Breaking Sports

Saturday, July 02, 2005

nhl- Frantic Summer

from the Philadelphia Inquirer, Nearly 10 months after the National Hockey League lockout started, the end is finally upon us as midsummer approaches.
Every indication is that the league and the NHL Players' Association will announce a new collective bargaining agreement, either this week or next week, before Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. The midsummer classic is scheduled for July 12 in Detroit.
Look for the league to hold a draft lottery on July 11. That will be the Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes. We are still hearing that every team will get a shot at the No. 1 pick, which means the Flyers, for instance, would have a 1 in 30 chance.
At the height of free agency, from 1996 through 2000, July and August were typically busy months for the NHL. In subsequent years, free agency started to wane as salaries rose out of control and teams were forced to curtail spending.
This summer's free-agent period, however, figures to be absolute chaos. Why? Because so many teams shed players and salaries last season going into the lockout. Some clubs will virtually have to remake their rosters for the coming season.
High-salaried veterans age 31 or older are either going to take enormous pay cuts or simply disappear. Because of the salary cap - expected to be anywhere from $34 million to $38 million - teams that have ample room will look for less-expensive talent to build around in the coming years.
"There will be a lot of younger players coming into the league," Flyers general manager Bob Clarke on...

nhl- Some GMs not Happy

from TSN, It hasn't taken long for reaction to the NHL's newly-formed competition committee. And that reaction, from some NHL general managers, has been of the adverse variety.
A number of GMs told TSN said they're "frustrated" and even "angry" at effectively being replaced as the body that recommends rule changes to the NHL board of governors.
"A lot of guys (GMs) aren't happy at all," one GM told TSN. "In fact, they're furious. This competition committee could have been integrated with the GMs, but it looks like it's a replacement type of thing. It's going to be very interesting to see how this dynamic is going to work."
Others, however, are taking a wait and see approach.
"Let's give it a chance," said one GM not too perturbed at the changes. "But a lot (of GMs) aren't happy, that is for sure."
Some of the angry GMs have apparently let their feelings be known to the league, which as part of the new collective bargaining committee has established this competition committee, where there are as many players (four) as GMs on the nine member panel....more...

nhl- Next week

All signs point to a CBA agreement in the July 5-7th time period. Many changes are about to take place, with a draft lottery taking center stage right after the CBA is announced.
My understanding is every team will have a chance at the #1 pick, but it may be a weighted lottery with "weaker" teams having a greater chance for "The Next Great One".
Buyouts of players will also start immediately after the CBA is ratified by the NHLPA and approved by the BOG. Many older players will be looking for work and a majority of these type of players may never appear in the NHL again.

Friday, July 01, 2005

mlb- Tigers make some Moves

For the Detroit Tiger fans, Kirk Gibson is now the hitting coach and Bruce Fields, is now the ex-hitting coach and will assume the duties of bench coach.
Also, Magglio Ordonez is back in the lineup after missing most of the year due to hernia surgery.

nhl- CBA Details

from Spector and Fox Sports, As Canadian and American hockey fans head into their holiday weekends commemorating the births of their respective nations, it appears that the birth of a new NHL collective bargaining agreement may occur soon afterward.
A few hockey pundits remain cautious in their coverage but most seem to believe a new deal will be announced soon, possibly within the next two weeks.
Fans and pundits aren't the only ones seemingly in the dark about when the next CBA will be made or what it'll contain. Many owners, general managers, players and agents are themselves awaiting word on the full contents of the new deal.
Negotiators on both sides remain tight-lipped, but enough information has been leaked to the media to give us a good idea of the potential contents of the new deal....continued...

This & That

  • Red Wings co-Owner Marian Ilitch is “bankrolling efforts by a tribe of Shinnecock Indians to establish a $20[M] casino” in Southampton, New York. The tribe filed a lawsuit “demanding for the return of 3,600 acres — which includes the historic Shinnecock Hills Golf Club — unless Southampton leaders allow it to build a casino.”
  • 20th Century Fox on September 13 will release “Fever Pitch Red Sox Collector’s Edition DVD,” which contains an “extended ending with four more minutes” from the Red Sox’ World Series win and special Red Sox packaging. The release is in tandem with the regular version of the DVD.
  • The NHL Panthers next week will begin placing thousands of lawn signs along South Florida roadways and in neighborhoods with the message, “There’s a cold front moving in.” The signs will also have a Panthers logo and phone number to buy tickets. Talalay writes the effort “is intended as a ‘soft sell’ to get hockey back into people’s minds and will be followed up with more aggressive marketing and ticket sales programs.”

nhl- A Whole New Game

from Bob McKenzie and TSN, When the NHL resumes play in the fall, and that now looks as though it will happen, the marketing slogan will be, "A Whole New Game."
No kidding. Let's call it the NHL equivalent of extreme makeover.
Changes are coming, big changes, so let's start with what we know for sure.
Goalies will be sporting a new streamlined look. Eleven-inch goal pads. Smaller blockers and catching gloves. Less bulky uppers, pants and new form fitting sweaters.
The tag up offside will be re-instituted.
The goal line will be moved two feet closer to the end boards, creating more room to operate in front of the net instead of behind it.
More penalties will be called. And not just in the neutral zone. The goal is to open things up down low, eliminate stick and pins on non puck carriers, end the defensive zone rodeo. While skepticism is duly noted, that's the plan.
Those are the 'for sures,' next come the 'highly probable.' on...

