Lockout Limbo

This is a story about how we got stuck in limbo. Lockout Limbo. That is where the fans, players and NHL executives are trapped until this CBA business is all tied up. It was only a matter of time before the NHL announced to canceling of the remaining pre-season games of 2012. Who cares about the pre-season! Just please tell me that these next  three days of meetings between the NHL and the PA will finally amount to something in regards to the long awaited CBA. Could their agreement on secondary issues be a sign that negotiations are finally becoming that…negotiations?  After 5 hours of meetings yesterday…the two sides were scheduled to meet again this morning at 7:00AM [pacific time] and again at some point on Sunday. Only time will tell if this round of meetings hold any wait. I’d like to say that with both sides agreeing on some secondary issues that there is hope that there will be some progress moving forward[probably not as quick as all the fans would like…but progress of any kind right now is a step forward!]. Oh how nice it would be to hear that these weekend discussions have led to some serious progress!

In other news Mr.Katz [aka the owner of the Edmonton Oilers] issued a public apology to the city of Edmonton for not taking the fans and their passion into consideration when he toured Seattle as a possible relocation destination. Maybe good old GB[aka Gary Bettman] should consider issuing an apology to ALL the fans of the NHL for this THIRD lockout limbo he has forced upon us.

Oh Lockout Limbo…how I hope you end so very soon. I am tired of it already…and all we have missed so far is the pre-season. Yesterday was National Jersey Day in Canada…and well you all know how I’ve been itching to sport the blue & green again…so I couldn’t resist:

MY FINGERS ARE CROSSED that as the pre-season is officially off the table that SOON GB & Fehr will announce a new CBA and the re-instate the season!!

Its time for this ridiculous Lockout Limbo to end. None of us enjoy this state of uncertainty as the *pending season* hangs in the balance. This story of the fans, NHL executives and NHL players being stuck in Lockout Limbo is driving me crazy! I just want the season to freaking start already!! Who’s with me?! I know, I know…this lockout has many people down…BUT I’m choosing to remain optimistic. You can join me or decide not to, the choice is yours. There is always room for hope even when some say no. I say what is the harm in having a little faith? There is none as it is my choice. I choose to be optimistic because there is point in being negative about something that I have no control over. Just because we are stuck in this oh this so terrible Lockout Limbo…does not mean that my love of the game is stuck in limbo. My love of hockey will continue regardless of the length of this Lockout Limbo corner that Bettman has forced us all into until that new CBA is reached. I must say…this corner of Lockout Limbo is crowded….it is high time to officially reward the fans with the remainder of the 2012-2013 season.

Do you remember when fans all around the league razzed one another about their ridiculous loyalty to their teams? That is the usual practice. The ONE positive thing about this Lockout Limbo is that ALL fans from ALL different teams are uniting together [regardless of their regular season loyalty] to make their voices heard as one

Oh Lockout Limbo….how tired of you I grow every day! Oh Lockout Limbo…how I look forward to [SOON…I hope!] hearing that you are no more. As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Wake me up when September ends…

Well it’s official. Wake me up when September ends. The NHL has announced that there will be no pre-season games prior to or on September 30th. In the days that have followed since the lockout was enacted there has been no formal communication between the NHL and the NHLPA. Both sides are expected some type of formal communication to take place next week.The aim is for both sides to come to an agreement that will please everyone…but as we all know that is hardly ever possible. Most of the time, each party has to give a little. The NHL and NHLPA will only be meeting this week together with the Alberta Labour Board to determine whether it is legal for the Calgary and Edmonton players to be locked out. The Quebec Labour Board sided with the NHL so we will see how Alberta sides. Pre-season does not mean a whole lot other giving most prospects a chance to preview the NHL level. At this point only the pre-season that would have taken place in September has been cancelled officially.

