Why SO serious???

November 3rd, the NHL and the NHLPA met for the first time in over two weeks. Their meeting went past 1AM of November 4th. Talks were then set to resume November 6th in NYC at undisclosed [to the media] location. The two sides met for more than 7 hours. They met again November 7th, 8th, 9th for extended periods. The media eventually discovered their location amid whispers that perhaps talks were at stand still AGAIN. Just as quick as progress appeared, it seemed to disappear. Quietly without anyone really knowing what to think…both sides met again SATURDAY & again on SUNDAY making plans to resume talks again this week.

MONDAY[Nov.12th] the NHLPA’s Steve Fehr said that there are 3 issues that need to be solved before a new CBA can be reached. and when they are reached a deal can be reached rather quickly. Those 3 issues are as follows:

1.The split of money

2. Player contract rules

3. Who will pay for the damage of the lockout

and secret issue ***4[aka if they solve the first three issues]. How would a shortened season work[now that an 82 game season is not possible]?

Players and owners alike are both losing money as the lockout drags on. It is slightly encouraging that for over a week BOTH sides have been meeting on a regular basis. In comparison to previous CBA meetings, these latest meetings have resulted in extended discussions and additional meetings. Why so serious? Does the continued discussion mean that a new CBA can be reached sooner rather than later? All we can do, is wait.

Players want to get back on the ice. Owners want the monetary issues resolved. Gary Bettman keeps looking for a larger slice of the revenue pie. The fans are beyond frustrated as the lockout continues. After the last lockout, the NHL brought the shootout into in existence in order to entice the fans back to the game they stole….what will they create this time to bring back the fans? Time will tell.

The NHL and the NHLPA continue to debate the CBA conundrum. As Steve Fehr stated…there are some key issues to resolve before a new CBA becomes reality. This latest round of continuous meetings leaves more room for optimism than before when their meetings lasted less than 2 hours and maybe two days in a row. They have met and/or touched base nearly everyday since the November 3rd meeting. More meetings mean more discussions are happening. We will have to wait and see if more meetings means that they can resolve those 3 main issues.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

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50/50

Rumor has it that while Bettman’s number is up…that HOCKEY will be BACK by NOVEMBER!!! ….the NHL has officially tendered a NEW offer to the NHLPA that would give both sides 50/50 split contingent on an 82 game season that WOULD begin November 2 IF the players agree. The jury is still out on whether the PA will agree…but you can almost hear a sigh of relief that an ACTUAL offer was made in today’s meeting. PLEASE NHLPA…let’s really think about this…you could ALL be back playing in 2 weeks & still have an 82 game season!! I have been very vocal about my dislike of this current lockout…..this is the FIRST time that an offer made has REAL potential to be accepted by BOTH sides! THIS deal would last for up to 6 years AND it means a FULL 82 game season NOT a shortened one!

Did I [& many others!] not suggest many times previously that the only way to really negotiate this latest CBA would be a 50/50 split? Why…yes, yes I did. This is the first time since these negotiations began back in the summer that I feel there is potential for a new deal to be signed, sealed & delivered VERY soon. I think the players will want to take a closer look at this deal in detail before they consider it as a solution…but it is encouraging to see an actual offer be tabled. Let’s hope they do not take too long in their consideration as if they do sign…they could be back on the ice by NOVEMBER 2!!!! Come on…who doesn’t want hockey back soon?  The offer is on the table…your move NHLPA….please do not wait too long to get back to playing the game you all love.

The word lockout is not a welcome one in my vocabulary. Yet it has forced its way into it…and FINALLY we have an offer that has potential on the table….time to get back on ice BOYS because the puck cannot slap itself….#isitNovember2ndYET

The word ‘lockout’ has been forced into the vocabulary and reality of NHL fans three times in the last 18 years….and each time it was GB with the announcement. One would think that if HE cannot get the players to agree to this latest offer or worse takes away the entire year….that his days are not only numbered but finished. There will be a push or counter proposal that comes from the PA soon…but this 50/50 split gives the PA a place to make real progress. I hope the PA realizes that the this latest offer is where things will eventually end up a 50/50 split. This offer also has no immediate rollback. This offer is the first one that is one that seems like real PROGRESS!!! FINALLY! Let’s get this deal & probably counter offer done followed by a new CBA PLEASE!!!!!!!! This is finally some real negotiating!!!!!!!!!! I know that this deal is probably not perfect….but it really is the first time that feels like hockey could be back SOON…as in NOVEMBER. I think it is best for all parties to get this deal done STAT. The PA now holds the cards….the question is how will they play them? Is this 50/50 split really a 50/50 split? If so, then it means that Bettman is finally taking one for the team and moving the league forward…if not…I think it is good-bye Gary!

