Breaking Sports

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Proposal Coming

from the chicago tribune via the mercury news (sub req), After rejecting the latest league proposal without attempting to negotiate off it, NHL Players Association executive director Bob Goodenow is rumored to be ready to present the league with another proposal before Monday - when most observers expect the league will cancel the rest of the 2004-05 season.
It's unlikely any public statements will be made other than to announce a deal or the season's cancellation.
But rumors are spreading Goodenow will present NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman with a proposal for a deal that may run for as long as eight seasons. It would be based on the union's earlier luxury tax proposal and triggers that probably would allow the league to institute its salary cap plan after two seasons.

note: The Mercury News is known for getting stories early and posting them asap. This article will actually appear in Sunday's Chicago Tribune.

Will the NHL Proposal Look Something Like This

NHLPA proposal or maybe proposed within the last three hours, may sound something like this: This year and next year play with the 24% rollback and/or luxury tax. If NHL is not reaching the triggers that the NHL and PA will agree upon, then the PA will agree to play for the following 3 or 4 years with the NHL proposal from last Wednesday with some agreed upon modifications to the triggers from last week.
Basically, the PA knows the league revenues will be down this and next year so they want some leniency for that time period. If the agreed upon figures are not being met that both sides agreed to, the PA will accept the NHL way.
I hope you can understand this. I am just getting this information.

A Buzz behind the Scene

from tsn (will open WMP video), McKenzie, Burke and Damien Cox: talk is some of the players will live with cap and no linkage. Owners who have remained silent are now calling Bettman telling him to get a deal done.
A must view video if you are NHL fan.

Bettman at Fault

from the delcotimes, In 1994 Sports Illustrated splashed hockey across its cover (a curse?), labeling it as the fastest growing sport in America that was about to surpass a struggling NBA.
All was great with the NHL.
And then they hired Bettman.
And the past 11 years have been one continuous slide downward into the depths of oblivion for the NHL, a darkness that the sport may never, I repeat never, emerge from.
In short, the NHL was a shiny, red apple 11 years ago, and it slowly rotted to a soft, fleshy, brownish color after one big worm slithered through it.
Bettman.

Killing Time

While we wait for some news, I thought you might be interested to see what browsers people are using when accessing Breaking Sports.
I made the switch to Firefox in early November and am glad to see many people are using it. I was really concerned about moving off of IE but to be truthful, I haven't looked back and on the rare occasion that I need to use IE, I must go through a crash refresher course.
I highly recommend you try FF, you might be pleasantly surprised.



Better off Canceling the Season

The NHL would further alienate its diminishing fan base by trying to salvage a season that's ruined beyond repair, and is better off canceling the season as it tries to solve its labor mess, according to some well-known sports economists.
The league will find it difficult enough to win back fans that have seemed disinterested at best during the five-month lockout, the economists said, so asking them to support a shortened season played mostly in the springtime with watered-down rosters would be a huge mistake.

Daly on ESPN Radio

Daly waiting for a call from the NHLPA. Said if something is being worked on this weekend, there is a chance they could push back the drop dead date. The NHL is willing to work with the NHLPA on any viable agreement.
Was asked by Mel Kiper if teams would go away even with a new contract. Daly said it is unfair right now to judge teams because of the economic structure they have been under. The NHL sees all teams being able to survive.
Asked about replacement players, he said it is possible, but their only concern now is working with the PA.
After Daly got off the phone, the other ESPN host (Jason Smith) started getting on Shanahan for holding a players only summit and why would they talk about the CBA in that summit and not let the PA handle it. I guess it shows you how bad ESPN is when talking hockey.

NHL & NHLPA Have Been in Contact Today

Emails between the two paties have been exchanged today. Expect a meeting tonight or tomorrow.

Contradicting Reports

Some reports floating around that both Saskin and Daly mentioned yesterday that they both would be willing to discuss a cap without any linkage to revenue sharing.
I do know Daly mentioned that yesterday, but I have yet to read or see Saskin say anything of the sort.
Maybe both sides are doing some posturing to get another meeting off the ground. Let's hope so!

No Hockey in Hockeytown

from the detroit news, No hockey in Hockeytown!
There is no escape from this tragic nonsense.
There can be no public protest other than to scrape all those Red Wings decals from the rear windows of every pickup truck in town. Yank down the Red Wings flags that have been fluttering from the roofs of all those cars traveling 95 in 55 mile-an-hour zones on the freeways.
Hockeytown is in mourning. The season is about to be removed from life support by Gary Bettman, the wizard hired years ago by the NHL owners to act as commissioner. They could have achieved the same result by hiring Jack Kevorkian.

NHL open to Cap without Linkeage

It's not an idea likely to save this season, but a salary cap not tied to league revenues may eventually offer a solution to the NHL lockout. "I would say it's not a non-starter. It is a subject we could have discussion on," Bill Daly, the NHL's executive vice-president and chief legal officer, told The Score yesterday.
"It's an interesting question and it's one that has become a hot topic over the last couple of weeks and I don't know where it's coming from because it's certainly not coming from the Players' Association."
NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin reiterated the players' opposition to any salary cap.
"They've always presented it as one concept, not two concepts," he told The Score. "We're not interested in negotiating any arbitrary cap.

Giving an Inch to Save Hockey

from nypost, It's not about blinking and it's not about caving. Not about strength, not about weakness. With so much at stake, it simply can't be. In fact, no matter the very different roads each side traveled on their way to the immediate first climax of this potentially industry-shattering NHL lockout, the one now willing to concede ever so slightly will be the one remembered for saving the league.
There's too much at stake here to let it go; too much at stake here for one side or the other not to pick up the phone this weekend and propose another attempt. And, because Gary Bettman and Bill Daly initiated the meeting in Toronto on Wednesday, the obligation rests with Bob Goodenow to make the call on behalf of the union. There is an obligation here for the parties to take one last crack at finding common ground on which they might avoid cannibalizing the industry.

