Breaking Sports

Saturday, February 19, 2005

I am Done for the Day

Had enough of this to last a lifetime. This blog will remain and take on the look of what it was originally meant for; that of breaking sports news.
I encourage you to make this a daily stop, all the major sports will be updated on a regular basis.
I leave you today with an email a friend just sent me:

The NHL officially has gone to the dogs, at least in the television ratings. The USA network's coverage this week of the Westminster Kennel Club show outdrew the rating the Stanley Cup Finals generated last spring.

The two nights of dog-show coverage were seen in an average of 2.91 percent of the nation's homes with a TV, according to Nielsen Media Research. In comparison, the Stanley Cup Finals (two games on ESPN, five on ABC) generated a 2.2 rating

Howard Berger Reporting

Talked to NHLPA, It is over, over and over. The league put together no revenue sahring plan and they were led to believe that the NHL was going to do that. Going back to Toronto.

Get This One

Listening to Team 590 in Toronto, a National show is running called the Gretzky something.... Well anyways, they are reporting that the NHLPA is on a conference call right now, and the radio guys who are hosting the show think this thing may not be done yet.
Does anyone care anymore? They keep on saying they will not get a better deal than the one that is being offered now.
I agree but this has gone too far in my opinion and by looking at the comments, 99% of the people agree.

Season is Over

from tsn, 'Our discussions revealed that we remain as far apart as we believed we were last week,'' Daly told TSN. ''The rumours that the parties were close or had in fact reached a deal were greatly exaggerated. There is still a long way to go.''

NHL Absolutely Blew This

Why have a meeting, knowing that they were not going to budge. They should have just talked on the phone instead of creating a circus like atmosphere in the largest market in the WORLD. They will be the butt of all jokes and looked upon as a farce.
Just a terrible decision and I am afraid they will suffer permanent damage by their actions.

Howard Berger Reporting

The eight hardline owners are causing the problems. Nashville owner has been very vocal.

Daly - Focus on Next Year

from sportsnet, Sportsnet spoke to Bill Daly Saturday afternoon, who said it is now too late for a season and the focus will shift to getting a deal done ASAP and preparing to come back as srong as possible next year.

TSN It is Not Good

from tsn, Just three days after cancelling the 2004-2005 season, both the NHL and NHL Players' Association met in New York for 6 1/2 hours in an effort to table a new collective bargaining agreement and perhaps save the season - again. TSN's Bob McKenzie reports that no progress and no deal have materialized yet, while no further talks are scheduled at this point.

It is Over

Season is over, Daly said the focus it to get a deal done for next year as soon as possible.

NHLPA Talks off For Good

Howard Berger reporting that a NHLPA rep will meet with the media and the rumor is NHLPA will not make any other offer and the talks are off for good.

TSN No Progress

from tsn, Just three days after cancelling the 2004-2005 season, both the NHL and NHL Players' Association met in New York for 6 1/2 hours in an effort to table a new collective bargaining agreement and perhaps save the season - again. TSN's Bob McKenzie reports that no progress and no deal have materialized yet.

Howard Berger Reporting

Meeting was 6 1/2 hour and players are in a very angry conference call and the league did not move off of their $42.5 offer.
No press conference now.

update 4:05pm, talks have broken off again!!!

Sportsnet Meeting Over No Progress

from sportsnet, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux and NHL Players' Association president Trevor Linden took over the new round of NHL labour talks Saturday, meeting for some 6-plus hours including breaks.

There was no immediate word on the outcome of the session or whether more talks were planned.

Meeting Over

from tsn, For the first time in seven months, NHL hockey is front and centre on a Satruday, albeit in a very different way.

Just three days after cancelling the 2004-2005 season, both the NHL and NHL Players' Association met in New York for 6 1/2 hours in an effort to table a new collective bargaining agreement and perhaps save the season - again.

Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow were not present. But their right-hand men, the NHL's Bill Daly and NHLPA's Ted Saskin, were in the room, a source said.

Team 590 Again

Tentative 6pm News Conference.

update 3:20pm, no word what the press conference is about.

Team 590 Found the Meeting Place

About five blocks away from NHL headquarters. Saw Guerin(sp) and Bugner(sp) outside, they ran inside when they spotted the press. Cables and wiring going into the hotel for a press conference. This is it folks.

Waiting Game

I think the next thing we hear is a time for a press conference. All reports are a presser will come today but nothing confirmed as yet. CBC has even said the NHL has asked to use their production truck on site in NYC to transmit the conference.

Just Waiting

I think the next thing we hear is a time for a press conference. All reports are a presser will come today but nothing confirmed as yet. CBC has even said the NHL has asked to use their production truck on site in NYC to transmit the conference.

Team 590 Report

Howard Berger says sources are reporting the NHL will be calling a press conference this afternoon.
This has not been verified by the NHL yet.

TSN Live Report from NYC

TSN is thinking a ladder cap will go up from $42.5 million to $45 million with an icrease of $500k per year.

update 1:09 pm, also said Bettman met with a group of owners at breakfast but not in the meeting now.

EJ Hradek Reporting on ESPN News

Looks like a deal will get done today or tomorrow. Cannot see them going this far and not doing a deal Looking at $45 mil cap but that could change. Close to getting a deal done, still in the meeting.

Hockey Insiders - TSN

The boys give their opinion (will open WMP video).

Kevin Allen on WDFN in Detroit

Players woke up Wed. morning realizing they just lost $1 billion, then owners said we need to play, then ESPN and sponsors said we are gone.
Players have gone far enough, then artificial deadline was announced but everyone knew this weekend was the actual drop dead date. Yzerman spoke up, and then other players started to agree.
Allen still thinking $45 million is the number, thinks the NHL will offer less, so lets get creative and offer reset triggers and other options.

TSN Update

from tsn, On Saturday, league sources told TSN that the NHL may be prepared to make another offer to the players, but that it would contain only "cosmetic" changes to the $42.5 million dollar deal that was presented as a "final offer" to the players on Tuesday night.

Team 590 Reporting

Reporter Howard Berger from 590 is in NYC. Bettman seen walking into NHL offices but the media has not been told where the meeting is taking place. Berger has a picture in his mind of the two leaders storming off in a rage and Mario and Gretzky saying, you are not going anywhere, get back here and let's order Chinese.

update 11:35am, Gretzky said a few days ago, "We have to play for the Stanley Cup" are embedded in his mind and is the driving force for these negotiations.

NHL to make an Offer

from sportsnet, As of 11 a.m. ET in New York, no deal to resurrect the season has been made, but it is believed the NHL is preparing an offer.

Pang on ESPN Radio

Premature report last night from The Hockey News. Nothing was agreed upon last night according to some players.
This is a great start though. Move forward, start growing together and get the deal done. Pang is in chicago filing his reports and said he heard from players all last night, some he has never heard from and many are complaining they never heard from BG. Can't believe they gave up so much and a deal was not made.

update 11:07am, Pang feels it will be a gritty day but guesses a deal will get done and thinks hockey will be played this season. ESPN is a factor in the decision to play this season..

Team 590 Radio

Had Ken Campbell on from the Toronto Star, believes today is the make or break deal, finds it difficult to believe they would risk all the publicity and blow this deal again. Thinks both BG and GB will be heavily involved in the meeting.
He thinks these meetings were far more owner driven than player driven. The players thought the season was over.

Meeting Underway

from tsn, For the first time in seven months, NHL hockey is front and centre on a Satruday, albeit in a very different way.
Just three days after cancelling the 2004-2005 season, both the NHL and NHL Players' Association are now meeting in New York in an effort to table a new collective bargaining agreement and perhaps save the season - again
Suggestions that a deal was reached to end the NHL lockout were at best premature and at worst dead wrong, multiple sources told TSN late Friday night.

Meeting Underway

from tsn, For the first time in seven months, NHL hockey is front and centre on a Satruday, albeit in a very different way.

Just three days after cancelling the 2004-2005 season, both the NHL and NHL Players' Association are now meeting in New York in an effort to table a new collective bargaining agreement and perhaps save the season - again.

Watch TSN and SportsCentre and click on to TSN.ca throughout the weekend for updates as they are made available.

Suggestions hat a deal was reached to end the NHL lockout were at best premature and at worst dead wrong, multiple sources told TSN late Friday night.

Rumors all Day

Everyone must understand that today will be a day filled with rumors and reports filled with even more rumors.
I will be posting information today as it becomes available, if it is a rumor it will be clearly marked as such.
The major media outlets will be the source for any news of the CBA. Many are or will soon be gathered in NYC to report on any updates. Today should be the day we find out if there will be a season or not. If it goes into tomorrow, that probably means a problem has arisen.

