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Tailing the Komets

Well, this stinks

Gary Bettman went nuts today, well, at least more nuts than usual.

As I've said from the beginning, I'm on the players' side on this one. Is it the players' fault that the owners didn't limit the length of contracts in the last agreement? Heck, no. The owners didn't intend to pay off any of those longer contracts, anyway.

The owners need to shut down teams that can't make it because they'll never make it. They shouldn't have been there in the first place, except for the greed for expansion money. (I'm reminded of the line by former LA Kings owner (way back) Jack Kent Cooke, who said, ``There's X million former Canadians in Southern California. That should have made for a great franchise, except who knew they all moved here because they hated hockey?'') The sport is never going to work in certain parts of the country so quit creating these no-win situations!

Remember when Bettman said the owners had put their best proposal forward but wouldn't tell what any of the details were? I called BS immediately, and I have yet to hear anything but BS from the owners' side in this whole process. Have you noticed how the owners have only talked in generalities in public? We need a long-term deal, our fans deserve it, etc. How about some specifics for once?

Why is it that hockey owners are so smart in some businesses and so stupid in others? They all make the same blasted mistakes time and time again, whether in the minors or in the NHL. So stupid. It's like they are all fans and this is a fantasy league instead of a real business, so they all continue to make the same mistakes as the last guy, over and over again.

It's like when your business is taken over by somebody outside the community. They always want to come in and reinvent the wheel instead of asking the people who actually live there, who have worked there and know the territory what will actually work. No, they just keep making the same mistakes instead of finding out WHAT WILL ACTUALLY WORK IN THAT SITUATION. Head down and full steam ahead, even if you are just banging your head against a cement wall.

Another key to me, NHL owners wanted to shove all AHL contracts under this agreement. MORE BS! It's because their AHL franchises are all losing money and they can't find anybody stupid enough to buy them. That is THEIR fault, not the players. Look at the attendance numbers and you can figure out how much money they are losing. It's not that hard.

Also interesting is that today, the same day, the Michigan legislature approved a measure to help the Red Wings finance at $650 million new building. When will the NHL realize, as the minors have had to, there are only about 15-20 teams that can actually make a go of it in the NHL?

Why is it the players' fault that hockey is huge in cities like the Original Six, Philly, Vancouver, St. Louis, etc, but not in others? Did the players have any say in where those teams were placed?

To me, this is all on the owners and their inability to control their problems. They want the players to give up $231 million? Fine, then the owners should give up $231 million in revenue sharing as well instead of the $50 million they are doing now. That doesn't even pay for one decent player per team.

What a joke. The really sad thing is, they could figure this out tomorrow, raise ticket prices 10 percent, and most fans would go crawling back without a second thought. Even if they get this resolved, does anybody have any faith there won't be another labor problem in the near future? How could you?

What a joke.


Fri, 12/07/2012 - 10:32am

This is going to be hard to believe, but I agree 100% to everything Blake Sebring has written in the above article.

Maybe Hell has frozen over, or maybe that Mayan thing isn't all too farfetched!

(Sorry for the short post).

Fri, 12/07/2012 - 1:06pm

·         OK, so it’s not the players’ fault that the owners didn’t limit length of contracts.  So what?  If you’re doing something that makes your business model not work, you need to stop doing it or do it differently.  It doesn’t matter whose fault it is.

·         Yes, several franchises should go away (Phoenix, Columbus, etc.), but that ain’t free.  If you sell somebody something, like an NHL franchise, you just can’t arbitrarily take it away or otherwise make it worthless without compensating them in some way.  And, by the way, NHLPA.  That would mean less dues-paying members.  And please stop with the “greed” nonsense.   Businesses should always want to expand the markets for their products.  Sometimes they fail.

·         So the owners didn’t reveal the details of their latest offer.  Why would they?  We’re not a party to the negotiations.  When you negotiate the terms of your employment with the News-Sentinel, do we get to hear the details?

·         Your paragraph about “reinvent(ing) the wheel” is kind of a non-sequitor.  Who would you ask in Phoenix or Columbus about making your hockey franchise successful?  I don’t think it’s ever been done there, even in the minors.  And what would the owners in successful cities have to say?  I’ve been to games in Columbus and Detroit.  The fan experience is about the same, so that’s not the issue.  And it certainly isn’t only a matter of putting a winning team on the ice.  The Maple Leafs have been irrelevant for years and they make tons of money.

·         So, are you surprised that the owners would like their AHL franchises to not lose money as well?

·         Mike Ilitch, I love ya and I’m a big Red Wings fan, but if you want a new arena (and you should.  The “Joe” is a dump.) then build it yourself.  You have plenty of $$ for it.  Michigan and Detroit?   Not so much.

