Breaking Sports

Saturday, March 19, 2005

nhl- Let's Talk Hockey

Pretty slow day on the NHL front today. I would imagine there may be some great articles in a few of the major papers on Sunday.
My visitor stats today show people are just popping in for a quick look. I am working on the design of the new and improved Breaking Sports blog since it is quite slow today.

I would like to open this thread up and ask you to respond to this question.
Who will be taking to the ice in early October for the start of the NHL 2005-06 season? Will it be replacement players, a mix of NHL and replacement players or will a CBA be reached and we will be able to enjoy watching the greatest players in the world.

nhl- Rules Being Tested in AHL

from espn, Think all the National Hockey League has to do is wave its magic rules wand and a dull-as-dishwater game will suddenly be replaced with electric end-to-end rushes and bountiful scoring?
Not so fast.
If the American Hockey League experiment is any indication, it's going to take more than a little tinkering and wishful thinking to improve the NHL product.
The AHL has restricted goaltenders' movements behind the net, implemented no-touch icing and tag-up off-sides, widened the blue lines and cracked down on obstruction fouls. Yet AHL scoring has increased only marginally this season to 5.31 goals per game from 5.11 goals per game last season. Last year's totals marked the lowest-scoring campaign since 1938.
"I think we have succeeded in terms of opening up the game and increasing the speed and flow of the game," said Dave Andrews, the AHL's president and CEO.
But in terms of putting more goals in the nets, Andrews said fouls against the puck carrier and the reduction of goaltenders' equipment are the keys to meaningful change.

nhl- WHA-$7 Million for Crosby

from the delcotimes, If fans in the U.S. and across Canada are jonesing for hockey, then they should acquaint themselves with Ricky Smith.
Smith, an ambitious entrepreneur with deep pockets from his family-owned lumber company in Ontario, is trying to revive the old World Hockey Association as an alternative to whatever product the NHL may present once a collective bargaining agreement between players and owners is reached.
"You can rest assured that we are going to make every possible effort to offer Sidney a legitimate contract," said Smith.
Just how big of a contract? Who knows, but rumors are circulating that it could be in the $7 million range.
Of course, that could wreak havoc with a $15 million salary cap that was reported as being a staple of the WHA, however, in an interview with the Daily Times Smith vehemently denied that a cap was going to be put in place.
"Neither I nor anyone else associated with the WHA ever said there would be a salary cap," said Smith. "That's (erroneous). I can tell you emphatically that there will not be a salary cap for the 2005-06 season."

Friday, March 18, 2005

nfl- Super Bowl XL

Want to know what Detroit is doing to prepare for Super Bowl XL? Check out all the behind the scene action and preparation Detroiters are going through.
Gordie Howe is pictured below at a party Detroit hosted at the Super Bowl in Jacksonville. Many of Detroit's legends of sport attended the gathering.



nhl- Proposal Won't Fly

from Spector and foxsports, The latest round of NHL-NHLPA labor talks produced the first new offers from the league since the cancellation of the 2004-05 season, but those offers won't fly with the players.
The league proposed a choice between a $37.5 million team salary cap devoid of linking salaries to revenues, or cost certainty that links salaries to 54 percent of revenues. Both offers were less than what the league had previously proposed.
In February, the NHL offered a $42.5 million cap system without linkage as its "final offer" prior to canceling the season. The 54 percent linkage proposal is one percent less than the league's 55 percent offer from last December, which came in response to the PA's 24 percent salary rollback offer.
There wasn't much detail about the latest cap offer, other than the league agreed to a "salary floor" of $22 million, which Canada's TSN reports the PA had wanted in the last offer from the league, but may seek to increase. There are also hints that cap ceiling might increase should revenues rise. It should only be a matter of time before more specifics are leaked to player-friendly reporters.

nhl- Plan A or B

from Stan Fischler and foxsports, That, essentially, is the message that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is delivering to his union counterpart, Bob Goodenow in terms of settling the seven-month-old hockey work stoppage.
What's more Goodenow is being warned — as he has been in the past — that the longer the NHL Players' Association waits before agreeing to a collective bargaining agreement, the worse the terms will get.
And Goodenow got a good sense of the league's intentions at Thursday's Bettman-Goodenow meeting in a hotel adjacent to a New York airport.
Instead of the $42 million team salary cap offer made before the 2004-05 season was officially canceled, Bettman has reduced it to $37.5 million — without any fixed link between player costs and league revenues.
"We've told the union that the $37.5 million cap offer has a two-week shelf life," a league negotiator tells me. "After that, it'll come off the table and get lower."
And lower and lower as the spring turns to summer.
That's Plan A.
Plan B is a fixed link proposal with a fixed 54 percent coupling between player costs and league revenues. The players would get 54 percent; ownership 46 percent.
Again, the players lose more as the weeks go by.

Blog Addition

I have added ESPN Bottomline to the top of Breaking Sports. Please feel free to comment on the addition.
As some of you may know, I will be moving to a dedicated server with enhanced blogging capabilities and just trying to get feedback from visitors.

nhl- Not Bagaining in Good Faith

from slam via the torontosun, If the National Hockey League truly wants to negotiate a settlement with its players, it certainly is employing a curious strategy.
If you were paying attention two weeks ago -- which you probably weren't because most fans tuned out of this debate long ago -- NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said this: "We believe that it's in everybody's interest to make a deal as soon as possible."
He also said, "We're all trying to do the right thing as partners. We're going to invite the union back to the table soon, and I assume that they'll discharge their legal obligations to bargain in good faith."
It now appears that to Bettman, "good faith," means bringing back the structure that the NHL Players' Association has been rejecting for more than three years, and inserting a few clauses that make it even more unacceptable.
By the league's own admission, the offer that Bettman presented yesterday was worse than the offer the union rejected in the hours immediately prior to Bettman's cancellation of the season.
Yesterday's offer was $37.5 million, an uncommonly bizarre way of demonstrating "good faith."