nhl- No meeting Today

from the CP, The NHL and NHL Players' Association took Canada Day off but will resume labour talks Monday in New York with the end finally in sight.
The two sides have met for more than 15 hours a day over the last few weeks and wrapped up late Thursday night after meeting every day this week.
With lawyers on both sides drafting the agreement as talks progress, it's a matter of days before a tentative deal will be announced. Once that is done, the deal has to be ratified by a full players' vote as well as a rubber-stamp from the board of governors.
Teams will then likely have a transitional phase to make decisions on buyouts and qualifying offers before free agency can commence.
And at some point, likely in early August, the 2005 NHL entry draft will be held.

nhl- Was it worth It

from, Was it worth all the trouble?
Probably not.
But anyone who thinks the almost-year-long NHL lockout could have been avoided by simply locking both sides in a room last July just doesn't get it.
Unlike the NBA, which reached a settlement before its collective bargaining agreement ran out, hockey needed to see bleeding on both sides to show everyone they were serious about a commitment.
A deal wasn't going to get done until the owners were able to convince the players the industry really does have fundamental economic flaws.
The union acknowledged that in February when Bob Goodenow was willing to accept the concept of a salary cap.
Most reports indicate some form of cap will be in place when a deal is reached this summer.
Flyers general manager Bob Clarke says the next few weeks will be crucial for the chances of getting hockey back on the ice in time for the 2005-06 season.
"I think it's extremely critical," Clarke said on Thursday. "The sooner they can get done and give us more time to sell our tickets, to have a draft and to get our players signed ...
"The way it is now in Philadelphia, we know the young players that are going to be on our team. But who's going to be a free agent, who we're going to change - it would be nice to be able to say this is what our team is and sell that to the public." more from Clarke...

nhl- Olympics and Rules

from Al Strachan and the Toronto Sun, So far, the Olympic experience has not been a pleasant one for the National Hockey League.
The league cares only about the reaction in the United States, and on neither occasion has the impact been positive.
In 1998, the embarrassment that was the American team, both on and off the ice, overshadowed any other aspects. In 2002, the deficiencies in the NHL game became evident when fans were exposed to the high-speed, more offensively oriented international game.
So less than six months from now, in Turin, Italy, the NHL is hoping that it will be a case of third-time lucky.
It's virtually certain that the NHL will participate. The NHL Players' Association made its involvement all but a non-negotiable demand at the bargaining table.
Furthermore, the recent announcement of the make-up of Canada's front-line squad, from management staff on down, is a clear indication that Hockey Canada has been tipped to the NHL's on about rule changes, including no red line for offside and shootouts.

nhl- Free Agency

from the Toronto Star, Market forces had already shrunk Canada Day's role on the hockey calendar in recent years, but never has July 1 been more irrelevant than it is in 2005.
In any other year, July 1 would have kickstarted the NHL's free-agent feeding frenzy, but NHL management offices will be dark today and player agents will find that they will not be confronted with the prospect of having to have their phones surgically removed from their ears.
"I'll be doing something (today)," said Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford, "but it won't be what I'm usually doing on this day."
Don't worry, the NHL will make up for today's idleness once it comes to a collective bargaining agreement with its players, likely sometime next week. When that happens, the need to fill out rosters in an abbreviated off-season, combined with the uncertain economics of the game, will make for a stunningly chaotic period leading right up to training camp in September.
As the two sides get closer, snippets of the deal are beginning to emerge. It looks as though the upper limit of the salary cap will be between $36 million and $38 million (all figures U.S.) including benefits. As for unrestricted free agency, it will remain status quo for the first year of the deal, meaning any player who has reached his 31st birthday by July 1 will qualify as a Group III free agent.
Then it gets interesting. According to a number of sources, free agency will go down one year with each passing year, meaning it will kick in at 30 next summer, 29 in 2007 and 28 in 2008 and that is where it will stay for the duration of what's expected to be a six-year deal....more, if you want to read how this plays out for the Leafs.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

nhl- Counting Down

from Bob McKenzie and TSN, For the first time in this tortured process, we can now measure what's left of the lockout in days as opposed to weeks or months.
Canadians can celebrate Canada Day on Friday and Americans, the small minority that actually like hockey that is, can have their Fourth of July celebration on Monday, reasonably secure in the knowledge that the long-awaited agreement is within sight.
The sense is it should be finished sometime next week, with an outside chance it could carry over into the week of July 11th, but in any case, we're talking a small number of days.
Either way, the countdown is now on, it's almost over.
But what are we counting down to?...more...

nhl- Complaint Continues

via the AP, The NHL's complaints to the National Labor Relations Board, accusing the players association of threatening to decertify agents for representing replacement players, have been forwarded to the board's legal counsel.
That decision was made this week because the case has national prominence and could set a precedent in labor matters outside of hockey, Elbert Tellem said Thursday. Tellem is the assistant to the director of the board's New York City regional office, where the NHL filed two complaints in April.
Those are now in the hands of the board's legal counsel, which will review the charges and provide direction on how the board should proceed.
Without providing a timetable, Tellem expected the attorneys to move quickly because of the importance of the case.
The board will proceed as the NHL is close to reaching a deal with the NHL Players Association to settle a labor dispute that wiped out all of last season.
NHL chief legal officer Bill Daly said Thursday that while talks are progressing, no agreement has been reached.
"Both parties are continuing to take steps necessary to preserve and protect their rights. ... The charge is in the hands of the NLRB," Daly said.
The NHLPA declined comment while the matter is under review by the NLRB.
In its complaints, the NHL accused the players association of violating two sections of the National Labor Relations Act, arguing the threats constitute an unlawful boycott by pressuring agents to cease doing business with an employer involved in a labor dispute.
The NHL has the option of using replacement players next season if the lockout continues. The league has backed off that threat, saying next season won't begin on time if a deal isn't reached with the players.

