Breaking Sports

Saturday, March 12, 2005

nhl- Exhiles in Russia

from the bbc, Russian sports fans are currently enjoying a rare treat, thanks to a bitter wage dispute in North America.
The decision by the North American ice hockey league, the NHL, to cancel its entire season following a lockout left hundreds of highly paid sporting superstars out of work.
But rather than hang up their skates, more than 70 are now playing in Russia.
They are a huge success with the public, but conditions for the stars are not quite what they are used to.

mlb- FBI sources say McGwire was Juiced

from the nydailynews, The recipe called for 1/2 cc of testosterone cypionate every three days; one cc of testosterone enanthate per week; equipoise and winstrol v, 1/4 cc every three days, injected into the buttocks, one in one cheek, one in the other.
It was the cocktail of a hardcore steroids user, and it is one of the "arrays," or steroid recipes, Mark McGwire used to become the biggest thing in baseball in the 1990s, sources have told the Daily News.
Long before Jose Canseco claimed he injected McGwire in the behind in his tell-all autobiography "Juiced," the man known as Big Mac denied ever using illegal steroids. But according to FBI sources, McGwire's name came up several times during "Operation Equine," a landmark anabolic steroids investigation that led to 70 trafficking convictions in the early 1990s. No evidence against McGwire or any other steroid user was collected, and one former agent who worked undercover in the case says McGwire was not a target.

nhl- "Loss Of NHL Season Sad"- Donald Fehr

from tbo, Baseball has long been considered to have the worst labor history of any of the four major North American sports. That may no longer be the case after hockey became the first sport to lose an entire season to a labor fight.
That doesn't mean Fehr, head of the Major League Baseball Players' Association, doesn't feel for what Bob Goodenow, the union leader for the National Hockey League Players' Association, is going through.
"I have an awful lot of empathy for Bob Goodenow during that period in the last year because I've been exactly where he is, although his situation ended up worse than ours,'' Fehr said. ``And all I can say is, I don't want to be in that position again and hopefully [baseball] won't be.''
"I'm trying to put my thoughts in some order because I have a lot of them,'' Fehr said. "First thing I would say is, it's terribly sad. You have a whole group of hockey players lose a season. More importantly, you have a whole group of fans who lose the opportunity to watch an entire season. And that's just really sad.''
Fehr admitted not knowing the exact process the NHLPA went through during negotiations or the economic situation of the league, but felt the 24 percent rollback offered by the players should have been the jump-start to talks, which could have saved the season.

mlb- McGwire Linked to Steroids

from espn, Five days before the House Government Reform Committee is scheduled to question current and former major-league baseball players about steroids, one of the subpoened players, Mark McGwire, has emerged as a prominent figure of a month-long investigation by the New York Daily News.
Citing FBI sources, the newspaper reported that McGwire's name came up several times in a landmark anabolic steroids investigation that led to 70 convictions in the early 1990s.
While evidence against McGwire was never collected and he was not a target in the investigation, two steroid dealers caught in the probe told the Daily News that another dealer provided McGwire and Jose Canseco, among others, with illegal anabolic steroids.
The NY Daily News story will appear on Sunday.

nfl- Jeff Garcia a Detroit Lion

ESPN reporting Garcia has agreed to a contract with the Detroit Lions.

After deliberating the several options, quarterback Jeff Garcia has opted to join the Detroit Lions as a backup to starter Joey Harrington.
The two sides reached a contract agreement in principle on Saturday afternoon, as Garcia bypassed job opportunities with the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks. The decision reunites him with Lions coach Steve Mariucci. Contract details were not immediately available.

nhl- Fruitless Talks

from mlive, Detroit Red Wings goaltender and union representative Manny Legace is convinced the league is simply taking all the necessary legal steps to declare an impasse, implement its own labor rules and resume operations in September with replacement players and any union members who break ranks.
"The first phase was the cancellation of the season," Legace said. "The next phase is to break the union."
"Their salary cap really starts at $36 million (the point where teams would begin being taxed)," Legace said. "With no (minimum) base, the Carolinas and (other small-market teams) will still be in the 20s (millions, in payroll). If you can get every team up to $36 million, it would be OK, but it's not going to happen."
Legace said the sides are also "miles apart" on other seldom-mentioned issues, including arbitration.
"I don't see how much more the players can give up," Legace said. "It's like taking blood from a stone."
Red Wings senior vice president Jimmy Devellano said there's urgency on both sides.
"From a team's standpoint, we'd like to treat our fans, sponsors and advertisers properly. You do that by having a deal in place," Devellano said. "Players have gone one year without a salary. I wouldn't like that if I was a player. They don't need to go a second year without (pay)."

nhl- Rule Changes Create Chaos

from the mercurynews (reg. req.), The question we posed to Flyers coach Ken Hitchcock was: Can the NHL legislate changes that will open up the game?
Surprisingly, Hitchcock said rule changes can do only so much.
"Opening up the game will never happen," he said. "What opens up the game is chaos. Chaotic situations force the game to open up. Two of those rules in the AHL have created chaos - the touch-up offside and goal line moved back."
If the general managers really want to make a statement that they're committed to changing the way hockey is played - making it more entertaining and adding more skating - they must vote to eliminate the red line. The change was struck down last year.
At the time, the general managers felt such a move was too radical. Some argued that removing the red line only invites using a trap farther down the ice. Others argue that the potential for more breakaway passes is a good thing.
"I was against taking the red line out when we had our last managers' meeting," Detroit's Ken Holland told the Canadian Press. "I'm more open to it now. I think it's because I've been to Europe three times this year. I've seen international games."

nhl- Looking Ahead, Again

from the ottawasun, Sources say the NHL is prepared to sign a CBA without a link to revenues if the union agrees to get a deal in place by June 1. If there's nothing by then, it's believed the league has warned linkage will be back on the table for good.
During last week's NHL board of governors meetings, league teams were asked to consider how they would market each of five different scenarios spelled out by Bettman and Daly. They are expected to present their ideas by March 31.
While there were reports the NHL was looking at a 60-game schedule with replacement players, sources say those are false. In fact, all possibilities include an 82-game regular schedule followed by playoffs. The league is considering all of the following scenarios:
- Getting a deal with the players;
- Using replacement players;
- Going with replacements and union members expected to cross the line if the doors are opened;
- A shortened schedule once a new CBA is in place;
- No hockey next season.
"The players have to realize that if they aren't motivated to get this deal done quickly, then the revenue streams are only going to get worse," said a league source.
"They're not going to improve with what's happening now."