It has been made official that many players have signed to play else during the duration of the lockout. Malkin, Datsyuk, Gonchar and Ovechkin have returned to Russia to play in the KHL. Thornton, Weber[Yannik], Couture, Nash have gone to Switzerland and many more have gone abroad to keep themselves game ready should the lockout be temporary. Alex Ovechkin has been more than willing to openly admit his dislike of the now real lockout and is sticking by his belief that many players will not return to the NHL should the lockout persist. He does think the players should have to endure the owners distaste of contracts and numbers as it was those same owners that signed every one of the players on their team. Ovechkin signed a one year contract with the KHL’s Dynamo Moscow that could see him spend the season in his home country however there is an out clause[of the contract] if and when the season does in fact begin. If the season resumes and Ovechkin does not return it would violate his current contract with the Washington Capitals and result in sanctions from the IIHF[International Ice Hockey Federation]. It is hard to say whether Ovie would really go as far as not returning…but odds are he is just speaking out in frustration. NHL’s other face of the game, Sidney Crosby has yet to go abroad as he and his agent feel it is too soon to believe that the entire season is lost….me too. It is not over until someone named GB throws the hammer down on that final nail. I do hope that while some players get exposure to the game internationally that it will end soon and the season resumes sooner rather than later.

Where oh where have you gone, September? We have lost you to a lockout. In the very least September in Vancouver we have been blessed with an amazing stretch of weather…it still feels like summer in the city! Not too mention we do still lots of hockey to watch,not at the NHL level, but still some exciting games. We have the Vancouver Giants, Chilliwack Bruins and yes the Chicago Wolves[many #Canucks prospects a few veteran players will be on the team!] to cheer for as they all move forward with their WHL and AHL seasons. September may bring me new teams to focus on and be nearly gone but I have not lost all hope for the NHL season.

In the mean time wake me up when September ends and October begins! I want get out the jersey & get myself canuck’d up & to a game….so come Bettman and Fehr. Become that dynamic duo that will preserve the majority of the 2012-2013 season…otherwise Ovie[at least in his frustration] and others may not return to the league. There is sure to be drama as the Albertan Labour Board meets with the NHL and NHLPA through Friday and as meetings between the two sides eventually take place as early as next week. All we can do now is wait. Wait for the 30th to come and go and hope that when the Calendar turns to October all is not lost on the season. Wake me up when September ends. I will still cheer for the blue & green regardless of when they return. As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Is This Reality? check. Still a Lockout? check. Bettman called out? check.

As the lockout is now a reality, it is time to shift and look at the costs and ripple effects of an NHL lockout. The cost of the lockout goes beyond players not playing, and fans not buying tickets/merchandise and owners losing money all around. The lockout costs people that work within EACH NHL franchise their work and salaries the duration of the work stoppage [whether its a delayed season or entire season lost]. With this decision of making the lockout a reality…Bettman halted[temporarily took away] many jobs. The lockout also costs local business the money they would have profited from airing the games in their establishments and often count on the extra profits they take in during the regular season and playoffs. The lockout also costs many young rising stars their positions in the ECHL, CHL, and AHL while an influx of NHL stars will be added to their teams roster and replacing some of them. The lockout costs players from other leagues [KHL, Swedish Elite League, and the European Leagues] as some locked out NHL players will be seeking temporary [or possibly full season] positions with their teams. Each team in the other various leagues can only add so many EXTRA players to their rosters. Bettman has effectively forced the players into a corner…forcing them to take roster spots from others or not to play at all. Do the NHL players want to steal positions from other players? Probably not…they just want to play hockey and unfortunately it may mean playing in the place of someone else. And what of the younger players or the players in the other leagues? Do you think they would say NO to having proven NHL talent come to join their team [if only briefly or all season long]? Probably not. The players of all the leagues could probably teach each other a thing of two.

