Breaking Sports

Saturday, April 16, 2005

psa- Firefox 1.03 Now Available

It is a slow night, so I thought I would do my duty as a blogger and let Firefox users know the new security update, 1.03 is now available for download.
I have gone through three of these upgrades and have learned quite a bit so I will pass on my thoughts to you. First of all, this new version is a security release and you should install it ASAP.
In previous upgrades, the proper way was to install the new version was to download the newest release, delete the previous release through your add/remove program and then install the new release. That way all of your extensions, themes, settings remained intact and upgraded to the new version. If you just upgraded to the new version, you would see all of those versions in your add/remove list which could cause problems in the future.
With Fx 1.03, I was able to install the new version without removing 1.02 first, and only 1.03 is in my add/remove list. There has been an ongoing discussion which way is correct, and most people feel you can do it the old way by first deleting the older version or do it the new way by just installing over the older version.
Also, there are some extensions that are not yet designed to work with 1.03 but should be available very soon.
If you have any questions, check out this forum and I am sure your question will or has been answered there.

nhl- Quick Hits

  • Some General Managers are in favor(and the list is growing) of playing all regular season games within the conference.
  • Scott Walker was the last player added to Canada's roster for the upcoming World Tourney.
  • The NHL is thinking about allowing unlimited curves on hockey sticks in hopes that it will increase scoring.
  • Both the NHL and the Toronto Maple Leafs remain silent on the meeting they had yesterday.

nhl- What Kind of Meeting will it Be

from msgnetwork and Stan Fischler, By the middle of next week, we will know if labor peace is possible this Spring in the NHL. It is the hockey melodrama of the century and will unfold this way:
On Tuesday the league’s top negotiators will meet in New York with their union counterparts to determine whether the “progress” – as some observers described it -- made at the last meeting was real or imagined.
A day later the 30 league owners will meet at Manhattan’s Westin Hotel for what looms as one of the most historic NHL conferences ever held.
During the intervening hours, the combatants will know whether an armistice is possible before the Summer or whether the conflagration will blaze into Autumn.
Nobody is quite sure.
Rumors of a hybrid proposal emerged from what has been described by league officials as “the first genuine negotiating session” between the NHL and NHLPA.
read on....

nhl- Crack in Ownership

from the mercurynews(reg. req.), Cracks are appearing in the NHL owners' unified front.
The main issue is replacement players and, according to a prominent Canadian hockey analyst, Sharks CEO Greg Jamison is a ringleader of the "whatever it takes'' faction determined to resume action next fall -- even if that puts minor leaguers in NHL jerseys."
I didn't realize that I was,'' Jamison said, challenging reports by TV analyst Bob McKenzie that Jamison, Los Angeles Kings owner Philip Anschutz and Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks were leading the replacement cause.
The rift might not be enough to weaken the league's bargaining leverage -- in February, the players, too, were divided over a salary cap -- but it is the most public split among owners since the lockout began seven months ago.Representatives of seven teams -- San Jose, Los Angeles, Dallas, Minnesota, Columbus, Chicago and St. Louis -- met March 28 in Dallas for what McKenzie described as talks ``about how they would market replacement-player hockey.
''Stars President Jim Lites acknowledged that the meeting took place and that the league office was represented, but he denied its focus was a push for replacements."There's a big divide, certainly a wide divergence of opinion on whether we should play with replacement players,'' Lites said Thursday of the views among the NHL's 30 teams. "But for the purposes of that meeting, the question wasn't, `Should we play with replacement players?' It was, `If the edict comes, what do we do?Lites said the meeting involved a variety of front-office staff members -- marketing directors and a few general managers and team presidents, but other than Jamison, who has both roles, not the owners who set NHL policy.

Friday, April 15, 2005

nhl- Next Week Crucial

from Foxsports, Next week could be perhaps the most pivotal of the lengthy NHL labor dispute in terms of direction over the summer months.
The NHL board of governors will be meeting with league commissioner Gary Bettman on Wednesday, during which it's believed the owners of the 30 clubs will make a decision regarding their plans for the upcoming season.
The day prior, Bettman and his negotiating committee will be meeting with NHLPA director Bob Goodenow and his player executives to once again discuss proposals toward a possible negotiated settlement, based on the supposedly optimistic tone of their last meeting nearly two weeks ago.
Originally it was believed the two sides would meet this week but the NHLPA claimed scheduling conflicts made it necessary to move the meeting to the day before the board of governors' meeting.
The time between the two meetings led to media speculation of intrigue on Goodenow's part. It was suggested that he planned the timing of the next meeting to pressure Bettman to have something to take before the owners the following day.
If that were the case, it's not going to work, as the commissioner has proven he's not one to be influenced by pressure tactics.
That being said, what could put some pressure on Bettman is the apparent opposition by some teams, perhaps even a majority, toward icing replacement players next season. If the number of owners against replacements is a large one, it could see the league's negotiating committee push harder for a new collective bargaining agreement before the summer....continued...

nba- All Star Game in Vegas- Quite Possible

from the lasvegasreviewjournal, Las Vegas is in serious talks to host the National Basketball Association's All-Star weekend in February 2007, the first time the event would be held in a city without its own NBA franchise.
In addition to generating worldwide media exposure and pouring tens of millions of dollars into the local economy, the event arguably would represent this city's greatest success in its ongoing effort to do business with a major professional sports league.
"This is huge for Las Vegas, and it looks like the stars are aligning," Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman said Thursday about 15 minutes before he met in his City Hall office with Ski Austin, the NBA's senior vice president of events and attractions; Palms developer George Maloof, whose family owns the Sacramento Kings, and Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority President Rossi Ralenkotter.

nhl- The Difference is Noticeable

The Oracle is the student newspaper of the University of South Florida, which happens to be in Tampa(the middle of the state) and home to the Stanley Cup Champions.
I wonder if most people in the area around Tampa feel this way? Some "highlights" of the article:

