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*Official* CBA Negotiations and Lockout Thread


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#2731 The Bookie

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:08 PM

NHL Lockout: Why do billionaires keep buying teams that lose money?

The answer: There is a big gap between “losing money” and actually losing money.

There is a strange dichotomy in NHL ownership. The owners, whether as companies or individuals, are extremely wealthy. Yet many teams reportedly lose money every year, and with few exceptions even the profitable clubs don’t make that much money. Why would phenomenally successful men sink money into a black hole like that? Is it simply a case of viewing hockey teams as luxuries where they can afford to bleed red a little?
While non-financial considerations undoubtedly come into play, the simplest explanation is that the financial picture for various NHL teams is a lot healthier than it is typically reported to be.
Take the Florida Panthers as an example. For many, the Panthers are a great case in point of what went wrong with the NHL’s expansion into the Sunbelt. Attendance has improved of late, but on a percentage basis still easily falls into the NHL’s bottom-third. The team has struggled for respectability on the ice, and off the ice the financial picture is generally seen as gloomy.
Last year, Forbes estimated that the Panthers lost $7 million. Over the last nine seasons, they calculate the Panthers total losses at $68 million, an average deficit of $7.5 million per season.
Interestingly, the picture that Forbes paints is at odds with that presented by Broward County. Broward County was primarily responsible for the construction of the Panthers’ arena, and as a result gets to look at the books of the organization. According to the county auditor, the organization made $117.4 million in profit between 1998 and 2012.
How does a team losing $7.5 million per season rack up profits in excess of $100 million? There are a few reasons, and to find them we need to dig a little.
The Panthers play in BB&T Center. The arena was built for $191 million and opened in 1998, it was financed through bonds issued by the County and repaid through a combination of tax and arena revenues. The County then inked a 30-year operating agreement with Panthers Hockey LLLP (now known as Sunrise Sports & Entertainment, or SSE).
As part of the agreement, SSE essentially controls the arena. They host 41 regular season home games (plus playoff games and any special/pre-season games), and between 70-100 other events in a calendar year. The county receives revenue sharing only if the Panthers organization hits a certain profit level, which was previously pegged at $12 million in a year.
The 2010 auditor’s report, which is available at the county website, shows a company that averaged $9.9 million per fiscal year between 1999 and 2008 (discounting the 2004-05 lockout year, for a moment). Those revenues dipped to just a hair over $1 million in 2005, the year of the NHL lockout. Interestingly, 2005 – due to the lockout – is the one year where Forbes doesn’t provide an estimate that shows the Panthers losing money, and it’s the lowest revenue-generating year the auditor records.
That’s either an incredibly interesting coincidence, or evidence that the Panthers themselves help make the arena as profitable as it is.
Looking at the Panthers numbers, I think two things stand out:
1. NHL teams are gateways to favourable arena deals, and thus greater revenue.Sunrise Sports & Entertainment would never have received their current sweetheart deal with Broward County without the Panthers. Even in a year where the Panthers lose money, owning the team allows SSE to make profits overall, thanks to their arena deal and the non-hockey events they collect revenue from as a result.
2. Hockey-related revenue is defined in such a way so as to maximize the appearance of losses on the hockey side. I expected to see that the Panthers were making good money on their arena deal; I was surprised to find that what was far and away their worst fiscal year coincided with the NHL lockout. If the Panthers were losing money but the arena business was profitable, we would not expect to see a major drop in SSE revenue in 2005; instead we saw a significant dip. (Note: judging by the email commentary I’ve received, this point is being missed by many readers. If the Panthers were acting as a drag on revenue, the 2005 lockout year should have been quite profitable for SSE; instead it was easily their worst fiscal year of the decade – JW.)
Perhaps I should not have been surprised, because hockey-related revenue is defined in such a way as to show losses: owners have generous deduction allowances – in some cases, as with television broadcasts, the owners can deduct up to 100 percent of revenues as a “direct cost” – and certain forms of revenue (including many of the government subsidies teams receive) are not included in the calculation.
The bottom line is that the Panthers’ current ownership did not get into hockey to lose money, and according to the county auditor they haven’t lost money. Florida, commonly presented as one of the league’s have-not teams, and an example of the dangers of over-expansion, is nothing of the sort: it’s a healthy business, carefully presented to appear like a money-losing operation.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to know what the situation is in other NHL cities. NHL teams are private companies, and have no obligation to divulge their financial data. But the fact that the Panthers are seen as one of the poorest clubs in the league suggests that the vast majority of NHL teams are doing just fine.