nhl- What Rules Changes are Upcoming

from the torontosun, No one knows what rule changes the general managers might approve at their meeting at Detroit in early April, but this much is clear: Nothing is off limits. For the first time, the National Hockey League is in a wide-open mode when it comes to altering its game. For instance, many GMs want to kill the rule that allows a short-handed team to ice the puck. That one was brought in when the Montreal Canadiens dynasty of the 1950s became too potent for the liking of other teams in the league. So, the GMs will offer other suggestions, such as the one that says if you ice the puck, you can't make a personnel change. Many teams are taught to resort to intentional icing when they're tired and under pressure. If the GMs approve the changed concept, the offending team would have to keep those tired players out there, while the opposition would be free to send out fresh bodies. There will be shootouts to determine the outcome if the game is still tied after overtime. The GMs will use the Detroit meeting to try to reach accord on the format involved. There will be limitations on the size of goalie pads. Already the 10-inch leg pad is accepted as reasonable, but what about all the upper-body padding?

nhl- Scabs Could Hoist Cup

from the nypost, The Post has learned that if the NHL opens for business next year, its champion will be awarded the Stanley Cup, with or without NHLPA members on club rosters, and regardless of the caliber of the players competing in the league.
"Under terms of the trustee agreement, it is the responsibility alone of the NHL to set the terms of competition for the Stanley Cup," former NHL executive VP Brian O'Neill, now one of two of the Cup's trustees, told The Post by phone yesterday from the league's Montreal office.
"There is nothing in the agreement that would allow the trustees to deem the caliber of the league insufficient so as to deny the NHL the right to award the Stanley Cup to their champion."
Originally a challenge trophy to be awarded the champion of the Dominion of Canada as donated and designated in 1893 by Lord Stanley, the Cup came under exclusive NHL control in 1947 under an amendment to the original trustee agreement.
And though that amendment states in part that, ". . . the agreement shall remain in force as long as the League continues to be the world's leading professional hockey league as determined by its playing caliber . . ."

Friday, March 11, 2005

ohl- OHL Streaming Games

Free streaming of OHL regular season games started today. Not a bad way to follow some of the future NHL players.

Free webcasts will be made available for the rest of the regular season at the OHL website. Playoff games will be available for $8.95 per contest.
"This is a lot more than just delivering live, broadband content over the Internet," said INSINC president and CEO Hugh Dobbie. "This program will deliver valuable highlight content to fans, scouts, players and coaches who either missed a game or would like to review game clips for both strategic and entertainment purposes."

nhl- NHL Tactical Error

Bob McKenzie of tsn thinks the NHL may have made a mistake in the CBA negotiations.
The negotiations are going to very interesting. I wonder from a strategic point of view if the NHL may have made an error here for this simple reason: What scares a member of the NHLPA more than anything else? I'll tell you what: more of the same. More lockout and, come next fall, no games, nothing.
But when they say they're going to use replacement players, what they've done is put a time limit on this battle. What they're suggesting is that it's a finite battle as opposed to an infinite one. By November, we'll know whether replacement players are working or not and there's a 50/50 chance that the NHLPA could win that replacement player fight. They might win or they might lose. That will be dictated by the fans and whether they buy the tickets or not.
One thing the NHLPA didn't think they could win was to just sit on their hands and go through another season like they've just gone through with the potential for no income, no hockey, and no end to the battle. I just think that this has emboldened the players as opposed to intimidate them.

nhl- Burke and McKenzie

The TSN Insiders talk about what may have gone on in today's CBA meeting (will open WMP video).

They mention the NHL may have given the PA a small window to work with and that the NHL may be willing to work off of the last proposal.

nhl- Statements from NHL & NHLPA

NHL STATEMENT FOLLOWING MEETING IN TORONTO

TORONTO (March 11, 2005) - The National Hockey League and NHL Players' Association today resumed negotiations in Toronto. Attending the meeting for the NHL were Commissioner Gary Bettman, Executive Vice President & Chief Legal Officer Bill Daly, Senior Vice President & General Counsel David Zimmerman, as well as outside counsel Bob Batterman.
Following the meeting, Daly issued the following statement:
"We met with the NHL Players' Association today in Toronto for approximately 1 1/2 hours. No progress was made towards a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The parties have agreed to meet again next week."

NHLPA STATEMENT FOLLOWING MEETING IN TORONTO

"Gary and I engaged in general discussions today and we plan to meet again next week for further dialogue. There were no proposals exchanged today." Bob Goodenow, NHLPA Executive Director

nhl- More on the Meeting Today

from the nationalpost, Commissioner Gary Bettman did not talk to the media Friday. His right-hand man, executive vice-president and chief legal officer Bill Daly, had a five-minute scrum with reporters before he and Bettman boarded a flight back to New York.
"We met with the NHL Players' Association today in Toronto for approximately 1½ hours," Daly said in a statement. "No progress was made towards a new collective bargaining agreement. The parties have agreed to meet again next week."
The two sides met Friday at an airport hotel in Toronto. The meeting began around noon EST and wrapped up around 1:30 p.m. EST. Goodenow then updated the NHLPA's executive committee, led by president Trevor Linden, on a conference call.
There were no proposals. It was time to look forward.
"It was a general conversation, no specific components or concepts were delved into," Goodenow said.

nhl- More Talks Next Week

from sportsnet, Labour talks between the NHL and NHL Players' Association lasted only 90 minutes Friday but plans are afoot for further talks next week.
"Gary and I engaged in general discussions today and we plan to meet again next week for further dialogue," NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow said in a release. "There were no proposals exchanged today."
The two sides met at an airport hotel in Toronto. The meeting began around noon EST and wrapped up around 1:30 p.m. EST.

nhl- Will A Cap System Work

from foxsports, It's been suggested in the media that Gary Bettman is seeking an "idiot-proof" system to prevent over-spending and implement cost certainty. The sad fact is no such system exists. A hard cap will not prevent stupid decisions being made by owners and general managers.
Teams like the Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames and Carolina Hurricanes complained they could barely make a go of it with payrolls around the $35 million range under the previous collective bargaining agreement. If a cap were set at $35 million, they're not likely to spend to that set ceiling.
Neither would clubs like the Minnesota Wild, Florida Panthers, Pittsburgh Penguins or Nashville Predators, whose payrolls were below — in some cases well below — $30 million in 2003-04.
In other words, the teams that can afford to spend the money on the best talent will do so, while the small-market clubs could still end up cutting loose their best players via trades or free agency if their salary demands become too pricey.
Just like under the last CBA.

nhl- CBA Update

TORONTO (CP) - The NHL and NHL Players' Association resumed labour talks Friday in Toronto.
Both sides kept the location a secret all week but sources confirmed to The Canadian Press on Friday that the meeting was in Toronto.
Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow were among those present at Friday's meeting.
The two sides haven't met since Feb. 19 in New York, when a last-ditch session was held three days after Bettman had cancelled the season.

nhl- All is Quiet

"We've had secret meetings, we've had public meetings -- all of which hasn't worked to date," NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin recently said.
"Maybe we have to reassess how we approach it," Saskin added. "I think there is a well-deserved feeling among a lot of fans that they're kind of fed up with watching negotiations unfold in public.
"They'd rather hear us announce that we've made some progress and that we're on our way to getting a deal than just keep hearing that we haven't made any progress.
"So maybe it will serve the process better if we can keep things on a quieter scale."