nhl- Picking Scabs

via the nypost, The NHL took another step on its well-plotted, inexorable path to scab hockey in 2005-06 by presenting two regressive hard-cap offers the NHLPA couldn't take seriously during a brief meeting yesterday in Manhattan.
Represented by Commissioner Gary Bettman, league counsel Bill Daly, attorney David Zimmerman and advising attorney Bob Batterman of Proskauer Rose — not one of whom has ever had anything to do with running an NHL team — the league reduced its Feb. 15 Eve of Cancellation offer from $42.5 million to $37.5 million per team. Though the league did include a club floor of $22.5 million per, with the possibility of the cap increasing over the course of the agreement, the numbers in and of themselves are misleading, given all the attachments that would diminish their value.
In addition, the league, which had offered a percentage-of-the-gross deal at 55 percent on Feb. 2, yesterday presented the union with an alternate option of accepting 54 percent of the gross. Both offers, which are believed to contain the same repressive systemic triggers included in every NHL proposal since Dec. 14, were taken under advisement by the PA, which will conduct an executive board meeting in Toronto next week before the parties reconvene.
The PA certainly was not surprised by the league's presentation. A week ago in a general membership conference call following a 90-minute minute meeting in Toronto between the NHL and union, PA head Bob Goodenow advised the players that a league willing to cancel a season was certainly going to be willing to lose an entry draft — even amid speculation that Bettman was under pressure to negotiate an agreement in time to allow for a June draft lottery featuring savior Sidney Crosby.
As a matter of labor law, there cannot be an entry draft without a negotiated CBA in place.
The league Board of Governors, meanwhile, will meet on April 20 to explore options for a "replacement" league in detail. News of the meeting became public yesterday through another of the NHL's infamous, well-timed leaks. While the league is considering several possible replacement options, the most likely involves using only those players who are not members of the NHLPA; who are not on NHL reserve lists; and whose draft rights are not owned by NHL clubs.
In other words, low minor leaguers or those previously judged not good enough to play in the minors. The price of parking across the street from the Garden, however, is likely to remain between $35 and $40 on a game day.

nhl- Same Old Stuff

from the torontosun, Spring will bring no thaw in the National Hockey League labour war, after the owners delivered two unpalatable offers to the players yesterday. A new collective bargaining agreement now seems a remote possibility before the league starts focusing on options such as replacement players, while the union executive is said to be meeting in Toronto next week to plot its own course for 2005-06.
One league offer yesterday in New York was for a $37.5-million US salary cap, while another capped player costs at 54% of league revenues. Bob Goodenow, executive director of the NHL Players Association, did not dismiss them outright, but his prepared statement had the familiar tone heard from both sides in this seven-month dispute.
"Both proposals were very similar to ones that we previously rejected several times," Goodenow said. "We will be determining our next steps and be responding at the appropriate time."
That could mean a players' counter-offer at the yet unscheduled next meeting. Sportsnet reported yesterday the union executive had scheduled three days to strategize next week, even before the New York session.
The executive will likely be talking about the replacements next week as well as employment opportunities next season in Europe and North America, such as the proposed World Hockey Association.

psa- National Day of Hockey

Today is National Day of Hockey. A grassroots effort to express your love for the NHL.
Wear NHL gear/colors to work/school: If it's casual Friday, wear your jersey to work. If you still have to maintain a dress code, wear your team colors on your shirt, tie, dress, or other business attire. Decorate your car: During a regular season, die hard fans go all out and decorate their car on game nights. Treat today as game day, and promote your team on the streets of your hometown! Let everyone see your love for your team!

Thursday, March 17, 2005

nhl- Bob McKenzie Breaks Down the Meeting

via TSN, The NHL and NHLPA met once again on Thursday, with the league making two proposals.
The first was a de-linked proposal with a team salary cap of $37.5 million - five million less than the league's last offer in February. The other was a linked proposal at 54 per cent of league revenues, whatever they may be. That represents a one per cent decline from previous linked proposals from the NHL to the NHLPA.
Now if you're really looking on the bright side of things here, there is a provision in here that would allow the league's $37.5 million cap to go up.
Call it upward linkage if you will, something that the NHL Players' Association wanted last time around and there may be an opportunity for something like that to happen. But in the grander scheme of things, who's kidding whom?
What happened Thursday was essentially a 20-minute meeting. The NHL made its presentation for 20 minutes, and the players' association held their own caucus over it for over two hours. End of meeting, thanks for coming.
Now let's remember that $42.5 million was the league's offer on Feb. 19, and now it's $37.5 million. This is a shrinking universe and it's going to get worse.
The same thing goes for the second proposal that the NHL put forth. They essentially said, 'if you want a linkage deal we'll give you one - how about 54 per cent?'
Well, it doesn't take anyone anything to remember back to December when that number was 55 per cent.
Everything is going to get worse as this goes on. There is not going to be a negotiated settlement - it's going to be a cage match, win or lose. One side will be left standing, and one won't when this is all said and done. And who knows when that is going to be. There is one more kicker to the NHL's $37.5 million cap offer, and that's the time limit for it to stay on the table.
This specific proposal will be null and void sometime before the NHL's Apr. 20 Board of Governors' meeting.
When that happens, all those owners and GMs who were asked to do those special 'homework assignments' - that six-pack of options or scenarios that could be reality come October - will be asked to report back to the league.
I know one owner who is flat out against using replacement players, and it may yet be a stormy situation on Apr. 20 as to whether they decide on the replacement player route or continue down the black hole.

nhl- The TSN Insiders Give their Views

The TSN Insiders discuss today's meeting(will open WMP video).

nhl- NHLPA Meeting

Sources tell Sportsnet the NHLPA will conduct a three-day meeting next week with its executive committee beginning Tuesday in Toronto.
"We told them that to the extent they are interested in pursuing negotiations on that basis (salary cap with no linkage), we would need to conclude an agreement in the very near future," Bill Daly, the NHL's executive vice-president and chief legal officer, told The Canadian Press in an interview following Thursday's meeting with the NHL Players' Association in New York.
"Both of the salary-cap proposals they put forth today were worse than the proposals that we had rejected on a number of prior occasions," NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin told The Canadian Press.
But the union will examine what's on the table and may come back with a counter-offer. The NHLPA has a three-day meeting planned next week with the players' executive committee, sessions originally scheduled before Thursday's offers by the league.
"We're going to review all of the options, have some internal discussions, and set up another meeting (with the NHL) once we finalize what our approach is going to be," said Saskin.

mlb- Steroid Hearing

While the CBA talks have been the main topic of the day, the MLB Steroid Hearings are going on. Schilling, McGwire and Palmeiro(who denied ever using steroids) have all ripped on Canseco. Both McGwire and Canseco will take the 5th when questioned later in the day. Selig and Fehr have yet to appear.