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#2732 poetica

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:29 PM

Excellent article! And it proves exactly what I and others have been saying - that NHL owners are being dishonest about their true financial situation. I believe Florida is just one example of how some teams are pretending to lose money while actually making a lot of money, banking on fan gullibility to help them win the PR war.

EDIT: You know what, that's actually the best case AGAINST team revenue sharing that I've seen. No wonder the NHL wants to create a committee to decide which teams get the team revenue sharing money, because they would likely know which teams are actually losing money as opposed to which ones just claim to be.

Edited by poetica, 16 November 2012 - 01:32 PM.

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#2733 The Bookie

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:36 PM

If both sides are taking the next couple weeks off, it'd be a great time to have another in-depth audit done of the League's books, like in 2004.
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#2734 poetica

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:48 PM

Yeah, it would be. It's not ever going to happen though. The whole point is they don't want people to know how well they are doing.
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#2735 Shift-4

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 01:51 PM

If both sides are taking the next couple weeks off, it'd be a great time to have another in-depth audit done of the League's books, like in 2004.


Two weeks isn't enough time.
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#2736 oldnews

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:10 PM

That would explain why Forbes values even the worst handful of teams in the NHL in the range of a billion dollars.

The contradictions from the ownership position have been obvious - and patronizing.

The NHL is losing a lot of money in this lockout - and imo, Bettman just pulled one of his patented bluffs.

If I were the NHLPA I sure as hell would not fold at this point - and as a fan, there is nothing I'd like to see less than Bettman vindicated for his go-to lockout powerplay style of 'negotiation'.
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#2737 Dogbyte

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:12 PM

People keep saying that and I'm curious, where did this idea come from? What kind of business model allows an owner to personally take home more than all of their employees collectively? None that I've ever heard of.

A Google search can illustrate the point that the players' collective percentage is not completely out of line with other industries so heavily dependent on people, especially people with highly specialized skills, rather than physical products.


Source: http://smallbusiness...roll-18985.html


Source: http://secondwindcon...ted-to-payroll/

And remember, those percentages are based on gross revenue, meaning all revenue before other costs are deducted. The NHL doesn't pay the players' percentage against gross revenue, but an artificially constructed number known as HRR which is certain revenue MINUS certain allowed deductions.

According to a 2008 study,

Source: http://www.shrm.org/...ingExpense.aspx


Source: http://www.ehow.com/...ross-sales.html

And of course the most fair comparison is with other professional sports leagues.

Source: http://espn.go.com/b...ng-a-la-nba-nfl


So, yes, they are all disgusting overpaid when compared to what other people get for doing work far more valuable. (Most firefighters are volunteers after all.) But can we please stop promoting the false idea that the players are somehow taking advantage of the hapless owners by insisting that, as the employees and product of the business, they get a decent percentage of the HRR?


This may all be true but do these businesses employee 700 people that average over a million dollars a year?
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"What players need is the right kind of strength and power. That includes learning to understand that leverage and positioning can be just as important as raw strength when it comes to winning battles in the game. It's more about timing and athleticism --and avoiding injury--than it is about how much you can bench press. I don't know how many times I've seen a guy with the physique of a defensive end line up a guy half his size, only to bounce off when he connects. Sure, there is room in the game for big guys who can throw their weight around. But for the most part, players are smart enough to see them coming--and strong enough to protect the puck when they arrive. There are trainers out there who know how to devlop hockey-specific strength--though a trainer can help only if a player follows the program. All too often, I've seen players sign up with the best trainer, but not show up for their workouts and never to reap the benefits."