It looks like the media is taking that approach today too. Except for the AP/CP standard story "Two sides will meet today", not much is being said about the meeting. Maybe everyone has taken Larry Brooks statement to heart, "This is also the time for all of us to lower our voices, myself included."

nhl- Radical Changes Ahead

from the torontosun, The National Hockey League has tried to avoid radical change, hoping that the traditional game would be enough to win back lost fans. But now, with the impact of a lockout added to the pre-existing woes of a moribund game, the league is ready to make some dynamic moves.
Whatever the GMs decide, it's almost certain that they'll go for radical changes. Considering the way the game was played when last we saw it, that can't be a bad thing.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

nhl- Burke & Healy

Brian Burke and Glenn Healy of TSN talk CBA, Crosby and Gretzky (will open WMP video).

hockey- The Boys of Winter

The Untold Story of a Coach, a Dream and the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team.

from the moscowtimes, The 1980 Soviet Olympic hockey team was one of the most formidable collections of players ever assembled on the ice, the premium product of a national sports machine that churned out world and Olympic champions like clockwork. But as Americans grasped for something to be proud of amid the Iran hostage crisis, ballooning inflation and crippling gas prices, a group of anonymous U.S. amateurs beat the Soviet juggernaut 4-3 during the semifinals of the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics in one of the greatest athletic upsets of the 20th century.

I have had the opportunity to read this great book by Wayne Coffey and it is fantastic.

nhl- How to Save the NHL

from slate, When it comes to controlling costs, NHL owners are pathetic. Over the nine-year period, revenues rose 173 percent, but labor costs rose 261 percent. Sure, the NHL doesn't have a salary cap. But neither does Goldman Sachs or the Gap, and they still manage to make money while competing for talent. As a Forbes article points out, NHL player salaries rose because general managers and owners made economically stupid hiring decisions.

nhl- Forsberg Could Be Done

from sportsnet, Peter Forsberg's return to MoDo was a disastrous one.
Sportsnet has learned that in Forsberg's return to club team MoDo, the Swedish star suffered a concussion and broke his collarbone.
His father, Kent, who is also the head coach of the team believes his professional hockey career may be over.
"He's had his share of concussions, I think it is enough now (to cause him to retire)," said Kent.
Forsberg was injured when attempting to check a Farjestad player into the boards, the opponent moved and Forsberg slammed into the boards.

nhl- Teams in Financial Trouble

from the globeandmail(reg, req.), Some National Hockey League teams are using deposits from season-ticket holders, suite holders, club-seat holders and sponsors as operating capital instead of dipping into lines of credit at their banks or the lockout fund each team has deposited with the league. This could lead to serious financial trouble.
If a large number of those creditors suddenly demand their money back, a possibility now that the 2004-05 season has been cancelled, more than one team could face a financial crisis if the amount owed is greater than what the team has left in its $10-million (all figures U.S.) lockout fund and lines of credit.
"I would suggest that any team that is using [its] work-stoppage fund and using that future revenue, that would not be a good position to be in," one NHL executive said. "If they're spending it and they don't have their [lockout] fund, that would be dangerous."

nhl- GM's to meet in Detroit

from the globeandmail (reg. req.), The NHL's 30 general managers will gather in Detroit on April 7-8 to discuss a number of topics, including an update on collective bargaining.
A league source told The Canadian Press on Thursday that the meeting would also include a review of the new rules used in the American Hockey League this season, as well as other various matters.

blog- Issues

Blogger having more issues again today. Please be patient, comments may not be working and I am having problems posting new topics.

update 2:48pm- it apears comments are working now and I am able to post again. Sorry for the problem and hopefully blogger is now stable.

nhl- Blue Ice Being Tested

from the buffalonews, Note to Buffalo Sabres fans: If you plan to attend either of the Rochester Americans' upcoming games in HSBC Arena, you might want to bring a pair of sunglasses.
The reason? The ice will be painted blue.
That, of course, leads to another question. What color will the two blue lines be?
Orange.
And the center red line?
Blue.
To recap, the Amerks will skate on blue ice, with orange lines determining offsides calls and a center-ice blue line.
But the new blue hue being showcased at the downtown arena is about a lot more than the ice tint at two American Hockey League games.
It's all part of the bigger picture, part of an ongoing attempt by National Hockey League officials to breathe some new life and excitement into a league that - once it returns from its season-long lockout - will face a huge challenge in bringing back its fans.

nhl- 2006 Olympics

from the torontosun, During the 2002 Olympics, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was asked about future involvement. "I don't know what the future is going to hold," he said. "We are going to have to look at the impact on the season. On balance, if it is good for the game, good for the players and good for our fans, then it is going to be seriously considered."
Well it was good for the players and it was fantastic for the fans. But when Bettman says "good for the game," what he really means is "good for the NHL owners."
As is the case with most things the NHL touches, a potentially positive experience was transformed into a disaster.
The NHL governors approved Olympic participation in 1998 because they wanted to be involved in 2002. They wanted 2002 because the important games were to be played in prime time in North America and there was a hope that a Canada-USA final would evolve. If it did, they believed, the game would be watched by millions of people who might not normally be exposed to hockey and who would then be turned on to the NHL.
The NHL got its dream final, but the reaction of fans wasn't, "Wow, I want to watch more hockey like this. I'll check out the NHL." It was, "Wow, I want to watch more hockey like this. Why is the NHL product so bad in comparison?"

nhl- On the Road to Destruction

from the ottawasun, With the prospect of a labour impasse, replacement players and an attempt to break the union on the horizon, at least one legal expert believes the NHL and the union are on the path to destruction. "I was speaking to a law professor who said to me, 'I don't know much about the situation, but it would appear to me these two sides are involved in a mutual suicide pact,' " lawyer Rob Becker, a legal analyst for Rogers Sportsnet and Fox Sports Net, said from New York. "We're not talking about a sport here that is on the rise in the United States. People in the U.S. have to be corrected when they talk about the major sports (leagues) because they believe there are only three with the (NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball). Many people don't think of hockey as the fourth major sport."

