Breaking Sports

Saturday, April 30, 2005

mlb- Selig Wants Tougher Penalty for Steroids

from mlb.com, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has sent a letter to union chief Don Fehr seeking to re-open the recently negotiated drug agreement and markedly toughen the penalties, including a "three strikes and you're out" approach to disciplining players who test positive for steroid use.
According to the letter, a copy of which was obtained by MLB.com, first offenders would be suspended 50 games, second offenders suspended for 100 games, and third offenders would be permanently banned.
"I recognize the need for progressive discipline, but a third-time offender has no place in the game," Selig wrote in the letter dated April 25. "Steroid users cheat the game. After three offenses, they have no place in it."
continued...

iihf- Canada down Latvia

from TSN, Rick Nash scored three goals and Canada's power play was perfect in a nervy 6-4 victory over Latvia on Saturday to open the world hockey championship. Brendan Morrison, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau also scored as two-time defending champion Canada went 4-for-4 with the man advantage.
more...

mlb- Chisox Fan not too Happy

This post is slanted towards the Detroit Tiger fans who visit Breaking Sports.

A Chicago White Sox fan and blogger is not happy with the performance of his team. However, my team, the Detroit Tigers, have won five in a row and are finally looking like a major league team.

Here is a little quiz for you:
A pitcher named Nate Robertson posts the following line. How many runs does he give up?
IP-6 BB-7 K-1
A) 4 runs
B) 5 runs
C) 6 runs
D) 1 run, but it's unearned
If you answered D, I'm sorry you had to watch that sorry excuse for an offense sleepwalk through four hours and ten minutes of anticlimactic baseball.
Supposedly, this team was built to score more consistently. They sacrificed some power for some speed and that was going to help prevent those games when the offense decided to mail it in. Surprise, surprise, we've got the S.O.S....more

nhl- Mickey Redmond on the Lockout

Former Detroit Red Wing and Montreal Canadien gives his views on the lockout.

from MLive,
Q. What emotions have you gone through during the lockout?
A. Angry and frustrated would probably be the two main words I would use representing the feelings that I've had through what's gone on and what hasn't gone on. What we try to learn as we go along is to try not to worry about things we can't control. It's easier said than done, obviously. But I just never thought that they'd ever not play hockey.
I think somewhere along the line, somebody has forgotten about being a caretaker of the game, because the game is much bigger than any one of us, no matter who we are and what we do or what we represent. It will always survive, and it's just too bad that the game seems to have been put in the back corner here and overlooked.
Q. Who is the target of your anger and frustration with the lockout?
A. I think the situation more than any one individual. When people have asked me right from the beginning, "Whose side are you on?" -- I'm on the game's side. I'm on the side of the game. I want the game to survive and be respected, and I think some of that has gone by the wayside, and that's unfortunate.
much more...

lpga- Caddie Sues Golfer

Gary Robinson says Jackie Gallagher-Smith, who is married, used him as "an unwitting sperm donor."
He is suing for an unspecified sum, claiming fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
No hearing date has been set for the suit, filed in circuit court this week in West Palm Beach.
A message for Gallagher-Smith's lawyer, Edwin Belz, was not immediately returned.
Earlier, Belz told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel the suit was, "an attempt at extortion."
The suit says Gallagher-Smith, 37, gave birth last month, but Florida law says a child born into a marriage is deemed to be a result of the marriage. A DNA test can't be forced and Robinson has no legal claim to the child, said Cathy Lively, Robinson's lawyer.
"That is why we are seeking damages ... he's not going to be able to ask for a DNA test," Lively said. "He was put into the position of being an unwitting sperm donor."
Robinson said he has been affected professionally. He is out of work as a caddie and is pursuing a career as a professional golfer.
Robinson, 26, began caddying for Gallagher-Smith in February 2004, and soon thereafter began receiving advances from her, he said.
Robinson said he was in an emotional state after ending a long-term relationship, and he passed off some early advances as "innocent playful activity."
The relationship became sexual about two months later and the two would sometimes engage in unprotected sex, he said.



nhl- Expect More of This

via the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Jim Woodcock, the Blues senior vice president of marketing and communications, resigned Friday to pursue other opportunities. Woodcock had been with the team since 1997.

Not only is the NHL losing fans, sponsors, etc., but more and more executives involved with the teams and the league will be or already have moved on. It will be tough to find people that are qualified to fill these type of positions when the time cones to do so.

Friday, April 29, 2005

nhl- Sides far Apart

from Foxsports, The good news is the NHL and NHLPA have agreed to meet more frequently over the next three weeks. The bad news is both sides still appear as far apart as ever.
While NHL representatives, including NHL commissioner Gary Bettman himself, were publicly expressing cautious optimism, the NHLPA, led by Executive Director Bob Goodenow, were warning that things may not be as rosy as projected by the league.
The NHLPA drove home the point this past week, first with several agents suggesting their restricted free agent clients might attempt to become unrestricted free agents after July 1, then by filing for union status in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Quebec.
more...

nfl- The NFL is Tops

from the St. Petersburg Times, Major League Baseball's credibility might be shrinking faster than its sluggers, hurt by a steroid scandal that inflated more than home run records.
The NBA could be headed for another lockout, and a glut of high school hoopsters making a 40-inch vertical jump to the pros might have diminished the quality of play.
The NHL has fallen through the ice, becoming the first major sports league in North America to lose an entire season to a labor dispute.
So what in the wide world of sports would you do without the NFL? Last month, as the other major sports leagues floundered like fish on a sidewalk, millionaire NFL owners sipped from umbrella drinks, watched whales frolic in the Pacific Ocean and lived like kings for a week in Kapalua, Hawaii.
This is what you call a spring owners' meeting, NFL style. It was an appropriate venue for the most popular major sports league, where there is rarely trouble in paradise.
more...