 

Bobby Orr - ORR MY STORY Viking 2013


#2738 poetica

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:25 PM

This may all be true but do these businesses employee 700 people that average over a million dollars a year?


Why would that matter? Those businesses spend a similar percentage on their employees as the NHL does, proving that players are not getting paid so far out of whack with what employees in some other industries make despite what is often said.

The fact that the NHL generates more revenue with fewer people than most businesses is simply a result of the fact that those employees are also the product who generate the revenue. That's absolutely not a fact that should be used against them!

Edited by poetica, 16 November 2012 - 02:26 PM.

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#2739 The Bookie

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 02:56 PM

Two weeks isn't enough time.


oh not to worry, I've got a feeling more stalling and posturing is to come.
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#2740 WHL rocks

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:06 PM

About being so darn articulate. Because no one likes a show off ;)


says the guy who's current status update on CDC is

Can some one tell me why I am the last person on earth to have any sort of clue?


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#2741 WHL rocks

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:10 PM

Can you guys please explain why you both think Fehr was a bad hire?

Cause myself and alot of other's agree he has done a good job thus-far.


Because the whole hockey world has known this would end up 50-50 for a year. Fehr still hasn't come to terms with this idea.
Many more reasons but this is one of the obvious ones.
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#2742 Dogbyte

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:13 PM

You should record the audio when you cancel your tickets and send it to team 1040 and email it to the league as well


That would be a great idea. Make sure you work out a great little speech as well about how you now hate the NHL and all the little whinebag players.

NHL + NHLPA = lost all my respect
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"What players need is the right kind of strength and power. That includes learning to understand that leverage and positioning can be just as important as raw strength when it comes to winning battles in the game. It's more about timing and athleticism --and avoiding injury--than it is about how much you can bench press. I don't know how many times I've seen a guy with the physique of a defensive end line up a guy half his size, only to bounce off when he connects. Sure, there is room in the game for big guys who can throw their weight around. But for the most part, players are smart enough to see them coming--and strong enough to protect the puck when they arrive. There are trainers out there who know how to devlop hockey-specific strength--though a trainer can help only if a player follows the program. All too often, I've seen players sign up with the best trainer, but not show up for their workouts and never to reap the benefits."

 

Bobby Orr - ORR MY STORY Viking 2013


#2743 poetica

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:30 PM

Because the whole hockey world has known this would end up 50-50 for a year. Fehr still hasn't come to terms with this idea.
Many more reasons but this is one of the obvious ones.


Based on what? Since the union's very first proposal way back in August they've been offering to get to like 51/49 by year 3, whereas the NHL's first offer was 46/54 with guidelines that would allow the players share to drop to 43% under certain conditions (I assume a drop in revenue). So from the start the union has been closer to 50/50, meaning you have absolutely no basis for saying "Fehr still hasn't come to terms with this idea."

Even the NHL's proposed "make whole" convoluted crap is pretty much taking years to actually get to 50/50, like the union suggested, only done in such a way that would keep the cap floor low.

Edited by poetica, 16 November 2012 - 03:30 PM.

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#2744 Dogbyte

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:39 PM

Why would that matter? Those businesses spend a similar percentage on their employees as the NHL does, proving that players are not getting paid so far out of whack with what employees in some other industries make despite what is often said.

The fact that the NHL generates more revenue with fewer people than most businesses is simply a result of the fact that those employees are also the product who generate the revenue. That's absolutely not a fact that should be used against them!


I suppose it doesn't matter but it does indicate that it's not just a regular business so it may be unfair to compare it as such. Your initial point was good through.
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"What players need is the right kind of strength and power. That includes learning to understand that leverage and positioning can be just as important as raw strength when it comes to winning battles in the game. It's more about timing and athleticism --and avoiding injury--than it is about how much you can bench press. I don't know how many times I've seen a guy with the physique of a defensive end line up a guy half his size, only to bounce off when he connects. Sure, there is room in the game for big guys who can throw their weight around. But for the most part, players are smart enough to see them coming--and strong enough to protect the puck when they arrive. There are trainers out there who know how to devlop hockey-specific strength--though a trainer can help only if a player follows the program. All too often, I've seen players sign up with the best trainer, but not show up for their workouts and never to reap the benefits."