nhl- Unexpected Proposal

from the globeandmail (reg. req.), The National Hockey League did make one unexpected overture to the NHL players association during Thursday's two-and-a-half hour bargaining session in New York.
According to Bill Daly, the league's chief legal officer and primary point man in the negotiations, the NHL came to the meeting with two separate proposals, one of which was based on the “de-linked” salary cap framework that was on the table when the season was cancelled in mid-February.
The fact that the league was prepared to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that did not link player salaries to revenues was unexpected, because a number owners -- in the aftermath of the cancelled season -- suggested they could not afford to make a deal without “linkage.”
Much of the NHLPA's resistance during the last round of CBA talks revolved around their consistent rejection of a system linking player salaries to revenues, on the grounds that they did not trust the NHL's book-keeping.

nhl- More Detail on Proposals

via tsn, The NHL made two proposals to the NHLPA today during a meeting in New York. One was a de-linked proposal with a team salary cap of $37.5 million, five million dollars less than the league's last offer in Feburary. The other was a linked proposal at 54 per cent of league revenues, whatever they may be. That represents a one per cent decline from previous linked proposals from the NHL to the NHLPA.

nhl- The Two Proposals

per sportsnet, One offer had a salary cap with no "linkage," while the other did included a fixed link between player costs and league revenues. Commissioner Gary Bettman, it appears, has left the no-linkage offer on the table in an effort to quickly make a deal with the NHLPA in order to save the June entry draft.

nhl- NHLPA Release

NHLPA STATEMENT FOLLOWING MEETING IN NEW YORK

NEW YORK (March 17, 2005): Representatives of the NHLPA and NHL met today in New York. The NHLPA was represented by Bob Goodenow, Executive Director, Ted Saskin, Senior Director, Ian Pulver, Associate Counsel and outside Counsel John McCambridge. The League was represented by Gary Bettman, Bill Daly, David Zimmerman and Bob Batterman.

At the conclusion of today's meeting, NHLPA Executive Director Bob Goodenow released the following statement:

“Last week, Gary asked me how to resume discussions for a new CBA. I told Gary to bring forward any proposal that he believed would be of interest to the players. Today, Gary gave us two salary cap proposals. Both proposals were very similar to ones that we previously rejected several times. We will be determining our next steps and responding at the appropriate time.”

nhl- NHL Release

NHL offers proposal to players

NEW YORK (March 17, 2005) -- Representatives of the National Hockey League met today with representatives of the NHL Players' Association in a continuing attempt to negotiate a Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The NHL was represented by Commissioner Gary Bettman; Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer Bill Daly; Senior Vice President, General Counsel David Zimmerman and outside counsel Bob Batterman. The Players' Association was represented by Executive Director Bob Goodenow; Senior Director, Business Affairs and Licensing Ted Saskin; associate counsel Ian Pulver and outside counsel John McCambridge.

"We made another collective bargaining proposal today which offered the Union a choice of two approaches for moving forward," Daly said. "The first proposal was based on the 'de-linked' salary cap framework that was on the table when the season was cancelled in mid-February. We indicated that to the extent this was a framework that the Union remained interested in pursuing, the League would be prepared to continue negotiations -- provided an agreement could be achieved within the next several weeks. Alternatively, we proposed a negotiated relationship between total Player Compensation and League-wide revenues, which we made clear was our preference. The Union deferred responding to our new proposal, pending internal discussions it intends to conduct over the next week. We will have no further comment at this time regarding the precise details of our proposal."

nhl- Even More on the CBA Meeting

from tsn, The NHL made two proposals to the NHLPA today during a meeting in New York. One was a de-linked proposal with a team salary cap of $37.5 million, five million dollars less than the league's last offer in Feburary. The other was a linked proposal at 54 per cent of league revenues, whatever they may be. That represents a one per cent decline from previous linked proposals from the NHL to the NHLPA.
After the meeting NHL executive vice president and chief legal officer Bill Daly issued a news release:
"We made another collective bargaining proposal today which offered the Union a choice of two approaches for moving forward," Daly said. "The first proposal was based on the 'de-linked' salary cap framework that was on the table when the season was cancelled in mid-February. We indicated that to the extent this was a framework that the Union remained interested in pursuing, the League would be prepared to continue negotiations -- provided an agreement could be achieved within the next several weeks.
"Alternatively, we proposed a negotiated relationship between total Player Compensation and League-wide revenues, which we made clear was our preference.
"The Union deferred responding to our new proposal, pending internal discussions it intends to conduct over the next week. We will have no further comment at this time regarding the precise details of our proposal."
The NHL will have a board of govenors meeting April 20, at which time they will further consider their options, including replacement players. Teams were asked at the last governors meeting to do research on the various options and report back, which is the purpose of this meeting.
At the conclusion of today's meeting, NHLPA Executive Director Bob Goodenow released the following statement:
"Last week, Gary (Bettman) asked me how to resume discussions for a new CBA. I told Gary to bring forward any proposal that he believed would be of interest to the players. Today, Gary gave us two salary cap proposals. Both proposals were very similar to ones that we previously rejected several times. We will be determining our next steps and responding at the appropriate time."

nhl- More on the CBA Meeting

The NHL made two proposals today, both with a hard cap and similar to the ones they have offered in the past. The NHLPA is contemplating their next move.

nhl- Meeting Over

NEW YORK (CP/TSN.ca) - The NHL and NHL Players' Association have completed labour talks in New York on Thursday. The meeting lasted 2 1/2 hours, but most of that time was spent in caucus groups. The two sides met together for about 30 minutes.

Blogger Update

I am still having serious blogger problems. The comment section is a hit or miss proposition right now. I do apologize for the problems and to be truthful with you, blogger has been non-responsive today to my requests for an updated status of the problems I am experiencing.

nhl- Meeting Underway

Both commissioner Gary Bettman and union chief Bob Goodenow are in attendance at the Big Apple rendezvous.
On-site sources tell Sportsnet NHLPA Executive Director Bob Goodenow and NHL Comissioner Gary Bettman are currently meeting in New York.
The pair have been spotted having what appears to be an informal conversation, perhaps a warm-up discussion to a meeting that is expected to also include both sides legal parties.

nhl- Nashville, Florida in Financial Trouble

Last week the Toronto Globe and Mail reported some NHL teams were in financial trouble.
Today, the globeandmail (reg. req.) goes in-depth with their investigation.