You should be in hockey heaven right now. Your beloved Lightning should be in the first round of the NHL Playoffs, which would have started on Wednesday, defending their Stanley Cup Title.
Instead, you're stuck with baseball -- and your beloved Rays -- and you're sore that the 2004 title banner was never raised. You're sad that the kings of hockey can't return to their Ice Palace.
Well, as you might realize soon, maybe you shouldn't be. Here are 15 good reasons to hate hockey.
No. 1: Can you name three all-stars from each conference? That's what I thought.
No. 2: Hockey is not a sport everyone can play. Not only is there a tremendous amount of expensive equipment required, there are no "backyard" ice hockey games like there are with baseball, football and basketball.
No. 3: Unlike those big three sports, hockey wasn't invented in America. Since when do we import sports?
No. 4: Unless you are Superman, you can't see the puck during televised games. It's like trying to watch a fly that's buzzing around your room.
No. 14: Can you name three current NHL head coaches? Thought so.
No. 15: Finally, the most obvious reason: It's April 15, and there's no hockey. And there might not be for a long, long time.
I hope you feel better.

nhl- Bettman meeting with High Revenue Owners

from the torontoglobeandmail(reg.req.), Gary Bettman is scheduled to pay a call on the Toronto Maple Leafs today. Although there is no official agenda, it is likely the National Hockey League commissioner will be told the Maple Leafs do not want to use replacement players next season.
It is also likely, according to NHL sources, that Bettman will ask the Maple Leafs to give up their opposition to greater revenue sharing with the league's lower-income clubs. The sources say Bettman will make the same request to other high-revenue franchises.
Bettman is under increasing pressure from some clubs to get a collective agreement with the National Hockey League Players' Association because they do not want to use replacement players. But to do so, Bettman needs the wealthier teams to drop their opposition to revenue sharing because it will have to be a part of a collective agreement under the concepts the league and the NHLPA are exploring.
The union has put forward a proposal that would link payrolls and revenue — something it has long opposed — but on a club-by-club basis. There is also discussion of a minimum level for payrolls, which would be higher than some clubs' current payrolls and would require luxury taxes and revenue sharing, which the union has proposed all along.

nhl- Thaw is Underway

from Al Strachan and the torontosun, The thaw is under way and the ice is not as thick as it once was. In some places, it's downright soft. But that car is still out there, and in that part of the lake, the ice is still pretty thick.
The thaw really began at last week's general managers' meeting at Detroit Airport. NHL people met face to face with NHL Players' Association people, at levels that had not had any interaction for months. Players and GMs were involved, and the infectious optimism spread to the other levels.
Now that more talks are scheduled for next week, followed by a board of governors meeting, there is a sense the lockout is in its last days.
It is and it isn't.
Both sides realize a deal has to get done before too long, and they're working within a specific range. But they are still a good distance apart.
On the owners' side, there is a realization that the original strategy has been flawed to the point that it is irretrievable.
The initial plan of a one-year shutdown was implemented but it did not break the resolve of the players, as had been hoped. And the fallback position of replacement players isn't going to work either.
For one thing, the vast majority of the general managers are against it and they are able to convince the owners of the error of their ways.
For another, the legal strategy of the NHLPA -- which countered the NHL's move away from linkage by the acceptance of a salary cap -- left the NHL without a solid position to use in an attempt to get an impasse declared.
That whole scenario depends upon the NHL being able to say it has bargained in good faith and that the differences between the two sides are irreconcilable.
But the NHL hasn't really bargained at all. It started with a demand for the imposition of a salary cap, and that's still the basic premise of its offers. As for the other point, where is there any proof that the differences are irreconcilable?
The two sides are arguing primarily over the numbers that should be in place at the top and bottom of the salary-cap range. That's negotiation, not impasse.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Brian Burke Suing NY Post & Larry Brooks

from radio station), Former Vancouver Canucks General Manager Brian Burke is suing the New York Post and writer Larry Brooks. The suit comes as a result of a February 27th article in the Post stating that Burke was a part of a plot to deal with Colorado Avalanche forward Steve Moore. Brooks goes on to state that Burke went down into the Canucks locker room and told players to retaliate to Moore's hit on Markus Naslund from a game earlier in the season. Brian Burke's Lawyer, Peter Gall, confirmed to News 1130 that Burke is suing for defamation of character and is seeking damages as well as an apology from both Brooks and the New York Post. Larry Brooks was contacted by News 1130 and declined comment, other then stating that he stood by his story and the sources that provided him with the information. Papers were filed in BC Supreme Court on April 13th, 2005

nhl- ESPN Deadline now June 1st

The NHL and ESPN have extended the deadline for the all-sports network to make a decision on whether it will pick up its option to carry the currently locked-out league next season until June 1. The original deadline was April 15th.

nhl- The Proposal

As some of you know, I have at times been able to receive information regarding the CBA. Sometime around April 1st, I posted a thread about how the next proposal would include both revenue sharing and luxury tax situations.
I am getting bits and pieces about the proposal that both sides have been discussing and thought I would explain it just a bit.
The high end cap would be set a $50 million and the low end at $3o million. Revenue sharing will be a tiered effort looking something like this. If the NHL generates over $2 billion in revenue, the players would receive 55% of that figure. If the revenue generated was $1.4 billion, the revenue sharing would drop to 50% and so on in a downward turn...These figure of course will be one of the key negotiation topics.
Also, luxury tax may be set on each individual teams after a certain salary is reached, maybe $45 million per team and then the team would be taxed 100% if they go over that figure or it may be a tiered tax which again will be a negotiated figure(s).
Revenue sharing between the owners would be a certain percentage of what each team's revenue and salary is. So it would be proportionate for teams with a higher salary as compared to teams with a lower salary, as long as they both brought in the same revenue percentage.