nhl- No New Proposal

from the torontostar, The NHL is not expected to come armed with a new proposal when it gets back to the bargaining table with its players tomorrow.
The two sides will meet at an undisclosed location, but several sources contend there will be no pitch made to end the lockout. Neither side is willing to divulge any particulars, but it's expected that all of the principals will be present, including NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players' Association executive director Bob Goodenow.
The purpose of the meeting, sources said, will likely be for the league to update the players on where it stands after the failed talks with respect to linkage and salary cap issues.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

nhl- Dionne & Demers Speak Out

from tsn, Dionne, who played with the Los Angeles Kings for most of his NHL career, directed some of the blame at team owners.
"It's the system...it was created by the owners and they got to the point where they can't afford it," he said.
The Hall of Famer also voiced his opinion at the verbal shots going back and forth during the process.
"It's a joke - on both sides," he said. "There's one thing I've learned, If you don't like somebody, don't insult them in public. If you have anything to say, go into the back room and say it."
Anytime I watch that, do you think that Bettman is watching what Saskin is saying about him? Do you think that Saskin and Bob Goodenow are listening to what Bill Daly is saying about them?"
I don't think people will show up for the games if they do this. I've been to all those buildings in the south and I think - hard cap or soft cap - it's still going to be a tough sell for people to come back."
Demers, who coached Montreal, Detroit and St. Louis, defended team owners in the current dispute.
"There's a lack of trust between the two parties," he said. "You've got to start negotiating in a way that both parties will be partners.
"There's no partnership now, the owners are losing too much money. The players don't believe it, but the owners can't continue like that anymore."

nhl- More from Daly and Saskin

from the signonsandiego, "At this point in time, when we're just coming off the cancellation of the season, it would not be appropriate to just get in and start firing proposals," Saskin said before flying home to Toronto. "Certainly a lot has been learned over the last few years and I think people understand the hot buttons, they understand the issues that might lead to progress and might not."
"I'm not prepared to give you an agenda, but a lot of it will be determined once we get in the room," Daly said. "I think in terms of re-engaging, I think there's a lot of uncertainty as to what the position of the union will be and whether they have an interest in doing a deal."
"We've had secret meetings, we've had public meetings – all of which hasn't worked to date," Saskin said. "Maybe we have to reassess how we approach it. I think there is a well-deserved feeling among a lot of fans that they're kind of fed up with watching negotiations unfold in public. They'd rather hear us announce that we've made some progress and that we're on our way to getting a deal than just keep hearing that we haven't made any progress.
"So maybe it will serve the process better if we can keep things on a quieter scale."

detroit media- Detroit Lions Play by Play

Many of you have heard radio play by play announcer Mark Champion and color broadcaster Jim Brandstatter were relieved of their duties today.
Mark Champion will be on the S & L Radio Show on WXYT 1270am, tomorrow at 7:30am. Jim Brandstatter may also join in on the conversation.
It is always a shock when a media outlet makes a change in the broadcasting team and the outcry from the Detroit area fans has been heard today,
Dan Miller will be the new play by play man and the color postion has yet to be finalized.

update 10;35pm- The analyst job is between two people, both former Lion players. A decision should be made by tomorrow.

nhl- More on the Upcoming Meeting

Burke, Healy and McKenzie once again discuss the scheduled CBA meeting (will open WMP video).

nhl- Gretzky Not Going to Rangers

from sportsnet, Despite rumours surrounding Wayne Gretzky's future with the Phoenix Coyotes, sources told Sportsnet Wednesday the Great One isn't going anywhere.
While Gretzky's partnership agreement with the Coyotes expires June 1, preliminary discussions to extend his deal have already started.
"Wayne's intention is to negotiate a long-term (five years) deal with Phoenix in an effort to finish what he's started," a source close to Gretzky and the Coyotes said. "Gretz and his family have built a house in the area and his plan is to see this thing through and he, like many others believe the worst is behind the Phoenix Coyotes."

nhl- ESPN May Seek Extension

from bloomberg, Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN sports network may wait until after next month's deadline to decide whether to extend its broadcast contract with the National Hockey League, ESPN and ABC Sports President George Bodenheimer said.
ESPN had a one-year, $60 million contract with the NHL this season -- which was canceled in a labor dispute -- and options for the next two seasons at $70 million each. The contract requires the network to commit to next season by April 15.
"We could extend the deadline,'' Bodenheimer said in an interview. "We want to keep hockey.''

nhl- Saskin, Daly Comment on Meeting

from tsn, With the next round of talks between the NHL and NHLPA expected on Friday at an undisclosed location, TSN caught up with two men who are sure to be at the bargaining table.
NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin and NHL executive vice president and chief legal officer Bill Daly were attending the World Congress of Sports in New York City. TSN asked both men their thoughts on replacement players and whether the negotiations will be starting from square one.
''Like Gary (Bettman) said, right now it's our intention to have a 2005-06 season, but our priority is to have that with NHL players,'' said Daly. ''That's going to continue to be our focus going forward.''
Saskin doesn't put much stock in replacement players.
''At the end of the day, we think what fans of the NHL want to see are the very best players playing NHL hockey,'' Saskin told TSN. ''To do that, we're going to have to get a collectively bargained agreement. What steps players may take in the interim and what steps owners may take, really those are interim steps and decisions, each having their own consequences. I'm not going to speculate further on that.

sport- Human Rights Campaign

Some of you may be aware the NHL, NFL and MLB created a "banned list" of personalized names for their teams respective jerseys.
Today, Winnie Stachelberg, HRC’s Foundation Vice President, sent a letter out to the commissioner of each league.
“Dear Commissioners Paul Tagliabue, Bud Selig and Gary Bettman: We’re sports fans. Like you, we love the squeak of shoes on a basketball court, the smell of clay in the infield, the sound of the whistle at kickoff and the way players’ skates slice through the ice. Like most kids, we grew up wanting to be part of the team, dreaming of a jersey of our own. That’s why it’s with some disillusionment that we write you today regarding the online sale of your leagues’ personalized jerseys and the rejection of certain words deemed ‘inappropriate, derogatory, or profane.’ Your software is allowing some words to be printed on jerseys but not other words they deem unsuitable...read on...

nhl- PSA of the Week

Dear Breaking Sports,

Hi. I am working on behalf of Mr. Patrick Malyszek, President of the National Hockey Group, an organization developed to restructure the current system of ice hockey. The purpose of this email is to publicize our organization, generate interest and support, and to create a certain amount of pressure on the owners, players, and the union to get their conflicts resolved, thereby ending the current lockout.
The aim of the National Hockey Group is to change the current bifurcated system of the union and the owners, to a unified system whereby all teams, unions, players, and fans function under one corporate structure. Thus, hockey owned by the fans.
The proposed structure intends to create a new economic system that will prevent the game of hockey from being used as a tool for the financial elite, and give the game of hockey back to the revenue producing fans that enjoy the competition, excitement, and the national pride that comes from being a hockey fan.