nhl- Back to Life

from the CP via the National Post, A sign that the National Hockey League is about to spring back to life is all the signings of coaches and general managers in the past two weeks.
And a mad rush of player moves is expected when the league and the NHL Players' Association finally end the lockout that wiped out the entire 2004-05 season.
Some believe a new collective bargaining agreement will be ready as early as next week.
"You can feel it," agent Pat Brisson said Thursday. "Teams are signing their coaches and general managers. It's very different from last summer.
"From what I hear, it seems they'll announce something in a week or a week and a half." on...

nhl- Start the Bidding

from the Edmonton Sun, The Edmonton Oilers are spending the summer cataloguing treasures collecting dust in the basement at Rexall Place.
Some say the NHL team is preparing to hawk the items at an upcoming auction. But Oilers president Patrick LaForge vehemently denied the rumours.
"We've got a bunch of stuff and we're inventorying it; jerseys and banners and sticks and skates and gloves and pucks that's 25 years old," said LaForge yesterday.
"When I want to make an announcement, I'll make an announcement.
"For right now we're just inventorying whatever we've got.
"For insurance purposes, you want to make sure you have it recorded and numbered. And then we'll see what happens within the next year.
"We haven't got an auction planned. We're itemizing things and we'll see where it goes."
But a source close to the Oilers said an auction is set for when the National Hockey League and its players' union sign a new agreement and play begins again.
"It's signed, sealed and done," said the source, adding the deal is with a reputable auction house.

Holiday Weekend

Thinking out loud! We happen to be celebrating both Canada Day (July 1st) and Independence Day (July 4th) so everyone please have a safe and enjoyable weekend. Please remember, no drinking and driving, we want you all back to this blog next week.

The new blog is touch and go right now, it may be ready sometime tomorrow, if not, probably Tuesday of next week. I will post the new website as soon as it is ready to go.

If any CBA news happens to break, I will be updating, so stay tuned but don't expect anything to happen until at least next week. Still issues to be resolved, a BOG meeting has to take place and the NHLPA has to ratify the CBA once it gets to that point.

nhl- Can it still blow Up

from the Maven and MSG Network, Racing’s Triple Crown is long gone but the NHL’s Run for the Rubles is just into its homestretch.
And if you’re wondering what hockey’s Triple Crown is these days, I’ll be happy to tell you. It goes as follows:
1. A brand new Collective Bargaining Agreement completed, hopefully, by mid-July.
2. The Sidney Crosby Sweepstakes; otherwise known as the 2005 Entry Draft. Target date is August. Probable venue: Ottawa, as originally planned.
3. Unveiling of the New NHL’s array of entertaining, speed-up-the-game rules.
As any racing fan knows, to win the Triple Crown, you first have to take the Derby. Likewise, if this NHL Triple Crown is to be achieved, the absolute first victory must be completion of the CBA.
And, therein lies the problem.
Getting the darn thing completed is fine, but even as the ink dries, there remains the threat of a build-up to a let-down....more...

mlb- Red Carpet for Detroit

Entertainment and sports continue to meld. MLB is planning a red carpet-style pregame show on FSN as the lead-in for the July 12 All-Star Game telecast on Fox. MLB sponsor sources said the show will run from 7:00-8:00pm ET across all FSN outlets and attempt to create an Oscar-like atmosphere with baseball’s best arriving on a red carpet outside of Detroit’s Comerica Park.
In an era where branded content is all the rage, the players will be shuttled from a downtown location in a caravan of more than 40 cars from new MLB sponsor Chevrolet, which will also have advertising in the show, as well as sponsorship of the pregame show on Fox.
The show will be produced by FSN and aired “live to tape.” On-air talent is expected to be an amalgam of “BDSSP” hosts and the regular “MLB on Fox” crew. MLB is hoping the show will attract more casual sports fans to the All-Star Game, which has garnered indifferent ratings in recent years even though it now determines home field advantage in the World Series.

nhl- Legace blames union Leadership

from Mlive, Detroit Red Wings goaltender Manny Legace believes NHL players sacrificed a year's pay and damaged the sport for no apparent reason.
And he blames union leadership.
As the league inches closer to a settlement with the NHL Players Association, Legace is the latest player to condemn union leaders for their flawed strategy during a lockout that led to the cancellation of the 2004-05 season.
``The whole thing is a farce,'' Legace, the Red Wings' union representative, said Wednesday. ``We basically sat out for nothing, wasted a lot of money for nothing. It makes no sense to me. ... It's a tough pill to swallow.''...continued...

nhl- CBA Talk

from 640 Toronto, The end is in sight, the meetings will continue today, tomorrow and Monday, but after Monday it is questionable as a "deal in principle" announcement is expected on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. Then the ratification process will start and that could take 5 or 6 days. An official "deal done" announcement could happen just prior to the MLB all-star game on July 12th. The NHL has continued to say that their version of done deal is a lot different then the NBA's. Good news heading into Canada Day.