ncaah- Frozen Four Future Sites

The NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Committee announced today the finalists to host the Men's Frozen Four from 2009-2011.
The finalists include Boston, which would have Boston University and the Hockey East Association hosting the event in the FleetCenter; Detroit, which would have the Central Collegiate Hockey Association hosting at Ford Field; Philadelphia, which would have Canisius College, Niagara University, Rider University and the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference hosting at the Wachovia Center; Tampa, which would have the University of Alabama, Huntsville, hosting at the St. Pete Times Forum; St. Paul, Minnesota, which would have the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, hosting at the Xcel Energy Center and Washington, D.C., which would have the United States Naval Academy hosting at the MCI Center.
The NCAA staff will take site visits to all six locations prior to all cities doing formal presentations to the entire Division I Men's Ice Hockey Committee, June 7-10, in Indianapolis. The committee will then forward its recommendations for 2009, 2010 and 2011 to the Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet to approve during its September 20-22, meeting in Indianapolis.
The next three Frozen Fours have already been determined. The 2006 event will take place at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with the 2007 finals held at the Savvis Center in St. Louis, Missouri and the 2008 Men's Frozen Four at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

nhl- Dead Silence

As numerous hockey people mentioned recently, an NHL Executive Meeting was scheduled for yesterday in NYC. However, not one mention of it today. Did it happen, does anyone know, I can't find out anything about it.
If you have heard anything about this mystery meeting, please pass it on.

update 1:10pm Arthur Griffiths on his Mojo Radio Show in Vancouver was going to have Peter Karmanos on today, but Peter had to cancel basically because the NHL has instituted the gag order again. Arthur did say Karmanos was at the NHL Executive Meeting yesterday.

media- Should Albom be Fired?

This is from the Editor and Publisher, which covers the newspaper industry. By the way, both Detroit daily papers have told all staff not to comment on the ongoing Mitch Albom controversy.

That's the question E&P posed to newspaper editors gathered here this week for the annual American Society of Newspaper Editors conference. For most of those willing to offer an opinion, the answer was no -- not yet, anyway.
"Is it a fireable offense?" asked Terry Headlee, executive editor of The Herald-Mail in Hagerstown, Md. "It's awfully close. It bothered me a lot. But I feel that a person's whole career needs to be taken into account."
Headlee and others were asked about Albom's recent sin of submitting on April 1 a column for the Detroit Free Press' April 3 edition about a Michigan State University basketball game on April 2. He would not have gotten caught, except that the column reported on two former Michigan State University basketball players attending the game, who did not attend.
Free Press editors are investigating the incident and have put Albom on paid leave until they decide what to do.
read on...

sports- Heads Up

  • Tampa Bay Bucs Owner Malcolm Glazer’s investment banking adviser, Rothschild, is expected to approach Cazenove, Manchester United’s adviser, today or tomorrow “regarding his latest attempt to buy” ManU. The financial terms of his planned US$1.5B bid, “including the controversial funding arrangements, have been left virtually unchanged” .
  • Tiger Woods’ chip shot on the 16th hole Sunday at The Masters got a 116 rating out of 200 from TiVo, less than the 180 Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” got at Super Bowl XXXVIII.
  • $100 to park! Parking lot attendents were charging up to $100 to park for yesterday's Yankees/ Red Sox game. The mayor is looking into the matter.

nhl- Miss the Playoffs, Don't Bother

from espn, The Stanley Cup was serious fun, whether you were there or just a viewer. There was something about 40 players giving their all because they all had everything to lose that elevated the playoffs so dramatically over the regular season.
But since Bettman was defending the rights of the over-rich and under-skulled, and Goodenow was fighting for truth, beauty and a principle that he could fold on later while pretending the dog ate his briefcase, the Stanley Cup has taken on the appearance of the crown jewels at the bottom of a septic tank.
And if this seems harsh or a little much to take this soon after breakfast, well, let's review the principal duties of the hockey industry.
The owners' sole duty is to put on games that people will pay money to watch. The players' sole duty is to play in those games. Everything else is trivia, period.
I mean, the owners are still rich, the players have found other games, and as part of the eternal grand plan of all sports, the fans have been played as saps, suckers and dim bulbs.
Thus, getting all weepy and rheumy-eyed about the Stanley Cup playoffs is the last sign before intervention is required. They don't care, so why should you?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

nhl- New Concept

via CP(canadianpress), The NHL and NHL Players' Association will resume labour talks Tuesday in New York, on the eve of the league's board of governors meeting, sources have told The Canadian Press.
The league has spent more than a week chewing on what the union put on the table at their last meeting: a floating team-by-team payroll that would have a base of $30 million and an upper limit of $50 million US. But sources indicate the range would fluctuate depending on the league's revenues. The $30 million to $50 million is based on $2 billion in revenues.
If the league comes back Tuesday and insists on linking player costs to no more than 54 per cent of revenues - then talks will once again hit a wall. The union wants no part of that model.
The owners meet again Wednesday, and the subject of replacement players will once again be on the table.

nhl- NHLPA Meeting on May 24th

via Sportsnet, While the NHL and the NHLPA prepare to resume CBA discussions on Tuesday, Sportsnet has learned the union has summoned all its members for what could be a massive meeting on May 24th.
The meeting is open to every NHL player and will follow the World Hockey Championships, which allows the 400 NHLers who played in Europe this season time to plan for this face-to-face get together.
It is also confirmed the NHL and NHLPA will get together on Tuesday in New York, one day before the NHL board of governors is scheduled to meet in the Big Apple.

nhl- Who Want Replacements

from Bob McKenzie of TSN, The concept of replacement players is a highly contentious issue - that, we know for sure.
We also know that there's a group of owners out there led by Tom Hicks in Dallas, Philip Anschutz in Los Angeles and Greg Jamison in San Jose who want replacement players. They want any kind of players, so long as they start hockey next fall.
These guys want that so much that they met in Dallas about a week ago to talk about how they would market replacement player hockey and that caused a bit of a stir.
We also know there are a large group of owners who want nothing to do with replacement player hockey. They are philosophically, morally and practically imposed to it. A lot of NHL general managers don't want anything to do with it either but they may have to follow orders from their owners if they absolutely have to.
The question is; where does NHL commissioner Gary Bettman come down on all this?
Well, there's an executive committee meeting on Wednesday in New York and I have no doubt this subject will come up. It will be up to Bettman to chart the course coming out of Wednesday's board of governors meeting and while everybody has assumed all the way along that there would be hockey this fall with replacements if necessary, it's now beginning to look as though a lot of people are opposed to this. It may well be that the NHL comes out and simply announces they would do a deal with the NHLPA when they get the right deal and until they do, there's not going to be any NHL hockey.