Goodenow Is a Resolute Hockey Man

from the nytimes (sub req), Bob Goodenow, the executive director of the National Hockey League Players' Association, disagreed when it was suggested Friday that he and Commissioner Gary Bettman might be playing a dangerous game of chicken, in which daredevil drivers steer cars toward each other at high speeds.
If neither driver swerves, each would end up suffering. "I don't believe it's a game of chicken," Goodenow said. "Both sides know what's at stake and what's going on here."
Goodenow, 52, grew up in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, home of the Ford Motor Company, in an era when that area was more influenced by unions than it is now.
"My first hero was Gordie Howe," Goodenow said. "I was fortunate to get to know him as a young boy. He made a lasting impression on me, the way he handled himself, the things he would say, his general demeanor and outlook."

NHL Door Still Open

from ny daily news, The next round of talks between the National Hockey League and the Players Association will happen under hush-hush circumstances, if they haven't already started.

Mario Retains Hope

from the post-gazette, Lemieux insisted yesterday that he hasn't given up hope -- not entirely, anyway --that a deal will be struck in time to save at least a portion of the season.
He does not feel that way, Lemieux said, because he is privy to inside information circulating in ownership circles, like how one side or the other is preparing to abandon the philosophical turf it staked out years ago. Rather, he doesn't see the logic in either party sacrificing an entire season and risking long-term damage to the industry.

NHL Stars Play for Pittance

from the london free press, The irony is rich. millionaire NHL stars playing before tiny crowds. For a pittance. Then giving the money away.
The only completely happy player you can find is Mechanics goaltender Rod Branch, who contends his workload has been cut by 25 per cent. Looking at the tandem of Chelios and Hatcher in front of him gives him a warm feeling.
The UHL has never seen as much media attention, and the full houses for a last-place visiting team are a clear bonus. Its players ought to enjoy it while it lasts.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Waiting for some Action

As I have stated in previous posts, I truly believe we will have one more round of talks between the NHL & the NHLPA. I fully expect BG to make his super duper proposal which will lead to more discussions and extend the drop dead date.
Later,
PK

The TSN Boys

Burke, McKenzie and Healy give their views. Healy says general managers have been calling players today asking them to call their owners.
You can see the tsn video here.

Daly & Saskin

The Score was to have them on the air sometime during the 6pm hour. I have heard nothing about it, depending on sources but nothing as of yet.
I have looked around for some info, but nothing available.

update: 8:30pm The Score had posted on their homepage ticker that Bill Daly had told them the NHL would be willing to negotiate a salary cap with no linkage. The Score also posted that Saskin and Daly would be on in their 6pm show.
I have been unable to track this down, and I imagine if this was some type of breakthrough, it would be all over the web. So until further notice, I will not mark this as anything significant.

Daly on ESPN

Daly said, "we have gotten nowhere on these negotiations." This might have been a taped interview and nothing from The Score yet.

update: 5:39pm, Saskin was on ESPN and said they NHLPA has been asked why didn't you negotiate on the trigger points. Saskin said the trigger points were not acceptable and the NHL knew that and the NHL is just trying to spin it to look good.

Basically the same stuff as yesterday.

Some News

The Score in Canada is reporting Bill Daly has said the NHL will negotiate a salary cap with no linkage. They are going to have Bill Daly and Ted Saskin on at 6pm. Well, all going to plan, yesterday I mentioned that the NHL and NHLPA would be talking to the media today.

Bettman & Goodenow Should Resign

from si.com, Now that the inevitably of a lost NHL season is mere days away, it is time to turn to two ineluctable truths:
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman should resign. On his way out, he should hold the door for NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow.

Nothing Happening Today

All media reports are basically reporting that Bettman will cancel the season as early as Tuesday or no later than Thursday.
None of the reports are even mentioning that there will be another proposal made. I still feel the NHLPA will make the call and try it one more time. BG will throw something out that he has been keeping for just this moment since he now knows the 11th hour is near. The proposal will be at least an attempt to open some eyes and put the pressure back on GB.

A Public Service

To lighten it up a little in here and since this is a breaking sports blog, I thought many of you might enjoy this. Find out the latest breaking news on your favorite NFL Cheerleader, no kidding and it is SFW.
The person who runs the blog keeps it very current, but where and how does one find breaking news on cheerleaders?



Sean Avery

Sean was on team 590 and basically was drilled by the hosts. Was asked why play in UHL for $500 a week, and not $650k in the NHL. Now Avery is not the brighest of guys and walked into a mess here. He said if the UHL players are complaining, then they should work harder to make more money.
He used the Wings as an example and said other owners should follow the way Ilitch built his team. He was giving away cars to draw fans, now has built a dynasty and fans are willing to pay to watch the Wings. Avery said the Wings would not be the same team if players agreed to the NHL proposal, many of the players would be eliminated with that contract.
Avery then went on to say get rid of some of the teams and get rid of some of the Euro players while they are at it.
Avery will soon be all over the news.!!!

Thinking Out Loud

Does anyone think a fan or a group of fans will file an injunction of some sort to stop the NHL from shutting down? Maybe a peed off season ticket holder, or just a disgruntled fan,

NHL News

Bettman has sent an email to all 30 owners to set up a conference call for some time next week. Plans are to discuss the next step the NHL will take and how to move forward.

update: 11:44am link is here for the story.

More JD

Next year, 65% of the players will be FA and not under contract. Is a new league possible? Yes, but the hardest thing to do is finding a place to play. JD suggested The Palace of Aubrun Hills would be a great venue but he must not realize who owns the arena; a NHL owner. JD says need 12 good venues to start a league up, he hopes someone explores every avenue for a new league.
JD says he is very bitter, not about him but about the game. Mind boggling, $2.1 million and they cannot find a way to split that between themselves.
JD suggest have a meeting, owners, player reps, BG, GB and bring it all out on the table. Let them hash it out and get a deal.

John Davidson on MojoRadio

Said now is the time for NHL owners to speak up to Bettman and also the players should get the message to Goodenow; time to play.
JD cannot believe how many lies are being told by both sides in the press conferences. Said the NHL will suffer serious problems if th league shuts down. If there is no season both BG and GB do not care about the game.
Fans are owed an explanation as to what is going on in the meetings.