The lockout also has more costs. Costs within the league itself. This lockout could force certain players to miss their ONE last year and force them into retirement should the entire season be lost. And that would be a tragedy…for a player to lose their LAST chance to go all the way ONE last time. Teemu Selanne, Daniel Alfredsson, Jaromir Jagr, Chris Pronger, and Tim Thomas all fall into the category of possibly being forced to retire. Mind you…Pronger may be forced to walk away from the game due to his ongoing concussion symptoms and Tim Thomas has given taken a self induced year away from the game. It may be a cruel way for Pronger to have to leave the game behind…but if he is forced to retire….he should have no regrets as he has succeeded at every level he has played [world championship, 2 Olympic GOLD medals, & a Stanley Cup]. Thomas if he comes back next season may have a hard time finding a team that will want him on their roster following his controversial antics that he has fallen privy to.  Teemu Selanne, Daniel Alfredsson and Jaromir Jagr however still have a lot of swag in their game and all three of them decided to come back for ONE more year and they may very well be robbed of that chance. Can you think of a more cruel fate than being robbed of ONE last chance to follow your dream all because of a numbers game. Well done Bettman…you may have robbed some of the best veteran players in the game of their ability to end the game on their own terms as you may have boxed them in a lockout corner. Job well done, really.

And if you didn’t think that these players are aware of just how delicate this situation is…Selanne dedicated a blog post to venting his vehement dislike of Bettman’s decision. Earlier today it was revealed that Selanne published a blog post…titled simply “What gives Gary Bettman?”. Selanne experience the last lockout and has seen what he calls ‘remarkable’ financial growth and that the ‘on-ice product of the game is more interesting than ever.’ Selanne further calls out the OWNERS as responsible for the front loaded long-term deals which are bad business decisions. Selanne takes a special dislike to the owner of the Minnesota Wild who has been full of nothing but contradictions since signing his prized packaged deal of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise. Following the signing of this duo…the Minnesota Wild owner was gushing about how excited the hockey world and Minnesota was with these massive deals. However shortly afterwards…the Wild Owner was then quoted saying “how incomprehensible the new long-term deals deals are!” Are you kidding me? He thinks the long-term deals are absurd….HE signed not one but TWO players to LONG-TERM…heavily front loaded $100 million contracts. This is the third lockout during the less than 20 year tenure of Bettman…who will be making $8 million salary…to which Selanne asked “Would BETTMAN be willing to give up part of HIS salary to the poorer teams as the the players suggested they would like to do?” It certainly is an interesting question for Bettman to grapple with…as he was part of the team in developing the last CBA and setting up the NHL salary cap system. He set the % of the pie slice [aka revenue] that the players would receive during the last lockout and now he looks to make that slice smaller.

To the fans, Selanne had this to say: “On behalf of the fans I’m really sorry. They really do not deserve this. The world’s finest sport does not deserve this. I’m disappointed, vainly waiting for better news.” You are not the only one vainly awaiting better news, Selanne. The fans will continue to hold on to that faint flicker of hope that is the Winter Classic in mo-town on New Years. Here’s hoping the lockout is not drawn out like last time and that Fehr and the NHLPA figure out how to solve a problem named Gary Bettman and his unwavering lockout determination.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

2012 lockout here we come……….!!!

Merry Christmas indeed Gary Bettman. Are you happy? It is official. 2012 NHL Lockout powers activated. You succeeded in completing the hat trick of lockouts in your tenure and creating MORE dislike of you for the fans[who knew that was even possible?!]. WOW….it is quite a legacy you are leaving behind. Will people remember the changes you made to the game? No…but we will all remember the 3 lockouts you enforced on hockey. Now instead of looking forward to the training camps and pre-season games….in the next few days we will get the pleasure of hearing the league cancel training camps and pre-season games….leaving the rest of the season up in the air while many veteran players will be playing abroad and younger players will be playing for the AHL or junior clubs.