National Hockey Group

nhl- Bring on the Scabs

from counterpunch, To make matters worse, Bettman delivered a speech announcing his plan for restarting play this fall. Making peace with the crisis of overproduction that is the National Hockey League, Bettman announced that every one of the NHL's thirty teams would return. That means hockey hotbeds like Columbus, Nashville, and Atlanta will see action this October. The same can't be said however for the players. Bettman in his next breath dropped the other skate, publicly threatening permanent replacements this fall. Yes, the one thing that can save the NHL, in Bettman's mind, is scab hockey.
While Bettman meanders without a plan, his iron clad United Front of owners seems to be rusting at the thought of how filled their empty arenas would be with scab hockey and picket lines as the main attraction. "We just want to get this thing started again," Islanders general manager Mike Milbury said. "We want to be playing in the fall and we want these players to be part of it." Los Angeles Kings president Tim Leiweke said it was to the best interest of both sides to work toward a new Collective Bargaining Agreement "before we kill the sport." Other owners have been observed by beat reporters as rushing to their cars tight lipped and steaming after hearing Bettman's latest plans to scab their way toward a "hard cap."

sports- The Daily Fix

The Wall Street Journal offers sports fans a daily dose of sports news, and it does not require a subscription. If you want a good snapshot of the sports scene, the Daily Fix is just your ticket.

nhl- Helpful Tips for a New NHL

from thn, In order for major league baseball to recover from its civil war of a decade ago, many of its players’ steroid-addled heads had to balloon and their testicles had to shrink. But equally important to the game’s recovery was a conscious effort to embrace and promote its history.
Whenever Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow call a truce – or when one has the other’s head on a composite stick – the NHL will face a similar struggle towards a renaissance.
And although both the league and players’ union have been loathe to heed any advice that doesn’t originate from outside legal counsel, they could do a whole lot worse than to follow at least part of the path forged by Bud Selig’s boys.
Of course, the NHL faces a more daunting challenge than baseball did. Baseball was never so broken, never so stilted and stalled, as hockey’s greatest league is now. Baseball never needed mouth-to-sport resuscitation the way hockey does.

nhl- Gretzky to the Rangers?

from nydailynews, Gretzky said yesterday that his partnership agreement with the Phoenix Coyotes expires June 1. Though preliminary discussions already have taken place to extend the deal, Gretzky is slated to become a front-office free agent.
With Rangers president/GM Glen Sather rumored to be looking for someone to whom he can turn over the day-to-day job of running the club's hockey operation, Gretzky is an obvious candidate. What's more, he figures to be one Dolan would approve.

nhl- A Ray of Light

from the winnepegsun, The quick, positive response of the NHL Players' Association, however, may have surprised some people. There had been suggestions the PA might take a more confrontational, vindictive approach and say, "You made life difficult for us. Now we're going to do it to you."
Fortunately, the PA isn't that petty. If a new agreement is to be reached, the sooner the better for both sides.
The league needs time to establish TV deals, entice season-ticket holders, market the game and woo advertisers. The more time it has, the more successful it will be.
Even though Bettman has reinstated the gag order he so benevolently eased for a few weeks, his owners were allowed to express themselves long enough to let it be known there are cracks in the armour.
The wall isn't crumbling yet by any means, but a number of owners at all economic levels -- top of the heap, mid-range and bottom-feeders -- have made it clear they could make money under a new CBA based on the players' Dec. 9 proposal. It offered significant rollbacks but no salary cap.
All the evidence indicates the NHL never intended to play a 2004-05 season. More than one owner has said so off the record. Some teams had so few players under contract that they couldn't have iced a team had a deal been done.

nhl- Bowman Talks

from the denverpost, "I know there's a lot of owners who don't want to play with replacement players," Bowman said. "That means if you don't want to play with replacement players, you've got to try to get these guys to make a deal. I think there's a deal to be made if they don't try to crush them completely."
By "them," Bowman referred to the players' union, which agreed to a salary cap and other concessions in the late stages of the talks to save the season. Bowman, 71, said the NHL's star players harbor genuine anger toward the owners and commissioner Gary Bettman for not recognizing their concessions in the form of a deal.
"Some of the older guys aren't too happy (with) the owners," Bowman said. "But there's enough on the table that they've got to try to (make a deal)."

nhl- Pressure Should be On

from the mercurynews,((reg. req.), The reality is that there is more at stake now than there was before NHL commissioner Gary Bettman pulled the plug last month. Maybe it is the landslide of bad publicity that followed the cancellation, the failed attempt to resurrect it three days later and the finger-pointing that followed.
And it could be that the NHL owners are serious about their intent to start next season on time, with or without the players. But right now it feels as if the entire future of the league and whatever integrity it still has is at stake and that ought to be enough pressure for anyone.
Without a deal that allows the league to hold a June draft, without the certainty of a legitimate season - and don't even try to tell me that a season that includes replacement players, nasty court battles, the possibility of alternate leagues run by players and agents - that will be anything close to a legitimate season, the NHL is doomed.
Fans will abandon the sport, some for life, and the lost sponsorship money, ticket revenues and television rights deals will never be regained.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

nhl- WHA an Option for Crosby

from 640toronto, Sidney Crosby wants to play pro hockey next season even if the NHL isn't operating.
The 17-year-old Rimouski Oceanic forward said after his junior season concludes, he will consider other pro leagues, including the World Hockey Association, if the NHL is unable to reach a new collective bargaining agreement with its players.
"For sure I'm going to think about the WHA and Europe," Crosby said Tuesday at a news conference in Toronto to announce his multi-year endorsement deal with Reebok.
Crosby repeated his stance that if the NHL brought in replacement players in the fall, that he would not be one of them. There are other pro options out there for him.
The WHA is trying to make a comeback after folding in 1979, although the league has yet to show any substance, despite talk of a $7.5-million US offer in August which Crosby said he rejected.

update 9:19pm,
Crosby goes one on one with TSN's Gord Miller.

nhl- Revenue Sharing

from foxsports, Strange how something that works well for NFL owners apparently doesn't work for NHL owners.
To the NHLPA's credit, it's been insisting on a more meaningful revenue-share system, first with its proposed luxury tax, and then in its last offer to the league in which it also accepted a salary cap, albeit higher than that proposed by the league.
All teams, including the small-market ones, could afford to retain their best players or even possibly bid competitively for unrestricted free agents. It could also ensure that, whilst salaries might drop, the overall effect could be reduced.
It's ironic that, for all the vilification the players' side received from fans of small-market clubs throughout the lockout, it's been they, not the NHL, stumping for a better revenue-share plan.
The league's insistence on a limited revenue-share system is puzzling, particularly when one takes into account Bettman's claims that cost certainty would save the struggling small-market clubs.
What's even more mind boggling is how many of the small-market owners are on-side with the league's plan, which according to a New York Post story, would see the league's revenue sharing increase from 11 to 12 percent.