Two of the most hard-line supporters of the National Hockey League's demand for a hard salary cap on player salaries are Craig Leipold, the owner of the Nashville Predators, and Alan Cohen, the majority owner of the Florida Panthers. A look at their clubs' financial records show the reason why.
Documents obtained by The Globe and Mail indicate the Panthers and Predators could face financial pressure next season if the lockout continues or replacement players -- who are unlikely to generate the same type of gate revenues as regular NHL players -- are used.
n Nashville, financial documents show that the Predators were consistently late with their rental payments to the city when the NHL was operating. The club pays about $750,000 a year in rent, but will pay almost nothing now that the season has been cancelled.
Leipold had to refinance a portion of the Predators' debt, estimated at $40-million, when the Bank of America asked for additional security for its portion. When Leipold could not satisfy the Bank of America, HSBC and Citibank, which hold most of the club's loans, stepped in to help him out.

nhl- Blue Ice Not Good For High Definition

from the torontosun, One question comes to mind in response to the revelation that the Buffalo Sabres' farm club will experiment with blue ice. Why?
Granted, the National Hockey League needs to overhaul its product and it is laudable that the moribund mastodons who make the decisions have finally reached that conclusion.
And although Sabres managing partner Larry Quinn is being extremely vague about the point, it appears that the NHL is behind this experiment.
But any movement away from white ice is not only a slap in the face to the game's traditionalists who will form the foundation of any success the league might have when it returns, it is an admission of total ignorance of the single most important factor in the NHL's future -- television.
High-definition television is the cutting edge and it could be the reprieve the NHL has been so desperately seeking. It is the ideal technology for hockey, and it will give the game an opportunity to win back lost fans and develop new ones.
Ralph Mellanby, who spent 20 years as executive director of Hockey Night in Canada and is one of the foremost television broadcasters in the world, is one of the many TV people who shares that view.
High-definition not only provides a crystal-clear picture, it uses a rectangular screen. For hockey, Mellanby says, that's perfect.
But the concept of using pastel-colored ice has been studied often -- and in great detail.
"We tried all that stuff before," said Mellanby. "The great thing, especially in the brilliance of high-definition, is the white ice. I checked all that out. I checked this out over and over. The engineering guys who are at the top of their game say the great thing about high-definition is the white ice.
"That was one thing we were certain of was the white ice -- even without high-definition -- was the way to stay."

nhl- Owners Looking Ahead

from the torontosun, One NHL executive told Sportsnet that today's meeting is "merely a step toward impasse."
The owners could press for impasse if they feel the union is not responding to new initiatives, though that ruling can be challenged by the union to the National Labour Relations Board in the U.S.
Opinion is divided as to how successful the players would be, but it's expected that labour officials of the four Canadian provinces with NHL teams will not rule on the validity of replacements until the NLRB makes its decision.
Though the second meeting in less than a week is scheduled today, likely in New York, executives such as Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd. president Richard Peddie says his team has begun gearing up for a new season, no matter who ends up wearing blue and white in October.
"Naturally, I'd like to tell you we have a deal (with the union) and we'd like to start playing now," Peddie said yesterday. "But we have to begin the job of marketing and selling our Leafs. We're working on the premise that there will be Leaf hockey and players with Leafs' sweaters on."

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Off Topic

It is late and I think I am entitled to make an off topic post. On one of my other blogs, I posted a topic about a guy leaving a voicemail message on his buddy's phone, when all of the sudden, he witnessed an auto accident.
Tell me how hard you laughed, it is very funny and safe for work.

nfl- Sides Disappointed with Pace of CBA Talks

Does this sound familiar?
from si.com, Nobody should panic and start making plans just yet for NFL-less Sundays in the fall of 2008, but still there continue to be gathering storm clouds on the horizon in regards to the league's efforts to negotiate an extension of the collective bargaining agreement with the players union. An NHL-like work stoppage in the offing when the current CBA ends after what promises to be a chaotic un-capped season in 2007? We're not saying it's likely, but not all that long ago it was considered unthinkable in this age of lockstep harmony between the league's management council and the NFLPA. A few short years ago, the NFL and its players union was the chummiest of business partners in every sense, and the model that other sports pined for in terms of labor peace.

nhl- Ball is in the NHL's Court

from Bob McKenzie of tsn,
Complete Article

I think the big question - if there is a big question at this stage of the bargaining process - is will there be a proposal from one side to the other?
Will there be a starting point for discussion? Are they going to start talking about some hard numbers?
Clearly the ball is the National Hockey League's court. The NHL Players' Association has made it abundantly clear to everybody that they don't feel any pressure to be doing anything right now.
I don't know if there will be formal proposal from the NHL on Thursday but I would have to think that there is going to be some hard number put on the table that shows 'this is the starting point for the new round of discussions.'
Whether that picks up at $42.5 million and where things were on February 19th remains to be seen.
Some of the players believe that the NHL is out to bust the union. The flip side is some owners believe that Bob Goodenow never wanted to make a deal.
The only reason why they got a salary cap on the table was because there was a faction within the NHLPA that wrested control of the process away from Bob Goodenow ever so briefly to get that cap on the table.
You can go around and around, but the one thing I do know is that this is going to get a lot darker than it has been.
I don't think anything is going to come from these talks and I don't think we're headed on the road to anything over the next couple of months.
If the NHL goes to replacement players, the fans will get a voice. They will either buy replacement hockey or not buy it. Ultimately the fans may settle this if they go to replacement players.
If they don't, than it's still a private business dispute between two guys that can't make a deal.

Blogger Issues

Making a comment on any post recently has been an adventure and most of the time comments just are not working. I just want to apologize for the problem and blogger is working on this issue.
Only a few more weeks and this issue along with many others I have experienced with blogger will be gone. I am moving to my own server with a fresh look for all of my blogs.

nhl- Burke, Healy & McKenzie talk CBA Meeting

The NHL Insiders from TSN are back in full force. They discuss what may happen in the CBA meeting tomorrow(will open WMP video).

nhl- Meaning of Scab

from foxsports, Don't look now, but the "s" word is starting to creep back into the lexicon of several pundits upset with those NHL players plying their craft in Europe during the lockout.
Yes, once again "scab" is being used to describe those players. While it certainly sounds nasty and makes for good headlines, it seems those commentators haven't consulted their dictionaries. We've touched on this previously, but it seems worthwhile mentioning this again.
In labor terms, a scab is someone who either refuses to join a union, an employee who works while others are on strike, or a person hired to replace a striking worker.
That doesn't apply to NHLers in Europe.
They've crossed no picket lines nor were they hired to replace striking players, and while some point out the NHLPA isn't an actual union, those who signed to play overseas belong to the association.

nhl- The Death of Hockey

This article is written by Irwin N. Graulich, a motivational speaker on morality, ethics, religion and politics. It appears on Michnews,com, and they bill their website this way: Most In-depth, Conservative, Honest News & Commentary
I don't know how Marxism, fascism and Nazism have anything to do with the NHL, but this author does.
Read the article at your own risk, I became lost at about the second sentence. I am only posting bits and pieces from the written words.