Rumor has it that the NHLPA was more than willing to re-ignite CBA talks today..but the NHL did not feel that they would say anything they found relevant. Funny how the players were willing to talk…but Bettman through Daly said it did not warrant any formal talks between the two groups today. It’s nice to know that the commissioner was so completely determined to have a lockout don’t you think? [ha!] Alright…Bettman, Daly, Fehr brothers, NHL owners, and NHL players….PLEASE do get to work on the new CBA stat.

I will say this of the current lockout….it has come down to the Winter Classic saving the season. I really do not see the league canceling a game that brings in so much revenue beyond the game itself that the owners all love…not to mention the 70,000+ fans that will be at the game live in Michigan. It would be an extremely STUPID move for the league to cancel the outdoor event that features two of the original six in Detroit and Toronto. The league has until January 1st to cancel the game…but as I said…it would extremely on their part to make that decision.

Until the NHL returns…it looks like I will have to add the cheering for the Chicago Wolves to my blog[not because I like Chi-town..but because they are the #Canucks AHL affiliate and many of the Canucks players will be featured…Lack, Corrado, Jensen, Ebbett, Schroeder, to name a few. The team with the current roster looks ready to contend!].

Are you happy Bettman? I’m not and neither are the thousands of fans that are also extremely disappointed. It is official…you have created even more distaste for yourself…your name will have even more negative connotations in relation to this 3rd lockout of yours. Job well done. If you want to change the way people will view your lockout legacy then fix it.PLEASE DO NOT LET THERE BE AN ENTIRE SEASON LOST….let’s get the NEW CBA done!! Get ‘er done for the fans!

As Donald Fehr said…”a lockout is a choice, NOT a requirement”. And now once more we shall await the repercussions of this choice that has been made. A decision that did not have to be made but was and now we shall see its many ripple effects. As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

And now we wait…

United they stand. Unfortunately not together with the players on one side and the NHL on the other side. Now if only they could be united together. The NHL and NHLPA wrapped two days of CBA talks yesterday in NYC. 283 players were present for the meetings.
According to the Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul “the players are unified in this round of CBA talks and that he worries about the fans. There is a time when the fans will get fed up and both sides should probably apologize to them.” As with any war of words there is a difference of opinion between the two sides. One is adamant that there is a way for a solution and one is adamant that in order for change to occur is means putting the season on hold.  Fehr  says that the the players stand united. My favourite Fehr statement of the day “a lockout is a choice, not a requirement.” Bettman says that the owners also stand united. They all apparently have voted unanimously to lockout the players September 15th if indeed there is no new CBA in place. Question: did they really vote unanimously or did Bettman do a little leaning to force his preference? Did you also hear Bettman’s claim that the players solidarity is WHY the league lost an entire season in the last lockout? So question for Bettman….who’s solidarity will he blame this lockout on…the players or the owners? Well there is rumor of limited talks happening at some point today between the NHL and the NHLPA….but will they be able to gain any middle ground? We will have to wait…

In the mad dash scramble to the ever closer impending lockout many teams will be looking to lock in players to extensions before the expiration of the current CBA. Many teams have taken part in the last minute dash…everyone wants their intangibles locked in beyond next season while the current CBA still exists.

Speaking of intangibles. One of my very favourite #Canucks….ALEX “Mr.clutch” BURROWS has signed a 4-year  $18 million extension[an annual cap hit of $4.5 million] with the Vancouver Canucks. Remember how this guy was never supposed to make it to the ECHL let alone the AHL? Or when this guy was had his first 28 goal campaign and he was making $500,000? One day someone is going to write his biography…and hopefully it includes another run at the cup or two. Congratulations Alex Burrows! You have more than earned the new contract!!!

http://video.canucks.nhl.com/videocenter/console?catid=0&id=111580&cmpid=embed-share-video

Will you believe that Shane Doan and the never ending off-season drama continues with a contract today?! He WILL sign a new contract and announce his FINAL decision today. Rumor has that it will be Phoenix[most likely]. UPDATE: SHANE DOAN has [surprise, surprise] signed a 4-year $21.2 million deal to stay in Phoenix. Wow. He took the entire summer down to the 11th hour to make a decision that EVERYONE knew was most likely to happen. Congratulations to Phoenix for allowing Doan to play his entire career for the ONE franchise…that does not happen for every player. So…now that Doan’s staying in the desert…does this mean the Canucks go after Jason Arnott [short-term…1-2 years]?