 

Bobby Orr - ORR MY STORY Viking 2013


#2745 WHL rocks

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:39 PM

Based on what? Since the union's very first proposal way back in August they've been offering to get to like 51/49 by year 3, whereas the NHL's first offer was 46/54 with guidelines that would allow the players share to drop to 43% under certain conditions (I assume a drop in revenue). So from the start the union has been closer to 50/50, meaning you have absolutely no basis for saying "Fehr still hasn't come to terms with this idea."

Even the NHL's proposed "make whole" convoluted crap is pretty much taking years to actually get to 50/50, like the union suggested, only done in such a way that would keep the cap floor low.


Nonsense, Fehr is still insisting NHL cover the losses due to lockout and he's bargaining off a 5% increase in revenues and this higher revenue to be guaranteed. He's not bargaining off what the actual revenue will be but what the revenue will be with a 5% increase.

He's looking for 1.9+ Billion next year guaranteed.
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#2746 poetica

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:48 PM

I suppose it doesn't matter but it does indicate that it's not just a regular business so it may be unfair to compare it as such. Your initial point was good through.


I absolutely agree with you. I think sports leagues are unlike any other industry. I was simply comparing the percentage of revenue spent on their salaries to other industries because people have repeatedly said the percentage players are getting or asking for was so out of line with what any other kind of business would tolerate.
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#2747 Boudrias

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:50 PM

Excellent article! And it proves exactly what I and others have been saying - that NHL owners are being dishonest about their true financial situation. I believe Florida is just one example of how some teams are pretending to lose money while actually making a lot of money, banking on fan gullibility to help them win the PR war.

EDIT: You know what, that's actually the best case AGAINST team revenue sharing that I've seen. No wonder the NHL wants to create a committee to decide which teams get the team revenue sharing money, because they would likely know which teams are actually losing money as opposed to which ones just claim to be.

If the article is the full story and all NHL teams are really making undisclosed profits then my question would be 'why do acknowledged, profitable teams, contribute to a stabilization fund'? Why don't they tell Florida to suck rocks when they ask for support? When both sides talk about the key points of disagreement, verification of HRR is not one of them. Undisclosed revenue would divide the owners quicker than anything the NHLPA could do. If the quoted article is the full story then I would think it is the key point that should be pursued by the NHLPA. Doesn't the NHLPA have any pull with the Ontario Teacher's Pension Fund? After all they owned the TO Laffers, they should know the inside story. Brother to brother they should spill the beans.

Most on here will agree that the NHL is not a conventional business or combination of businesses. Successfull franchises need competition to fill their venues and the Florida's provide that. I think the season is toast but no matter when a new agreement is signed the NHLPA and NHL had better have a verifiable method of identifying legit expenses and revenue or this dispute will be repeated.
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#2748 Nucks-4-Life

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:55 PM

This 2 week break is stupid. That means they get back on what Monday, Dec 3rd? By the middle of December they will be clamoring to get another 2 weeks off due to the holidays.

If a deal isn't reached by mid February there will be no season. The clock is ticking...
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#2749 gizmo2337

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 03:57 PM

Best quote of the day!

If you want to talk about moratoriums, Gary, here's a better idea — step down and give us a lifetime moratorium. From you.

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8639525/just-go-away-gary
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#2750 WHL rocks

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 04:10 PM

This 2 week break is stupid. That means they get back on what Monday, Dec 3rd? By the middle of December they will be clamoring to get another 2 weeks off due to the holidays.

If a deal isn't reached by mid February there will be no season. The clock is ticking...


Bettman offered the moratorium because there is belief Fehr told the players that Bettman has a predetermined date to start the season. Apparently Fehr believes Dec 1 is a date that Bettman is working off.

So Bettman cancels talks until after this so called predetermined date to show Players that Fehr is out to lunch. Players will miss another pay check or two and it will put more pressure on their rep to move towards the owners demands.