Bob McKenzie's View

from tsn, Gary Bettman received significant negative reaction from some of his owners for the $42.5 million offer and the consensus seems to be, even now, that $45 million simply won't fly with the majority of the NHL board of governors. There is also some talk that $42.5 million might work for the players in the first year of the deal if it is ramped up by $500,000 a year for the balance of the contract, which would top it out at $45 million. That may be more palatable to some owners, but will it fly with the players?
That's a good question, but it's difficult to get a real grasp of what's really going on within the rank and file of the NHLPA.

Phil Borque - Deal is Done

from the ocregister (sub. req.), "The deal is done," former NHL left wing and current Pittsburgh Penguins radio analyst Phil Bourque said Friday night. "There will be an announcement tomorrow (today)."
While media reports in Canada late Friday suggested an agreement is imminent, Bourque cited another contact.
"I have an incredibly reliable source that has been giving me inside information from players, agents, owners, arena workers," Bourque said.
"I'm dead-set convinced."
Bourque is a former Pittsburgh teammate of Penguins player-owner Mario Lemieux, and he said he skated with Lemieux recently, although Bourque said the two had not spoken Friday.

What We Know

So the TSN headline on their homepage reads today, "Deal still a longshot". The LA Times says a deal by Sunday, others report talks continue today and the Hockey News still reporting a deal is done.
All of these reactions are quite normal at this time frame of the negotiations. Every sign looks good so let's just wait and see what today brings. I feel very confident a deal will be made this weekend and the NHL will play this season.
Stay tuned, I will be updating as soon as information is available.

NHL Still Breathing

from the ny post, The Post learned late last night that union chief Bob Goodenow has been excused from the negotiating process by the NHLPA after a week of union confusion.
Though it is not quite a done deal, it appears as though we're going to be witness to a resurrection. We'll know for sure by the end of the weekend.
If an agreement is indeed consummated, a well-placed source has told The Post, a 28-game schedule is likely to be played beginning March 3, followed by the traditional four-round playoff format.
Bettman, meanwhile, has his own issues with which to contend. Not only has ESPN made it clear that it may exercise its freedom of choice not to televise the league next year, not only have a significant number of mid- and large-market teams urged the commissioner to get on with the victory lap, but The Post has learned of warnings from a major advertiser that it will move its money elsewhere if a deal is not completed in timely fashion.

Deal by Sunday

from the la times, Gary Bettman will have a chance today to take the only action more remarkable than canceling the NHL season:
Uncanceling the NHL season.
In a fascinating convergence of divergent interests, an alliance of players, owners, agents and general managers gave new life to the collective bargaining talks. Their common ground was their zeal to avoid the grievous damage that would be inflicted by a missed season — and repair the damage already done by NHL Players' Assn. chief Bob Goodenow.
"The general feeling is an expectation that a deal will be done by Sunday," a source close to the situation said.

Deal a Longshot - TSN

per tsn, Suggestions that a deal has been reached to end the NHL lockout are at best premature and and worst dead wrong, multiple sources have told TSN.
Friday's optimism was fueled first by news that the two sides were set to meet Saturday in New York, and then by the arrival of Hall of Famers Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux to join the discussions.
Late Friday night, there were several reports that Gretzky and Lemieux had actually managed to broker a deal, but both reports were quickly denied by both the NHL and the Players Association.
"The report is absolutely false," an NHLPA spokesman said late Friday night in reference to the first such story, which came from The Hockey News website.
That sentiment was echoed by NHL vice president Bill Daly, who told TSN it was "entirely untrue and without foundation."
While it's still possible the two sides could reach an agreement Saturday, a source close to the talks called the chances of that taking place "very remote".

Friday, February 18, 2005

Done for the Night

Been up since 2am, started blogging about that time and now feeling it.
Will be back tomorrow with any and all updates. Hopefully with the official words:
The NHL and NHLPA have agreed on a new CBA agreement.
As I am typing this, Pang on ESPN News, says 28 game schedule, and he has heard Euro players have been called back.

Season Saved

from the hockey news, The NHL season is expected to be "un-canceled" Saturday in New York.
A player close to the talks who asked to remain anonymous told The Hockey News the two sides have agreed to a deal in principle that features a $45-million salary cap. Asked if there was any way a deal won't get done, the player said,
"not that I can see. I couldn't possibly imagine the idea that somebody is going to try to make a name for themselves in the last minute here."

update 9:17pm, tsn reporting the same article.

NHLPA Release

TORONTO (February 18, 2005): Late Thursday night the NHL requested a meeting with NHLPA representatives in New York. Today the NHLPA accepted the invitation and a meeting has been scheduled for Saturday.

NHL - If They Play This Year

If the NHL plays this a year, is there someone in the hockey world you would like to see "eat their words"?
My #1 choice is Jimmy Devellano, SR. VP for the Wings. Jimmy D. has been walking around Detroit for the last month saying I told you so, I told you we would not play hockey, blah blah, blah!!!
Please post a comment and please keep it clean. Thanks!

Sportsnet Says Meeting Saturday

Sportsnet reports meeting is Saturday, but a league executive says "While nothing is written in stone yet, we expect the PA in New York by the weekend, possibly as early as tonight (Friday)."

TSN Insiders

The NHL may play again this season (will open WMP video).

ESPN Reporting Meeting Tonight

EJ Hradek reporting the meeting will take place tonight. TSN says tomorrow, so someone is wrong.

update 7:23pm, EJ Hradek now reporting meeting maybe tonight, probably tomorrow.

Pang Dead on so Far

Darren Pang knew exactly what was going on and put it all on the line today on Detroit Radio. In case you missed it, read this post to see what I am talking about. He had some inside information, didn't he!

TSN Reporting Meeting on Saturday

from tsn, Representatives of both NHL owners and players have not given up hope of salvaging the NHL season and many are confident games will be played this spring. TSN has learned the two sides will meet in New York in another attempt to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement.
According to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, several NHL owners have been in contact with agents and players in hope of getting a deal done.
TSN has also learned that Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux have been involved in the process to get the two sides together and NHL Vice President Bill Daly and NHLPA Senior Director Ted Saskin will be in attendance at Saturday's meeting.

Draper on WXYT

Art Regner (on air host) said talk was Yzerman was one of the players going to NYC to meet with the NHL. Draper said that is not true. Said Stevie just felt this season was not officially over and wanted talks to go on.
When asked about the rumors, he said "we still have a pulse." If something isn't done thru the weekend or the next couple of months, we are in big trouble, meaning the NHL.
Asked if he supports Goodenow, said if he gets a deal done, then he is behind him all the way.

Yzerman

I am hearing, and this is just talk, nothing concrete, that Yzerman has played a huge part in these talks the last few days. He refused to let it die and stepped up to the plate.
Yzerman had a heart to heart with Ilitch and lead the charge to get a proposal into place.
The meeting in NYC may be tonight but don't expect to hear any information about it.
But, I have said that before and bam, something comes out of the blue.
Remember, this is just talk, nothing official.

Trying to Save the Season

from sportsnet, Sportsnet has learned there will be contact this weekend between the NHL and NHLPA in an effort to save the 2004-05 season.
Just days after NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced the cancellation of the season, now efforts appear to have been renewed to save the season.
Sportsnet has learned there will be contact this weekend between the NHL and NHLPA in an effort to save the 2004-05 season.
A league executive told Sportsnet, "While nothing is written in stone yet, we expect the PA in New York by the weekend."

Kevin Allen on Detroit Radio - WDFN

Says the executive board of the PA is ready to make a formal proposal to the NHL. Everyone on the board is behind it except for Daniel Alfredsson who is sitting on the fence.
Allen says the proposal may be for $45 million with a luxury tax built in for an amount below $45 mil. Some hard line owners may not like it.
Things could heat up here real soon folks.

TSN reporting

from tsn, Representatives of both NHL owners and players have not given up hope of salvaging the NHL season and many are confident games will be played this spring, TSN has learned.
According to sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity, several NHL owners have been in contact with agents and players in hope of getting a deal done.
"We can't let this thing die when we're so close," said one team executive. "We've come this far, it would be insane to lose the season over a relatively small gap."

What May Be Happening

The NHLPA may be discussing within their own ranks a proposal to submit to the NHL. No official discussion has taken place with the NHL yet.
The union must first agree to submit a proposal, which of course may never happen. Players are taking a stance on both sides, one side saying make a proposal now and the other side saying enough is enough, let us just sit it out and start negotiations again in the near future.
So until the PA decides within their own group, nothing will be reported but the reports we have been following for the last two days.

Software Issues Again

Just a heads up, I am experiencing blogger issues again. Comments may be difficult to use also. Will continue to post, you may see double posts so please be patient.

Blogger Status
Friday, February 18, 2005

In the past several days, we've seen some performance problems with Blogger. In general, the app has been slower and users have encountered an increased number of Internal Server Errors.

We are aggressively fixing the source of the errors and have pushed several fixes in the past few days to address the problem. There is additional work to do to return Blogger back to a more responsive state - and we're on it.