Baseball is rolling in the dough. The Superbowl is the most watched event in the world. The NBA has become a money machine. And hockey is dying a slow death.
Unfortunately, the NHL in the United States is ruled through Montreal, and thus has become a European outpost. Hockey, a wonderful Canadian invention had turned too American, with players becoming American cowboys rather than "international" figure skaters. The pseudo sophisticates to our North wished to move beyond sports as an entertainment vehicle, setting up new rules and regulations that do not allow the tremendous passion and drive of the less graceful to succeed.
The fight against hockey violence was actually a battle against America. If a hockey player fights back to protect himself, he was considered too aggressive, just like Israel. Evidence the European and Canadian positions vis a vis the Middle East.

nhl- Lafleur refuses Layoff

rom tsn, Hockey legend Guy Lafleur turned down a request to put his job as a public relations ''ambassador'' on hold during the NHL lockout but is not looking to part ways with the Montreal Canadiens.
Agent Jean Roy said Wednesday that Lafleur preferred to allow his three-year contract with the team to expire and offered to defer his salary until after NHL play resumes.
He hopes to negotiate a new deal when the lockout is settled, Roy said. Although a report in Le Journal de Montreal on Wednesday suggested he is at odds with the club, Roy insisted that ''Guy is not on the warpath,'' against the team he starred for in the 1970s and early 1980s.
However, he said Lafleur was surprised to learn that Darryl Sittler earns $200,000 as an ambassador for the Leafs - more than twice what Lafleur gets from the Canadiens - and would be seeking a better deal.

nfl- Detroit Lions Sign Rick Demulling

Since I am in the Detroit area and many of the visitors are too, I am happy to announce the Detroit Lions have signed offensive guard Rick Demulling to a two year deal.

nhl- Impasse Coming

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman sent a memo to all teams inviting them to an April 20th Board of Governors meeting, Sportsnet has learned.
Sources say this is the NHL's second memo in the past few days.
Another memo was recently delivered to update the owners on the reality the window of negotiation is quickly closing, perhaps within the next two weeks.
This latest corespondence comes on the eve of the lockouts next bargaining session -- a process deemed by one NHL executive as "merely a step towards impasse."
The NHL believes the Players' Association is not interested in negotiating and therefore exists a strong sense Bettman will outline how a plan to employ replacement players can be implemented through impasse at the April 20th meeting.

nfl- Ted Bruschi to Undergo Heart Surgery

New England Patriots inside linebacker Tedy Bruschi is scheduled to undergo a surgical procedure to repair a hole in his heart, according to a television station in Tucson, Ariz.
Speaking of Bruschi to the NFL Network last night, Patriots outside linebacker Willie McGinest said, "I think he had a hole in his heart."
Bruschi's medical travels are similar to those suffered by former NHL forward Brian Mullen, who suffered a stroke in 1993, which was caused by a small hole in his heart that allowed a blood clot to travel to his brain when he was also 31.
Mullen attempted to make a comeback in 1995, but had a seizure in training camp.
"It definitely gets in your head," Mullen said last month. "You ask yourself, 'Am I doing the right thing for my family?'"

nhl- Pronger still sees Hope

While watching an ECHL game last night, Chirs Pronger gave his views on the NHL.

Although many hockey insiders have been pessimistic about there being a resolution in time for the 2005-06 season, Pronger still is holding out hope. He feels more for the other workers at arenas, surrounding restaurants and hotels and other businesses feeling the effects of the lockout.
As for what needs to be done to fix the game, he's not exactly sure, but he has some ideas.
"Well you'd like to think that talking right now will open up the lines of communication," Pronger said. "And now that we've shown that everybody's serious and they mean business, they'll be able to come to the table now and both sides are going to have their high points that are non-negotiable if you will. It's a matter of talking it through and coming up with different ideas that may or may not work."
If a resolution is found, Pronger and the other players are looking forward to getting back out on the ice.
"We'll be able to hopefully get back to doing what we do best and that's trying to entertain and play some hockey," he said. "And hopefully we can make sure the game is prosperous for both sides, then everybody can be happy and we can hopefully put this last year behind us."

nhl- What Happens Tomorrow

TSN has reported the NHL and the NHLPA will be meeting tomorrow and the Ottawa Sun a few days ago thought the meeting would be today.
Regardless of the day, what do you think will happen in the meeting. I fully expect the same results that we have heard far too many time; no progress, etc.....
Will this be the last meeting, will they give it another go, will we be totally shocked and be surprised if we hear talks are progressing?
I believe the meeting is the crucial point for both sides. The NHL as we know it may be just a memory if both sides cannot negotiate in good faith starting with the meeting this week.

nhl- Bettman's Pride in the Way

from the torontosun, Even though National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman has once again imposed censorship on the owners, snippets of information are leaking out, and it would appear that Bettman is now under considerable pressure to reach a settlement with the players. The most obvious reason is that a majority of owners realize they could have made money under the Dec. 9 proposal from the players, the one that offered a 24% salary rollback and other significant concessions.
They're not too pleased about Bettman holding out for his personal pet project -- a hard salary cap.
After all, those concessions were so significant that the league could justifiably have claimed a substantial victory and gone back to work.
But there are other reasons Bettman wants a quick settlement, not the least of which is the status of draft picks.
Once again, it's the wealthier teams that are providing much of the impetus. After all, it's no accident that financial success and good drafting go hand-in-hand.
With the lockout in place, teams are not allowed to sign players, but the competitive future of some teams is partly dependent upon draft picks they made two years ago.

nhl business- Karmanos-Ilitch Casino Duel

The Detroit Free Press article basically states that Karmanos may be too late with his bid to buy the Motor City Casino in Detroit. I found it interesting that the NHL does not prohibit its owners from owning casino interests.