Atleast this is my read on it. I think its a good idea by Bettman. Better this way then to keep talking and accomplishing nothing over the next 2 weeks. When they do start up again around Dec 2nd or 3rd their should be more urgency.
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#2751 poetica

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 04:13 PM

Nonsense, Fehr is still insisting NHL cover the losses due to lockout and he's bargaining off a 5% increase in revenues and this higher revenue to be guaranteed. He's not bargaining off what the actual revenue will be but what the revenue will be with a 5% increase.

He's looking for 1.9+ Billion next year guaranteed.


"Nonsense" does not mean facts you don't like. But here's another fact you won't like: That 5% assumed increase you find so egregious is actually the NHL's own prediction. Every NHL proposal has also assumed a 5% yearly revenue growth.

For proof, look no further than the proposal on the NHL website, "Under our "make whole" proposal, which is premised upon a 5% anticipated growth of HRR both this year and in future years, every Player will be paid compensation based on the full value of the Players' Share under which his current SPC was signed. Source: http://www.nhl.com/i...s.htm?id=643572

And I'm sure Fehr is looking for a guarantee of revenue if the owners want to get to claim to have actually honored the contracts they signed. Otherwise, they didn't so much "make whole" as "make partial" simply redefined in NHL-ese.
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#2752 poetica

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 04:32 PM

If the article is the full story and all NHL teams are really making undisclosed profits then my question would be 'why do acknowledged, profitable teams, contribute to a stabilization fund'? Why don't they tell Florida to suck rocks when they ask for support?


That's a darn good question. It may actually explain why owners have been so reluctant to increase team revenue sharing. Maybe they've known something all along. But if that's true, they should not get to use the truth of success to get out of revenue sharing while using the lie of poverty to force players into getting a lowered shared.

When both sides talk about the key points of disagreement, verification of HRR is not one of them. Undisclosed revenue would divide the owners quicker than anything the NHLPA could do.


I agree, and it may be a source of divide for all we know. Owners aren't allowed to speak out so we don't really know. Again, knowing that teams that claim to lose money are owned by companies making millions may be why owners of profitable teams are so against increased revenue sharing. But, admitting that teams that lose money does not equal companies that lose money would lessen their collective pull during CBA negotiation.

I think the big problem is that teams are a part of a larger company but are allowed to do their books, at least in regard to HRR, as if they exist on their own. So, for example, they can count expenses (such as arena rent or upkeep) against the team even though those expenses help generate other revenue. They also do not have to count as revenue the financial gifts that directly benefit the team portion of the business financially. For example, teams don't have to count as revenue huge tax breaks or millions towards an arena.

I agree with you. The more I hear the more I think HRR probably does need to be redefined to be fair, or at least owners should have to be clear about what their businesses actually make beyond the severe limitations of the HRR definition. I, however, am absolutely sure that's not going to happen. It would surely kill the season.

I think the season is toast but no matter when a new agreement is signed the NHLPA and NHL had better have a verifiable method of identifying legit expenses and revenue or this dispute will be repeated.


I so hope you're wrong about the lost season. Unfortunately, I'm pretty certain you're right about the oncoming dispute repeat. :(
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Go, Canucks, Go!
Every single one of them.

Thanks for the memories, Luo! :'(

#2753 Smashian Kassian

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 04:35 PM

Because the whole hockey world has known this would end up 50-50 for a year. Fehr still hasn't come to terms with this idea.
Many more reasons but this is one of the obvious ones.


Yes he has, and either way it isn't his job to just accept that right away, his job is to get the best deal for the players. That's it, I think that is the part you and other's done understand.

They have already make over a billion dollars in rollbacks, and what does the NHL do? They say they won't budge on contract rights.

Again they are trying to push the PA around, but like last time it won't work, Fehr will hold strong and the NHL will have to make another significant move.

He is doing a great job.
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#2754 Smashian Kassian

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 04:36 PM

You are wasting your time. They just want to SPIN what they want to believe. They want to believe the NHL has all the power of Greyskull. They cannot possibly fathom the fact the players are a PRODUCT and not just employees and are so scared of being wrong they have to keep repeating the same thing over and over again.