The Way it Used to Be

from msgnetwork, I miss hockey. I don't understand how the two sides haven't locked themselves in a room and not come out until a deal is done. I figure after about 10 Chinese takeout orders, we are back playing. I know I'm dreaming, so why not keep going and bring back the sport the way I would really like to see it.
Remember the old division names? Patrick, Norris, Smythe, and Adams. They're back. I think we can handle it. If we can't, it's good to keep everybody a little off balance. Plus those divisions are in the Wales and Campbell Conferences. It's a cool connection to the sport's history. Oh, and the 'original six?' ... they are all in the same division, and they play each other a lot. That's right New York, Chicago, Boston, Montreal, Toronto, and Detroit. All together again. The rivalries are awesome, and we actually know all the players on the other teams! Montreal has something like 20 players who all sound French.

How Do You Feel

I thought Breaking Sports would not be very active today, but my stats are proving me wrong.
So tell me, what do you think? Will there be a final offer from any side, will a big name player or owner step in to help save the season?
I still say one more meeting will take place but that may be a pipe dream.

Will the Lockout Help Owners

from espn, If play resumes next season under a salary cap without significant revenue sharing, small revenue teams may still struggle, said Stephen Ross, a University of Illinois professor who specializes in sports law.
"The lower revenue teams are going to suffer from the absence of hockey, and they might be in a position where if the cap is also the floor, they might not even be able to reach it," he added.
On Thursday, Ted Saskin, senior director of the NHL Players' Association, said that revenue sharing under the league's most recent proposal was so nominal that at least 11 teams would be losing money at a $34 million salary cap.
The league disagreed, though spokesperson Bernadette Mansur, declined to site specifics.

Get Rid of Both of Them

from msnbc.com, These are the two bullheaded bozos who have brought the NHL to the brink of annihilation, Bettman, the commissioner who is intent on planting his heel on the players’ union, and Goodenow, the players association executive director who won’t accept reality.
If you’re an owner, you don’t need Bettman. You need someone with vision and intellect, someone who can find creative solutions to gnarly problems, not someone who considers it a virtue to be as rigid — and as imaginative — as an oak.
If you’re the players, you don’t need Goodenow. He’s led you down a dead-end path, intent not on protecting your livelihoods but on defeating a commissioner for whom he has as much love and respect as Fox has for intellectual program content.

NHL is Done

from the boston globe, I can tell you unequivocally and without a doubt that we are done," NHL chief legal officer Bill Daly told the Associated Press last night.
"Without a change in position by the union, the season will be canceled," Daly said. "There will be no further contact with the union before the season is canceled unless they reach out to us."
The longer the lockout lasts, the NHL said, the chances are future proposals put forth by the league will offer less to the players because of the adverse effects of losing a season.

History Lesson

from the denver post, Mark it down: this is going to be taught in a college classroom someday. The title of the course will be, "The NHL of 2004-05: How not to run a professional sport."
What is needed - what is really needed here - is a sane person to intervene in this mess. Said person should say to the players, "Hey, is getting paid an average of $1.3 million for eight months of work really such a bad deal?" and to the owners, "Let me ask you this: Has your franchise increased in value since a third of your season-ticket holders and sponsors just canceled on you?"'

Time to Move On

from the toronto star, Time to move on. Not just for them, but for all of us.
Quite frankly, we've all just had enough of the toxic relationship between the NHL and the players' union.
It's just so unpleasant to be around, wouldn't you say?
Leaves one feeling in need of a shower.

Dictator Bettman

from the winnepeg sun & al strachan, More than five years ago, in Dallas, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said, "I assure you when the times comes, and we need a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, we will have a system that is sensible and will enable all our clubs to be competitive."
He also said, "I believe we have to have a league, long-term, where all teams are competitive and all teams can at least break even, if not make a profit."
The NHLPA's Dec. 9 proposal provided that system.
But by then, Bettman had moved the goalposts. Now he would no longer accept a system that was "sensible." Now it had to be foolproof.
Now it was no longer good enough to have a system where teams "can" make a profit. Now it had to be a system where teams "must" make a profit.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Jimmy D.- Why are you Talking

An article appearing in the San Jose Mercury News (req sub.) that will also appear in Friday's Detroit Free Press, gives a breakdown of the status of the NHL.
In the article, Jimmy Devellano, shoots off his mouth again... The lack of an agreement doesn't come as a surprise. The sides never have seemed close to a deal. Red Wings senior vice president Jimmy Devellano predicted last month that no games would be played this season. "I think I made myself pretty clear about three weeks ago," Devellano said Thursday. "All I can say is, it's now Feb. 10." Devellano said on Jan. 20: "The season's done. ... There's too many I's to dot and T's to cross. You are not going to get this collective bargaining agreement done in two days, three days, one week or two weeks. It's over."
Basically what Jimmy D. said is the NHL never had any intention of coming to an agreement since January 20th. I am sure the NHLPA is aware of Jimmy's quote and somewhere along the line it will be used against him and the NHL (maybe in a court of law?).



Burke and McKenzie Talk

The boys breakdown the talks today and then discuss what is next. (both links will open WMP-video)

What Friday will Bring

Friday will probably be a cool down period. The NHL and NHLPA will re-group and then the waiting game begins. Email, fax, etc. will be exchanged then someone will make a call for one last meeting.
It should be an interesting day of reading tomorrow. The media will start writing the obituary for the season, columnists will take their pot shots and both sides may even talk to the media again.
I still feel one more go around is coming, let's hope the fans can take it one more time. Nothing else to report tonight unless something big happens. See you tomorrow.

Saskin on Team 590

Saskin says the NHL is basically re-proposing the same proposal over and over. The NHL just took bits and pieces of the PA proposal and took only what they like from the PA proposal. Saskin says 11 teams would lose money with the proposal submitted by the NHL yesterday.
He was asked why did the PA invite the NHL to stay over from the meetings yesterday if they were not going to negotiate on the NHL proposal. Ted said GB said there was no room to wiggle in the proposal so they asked questions today of the NHL which they could not answer. Saskin also said the NHL read the bad rap they received about the proposal yesterday and is trying to turn it around any way they can.
Saskin also mentioned again they will not be calling the NHL and expects the season to be canceled.