Kevin Allen on Team 590

Every indication is the NHL is reaching out to see if the PA has anything to offer. Says could get some kind of season in but nothing has been done yet.
A lot of concern from both sides if they do not play this year, but no negotiations going on now, but a lot of talk going is ongoing.
The Shanahan Summit idea needs to be expanded, more of that type of conversation needed, sides need to stop fighting and move forward. NHL should be in a growth mode now but it is in a stall mode right now.
Kevin sees some teams moving, but not folding. The cap will allow teams to at least remain competitive.

Arthur Griffiths Reporting

Arthur Griffiths said that he just spoke with player agent Larry Kelly and people are encouraging the NHLPA to immediately submit another proposal.

Arthur Griffiths - Mojo Radio

Arthur said he has been trying to get Larry Kelly (I believe he is Yzerman's agent along with many NHL players) on and spoke to him twice today on his cell phone. The last conversation Arthur had, Larry said he could not come on because he is tied up today speaking with the PA.

Thibault on Team 590

Jocelyn Thibault, player rep for the Blackhawks, was asked if it was over, he said as of now it is, the league stated so on Wed. He has heard the rumors, kind of weird, can't comment on anything because he hasn't been contacted by any players.
Was asked if Goodenow consulted with player reps before putting the cap on the table. It was a weird morning but it happened late at night and the PA had to come back with a proposal. He said he was not consulted but agrees with the PA move.
He totally supports Goodenow and said he is still working hard to get a deal done. Says he is disappointed a deal was not done, seemed we were real close to a deal. Said he has talked to a couple of players on the Hawks and all are supportive of the PA., but they were shocked a deal was not made.

Post-NHL Cancellation Stories Won't Die

from tsn, (TSN.ca with files from New York Newsday, Dallas Morning News, The Hockey News and Los Angeles Times) - While most fans and hockey pundits believed that the NHL lockout news ended Wednesday with commissioner Gary Bettman's cancellation announcement, it seems that most newspapers and hockey publications across the continent still won't let it go.

The rumours continued to swirl Friday as New York Newsday reported that a faction of players and agents are secretly working to put together a proposal for the league involving a $46-million cap with a 100 percent luxury tax that starts at $42 million. It would also have a provision that drops the cap to $42 million should more than eight teams hit the $46-million cap in the same season.

"This is not being done with the union," a source told the paper.

No updates Yet

No updates on the "reported" players proposal. Will post any information as it becomes available.
Darren Pang reported earlier that he expected something to happen today. Pang may be a good source for all this talk because of his friendship with Yzerman.

J.D. on Mojo Radio

Not sure where players are going to go now. Things are not going to get any better. Said the $45 million is the number that can be agreed upon even though some owners may not agree.
Not sure if players will come off the $49 cap or if owners will be creative to get to $45, but no phone calls have been made. Why such a fight going on, he cannot understand it.
Wants to know why the NHLPA thinks they can get what their latest proposal called for. Teams are losing money and need to figure out a way to get to middle ground. Again saying if the players worked hard they could get a $45 mil cap. If not, it will be a $28-30 million cap with revenue sharing in the very near future. Have to develop a partnership, the game has the potential to grow but the game has to be fixed.
J.D. did not mention any of the reports floating around about another proposal coming from the players.

Pang on Detroit Radio

Darren Pang on WXYT says the players gave up so much, how could they not make a deal before the deadline? The common sense is there is a happy medium, a deal can be made.
About all the rumors, as of last night, still hearing optimistic reports that an offer will be made by the executive committee and would be run by Gretzky and Mario before passing it on to Bettman. Those two are acting as a buffer, wearing the white coats and if they approve it, that means Bettman probably would too.
They want no negotiations, that is why they want to make sure this one proposal will be ok with both sides.
When Bettman was on the radio yesterday all over North America, Bettman said if he was offered a $45 million proposal from the NHL, he would love to have that problem to deal with. Therefore, people are thinking it is Bettman's way of saying the NHL would accept that number.
Still some members of the PA thinking they should just start fresh with a new proposal but Panger says it is not going to get any better than what it is now.

update 9:30am, Pang said he has talked to Yzerman numerous times in the last two days and as of last night, Steve remained semi-optimistic that a deal could be made.

Efforts on to Revive NHL Season

from the la times, Well-placed sources said Thursday that Gretzky, managing partner of the Phoenix Coyotes, and Lemieux, player-owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, spoke to Bettman in an effort to explore whether the season could be salvaged. Sources said Trevor Linden, president of the NHL Players' Assn., and Mike Gartner, the union's director of business relations, met with Bettman in New York on Thursday while players expressed concern about the failed negotiations to the union's Toronto office.
Sources said the call might be made today. Gretzky told a Toronto radio station he had not been involved in "formal conversations" but said he had discussed the league's predicament with Lemieux. He also said he had had "extensive talks" with Shane Doan, the Coyotes' union representative and one of about a half-dozen players who teamed with some prominent agents, owners and general managers to kick-start the flagging negotiations last week.
"There is a slight chance that this could work," said a source familiar with the back-channel efforts. "But it is a chance."
Said another source: "It's going to be fairly dynamic and interesting, what may occur. It probably should have happened a long time ago."

NHL Comeback - Is It Possible

from the ny daily news, Like a creature in an old black and white horror movie, the National Hockey League may rise from its icy grave to skate again among the living.
Hours after commissioner Gary Bettman made his historic announcement Wednesday afternoon that the NHL would be the first major professional sports league in North America to lose an entire season to a labor dispute, a loosely formed coalition of players and agents - understandably outraged that the two warring factions did not attempt to contact one another in the 13 hours leading up to the deadline - began exploring the very remote chance of reviving bargaining talks.
If the effort succeeds, it could become known as the Back Door Revolution. It would have to move fast in order to get the official parties to meet in time to resurrect the 2004-05 season.
"This has to be done in the next day or two," said a prominent agent.
Brendan Shanahan is among the players rumored to be involved in the last-gasp effort, telling a Detroit radio station yesterday morning that he couldn't appear as an on-air guest because "there are things going on, and I don't want to jeopardize them."

Players Working Behind the Scenes

from the tampa tribune, A league source, who asked for anonymity, told The Tampa Tribune on Thursday that a group of players, which included NHL Players' Association president Trevor Linden, was working to get a deal together to give to the owners. Within 48 hours - the players want time to gauge opinions from union members before approaching the executive committee - the union is expected to make contact with the league. The source also indicated that Wayne Gretzky, now a general partner with the Phoenix Coyotes, and Pittsburgh Penguins owner/player Mario Lemieux were involved in the push. Reports also suggested that agents were working behind the scenes to help broker a deal they hope would end the lockout.
The offer is believed to include a salary cap in the $44 million-$45 million range. When the two sides broke off negotiations Tuesday night, the league was insisting on a salary cap of $42.5 million while the union was offering a cap at $49 million with provisions to go 10 percent higher twice during the six-year deal.
Another league source, who confirmed internal talks were going on, cautioned the talks won't automatically lead to a resolution.
"Even with all this going on, this still could be an uphill battle,'' the source said.

NHL Willing to Negotiate Cap

from the nypost, The league is willing to negotiate a hard cap figure of up to $45M if it receives such an offer from the union no later than the beginning of next week.
This information, we have confirmed, has been floated from the management side to players of influence within the NHLPA, but not officially from Bettman to NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow. We're told that numerous owners have told the commissioner that they could easily live under a $45M hard cap, and if offered by the PA, would recommend acceptance.
While it's believed that Bettman would lean toward fighting to make a deal at that number — perhaps to resurrect the moribund 2004-05 season, but certainly so that the league could attain some degree of normalcy going into 2005-06 — he does not at this time have authorization from the Board to make such an offer.

Group of Players Drawing Up Proposal

from newsday, On the day after, there was quiet all around the NHL. No dueling faxes, no posturing and definitely no one talking -- publicly, anyway -- about the faction of players and agents working to put together a proposal to somehow save their sport, if not this season.
According to a person with knowledge of the situation, the group is forming an offer it hopes to soon present to the NHL. The proposal, the source said, involves a $46-million cap with a 100 percent luxury tax that starts at $42 million. There also is a provision that drops the cap to $42 million should more than eight teams hit the $46-million cap in the same season.
"This is not being done with the union," the source said.
It is not known whether the group will first approach NHL Players Association executive director Bob Goodenow to see if he will agree to present it to the league. If not, the group might circumvent Goodenow and offer it directly to NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. A source familiar with labor negotiations said such a "back channel" communication violates labor law but is a generally accepted tactic

Thursday, February 17, 2005

ESPN -NHL TV Deal

from the latimes, The cancellation of the NHL season might mark the end of the league's relationship with ESPN.
Once a programming staple, the NHL has had a reduced presence on the network in recent years. This season it was scheduled to have 40 regular-season games on ESPN2, and Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals and the All-Star game on ESPN, a deal worth $60 million. ESPN holds options for two more years, at about $70 million a season.
"We're assessing all of our options," Diane Lamb, ESPN's director of media relations, said Thursday from Bristol, Conn. "Obviously, with the labor uncertainty, there are many questions.
"We are optimistic there is a future for the NHL on ESPN."