nhl- Wings will Change

from the Detroit News, The NHL lockout is creeping to an end.
Management and players association representatives have been working 80-hour weeks recently in hopes of reaching a new collective bargaining agreement.The agreement would end a lockout that wiped out last season and is approaching 300 days in length.
Reports of having an agreement in place by Friday appear to be overly optimistic.
But few in the NHL -- team employees, players or agents -- doubt a resolution is near.
While most people are eager to see the NHL re-emerge, the implementation of a salary cap will greatly affect the Wings and other big-market, free-spending teams.
The cap is expected to be in the neighborhood of $36 million to $40 million. The Wings' payroll was $78 million last season.
Even with players accepting a 24 percent reduction in salaries, which is expected, the Wings will have about $32 million committed to 12 players. (That figure assumes that Brendan Shanahan will exercise a player option, which is likely.)
The Wings would have to make decisions on Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, who are restricted free agents; Steve Yzerman, if he chooses to return for one more season; Chris Chelios, Curtis Joseph and Mathieu Schneider.
Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said he won't begin to speculate as to what the Wings will do until the new CBA, with all of its wrinkles, is completed.
The Wings could find economic relief under the cap in the form of a one-time buyout option....more...

This via the Detroit Free Press, Holland has spoken to center Pavel Datsyuk and agent Gary Greenstin about the report Datsyuk was committed to playing in Russia in 2005-06.
"They've both told me that there is no truth to the report," Holland said.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

nhl- Working Together

from Newsday, When they get back to playing, NHL players will have more say in how their game is played. Among the issues resolved in the collective-bargaining process, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, is the formation of a competition committee that will consist of four general managers, one owner and four players. The committee will be the final word on rules changes, equipment and other game-related issues.
Previously, such decisions were made collectively by the 30 general managers. It was a process that often led to stalemates and politics and very little getting done. Players have long wanted a voice in the debate.
"I think it will be a much more honest system," Islanders captain Michael Peca said. "I don't think GMs were trying to ruin the game, but they were often looking out for the best interest of their clubs. Players are playing the game. They want what's best for the game."
The new format to include players is considered a concession by the NHL in the CBA talks. But Peca doesn't think it should be considered a concession. "It's something that should have been done all along," he said....more...

nhl- Cap Casualties

from Spector and Fox Sports, As hockey fans and pundits anxiously await a new NHL collective bargaining agreement, the player movement rumor mill is gaining speed.
The reason for this is anticipation over what might be contained in the new deal and how that'll impact the payrolls and rosters of NHL the rumors and speculation...

nhl- Pred's Pres. Leaving

from the Tennessean, The only president in the history of the Predators will retire effective tomorrow.
Jack Diller will remain chairman of the Predators Foundation and also plans to maintain ties with Nashville charities and businesses on behalf of the organization.
But he will no longer be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day business operations of the franchise.
"This is a good time to step away,'' Diller, 67, said. "Everything we hear from the league's standpoint would indicate the players and owners have reached editorial agreement on what's called the league's problems. It's sort of like the moon and the stars have lined up.''
Predators owner Craig Leipold was not available for comment yesterday, but is expected to announce the organization's plan of succession in the near future....more...

nhl- CBA Update

via 640 Toronto, New additions to the CBA discussions in New York, Mike Gartner will be joining the meetings for the rest of the week including Friday. This is viewed as another measure to speed up the process, because you'll have a member of the PA and an owner representative working together with a lawyer from each side. This will be quicker than having six lawyers going to Saskin and Daly at the same time to affirm what was agreed upon. We're moving forward.
An e-mail to me from the Buffalo Sabres yesterday said that they will be open for business on July 13th.

nhl- Just another Option

from slam, The NHL lockout is expected to be over soon. Yippee! Three jeers, (oops, darn typos!) three cheers, for Gary Bettman.
All this fuss so that NHL hockey can live in Tampa and Carolina and Nashville. They should be building a statue to Bettman in Florida next to Ponce de Leon -- another guy who went looking for the fountain of youth for his owners but couldn't find it.
NHL owners might be pleased with a deal that guarantees them a salary cap of $22 million to $35 million US. But there's nothing that says players, especially those from Europe, have to come to play for Gary and his pals....continued, about 1/2 down the page

nhl- All JR

from ESPN, Would the NHL be happy if the Flyers' Jeremy Roenick had draped a towel around his neck and said in monotone: "When we're playing again, we have to give it 110 percent, finish our checks, take it one game at a time, and hope we don't run into a hot goaltender"?
Of course.
Because that's the NHL way, a mind-numbing, yawn-inducing phenomenon we grouse about all the time, yet encourage when we – public, media members and hockey insiders – overreact to isolated on...

Also, read, JR, Marketing Genius and you can watch the whole interview from Sports Center here.

nhl- Optimistic

from the Morning Sentinel, In the last 10 months, Eric Weinrich has traveled to Austria to play hockey, picked up a new hobby and spent a lot more time with his family than he has ever been able to.
"Almost everyone I talked to, and I saw a lot of guys this weekend at a golf tournament, they all seem to hear the same sort of things, that there is a lot of behind the scenes stuff going on and they are trying to keep it quiet until they hammer out a deal," Weinrich said in a phone interview from his home in New Jersey. "They have to cross the t's and dot the i's. I'm really optimistic. But I was all winter long, too. But from what I'm hearing, they are really close."...more...