nhl- TSN Hockey Analyst Bob McKenzie

Bob McKenzie talks about the options available to the NHL owners (will open WMP video).

update 7:53pm, Here is the follow up article from tsn, Let's go way out on a limb and predict this weeks' resumption of CBA talks won't necessarily lead to a neat and tidy settlement in time to start next season on time. What then?
Well, that's best illustrated by the take-home assignment NHL commissioner Gary Bettman gave his 30 owners last week, with a six-pack of options or scenarios that could be reality come October. Each club was asked to examine and analyze the choices, work up economic models or projections for each of them and decide what works best for their respective franchises and provide that feedback to the league.

nhl- Gretzky, NHL & PA Back to Square One

from tsn, Wayne Gretzky saw firsthand how far apart NHL players and owners are from the end of the lockout.
And when the sides get back to the bargaining table, either Thursday or Friday, they will be beginning anew.
"It seems like they're starting at square one," Gretzky said Tuesday.
Being among the greatest players in NHL history puts Gretzky in a unique position. For 20 seasons he rewrote the hockey record book, but now as the managing partner of the Phoenix Coyotes he is on the opposite side of the fight.
His club's bottom line is now his top concern. The Coyotes will survive the lockout that already cost the league one year, but the NHL might have to use replacement players to get back on the ice in the fall.
"My honest opinion is I don't like it," Gretzky said. "They're not the Sundins or the Leetches of the world. This is replacement players, and it is what it is. The commissioner has to do what he thinks is best to get the game back on the map and get it going. We're only one of 30 teams, we'll follow suit."

nhl- Chris Chelios Talks

Chelios on WDFN radio in Detroit. Nothing will happen in the meeting this week Just a legal move on the NHL part. It has been the intent of the owners to bust the union and design their own CBA.
Players are thinking seriously about starting a twelve team league. A large number of players ready to commit to a new league. Mentioned Detroit, Hamilton, Vancouver and Dallas as location for the new league.
On replacement players, not a problem if minor league players cross, but he doesn't expect many NHL players to cross at all.
Said the $42.5 million offer from the owners was not true. So many things the public and media doesn't know about.
He invites the people who made the offer to buy the NHL to get involved in the new league talk.

nhl- NHLPA & NHL Meeting

Darren Drager(sp) was just on Team 590 in Toronto and is reporting the meeting will take place on Friday.

update 1:25pm, Sportsnet now verifying meeting on Friday.

nhl- They Should Consider Selling

from the cornelldailysun, The outcry from owners, the media, and hockey fans was a unanimous, NO. Jeremy Jacobs, the owner of the Boston Bruins, was one of the first to be quoted in the media, stating that he didn't think it was realistic nor did he have any interest in the proposal.
No interest in what? Being bought up by big business or actually making the NHL a family instead of a group of whining babies? Let's be serious for a second, instead of just writing this idea off. This proposal is more interesting than it may appear at first.
An NHL under one organization would be able to expand and contract at will, so that when certain teams appear in certain random cities around the U.S. where the people know more about farming cotton than ice skating (you know who you are), professional hockey can admit its mistake and cut out the diluted and unknown player talent.

nhl- Small Market Teams Controlling NHL

from slam, Should the National Hockey League tailor its next collective bargaining agreement to the needs of the Nashville Predators, Atlanta Thrashers and Florida Panthers? Most Canadian fans would suggest that it should not. Should the NHL tailor the next CBA to the needs of the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames? Most Canadian fans would suggest that it should. The NFL doesn't revolve around Green Bay. It revolves around the big-market teams and Green Bay finds a way to compete successfully without whining.

nhl- First Mention of Replacement Players

Nashville Predators owner Craig Leipold was quoted yesterday in an article: ''The sooner we know what the determination is going to be with our union, and whether we're going to be able to get a new CBA, then we can sell the excitement. But if not, we're going to sell the excitement of hockey with the hopes that anybody who wants to play will come and play for us.''
Although it has been implied numerous times in the last week that the NHL will use replacement players, I believe this is the first direct quote from an NHL owner regarding the NHL plan for the upcoming season.

nhl- No deadline, No urgency

from the torontostar (reg. req.), Please, no. Not these guys again. We weren't supposed to see them at least until the outdoor pools started opening.
That, in a nutshell, must have been the reaction of most hockey fans yesterday to the news that the NHL and the NHL Players' Association will resume (begin?) good faith bargaining later this week aimed at reaching a collective bargaining accord.
Hey, nobody objects to Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow getting out the scratch pads again and ordering in the coffee and doughnuts. What we object to are the heightened expectations followed by the inevitable disappointment. Even worse, of course, is the excuse-making and half-truths that have followed each and every meeting for months.
Unless the union is considering coming up with an offer to top the $3.5 billion offered for the entire league by two Wall Street concerns last week, there is little reason to believe that Goodenow will be feeling particularly motivated.
And unless the league is willing to offer the players a better deal in the face of withering revenues, it sure seems no more likely that Bettman will be announcing next season to be a definite go anytime soon than it is the CBC will get it right by deep-sixing clumsy Nancy Lee and re-hiring the thoroughly professional Chris Cuthbert.

nhl- What to Look For

Whether the meeting comes today or later in the week, the key to look for as Bob McKenzie from TSN mentioned is: If the NHL is prepared to negotiate off its most recent proposal and the NHLPA is receptive to continuing talks basically where things left off on Feb. 19th, there is a chance these two factions could come to a negotiated settlement within the next couple of months. And that would produce a peaceful, productive and maybe even profitable summer for the league and its players gearing up for the new world order.
But if the NHL comes in with a renewed desire for linkage, or the NHLPA decides it won't play ball and work off the last NHL offer, or decides it's now not prepared to live with a salary cap, well, then, it's going to be a long and ugly lead-up to another season that will either be jeopardized entirely or fulfilled with the ugly spectre of replacement players.

nhl- Will They Take the Advice

Will the NHL & NHLPA take the advice of Larry Brooks, New York Post columnist, who offered these suggestions on Sunday.
"This is the time for original thinking. This is time for creative concepts. This is the time for the NHL to save itself. These are some of the concepts worth exploring.
This is also the time for all of us to lower our voices, myself included. Each of us who loves this game has an obligation to it. Each of us has an obligation to stop dragging it — and each other — through the mud.
The healing must begin. It must begin now. We have to stop trying to destroy one another. We have to stop with the name-calling and the character-assassination. If not now, it will be too late. It will be too late to save this game."

nhl- Can a Deal Get Done

from the ottawasun, The NHL is getting back to the business of putting its wounded game on the ice again. League sources confirmed yesterday the NHL has invited the Players' Association to resume negotiations at an undisclosed location -- possibly as early as today -- to try to hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement.
Not only is NHL commissioner Gary Bettman trying to get a deal in place so the entry draft can still be held June 25 in Ottawa, he's also aiming to keep a disastrous situation from getting worse.
"I'm hopeful because any time you get the parties together, there always has to be hope," Canadiens owner George Gillett said. "And the fact that the commissioner asked for it and (union boss Bob) Goodenow said yes, that always gives us hope."
The NHL and the union have to decide how a hard salary cap is going to be structured along with luxury tax and revenue sharing. Sources say they're close on entry level contracts and salary arbitration.