Bits & Pieces from the Hockey World

AS many of you know, I am always searching for any story on the CBA negotiations. I try to post only the stories that I think would be of interest to visitors to Breaking Sports. I found this story to be of particular interest; I have a feeling the writer has visited Breaking Sports on occasion. Let me know if you find any similarities.
from foxsports, Here are some bits and pieces of information that has been gleaned from the chatter around the hockey world:
  • On Thursday morning, Bettman spoke about the lockout on WXYT-AM in Detroit. When asked about a rumored new proposal from the players he responds that the league would want to see it as soon as possible. He adds that if it is not possible to save this season, working on starting next season on time would be ideal.
  • Canadian network TSN's reporter Bob McKenzie tells a Vancouver radio station that while he doesn't believe there will be a season this year, he believes that something will happen in the next few days regarding a shakeup in the player union. He reported the reluctance of many in the union to go back to square one.
  • WXYT-AM in Detroit reports that Red Wings forward Brendan Shananhan declined an invitation to come on the radio, saying there are some sensitive negotiations going on right now.
  • Broadcaster John Davidson tells Toronto radio station Team 590 that he hopes if rumors of ongoing talks are true, that they are led by union leaders, and not another faction of players. He also adds that he thinks Bettman has left the door open and that $45 million is the key number. He feels that both sides should catch their breath and look back, then each offer $45 million and get it done.
Notice anything in this article that I may have posted today?

Can it be Saved

the tsn (will open WMP video) boys chime in.

Bettman On Mojo Radio

Any further communication fro the PA today? No. How about the agents? Bettman has said he has heard the rumors swirling around but he is not sure what to make of them. Maybe has heard from a few agents but nothing big.

OK, We Sit and Wait Again

When Gretzky speaks up and says he is hopeful something is happening. that is good enough for me.
Breaking News CBA Version part 2 is in full alert mode. Will keep you updated as soon as information comes in,
I was so looking forward to a relaxing day and night, oh well, that can wait.

Gretzky on Team 590 Toronto

Players are talking today, Bettman left the door open a little bit. Hopefully something can get done very soon. Players want to play, fans want to see hockey. He hopes something can get done, there is a deal to make.

Pat Brisson - Player Agent on Team 590

Pat said in regards to all the rumors floating around today, " Let me answer by saying this, we all woke up this morning from yesterday's cold shower, and realized the only chance to save this season and maybe this league is in the next 24-48 hours."

Bowman on Detroit Radio

Scotty says the high powered agents are meeting with their clients, then present a proposal to the PA. Then hopefully the PA would agree and present another offer to NHL.

Push on to save season

Gretzky and Mario involved, from the hockey news, It’s not just the fans who think it was crazy the way the 2004-05 NHL season was cancelled. According to a source, Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux have re-entered the picture in an attempt to get the season back on track.

“I was told Gretzky and Lemieux got involved, to try to talk some sense into the (union) executive committee,” the source said. “A lot of people who care about the game say they’re too close not to at least talk some more.”

Steve Yzerman, veteran captain of the Detroit Red Wings, told The Hockey News he thinks there is still time to save the season.

“I don’t know if it’s necessarily tonight, tomorrow morning, Friday night or Saturday…I know the season has been cancelled, but it’s not too late to uncancel it,” Yzerman said.

According to multiple sources, NHL chief legal officer Bill Daly has told the group not to contact him until they have a deal. One source said many veteran players called NHL commissioner Gary Bettman directly since the cancellation announcement Wednesday afternoon.

WXYT Detroit Radio

Re-hashing the Shanahan quote from this morning, Regner (station on air host and self proclaimed Wing insider) claiming it was his mistake that Terry Foster stated sensitive negotiations were going on.
Regner said he was on the phone with Foster right before Terry went on the air and reported what Shanahan said. Regner now claiming Shanahan said to him that he did not want to come on "in case" negotiations were going on.

Bettman on WDFN Radio in Detroit

"The door is open, if they have an offer, give it to us."

John Davidson on Team 590 Toronto

JD was asked about rumblings if negotiations are still going on. JD says he hopes if there is on-going talks, it should be lead by Linden and the NHLPA and not a "rebel" group of players.
He said Bettman left the door open and thinks $45 million is the key number. Both sides should catch their breath and look back, then they should each offer $45 million and get it done.

Players Presenting a Proposal

Within the next 2-3 days, a new proposal will be made to the NHL for the players. Notice I am not saying the NHLPA yet, but something is without a doubt; cooking.

Detroit Radio

Team 1270 WXYT in Detroit just mentioned that they asked Brendan Shananhan to come on and talk, he declined saying there is some sensitive negotiations going on right now.

Bob McKenzie on Vancouver Radio

Said he doesn't think there will be a season this year, but just got off the phone and player agents, general managers and players are talking this morning. Said there is an issue right now about union solidarity, referred to Larry Brooks article (see a Union Traitors article below) and something may shake out in the next few days,
Said a lot of players and agents do not want to go back to square one and want to get a deal done.

Bettman on Detroit Radio

Bettman asked if he would accept a deal that is rumored to be coming from the PA. If the union has something to say, we want to see it ASAP. If this season is done, we can work on next year.

update 9:50am, The rest of the interview was the same stuff we have heard and read a thousoand times. Defending the NHL stance and used a Larry Brown line, "We will fix the game the right way."

update 10:12am, I just wanted to let you know the NHLPA was asked to come on the S & L morning show on WXYT but they never returned the phone calls from WXYT requesting Bob Goodenow for an interview.

Is There a Deal to be Made

Many of us have read, heard that the PA is working on another proposal to present to the NHL.
Canadian radio stations are talking about it and this is all fueled by Yzerman's comments from yesterday.
Bettman is scheduled to be on WXYT in Detroit at 9:30am today and will be asked if he is aware of another proposal being made.
I will keep you posted on this issue.

Union Traitors

from the ny post, They don't trust the commissioner, they don't trust the owners, they probably don't trust their general managers and coaches to any great extent, either. Now the players can't even trust each other. Their union is in shambles. They are a battered band of serfs in disorderly retreat. What a mess.

Gary Bettman and his zealous allies on the Board have scored their victory. Now it's only a matter of when and where the final score will be totaled. They'll get their cap and they'll get it at their price, and they'll get it sooner rather than later and they'll get all of it simply because the union turned on itself over the last four or five days.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Hockey Frown - Mitch Albom

from the detroit free press (thurs. edition) via mercury news (sub. req.), And by the way, Elvis is dead, too.
They could have added that Wednesday, when they announced the hockey season was over. Really? Over? How about that? And Florida is hot and fudge is fattening and Paris Hilton has no talent. All declarations of the obvious. Wednesday was nothing more than Gary Bettman putting a sour face on an already sour story. Over? Wednesday? The truth is, this hockey season began dying long before that.
It died every empty day of the summer, when owners said, "Let them come to us," and the union said, "No, let them come to us."
It died when training camps were canceled, when exhibition games were canceled, when season openers became silent nights.
It died when players got out their passports and headed for Europe. It died when a 50-game season became impossible, when a 40-game season became impossible, when even playing every team, in your both conferences became impossible.
And it died, finally, in a news conference Wednesday afternoon, when Bettman, the NHL commissioner, said, "I have no choice but to cancel the 2004-05 season. This is a sad, regrettable day that all of us wish could have been avoided."
Excuse me while I throw up

Is This the End

from tsn, The last time Detroit Red Wings star Steve Yzerman played in an NHL game, during the 2004 playoffs, he had to be helped off the ice when a puck broke bones near his left eye.
Yzerman vowed to return, with a visor, but didn't get the chance.
With the league cancelling the season over its labour woes Wednesday, Yzerman - along with a handful of NHL legends - may have been pushed into retirement.

Withdrawals

Scenario for the last few weeks - wake up, grab a cup of coffee, do some daily maintenance on the PC, and start surfing the web for any news on the CBA.
Tomorrow it will hit me, now what do I do. My theory with this blog was think a step ahead, anticipate the next move of the NHL or PA and start hunting down some information. What will I do now......
Be prepared folks, your recent daily routine will come to a sudden stop tomorrow too!

Thoughts from the TSN Trio

The TSN Insiders (will open WMP video) give their views on the cancellation of the season.
Also one on one with Bettman and Goodenow (both will open WMP video).

Outlook for the NHL Teams

from canada.com, A look at how all 30 NHL teams stand in the wake of the 2004-05 season being wiped out (all figures in U.S. dollars; payroll figures from NHL's Dec. 14 proposal; option years and two-way contracts included in team payrolls).