A last-minute bid by Peter Karmanos Jr. and another Detroit businessman for a controlling interest in MotorCity Casino is unlikely to derail Marian Ilitch from winning, officials said late Tuesday.
The eleventh-hour, $563-million offer by Karmanos and real estate entrepreneur Herb Strather outbids Marian Ilitch by $38 million for a controlling interest in MotorCity Casino, which represents one-third of Detroit's $1-billion gambling market.
The move came the same day Ilitch announced a deal to buy out minority partners and grab a 46.5-percent interest as she continues negotiating for the 53.5-percent piece owned by Mandalay Resort Group Inc. for $525 million. Ilitch owns 25 percent of MotorCity and businessman Tom Celani owns 10 percent.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

soccer- Nine year old training with Brazilian Nat'l Team

What in the world are people thinking? The Santos soccer team in Brazil won a bidding war with Manchester United for the rights to train a nine year old.
Now I do not follow soccer at all but this article caught my eye. What's next, a six year old tennis player or maybe a ten year old swimmer.
I hope someone puts a stop to this, and what about the parents, they are in on it, of course.

from cbc, Brazilian soccer team Santos has edged out English powerhouse Manchester United for the right to train nine-year-old budding star Jean Carlos Chera.
Chera's standout play as a midfielder in his native Brazil caused some of the finest soccer teams in the world to bid on the opportunity to train him.
Santos, the Brazilian champion, is moving the nine-year-old Chera and his family to Santos – a coastal city of about 400 kilometres southwest of Rio. The team is paying the youth and his family an undisclosed amount of money.
"Our soccer people say he's something special, that he has exceptional skills for his age," Santos spokesman Aldo Neto told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

nhl- Bowman Talks

Scotty was on WXYT in Detroit. He said Brett Hull called and asked him if he was interested in coaching one of the teams in the WHA Tournament. Scotty declined because he is still under contract with the Wings. He thinks the WHA tourney is a trial run to see fan reaction, player reaction, etc.
He also said the players are not going to budge off of their latest offer and that the NHL proposal will include linkage. Could be a long summer.

nhl- No Deal with Goodenow in Charge

Stan Fischler from foxsports gives his views on numerous hockey topics, including:

Last Friday's NHL-NHLPA confab achieved zilch. Expect little else from this week's meeting. But Bob Goodenow now knows this: If his "union" fails to agree to the league's offer by springtime, Gary Bettman will stop waiting. That's when implementation by the NHL of union-free moves will begin.
As a result, a handful of optimists still predict that the NHLPA boss will get the message, come to his senses and make a deal. Our reply: NO WAY! As long as Goodenow runs the union, no deal will happen.
Last month's reports that Bob Goodenow was losing his NHLPA hold were vastly exaggerated, as we predicted at the time. BG never will resign because the dough's too good. Nor will he be pushed out because his 700 sheep will keep bah-bahing as they are instructed to do. That leaves it up to the agents to force him out. But — for reasons baffling to many — the reps haven't the gumption to take on David Frost's pal.

nhl- Another Karmanos - Ilitch Battle

Compuware Corp. Chairman and CEO Peter Karmanos Jr. and Detroit development entrepreneur Herb Strather have offered to buy the 53.5 percent of MotorCity Casino owned by Mandalay Resort Group Inc. for $563 million, Strather said Tuesday.
They are now competing with Marian Ilitch and other minority stockholders for control of the casino.
Karmanos, who also owns the Carolina Hurricanes of the National Hockey League, did not want to elaborate on the plans but confirmed through Doug Kuiper, corporate communications director for Compuware, that he and Strather are partners.
Earlier, Ilitch — co-owner with her husband, Michael, of Little Caesar Enterprises Inc., the Detroit Red Wings of the NHL and the Fox Theatre — offered $525 million for the Mandalay portion of MotorCity. Ilitch currently owns 25 percent of MotorCity; another partner, Tom Celani, owns 10 percent.

nhl- CBA meeting on Thursday

TSN reporting meeting is Thursday. The rest of the article is nothing that we have not heard before.
It looks as though the NHL and NHL Players' Association will return to the bargaining table on Thursday.
Sources say that is the day the two sides are expected to resume negotiations. The location of the meeting is being kept secret, although there are strong suspicions it will take place in New York City.

mlb- Tigers Release Sanchez

The Detroit Tigers have released Alex Sanchez. Sanchez was penciled in as the starting center fielder when spring training started.

update 11:10am, from the detnews, The Tigers' frustrating two-year experiment with center-fielder Alex Sanchez ended Tuesday when the team released him.
Sanchez, 28, had been an ongoing challenge for the Tigers since they obtained him from Milwaukee in a May, 2003, trade.
Although he had excellent speed and a quick bat, his defensive mishaps, bad baserunning, and inability to draw walks, increasingly turned him from a potential plus into an ongoing liability.
The last straw appeared to have come Sunday when he dropped a short fly ball in a game against the Mets.
It was the latest in yet another string of outfield bungles that left the Tigers with no choice but to cut him loose.
Sanchez will probably be replaced by a committee approach in center field, headed by Craig Monroe.
Talented rookie Curtis Granderson will likely be Detroiit's center-fielder for the long term, but Granderson, who turns 24 this week, is scheduled to at least begin the season at Triple A Toledo.

nhl- Letter from Ilitch

In today's Detroit Free Press, the Detroit Red Wings took out a full page ad that appeared in the sports section:
Dear Fans,
As you know, this year has been a turbulent one for the Detroit Red Wings, the NHL, our dedicated fans and the many businesses who count on the game of hockey to earn a living. We want you to know how extremely sorry we are that your Red Wings have not played hockey this season.
The Red Wings have a long history in the Detroit area dating back to 1926, and our wonderful fans have enthusiastically supported the team throughout the many decades. Our family has always been avid hockey fans. We bought the team in 1982 because we love hockey and we are passionate about Detroit. We knew it would take a little time to rebuild the team into a Stanley Cup contender, and we truly appreciate our fans that stood by us as we accomplished that feat. It is disappointing for all of us that the Red Wings were unable to make a run for their eleventh Stanley Cup this past year.
The decision by the League to cancel the season until a new CBA was agreed upon was extremely difficult one, but necessary for the long-term success of the NHL. As an Original Six member of the NHL and a firm believer that a healthy league will be best for all involved, especially the fans, we support the decision that was made. We know how disappointing this necessary action was and we share in your frustration.
It is not by chance that Detroit is known as Hockeytown. It is you, the fans, that have made Detroit and its hockey team the envy of all cities where hockey is played. We appreciate your continued support of the Red Wings and our partners in downtown Detroit. It is our sincere hope that we will see you at Joe Louis Arena in the fall. Thank you for standing by us as we work to solidify the game of hockey for many years to come.
Sincerely, Mike and Marian Ilitch

nhl- NHL needs a Network

from the torontosun, As far as NBC is concerned, the NHL is at Ground Zero. The NHL is nothing more than a cult sport, followed by a few devotees who make up such a small portion of the market that they aren't worth worrying about.
They want toto give the NHL the arena-football treatment. The idea is that the two parties will work hand in hand to promote hockey and to build a fan base in the United States.
It's good for the network, which has reached a deal which requires no payments until it makes a profit. It's good for the league because it gets the sport back on the map in the United States.
The NHL's general managers know of this proposed arrangement and, when they meet in Detroit in early April, will have the job of trying to rebuild the game with new rules that make it entertaining to an American audience.
If they can do it, presumably Canadians will come back to the sport as well.
But if they fail, the NBC deal will probably follow suit.
And let's face it, if the NHL had decent TV revenues, it wouldn't have locked out its players, would it?