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

nhl- Roenick on TSN

JR appeared live on TSN (will open WMP video) to clarify his recent interview.
I also watched his interview with Dan Patrick on ESPN and it was a give and take situation. Roenick said he would like to apologize if he offended anyone with his language but would probably say the same thing if someone approached him on the street and started slamming the NHLPA.
JR mentioned he was a very passionate person, loves the fans and just wanted to make a point. Dan Patrick agreed with Jeremy that hockey players are the most friendly of modern day athletes, but did try to get JR to understand the part of the interview from the weekend that wasn't shown was not newsworthy, but what he did say about fans kissing his a--, was.

nhl- NHL Logo

Rumor has it that the NHL Logo (around since 1918) will have a modern look to it. The NBA logo uses an outline of Jerry West in it and the MLB logo features a hitter who looks like Harmon Killebrew.
What type of NHL logo would you like to see? I think the color scheme needs and upgrade and a puck and stick should be incorporated into the logo.

nhl- Conway discovers Trouble

from, It was the NHL’s version of “All the President’s Men.” Lawrence Eagle-Tribune associate editor Russ Conway spent a decade digging into the practices and malpractices of former NHL Players’ Association chief Alan Eagleson.
This month marks the tenth anniversary of Conway’s book “Game Misconduct.” “It all started in 1988 when I was having a few beers with Wayne Gretzky and (the late) Ace Bailey,” explains Conway. “Gretzky brought up international hockey, which was run by Eagleson. Wayne said that something was wrong.” the rest at the bottom of the page, very interesting.

nhl- Make believe Games

from, So just what does a hockey fan do when the NHL season has been cruelly cancelled, the Amerks' get eliminated during the playoffs and the dog days of summer are looming?
Play hockey video games, of course.
The problem is that sports games rely on player information, statistics and team rosters from the previous season to help make the game more realistic and interesting to fans.
I tried to contact various hockey game and product developers to find out how they are handling this lost season and they answered with either silence or, as stated by hockey trading card makers, Topps, "We are not making any decisions until they are back on the ice."
So, instead of rehashing a game with outdated stats, hardcore hockey fan Matt Berger and I dreamed up with a few alternative hockey on, pretty funny!

nhl- Roenick Update

As we all know, JR has caused quite a stir with his remarks and now is claiming some of his statements were taken out of context.
He will be appearing on the 6pm EDT., broadcast of ESPN's Sports Center with Dan Patrick. He refused to tape an interview and wants to be on live to set the record straight.


The independent Northern League (NL) has “reversed its decision” after initially approving the K.C. T-Bones’ promotion in which two fans were to play the first two innings of the team’s July 16 game on EA Sports’ “MVP Baseball 2005.” NL Commissioner Mike Stone in a statement said, “After further review and discussion, I have decided that this concept as originally presented is not in the best interest of the Northern League. Any promotion that could affect the outcome of a regular season game is not permissible. Ultimately, such an event could have an influence on the final standings, and this certainly challenges the integrity of the league.” NL COO John Blake said that he “was not aware of any pressure put on the league by either fans or owners to cancel the stunt.” T-Bones GM Rick Muntean said that the team has “already signed a sponsorship deal to run the promotion during an exhibition game next year.” Turenne notes the two fans following the July 16 game will now begin the contest “as it was in the top of the eighth and play out the last two innings.”

nhl- Wings feel the Draft

Of special interest to Wing fans.

from, Hanging among the NHL's elite has made the players, coaches and fans of the Detroit Red Wings very happy. But that success has been a mixed blessing for the club's scouts who have to pluck prospects not only in the second half of the selection order, but also in later rounds.
The Red Wings have done an amazing job in recent years of finding good players in the later rounds of the Entry Draft, which has been very important since the team has traded a number of first-round selections to secure the veteran players who have kept the Wings among the League's on...

nhl- More Leafs Lunch

Russ Conway was just on, said depending on who you talk with, the CBA still has a way to go.
Russ mentioned a team executive told him a draft might not happen. Stack the draft for next year, go to age 19 and no draft this year. The NHLPA would have to agree to this, and every team would have a 1/30 chance for next year's #1 pick. Bill Watters thinks Bettman will not allow this to happen, he has his own plans in place for a draft that will take place this year. Conway still thinks a "no-draft' year may happen.
On a side note, Russ wrote about this on Sunday, but his articles are now pay-per-view only.

nhl- Blame the Coaches

from the Chicago Tribune, "You can change the rules all you want, you can take out the red line, teams are going to play defensively because coaches make them," former Hawks defenseman Chris Chelios said recently.
Chelios points the finger at the decline of offense in the NHL squarely in one direction--the league's 30 coaches.
"As long as coaches play their marquee players for 15 minutes a game, it's not going to change," Chelios said. "Let them play 25-30 minutes and let them score, that's the way it should be. But it's coaches and their systems."

nhl- Leafs Lunch

Bill Watters said he is hearing July 13th for CBA. Bettman is going to meet with teams on a one on one basis to discuss revenue sharing. He has some work to do to make sure everyone is on the same page before a BOG meeting.
Still some negotiating going on, and CBA is being written as it goes. Still some give and take going on, so mid July should be the time everything is settled.

nhl- CBA Close

A long time reader of Breaking Sports just emailed me and said Jim Lites, President of the Dallas Stars, was on Dallas radio this morning and basically said the CBA is a done deal.
I am sure this coincides with Dallas coach Dave Tippett agreeing to a two year contract.