Appreciate the Interaction

I just wanted to say I appreciate all the comments posted by you. It sure made it easier for me to blog and provided me with motivation. I will continue to update as needed and plan to turn this blog into what it was intended for; breaking sports news.
If you have anything to contribute, please pass it along at any time.
I have another blog that I have been updating on a daily basis since late October but to be honest with you, I have not devoted much time to it because of all the hockey news lately.
I will post a link to that blog in the near future, it will be on the right sidebar of this blog.
For the Detroit area fans, you never asked me here who I really am; why not?

rw1

NHLPA Press Conference

Goodenow said it is not happening this afternoon when asked about negotiations.
Said there was no room to negotiate after receiving the 2nd letter from Bettman last night and nothing was done this morning.
Every thing on the table from the NHLPA is now pulled back too.

Darren Pang On ESPN

Panger saying players are calling him and want to tell Goodenow to change proposal to $44-45 million based on Bettman's reaction during the press conference.

More Yzerman - Part 2

Said he wants to wait to answer any specific questions about what he would accept as a PA member until Goodenow talks.
Still doesn't know if he will come back, decision will be made is if he feels he can contribute to the Wings. It is not about him right now, but can we figure out a way to get the deal done now.

You Will Not Believe It

Yzerman on Detroit Radio right now, he still thinks there is a deal to be made. Said he is not ready to concede the season just yet. Said let it die down for a couple of days and see what happens.
He was surprised to read on the internet that a cap had been offered by the Union. Yzerman is not a happy camper right now. He said he will not criticize the PA because he had the chance to be on the committee if he wanted to be.

NHL Will Never Be The Same

from foxsports, The deathwatch for the NHL's 2004-05 season is finally, mercifully over. The patient expired at 1 p.m. ET on Wednesday when league commissioner Gary Bettman announced the season was officially canceled.
The league and the NHLPA have issued post-mortems blaming the other for the stillborn season, while pundits and fans will draw their own conclusions as to the wisdom of this cancellation and where the blame lies.
We can also expect to hear about intrigue, real and imagined, in the days leading up to Wednesday's pronouncement regarding the frantic, last-minute negotiations and "flip-flops" on both sides from their previously entrenched positions on linkage and salary caps.

No More to Say



Game Off

from usatoday, The NHL canceled what little was left of the season Wednesday after a series of last-minute offers were rejected on the final day of negotiations.
A lockout over a salary cap shut down the game before it ever got a chance to start in October. Now the NHL, already low on the popularity scale in the United States, becomes the first major pro sports league in North America to lose an entire season to a labor dispute.
"As I stand before you today, it is my sad duty to announce ... it no longer is practical to conduct even an abbreviated season," commissioner Gary Bettman said. Accordingly, I have no choice but to announce the formal cancellation of play for 2004-05."

Official Release

NHL ANNOUNCES CANCELLATION OF 2004-05 SEASON

NEW YORK (February 16, 2005) - The National Hockey League announced today that, because a new collective bargaining agreement has not been realized, it no longer is practical to conduct an abbreviated 2004-05 season.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman issued the following statement:

"Every professional sports League owes its very existence to its fans. Everyone associated with the National Hockey League owes our fans an apology for being unable to accomplish what is necessary for our game and our fans. We are truly sorry.

"Five months ago, I stated that the National Hockey League could not function without an economic system that will bring our League into the 21st Century. I said that our 30 Clubs were united in their dedication to an economic system under which the teams and players, sharing common objectives and a commitment to our fans' satisfaction, would work together as partners.

"The time since then has been devoted to the pursuit of that goal. Today, I can tell you that our determination remains every bit as strong as it was in September to secure the partnership required to protect and ensure the future of the League ... for the benefit of the Clubs, the Players, and our devoted fans.

"When I stood before you in September, I said NHL teams would not play again until our economic problems had been solved. As I stand before you today, it is my sad duty to announce that because that solution has not yet been attained, it no longer is practical to conduct even an abbreviated season. Accordingly, I have no choice but to announce the formal cancellation of play for 2004-05.

"We profoundly regret the suffering this has caused our fans, our business partners and the thousands of people who depend on our industry for their livelihoods. We will continue to explore and pursue all available options in order to achieve a successful resolution to this dispute and to get the best game in the world back where it belongs -- on the ice, in front of the best fans in the world.

"As I also said in September, what we must do now is not about the present or the short-term needs of this season. Rather, it is about the future of our League and 30 teams.

"The National Hockey League was formed in 1917, and it has played a season through to a championship in every year but 1919. Through the decades and the generations we have faced a variety of crises and challenges -- some of which seemed catastrophic at the time. The League persevered through all those adversities and the League will persevere through this one, as well -- to emerge with a framework for the future, one that is fair to everyone -- where our players are fairly paid, receiving what we can afford -- no more, no less.

"This is a sad, regrettable day that all of us wish could have been avoided.

It is Over

Bettman apologizes to the fans.

Last Minute Rumor Flying

RUMOR - Bettman going to board of governors with another proposal.

Sportsnet

Sportsnet has removed the little blurb from their website regarding another NHL porposal.

No Movement

Nothing going on as of 12:04pm. Looks like the end is near.

EJ Hradek Reporting

EJ says he expects the league to make a final offer of $45 million. Says Bettman does not want to step up to the microphone and say season is over because of $2.5 million.

TSN Deadline Passed

from tsn, NEW YORK - The National Hockey League's deadline for the NHL Players' Association to accept its $42.5 million hard cap proposal has passed, with all signs pointing to commissioner Gary Bettman announcing the cancellation of the 2004-2005 season at a 1pm et/10am pt news conference in New York (live on TSN and TSN.ca).

Neither side has contacted each other since wrapping up a public letter-writing campaign Tuesday night, when the NHL and the union stood pat with a $6.5 million gap.

McKenzie Disputing Sportsnet

McKenzie claiming to his knowledge Sportsnet report is not true.

Sportsnet Reporting

Sportsnet has learned the league will come off their hard stance of $42.5 million but will not accept the union's latest offer of $49 million.

note, I am having serious software issues with blogger, trying to post as quick as I can.

No Contact

Reports are the two sides have not had any contact with each other today.

NHLPA Conference at 4pm

Team 590 Toronto reporting the PA has called a 4pm news conference.

TORONTO (February 16, 2005): National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) Executive Director Bob Goodenow will have media availability today at 4:00 p.m. EST in the Queen’s Quay Room at the Westin Harbour Castle (Conference Centre) in Toronto. Media unable to attend this session in Toronto will be able to listen in via conference call.

WHAT: NHLPA media availability

WHEN: 4:00 p.m. E.T. Wednesday, February 16, 2004

WHERE: WestinHarbourCastle, Conference Centre - Queen’s Quay Room
1 Harbour Square, Toronto.
(North Side of Queen’s Quay)

PARKING: Parking garage available on site. For satellite truck logistics, please contact the Westin’s Sabrina Capone at 416-361-7425.

CONFERENCE CALL-IN #: 1-800-814-4862

Brett Hull on Team 1200

He says he doesn't know what the hell is going on. We have offered a salary cap, why didn't we do it 8 months ago. What can we accomplish in 3 hours. Cancel the season. Get the teams in order, let the people know the game will change and start again in September. It is asinine to play a 20 game schedule.
Can't see why an agreement could not be reached in 3 months from now. Said the biggest problem is the game, not the CBA. Officiating needs to be changed, call the penalties. So much hooking and holding going on, refs missing the boat. Said players like Jordan Tootoo are not out there to play the game, they should be watching players like him.
Said people running the NHL are morons. They do not care about the game. When Bettman came into the league, we had a a great TV contract, now we don't have one at all. There agenda is to hold the player down. Look at the Donovan McNabb commercials, it pitches the game, not the soup. NHL does nothing to promote the game.
No reason for Goodenow to step down, but PA should work better with the NHL. Next commish should be someone who has been in the game. Need to put together a group of players to recommend changes to the game. Whoever is doing it now is way off base. He said move the net back so the game is played in front of the net instead of beside. He has been coached to pass the puck behind the net and he says WHAT, we are helping the other team. Get the puck in front of the net!!!
If season is canceled, can it recover. Yes, hockey fans are a special breed, people are smart enough to see this is a labor problem. Ours happens to be in the media.
We have earned the money and people offered us the money, we did not put a gun to the owners head for the money.

Pierre McGuire on Team 1200 Ottawa

Just on, said he has been working the phones and he feels the NHL will not move from their last offer. Not encouraged at all, doesn't see any side picking up the phones.
Also, teams are now scheduling their own press conferences which will follow the NHL press conference at 1pm.
He said the players are upset with the lack of communication on the NHLPA side. Many players have not been kept up to date with the most recent information.
Said Bettman took a beating in the US papers, it is unfortunate that they are piling on him. Most US hockey writers don't know "our" game.

