Up To The Hips In It

Well, that was all a big mess, wasn’t it?

As you’ve probably followed on Twitter, the NHL and PA ended a week of negotiations by going back to posturing and attacking each other. I don’t remember if straight-out lies were a part of it, but they kind of are now. I’ll do my best to try and wade through all the shit both sides have just thrown us into and see just what the hell is going on.

It started when the NHL (I think) leaked their perplexion (is that a word? It is now) at the fact that in that NHLPA memo that leaked this morning (enough leaks here to be quite the golden shower, no?) there was no mention of their make-whole proposal. That proposal called for all the salary lost in the drop from 57% to 50% to be re-paid in payments in the second year and third year.

This  was followed up by  a leak to Larry Brooks’s reports that the PA had asked to hold at their current $1.8 billion figure with a 5% increase. There has been some conflicting reports where they wanted that whole no matter how many games were lost to this lockout or whether it was the starting point and then be prorated to whatever percentage of games are played.

The night capped off by Donald Fehr meeting the press, calling the make-whole proposal not nearly enough but claiming both sides were closer than the league is letting on.

Ok, there’s a lot of noise here. Let’s start with this idea that Fehr is holding out info to the players outside the negotiating committee. It’s just so far from believable that Fehr would hijack everything on his own terms to prove some point or get his beloved baseball system. The players have always seemed to know what the deal was. What it looks like is a return to the divide on conquer tactic that the NHL used in the last lockout. Whether this is out of desperation, one last flail at trying to flatten the players, I don’t know. Maybe it’s just standard operating procedure.

What’s weird is that the buzz is that after internal meetings, the players very well might return to negotiating with the league tomorrow. Perhaps it’s an attempt to show solidarity, I don’t know. Again, so much noise.

What I think we can take from this is that there’s something about the owners’ latest make-whole proposal that we don’t know, that’s not been leaked and that they players find distasteful. I don’t know what it could be, but that’s my guess. If the players are still holding out to be paid everything on their contracts now….well, that really just isn’t going to happen. Though in reality, simply holding at the 1.8 number with 5% growth for the players would result in the same thing that this supposed make-whole proposal would.

Maybe what Fehr is getting at is that they are saying the same thing but in different languages, and the owners refuse to get a translation.

In the end, the public posturing and bullshit is back, and we seem no closer to hockey. However, before ye abandon all hope, it’s probably important to see what goes on tomorrow and the days after. I sincerely hope the owners just threw their last depth charge and now know they’re not going to break anyone.

But again, I don’t know.

  • BodomSlayer

    It would be refreshing to know that, in a twisted way, this was the owners trying to see if they can divide the players. I wonder if they are starting to feel the heat of not having the gate revenue etc not coming and are starting to worry.

    Were they hoping to break the players, as you said? If they realize they can’t do this they may end up eating a stupid deal. Karma is a fucking bitch.

  • AirTrafficAJ


  • Z-man19

    I think they are close to a deal, why else would they still be talking? If they were really far apart, I’d think one side would walk out saying let us know when you get in the ballpark.

    • justforkicks

      I’m just not sure why, if they are close to a deal, its being turned right back around into passive aggressive PR fuckery.

      • laaarmer

        Because they are douchebags. One side pays Bettman. The other pays Fehr.

      • Z-man19

        They are fighting over $, not likely to look real pretty, but if they are still talking its better than not

  • 10thMountainFire

    Yep. Bettman wants to lose the entire year. I have no doubt now.

  • laaarmer

    A little OT, but I’ll bring it around. My kid played at Compton Family ice center at Notre Dame yesterday (they fucking lost 2-0). What a great rink/stadium. It is close to Chicago. If you have a chance to see an ND game, go. Fuck the NHL.
    See how I did that.

    • Z-man19

      Ahhhh, I love the smell of laaarmer in the afternoon

      • Accipiter

        Fucking. Gross.

        • Z-man19

          Of all people, you should get that reference

          • Accipiter

            I got it. I wanted to take it out of context.

          • Z-man19


  • SAMCRO Outlaw

    One of the realities of this is that it isn’t just a new CBA, but a renegotiation of every contract in the league. HTF is that ever going to work? The players cannot cave, they’ll be in the same spot again whenever this CBA would expire. If it were me I’d rather go to Russia, make my money, drink great vodka, & dine on 6′ women, than play in an arena owned by those sac sniffing pukes in Boston or St Louis.

    • Mohel

      I don’t think they make near the same money as they do in the NHL.

      • SAMCRO Outlaw

        No doubt about that, but they can earn while the owners can’t take in anything from the league. Unless they still get to collect tv monies, not sure about that.

        • birdhead

          The owners didn’t get rich from owning hockey teams and they don’t make their livings from them. They aren’t going to feel a pinch (although some of them are still using it as an excuse to fire people, of course).