Daly on Team 590

Talked about dinner last night. Said the CBA was not brought up, they had a cordial meal and talked about health care in Ontario and how to handle media issues in the future.
Daly was so surprised that the PA did not make a counter offer on the trigger proposal. Daly says the NHL never said there is no wiggle room in that proposal so that is why the were shocked by the lack of negotiations today.
Daly asks what has the NHLPA done since Dec. 9th and answered the question, NOTHING. Said the announcement to cancel the season will come soon since the PA has no plans to call.
Saskin is scheduled to come on later in the hour.

Remember Ten Years Ago

The NHL had issued a written memo to the PA that the league would be canceled on January 10, 1995. That memo was presented to the union on January 9th. Both sides had said in the days leading up to the cancellation date that they would not be picking up the phone.
I guess they were wrong then and I am thinking both sides will be in touch with each other over the weekend this time around too.

Daly and Saskin

Bill Daly will be on with team 590 in Toronto at 6pm, then Ted Saskin will be on at 6:45pm.
The link to the station is here. I am stepping out for a bite to eat, will be back soon.

NHLPA Conference

Saskin says the bulk of today was spent reviewing the proposal from yesterday. Says the NHL by inserting the trigger points changed the PA proposal. They said they could go no further with it and so the PA decided not to negotiate on it. It was a take it or leave it proposal that the NHL gave them so why waste time today talking about it.
The PA says with the trigger proposal, 11 teams would still be losing money.
Saskin says they will not be picking up the phone this weekend. The NHL wants a hard cap and that is it.

Impasse

If season canceled, NHL could go to labor relations board and declare an impasse. Then the PA could file a grievance and also go on strike. This could very well happen in the very near future.
If that happens, you better find a lawyer blog because that is way over my head.

NHL Statement

TORONTO (Feb. 10, 2005) - Bill Daly, NHL Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, released this statement today following a collective bargaining session with representatives of the NHL Players' Association:

"After rejecting our Compromise Proposal yesterday afternoon -- a proposal that envisioned opening the season utilizing the NHLPA's own proposed economic framework -- the Union asked that we remain in Toronto for further discussions. This morning, we convened at 11:00 a.m., joined by our respective outside counsel Bob Batterman and John McCambridge. We met with the Union for a total of four hours, two-and-a-half of which was spent in caucus. The Union brought nothing new to the table, and they simply covered ground we had covered numerous times before. No new meetings are scheduled and, as far as we are concerned, none are expected. If there are no further developments, the League will make a formal announcement on the status of the season in the near future."

PA Conference

tsn has a link on the right hand side to listen to the PA conference.

NHLPA Presser

I thought it was scheduled for 5:30pm, but the statement released by the NHLPA says 5pm.
TORONTO (Feb. 10, 2005) – National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) Senior Director, Ted Saskin, will have media availability at 5:00 p.m. EST.
Date: Thursday, February 10, 2005
Time: Media availability – Approx. 5:00 p.m. EST
Location: NHLPA Offices, 777 Bay St., Lobby (Enter through College St. entrance)

More on NHL Conference

read the previous post first, this is part 2, Daly knows the PA will never consider certain proposals but it just shows the union will not play under a cap. It will be difficult to get an agreement with that way of thinking.
Daly says all the teams remain very committed to making this work. They have tried to reach common ground but have been unable to do so.
Not sure if the union plans to change their way of thinking, but they have been very inflexible in their offer.
Brought up the mediator again, says they have from time to time run proposals by both sides, met with them as a group last week and could not see how they could help in reaching a resolution. Neither side has been inclined to rely on a mediator to resolve the agreement.
Was asked about calling a board of governors meeting, Daly said after an announcement is made regarding the status of the season is made, a BOG meeting will be called to plan for the future.

Recap of NHL Conference

NHL is going back to NYC, no further meetings planned. Daly says no negotiations even on the proposal from yesterday. Daly cannot understand why they were asked to stay overnight. No progress was made.
The two sides met for 4 hours but 2 1/2 of them were spent apart. Daly asked about a mediator, they have been in contact with US mediators and met with them last week. They understand the positions of the parties and tried to find a solution but were unable to do so.
Asked if this is it, said they will not reach out to the PA. No creativity left on the NHL side.
No expectation that anything will happen in the next three days. Not any farther along than they were on Septmeber 15th. Surprised that PA did not want to negotiate off the four triggers proposed yesterday.
Daly said nothing was offered anything by the PA today.
Fischler asked on conference call why are they surprised that Goodenow would not offer anything today, he waits until the last minute. Daly responded they are at the last minute.
Are teh courts the next step? They have to evaluate what is best for the clubs and will continue to negotiate with the PA. They will look at the court system if necessary.
NHL has never negotiated a luxury tax and does not believe in it. Daly says proposal from yesterday was better than tax on teams. Reporter says NHL knew yesterday's proposal would ever work, why even offer it. Daly wants to see PA change their offer then to prove it will not work.

Conference on Now

Sorry for the misinformation.

NHL Press Conference

The presser has been pushed back until 4:30pm.

NHL Conference

Listen to the presser at nhl.com.

NHLPA Press Conference

PA calling a press conference for 5pm.

Team 590 States

NHLPA left meeting without any comment.

Any Predictions

Press conference at 4pm, so it gives us about 15 minutes to guess what will be said.
I say something like this: The NHL and NHLPA still have philosophical differences. We will be going back to NY and no further talks are planned.

TSN Confirming PC at 4pm

tsn now reporting presser at 4pm.

Team 590 Reports

Meeting went from 11am to 3pm, again, no progress. 590 assumes Daly and Bettman going back to NYC and sides may meet again on Saturday. No idea if anyone else will have a press conference, just that Daly will appear at 4pm.