What will it Take

Is $45 million the magic number for the NHLPA? Will the NHL make one more offer ?
The NHL must, and I use the baseball phrase, "For the good of the game", get a deal done today.
Do you think the owners realize what will happen if the season is cancelled. Many organizations have lost employees already, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. People who will soon lose their jobs include, public relation departments, most of the support office personnel, sales staff, scouting departments will be stripped down, ticket departments will be gone and the community relations people will be toast. Not only will some key people be let go, but they will find other jobs and be lost forever.
Others who have been hurt by the lockout will feel even more hardship; the bars and restaurants around the arenas, taxi drivers, hotels, the cities where teams are located, vendors and rink staffs, the list can go on and on.
The question has to be asked, "Is it worth it gentlemen?"

If an Agreement is Reached

from the la times (sub. req.), Should a settlement be reached this morning, a source said, the season probably would not start before March 1 because many side issues would have to be hammered out and put on paper. Those matters include arbitration, revenue sharing, entry-draft procedures, drug testing, and free agency.
The 28-game schedule Bettman mentioned last week would have to be redone, because it was predicated on a deal being put on paper last weekend. In addition, a settlement would create a frenzy of free-agent signings, with about 200 players not under contract. The Washington Capitals, for example, have only 10 players under contract, according to the NHLPA's website. The Boston Bruins have 12, the New York Rangers have 13, Chicago Blackhawks have 15 and the Kings have 19 — but the Ducks have 23.
Many players who have NHL contracts but signed with European teams would need time to return to North America.

NHLPA Gives In, Still May Not Play

from the toronto star, There is no valid reason any longer not to play. The two sides are separated by only $6.5 million per team in their salary cap proposals, cutting the difference from Monday in half by last night. In other words, the difference between the two sides is approximately the value of one-tenth of the league's total revenues from last season.
"Now, it's strictly about a number," said Dallas Stars captain Mike Modano last night.
To fail to agree now would make this league and its players look completely ridiculous to the rest of the North American sporting world.

Nothing to Salvage

from the toronto star, There is nothing to salvage out of a mutilated hockey season.
Not dignity nor repute, not professional pride nor business acumen, not affection nor respect.
Don't you dare be grateful if a shred of NHL hockey is restored today to the 2004-2005 schedule, a jerry-rigged 28-game prologue to what would be — if all playoff series went the maximum distance — a 28-game post-season epilogue for the ultimate Stanley Cup champions.
We who love the sport have mythologized and even anthropomorphized hockey, investing the game with all manner of symbolic qualities, as if it synthesizes the essence of our national character, or at least how we would like to be viewed: Forthright, sturdy, resilient, unpretentious. But like the idealized and antiquated definition of international peacekeeping — the other major made-in-Canada contribution to the world — hockey, as we cling to it in our imagination, is more nostalgia than reality. It no longer looks the same, on the ice, and it no longer behaves the same, off the ice.
It has little class and less integrity.

Don't Trust Bettman

from the ny post, All you need to know about the confidence NHL players have in Gary Bettman's ability as commissioner is that they've declared their preference for playing under a designated team hard cap structure rather than in a fixed-percentage link system under which their income would automatically increase with improved performance by the league.
Even at the very last moment, even in attempting to negotiate a fair deal, the NHL players told Bettman once and for all that, in the end, all things being equal, they'd rather be employees of, than partners with, the league and the respective owners.
How's that for a healthy working relationship from which to spring forward, whenever — no, make that, if ever — the league reopens for business?

McKenzie - I Don't See Any Hope

from tsn, Quite frankly, I just don't see any hope for a season.
You always allow for a possibility of a miracle, that infinitesimally small percentage point that maybe something will happen at the last second to save the season, but logic would dictate otherwise.
There is a huge gap here. The NHL proposed a $42.5 million hard cap vs. the NHLPA proposal of a $49 million soft cap that could be as much as $53.9 million depending on the circumstances.
Those are big numbers to crunch. Right now, I don't see the NHLPA making the move to $42.5 and I don't see the NHL making the move from $42.5 to anything - maybe $43 or $44 million. When you put it in that context, where do we go?
Nowhere.

McKenzie - I Don't See Any Hope

from tsn, Quite frankly, I just don't see any hope for a season.
You always allow for a possibility of a miracle, that infinitesimally small percentage point that maybe something will happen at the last second to save the season, but logic would dictate otherwise.
There is a huge gap here. The NHL proposed a $42.5 million hard cap vs. the NHLPA proposal of a $49 million soft cap that could be as much as $53.9 million depending on the circumstances.
Those are big numbers to crunch. Right now, I don't see the NHLPA making the move to $42.5 and I don't see the NHL making the move from $42.5 to anything - maybe $43 or $44 million. When you put it in that context, where do we go?
Nowhere.

2nd Letter from Bob to Gary - Last letter of the Night

Dear Gary,

This is in reply to your most recent letter.

1. Your claim that the Clubs "cannot afford" our proposal is based on your hypothetical fear of what would happen "if every team spent to the $49 million level the Players have proposed". The notion that "every Club" will spend at the $49 million level is contradicted by years of actual payroll experience under the old CBA system and by Exhibit 12 of your December 14 document (attached for your recollection), in which you projected 24 teams well below the $49 million level after the rollback. Further, this experience is based on an environment without revenue sharing, taxes on team payrolls and the numerous new system restrictions.

2. Based on your own calculations from Exhibit 12, over 21 Clubs are spending significantly less than your team payroll limit number of $42.5 million. I am at a loss to understand how you suggest your offer earlier today represents a $75 million dollar increase when it only impacts the spending of nine teams!

You will receive nothing further from us.

Regards,
NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
PLAYERS' ASSOCIATION
Robert W. Goodenow
Executive Director & General Counsel

2nd Letter from Gary to Bob

NEW YORK (February 15, 2005) - National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman, in response to a collective bargaining counter-proposal received this evening, sent the following letter to NHL Players' Association Executive Director Bob Goodenow:

Mr. Robert Goodenow
Executive Director
National Hockey League Players' Association
Toronto, Ontario

Dear Bob:

It was disappointing to receive the fax of your "final" offer.

We would have been prepared to propose and negotiate over a "de-linked" maximum team salary sooner, but the NHLPA had been consistent in stating that the players would never accept a salary cap. We only learned in the mediation process on Sunday that you would entertain such an offer, which is why we asked for a meeting yesterday and made the "de-linked" proposal.

If every team spent to the $49 million level you have proposed, total player compensation would exceed what we spent last season and, assuming for discussion purposes, there was no damage to the game, our player compensation costs would exceed 75% of revenues. We cannot afford your proposal.

Our offer of earlier today was a $75 million increase over the offer we made yesterday. I hope you will accept it, and that we can move forward and negotiate the myriad of other issues that need to be addressed.

Sincerely,

Gary B. Bettman
Commissioner

It is all Numbers

from the ottawa sun, Perhaps National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman should have watched a few more hockey games. Had he done so, he might have learned that if you drop your gloves and challenge an opponent, you're not likely to get out of it without a fight.
As a result of the Monday accord, constituents in both camps are furious.
Owners have been screaming at Bettman that they had been promised a linkage system and that they have been betrayed.
Players have been screaming at NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow that the key issue in this lockout was the total rejection of a salary cap, and now the union has reversed its stand.
So the owners are unhappy and the players are unhappy. But the fans who want the season to resume as soon as possible should be delighted.
If either side had been totally comfortable with the Monday accord, then it's certain that the other side would have hated it. The only kind of settlement that is going to be agreed upon is one that makes each side feel as if it lost.

Is the union Split

from the ottawa sun, Whether the NHL season is cancelled today, commissioner Gary Bettman has already scored one big goal with the lockout: He has divided the NHL Players' Association. As both sides worked last night to avoid having Bettman cancel the season at a press conference today in New York, union boss Bob Goodenow's authority was being called into question.
While the possibility of a deal was far from certain, the NHLPA's decision to accept a salary cap left a number of players red-faced and wondering why the union would decide to bend over backward at the 11th hour.
"I think we gave up too much," Senators goaltender Dominik Hasek told The Score yesterday.
And Hasek wasn't the only one feeling that way. Sources say the NHLPA's private website -- The Source -- was flooded with messages from union members who were frustrated by the union's offer to accept a $52-million cap.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Bettman Rejects Proposal

from tsn, It did not take long for NHL commissioner Gary Bettman to reject the NHLPA's latest offer.
In his reply to NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow, Bettman said "If every team spent to the $49-million level, total player compensation would exceed what we spent last season, and our player compensation cost would exceed 75% of revenues. We can't afford that."
Bettman pointed out in his response that that the league's earlier offer represented a $75 million increase over what was previously on the table

Bettman Rejects Offer

per tsn, Bettman rejects offer.