  • NotLanceFister

    FYI,we’re still playing Inline Hockey every Sunday in Hoffman Estates, but time is running out this season. Join us before our CBA expires some time in the coming weeks and we lockout for the winter.

  • SAMCRO Outlaw

    Like a lot of people I was at least a little hopeful that this last week was going to lead to the joint news conference to end this fiasco. Not anymore, I’ve let the NHL season die.

    I’m now wondering how far the players are willing to take this and screw the owners all the way. They hired Donald Fehr for a reason and it wasn’t to grab ankles and smile for the camera. They knew this lockout was coming and that the owners were going to try to reduce the players end of much of what they had collectively bargained for. Players play but they aren’t stupid in their leadership, those guys knew they needed a beast, that they went after and got Fehr should tell us a lot about where the players mindset was at going into this. I think they understood that their take of the HRR was getting cut, but at a very minimum they hired Fehr to protect their current deals from being slashed in the process.

    I am starting to think there may be a bigger bullet in their gun, and it’s the salary cap. Donald Fehr mentioned it a few weeks back in a be careful what you push for owners kind of threat and I kind of thought that it was something he could never expect to achieve. Now I wonder because the players have wanted this kind of GFY moment with the owners and Bettman for a long time and seem very content with what is happening. It has me thinking that Fehr knows that as they get close to eliminating the season, the pressure is on the owners to get something done, after all it’s their lockout no matter the picture they attempt to paint of Fehr; he isn’t the one that bolted the doors. As the pressure on the owners mounts from outside sources, such as TV, league sponsors, corporate partners, and various other unions, I can very clearly picture the league saying OK we’ll give and fund those deals and take the 50/50 split; at which point I can more clearly see Donald Fehr stand up and say the players say GFY & your salary cap! We offered this up to you weeks ago and you balked, I told you we were not happy playing under a cap and still you postured and now we say the cap has to go!

    Baseball owners tried to institute a cap for a long time and he kicked their asses every which way possible. So much so that they don’t even try to broach the subject of a cap anymore, even with him not part of the MLBPA, he lives and that’s good enough for those owners. They’re smart people too, they instituted the luxury tax and the owners learned how to spend their money or payed the fines. It’s not perfect, but no system is. These hockey owners completely underestimated who they were dealing with and their stall tactics haven’t fazed him in the least. I love how the owners are now trying to paint him as a problem. Hey stupids! Go read Sports Labor Negotiations for Dummy’s, chapter 1) Do Fear Fehr would have told you that going to a work stoppage with this guy was a bad idea as he’s just fucking smarter than the lot of you and he doesn’t care if you paint him the bad guy.

    Think of the scene in A Bronx Tale when the bikers got unruly in the bar and Sonny says “we asked you to leave nicely, now……you can’t leave” That’s Donald Fehr and these numbskulls are yanking his tail?

    Well Mitt Romney’s not busy these days, maybe he’ll offer to buy the league in time for next season!

    • BodomSlayer

      It’s like the blind leading the blind. I really want hockey back but this thing has dragged into stupid territory. I’m about ready to just resign myself from all of this until I hear a deal has been struck in 2015.

  • birdhead

    For this from an individual in the room for Friday’s negotiating
    sessions and confirmed word-for-word by Slap Shots by a source across the aisle:

    “Near the end of the meeting, Don [Fehr] said to Gary [Bettman]: ‘Let me get this straight. Even if the players agree to every single component of the league’s economic plan, we still don’t have a deal unless we also agree to every one of your proposed changes to player contract rights?’ ”

    To which, both of our sources reported, “Gary said: ‘Yes.’”

    From the NYP. I don’t know how credible they are. but. scream.

    • justforkicks

      wow. just. wow.

  • andidee15

    I think we’re getting close. They’re negotiating again today even after the big brouhaha on Friday, so I’m choosing to believe that both sides have reluctantly put on their big boy pants and realize that continuing this idiocy isn’t worth it.

    • 10thMountainFire

      I disagree. I think at this point the owners and Bettman are ready to shut down the season in its entirety. They may see this as a position of strength; have an additional 8 months or so to negotiate and get everything they want.

  • justforkicks

    what utter bullshit. at this rate i don’t kno when the next time we’ll get to see an nhl game at all.

  • Waylon

    a pox on both of their houses – if the season somehow started by the new year I think it would still be a kind of joke to most folks.

  • I am not Chico Maki

    Hey everyone … TSN’s Bob MacKenzie has a stellar piece on the lockout
    up to this point. It’s long, but it’s a great presentation of both
    sides. If you’re aching to know the current tangles, it’s a great read.


    • Also … I feel like a huge clod. But for the life of me I can never remember how to log on here. It’s so counter-intuitive for me. Judging by the grey avatars, it might be the same for others?

    • Never mind. Still. Happy November everybody.