·         In summary, yes, maybe it’s the owners’ fault that they are shooting themselves in their collective foot.  Are you proposing that they keep shooting?  Remember that there’s no law of physics that says the NHL has to exist, and if owners and players can’t get their business model in order, it won’t.

Andy Sherman
Fri, 12/07/2012 - 2:23pm

Move the struggling teams to cities that will support them, aka Hamilton and Quebec City.  Atlanta moves to Winnepeg and it's a huge success, yet the NHL bashed it's head against the wall for years trying to keep the team in a failing market. The owners figured out a way to sign guys to front loaded long term deals.  They even went and signed players this summer to these deals, knowing full well they were going to lock the players out.  The bottom line is this: the owners have been shady and dishorable; the are shrewd business people and it shows.  But shrewdness can also be seen as dishonorable when you are trying to form a partnership[ with your bread and butter:the players.  These owners are nothing in hockey without the players that make the game so great.  

Mike From Toronto
Fri, 12/07/2012 - 2:33pm

I too was on the players side right up until I heard Bettman and Daly press conference this morning. If half of what they say is true my opinion is Fehr is the the problem.

How Don could stand up and say the sides were close after the events described by the League played out.

If you haven't viewed the interview go to TSN.Com to view.

Like I said, I was with the players but now I am not so sure who is crazy.

One thing to consider is the team that is losing the most money is the team that makes the most money. The Toronto Maple Leafs. I am not a Leaf fan.

The Leafs governor Larry Tannebaum said " he wouldn''t have believed it if he hadn"t seen it" referring to the turnaround in the bargaining between Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon.  I would think he wants a deal more than any owner.

Fri, 12/07/2012 - 3:16pm

Andy, it isn't a given that either Hamilton or Quebec City would support a team (and I mean support in the financial sense, not in the "rah rah" sense).  Quebec had a franchise and lost it.  So did Winnipeg.  I think it's premature to call the Jets a success.   Wait a couple of years until the new car smell has worn off, then let's see.  And, as far as the long term deals are concerned, the players knew there was going to be a lockout, too, or at least they should have.  There's plenty of blame to go around on that score.

Mike From Toronto
Fri, 12/07/2012 - 3:34pm

Ron, you make good points. I don't think you will see Winnipeg being a "two time loser". And as far as Hamilton goes. You could have an NHL team in Hamilton and Kitchener both within an hour of the ACC where the Leafs play and I guarantee they sell out every game.

indy ks fan
Fri, 12/07/2012 - 10:22pm

I only agree with one point in Blake's column.  That is the one where he indicates that some of the NHL franchises should disappear.  I recommend that Mr. Bettman and Mr. Daly hold a press conference and inform the world that the franchises in Phoenix, Dallas, NY Islanders, Columbus, Edmonton, and Florida have been disbanded.  It would cost the league less to pay off the owners of those franchises than what the players are trying to extort from them.  Then the NHLPA can explain to their membership that they are better off with 20% fewer jobs available.

I have a hard time feeling sorry for players who make huge sums of money and travel first class everywhere they go when the hockey market includes hundreds of players in the minors playing 24 games in 46 days while riding cross country in buses for chicken feed compared to their NHL counterparts.

Fri, 12/07/2012 - 11:41pm

Hell, Fort Wayne could support an NHL team with that logic.  Its a matter of spending what you can afford.  Credit is ruining us all, inside and outside of hockey.  The problem is, this problem will never be resolved aslong as we are human.  I go to work everyday driven by what?  I do not blame either side.  Just find a mutual understanding to save face and get on with life.  Both sides will continue to screw themselves just like any other sport, business, country, or planet will.  Fact of reality, I feel like an a-hole now, but reality sucks.

Sat, 12/08/2012 - 8:49am

Couple of things I would like to touch upon.

I too believe that the owners are in the right. They are the ones who have the most to lose. I understand the players want to make as much as they can, but come on. When there are a lot of people out there unemployed (like me) or barley make minimum wage, do the players actually think I'm going to side with? I would give about anything to have a steady income let alone make a six to seven salary for what amounts to playing a game.

As far as contraction or moving of teams. I think moving of teams might be the better way to go right now. A point was brought up about the Canada (Quebec, to be excat) not being able to support a team again. One thing to keep in mind is that the Canadian dollar is much stronger now than the last time there was a team in Quebec and Winnipeg. I think they could maintain teams in Toronto and Quebec. Phoenix just got the Glendale issue out of the wayso I think the Coyoteswill be fine. They are starting to put together quitea team in the Valley. The Islanders are moving to a new building, the only downside is that it will not hold much in the way of attendance. As for Columbus, if they can get their management situation figured out (meaning get rid of GM Howson and let John Davidson run things) I think Columbus will be ok.