Calling it a Night

I will be up early tomorrow posting all the media reports filed during the night.
I have no idea if the NHL will respond to the PA proposal. Right now, your guess is as good as mine.
I think the PA would agree to an offer of $45-46 million. The NHL must now decide if it is worth it to them to increase their offer. If not, the season is toast and the future is uncertain.

PA Letter to NHL

from tsn,
Dear Gary,

Yesterday afternoon, Bill Daly presented us with an offer from the League that, for the first time, was not linked to League-wide revenues. We appreciated your willingness to adjust your position and we worked to respond in kind. By evening, we had fashioned and reached out to you with an offer from the PA that included, for the first time, a team maximum cap. This offer built upon the 24% rollback and other changes in favour of clubs, which were presented by the Players on December 9, 2004.

note: read the rest of the letter by clicking the tsn link.

NHLPA Counter of the Counter Proposal

The letter sent by Bob to Gary, note it is in a pdf format.

update,10:39pm I posted this letter first because the tsn link was not yet available. Will keep it up in case you want to print out the letter in living color.

TSN Reporting

TSN is reporting the PA is working on a counter proposal for $49 million. No link yet.

Gun to their Heads

from sportsnet, Finally a deadline, with a loaded gun to the head to boot.
NHL Commissioner has given locked out players until 11 a.m. Wednesday to decide whether to accept his take or leave it offer of a salary cap of $42.5 million.
For what it is worth, this is the league's "final" offer (we heard that before) but the commissioner means it this time.
At least Bettman didn't go as far as Harry Sinden during the lockout of 1994. When the NHL delivered its "final" offer to the players a decade ago, Sinden said; "This is our final, final, final, final, final offer."
We only had one "final" this time out compared a handful the last time the NHL locked out its players. That's progress for you.
Will the NHLPA accept Bettman's ultimatum?
Here's saying they won't.
"The union won't accept it,' said one player rep. "The season will be cancelled. It won't fly."
There's no reason for the NHL Players' Association's executive committee to accept the offer. The PA has already conceded on the issue of a salary cap and you have to wonder why players would get down on both knees and surrender to the NHL's version of fiscal management.

Players Should Reject

I am taking a personal stance now and suggest the players reject the final proposal from Bettman. Throw the ball back in his court as soon as possible. See if he reacts, if he doesn't, the cancellation of the season will be on his shoulders.

We sit & Wait

How will the NHLPA react? Will they feel anger and just say forget, we are done or will they try to negotiate one more deal. Remember, this is the 2nd final offer from the NHL.

TSN Insiders

Their views on the final proposal, 1 and 2 (will open WMP video).

Arthur Griffiths on Mojo

Said he is not sure how BG will react but it is a good deal for the players. Comes out to $1.7 mil avg. salary per player.
No mention of any minimum cap, so BG may be trying to get clarification of GB memo. If there is no minimum cap, there is a huge problem.
Bettman has been taking calls from the board of governors today and Daly is talking with the rest of the owners.

Melrose and EJ Hradek

EJ and Melrose think there is still some wiggle room left. Melrose said if the NHL doesn't move a bit, their goal all along was to break the union and never play this year.

Letter to Bob

Dear Bob:

We attempted to reach out to you with yesterday's offer of a team maximum cap of $42.2MM ($40MM in salary and $2.2MM in benefits) which was not linked to League-wide revenues. As Bill told Ted, "de-linking" a maximum team salary cap from League revenues and total League-wide player compensation has always been problematic for us, especially since we cannot now quantify the damage to the League from the lockout. This presents the risk we will pay out more than we can afford. As you know, if all 30 teams were to spend to the maximum we proposed, and if the damage to our business is as we discussed at our meetings in New York, then the League would continue to lose money.

I know, as do you, that the "deal" we can make will only get worse for the players if we cancel the season - whatever damage we have suffered to date will pale in comparison to the damage from a cancelled season and we will certainly not be able to afford what is presently on the table. Accordingly, I am making one final effort to reach out to make a deal that will let us play this season.

We are increasing our offer of yesterday by increasing the maximum individual team cap to $44.7MM ($42.5MM in salary and $2.2MM in benefits). This offer is not an invitation to begin negotiations - it's too late for that. This is our last effort to make a deal that's fair to the players and one that the Clubs (hopefully) can afford. We have no more flexibility and there is no time for further negotiation.

If this offer is acceptable, please let me know by 11:00 A.M. tomorrow, in advance of my scheduled press conference. Hopefully, the press conference will not be necessary.

Sincerely,



Gary B. Bettman
Commissioner

According to the Score

The NHL has filed a counter-proposal to the NHL Players' Association offer, upping the salary cap to $42.5 million. The NHL has told NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow that it's a final offer with no flexibility or room to negotiate and must have a response by 11 a.m. tomorrow.

update, 6:31pm tsn confirming.

Mojo Radio

Bruce Dobik (sp) on from Calgary Herald, said two sides now discussing free agency, draft, things like that. He said as long as two sides can keep BG and GB apart, things should go well.
Said this is similar to what happened in 1995. Both guys coming off of their proposals with pressure from both sides. Bruce claims both Bob and Gary need to disappear after this is done, within 6 months to a year. If they are still around, NHL not serious about moving forward. If this was a public corp, people would have moved in and cleaned house.
Then went on to say, this thing could still blow up and in a way that would not be a bad thing. The NHL needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.

Is This a Tactic

from tsn, Legal stick-handling in the final hours of talks to save the 2004-05 NHL season could have serious repercussions later on in court, lawyers said Tuesday in assessing last-minute strategies by the league and union.
There was speculation Tuesday that the NHL Players' Association's offer to play under a salary cap - at a $52-million US level still not palatable to the league - could be a legal manoeuvre to help prove later on that the two sides did not really reach a bargaining impasse.

Team 1200in Ottawa

Team 1200 in Ottawa reporting a Bettman conference call at 6pm. Said they will be covering it live. This is unconfirmed. Anyone here about this?

update, 5:24pm, nothing anywhere about this, could be someone was misinformed.

Melrose on ESPN News Live

Said owners came back with $45 mil. Thinks they are very close now.

update, 4:57pm, Melrose just said tomorrow at 1pm they will announce agreement reached or if not ready yet, will push back meeting.

No News

I would think no news is good news. Although we as fans want to hear some updated information, the two sides are not going to release any information right now.
They have been communicating today but are they meeting in person, who knows.
Just site tight and check back when you have the chance. As soon as something concrete comes across, I will update you.

Players surprised by Cap Offer

from tsn, NHL players were taken by surprise Tuesday by news that their Players' Association had turned face and put a salary cap on the bargaining table. But some also expressed faith in the leadership, saying they were behind union officials if they believed it's the right thing to do. ''Giving up the salary cap is obviously really frustrating as a player,'' Oilers forward Ryan Smyth said in Edmonton. ''The union, through this proposal, has caught us by surprise. But the fact they felt it was the thing to do to get it done, then I'm behind them,'' he added.

Is there Time?

from tsn, ''I'm sure not everybody is happy out there. I'm sure there's some players not happy with a hard cap and some owners not happy at not having linkage,'' Flyers player representative Robert Esche told The Canadian Press from Philadelphia.
''But hey, it's a give-and-take world. Now it seems we're just down to numbers. It's exciting.''
Now the question is whether the two sides can bridge the gap. A source said the league sees $52 million as too high but might be willing to go in the low 40s to get a deal done.
''It shouldn't be that hard, they're agreeing on principles,'' Esche said.

More Media Reports

The talk in the media is Bettman still can postpone the scheduled press conference he has called for tomorrow. Many believe that could happen if talks are still ongoing.
Remember, Bettman has not really given an actual drop dead date.

J.D. on Team 590

JD says deal still has to be worked out. He fears some owners still have to agree and only eight votes can reject offer. Some are very hardliners and Bettman will have a hard time convincing them on anything other than their original proposal.
Jeff on with JD says some players will not move off of their proposal from yesterday.
JD says shame on the players if they won't budge. They have to understand that's the way it is. Same with hardline owners, they need to understand what is going on now.
JD and Jeff ( anyone know who Jeff is?) are both tired of this whole situation.

Ira Podell from AP

Hockey writer for Associated Press on Mojo Radio felt all along an agreement would be reached. Said both sides have backed off their original proposals and now working to get it done.
Podell says some hardline owners still out there but Bettman is dealing from a position of strength right now. By owners coming off of the linkage deal, it is now just getting a business deal done.
Podell is guessing meetings will take place in NYC.

In other hockey News

Phil Esposito named new commish of the yet to be established WHA.

correction, 2:10pm, Espo will be named President, Bobby Hull will remain as commish.

Bettman must make the Call

The players have done their part, fan and media support is now clearly on the PA side.
Bettman must get this deal done. If not, the damage done will be horrific and many fans will be completely turned off from the game.
Again, I repeat, this process will go well into the night, stay tuned and keep the faith.

Reports now claiming they are not Meeting

Leafs Lunch now saying sides have yet to meet today. But will and this will probably go right into tomorrow.