update 11:42am, taken from a Stars forum, Jim Lites was just on with Norm Hitzges...talking about things...he agreed that you can assume the lockout is over even though it has not been announced...
also talked about a clause similar to what the NBA instituted allowing clubs to buyout certain long term deals to benefit the cost effectiveness of the coming year, because he expects the cap to decrease in year two.
Bill Guerin's name was mentioned for dallas
and Jim also mentioned that Hatcher would be bought out in Detroit if that clause was part of the new deal.
the pool of free agents that would include standard players as well as bought out players like Guerin, Hatcher, LeClair, et al would be near 500 players.
there will be $10 in the upper and $50 in the lower bowl season tickets.
he says they expect to roll back prices all around from 10-20%.
he says he is not as scared as he was in 1993, but it will be tough to get the fan base back.

update 3pm, I am getting quite a few visitors from a Polish hockey forum. The translation below is just a little greeting to them.
Mile widziany Polski hokej miłośnicy.

Heads Up

  • The promoter of a hockey fight competition which had been cancelled by Prince George city council has won the second round.
    After receiving further legal advice, city council voted 8-1 on last night to reverse last week's decision to cancel the controversial Battle of the Hockey Enforcers set for Aug. 27 at CN Centre.
  • A New Jersey man's Zamboni driving days are on ice. Authorities say John Peragallo was drunk when he drove the four-ton ice-cleaning machine at a sports arena in Morristown on Sunday.
    Police say an employee reported that the machine was speeding and nearly crashing into boards. Police say Peragallo had a blood-alcohol level of .12. People are legally drunk in New Jersey at .08.
    The 63-year-old could lose his driver's license for motor vehicles and Zambonis if he's convicted.
  • NFL Exec VP/Labor Relations Harold Henderson appeared on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access” from the annual NFL Rookie Symposium, where he talked about the ongoing CBA negotiations. Henderson: “The economic issues are at the forefront. We certainly have other system issues that are involved too, but until we get the economic issues resolved the others are not going to fall in place.”

nhl- CBA Talk

from 640 Toronto, The sides met until midnight yesterday and they are resuming at 9am this morning. It appears that the end is near as talk out of Vancouver and Montreal indicates that the Board of Governors will meet in NY by weeks end. I asked one party involved in the talks if they will be finished by Friday and they said "could be." The BOG could meet in New York with Bettman while Bill Daly continues his work with Ted Saskin and the Matlock's. Stay tuned as this story develops....more...

nhl- CBA, When

via the Toronto Sun, After last week's first consecutive Monday to Friday talks of the lockout, National Hockey League players and owners were back at the table yesterday in New York in the small group format.
They are expected to continue working on the final stages of the new collective bargaining agreement this week.
While sources say there is an outside chance of a deal by Canada Day, it's more likely the myriad details will take until next week or early the following week.
Keep in mind there traditionally are just two days on the North American pro sports calendar that are dark: Before and after the Major League Baseball all-star game, which is being played on July 12 this year.
The NHL could get maximum media coverage for its relaunch by announcing a new CBA on one of those dates -- July 11 or July 13.

nhl- One more Battle

from the Toronto Sun, The NationalHockey League Players' Association, headed to defeat on the collective bargaining front, could make one final stand to have last season's contracts included in a new deal.
Already swallowing a salary cap and a 24% salary rollback, the union is believed to be digging on having stagnant 2004-05 contracts honoured for the coming season. It means the expected 300 to 400 free agents coming on the market would be drastically reduced.
"That's the issue they're arguing over the most at the moment," a league source told The Ottawa Sun on Sunday as the CBA talks resumed yesterday. "(Owners) don't feel they should have to honour those contracts (during the lockout)."
The players would appear to have little hope -- one executive told The Toronto Sun yesterday there's no way the owners would allow the union such a costly face-saving ploy. But free agent goaltender Sean Burke said the players should get a big bone tossed their way after accepting the cap and rollback.
"We didn't strike, we were locked out," Burke said yesterday. "I've often thought the owners set this all up to burn a season and create lots of free agents. That's not what I call negotiating fairly. I hope the PA (executive) fights for it, but I'm not optimistic they'll win."...more...

nhl- Rusty Players

from USA Today, Pittsburgh Penguins coach Ed Olczyk isn't fretting about what level of conditioning his players will be in the next time they play an NHL game because his opponents will all have the same issues.
"The beautiful part about it, if you can call it beautiful, is that everybody is going to be on the same playing field," Olczyk said. "This is really uncharted waters."
If the NHL completes negotiations in time to launch the season in October, about half the league's players won't have played in 16 to 18 on...

nhl- Capping the Wings

from Mlive, Once the NHL has reached a new collective bargaining agreement with the players union, probably within the next couple of weeks, the Detroit Red Wings will have some interesting decisions to make.
The new deal will include a hard salary cap, most likely topping out at between $38-to-$40 million.
The Red Wings have 12 players signed for the 2005-06 season at a cost of $31.5 million, factoring in the 24 percent salary rollback the NHL Players Association has apparently accepted....more...