nhl- Meeting Next Week

per TSN, Negotiations between the NHL and NHL Players' Association will resume next week. TSN has learned the two sides will get together on Tuesday in New York, one day before the NHL board of governors is scheduled to meet in the Big Apple.

mlb- Magglio Ordonez Out Again

Maggs has a groin problem, back to Detroit for tests.

update 6:23pm, Maggs will go thru many tests tomorrow, it could be stemming from the viral infection. Tigers calling it a lower abdominal problem.

update 6:30pm Guillen out with swollen right knee.

nhl- Best Time of Year- Gone

Propbably more of an interest to Detroit Red Wing fans, but it is a feel good story that appeared on last week. By the way, I went to high school with the owners of Superior Fish Company.
The folks at Superior Fish Company recommend a tasty smoked octopus dip made with cream cheese.
"It's really nice," co-owner Kevin Dean said.
Octopus dip? Maybe in Los Angeles or Chicago or even Atlanta. But in Detroit the only good use of an octopus is heaving it onto the ice at Joe Louis Arena during a Red Wings playoff run.
Think of it as a rite of spring.
Back in the day, when NHL games were actually played at the arena known simply as The Joe, the Superior Fish folks offered a full octopus kit for Red Wings fans. The staff would parboil the beasts to remove some of the natural slime, which provided for better grip and less slip.
Kevin Dean and his brother David would even offer tips on the best launching techniques.
"It depends on where your seat is," Kevin Dean said.
But Red Wings fans won't get a chance to display their skills this on...

golf- Big Stakes Match Play $3 million to the Winner

On May 17, 2005, two golfers will walk off the golf course at The Casablanca Golf Club in Mesquite, Nevada, with the biggest paycheck in tournament history- $3,000,000! ...They won't be touring pros.
The 2005 Big Stakes Match Play is an inaugural event, the first of this one-of-a-kind competition: "The ultimate game. The ultimate gamble." Golfers from all professions and no profession and from anywhere in the world are invited to play for the biggest paycheck in golf history: $3,000,000. Big Stakes is the perfect platform for the most aggressive, the most talented and the most poised of golfers in the world today.

sports- Heads Up

  • NFL Network today will release the NFL ’05 regular-season schedule at 2:00pm ET on its “NFL Total Access Schedule Show.” Hosts Rich Eisen and Lincoln Kennedy will be joined by guests including ABC’s John Madden, Fox’ Cris Collinsworth, CBS’ Phil Simms and ESPN’s Paul Maguire to discuss the week-by-week matchups.
  • Usa Today reports that the NFL and NCAA have had to adjust their ’05 schedules because Christmas and New Year’s Day both fall on Sundays this season. CBS and Fox are slated to televise afternoon NFL games on Saturday, December 24th, while Fox and ESPN will broadcast Christmas Day NFL games at 5:00pm ET and 8:30pm ET, respectively. ABC’s final “MNF” broadcast will be December 26. The final NFL regular-season games will be carried by CBS and Fox on January 1st, while NCAA bowl games will move from January 1st to January 2nd.
  • The Toronto Globe and Mail reports that Toronto lawyer Tim Gilbert will file a claim this morning in Ontario Superior Court against the NHL and the trustees of the Stanley Cup, with the intention of forcing the trustees “to free up” the Cup during the NHL lockout. Canadian Governor General Adrienne Clarkson has suggested that women’s teams could compete for the Cup this year, and hoped that the NHL would “agree in good faith” .
  • A regular-season record crowd of 55,892 attended yesterday’s Giants-Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium.

nhl- Actions by NHL may not Work

According to an article at subscription only), the NHL is on shaky legal ground in challenging the players union's plan to decertify agents who represent replacement players, labor law experts said.
Gary Roberts, director of the sports law program at Tulane Law School, said it appears that the NHLPA may have to give the NHL 60 days' notice before implementing the rule against agents representing replacement players, but the league would not be able to block it. Roberts said he cannot understand without talking to NHL lawyers about their legal theory, how the NHLPA plan violates the National Labor Relations Act.
Bill Gould, former chairman of the NLRB, said the act "protects employees who want to refrain from concerted action-who want to work in the face of a picket line." But that protection does not extend to agents, who exist only because sports unions give them the right to represent their player members.

nhl- Missing These Things

from the Philadelphia Daily News, Until this year, the only other time the NHL playoffs were interrupted was in 1919 when a worldwide flu epidemic halted the Cup Finals after five games. As April's showers turn to May's flowers, here are five things to lament as the calendar quietly turns to April 13, the day that the hockey playoffs were scheduled to begin.
  • Game 7s - no matter the round or the teams involved.
  • Overtime. Double overtime. Triple overtime. Think somebody will score before the bar closes?
  • The intensity (or terror, depending on your view) of a two-man advantage.
  • The intensity/terror of an overtime power play
  • Watching the annual emergence of a young goaltender, be it Robert Esche in our back yard or Miikka Kiprusoff a continent away.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

nhl- More from Fischler

Numerous tidbits on the NHL, most have been discussed here over the past few few days.
from Stan Fischler and Foxsports, The NHL's exec board, led by Gary Bettman and Harley Hotchkiss, convenes Wednesday (Apr. 13) in New York. The historic confab will lay out parameters for replacements — or a new CBA — rules changes, etc. setting stage for the all-owners meeting on Apr. 20. Expect the fur to fly over draft procedure among other topics.
While the salary cap issue has predominated in CBA media coverage, insiders regard it as an overplayed story. One owner tells us straight out, "There are more important things to us; starting with changing the whole arbitration system." Management will never allow an arbitration process that has been overwhelmingly distorted in favor of the players.
One owner we know — who has been unerringly correct in projections so far — tells us that he believes a pact will be hammered out "by June." Our position remains this: As long as Bob Goodenow calls the shots NO deal is possible. Should he be superceded by a less militant NHLPAer — say, Mike Gartner — progress is possible.
Read on...