Monday, March 07, 2005

nhl- Bob McKenzie of TSN

McKenzie gives his views on the upcoming CBA talks (will open WMP video).

mlb- Ilitch on the Tigers

Mike Ilitch gave his annual state of the Tigers press conference in Lakeland today,
from the detnews, "We're going to keep spending until we win."
Tigers' owner Mike Ilitch, who spoke those words on Monday at Marchant Stadium, can't put his plan for the future in simpler or clearer terms.
If the Tigers don't have what it takes this year, they'll do what they have to do for next year. And he's not selling.
"It's going to stay in our family just like the Red Wings," he said about the Tigers' franchise, which he bought in 1992 and finally is showing some promise after 11 years of finishing under .500.

nhl- More on the Business of the NHL

Two NHL arenas have received a downgrade on their credit rating. Both articles are heavy in business talk if you are interested.

Pepsi Center
Staples Center

nfl- Marcus Pollard a Lion

TE Marcus Pollard has agreed to terms with the Detroit Lions.

update 5:17pm, ESPN mention on the signing.

nfl- Kenoy Kennedy soon to be a Detroit Lion

Safety Kenoy Kennedy will officially become a Detroit Lion tonight. Media has been notified and on their way to Allen Park for a press conference.

update 5:31pm, ESPN confirms Kennedy signing.

nhl- Net Worth

from the newyorker, Aside from the usual consortium of Zamboni drivers and Don Cherry fanatics, few people mourned when the National Hockey League cancelled its season, a few weeks ago, after the owners and the players failed to come to a new labor agreement. But the fact that people are uninterested doesn’t mean they don’t have an interest. Businessmen should be paying attention to the N.H.L., because its troubles could soon be theirs. The impasse is less about hockey than it is about history—and being on the wrong side of it.
So when N.H.L. owners speak wistfully of old-time hockey, what they really mean is old-time economics—when the boys were labor, not talent.

golf- Sports Caption

Anyone want to try to caption this photo? It was taken right after Phil Mickelson missed holing a chip shot on the 18th yesterday at Doral.
Please keep your suggestions clean, although that may be hard to do.



blog- Comments

It appears comments are suffering a blogger issue today on Breaking Sports. The ability to post comments is unavailable for the moment. It is being worked on.

update 12:42pm, that was quick, now fixed but this may be a sporadic problem all day.

nhl- Looking Ahead

A good article predicting what will happen in the meeting this week and the long term outlook of the NHL
from the globeandmail (reg. req.), There is little likelihood that any progress in negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement will be made at that gathering. In the wake of the cancellation of the 2004-05 season, just about everybody on the NHL side suggested that the next offer to the players would be substantially inferior to the last offer to the players, on the grounds that the business of hockey would shrink considerably if no games were played this season.
Presumably, that means that linking player salaries to revenue will be back on the table, after the league withdrew the contentious clause in an 11th-hour attempt to save the season.
Since the players can not earn another pay check until next October at the earliest, there would be no tangible value from their perspective to negotiating a new contract now, not with all the leverage on their side.

hockey- WHA Tournament

Many of us are aware of the tournament the WHA is planning May 20-24th. Rumor has it CBC will televise the games and take a look at the players who have signed up.

nhl- Meeting this week- Confirmed

TSN has learned that, on Friday, the NHL requested a resumption of talks with the NHL Players Association and the two sides have now scheduled a meeting sometime this week.

update 9:46am, Link now available from tsn.

nhl- Is This the Week

Will the NHL and NHLPA get together this week to begin a new round of negotiations. I fully expect the two sides to meet but will any progress be made? I doubt it, both will come in with a hard stance and I am afraid it will get much worse before we see any breakthrough in the talks.
There is no reason for the union to budge from their stance right now and the NHL will probably come in with a lower cap proposal than they offered in previous meetings. How much is the NHL concerned about the ESPN decision that will be made by April 15th. Without a major network TV contract, the NHL is faced with another decision; do they risk losing the contract and probably some major corporate sponsers too?

nhl- Teams Share the same Message

from the chicagosuntimes, "On behalf of the Chicago Blackhawks, I want to let you know how sorry we are that this has become necessary, and that we appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time.'' It was a five-paragraph letter displaying real consideration for the fans. The objective of the labor fight, it said, was so "the Blackhawks can compete for the Stanley Cup each season.'' It ended, "Sincerely, William W. Wirtz, President, Chicago Blackhawk Hockey Team.'' This is exactly what sports teams should do more today, to show the fans that they understand. So I checked the sites of the other teams, and some offered apologies, some didn't. Some were gushy, some talked about next season's tickets. And then I got to the letter from the Boston Bruins: "Dear Bruins Fans: The National Hockey League has announced that in the absence of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, the remainder of the 2004-05 season is canceled. "On behalf of the Boston Bruins, I want to let you know how sorry we are that this has become necessary and appreciate your patience and understanding during this difficult time.'' Did that sound familiar?

Sunday, March 06, 2005

nhl- Gretzky talks WHA, Replacement Players

from tsn, There was once a time when Wayne Gretzky played in the World Hockey Association, but you won't find The Great One too keen on it nowadays.
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune on Sunday, Gretzky his voiced his concerns - or lack thereof - about players possibly using the 'revived league' as an alternate destination during the NHL lockout.
"Guys are talking now about starting up the World Hockey Association again?" he told the Tribune.
"That's the same WHA with the $10 million salary cap? And some players took jobs in the Eastern League, with a cap of $500 a week? But they don't want one in the NHL? Boggles my mind. If you believe in no cap, then how can you play in a league that has one? Besides, the union already has said it will accept a cap."
Gretzky also brought up his displeasure with the state of the league during the work stoppage and the idea of using replacement players.
"Absolutely disgusting," he told the Tribune, referring to the lost season.
"And now that our season has been canceled, what's the likelihood of reaching a settlement this summer, before we lose even more money, more sponsors, maybe ESPN? Wish I knew. I have no idea."