(Actually I think WHLrocks is just trolling a bit and possibly mocking DB slightly)


I agree.
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#2755 The Bookie

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 04:46 PM

If the article is the full story and all NHL teams are really making undisclosed profits then my question would be 'why do acknowledged, profitable teams, contribute to a stabilization fund'? Why don't they tell Florida to suck rocks when they ask for support?


I don't understand the question. These are undisclosed profits. How do the profitable teams know about them?
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#2756 WHL rocks

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 04:57 PM

Yes he has, and either way it isn't his job to just accept that right away, his job is to get the best deal for the players. That's it, I think that is the part you and other's done understand.

They have already make over a billion dollars in rollbacks, and what does the NHL do? They say they won't budge on contract rights.

Again they are trying to push the PA around, but like last time it won't work, Fehr will hold strong and the NHL will have to make another significant move.

He is doing a great job.


So how is he doing a great job if he's already cost the players a billion dollars?

You really think the NHL thought their first offer would be accepted? The whole goal has been to get to 50-50, that's why they started with a low ball offer. If Bettman started with 50-50 no way he would ever get it.

If Bettman gets 50-50 and players capitulate on contracting rights who do you think would come out as the winner? Since we all know this is where it will end up why not come to an agreement and start the season instead of missing the whole season and possibly some of next season? The longer this goes on the longer it will take for the league revenues to recover. Players will make less for years.

Fehr has nothing invested in the game of hockey, he'll be gone as soon as there is an agreement, Bettman on the other hand has 20 years of his life and his legacy dependent on how this all turns out.
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#2757 Smashian Kassian

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 05:14 PM

So how is he doing a great job if he's already cost the players a billion dollars?

You really think the NHL thought their first offer would be accepted? The whole goal has been to get to 50-50, that's why they started with a low ball offer. If Bettman started with 50-50 no way he would ever get it.


Everything you said here I could say right back to you.

How much money have the owner's lost? More than the players. And if Fehr started at 50-50 would he get it? Possibly, but if he did you know the NHL would put that in there back pocket and ask for more just like they did in 04.


If Bettman gets 50-50 and players capitulate on contracting rights who do you think would come out as the winner? Since we all know this is where it will end up why not come to an agreement and start the season instead of missing the whole season and possibly some of next season? The longer this goes on the longer it will take for the league revenues to recover. Players will make less for years.


The players have already lost. They have already given up 7% of there revenue, as Fehr said they have already given over a billion dollar's of rollbacks. They have already lost.

And the players aren't asking to improve the contracting rights, they are simply trying to protect the rights that are already in place, which won't happen.

Even if the ELC & UFA system remain the same, there is no way the league is gunna allow the front-loaded, back-diving contracts to continue. So that is a lose.

The big picture here, is that the players are just trying to protect what they already have the best they can, with contracting rights and the revenue split, they aren't asking for more, they aren't trying to get more, they are trying to reduce the hit they will take as much as possible.

Fehr has nothing invested in the game of hockey, he'll be gone as soon as there is an agreement, Bettman on the other hand has 20 years of his life and his legacy dependent on how this all turns out.


That's completely irrelavent, so how does it matter? It doesn't matter at all.

It's not his job to be invested. His only job is to get the best deal he possibly can for the players, that's it.

It's not his job to help grow the game or anything else, that's all Gary's job, all that stuff is irrelevant to his position in this, that's what I think you don't understand.

Fehr hasn't been pushed around, he has frustrated the league to step off there unfair demands, and him staying calm and strong in his stance is what as brought this process together, if he was more of a push over, no chance the league would have taken as big of steps by this point.

Edited by Smashian Kassian, 16 November 2012 - 05:14 PM.

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#2758 Ossi Vaananen

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 05:34 PM

i like what Botchford said, " this [break] reeks of entitlement". I think that's a fair statement.
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#2759 M A K A V E L I 96

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 05:37 PM


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#2760 Smashian Kassian

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 05:40 PM

^ I wonder what Gary's response will be, and the part about the Franchise's being in non-viable markets I agree with.
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