nhl- Empty Bars in Hockeytown

from thedetroitfreepress(wed. edition) via themercurynews(sub. req.), The laments of billionaires and millionaires over a lost season are nothing more than meaningless crocodile tears to businesses denied the opportunity of cashing in at season's end.
The legacy of the NHL lockout isn't the empty arenas this week on what should have been the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but rather the barren bars and a scaled-back work force.
A duel to the death between identically arrogant forces isn't a victimless crime when considering the ancillary parties who've suffered greatly in the absence of hockey.
"I wish that the commissioner (Gary Bettman) could walk through here on what should have been a playoff night and take a good look,'' said Tracie Anderson, a bartender at the original Post Bar on Congress, just across the street from Cobo Center. "Yeah, it was upsetting that this was allowed to happen.''
Under normal circumstances, the Post would pulsate upon the arrival of playoff time. The pre-game crowd filters in around 4:30 in the afternoon and post-game patrons are advised to bring a crowbar to squeeze out the tiniest piece of breathing room.
The nights now are empty and lonely.
Bettman should come to hockey's American holy land this week. Bring along Bob Goodenow, the players' union chief as well, and take a long, hard look at the spoiled fruits of their labor. It used to be you couldn't swing a dead octopus without hitting a winged wheel on a nearby watering hole's window.
But if there are no Detroit Red Wings, there's little reason for anybody to venture to that part of downtown.
It's not the fans who deserve an apology for the shortsighted actions of the past months. They miss the game, but they no doubt found other ways to dispose of their disposable dollars. The ones who endure the most pain are those multitasking, multi-employed people whose lives are drastically altered if their monthly intake comes up a few hundred dollars short.

nhl- New Concept

via the AP, When NHL labor talks resume, a new plan will be up for discussion that attempts to blend elements from both sides' vision of how players will be paid.
Negotiations will probably resume next week, during which a new, hybrid concept – which addresses the relationship between player costs and league revenues – will be brought to the table, a source close to the negotiations told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday.
The NHL has maintained that it prefers a link tying player costs to league revenues, while the union has mostly rejected that idea. This new, mixed plan would appear to incorporate elements from both concepts.
Previous compromise discussions have failed to yield signs of progress toward ending the lockout that began seven months ago.
It was thought that talks would resume this week, but as of Tuesday there was still difficulty in scheduling a meeting, the source said. Next week's likely bargaining session would come at a busy time for the NHL, which already has a board of governors meeting planned for Wednesday.

nhl- Who is Playing Who

from tsn and Bob McKenzie, Some of the NHL's owners are wondering if they're being played by NHLPA boss Bob Goodenow, who a week ago Monday talked about a concept that looked an awful lot like "linkage."
You may also recall the surprising sense of optimism coming out of that get together.
But there hasn't been a meeting since, and there won't be until next week at the earliest, a delay which has some on the NHL side wondering if Goodenow is playing games.
Was the "linked" concept put forward last week a serious first step to get a negotiated settlement? Or was it a move designed to make it more difficult for the NHL to declare an impasse?
Logic suggests it was a strange time for the NHLPA to seemingly embrace the idea of a floating floor and ceiling tied to league revenues. And even though the two sides may have been on the same page conceptually, the numbers weren't even close.
The NHLPA is looking at a salary range of $20 million - say $30 million at the low end to $50 million on the high end - on revenues of about $2 billion. The NHL would like that range cut in half to a $10 million spread.
But if they never bridge that gap, in theory, it may be more difficult for the NHL to say they're at an impasse.
One assumes we'll find out soon enough if there's any negotiating traction, but the NHL executive committee - the big hitters of ownership - are meeting with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman Wednesday in New York, presumably to chart a course for the Apr. 20 board meeting.
So will it be replacements or no replacements? Don't be surprised if it's the latter, but the most pressing issue right now is to find out what the NHLPA's intentions are on the concept they put forward last week.

nhl- Owners will Decide

from Stan Fischler of msgnetwork, This has been a difficult year for NHL optimists.
Every time they’ve heard supposedly good news about the possibility of a Collective Bargaining Agreement being welded by Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow, it turned out that they were merely hearing things – of no consequence.
That’s why the NHL’s Executive Board meeting on Wednesday in New York must be viewed with caution. Nobody wants another build-up to a letdown.
The importance of the April 13 conference is that it will set the table – and provide a detailed agenda – for the 30 owners who convene on Wednesday, April 20. That conference could be the most important in league history.
It will deal with such vital topics as:
CBA progress
A Draft system
In the event of no CBA, whether or not to use Replacement Players
Dramatic new rules
read on...

nhl- Bill Watters on the NHL

Bill Watters was just on Mojo Radio in Vancouver with host Arthur Griffiths. Watters says the owners are changing their mind of using replacement players and will make that known at the BOG. They will recommend not using those type of players and instead just continue the lockout.
Bill and Arthur claim that will change the thinking of the PA and the players will start coming back to the NHL on their own. Both also blame Goodenow for all of the problems with the CBA, said a deal should have been done by now.

nhl- Now Meeting Next Week

Despite both sides vowing to keep the negotiations alive, sources tell Sportsnet there will be no meeting this week.
A full week has passed since the NHL and the NHLPA surfaced from a 7 hour meeting in Toronto and declared progress had been made.
The two sides vowed to keep the negotiation alive and broke apart to spend time working on a model that appealed to both.
However, the days continue to slip away and sources from both the league and the union tell Sportsnet there will be no meeting this week.
A sense of frustration is building around the NHL as those closest to the lockout feel strongly about maintaining the momentum built last week.
Early next week now seems to be the target, with the Players Association stating conflicting schedules are to blame for this weeks wash-out.
While the union fine tunes it's "concept", the NHL has called its executive committee together for an update session on Wednesday. Sources say this meeting will help Gary Bettman determine what route he wants to take going into the April 20th Board of Governors meeting.
The idea of utilizing replacement players will be a focal point, but there is a growing sense the league might make a late change in strategy and "stay the course" until a deal gets done.
The pressure this applies comes in the threat of another season getting wiped out.
NHL general managers spent the weekend working on the latest homework assignment. Executive vice president, Colin Campbell asked teams to formulate scenarios based on all of the suggested changes last Thursday in Detroit and provide a summary of how they see the game being played. From there a competition committee will be formed to fully analyze all of the discussed alterations before a list of recommendations is compiled by this committee for the leagues managers and governors to ultimately decide on.