Team 590 Reporting

Daly to talk with media at 4pm.

Mojo Radio

Reporting meeting not over, here we go again.

Fan 590 Reporting

Meeting over, no progess.

Still Talking

Media is gathered in Air Canada Centre and rumor has it the meeting is taking place at either NHLPA or NHL offices in Toronto. Not sure where the offices are located though. If anyone knows how far they are from the ACC, please pass it on.

Still Hope

Arthur Griffiths on Mojo Radio said a cap is coming. The players will not get a better deal than what is on the table now. Are they asking themselves, what is the next step if they do not accept this proposal
Also stated that Bettman has a very difficult task ahead. He is the person everyone is looking at as the creator of this mess and must get this season off the ground. Arthur hopes this motivates both sides to come to an agreement.
I have never listened to Griffiths before I started this blog, but find him to be sincere and caring of the game. As I stated yesterday, he is a former owner of the Canucks.

Media Talk Today

They expect Bettman to head back to NYC today, then a phone call to come tomorrow and back at it again on Saturday. Many members of the press think the "proposal" that GB put on the table yesterday will come back to haunt him. They feel he is trying to win public support instead of getting down to negotiating.

NHL & NHLPA Meeting Update

from tsn, Sources indicated Thursday's meeting began at 11 a.m. EST at the league's Toronto office. It came on the heels of a late dinner the night before with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, executive vice-president Bill Daly, NHL Players' Association executive director Bob Goodenow and NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin.

More from Doomsberry

It is the game and the fans that suffer. The NHL, and Lord Stanleys chalice were around long before the current owners, union officials, players and teams. This is a sport rich in history and legends, superstitions and lore.
Read the whole editorial here. All players and owners should read this in full and think again about not having a season.

Mojo Radio

Mojo Radio out of Vancouver reporting meeting started about 30 minutes ago.

Meeting Today

Just to let you know, I am monitoring the CBA meeting today. Not sure if any of the "media" has found the meeting place yet or if any updates will be released by the NHL, but as soon as I hear something, I will post it.

Bob McKenzie on Vancouver Radio

Said the NHL should propose a hard luxury tax. Not worth it to the NHL to lose this season and possibly next season. A deal could be made, just change the verbiage around and sit down and do it.
Suggests bring in a "forensic accountant" mutually agreed upon by both sides and that settles any matter of the PA not trusting the owners. He does say many of the owners do cook their books just like in any other business. Just get the deal done or big trouble looms for the league.

Ken Klee on Toronto Radio

Klee is a veteran Dman for the Leafs. He said he cannot understand why the tail is wagging the dog. Bettman's goal is to get the big market teams in the frame of mind as those of the small market teams. He feels with luxury tax and rollback the NHL would be just fine. Gary's idea is ruining teams like Toronto, Philly, Avs, Wings, etc. Fan loyalty is great in those cities and would be damaged with Bettman's way. Fans pay a premium to support their teams and feels if thing go the NHL, any child could run the league.
No truth that weaker teams cannot compete with larger teams. Look at Tampa and Calgary; proof those teams can compete.

The Voice of Doom

from mlive, I don't think doomsberry will mind me posting this.
No hope for a season. It is over. Stick a fork in it. The season has been doomed by the newer owners who are pulling Bettmans strings and who insist on cost certainty in a uncertain business. I fear we are in for a very long period of time without NHL hockey. These two sides are miles apart and the immediate rejection of proposals shows that the gap is not narrowing. Prepare for the worst. Sunday will be doomsday for the game. There is no hope. Stare optimism in the face and refuse to be a victim of its evil. Pessimism is the truth.If it is bad, it will happen. Stick your head in the sand and refuse to accept the inevitable and you will be unprepared for the resulting disappointment.

Going a little to Far

Many of you know I have been monitoring many radio stations throughout North America. A fan from Vancouver just called in and is upset at Bettman for not defending the "C". He says the "C" logo on the sweaters of the captains of the NHL teams is copyright material and Bettman is doing nothing to prevent other sports from using it.

Sakic, No, Strachan, yes On WXYT in Detroit

Sakic was just on WXYT in Detroit and said Bettman told all the new owners that recently bought teams that he would deliver a hard salary cap.. From the get go, Bettman had no intention of playing this season.
Finally, a radio station in Detroit steps up with a hockey player interview.

My apologies, 9:55am: Someone had told me about this interview so I reported it. Now I have been informed it wasn't Sakic, but Al Strachan. Oh well, one strike against me.

Hope runs Out

from slam and Bruce Garrioch, While NHL commissioner Gary Bettman stood before a microphone last night and talked about making a massive move forward with a proposal to try to save the season, in reality he just dug the grave a little deeper.
"I just had a chuckle, when I saw Gary's little trigger points (for a salary cap). I can't believe Gary would go public with a straight face over them," Colorado centre Joe Sakic told the Denver Post.

Strachan on the NHL Proposal

from slam, via toronto sun, Bettman's proposal was really nothing more than a way to get his cap without negotiating it. He wants a system featuring triggers that are totally dependent upon the owners' spending to determine whether there will or will not be a hard cap.

Owners Playing Dirty Pool

from the nypost and Larry Brooks, The only collective bargaining link worth discussing is the pattern of deceptive behavior practiced by the Never Hockey League in its relentless propaganda campaign designed to initiate outside pressure on the players in order to get them to acquiesce and accept a league-imposed hard cap.

Meeting this Morning

Sportsnet has learned the NHL and NHLPA will meet again this morning.
Sources tell Sportsnet it will be a six-man gathering with Players Association lawyer John McCambridge and NHL counsel, Bob Batterman re-entering the negotiation.

Some Owners Working Behind the Scenes

Team 590 in Toronto claiming many of the NHL owners would be happy with the PA proposal but Bettman has promised teams such as Florida, Nashville, Edmonton, Calgary, etc. that there would be cost certainty and those teams want Bettman to stick to his guns. One owner even called Bettman yesterday to chastise him for being too lenient with his offer yesterday.