iiwf- Canada Wins, USA Loses

The IIWF World Championship begin this weekend, and The Toronto Star reports that TSN will air seventeen games, almost double the amount it covered in ’04. The network “is banking on this being the most-watched world tournament ever” due to the NHL lockout. Meanwhile, ESPN has opted not to air any of the tournament, “even if the Americans advance to the gold-medal game.” The FAN 590 Radio in Toronto has not broadcasted the tournament in four years, but will air all of Canada’s games and the finals on its national network, while The Hockey News is publishing a world championship magazine, “something it wouldn’t even consider in a normal year.”

nhl- Stan Fischler Bits

from msgnetwork, Some highlights of Stan's article this week. It it two days old, but I don't think that matters.
  • How brilliant is NHLPA strategy? The “union” already has blown $1.2 BILLION in salaries and has effectively killed dozens of careers. The Toronto Sun’s Steve Simmons wonders whether senior citizens, Gary Roberts, Joe Nieuwendyk, Al Mogilny and Tie Domi – all unrestricted – have anything left. “There are those in the Leafs’ dressing room who believe Mogilny bailed on the team last Spring,” says Simmons. That’s a tough rap since it’s Mogilny who says he feels the pain. Then, again, over the years many have questioned On-Again-Off-Again Almo!
  • Luc (Lucky) Robitaille wants to play one more season; but if the work stoppage continues, it’s bye-bye Luc’s career. That is, unless he stands up and goes public with a demand for a CBA deal, which he privately admits is the case.
  • Disappointing crowds in Halifax and Quebec City for Canada-USA World tune-ups reflect disgust over NHLPAers. Quebec’s Le Colisee wasn’t even half-full; (7,166), and this with francophone hero Martin Brodeur leading the way. Why? People are fed up!
  • Unlike the March governors’ meeting, last week’s Manhattan huddle exuded unity. If players believe – as the “union” has all along – that the owners will fold, they should continue thinking, as the NHLPA bankbook shrinks.
  • The most interesting aspect of the upcoming (May 24-26) NHLPA meeting will be determining how intimidated the February “union” Rebels have become. Will anyone get up and say, “What are we doing?” Chris Pronger, Jeremy Roenick and Robert Esche were shot down last winter almost as fast as they had gotten up to urge a deal. Do they – and Jarome Iginla – remain sheep, following shepherd Goodenow? Answer: Bet on it!
Continue, a lot more to read...

Thank You Sir

Had a surprise visitor to Breaking Sports today. I just wanted to thank him for doing this.

this is an audio post - click to play

mlb- Suspensions- Red Sox & Devil Rays

Eight members of the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Devil Rays were suspended and/or fined for their participation in on-field incidents during their game on Sunday, April 24, 2005 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. Bob Watson, Vice President of On-Field Operations for Major League Baseball, made the announcement.
"The Office of the Commissioner is deeply concerned about the continuing on-field altercations between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Devil Rays," Watson said. "These altercations are directly contrary to the requirement that all Major League Players conform to high standards of personal conduct, fair play and good sportsmanship. As a result, the Office of the Commissioner will not tolerate any continued on-field misconduct between these two Clubs." The following discipline was announced:
• Both Boston manager Terry Francona and Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella have been suspended for three games and fined an undisclosed amount for the inappropriate actions of their Clubs during the game.
• Boston pitcher Bronson Arroyo has been suspended for six games and fined an undisclosed amount for intentionally throwing at a batter during the bottom of the seventh inning after warnings had been issued earlier in the inning.
• Tampa Bay pitcher Dewon Brazelton has been suspended for five games and fined an undisclosed amount for his aggressive actions in the bench-clearing incident during the top of the seventh inning.
• Tampa Bay pitcher Lance Carter has been suspended for five games and fined an undisclosed amount for intentionally throwing at batters during the top of the seventh inning.
• Boston outfielder Trot Nixon has been suspended for two games and fined an undisclosed amount for his aggressive actions in the bench-clearing incident during the top of the seventh inning.
• Boston designated hitter David Ortiz has been fined an undisclosed amount for his aggressive actions during the top of the seventh inning.
• Tampa Bay outfielder Chris Singleton has been fined an undisclosed amount for his aggressive actions during the bottom of the seventh inning.

nhl- Nothing New

Today is a slow day for anything NHL. The two sides plan to meet next week in North America before moving the talks to Austria.
I also want to stress again the NHL and the NHLPA are not close to signing an agreement.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

nhl- McKenzie on the NHLPA Move

from tsn, Bob McKenzie gives his take(will open WMP video) on the NHLPA attempt to become certified.

nhl- NHLPA files for Union Certification

via TSN, The NHL Players' Association has applied for union certification in Quebec and British Columbia, a move intended to block the potential use of replacement players in those provinces.
The NHLPA is seeking to establish the association in Quebec and B.C. as a legal entity with rights similar to those of trade unions. It's a significant move to prevent the NHL from using replacements. Both Quebec and B.C. don't allow the use of replacement workers during strikes or lockouts, but only when the workers being replaced belong to certified unions.
If the NHLPA is certified as a union in those provinces, the Vancouver Canucks and Montreal Canadiens would not be allowed to hire replacements. Legal experts say the two teams could not simply play elsewhere while the lockout continues because they would be slapped with unfair labour charges.
The NHLPA declined comment on the move.
"We will not be commenting further while the administrative processes are underway," NHLPA spokesman Jonathan Weatherdon said.
The NHL has said the use of replacement players was an option but not a preferred course of action.
Recent talk has suggested the league was losing interest in the use of replacements, due to legal ramifications and whether they would be accepted by fans.