nhl- Everyone has their Price

from the torontostar, When Wall Street buyout fund Bain Capital offered $3.5 (all figures U.S.) billion to buy the cash-strapped National Hockey League outright, its low-ball offer was ridiculed by many of the league's long-time owners.
"I am not interested in selling," Flyers chairman Ed Snider tersely told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "You couldn't get 30 guys to sell their teams. You could go to the moon in a two-engine plane quicker than you could do that."
Closer to home, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment president Richard Peddie said the parent company of the Toronto Maple Leafs wouldn't consider the offer.
"Our board has not met on it, nor do they intend to," Peddie said.
Yet one relatively new owner who's more used to approving loans to NHL teams rather than asking for them believes Peddie, Snider and other Bain critics have jumped the gun.
"This is a business like any other and what this comes down to is a number," said John Vanderbeek, a former banker with Lehman Brothers who's now the controlling partner of the New Jersey Devils.
"Obviously, they came in way too low at $3.5 billion."

Monday, March 14, 2005

nhl- The Next Chapter

Spector from foxsports basically outlines what direction the CBA talks could go.

It seemed a little surprising that the NHLPA would agree to meet with the league so soon. Having been pressured for months by Bettman and the team owners to get a season-saving deal in place by February, the PA had hinted following the season cancellation it might not be in any hurry to meet with the league.
Not that Goodenow and his crew would've rejected any invitation from the league, since they don't want to give Bettman any ammunition to declare an impasse and unilaterally impose his cost-certainty plan. But the league has now signaled its desire to get a new collective bargaining agreement in place by May, and that shifts the leverage over to the NHLPA.
Goodenow could've made Bettman and the owners squirm by agreeing to a meeting but stalling for a couple of weeks, but evidently the PA director isn't about to torment his opposition by milking the advantage he now holds over the league.
Perhaps that's because Goodenow and the players understand that their leverage has a limited shelf life, so why not meet with the league and find out how determined — or desperate — Bettman and the owners may be to get that May deal in place.

ncaa- Want To Bet

The Men's NCAA basketball tournament has become the most widely bet annual sporting event in America as office pools and sports betting gain more popularity and acceptance. Last year an NCAA survey estimated that over 10 percent of Americans participated in a "March Madness" pool, demonstrating that millions have a vested betting interest in the tournament. Now that the Internet has become the preferred means to wager on sports, a leading offshore gaming company today announced that it expects betting on the NCAA tournament to be ten times that of this year's Super Bowl. Industry sources expect a combined $2 billion to be wagered online and at Nevada sports books on this year's NCAA tournament.

nhl- Not Looking Good

More and more information is coming out from what happened in last Friday's CBA meeting. Goodenow told Bettman the players will wait for a better deal.
Next step is up to the NHL. The NHLPA will not agree to the current proposal from the NHL and are more united than before the CBA meetings in mid-February.
The NHL must decide which route they take, impasse, just start up with replacement players, not play at all, etc.
Also, talk is the NHLPA is taking the temperature of the MLB, NBA and NFL player associations to see if they would be willing to join them on a picket line in a show of support for the NHLPA.
It is going to get downright nasty in the next few weeks.

blog- Your input is Appreciated

Some of you who visit Breaking Sports on a regular basis know I am planning on upgrading to a dedicated server, re-designing of the blog and I plan to add some additional features.
I would appreciate your input on what you would like to see. Do you want all major sports covered, just the NHL, more detail on articles, more pictures or graphics?
Any suggestions or ideas would be welcomed and explored.
I am still surprised by the amount of visitors Breaking Sports receives on a daily basis. In the last week, I have been averaging about 3800 visits per day with about 325 of them being first time visitors.

nhl- Who will cross the Line

from the calgaryherald, Those wacky NHL boys are like Wile E. Coyote continually stalking the Roadrunner. If the anvil, the Acme dynamite and the fake tunnel painted on the mountain don't work, maybe the human bow-and-arrow will.
In this week's episode, the league is cleverly meeting with the NHLPA again, discussing ways to solve the CBA riddle.
But while they're supposedly bargaining in good faith, they're also still trying to crack the players' solidarity with a secret weapon (hey -- it worked so well the first time.)
The Herald has learned that NHL commissioner Jeremy Jacobs . . . er, Gary Bettman has sent out a memo/directive asking NHL teams to identify players in their organizations who they believe might be replacement players in the fall (hey, forewarned is forearmed). Flames president Ken King declined to comment on the existence of such a memo. "It's an internal matter," he told the Herald. But other NHL clubs have confirmed the league's request.

Slow Day

Not much NHL talk today from any media outlets, both on the national or local level.
In case you missed this, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reported the CBA meeting this week will be on Wednesday, probably in NYC.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

nba- Very Strange Game

The Detroit Pistons played the Utah Jazz tonight. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Pistons were up by a score of 58 to 50. In the 4th quarter, Detroit did not make a field goal, going 0-15 from the field but still won the game 64-62.
I am not sure if a record was set, but not scoring a fg. in a qtr. has to at least tie a record...Amazing!

