'd picket. But I certainly wouldn't cross the picket line, or publicly criticize my union officials. I would just go do some work on the side in a non-related industry, and wait/hope for the union that took my dues for years to go earn them.

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