In the land of things that are so predictable, we are down to 1 day. 1 day before Bettman and the owners make the announcement of the looming lockout official. And now all we can do is wait. Wait for what we all know is coming when the gavel is thrown down tomorrow.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

#SC87 Crosby’s back!!!…but where will he lace ’em up??

SIDNEY CROSBY is back!! The NHL received some amazing news about one of it’s most notable faces while the fate of the hockey season is still in limbo. A lockout is looming ever closer. Sidney Crosby is back. He’s healthy and throughout the summer experienced no concussion setbacks. Crosby is healthy for the first time in more than a year and he might not get the chance to play. Questions have surrounded him since the hit that knocked him out of the game for 10 months and then again for a time after his comeback whether he could ever reach the high bar he set before his concussion. Answer: YES he could and he did just that in his return game last year….and now that he is 100% healthy there is no doubt of the fear he could instill in the leagues best goalies once he unleashes that patented wrist shot! One of the BEST players in the game since Gretzky…and he has a chance to put on a show once more but the league might not have a season? Are you kidding me? Can you blame Crosby and other players for making a plan B to play in Europe or Russia? I think there is something wrong with that picture. I think all PENS fans want their dynamic duo of Sid & Malkin back in the igloo creating ridiculous plays. I know I would rather have Crosby and company playing in the league we all love to watch then somewhere abroad! [who doesn’t want a Crosby or Malkin on their team?…the league would not be the same without them]. The league needs to remedy this situation before it loses its top tier players to the other leagues for longer than the [potential full-season] lockout. None of the players want to lose the whole season…so is there a solution[besides Bettman stepping down]? There is something not quite right when one of the faces of the NHL is not able to play due to politics among the league and its players.

Bettman, are we really going to let politics and numbers get in the way of what could be an amazing NHL season and let the KHL and European leagues showcase the NHL’s best talents? Wow. New low for the NHL if this becomes a reality with a lockout. The worst part about this ordeal is that while Bettman has been spewing his line of ‘the NHL has the best fans’…he does not actually care about the fans at all. The only thing that seems to concern is the money involved. In short, Sidney Crosby is back 100% healthy but what exactly is he coming back to?…a full or shortened season?..or NO season being pushed to play abroad? I have got to say that I do not like the prospect of Crosby or any other essential NHL player taking their careers abroad..but what other choice will they have if the NHL locks them out.

Here’s a glance at what could be next season if the NHL and NHLPA can agree on a new CBA: Sidney Crosby back 100% with NO setbacks since the season ended and raring to get back to the game he plays at a higher level than most; Shane Doan finally signing on the dotted line; the Staal brothers united for the first time in their careers with so much upside; the combination of Parise and Suter in Minnesota; the trade deadline as teams seek that one missing piece for their playoff push; teams fighting for that last playoff berth or pushing for a division title; a hard fought playoff battle come April-mid June ending with of course ONE Stanley Cup champion. These are things that will happen should a new CBA be reached. Without a new CBA in place none of these things [save Doan finally signing a contract] will happen. We will miss all of these moments and any others that could be. A lockout takes away all the possibilities of what next season could be.

The NHL and NHLPA met this morning and exchanged proposals. Players that were there to represent the union included: Schneider, Malhotra, Darche, Campoli and Parros to name a few. At least both sides were finally in debating mode after days of no real conversations. Another round of meetings is set for tomorrow in one last major effort to forge a new CBA in time before the existing deal expires. Both sides have stated that they both have made adjustments in their view points…but there is still work to be done before they are both on the same page.