nhl- O"Connell: Teams should follow Bruins Lead

from the Providence Journal (reg. req.), Working for Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs, Mike O'Connell has learned to say no.
That was the answer to players who demanded salaries the team felt it could not afford despite criticism from Bruins fans hungry for a Stanley Cup.
"If every other team said no like we did, we'd be playing right now," O'Connell told a Providence audience yesterday.
O'Connell told a small audience of hockey fans that the NHL owners as a group finally said no to excessive salaries after losing $500 million collectively over the course of two seasons.
The result was the lockout, which was imposed by owners before the start of this season, when they could not reach a new collective bargaining agreement with the players' union, the NHL Players Association.
Before the lockout, the average NHL salary was $1.8 million, and owners say that was causing many teams to lose money.
Initially, O'Connell said, the players' union refused to believe the game was losing money as owners claimed. "I guess the players thought, like any other sport, the owners would cave," said O'Connell, a former Bruins defenseman and one-time Providence Bruins coach.
Instead, both sides refused to budge and the result was the cancellation of the 2004-2005 season.
Progress has been made in recent talks, O'Connell said, and he is hopeful the lockout will end.
The players, he said, "are starting to realize the economic system was not working."
O'Connell described a game that lacks national appeal, does not translate well to television and has become too defensive.
"We have to find a way to make it better on TV," he said. "We probably have to listen to the networks."

nhl- Daly rips NHLPA

via the Ottawa Sun, NHL VP Bill Daly lashed out at the NHLPA Players' Association over a Sun report yesterday, saying that a new collective bargaining agreement -- not the courts -- will determine the status of players. Asked to react to the Sun story that a number of agents are prepared to go to court to get their clients declared unrestricted free agents if there's no CBA in place by July 1, Daly told the Sun their status remains undecided.
And he indicated any agent who believes players taken in the 2003 draft that have not signed by June 1 will go back in the draft -- or NHLers who need qualifying offers by July 1 will become free agents -- is "misinformed."
"The status of all players, vis-a-vis NHL club rights, will be determined in collective bargaining," Daly wrote in an e-mail to the Sun. "Those who are suggesting otherwise -- namely, that certain players have now, or will have in the future a particular status -- are misinformed."
Later, in an interview with Sportsnet, Daly was even more upset: "It's a very uninformed and misguided premise which totally ignores and misconstrues the nature, purpose and laws of collective bargaining and the status of the multi-employer bargaining unit in collective bargaining."
Then, Daly added: "It's union-directed rhetoric which is so baseless it's almost laughable."
Still, sources say this is a hot-button issue because the NHL isn't sure where it would stand legally if there's no CBA in place and the agents decide to go to court to get their clients declared unrestricted free agents.
If the agents were successful in court, the Senators' Marian Hossa, Martin Havlat and Jason Spezza, along with Boston's Joe Thornton, Rick Nash of Columbus and Atlanta's Dany Heatley would be among a group of high-profile unrestricted free agents.
On the draft front, the most nervous GM is the Flyers' Bob Clarke, who would lose the rights to OHL superstars Mike Richards and Jeff Carter if the agents succeeded.
Ironically, one of the main reasons the pair had not been signed was because teams were told that they would be able to sign draft picks at a lower rate if they waited for a new CBA.
The NHLPA, meanwhile, is keeping its nose out of the argument over what happens to those affected if the lockout drags on.
"Player status issues, such as retention rights and free agency, are all subjects to be collectively bargained," union spokesman Jon Weatherdon said in a statement.

nhl- NHL & NHLPA to meet 3 times Next Week

via the NY Post, The intensive issue-ironing negotiations promised between the NHL and the Players Association will begin with three sessions of table-pounding next week, sources have told The Post.
Sources say some well-placed team officials have privately assured players that the militant stances of Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs and other hawks are not representative of ownership at large.
Those suggestions of more moderate minds have raised hopes that these North American talks might produce progress, even if a full settlement seems unlikely in the near future.
The negotiations will be the first since the Board of Governors meeting last week, at which the board declared that it will not use replacement players if the league can open on time in October. Speculation has arisen that the moderates carried the day, thwarting the militants on that point.
The Players Association has already proposed forms of salary caps, removing its prior refusal as an ideological
hurdle. Now the sides will attempt to find concepts and figures each can swallow.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

nhl- Orr Talks, No One Listens

from Foxsports, When an NHL legend like Bobby Orr speaks out on a hockey issue, it's a newsworthy event.
In an article published this past Sunday in the Lawrence (Mass) Eagle-Tribune, Orr lambasted both NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow for their lack of progress in ending the current labor dispute.
He also warned the NHL "is in danger of becoming irrelevant unless both sides immediately put an end to this nonsense.''
This isn't the first time Orr has spoken up about this situation, making comments last September voicing his disappointment that negotiations between the two sides had failed to avoid a lockout. But never before has the Bruins legend publicly voiced such a strong opinion about the dispute.
Orr's harsh words made headlines. The problem is, the wrong people may not be getting his message.
The media played up Number Four's article, and many fans voiced their agreement, but ultimately, Orr's complaints will have about as much effect on these tiresome negotiations as everyone else — fan or pundit — who've spoken out against it.
None...continued...

nhl- More Free Agent Talk

from TSN and Bob McKenzie, In spite of the NHL lockout, there has been a lot of talk lately about players becoming unrestricted free agents. Prospective draftee Sidney Crosby, maybe he could become an unrestricted free agent. Unsigned draftees Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, maybe they could become unrestricted free agents. So, too, maybe could Jason Spezza, Rick Nash, Joe Thornton, Jarome Iginla and Dany Heatley. Maybe.
A lot of scenarios are being painted here and as player agent J.P. Barry of Calgary suggests, we are now in "uncharted waters."
The basic premise for all this free-agent frenzy speculation is no CBA means no rules, which at the very least translates into great uncertainty. Anything's possible, right?
Well, I'm no lawyer. But my instincts tell me all this free agency talk is probably the product of us all having a little too much time on our hands...more...