nhl- Dollars not yet Mentioned

from Yvon Pedneault of, The negotiations between the players and the owners continue this week and they will be held in an atmosphere with the dialogue. They are the feelings of all the speakers implied in the two days of discussion for the revival of hockey.
Then, it will be seen well if the two clans are serious.
There is beautiful statement which one likes the concept deposited by Bob Goodenow, that one likes his approach on the way of determining the wage ceiling connected to the incomes of the league. But, were figures deposited?
Not yet. One goes to make it this week and if one trusts on what was advanced since the beginning of the conflict, it should be believed that Goodenow will cling on the last proposal of the owners, 9 last February, a wage ceiling to $42.5 million.

nhl- Gretzky, coach replacements? No.

from the arizonarepublic, Wayne Gretzky said Monday that if the NHL uses replacement players next season he would scrap his plan to coach the Coyotes.
"My gut feeling is to say 'No,' " Gretzky said when asked if he'd still consider making his NHL coaching debut later this year if the league hires second-tier players. "Hopefully that doesn't happen and we'll get the best players back by September."

nhl- NHL in Olympics-Doubtful

from tsn, The vice president of the International Ice Hockey Federation says we likely won't see NHL players at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy next February.
Walter Bush, chairman of USA Hockey and a former president of the Minnesota North Stars, says while nothing has been decided, he doubts NHL'ers will play in the Olympics in 2006.
"The (NHL) owners aren't going to want to give up two weeks after they gave up that whole year, and those are pretty prime dates," Bush tells the Pioneer Press.
"And it's going to be a strong Olympics because there are a lot of foreigners who I don't think are coming back to play in the NHL. I think they're going to stay over there and play either for Czechoslovakia or Russia or Sweden or Germany."

nhl- Two Minutes for Trapping

from the torontosun, The coming facelift of the National Hockey League could borrow yet another facet from the National Basketball Association. But more than aesthetic change, such as marketing or realignment, it's a proposal aimed at circumventing pro hockey's greatest on-ice menace, the trap.
A small group of general managers raised the possibility of instituting an illegal defence rule during the meetings with league officials and players in Detroit last week. Like an NBA rule that was used until two years ago, it prevents the defending teams from circling the wagons into zone protection, the hockey version would require one player to be up ice as a deep forechecker when the other team had puck possession near its goal.
"It was broached, we discussed it," Maple Leafs GM John Ferguson Jr. said. "Is there a way to not allow the trap to be shut on a controlled breakout? Do you have to have that defending team have a couple of players in the offensive zone to widen the gaps in the defence and allow the attacking team to exploit the passing lanes?"

Monday, April 11, 2005

nhl- Bob McKenzie on Gretzky & Playoff Format

from tsn, The latest round of chatter suggests Gretzky would join the Blueshirts as President and current Ranger President-General Manager Glen Sather would retire or simply step aside for Gretzky to take control.
If that's happening, it's news to The Great One himself, who told TSN on Monday:
"I'm not going anywhere and I don't believe Slats is going anywhere. I'm still in negotiation with Phoenix to stay on with the Coyotes and I'm hopeful we'll get something done here in the next few weeks. As I've said all along, my plan is to stay in the southwest with Phoenix."
Meanwhile, TSN reported Friday that when the NHL resumes play, it will do so with 20 of 30 teams making the playoffs. We initially reported the top 10 teams in each conference would make the playoffs, but that there would be a preliminary round "play-in" where the No. 7 seed would play No. 10 and No. 8 would play No. 9 in a best-of-three to see which two teams move on with the top six seeds.
Well, that's not quite correct. Under the new format, there will be a much heavier emphasis on regular season play within a team's own division, a more unbalanced schedule, so the top two teams in each division would automatically advance to the playoffs. The next four teams with the most points would then participate in the "play in" round as a prelude to the traditional 16-team "playoffs."

nhl- No Cup Race this Year

from the detroitfreepress(tues. edition) via the mercurynews(reg. req.), Red Wings forward Kris Draper spent Monday packing and preparing for a trip to Calgary to play hockey. That all sounds perfectly right for this time of year, doesn't it?
Only Draper is off to training camp, and given the gentle temperatures and budding hints of green, that sounds all wrong for this time of year, doesn't it?
The Wings should have finished their regular season Sunday with a matinee at Minnesota. They should have had Monday off, one last day to play golf and relax before Tuesday, which should have been the first day of practice before the NHL playoffs. But, two months ago, should turned to shan't and the National Hockey League turned to the No Hockey League.
"I always think this time of year is a special time of year," Draper said. "It's the greatest time to be a player. You always associate springtime with the temperatures warming up and everything - you relate that with the playoffs. For us, the Detroit Red Wings, that's the greatest thing for us, getting ready to play in playoffs. Now that's not going to happen."
For 21-year Wings captain Steve Yzerman, who will turn 40 on May 9, this springtime might have been a last shot at winning a fourth Stanley Cup. For second-year Wings head coach Dave Lewis, it would have been a chance to purge the memories of last season's second-round exit. He spent most of the summer thinking of ideas to better the team only to be unable to see them bear fruit.

Heads Up

  • NBA TV will conduct a free preview for all NBA TV cable and satellite distributors from April 23-May 6.
  • ABC is asking $2.6M for a 30-second spot during next season’s Super Bowl — an 8.3% jump over the $2.4M asking price by Fox for Super Bowl XXXIX.
  • CBS earned a two-day 8.3/17 overnight Nielsen rating for its Saturday and Sunday coverage of The Masters, up 23.9% from a 6.7/17 last year.
  • The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin on Saturday issued an apology to Bo Jackson that said, “A March 24 story we ran contained a quote stating that past ‘anabolic’ use by retired sports star Bo Jackson caused the loss of his hip.

media- Top 5 Sports Advertisers for 2004

The following list presents the top 5 sports advertisers in ’04. Spending includes all national and regional broadcasts, national cable and syndicated TV for all sports events, sports news and sports anthologies. Last year’s rankings are listed parenthetically.