3 more days before anything is official. 3 days before we find out if these talks are in any way meaningful to the season that could be. I am getting tired of seeing the word ‘lockout’ but until a new CBA is in place…it will be unfortunately in my vocabulary…not welcome mind you…but in it none the less.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

Tick tock…Bettman’s clock is a ticking..tick tock…

5 days until the fate of the NHL is revealed by Bettman & company. All is eerily quiet on both sides of this waging war in what is sure to be the calm before the coming storm. The next few days are expected to be filled with meetings between the NHL and the NHLPA. It seems like Bettman is going for the kill…and by that I mean it seems as though he wants to kill the NHL by forcing all the fans to endure yet another lockout. Do we want Bettman to kill the NHL? Simply put, NO. With the lockout as I have mentioned SOOOOO many times..there are NO winners. The fans do not win. The league certainly does not win…the lose money and more. Should there be a full season lockout there is  no presidents trophy[yes I know it doesn’t mean a whole lot], there are no playoffs and there is no Stanley cup awarded. There will no parade for that one lucky city to celebrate their team’s victory. There are NO winners in the event of a lockout. So PLEASE…Bettman, NHL executives, and NHLPA….get with the program. There are 5 days [count ’em up]…5 days to discuss…argue…discuss some more OH and come to a freaking agreement before MIDNIGHT of the 15th. Let’s get ‘er done. Stat. Thank-you.

Rumor has it that not only is the NHLPA attempting to block a lockout in Alberta…but they also attempting to block a lockout in Montreal as well. It appears that like Alberta…there must be voting and mediation…none of which has occurred. Like with Alberta…provincial law requires the Labour board’s involvement. If the labour board agrees with the NHLPA that the NHL did not follow protocol then Montreal could NOT legally lockout their players. Could this Quebec legal snag & the Alberta conundrum be the keys to stopping the lockout and proceeding with a season that starts on time? Maybe.

Everyone’s favourite GM Brian Burke [not really everyone’s favourite but he’s never afraid to speak his mind & he did get BOTH Sedins in the 1999 draft for the Canucks] is lashing out at ESPN following their survey which named the Maple Leafs as the WORST sports franchise. Burke has never been one to keep quiet when someone slams his team. He vehemently claims that clearly ESPN knows NOTHING about hockey. He also insists that he will not be making any more roster movements before the season starts [if there is a season that is].

5 days left for the drama that is yet to come to unfold and you know the sparks will fly as they always do when the tension is high. Each day that passes with no answers only creates more dislike for Bettman and the owners and even more loathing as the word ‘lockout’ forces its way into my vocabulary. Let’s hope that whatever happens…that it does not involve the words ‘full season lockout’. I refuse to accept that the entire season will be lost. Absolutely refuse. That is all.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

6 days…+ Albertan Legal Snag means what?!

6.    6 days. That is all the remains between now and Bettman’s official announcement one way or the other. 6 days for the NHL and NHLPA to discuss any and all remaining issues. 6 days to make a final decision. The NHL and NHLPA will have to take some drastic steps to bridge the gap that remains between them prior to Saturday to avoid a lockout. The question remains should there be a lockout[as everyone suspects Bettman will announce]…how long will it last? Will it be a month..2 months…3 months…or worse?..The entire season lost?? Let’s hope its NOT the entire season gone & if we must be forced to endure a lockout that is short….because another season lost would be [say it with me now] HORRIBLE. Simply horrible. A lockout as I have said before is a word that every I loathe a little bit more. A lockout leaves no winners behind…not even Bettman.There are no winners with a lockout. None.That is all…we shall all hold our collective breath while we wait these last 6 days before Bettman throws the gavel down. 6 days before we shall know the fate of the *pending season. I really do think another lockout would be Bettman’s undoing and spark his replacement. 6 days until we know the fate of the hockey world. 6 days to know if I will be watching my Vancouver Canucks and the WHL/AHL games…or just the AHL & WHL games. 6 days to know whether the sport continues or the players move on to Plan B [playing abroad or simply taking a forced year off unlike Thomas who left the game willingly].