nhl- Talks Next Week

via rds.ca (translated from french to english), RDS learned that the negotiations will take again the next week in the LNH to try to put an end to the lockout.
In the facts, the Association of the players and the leaders of the League agreed to meet twice per week during three next weeks.
The schedule of the talks will be finalized from here the next days.

media- Detroit Pistons Ratings

FSN Detroit for Tuesday night’s 76ers-Pistons Game Two registered an 11.8 Nielsen cable rating in metro Detroit, making it the most watched Pistons game in the eight seasons of broadcasts on the network. The rating eclipsed the previous high of 10.0 on April 21, 2002, which was Game One of a first-round playoff series against the Raptors. The only higher-rated programs in the network’s history were five Red Wings playoff games in ’04

Quick Hits

  • ESPN today through Sunday is offering free access to ESPN360, enabling anyone with broadband access to log on to www.espn360.com and download the ESPN360 application. Highlights of All-Access Week include: Qualifying for the O’Reilly NHRA Thunder Nationals (April 29, 7:30pm ET), the Firestone Japan Indy 300 (April 29, 11:59pm), ESPN360 NFL Draft Capsules (April 27), NBA Shootaround Analysis (April 29 and May 1) and on April 30 Sunday Night Baseball In-game Highlights.
  • The Toronto Globe & Mail reports TSN is expected to announce today that it has signed former CBC sports announcer Chris Cuthbert to a multi-year contract. Cuthbert, who was terminated by the CBC in February, will work for both CTV and TSN, which are both owned by Bell Globemedia.

iihf- ESPN- No plans to televise Tournament

via the Philadelphia Inquirer, There never has been a year in the modern era of hockey when the world championship of hockey was more than a tournament played by guys who either were not NHL players or whose teams were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs. So, other than a European audience, the tournament was played in a vacuum.
But here it is spring, following the NHL's self-imposed long, dark winter, and an opportunity for hockey to get some prime exposure with a world championship that actually could become the best tournament of the year.
Right?
Well - and pay close attention here, Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow - even without the NHL playoffs in full swing as they normally are this time of year, the world championships are going to be played in a vacuum.
While games will be televised on Canadian television, good luck trying to find them on a U.S. broadcast. ESPN spokeswoman Diane Lamb confirmed yesterday that the network has no plans to televise any of the games, which begin this weekend in Austria.

That's the case even if the United States and Canada meet in the final. ESPN already has committed to college baseball, more major league baseball and other special events like car pulling and anchor lifting, to fill the void left by the cancellation of the NHL season and playoffs.
That, for hockey fans, is a true shame.

nhl- Free Agent or Not

from the Ottawa Sun, The NHL and the Players' Association could be on the verge of a massive war that might put free agents such as Marian Hossa, Martin Havlat, Jason Spezza, Rick Nash and Dany Heatley on the open market this summer, the Sun has learned.
Several agents told the Sun yesterday if there's no collective bargaining agreement in place by July 1 -- the date players whose contracts expire must receive the required qualifying offers -- then they are prepared to take legal action to get their clients declared unrestricted free agents.
Such a move would strike hard at the core of the Senators roster. The contracts of Hossa, Havlat, Spezza, Todd White and Anton Volchenkov all expire this summer, as do those of hundreds of players around the NHL.
NHL VP Bill Daly has maintained these players will have their status determined once a new CBA has been agreed upon. But the agents' argument may be a reason the NHLPA hasn't been in a hurry to get a deal done.
read on...

nhl- This is getting Old

Here we are in the year 2010, year 6 of the NHL Lockout. Director of NHL officials, Chris Chelios, has told the linsemen and refs to look for work outside of hockey.
Meanwhile, Brendan Shanahan, head of the rules committee, will be hosting an Irish Wake for the NHL game.
In other news, Sergei Fedorov has decided to spend the summer in Russia. Fedorov has a goal to play one more season, no matter how long it takes and plans to be in the best shape when hockey starts up again.
Bobby Clarke, fed up with the NHL Lockout, has opted for a lifestyle change.
Finally, both Garry Bettman and Bob Goodenow (pictured below), have not yet decided where the next CBA talks will take place but word is Sun City, Arizona will welcome them with open arms.



Tuesday, April 26, 2005

nhl- Bertuzzi Status

NEW YORK (April 26, 2005) -- National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman today conducted a hearing regarding Vancouver Canucks player Todd Bertuzzi, who has been suspended since an incident involving Steve Moore of the Colorado Avalanche on March 8, 2004. Following the hearing, Bill Daly, NHL Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, made the following statement:
"We conducted a hearing today on Todd Bertuzzi's request for reinstatement to eligible playing status in the National Hockey League. All interested parties, including Mr. Bertuzzi, Mr. Moore, the Vancouver Canucks and the NHL Players' Association, had a full and fair opportunity to participate in the hearing and to offer relevant evidence and testimony. At the conclusion of the hearing, Commissioner Bettman took the matter under advisement. There is no immediate timetable for a decision."

mlb- Magglio Ordonez

Magglio Ordonez, RF for the Detroit Tigers, will undergo surgery tomorrow and will be out 8-12 weeks. The surgery is for a hernia, but the medical staff says they do not know the extent of the hernia yet and also state they could find other problems while in surgery. Thus Magglio's "out" time could change tomorrow.