There are still many questions that will be addressed regarding this latest offer and what is sure to be the PA’s counter-offer…but in this moment it is refreshing to hear of actual progress in the great CBA debate. I don’t know about you….but I really want hockey back..and this deal could get it back as soon as NOVEMBER 2 with NO games lost!…Rumor has it that the NHL is already in contact with all in teams in regards to getting additional dates in order to accommodate an edited 82 game regular season schedule. This offer would get the season sooner than most expected. The NHL has made their offer…and now its up the NHLPA as to how they will respond. Donald Fehr is expected to meet with the players this afternoon. Whatever happens in regards to a counter-offer…I really hope it is a short cordial give and take so that WE the fans get back the game we all love. This offer brings the opportunity to salvage not just part of the season but the ENTIRE season. I have never given in to the belief that the season was over…and this could be the move that makes the season a reality. Now, once again all we can do is wait. Wait and see. #EndtheLOCKOUT #BringBackHockey #isitNovember2Yet

As always, until next time[when hopefully I can be sharing the news of the 2012-2013 season being back on and no more lockout!] 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.

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.

CBA meetings stalled…two weeks left until the deadline…

Welcome to September! Surprise, surprise. CBA meetings ended Friday with little progress once more as both sides still struggle to see eye to eye. The question is, when will the next CBA session take place? The next round of meetings has yet to be scheduled although rumors are swirling that this is just the beginning and more will be known closer to the 15th.Both sides have yet to see eye to eye on any proposal made. Talks seemed to have stalled and neither side is yet willing to give what it will take to reach a new agreement especially as Bettman wants the players to take a pay cut. He wants to them to see less and less profit each year….and is more than willing to enforce a lockout to achieve that aim. Not acceptable. Time is quickly winding down. Yesterday marked exactly two weeks until Bettman makes it official one way or the other…but each day that goes by with no answers makes it seem inevitable that he will lockout the players. The gavel will come down and it seems that Bettman is not in the business of gaining fans but rather gaining more who dislike him. Enough with dragging it out until the 15th…just come to an agreement already! Like any hockey fan, I would just like to know when or if the season will start! The decision feels like its already been made with little or no progress after each meeting….and it does not seem like one that will please the fans unless some drastic progress gets made in the next 13 days. I would love to hear that YES the season is starting on time…but we could hear NO it will be delayed or NOT at all. I would certainly love to write about more than the *potential [but very likely] lockout in the days that follow…but until the bricks fall into place that is all there is to report.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.

CBA meetings delayed + NHL teases fans w/ newest Schedule

NO CBA talks today, discussions have been delayed until tomorrow[Friday]. It appears that NHLPA needs more time to respond to the new NHL proposal. Could a potential lockout see Sidney Crosby playing in the KHL along side Malkin? Players continue to make alternative plans in the event that a lockout becomes reality. Is this what the fans have to look forward to next season?…a random selection of the NHL’s best players mixed in the European League, Swedish Elite League, the KHL and others? It is not good enough for me…not even close. I mean yes those are all great leagues but it just will not be the same. If the players play elsewhere and there ‘potentially’ a lockout there will be no allure of the fresh slate all teams start with at the beginning of the season. There will no battles for playoff positioning. There will be no playoffs. There will be no Stanley Cup Championship. Again. Seriously? Does this seem like a great blueprint for Bettman to follow again? Does he want to be responsible for the NHL becoming the only sport to have lost NOT just one entire season…but TWO entire seasons if it happens? NO other professional sport has EVER lost an entire season due to a lockout. Can you honestly say that you will remember his time as NHL commissioner for doing something other than procrastinating the start of a season or canceling it? When I think of Bettman in his tenure as commissioner the only word that comes to mind is ‘lockout’. It is a negative image that comes to my mind and others when Bettman’s name is uttered and if he wants to change that…he’s going to have stop forcing lockouts. It doesn’t teach the players a lesson and it certainly doesn’t win the league more fans…if anything it is detrimental to the progress of the sport itself. It prevents any progress whatsoever.

The word lockout is not a welcome one in my vocabulary. Yet it keeps forcing its way into it….

Is it a coincidence that today marks to release of the National Broadcast schedule for the upcoming NHL season?  http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=640687

No, I think not. It seems more like some sort of ploy that league is using to bait the fans…giving us a glimpse of what we could miss should the lockout occur. It is cruel that they tease us this way…giving us a faint faint glimmer of hope looking at the ‘official’ broadcast schedule if they are only going to take it away in 2 weeks! Seems unfair to give the fans the ‘official’ schedule if the season is not even ‘official’ yet and it might not be at all. *My fingers are still crossed that we at least get most of the season…1/2 a season would better than NO season.

The NHLPA is supposedly going to to respond to the NHL proposal at tomorrow’s meetings…we’ll see if any progress gets made or not. Both sides are going to have to give in a little more before a deal of any kind is made official or any announcements come from Bettman regarding September 15th. The players want to play and many WILL go elsewhere if locked out…but lets hope it doesn’t come to that.

As always, until next time, nuck said.

Sarah E.L.