nhl- Interview with Jeremy Jacobs

Russy Conway interviews Jeremy Jacobs, owner of the Boston Bruins, via the eagletribune, For better than a half-hour, virtually uninterrupted, it was the 30-year billionaire hockey team owner facing your 37-year hockey scribe who still puts loose change in a piggy bank. What's the difference between a few bucks when the eye-to-eye taped discussion is all business?
David Letterman has his "Top 10" list. Let's expand ours to a baker's dozen: 13 questions selected from the variety asked with answers from Jacobs.
Q-- Are you going to use replacement players? Do you really think the fans are going to buy that product?
A -- I'm going to do what the commissioner tells me what I can do. I'm going to do everything I can to field the best possible hockey team we can. I'm not even going down that road with you on that, because that could get me in trouble.
But think about it. If we start out, we're going to be paying more money than anybody else in the world for players. Bear in mind, we've got Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov playing for 10 percent for that they made here.
Now, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to realize maybe we won't have the best players in the world, but players have a life expectancy. Hockey has an undetermined life expectancy. It's been going for 75 years; it's going to go another 25 and beyond.

nhl- 350 NHLPA Members would cross the Line

from msnbc, Generally, I think life breaks down into three sizes — small, medium and large. Ergo, I'm willing to bet at least one-third of the rank-and-file, about 250, would have crossed over this spring if the league had successfully imposed contract conditions. Now, add another six months to the waiting game, leading up to October 2005, and I'm willing to bet at least half of the “mediums” would be eager to cross the line.
If I'm correct — and again, this is ALL guess work — that would have some 350 players crossing the line. If so, it's over for the NHLPA as we know it. With half the workers across, others quickly will follow, to say nothing of the free agents around the world who'll come a runnin'.
Goodbye, union.

nfl- Kurt Warner to Arizona

ESPN News reporting Warner has agreed to terms with the Arizona Cardinals.
update 6:12pm, Arizona Cardinals website now verifying signing.

nhl- Time for the Players to Concede

from the delcotimes, Aaron Burr. Benedict Arnold. Darth Vader. And now -- me. That’s right folks, I’m about to play turncoat. I’m about to change my mind faster than a woman in a department store. I’m about to go against everything that my rational mind tells me is right and what is a bunch of malarkey.
But, in the crazy world that is the NHL labor war, the irrational makes more sense.
Don’t get me wrong, I still think Gary Bettman had as much to do with the downfall of the NHL as Claudius did in poisoning the fencing foil that killed Hamlet, but at this point, the players almost need to concede to the scoundrel and his blind loyalists in the ownership group.
You see, the players are being skewered like shish-kabobs and there is nothing that can stop that from happening.
Before the season was cancelled, the players stance was a good one, a strong one, the right one. Why let a collection of shrewd businessmen hide their profits in caliginous and shadowy bottom lines all the while acting out the part of paupers?
It was right to fight for their living. To fight for their jobs. If owning an NHL team wasn’t a profitable endeavor than many of the owners would have jumped at the $3.5 billion offer from two Boston area businesses last week to buy the entire league.
But they didn’t, which means, for the most part, the money keeps rolling in from every side.

nhl- A Plan That Will Work

from Larry Brooks of the nypost, This is the time for original thinking. This is time for creative concepts. This is the time for the NHL to save itself. These are some of the concepts worth exploring.
This is also the time for all of us to lower our voices, myself included. Each of us who loves this game has an obligation to it. Each of us has an obligation to stop dragging it — and each other — through the mud.
The healing must begin. It must begin now. We have to stop trying to destroy one another. We have to stop with the name-calling and the character-assassination. If not now, it will be too late. It will be too late to save this game.
PROPOSED: A clean slate under which negotiations for a CBA would be con ducted exclusively between Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow when bargaining resumes (or perhaps more accurately, begins) within the next couple of weeks.
1. A signed contract between the NHL and NHLPA guaranteeing an agreement in principle no later than May 15. Failure to consummate a CBA by that deadline would result in the dismissal of each lead negotiator. Further, failure to reach an agreement by June 1 would result in daily $1 million fines assessed against the each of the league's 30 teams and the PA, with all monies directed to hockey-based charities and or foundations, such as Hockey in Harlem.
2. A complete news blackout of the negotiations, with violation of the rule resulting in a $1 million fine assessed against both parties for each transgression.

nhl- Sell, Sell, Sell

from the rockymountainnews, Who is nuttier, the guys who offer to buy the National Hockey League or the National Hockey League that refuses to sell?
Figure this: a business that swears it has lost $500 million the past two years finds someone who wants to give it $3.5 billion, maybe more.
It has lost an entire season, strangely reassured because it lost less money by staying out of business than it could make doing business. And someone comes along and wants to get the whole bunch off the hook.
At $3.5 billion for the NHL, that means each of the 30 franchises would be worth around $115 million. Who else is offering $115 million?
Even for the Avalanche, which has been valued at more than twice that. Something is worth only what someone will pay for it.
And the offer might go even higher.
Here's what we know about hockey. It has failed at free enterprise, unable to market itself, make money, control its costs or survive its own competition. It simply cannot work as other sports do - overpaying its stars. For one thing, it has no stars.
It has tried to be the NBA and it can't. It will never be the NFL. Major league baseball, for all its stumbles and faults, has roots too deep to ever be killed.

nhl- Owners Can Save the League

from Daniel Howes, business columnist for the detnews, If the past week is any indication, the owners are the ones taking the offensive. Because they run the business that showcases the product -- the players on the ice -- they better understand that failing to hold a draft in June, missing sponsorship renewals over the summer, losing season ticket renewals and fumbling local TV contracts will blow a big hole in the revenues of their individual clubs and the league.
"They have to be careful," said Jay Alix, chairman of Alix Partners LLC, a Southfield-based business turnaround firm. "Their customers have alternatives. This is not good for the sport."

nhl- Will Players Cross the Line

from the courierpostonline, Ken Hitchcock is the 53-year-old coach of the Flyers who has spent the past nine seasons coaching NHL players. If, indeed, the owners forge ahead with their plan to start the 2005-06 season with or without the cooperation of the players' union, what would Hitchcock do?
"I don't even want to think about that," he said. "It terrifies me."
"Would I coach replacement players? I'd have no choice," Hitchcock said. "Whatever ownership tells me to do, I'd do. I would be uncomfortable with it, but my loyalty is to the Flyers and their players."
Hitchcock said he would incorporate the same system he has in place for NHL players, but shudders to think he'd be forced to coach replacement players. For the record, the Flyers have no interest in assembling a scab team. But they may have no choice.
Do you side with the union and run the risk of angering team management and ruining your chance for an NHL career? Or, do you play for the team that signed or drafted you and run the risk of being branded as a scab?