1 (1) Anheuser-Busch $293,400,122

2 (3) Chevrolet (GM brand) $219,995,815

3 (32) Cingular Wireless $164,473,472

4 (2) Ford Motor $143,075,265

5 (17) Coca-Cola $142,761,624

mlb- Another Suspension

NEW YORK (AP) - Colorado Rockies outfielder Jorge Piedra was suspended 10 days Monday for violating baseball's new policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
The suspension begins with the Rockies game at Arizona on Monday night, the commissioner's office said.
Piedra, who was recalled from triple-A Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast League last week, is the second player to be publicly identified under the major leagues' tougher rules.

nhl- CBA Update

I have been sitting on this since late yesterday, trying to get more information but unable to do so.
The two sides have basically agreed on most issues regarding the CBA, except for the most major one, the salary cap figure. Neither side wishes to budge right now from their figures, NHLPA around $43 million and the NHL at about $35 million.
Players are going to depend on some of the NHL owners to nudge Bettman to a figure of around $42 million; will it happen, not sure but the alternative is not what the owners want eiter.
Stay tuned, more info as it becomes available.

golf- In Case You Missed It

Tiger Woods chip from the 16th at Augusta was one of the classic shots of all time. If you didn't see it, or just want to watch it again, here is a link to catch a 30 or 60 second .wmv of the chip-in.
Please remember to download the movie, then play it to save the guy some bandwidth.

nhl- Does Anyone Care

from the Buffalo News, You know spring has arrived once the NCAA Tournament is completed and we turn our attention to the Masters. The NFL draft is just around the bend, so pretty soon we'll be neck deep in minicamps. The Red Sox and Yankees effectively kicked off baseball season. The NBA playoffs are only a whisper away.
And I could have sworn the sun was shining all weekend.
My intentions today are not to tear you away from these fascinating facts but to deliver this little shred of news: The final eight games tumbled off the National Hockey League's master schedule Sunday. The Sabres would have ended their regular season Saturday against the Maple Leafs in what might have been a playoff tuneup.
Anybody notice? Or, better yet, anybody care?
You've had months to digest the facts, how the NHL became the first professional sports league to wipe out an entire season over labor strife, how the boneheads of the boardrooms shared neither enough common sense nor common ground to save the sport from massive self-destruction.
Now that it's officially gone, ask yourself: Self, what did I miss?
Read on...

sports media- More on Mitch Albom

from the chicagotribune via the baltimoresun, Mitch Albom, one of Detroit's most prominent figures, is a one-man multimedia entity as a nationally known sports columnist, radio and TV personality, best-selling author and playwright.
He added another role last week, one no journalist wants.
Albom is making news rather than reporting it, under suspension from the Detroit Free Press until the paper completes an investigation of a fabrication in a column by Albom that ran last Sunday.
Reaction in the journalism community, from columnist peers to college instructors, ranged from harsh to empathetic. But no one excused or forgave Albom's or his copy editors' errors in judgment. And no one dismissed those mistakes as insignificant.
Randy Harvey, The Sun's assistant managing editor for sports, admires Albom's talent but expects him to lose his job over the incident.
"I don't see how they will have any choice at the end of their investigation but to fire Mitch and the editor or editors who read the column before it was published," Harvey said....continued...

nhl- Kind Words from both Sides

from the tennessean, You won't find anyone willing to say the seven-month NHL lockout is on the verge of coming to an end, but there have been some recent signs the two sides are experiencing a spring thaw in their frosty showdown.
When, for instance, was the last time you can remember Predators right wing Scott Walker — the team's NHL Players' Association representative — heaping praise upon league owners?
Walker said he was pleased that last week's negotiating session between the NHL and NHLPA included a handful of league owners, including the Predators' Craig Leipold.
''I've got to give guys like Craig and (Calgary's) Harley Hotchkiss and (Boston's) Jeremy Jacobs a lot of credit for going to the meetings and trying to be a solution for the problem,'' Walker said. ''It's my understanding that (Leipold) had a lot of good dialogue with (NHLPA president) Trevor Linden and (NHLPA) director Bob Goodenow.
''He listened to what our side had to say, and so whether you agree or disagree with him, I give him a lot of respect for being there.''
Walker said a number of players expressed a similar sentiment when they were updated on the negotiations by conference call.
''It means a lot to the players that the owners are getting in there and listening,'' Walker said. ''I think when only (NHL commissioner) Gary Bettman is in there and people think he's trying to run the whole thing, players sometimes get their nose out of joint.''
Leipold declined comment on last week's negotiation session in Toronto, but Jacobs told the Boston Globe, ''A bit of reality may finally be entering the process — I don't want to be too optimistic here, but I am guardedly optimistic.''
In turn, Predators General Manager David Poile praised a handful of players — such as Linden, Detroit's Steve Yzerman and Brendan Shanahan, Colorado's Rob Blake, New Jersey's Martin Brodeur and Dallas' Marty Turco — for their assistance at the NHL's general managers' meetings in Detroit last week.
The GMs were discussing a host of potential rule changes that may be employed when the league resumes play.
''It was great to have a dialogue regarding rules and changes, and it was great to have their input,'' Poile said. ''Our feelings on the lockout may not be in common, but we do have a lot in common regarding the game itself.''
Negotiations toward a new CBA will likely resume this week, but all the mutual back-patting may come to an end if the two sides can't make progress by April 20. That's when the NHL's Board of Governors is scheduled to meet, with the possibility that the league will start taking serious steps toward using replacement players in the fall.
''Other dates have come and gone, so maybe this one will, too,'' Poile said.
''But at some point, something's either got to happen with the union or with plans to go in another direction. We're all anxious to move forward.''