Rumor has it that the League [according to the NHLPA] may hit a legal snag in Alberta. Apparently the NHL is rushing the lockout clearance in the province without following the required steps. A lockout vote is required in the province of Alberta by the province’s NHL team owners[both owners of the Flames & Oilers] in order to legally lock out their players if there is no new collective bargaining agreement in place by the deadline. Under provincial law the NHL is supposed to assign a mediator, they did this on August 21st. The mediator is required to wait 14 days. The PA argues that while a mediator was hired the league did not make an effort of any kind with no mediation or any kind taking place between the mediator and two sides. If the PA’s accusations are correct then the League could NOT legally lockout the Calgary Flames or Edmonton Oilers players. AT ALL. What a season that would be….Calary & Edmonton on repeat for 82 games and NO other teams? Might get a little repetitive. Wouldn’t be something if this small little legal snag could prevent the lockout from happening and its Alberta that saves the season? I will tell you this…it certainly would be something…it really would.

6 days and we will not be waiting anymore.

6 days or less and we will hear officially of Shane Doan staying in Phoenix…that almost seems certain.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

QUESTION….lockout conflict style with a side of ranting…

Today’s ambition is to look at some [not all] major questions surrounding the stalled CBA talks and maybe just maybe rant a little more [if possible] in regards to the ever increasingly real possibility of a 2nd lockout in less than 10 years.

Question: WHY are the OWNERS, and BETTMAN dragging out these negotiations?!
Answer: They want MORE money and want to the players to make LESS money!….interesting concept as it does not match their current actions….[see below questions].

Question: IF playing the game is not about the money…WHY do the players keep signing BIG money deals?

Question: IF the owners want the new CBA to limit the length of years a player can sign for at 5 years…WHY do OWNERS keep signing big name players to insanely LONG-TERM deals?

Question: WHY is it that both sides have very different views of the new potential CBA agreement?
Answer: I’ll tell you a few of the answers that are swirling around. The OWNERS want the players to give back a large % of their salary and as expected…the players do not like it. The OWNERS new CBA would drop the current salary cap by more that $12 million. The PLAYERS want to keep their salaries BUT also help teams that are not comfortable financially. It’s a little confusing with the LEAGUE & OWNERS stating that they want to limit PLAYER contracts to 5 years…and yet THEY KEEP signing their PLAYERS to these crazy BIG MONEY, LONG-TERM contracts[Crosby, Staal, Weber, Suter, and Parise, etc.]!!!  As always its all about the numbers and large discrepancy between the numbers on each side. Good grief….if it is about the numbers….why not just meet some where oh I don’t know in the middle?[50/50…call me crazy but would that not be easier than both sides fighting over who should get more of the dang revenue/bonuses % etc.?!]

Question: WHY….WHY tease the fans with the release of the broadcast schedule?
Answer: I will tell you this, it certainly is a cruel way to raise the fans hopes of their being a season only to have taken away if Bettman throws the gavel down with his desired ruling of a lockout.