Also, after the game, the Pistons announced coach Larry Brown will undergo hip surgery tomorrow. His return in unknown at this time. This will be the 2nd time since the start of the season that Brown has had surgery on his hip.

nhl- What Will You Watch

from Russ Conway of the eagletribune, Just when you think pro hockey's meltdown couldn't get any worse, along comes word of a brand new league, or maybe two, being organized to compete with or replace the National Hockey League.
That may beg the question: How can two or three "major" hockey leagues survive when the "No Hockey League" can't make it on its own?
But three separate groups are pursing plans to build a big-time hockey business on the ruins of the NHL.
One is a Canadian group that plans to create a new version of the old World Hockey Association. Toronto, Vancouver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Omaha (now there's a hockey hotbed, eh?), Quebec City, New York and Winnipeg are among the cities where franchises may be located.
The second group, based in Boston, involves lawyer Bob Caporale, former New England Patriots star Randy Vataha, and Bain Capital, the multi-billion dollar investment company founded by Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. This high-roller bunch isn't done yet.
The third group, including Edmonton player agent Ritch Winter, is exploring an international league, with North American teams in one division and European teams in another -- a true "world" hockey league. Franchise cities could include Las Vegas and Portland, Oregon.
Timing being everything in life, there's an opportunity to put "major league" hockey back on the ice. Since the caretakers of the NHL don't seem to care about the fans, perhaps somebody else will.
The artilce goes into much detail and is another must read from Mr. Conway.

mlb- Giambi Admits to Steroid Use

from the kansascitystar(reg. req.), Jeremy Giambi wants to talk. He parks his Hummer H2 in the parking lot at his spring training hotel, hops out and heads for the Bennigan's next door. He needs a drink.
When he walks in, nobody recognizes him. He looks different since he stopped using steroids.
"It's something I did,'' Giambi says. "I apologize. I made a mistake. I moved on. I kind of want it in the past.''
Giambi, a former Royal who last week signed with the Chicago White Sox, understands that won't happen. Since the federal investigation into the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative blew open the issue of performance-enhancing drugs and thrust Jeremy and his older brother, Jason, into the storm's eye, the specter of steroids has dominated baseball.
In an interview with The Kansas City Star , Jeremy Giambi became the first active baseball player with significant major-league experience to publicly admit that he knowingly used steroids.
While he did not specifically say his brother used steroids, Jeremy cited a press conference a month ago during which Jason sat in front of a small group of New York media and apologized profusely. He never gave a reason for the apology.
"If you don't know what he's apologizing for,'' Jeremy says, "you must've been in a coma for two years.''
So before he starts over, he wants to come clean about steroids. He wants others to do the same.
"They're not good for you,'' Giambi says. "I think we need to reach out and let teenagers know they're not good for your body and not good for your health.
"Do I ever think they'll rid sports of it completely? No. Unless they go to the source of where they're distributing it from, they may never get rid of it in sports. The temptation is too high.''

Now, if more athletes would come out and admit their use, they would at least put an end to all of the rumors and in my opinion, would be respected for admitting their mistakes.

nhl- Days of Reckoning Approaching

fro Larry Brooks at the nypost, If Gary Bettman has said it once, he has said it dozens of times throughout the lockout. The NHL, the Commissioner of the Owners has repeatedly testified, would lose less money by not playing the 2004-05 season than by playing it. It's become part of the league's mantra.
But if this is true, then why would the NHL be offering less to the players now than it was a year ago? If an overwhelming majority of clubs are in better financial shape today than they were, say, last June, why wouldn't the league's CBA offers to the PA be more generous than they were last summer?
Days of reckoning are fast approaching as the NHL lurches forward on its path of crisis mismanagement, scabs, replacement options and self-destruction. Forget the Entry Draft, forget training camp, forget the autumn. The first deadline the NHL faces is the one upcoming in approximately two months, when teams are scheduled to send "renewal" invoices to their season ticket-holders.
This past Thursday morning, we sent e-mails to all 30 teams (and copied the league office) requesting the following information: a) the approximate date of invoice mailing; b) whether ticket prices would be lowered, and, if so, by what percentage; c) whether pricing would be dependent upon a CBA being negotiated, and whether pricing would be affected by a league decision to proceed with "replacement players;" and, d) whether current subscribers would be permitted to decline "renewals" while retaining their status and seat locations if "replacements" are used next season.

nhl- "Gary, Make us an offer we can't Refuse"

from the ottawasun, Bob Goodenow has issued a stern warning to the NHL: Put up or shut up. Sources say the Players' Association boss didn't mince his words, telling NHL commissioner Gary Bettman during a 90-minute meeting on Friday in Toronto that the onus is on the owners to get a deal done.
A league source said Goodenow told Bettman the owners had better give the players "a deal they can't refuse" to end the NHL lockout, because the players don't feel any pressure to accept a collective bargaining agreement they don't like.
Sources also say the next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at a location that will be determined by the league -- but it's expected to take place in New York.
"My understanding is it was a very frank and honest discussion," said a league source. "Goodenow made it perfectly clear that the union is not willing to accept just anything and (that) the league had better offer a good deal.
"Goodenow told the league he's willing to meet with them any time they want and he's willing to listen to what they have to say, but the players feel like they've done everything they can to get a deal done. Now, Bettman has to try to come up with a way to get this resolved."

nhl- Ad Revenue from Auto Firms May Be Lost

from the oaklandpress, It's not exactly a secret that automakers love advertising on sporting events. Indeed, for all practical purposes, the marketing whizzes across the automobile industry are always looking for ways to link their promotions to sporting events.
The one sport left out when the automakers spread the cash around, however, is professional hockey.
Detroit might be described in some media as Hockeytown, but the enthusiasm for the sport stops at the edge of the parking lots around GM, Ford and Chrysler headquarters.
The industry's marketing gurus noticed when college basketball games, which replaced the National Hockey League on ESPN after the NHL season was canceled, drew a bigger audience than professional hockey.
In fact, the NHL's decision last month to cancel its entire season was shortsighted since it only reinforced hockey's weakness in the battle for sponsors' cash.
Automotive industry ad buyers will, no doubt, listen politely when sellers from the NHL finally show up to make their pitches. Auto executives, after all, do believe in sports as a vehicle for selling their brands, so they'll probably listen.
But getting them interested again, to the point where they'll actually commit serious money to the sport, will probably take some doing, particularly given the popularity of college basketball tournaments that have now become a big rite of spring.

nhl- Shanny, Grand Marshal

from the torontostar, One might think Brendan Shanahan would have a lot of free time on his hands these days.
But between watching over his ever-growing family, convening panels of hockey players to discuss the state of the NHL game and working out with various lacrosse teams to keep in shape, it's a wonder the Detroit Red Wings power forward found time to come back home to serve as grand marshal in the 18th annual St. Patrick's Day parade today. But he's squeezed it in somehow and he's looking forward to it all — except for the green food colouring.
Shanahan spoke to the Toronto Star from his Boston home this week about his duties as marshal, his Irish heritage, his (sadly) hockey-free existence and his surprising taste in beer.