nhl- Brett Hull talking Retirement

from tsn, Brett Hull says he didn't sign with Phoenix as a free-agent so he could retire to Arizona but the 40 year old admits it's looking more and more like he won't play a single game for the Coyotes.
After not playing hockey for one full season, Hull says the idea of retirement is a daily topic of conversation around his house.
"I'll wake up and not feel like getting on the treadmill and I'll say, 'I don't have to do that, I can retire.'" Hull told reporters in St. Louis on Monday. "And sometimes I get on and I say, 'I feel like I'm 39 again.' It's a daily internal struggle.
"I would have no problem walking away, even though I now have a chance to have played with (Wayne) Gretzky and have him coach me."
Gretzky, a minority shareholder with the Coyotes, has long been rumored to be the next coach in Phoenix if a new agreement is reached.
"I've had a great career, I've had wonderful times, I've done great personal things, I've had a bunch of success with great teammates. If there is that chance I retire, I'll go out happy. I'm not coming back to make a fool of myself."
Hull says two things will factor greatly in his decision to return, age and the future state of the game.
"I think I can still play," he said of his soon to be 41-year-old body. But...more...

wha- Tourney may be in Trouble

via TSN, The Toronto Sun reports that the Bobby Hull Invitational tournament - a 'testing ground' for the re-launch of the World Hockey Association - may be in trouble.
According to the Sun, WHA president Ricky Smith has not returned calls, while partner Phil Esposito says he pulled out of the venture weeks ago because he had not been paid his promotional fees.
An three-team event was scheduled to take place in Toronto and Hamilton on May 20, with the winner meeting a Western team for $2 million in prize money.
According to the WHA web site, locked out NHL players like Jarome Iginla, Dany Heatley and Chris Chelios were to participate in the tournament.
I haven't been able to locate the Toronto Sun article, if anyone sees it, please pass it on.

update 9:22am Found the article, via the Toronto Sun, Next month's Bobby Hull Invitational tournament, touted as a trial run for the re-launch of the World Hockey Association, appears to be in trouble. WHA president Ricky Smith has not returned calls, and Hall of Famer Phil Esposito, who helped hatch the idea of the six-team event with Smith, says he pulled out of the venture weeks ago because he has not been paid his promotional fees.
An Eastern pool with three teams was scheduled to take place in Toronto and Hamilton beginning May 20, with the survivor meeting the winner of a Western playoff from Vancouver for $2 million in prize money.
"I have no idea if it's still on," Esposito said yesterday. "I'm very, very disappointed I couldn't do it, because I think it would've worked. I'm not owed a lot of money (he won't be going to court), but it's the (principle).
"If they can't pay me, how are they going to pay for the leases of the arenas they want to play in?"
Calls to officials at the Ricoh Coliseum, which was in negotiations to host Toronto games, were not returned. Hamilton's Copps Coliseum is the other proposed site.
The plan is to have six captains chose their teams, schoolyard style, from about 60 National Hockey League players.
The tourney information is still posted on the WHA website.
"The last three or four e-mails I've sent to Ricky Smith asking what's going on were not answered," a prominent player agent told The Toronto Sun yesterday. "I don't have any clients entered at this point."
Smith said earlier this year that he'd hoped the tournament would serve as a testing ground for a new WHA, complete with fan-friendly rules, the second such concept tried since the NHL lockout began.

nhl- No options for either Side

from the San Francisco Chronicle, An entire NHL season was canceled, but that hasn't prevented a lot of games from being played.
That is about to stop.
The owners no longer can threaten replacement players or an impasse strategy as a way to pressure the union into making a deal. And the union no longer can stall to force in-fighting and eventual compromise from owners.
The only way the NHL gets back on the ice is for a negotiated settlement between the two embattled sides. No matter what anyone says, there are no other options. There are no alternative measures.
Sharks President and CEO Greg Jamison attended last week's NHL Board of Governors meeting in New York. Afterward, he spouted the owners' mantra that they are exploring every alternative. When asked to list specifically what those alternatives are, Jamison simply didn't answer because he couldn't.
There is no other way out of this mess.
"At the end of the day, we want to get a deal with the players,'' Jamison said.
continued...

nhl- Crosby thinking Europe

from the NY Times(reg. req.), Sidney Crosby, a junior-hockey player considered the best prospect in the world, may turn professional in Europe next season, his agent said yesterday, because of the National Hockey League lockout and its ramifications for next season.
The agent, Pat Brisson, said he had had preliminary negotiations with teams in Sweden and Switzerland and had also talked with teams in Russia.
Even if the N.H.L. and its players union come to an agreement after missing a full season, new restrictions on entry-level salaries may make it more profitable for Crosby to start his career outside North America, Brisson said.
"I'm not saying he's going to go to Europe for sure, but it's clearly an option," Brisson said in a telephone interview from Santa Monica, Calif. "We'll have to make some decisions in the early part of June."
During the last collective bargaining agreement, the rookie base salary in the N.H.L. grew to a maximum of $1.25 million a season from $850,000. But generous bonus clauses allowed some players to make much more by reaching individual performance thresholds.
The N.H.L. and the union have said those bonuses will be curtailed in the next agreement, but Brisson said it would be in the interest of the league to allow achievement bonuses for high-performing rookies who would be gate attractions in a sport seeking to rebuild a damaged image.
If not, Brisson said, Crosby could earn more in Europe with his base salary alone and get compensation beyond that with sponsorship deals. "He's going to sell out the rinks wherever he plays," Brisson said....more...

nhl- Barry Smith not Leaving for Russia

via the Detroit Free Press, Contrary to a report out of Russia, associate coach Barry Smith has not left the Red Wings.
Reuters news service published a report over the weekend saying that the Metallurg Magnitogorsk, a Russian Superleague club, announced it had hired Smith as head coach. This would be problematic, because the Superleague season runs concurrently with the NHL season.
But Wings general manager Ken Holland said Monday the report was not true.
"I talked to Barry late last night, and Barry told me at that time he had been contacted, had entertained the thought, but that he decided not to go," Holland said.