THe NHL - The Forgotten League

from tufts daily, It has become the forgotten league; the league that no longer even garners attention on the back pages of newspapers' sports sections.
"On the same day, American media, Canadian media, and owners have reported three different things about the lockout. No one really knows what is going on or not going on," said Barbara Matson, a Boston Globe sports reporter who has followed and written about the NHL lockout extensively.
Matson places the blame on the owners and has little sympathy for them.
"You are simply talking about millionaires fighting billionaires," she said, referring to National Hockey League owners.
She believes their shortsightedness when negotiating the last collective bargaining agreement, created in 1995, is one of the primary reasons for the current lockout. The owners did not think about long-term issues.
"How can you expect 22-year-old players to account for issues such as inflation? It is the owners' responsibility," Matson said.

Is There a Chance

from the ottawa sun, It remains to be seen if there's enough common ground or time or will to get a deal done.
But there's still a chance.
I chuckle when people say the NHL should have called off this season already so everybody "can get on with their lives." If this season gets gassed, it will only mean more uncertainty, more wondering, more discomfort for all concerned.
The worries of an arena worker or a sports bar staffer who use their wages for their kids' education or a well-deserved vacation will shift from this year to next. Will that money be there next year? Will this have to be a summer of even more belt tightening?
Those who say, "Call off this season, already," should think twice.

Buzz Word of the Day - Trigger Points

I imagine we will all be sick and tired of "trigger points" within the next few days.
Was the proposal from the NHL a "fair" one? No, but it may lead to more talk today. According to Goodenow's calculations, one and perhaps two of those triggers would be met almost right away, and thus he had no interest in them, as even a starting point in the negotiation. "Even after our 24-per-cent rollback and after clubs had signed any new players, we forecast over three teams would be over the $42-million level," Goodenow said. "Also, the provision about the averages for the three highest and three lowest, that could also pose a problem right at the outset."

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Negotiating over Dinner

The two sides will be dining together tonite. Rest up boys, it may be a long day tomorrow.

I am Back Tomorrow

I will update Breaking News tonite if anything major breaks but I doubt if we will hear anything else tonite. Some media who attended the press conferences may be posting their stories and if I see any I will post a link to them.
Will be back at it early tomorrow.

Will They Settle This in Four Days

The NHL proposed triggers are the stumbling blocks. 55% revenue is big since no one can explain revenues right now. A glimmer of hope from Goodenow when he said there is reason to talk more - meaning maybe different triggers or maybe changing the dollar amounts of some of those triggers could be negotiated on. Maybe increase the avg, salary per team to $44 million.
We shall soon find out if B & G want to negotiate or not. Remember, the owners are very concerned about the value of their franchise. Ducks are up for sale for less than what the NHL values it. and the value will only decrease by not playing.
Now I am understanding the two sides may briefly meet tonight to see if there is enough room on both sides to meet tomorrow.

More on NHLPA

Goodenow is answering questions now via conference call and will be available for one on one meeting with media at the presser at 8:30pm. So it looks like there will be no meeting of the two sides tonight. Just my hunch though and that could change.

NHLPA Press Conference

I am typing this in raw format, will clean it up later tonight.
Both have agreed to go back to the bargaining table to see if they can find some common ground.
Goodenow knows the NHL proposal was a transparent reflection of their proposal. None of the four trigger points are anything they can bargain on, they have been through that before.
Goodenow wants to work on some new concepts and NHL agreed. What would Goodenow agree to; Dec. 9th proposal would go a long way to change what the NHL wants to change. Reducing spending on players, a good framework to start with. Does not want to flip it but work on that proposal with the NHL.
Believes future discussions can lead to some positive agreement. Hopeful that both sides can reach an agreement, if there is a sincere initiative to negotiate, he is willing to do whaever he can.
He is looking for the fair and right deal. The players are focused on the right deal and wants to achieve that with the players.

Bettman Presser Recap

from tsn, "It is clear to me that if we're not working on a written document memorializing our agreement this weekend, I don't see how we can play any semblance of the season," commissioner Gary Bettman told a news conference.

I am also monitoring the NHLPA conference that is about to start.

Back by 8:30pm

What a time to have to leave the computer, but I have a meeting that cannot be cancelled. . Should be back by 8-8:30pm.


How Do You Feel About This

The last two paragraphs from the tsn article, While a miracle deal appears unlikely, baring one side folding its hand, it would make for some wild times if an agreement was struck that permitted a shortened season.
A salary cap would probably entail a dispersal draft to fix teams who are over the limit. More than 100 free agents would also need to quickly sign NHL contracts. A one-week training camp would likely be followed by one or two exhibition games before a late February/early March baby season could start.
Well, the Wings would have to figure out who to let go in this idiotic draft, do you think Ilitch is happy about that and how do you think the players feel? No wonder the NHLPA is rejecting these type of offers. Time to speak Mike Ilitch!!!

Secret Offer Spurned

now from sportsnet, "We stopped by the union's offices today and made a compromise proposal to the Player's Association, which was rejected," Bill Daly told Sportsnet. "We have agreed to remain in Toronto, however, for further discussions tonight and tomorrow to see if we can reach common ground.

NHLPA rejects Proposal

from tsn, Not only did the NHL make a new proposal to the NHL Players' Association today, it has already been rejected.
TSN has learned the NHL and NHL Players' Association met today in Toronto. Sources say the league presented a new proposal to the NHLPA, but it was apparently turned down.

Is There Really a Drop Dead Date

The more I look at the original story in the LA Times ( now every sports outlet is reporting it) about Bettman getting ready to annouce end of season date, the more I am convinced this story was indeed planted by the NHLPA.
It was about this time last week that the NHL was accused of feeding EJ Hradek with the story that the league would cancel the season in 24-48 hours if no deal was made.
So what happened, did someone forget to tell Bettman to cancel the season? No, the NHL gave the story to EJ thinking it would force the PA to re-think their offer. Goodenow called the bluff and now is planting his own story with Helene Elliot. Just my opinion but it does make sense.

Two Sides Talking

from sportsnet, While the NHL won't confirm it's about to table another offer, it is believed the two sides have been in communication Wednesday afternoon.