Sunday, April 10, 2005

nhl- Reason for Optimism, or a Setup

from Larry Brooks and the New York Post, So Gary Bettman and his executive mouth pieces believe that the CBA concept pres ented to the league by the PA last Monday might be workable — if the numbers are agreeable. Which, from what we've been told by several snitches, means that the PA's concept might be workable if, when all the numbers are counted, the total payroll expenditures amount to approximately 54 percent of the gross revenues.
And where have we heard this before?
As we understand it, the PA proposed an approximate team payroll range between $24M-and-$42.5M for 2005-06 (maybe slightly less), with the band thereafter linked to percentage increases OR decreases in readily identifiable league revenues. So that if the NHL matches its average growth of 7.8 percent over its last five seasons, the ceiling would increase to more than $48M in two years. Conversely, if the lockout/cancellation damage is irreversible in the short-term, the cap would be shifted downward.
There are luxury tax and revenue-share components within the PA concept, both of which are consistent with the union's approach throughout the lockout. But it's the introduction for first time of the union's willingness to link downward that has created a carefully crafted and managed league position of cautious optimism.
Maybe we're wrong. Maybe, when the sides meet again this week, Bettman will present a reasonable counter. Maybe the less harsh rhetoric is meaningful. But we're very skeptical. This last week of good feeling smells suspiciously like a setup, just the way the Feb. 9 "compromise trigger" was a setup, just the way the Feb. 19 Double Cancellation Saturday was a setup. It smells suspiciously as if the league has gone out of its way to create an environment of expectancy, specifically among players who are anxious to lace them up.
Maybe we're wrong. Maybe the owners have finally come to their senses and understand that 2005-06 scab hockey will mark the end of their league as a credible enterprise. Maybe the owners will for the first time bargain in good faith. But we have the feeling that Bettman and the Board will present a counter with the range falling somewhere between $28-34M in an attempt to come as close as possible to their precious, albeit meaningless, league 54 percent.

nhl- Changes should Work

from the torontosun, Even A self-confessed conservative and traditionalist such as Philadelphia Flyers general manager Bob Clarke is encouraged by the initiatives he has seen in the past couple of days. But he still feels there is more to be done.
On the positive side, Clarke was pleased there appears to be unanimous approval for a reduction in the size of goalie equipment.
"To me," he said, "the best thing was the agreement on smaller gloves, smaller pads, smaller pants, smaller stomach pads and rib pads and all that. It's supposedly going to open up the scoring areas by 17-18%."
As a result, Clarke said, the NHL gets some breathing space before taking any radical steps -- such as increasing the size of the nets.
"I don't know why we would do that," he said. "I'm not saying we couldn't talk about it, but I don't know why we would do that until we have seen the game played with smaller equipment on the goaltenders.
"If you want lots of goal-scoring, then get lousy goaltending. They wonder why Gretzky and those guys in the 1980s scored so much. There were only about five good goaltenders. It was the same in the seventies. But now every team has really good goaltenders.
"The trap is a brilliant defensive system," Clarke continued, "but you can beat the trap. You can't beat the goaltenders. You have to reduce the size of their equipment so the guys have a chance to score."

nhl- Refs may work together all Year

from the torontosun, If the National Hockey League is going to return with new rules -- which it is -- it might as well come back with a new way of calling them. The changes won't be radical. Tripping will still be tripping. High-sticking will still be high-sticking. Interference will still be ignored.
But the league is looking at the possibility of making the partnerships a bit more regional and a bit more permanent.
"We talked about that," said NHL executive vice-president and director of hockey operations Colin Campbell after the general managers' recent meeting near Detroit. "We did it in the World Cup. We set up teams of referees. We almost had a senior ref with a junior guy.
"Not only that, but we set up pairs of linesmen. They worked together. They knew what they were talking about. They felt good. They had a team aspect."
The benefit of long-term pairings is not only that it increases familiarity, leading to better calls. Less experienced referees could be paired with veterans who could ease their transition into the the NHL.
Another change the league would like to make is to reduce the amount of travel undertaken by the referees.

nhl- Howard, Wings goalie prospect Undecided

I thought some of the Wing fans might be interested in this article about goalie prospect Jimmy Howard.
from mainetoday, Jimmy Howard has been hearing voices this spring.
From reporters. From friends. From students at the University of Maine.
Howard, Maine's touted goalie, could be a breath away from a professional career or headed back to Orono for his senior season. And, everyone wants to know what he will do. Stay or go?
The decision is not simple. Emotion, financial security, his competitive drive and the wishes of the Detroit Red Wings, who own his rights, all swirl together. And in this strange year without the NHL and no collective bargaining agreement in sight, a decision is even trickier. Or even simpler - depending on your point of view.
A look into Howard's 21-year-old psyche helps explain how he's dealing with it all.
"I feel like I'm taking it in stride. It's fun," Howard said of the speculation. "I enjoy the company of all the guys. If the CBA were to be resolved, it would make for a very tough decision."

nhl- Who Will Skate Next Year

from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Replacement player scenarios were presented to the league's owners among a list of possibilities for 2005-06, however. NHL executive vice president Bill Daly said it wasn't discussed in great detail during meetings with general managers this week. But at least a few GMs, including the Toronto Maple Leafs' John Ferguson on Friday, have admitted to researching how a roster using replacement players might work.
It is a proposal fraught with risks, legal hurdles and uncertainties as to where the players would come from and who would pay to see them.
"The NHL will open up the doors and bring in whoever wants to play," ESPN hockey analyst Darren Pang said. "That's what all indications are, from all sources. Even players anticipate that's going to happen. If everyone's talking so openly about it as if it's going to happen, I would assume that it is."
One option is open to the league right now, according to Gerald Kobell, the Pittsburgh regional director of the National Labor Relations Board and adjunct professor of labor at the University of Pittsburgh.
"During a lockout, employers can hire temporary replacements; they can function with replacements until an agreement is reached," Kobell said. "But if the union accepted an offer, the replacements would go."
To hire temporary replacements would not require declaring an impasse under the National Labor Relations Act, Kobell said.
Another well written article explaining many different on...