Monday, April 25, 2005

nhl- No Cup

from the Akron Beacon Journal(reg. req.), I own one blow-up toy and every spring, usually when my wife is away visiting her mother, I retrieve it from a cellar shelf and go to town with it. Or, to a ballpark, arena or festival.
It spreads mirth and intrigue wherever it travels. It has been held by mayors and U.S. Congressmen alike. It is an inflatable Stanley Cup.
Purchased at a garage sale for a dime and given to me as a gift years ago, the replica Cup is among my most cherished possessions. But this April it pains me to remove the faux treasure from its off-season home because the game it represents metaphorically has been put on the shelf right alongside it.
The NHL lockout, which scrapped this season and jeopardizes the next one, has taken the joy from my annual ritual, a celebration of pro sports' best tournament -- the Stanley Cup playoffs. For me, and the other 17 American NHL fans living outside of Detroit and Boston, the loss is incalculable.
No marathon overtimes to watch. No playoff beards to grow. No excuses to offer the wife for delaying spring chores. But, honey, it's the Battle of Ontario: Leafs vs. Senators, Game 7. How can I be expected to mow grass?
Keep that one in your holsters, boys.
I finally know the hurt baseball fans experienced in the late summer of 1994. The feeling of betrayal and the emptiness that accompanied no pennant chase. Hockey is my release valve. It's the one sport where I can still be a fan.
I can cheer. I can curse. I can cry tears of joy and disappointment. I can be a 40-year old man who carries an inflatable Cup into a bar and asks, ``Who's buying for Stanley?''
My Cup has made the rounds at Jacobs Field and Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh. It has been thrown into traffic at midnight and escaped without a scratch. It has been abused by Beacon Journal colleague Terry Pluto. It doesn't hold its compressed air as well as it did 20 years ago, but neither does its owner.
It has had its picture taken with countless people, many of whom admire the groovy 1970s logos of defunct teams such as the Kansas City Scouts and California Golden Seals. Three years ago a man from Toronto vacationing in Cleveland sent his wife to their hotel room to get a camera. Such is the allure of the Cup, a mystical power that NHL owners and players are ignorantly ignoring...more...

nhl- More than a Cap Issue

from Foxsports, The NHL and the NHLPA both recently agreed to step up the pace of its labor negotiations, planning to meet at least twice weekly over the next several weeks.
The league continues to voice optimism over the course of talks, believing the PA is "finally on the same page" with regards to its offer of a "hybrid" salary cap system.
Union leaders, on the other hand, were less optimistic, and suggested there is still a lot of ground to be covered before a new collective bargaining agreement can be implemented.
There's an opinion among some league supporters that the PA may be close to caving on the league's insistence of linking salaries to no more that 54 percent of revenues. If a recent exchange between Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs and NHLPA director Bob Goodenow is any indication, the association is nowhere close to considering that option.
continued...

Quick Hits

  • NFL.com set a three-day NFL Draft weekend record of 6 million unique visitors, up 22% from last year’s 4.9 million.
  • Red Wings D Chris Chelios will appear on MTV’s “Trippin’” at 10:30pm ET.
  • A jury today awarded $700,000 in compensatory damages to Christian Presley and Alan Cheeks, who were beaten up by Jose Canseco and his twin brother, Ozzie, at a Miami Beach nightclub in ’01. The jury also “left open the possibility of punitive damages.”
  • The Bears’ first-round draft pick, Univ. of Texas RB Cedric Benson, complained about the draft process during his interview with ESPN’s Suzy Kolber on Saturday. Benson, the No. 4 overall pick, said he was compared to former Univ. of Texas and Dolphins RB Ricky Williams in the months leading up to the draft. Benson: “Same school, same hair, both great athletes, both African-American. It was easy for them to (draw comparisons) instead of figuring out the real me or looking deeper within.” More Benson: “They were degrading me, trying to manipulate me, talking down (to me). I thought the process was a big slap in the face, for the way I carried myself and tried to present myself. No respect. ... Teams wanted to bring me in, and it was like, ‘We want to get to know you,’ but it was more like bringing me in and picking me apart. For instance, I had to reschedule a visit to one team, because I’d been to some other cities and just couldn’t make it. When I got there, they asked if I was the type of player who’d miss practice? I thought, ‘You brought me in here to treat me like this? I could have stayed home." While at Texas, Benson was charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana, which was later dropped, and he spent two days in jail for criminal trespassing “after kicking in an apartment door in search of a plasma television that had been stolen from him,” which cost him a one-game suspension in ’03.

iihf- World Championship

MediaZone, a leading global online broadcasting provider of licensed video and audio content, and IHWC.net today announced their offering of the 2005 IIHF World Championship ice hockey games live online between the top 16 national ice hockey teams including Team USA, Team Canada, Team Sweden and Team Russia at www.mediazone.com/hockey.
IHWC.net is the official website for the IIHF World Championship and is jointly managed between the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and its exclusive marketing partner, Infront Sports & Media.
This year's championship will be broadcast live online from Innsbruck and Vienna, Austria, April 30-May 15, 2005, with the games featuring many NHL hockey players.
For the discounted price of $29.99 USD (good through April 27, 2005, regular price $39.99 USD) global broadband consumers will be able to watch all of the games live online. This service is not available to subscribers located in countries where the event is broadcast on television.
As of this morning, the tournament will not be televised in the USA.