Alan Eagleson on with Griffiths

He is in London, England, just hearing the same thing we have been hearing. Hoping it gets settled, losers are fans, owners and players.
Eagleson complaining why this proposal hasn't been talked about two years ago. What is the problem? Going to be frustrating to play 20 or so games, then knock off 14 teams and have a playoff.
Griffiths says BG and GB are to blame and even if it does get done, no merit for applause and Alan agrees. This whole thing has been a joke. Bettman knows whatever he proposes, he needs 16 owner votes to approve it, if he is against any proposal, only 8 need to agree on it.
Bettman needs someone to be his eyes and ears for him, Burke was that voice and Colin Campbell hasn't done it.

Counter Offer

from sportsnet, Sportsnet has learned that the National Hockey League is considering making a counter proposal off the NHLPA's initial salary cap offer of $52 million, perhaps as early as today.
One source close to the negotiations believes a deal can be reached now that the philosophical differences have been bridged, though there is still considerable work to be done.
"It's just a matter of crunching numbers now," a source said. "Now that linkage is out of the equation, the players don't have to worry about the league's books and trusting their numbers."

Leafs Lunch Radio Show

The guys on the Lunch Show believe meeting in Niagra Falls began at 11am today.

update 12:24pm, fan 590 in TO also confirming meeting in Niagra Falls.

Proposal Update

from tsn, - A cap of $52 million but with provisions for teams to spend as much as 10 per cent more than that on three occasions in a six-year period, with a luxury tax incorporated. The luxury tax rates would be 25 per cent on $40-44 million; 50 per cent on $44-48 million; 75 per cent on $48-52 million and 150 per cent on $52-$57.2 million.
Sources say the NHL proposal is as follows:
- A hard cap of $40 million, with a 50 per cent luxury tax on $34-40 million.

Thanks for the tip!!!

News Moving Slowly

This will be a long day and night. If an announcement comes from any side in the next five hours or so, it is bad news.
The negotiations are taking place but the sides are not meeting face to face as of yet. I am sure the NHL and the NHLPA are talking with their respective sides and informing them of the ongoing procedure.
I will be here all day and night with any and all updates. If you hear anything, please feel free to pass it on by placing it in the comments section of any thread. I receive an immediate email when any comment is added.

Rumor Control

Rumor out there saying ESPN reporting players have agreed to a $45 mil cap. NOT true and ESPN did not report it.
EJ Hradek is tossing that number around but no agreement on it.

McKenzie on Mojo Radio

Wondering why this offer from the PA didn't come a month ago. The players have conceded a cap now they can negotiate a contract but it still could fall apart.
Will public sentiment be on the side of the players?, well they offered this very late and there may not be enough time left to get a deal done.
A good number of players calling NHLPA saying get a deal done with a cap. Thinks the NHL may think we have the players on the run and just may sit it out and let the players cave even more. Might not be the best idea though on the NHL's part though.

update 10:55am, Bettman could postpone the news conference scheduled for Wednesday if he feels negotiations are ongoing.

Arthur Griffiths Vancouver Radio

Arthur said the owners should look at the proposal long and hard. He is shocked NHL has not grabbed at this opportunity. They should have said we will continue to work on this proposal.
This proposal is good for 25 teams, and the other five may always have problems. Says Bettman and Goodenow have people checking newspapers, radio, etc daily for public opinion. If this deal does not get done now, fans will not come back and be lost forever.

For those who do not know Arthur, he is a former owner of the Canucks.

Open Thread

While we wait for some news on the CBA negotiating, I am going to open up this thread for you.
Breaking Sports had an all-time high of unique visitors yesterday (8212) and I expect that figure may be broken today.
Feel free to rant, give your opinion, talk hockey or anything else in the comment section of this thread. Please try to avoid foul language, if I consider it to be vulgar, it will get deleted.

Gordie - Hockey Loses

from the detroit news, No hockey in Hockeytown, and Mr. Hockey, perturbed by the likely loss of an entire schedule, sees a blurring of the seasons.
"It's taking the winter away," Gordie Howe said. "It seems like it's going to be spring, because there's no hockey."

Some room to Negotiate

from the AP, via newsday, With the philosophical differences now bridged there appeared to be room for the sides to negotiate dollar figures.
The 24-percent rollback on all existing contracts, originally offered by the union on Dec. 9, as well as more aggressive luxury tax rates and thresholds, were included in the players' counteroffer.
With the major stumbling blocks now out of the way, the sides are only $12 million apart on what each team's cap should be. With the salary rollback, only eight of the 30 teams would be above $40 million.

Back at it Today

Just in case you have not read or heard about it, the two sides will be back at again this morning.
Did the PA turn the tide by offering the $52 million cap. Will the NHL meet them half way, will the PA accept? Expect a long meeting today, and an agreement reached by Wednesday morning.

Smartest thing he ever Said

from the ny times (sub. req.), "We might be better off to stop chasing growth and revenue and play just high-quality hockey and let its popularity take care of itself," Karmanos said. "We're not a public corporation. We don't have to have compounded annual growth."

Down to the End

from ottawa sun, Unless a last-minute proposal made by a group of players -- including Jeremy Roenick, Chris Pronger and Jarome Iginla -- is successful, the NHL season is dead. With NHL commissioner Gary Bettman poised to cancel the 2004-05 season tomorrow, there was a razor-thin ray of hope last night that a miracle agreement could be reached.
While NHL VP Bill Daly and NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin met for 12 hours yesterday and will meet again this morning, the more intriguing development involved some high-profile NHLers.

Larry Brooks

from ny post, Gary Bettman's favorite saying in exhorting the Board to remain united in its quest to score a humbling knockout of Bob Goodenow and the NHLPA is actually pretty humorous, when you come to think of it.
"Let's continue to show some spine," is the commissioner's rallying cry in conversations with Board members, a source informs.
This from the fellow who showed so much spine by using building security to sneak him out a rear or underground exit in order to avoid the press following his Feb. 4 meeting with Goodenow at the midtown Manhattan Citigroup building.
This from the commissioner who has so much spine that within the last month, his PR Department removed both me and colleague Mark Everson from the league mailing list (maybe if they don't tell us, we won't know what's going on), and revoked my access to the NHLMedia.com site.

NNHLPA Statement

TORONTO (February 15, 2005): On Monday, the League presented the NHLPA with a proposal that included a significant move in the Players’ direction.The League abandoned its demand for “linkage” for the first time by agreeing that the League would no longer insist that League-wide compensation be limited to a percentage of declared League-wide revenues.However, the League continued to demand a team payroll cap of $40 million.

In response, the Players made a counter-proposal that featured an unprecedented move of their own. Specifically, for the first time ever, the Players included an upper limit on team payrolls. The Players’ payroll limit was set at $52 million.The Players’ counter-proposal also featured more aggressive tax thresholds and tax rates on team payrolls.

The League rejected the Players’ proposal.
NHLPA Senior Director Ted Saskin released the following statement:
“It is indeed unfortunate that with the major steps taken by both sides today we were unable to build enough momentum to reach an agreement.”

Just Spilt the Difference

from tsn, The No. 1 issue that has plagued the NHL lockout went out the window Monday night when the NHL Players' Association offered a deal that included a $52-million US salary cap.
But the deal was rejected by the NHL.
The surprising move was made by NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin during his secret meeting with NHL executive vice-president Bill Daly in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

Should they just split the difference?

Monday, February 14, 2005

What is Next

The NHL & NHLPA have one more full day to work on an agreement. The release by the NHL was not good. If it would have said something like we will continue talks tomorrow then I would see some hope.
Now it looks like back to the drawing board. Will either side make a move tomorrow, I would say yes but I am not as confident as I was this morning.
I will be back at again tomorrow, stay tuned.

NHL Release

NEW YORK (February 14, 2005) - Bill Daly, NHL Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, met for several hours today with Ted Saskin, Senior Director of Business and Licensing Affairs for the NHL Players' Association. No progress was made in the collective bargaining process. There will be no further comment.

NHL No Progress

from tsn, NHL executive vice-president Bill Daly and NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin met Monday for several hours at an undisclosed location in a last-ditch attempt to save the season. The NHL released a statement saying no progress was made in the collective bargaining process, but offered no further comment. As in some previous meetings, Bettman and union chief Bob Goodenow were not in the room.

No Progress

According to sportsnet, meeting over and no progress, Getting this as 2nd hand info, so it is unconfirme

update, tsn confirming no progress also.

Meeting still in Progress

As of 9:30pm, meeting is still in session according to reports.

Possible Bad News

from usatoday, Despite a last-gasp meeting Monday between the league and the players' union, commissioner Gary Bettman still planned to cancel the remaining games, a source close to the negotiations said on condition of anonymity.

update: 9:30pm Meeting is still in session according to reports. I just hope they don't read the above article.