Monday, June 27, 2005

nhl- Ramblings around the NHL

from Stan Fischler and MSG Network, The latest on the CBA is what we told you all along: DON’T BELIEVE THE OPTIMISTS! The real story is that a deal will be cut but certainly not by July 1st and more likely the middle of July.
Well, it’s nice to know that a potential new NHL club owner may bring a nifty nickname with him to Bettman Inc. If Silicon Valley mogul William Dell Diaggio is called “Boots,” and he buys the Penguins, can we call him “Boots in the ‘Burgh?” Don’t answer that!
We have to laugh at those scribes who have nothing better to do but needle Bruins’ power broker Jeremy Jacobs as if it’s a crime that he has managed to keep his club one of the league’s most profitable. We applaud Jacobs discerning that too many high-priced players weren’t playing close to their capacity. We also applaud Jacobs’ fortitude in taking on Bob Goodenow without avoiding the crumble of 1995...much more to read...

nhl- Wait to evalute CBA

from Reuters, In a normal National Hockey League (NHL) season, this time of year would be spent pondering the junior entry draft and poring over the lists of free agents set to come on the market on July 1.
The 2004-2005 season, however, has been anything but normal.
A lockout of players last September and the subsequent cancellation of the entire season after the players' union and the owners failed to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement has meant the end of all normality.
The labor fight, over the issue of a salary cap, eventually led to the NHL being the first league to cancel an entire season. Embarrassingly, the National Basketball Association (NBA) -- the NHL's richer cousin -- was able to craft a new agreement, with a salary cap, in little time and with ease.
When the NHL starts up again, it will be a changed landscape; entirely different from the one the fans, management and players knew before.
"Clearly when everyone competes under a model that no one has competed under before, there's going to be some change. It's going to be hard to predict what that will mean across the board and we don't know until we get playing what it will mean to us," said Toronto Maple Leafs general manager John Ferguson Jr.
"We are preparing for it. Everyone understands that change is coming and we're doing our best to not only react but proactively respond and be in a position to take advantage of every opportunity." on...

nhl- Bettman and Stern

from The Maven and MSG Network, Media jackals always love to circle an easy victim and then sink their keyboards in with a vengeance.
For 10 months such print and electronic predators have feasted on the bloodied NHL.
Thus, it hardly surprised the civilized world that, about one-milli second after David Stern signed a new NBA CBA with Billy Hunter, the journalistic jackals jumped the icemen, yet again.
The standard question was this! If Stern and Hunter could gift-wrap the NBA package so fast—and without blowing a season—how come those (alleged) NHL dolts could not?
Needless to say the press predators—once they get down to the NHL bones—couldn’t care less about an answer.
But there is a good reason why. For starters, Stern in no way embarrassed his old basketball pal, Gary Bettman by averting a hoops lockout....more...

nhl- Leafs Lunch

Larry Brooks was just on and said July 6th for a CBA is "optimistic"; many issues still remain and then they have to be written up to the liking of both sides.
Question brought up about player buyout, will that be a lump sum or a will it be paid over a certain amount of time. Two conflicting stories are out there, teams will be able to pay the buyout over the length of the original contract and the other story is it will be paid in full when the buyout happens.
Brooks says the owners will obtain nearly all of their objections when they decided not to play last season.
Brooks said Roenick remarks are out of line; the players had no idea what the figure was in February since nothing had really been talked about in depth. Unless the NHL had a document ready to give to the PA in February, then the players should not be talking about a deal that was never known.
Brooks mentioned once the NHL saw behind the scene posturing from people like JR, the NHL knew they had the PA right where they wanted them. The players should have held together and then force the NHL to make the next move. Once JR and his Band were willing to take a cap, that disrupted the PA decision to hold out as long as two years.
Larry said it will 3-4 years to see how this shakes out for the PA, the owners get what they want in the short run, but things could look better for the PA down the road.

This & That

  • The NY Post reports that Alka-Seltzer will sponsor the U.S. Open of Competitive Eating, which will “award more than $40,000 in prize money,” to be held next month in Las Vegas and televised on ESPN. Int’l Federation of Competitive Eating President Richard Shea: “This is the Super Bowl, the World Series and the Talladega 500 all rolled into a three-day, five-event eat-a-thon.”
  • The Akron Beacon Journal cites two NBA execs as confirming that the Cavaliers have hired Danny Ferry as their new GM, and that Pistons coach Larry Brown “is no longer a candidate” to be the team’s president of basketball operations.
  • MLB this week begins a partnership with Infinity Broadcasting Corp. in which it will spend $1.5M on advertising and promotion across 90 Infinity radio stations as part of an overall effort to drive viewers to Fox’ broadcast of the July 12 MLB All-Star Game in Detroit. The ads, which will continue until the game, feature vignettes from players and managers, live reads from radio DJs and street teams appearing in the 20 MLB markets where Infinity owns stations.
  • Maria Sharapova's on-court shrieks at Wimbledon last week topped out at 101.2 decibels, which is roughly equivalent to that of a police siren. This, according to a newspaper's "gruntometer".

nhl- CBA talks for this Week

via 640 Toronto, The CBA discussions are back on again today in New York. The talks are suppose to last all week, the participants will be Daly, Saskin, Batterman and McCambridge, with the addition of more lawyers for both sides. The reason for the extra lawyers is to speed up the process of completing the documented CBA, as they want it done by Thursday as they could run into legal problems with free agents on July 1st. I'm sure some fans are still concerned about why the talks are taking so long but one person close to the talks said "we are further along then the NBA is and they announced a deal already, we won't announce anything until it is written in stone." The NBA announced a resolution to their new CBA last week, however they just have a verbal agreement and haven't met to write anything up. Take that as a good sign for the NHL.