Bits & Pieces

  • ESPN.com in ‘05 will give away most of its fantasy football offerings, ESPN.com officials will formally announce today. The switch from a subscription to a free model mirrors the approach that in recent years helped make Yahoo Sports a leader in the market. ESPN.com last year charged $100 for leagues; this year only the draft kit and real-time fantasy scoreboard will be for sale. While ESPN.com, SportsLine.com and NFL.com charged for their games last season, an ‘04 study showed Yahoo Sports had over 3 million fantasy football participants, while ESPN.com and SportsLine.com each had just under 1 million participants.
  • The AP reported that a Colombian funeral parlor is offering “to bury people in the colors” of their favorite soccer clubs for around $300, a 10% increase over the normal casket price. The funeral parlor offers caskets in green for AtleticoNacional and red for IndependienteMedellin, and fans “can also have an embroidered club emblem stitched to the inside lining of the casket lid”.
  • Warner Bros. will announce today it has signed a race title sponsorship with Michigan Int’l Speedway to promote the June 17 release of “Batman Begins,” marking the first time a Nextel Cup event has been sponsored by a movie. In a deal estimated “in the low to mid-seven figures annually,” Warner Bros. will sponsor the June 19 race, which will now be called the Batman Begins 400, in addition to having branding on the hoods of Mark Martin’s car and Ricky Craven’s truck for their races that weekend. The Batmobile will serve as the honorary pace car for Sunday afternoon.

nhl- Bettman Misleading

taken from the Detroit News, "The union said for as long as anyone can remember that they'll never, ever, ever agree to a cap, but is now negotiating a cap. That's the good news," Bettman said. "The bad news is there is no economic reality to what we need. But at least now we're in a negotiating session where it's dollars and cents."
"For Gary to say the negotiations are now only a matter of dollars and cents is both simplistic and misleading," Goodenow said. "There continue to be a myriad of issues to address including player rights and system issues that impact the daily lives and careers of players, the way the game is played and marketed, and the growing financial disparities between clubs in a league with no meaningful revenue sharing."

nhl- ESPN may tune out NHL

Compiled by Victor Chi, Mercury News
ESPN's new eight-year, $9 billion deal for Monday Night Football means two things:
1. The cost will be passed along to you, the consumer. Get ready for another increase in your cable bill.
2. The NHL loses. Again.
ESPN has until June 1 to decide on its $60 million option to carry NHL games next season. But with the network committing so much cash to the NFL, it could pass on hockey or look to get it at a cheaper price.
``We fully grasp we cannot acquire every property out there,'' ESPN vice president Mark Shapiro told the New York Post. ``We are putting our stock in the NFL and we are getting behind that horse. Other horses won't be able to run because of our deal with the NFL. That is the decision we made.''
And the NHL?
``We believe that any rebuilding of that property would benefit from having ESPN behind it,'' Shapiro told the Post. ``We would like to do a deal, but that deal needs to be on our terms.''
Our terms? Familiar words, no? That's exactly what NHL owners have been pushing on the players.

nhl- Q & A with Craig Leipold

The Nashville owner recently had a sit down with the journaltimes. Nothing really earth shattering and is a two part story, here are the highlites of the interview:

How did the NHL get to this point? It got to this point because the collective bargaining agreement that was signed 10 years ago had so many inflationary aspects to it and it took four to five years for those inflationary aspects to take hold and the agents to take advantage of the loopholes in the contract.
The biggest (aspect) is the arbitration rulings. When we would have a player and our player would score 25 goals and he would have a really good season and his contract was up, he would take us to arbitration. Because there are just a few teams in the National Hockey League - Detroit, Toronto, Colorado, Dallas, St. Louis and New York - so willing to spend money on their players and when they re-sign their players they pay too much, they overpay for a player that would make 25 goals. ... It just takes two or three of those - and that's all you need - and a judge looks at it and `OK your player X had 25 goals and so did these three players that the agent is using as comparables' ... so the ruling will be the player should make $5 million a year. That has been the single biggest problem we have had as a league.
What has to happen for there to be labor peace? First of all the players and the owners need to trust each other. There needs to be an understanding that the owners are not lying about the numbers. ... In order to get this thing done we're going to have to have an understanding that we are honest people and get past the whole point of `We can't trust them.' Then, I think, the union has to understand that we aren't going to run our league losing money and the teams are not going to continue to operate losing money every year. Enough is enough and the owners have been very solid in our position that we're not going to do this anymore and we've lost money for too long. Now it's time that we run this league as a business.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

media- Have to Feel Bad for Her

from CTV, The young singer who embarrassed herself at a hockey game Friday night had a chance to redeem herself Sunday.
Caroline Marcil was asked to sing the national anthems at an exhibition game between the Canadian and U.S. national teams in Quebec City.
Two lines into The Star Spangled Banner, Marcil appeared to forget the lyrics and left the ice briefly. When she returned with a cheat sheet in her hand, she slipped on the ice and fell hard. By then the crowd was booing loudly.
Totally humiliated, Marcil had to give up on the performance. The game went ahead without the singing of either the U.S. or Canadian anthems.
And over the weekend, the embarrassing video clip of Marcil's blooper was played endlessly on North American newscasts.
By Sunday morning, Marcil appeared more confident and totally recovered. The host of Good Morning America's Sunday edition thanked the Montreal singer "for having the guts to come down to the U.S."..more and you can also view the video there. I am just glad she didn't get hurt when she fell, her head came very close to bouncing on the ice and hitting the bottom ledge of the open bench door.