Helene Elliot - LA Times Hockey Writer

Helene broke the story today in the LA Times was just on Vancouver radio. She said someone advised her that the announcement would come either today or tomorrow. She would not reveal her source or say what side it came from.
I think this leak came from someone in the NHLPA and they want to force Bettman to make a statement. Watch how this shakes out in the next 24 hours,

Bettman & Goodenow Must Go

from the hockeynews, via espn, Credit for our bitter tone falls squarely in the laps of Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow. But here's a positive worth accentuating: the deeper hockey sinks into a quicksand of legalities, the less likely either big cheese will retain his position when the game attempts to redeem itself. And whether you prefer your costs certain or uncertain, that's the best news any hockey fan can hope for.

Bill Watters on Leafs Lunch

Bill mentioned today that the NHL contacted the PA and they will be meeting later today or tomorrow.
Thanks to Bringback Hockey for the tip. Also, KMC another friend of Breaking Sports just reported radio in Ottawa is reporting contact between the two sides has started.
Will keep you posted on any updates.

Arthur Griffiths-Former Canuck Owner

Arthur has a radio show on Mojo Radio in Vancouver daily. He is also owned a share of the Canucks at one time. He claims Bettman is only servicing a limited amount of owners with his hard stance. He posed a good question, "Is ther any owner out there now who could sell their team and get the value that they think their club is worth?
He also feels the story from the LA Times about a drop dead date is a "plant". Arthur expects and supports some of the owners to start speaking out at any time.

More Strachan

On the entry draft, he says it is illegal to have a draft without a CBA, so no draft will take place unless a CBA is in place. Bettman has been asked about this and he dances around the issue.
Strachan says what is so wrong with a free market league, just pay the guy what you think he is worth, if not, don't pay him and move on.

Strachan on Vancouver Radio

Player agents have been trying to find any loopholes to help with the CBA. Said the meetings last week were just a bunch of arguing who had the better proposal. Bettman wants to take agents and GM's out of the contract process, he wants the league to be involved just like the NBA is now.

Bettman to Announce Drop Dead Date

According to team 590 in Toronto, Bettman will soon announce the drop dead date, possibly as early as today.

Brooks - NHL & NHLPA may meet Today or Thur.

Larry Brooks again taking shots at Bettman. from the nypost, There are, of course, any number of creative solutions to the stalemate that exists only because the league refuses to engage in meaningful negotiations. The soft cap within a hard cap is worth exploring. Designation of a franchise player is worth exploring. A guarantee of the union's Dec. 9 proposal is worth exploring. But Bettman refuses, he refuses each and every time. You wonder if Bettman isn't afraid he's going to be tricked. You wonder if the commissioner believes that the union, the players and the agents are just smarter than the league, the owners and the general managers. You wonder if that's why he's afraid to make a deal.

NHL to Initiate Talks and Ready to Cancel Season

from the latimes (may req. reg.), The NHL is poised to issue a deadline of Monday or Tuesday for the players' association to agree to a labor deal and will initiate a final round of talks before it becomes the first major professional sports league to cancel an entire season.
With schedules of 28, 30 and 32 games in hand, NHL executives calculated that they must have a general agreement by Tuesday and start the season around Feb. 25. The league will set a "drop-dead" date and present a proposal either today or Thursday, sources said.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Sittler Backs Salary Cap

from slam sports, With all his well-documented financial battles with tightwad Maple Leafs' owner Harold Ballard, Sittler is the last person you'd expect to be championing the cause of the league against its players. Especially since he believes the owners got themselves into this mess in the first place.
Sittler just can't identify with the greediness of today's hockey players. "I never ever felt that because you play for three, five or 10 years, that the game owes you for the rest of your life," said Sittler.



Canadian Fans offer Solutions

Adults in Canada contemplated different options to ensure the feasibility of the NHL in a recent poll.
Sixty three percent of respondents say the NHL should "go small" by cutting the number of teams, and improving the quality of hockey and the degree of fan support in the cities that retain franchises, while 18% would rather "go big" by keeping the present number of teams and aggressively promoting hockey in the United States to generate more television revenues.

Expect Movement within 48 Hours

from canada.com, Another day without any contact between the NHL and NHL Players' Association on Tuesday but the league will likely heat things up in the next 48 hours. It's believed the NHL will finally specify a drop-dead date on the season. The NHL will likely cancel the season either late this week or early next week if a miracle agreement isn't reached before then.
I personally think the NHL would not announce a drop dead date, just cancel the season. As mentioned in a post a few days ago, Bettman is worried about legal issues if he sets an exact deadline.

Hull Wants Season Canceled - Gretzky want to Play

from tsn, "It would be ridiculous," Hull told TSN on Tuesday. "Both sides have come this far and battled so hard on what they believe needs to be done. The game has suffered so let's just call it a wash and start next year." "We should just cancel (the season) now, get this thing done and let the teams prepare their staff, their season ticket and PR people and be ready." "I respect his opinion," said Gretzky. "Brett's played for almost 20 years, he's one of my closer friends, a wonderful guy and great for the game of hockey. If that's the way he feels, that's his opinion. I'm not going to sit down and try to hit him on the head to get him to change his mind."
I have a feeling if the season did start up, Hull might just be the same type player he was in the last half of the season in 2003-04. Wings fans remember his horrible production in the playoffs too.



Back around 8:30pm

Need to step out for awhile. Will update when I return later tonight.

Michael Peca

On Toronto radio, said last week he felt there would be a season, now he doesn't. Strongly disagrees with JR comments that players should vote. Peca said he feels no more than 10% of players would vote to return now. Nothing really even to vote on, NHL has made no attempt with a decent proposal.

A Little of Topic

Vancouver radio talking about Detroit Super Bowl. They think the Silverdome was renamed Ford Field and is in the same location. These are the two hosts on mojoradio.

Larry Pleau thinks season will Happen

Pleau was just on Vancouver radio and says he firmly believes NHL will have a season this year.