nhl- Old Contracts

via the Ottawa Sun, The two sides in the NHL labour dispute have one big issue to settle before a new collective bargaining agreement is put in place: What happens to last season's contracts?
NHL sources say while the league and the NHL Players' Association have agreed on many structural issues, they still need to decide whether the players will have their contracts honoured next season.
"That's the issue they're arguing over the most at the moment,'' an NHL source said yesterday. ''The league doesn't want to honour those contracts and they don't feel they should have to honour those contracts."
Sources say the league has informed the players there is no reason to honour the contracts because the players were locked out and the time on the contracts have passed.
The players argue that centre Alexei Yashin was forced to fulfill a year of his contract to the Senators when he sat out the 1999-2000 season in a dispute and the same rules should apply now. Yashin was later dealt to the Islanders.
It's believed the NHLPA has suggested it could take the league to arbitration if it refuses to honour the contracts, which are subject to the 24% salary rollback that the players have agreed to accept.
Not honouring the deals would work well for the league because the market would be flooded with 300-400 free agents, allowing teams flexibility while working under a new CBA that will almost certainly include a salary cap.
The cap is expected to be somewhere around $34-$36 million (all terms US) with a floor of $22 million. But sources also say the two sides have agreed to raise the minimum annual salary to $400,000 for new contracts. Under the old CBA, the minimum salary was $175,000.
NO DRAFT FOR OTTAWA?: The whisper around the NHL is the draft won't be held at the Corel Centre this summer and commissioner Gary Bettman would like the session to take place in New York. Mayor Bob Chiarelli has made it clear Ottawa is ready to hold the draft on short notice, but sources say the league would like to have top prospect Sidney Crosby drafted in the Big Apple where there would be more of a media spotlight. It's rumoured the draft will be held Aug. 6 in New York, but a decision won't be made until the new CBA is in place.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

nhl- CBA Coming

via the AP, The Pittsburgh Penguins General Manager Craig Patrick is optimistic that the National Hockey League and the NHL Players Association will hammer out a new collective bargaining agreement in the coming weeks.
But he said few details from the two sides' meetings in New York and Toronto have trickled down team officials.
"There's been no updates," Patrick said today at the Mario Lemieux Celebrity Invitational at the Club at Nevillewood. "I think everybody's just cautiously optimistic right now. I hope something happens, naturally we all do, but we won't know what the agreement looks like until we see the document."
Teams don't have capital spending budgets or a collective bargaining agreement, so players cannot be signed to new contracts or traded.

nhl- Questions not Answered

from Larry Brooks and the NY Post (reg. req.), Martin Brodeur has two years at a post-rollback $11.32 million remaining on his contract, which, as we understand it, would be charged as $5.66M per against the Devils' cap.
Here's the question: What if the goaltender, who in the past has always been willing to accept less than 100 cents on the talent dollar to accommodate the economic needs of the NHL's model franchise, signs a three-year extension this summer for, say, $3.5M per?
Would the contract then become a five-year, $21.82M deal under which the Devils would be charged $4.364M against the cap in each season, that would thus give Lou Lamoriello an extra $1.2M of maneuverability the next two years with which to woo Scott Niedermayer?
Here's the answer: No one knows.
The matter of restructuring contracts — what about signing bonuses? what about deferrals past the life of a contract? — remains one of the significant issues that still must be negotiated and resolved by the PA and the league. We're told that the subject has been addressed, but only in limited conversations that will necessarily have to become both much broader and specific once the parties' large negotiating groups reconvene.
As first reported in this space last week, clubs will be given a one-time grace period this summer to exercise an unlimited number of the traditional two-thirds buyout of players without the expense counting against the cap. Bought-out players may not resign with their clubs. Rest assured there will be a provision in the CBA prohibiting re-gifting (trading back bought-out players) for a standard period of time.
Under the old CBA, teams had twice the length of the remaining contract in which to spread their payments to a bought-out player, but with the player having the option to request an immediate present-day value lump sum payment....continued...

At the end of this article, Brooks added this: Finally, from Page Six: Which individual with the initials DKK is about to learn that anonymity does not last forever? I have a strong feeling Brooks is refering to a certain "blogger".

nhl- Cost, Certainly

from Newsday, We've yet to reach the post-lockout recovery, and already the NHL has some concerns in its post-lockout recovery.
St. Louis Blues owners Bill and Nancy Laurie have decided that whatever cost certainty the new collective-bargaining agreement brings still won't be certain enough to make running an NHL team affordable for them.
Makes you wonder: If it can't work in an established NHL market such as St. Louis, how it's going to work in Carolina and Nashville?
Despite Gary Bettman's cost-certainty campaign promises of yore, the Lauries are selling because the new CBA won't erase the lost millions of the past. And without even a hint of U.S. television money, it certainly can't promise more revenue. All it can promise is to provide a more stable business model that will keep all teams on an even ice surface....more...

nhl- Roenick Attacks

from TSN, The National Hockey League and NHL Players' Association may be off for the weekend from CBA talks, but that didn't stop Philadelphia Flyers forward Jeremy Roenick from offering up another two cents on the topic.
Roenick, who was speaking at a Saturday media conference for Mario Lemieux's charity golf tournament, let out all his frustrations on the NHL lockout in a profanity-laced diatribe.
"They could have listened to the players who had an idea of where this was going - myself, (Flyers teammate) Robert Esche, (Calgary Flames captain) Jarome Iginla and (St. Louis Blues defenceman) Chris Pronger," he explained.
"But in February, I didn't think the deal stood up."...much more...

View the interview (will open WMP video).