nhl- Our Sport is in Danger

from the Eagle Tribune and Russ Conway, Bobby Orr, who reinvigorated hockey during a legendary career with the Boston Bruins in the 1960s and '70s, is speaking out for the first time on the meltdown of the National Hockey League.
In a column written for the Sunday Eagle-Tribune and published today, Orr calls on NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and players union executive director Bob Goodenow to "get out of the way" if they can't solve the impasse that caused the first cancellation of an entire professional sports season.
Orr has customarily declined to talk about controversial issues in hockey. He says in the column he resisted the urge to comment on the shutdown of the NHL's season and its showcase Stanley Cup playoffs because he initially had faith the two sides would resolve their differences for the good of the game.
But he says he no longer believes either side was interested in getting a fair deal done.
Representatives of the owners and the players union have met better than three dozen times since their collective bargaining agreement expired last Sept. 15, the day Bettman declared the lockout that ended the season. The two sides have failed to resolve their differences, and months have sometimes elapsed with no meetings.
The last straw for Orr came last week when a six-hour meeting resulted in another statement of "no progress."
"Our sport is in danger of becoming irrelevant unless both sides immediately put an end to this nonsense," Orr writes...continued...

The article written by Orr is below this post.

nhl- Get a Deal Done or Get Out

from the Eagle Tribune and Bobby Orr, Last September our game shut down because of the headstrong attitudes and selfish motives of some.
To date, I have resisted the urge to publicly comment on the subject. My personal belief was that the leaders of our sport were professional and conscientious and would diligently work for a fair contract and a win-win resolution of their standoff. Ultimately, I had faith that both sides would be motivated by a common goal, namely, the health of our game.
That is no longer the case.
After spending over six hours in their latest negotiating session, the league issued a statement indicating that no substantive progress was made. It said the two sides would attempt "a more aggressive meeting schedule over the next several weeks in an attempt to move the process forward."
A top union official said in a statement that he failed to see "how we can make any progress if the NHL maintains their single-track approach."
Does that sound like two groups trying to make a sensible agreement? This disconnect between the two sides is ridiculous.
With the unacceptable lack of progress and the continued bickering, I am no longer convinced that there was a genuine interest in getting a fair deal done.
The win-at-all costs attitude of both sides in this process has been disastrous.
Both NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Players Association Executive Director Bob Goodenow have wasted time and squandered goodwill. They now have a responsibility to either lead or get out of the way.
Because of what has happened, our sport is in danger of becoming irrelevant unless both sides immediately put an end to this nonsense...more...

nhl- Orr Criticizes both Leaders

from tsn, Boston Bruins legend Bobby Orr is calling on National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman and players union executive director Bob Goodenow to ''get out of the way'' if they can't solve the impasse that triggered the cancellation of the NHL's season.
In a column written for the Sunday Eagle-Tribune, the 1970s hockey star wrote, ''Our sport is in danger of becoming irrelevant unless both sides immediately put an end to this nonsense.''
Orr said in his column published Sunday that he initially resisted the urge to comment on the labour dispute and resulting shutdown of the NHL's season because he believed the two sides would resolve their differences for the good of the game.
But he said he no longer believes either side was interested in getting a fair deal done.
Owners and players must demand that Bettman and Goodenow meet immediately, and keep meeting until they emerge with either an agreement or a statement that they can't resolve their differences and they are stepping aside, Orr wrote.

The article Orr wrote will not appear online until after 6pm today. I will post it when it is available.

nhl- Ruling may hurt NHL

from Larry Brooks of the nypost, The NHL may rue the June 28, 2000 day it won its arbitration case against Alexei Yashin.
With cap, linkage and revenue-sharing issues dominating the enduring dialog between the league and the union, the fate of 2004-05 player contracts has flown under the radar. But there will come a day when the disposition of those commitments becomes a critical matter in reaching a new CBA. And when it arrives, the NHLPA will have the precedent established by Yashin arbitrator Lawrence Holden on its side.
A quick review of the case. Then in the final season of a five-year deal with Ottawa, Yashin refused to play unless the Senators renegotiated his 1999-2000 base salary of $3.6M. Ottawa refused, and when Yashin was suspended for the season, the center — represented by the PA —sought to become a Group II free agent at the conclusion of the year. The Senators — and league — argued that Yashin still owed the team a final year of service under his contract.
In the arbitration hearing, the league argued that failure to perform under a contract could not lead to a reward; in that specific case, free agency. The league argued, "Once a player enters into a binding contract, the player should have as much of an obligation to fulfill it as the club."
Additionally, the Senators argued: "The SPC [Standard Player's Contract] . . . speaks of years of service . . . that there is no fixed expiration date but, rather, that the SPC in question speaks in terms of the number of seasons . . ."
read on...

nhl- Replacement Leaders

from the Boston Globe, The NHL did the right thing (read: only viable option) last Wednesday, following a Board of Governors meeting, when it announced it had no intention of firing up the 2005-06 season with a bunch of no-names.
There will be no Opening Night with replacement players. That's great. No double-runnered knockoffs.
However, there is still no sign that there will be an Opening Night. All of which means the idea of stocking rosters with replacement players could get back on the table, if the two sides can't hammer out a new agreement between now and, oh, let's say, Christmas Eve.
Trust me, I know, you're sick beyond words over the taffy pull between Messrs. Gary Bettman (he of the NHL) and Bob Goodenow (he of the Just Say No Players Association). Frankly, the prudent and bold thing for their employers right now would be to issue their leaders a two-month warning: If there is no working agreement in place by July 1, then they'll be relieved of their duties and new bosses/negotiators will be named.
Such a purge would never happen. But after seeing neither Bettman nor Goodenow in the negotiating room Feb. 19, when the season could have been pulled out of the trash heap, it would have been enough for me to call for a change, whether I was an owner or a player. But that's just me, old-fashioned and dumb. Clearly, I don't understand the dynamics or the strategy...more...