Possilbe Meeting on Wednesday

Information coming in from a Detroit media member that the NHL and NHLPA will be meeting in Toronto. Cannot comfirm this as of yet, if anyone can please pass it on.

Igor Larionov Speaks

Was on team 590 in Toronto earlier this morning. Igor stated there should never be a salary cap, it is all about poor team management. The owners should be looking at themselves instead of pointing fingers.

Bob McKenzie views

He was just on Vancouver radio, said the two sides will probably meet sometime this week, go through what they did last week and come to a resolution that they cannot come together.
Also said if no season this year, both Bettman and Goodenow probably will lose their jobs.

Ilitch Hopeful

Since many of the visitors to Breaking sports do not read the Detroit daily newspapers, I though I would post this.
from the detroit news, "If you were to have asked me a week ago, I would have said it's all done," said Ilitch, alluding to the possibility of salvaging the regular season. "But I'm not sure right now."
Ilitch was not critical of defensemen Chris Chelios and Derian Hatcher and forward Kris Draper, all of whom signed last week with the United Hockey League's Motor City Mechanics.
"They have to do what they have to do," Ilitch said.
Ilitch, however, would be disappointed if the lockout ended the career of Wings captain Steve Yzerman, whose season ended during the playoffs last May with a serious eye injury.
"I don't like a guy going out that way, especially him," Ilitch said. "He's our icon and that would be terrible if he had to go out that way."

Taking shots at Bettman

Al Strachan writes about Bettman in today's ottawa sun. You don't get any real explanations from the league's people. They said they wanted a deal that would reduce the average salary to $1.3 million US. The players gave it to them. They rejected it.
When the NHLPA made its Dec. 9 offer, Bettman said it was "fatally flawed." He made a number of assertions regarding Exhibit 13 which showed its inflationary nature.
The union held a conference call to show that those assertions were wildly inaccurate and Bettman hasn't been heard from since.
It's clear now that the season will not be played. Soon, the league will announce its cancellation. But wouldn't it be nice to know the reason? The real reason, that is.

Here we Sit

Nothing to report on any CBA talk. All is quiet. Will keep you updated during the day if any news develops.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Waiting Game

Not much information floating around today. Both sides appear to playing the waiting game to see who makes the next call.
I would imagine the NHL does not want to make public the "drop dead date" since the NHLPA could use it as a bargaining tool. I do know fans, and I mean die-hard hockey fans are loosing interest daily. Many Canadian followers and the few good fan bases in the USA are sick and tired of this fiasco and would be happy to see an end to the season.
I personally think the NHL would suffer more by canceling the season and still look for some type of resolution this year.
The best solution I heard today was from John Davidson, he basically said force the two sides into a room and tell them they cannot come out until a deal is finalized. Sounds good to me.

Unconfirmed Rumor

Bill Watters is saying his sources tell him the NHL season will begin March 1st. Supposedly he was just on Toronto radio.

Wil the owners Budge

John Davidson on Vancouver radio said there is some talk, about the league maybe offering another proposal but it will not be much different than what they have been. He also feels the lower earning teams are driving the bus and it is wrong. The eight in partnership with Bettman are not budging at all and want exactly what Bettman is offering.
JD also noted the proposal the NHLPA is offering, the top teams would make at the minimum of 40 million dollars. Davidson noted why can't the lower owners find a way to make money too. Good example is the Blackhawks, Wirtz has a lot of money but doing a rotten job of selling their game, as a matter of fact, the Blackhawks don't even televise home games.

Drop Dead Day Discussion

Even though there has been no update on any CBA meetings going on today, media types are getting the feeling next Tuesday will be the drop dead day. If a season were to begin, it would start March 1st with the Stanley Cup Finals ending just about July 1st.
I wonder how the ice would be if Phoenix and Florida met in the finals plus they would probably have to give away the tickets.

Quiet so Far

Nothing to report on any further CBA meetings. I will keep you posted throughout the day.

Someone Please make the Call

Bill Daly, NHL chief legal officer, said last week was a very crucial time in negotiations. In an email sent yesterday, Daly wrote "We don't know how this week will play out yet", and also went on to say "The union broke off our meeting on Friday and I would hope they want to talk again. If they don't call us, I'm not sure yet how we'll proceed."
Does either side budge and make the call or does this season just die slowly and take its fans with it?

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Can the Season be Saved

from tsn, Fans accept the NHL season is toast. The players seem to think so too. This week may be the owners' turn.
A source close to the talks said the union will not pick up the phone, so expect the NHL to do just that on Monday. It wants another kick at the can before it's too late.

Keeping you Posted

I doubt we will here any information today from the NHL CBA talks. Talk is tomorrow will be another day of negotiations but nothing official yet.
Will begin updates on Monday about 6am est., so check back often tomorrow.

The NHL's Silent Seven

from the philadelphia inquirer (req registration), Ed Snider. Yeah, the Flyers' founding father and chairman. The most successful businessman in hockey has elected not to wield his big stick thus far.
James Dolan. He runs powerful Madison Square Garden in New York, the largest market in the world.
Stanley Kroenke. He owns the Colorado Avalanche.
Mike Ilitch. He is the Little Caesars pizza magnate who owns the Detroit Red Wings.
Tom Hicks. He owns the Dallas Stars.
Richard Peddie. He controls the Toronto Maple Leafs and their entire entertainment group.
Philip Anschutz. He owns the Los Angeles Kings.
The Silent Seven represent many of the high-revenue clubs that keep the NHL afloat. Yet none of them has so much as raised his voice above a whisper during the lockout. At least, not publicly. Behind the scenes, some are pressuring Bettman.
Why haven't they spoken publicly to end this lockout?
"I've spoken to Ed Snider and [Comcast chief executive officer] Brian Roberts, and they say they can't do anything" to end the lockout, U.S. Rep. Robert Brady (D., Pa.) said last week. "They said they have taken an oath of solidarity."
An oath to back Bettman no matter what. An oath to commit hari-kari. An oath to break the union if need be.

If we want hockey this year, these gentelmen must step up to get the game back on the ice.