Rumor has that the CBA meetings will not pick until next week sometime. There are NHLPA meetings scheduled and the NHL Board of Governors also have meetings scheduled in NYC…albeit not together. In a slightly shocking development Ron MacLean is not standing in his typical belief as one of Bettman’s regular rule-followers that agree there will be a lockout..he has stated “there will not be a lockout in 2012”. We shall see about that…I’d really like to for once believe something MacLean says…it would be AMAZING to hear that there will be no lockout…unfortunately his statement is NO guarantee or in any way settling to me. That is not a guarantee…not even close…the clock is ticking with only 10 days until Bettman drops the final nail in these negotiations. In a not so shocking reveal…Alex Ovechkin has openly stated that players will consider leaving the NHL should a year long lockout occur and that “The NHL is being stupid” with their expectation that players salary get cut by 24% for “nothing” and if they are so set on cutting out long term-deals WHY[again] do THEY keep signing players to these deals?…I’ve got to say you have a point with that Ovie! The NHLPA has included helping out teams that struggle financially…but the NHL’s version of that would cut out long-term deals and cut down salaries all around….not exactly what one would call close ideals. The Maple Leafs Mike Komisarek has had this to say regarding the CBA debate: “The PA has been more than willing to negotiate a fair deal. I don’t think the same can be said for other side.”

There is bound to be many more sparks to fly before all is said and done but we shall all continue to hope for the unexpected from Bettman & company come the 15th. Only time will tell. #nolockoutPLEASE&THANKYOU #hockeyin2012PLEASE

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

12, 21, 38, 1 = an NHL lockout combination? + Numbers that define Hockey

12, 21, 38, 1 are all numbers that currently relate to *pending 2012-2013 season and Bettman’s NHL. It appears that his ideal season next year is NO season, although NO announcement will be made until the 15th. 12, 21, 38, 1…all seemingly unimportant numbers by themselves…but today together they connect to make up Bettman’s lockout combination. Let’s hope they remain merely numbers that are a countdown to the next season and that is all. Here’s their relation to that lovely word I’ve come to despise a little more each day [lockout].

12 = the number of days until Bettman’s lockout deadline

21= the number of days until the Vancouver Canucks 2012-2013 pre-season is supposed to begin.

38 = the number of days until the NHL’s 2012-2013 regular season is supposed to begin.

1 = a year that all the fans may be forced to wait until the NHL begins again if a full season lockout occurs.

12, 21, 38, 1….Bettman’s lockout combination perhaps? Let’s hope not.

Life is full of numbers that represent just about everything.Life is all about the numbers, but so is hockey. Hockey as a game, is full of numbers in its break down.

60 = the number of minutes in a game [unless of course there’s Over Time or a Shoot Out].

3 = the number of periods in each game. [excluding POST season OT…in the playoffs OT is a full 20 minute period…and if not settled after one extra period will go to another OT and repeated until someone scores].

3 = also equals the number of shooters in the 1st round of a shootout.

20 = the number of minutes in one period

5 = the number of minutes in a regular season OT period.

2, 4, 5,10 = the number of minutes one player can be penalized for each different infraction if caught by the referee.

23 = the number of players on an active NHL roster.

82 = the number of regular season games [unless of course it gets shortened].

28 = the maximum number of games a team could play in the POST season.

16 = the number of POST season games a team must WIN to win the Stanley Cup.

There are also a series of numbers that begin unknown at the start of a season: the number of goals each player will score, the number of assists one player will get, the number of total points each player will get; the number of games each team will WIN or LOSE, the number of points a team will earn in the standings at the end of the year, or the number of games one player will go on a scoring streak for. There is also the unknown number of games a player may be suspended for controversial plays that cause injury to another player [although there is yet to be a consistent precedent reached on this matter] until after the incident occurs. Each player within one team wears a different jersey number although it might be the same as a player on a different team. The numbers help to define the game, but they also help to tell the whole story. Scores differ from every games, sometimes high-scoring and sometimes low scoring games. Some numbers in the game are predictable, some are not but that’s part of what makes the game exciting…the unpredictable and unexpected.

Both sides have presented proposals to one another and ALL of the proposals are centered on the numbers…how much revenue will the owners vs. the players get? where should the salary cap be set? should the team revenue be shared?….etc. It is time to stop this game of tug of war and stop fighting over who is right and wondering who will blink first. Just. Get. The. Deal. Done. As. Soon. As. Possible.

We. The. Fans. DO. NOT. WANT. A. Lockout. At. All.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.