First day of training camp … not happening

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OK, time to get away from the hilarity of LW3H’s acronym mania.

Today is the first day of Rangers training camp, which of course won’t happen, and thus is the first actual day of Rangers being locked out.

Here’s the unedited version of my column from The Journal News and LoHud.com today:

By Rick Carpiniello

So I went to the doctor for a physical yesterday, and what did he say as soon as he opened the examination-room door?

“When are we going to have hockey?”

That’s a hockey fan. Their sport has been locked out for less than a week, and in that time there wouldn’t have been any hockey anyway, and yet they fret.

Today would have been the first eventful day for the Rangers, who were supposed to open training camp with their annual no-pucks torture-test administered by coach John Tortorella.

And in addition to declaring a lockout (in a supposed unanimous vote, though that seems suspect) at midnight last Saturday, the owners have canceled all preseason games through the end of this month.

Not much else has transpired to cause a hockey fan much immediate grief – other than many players making contingency plans to play in Europe.

There is grief, though, mostly because NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, the man who locked the doors, has done this before – this being the third lockout of his regime, including the one that killed the entire 2004-05 season and playoffs.

There is grief, too, for anybody with a conscience, even those who don’t particularly care which team wins or loses, or which side gets 57, 53, 47 or 43 percent of the $3.3 billion of the NHL’s revenues.

That includes me. I find it absolutely disgusting that in this battle over billions of dollars, minions are getting clobbered. People who make $50,000 a year, or $30,000 or whatever, are being laid off or furloughed by billionaire owners because of the owners’ lockout.

Heck, the Florida Panthers even laid off mascot Stanley C Panther. Some teams have said they don’t plan on layoffs – good on the Rangers, Devils, and Carolina Hurricanes, to name three – but the league headquarters, where Bettman is king, is cutting down to four-day weeks. In other words, 20-percent paycuts for the people who do all the work behind the scenes.

Disgusting. The teams could probably pay all their employees all year for what Bettman makes (nearly $8 million per), or what the star player on their team makes.

Bettman and his first lieutenant, Bill Daly, have both said they won’t accept pay during the lockout, after NHL Players Association boss Donald Fehr did the same. That’s the same Fehr, by the way, who was hired by the NHLPA after being such a powerful fource for Major League Baseball’s union, just for this particular war.

Bettman is an experienced general here, and these things always end the same way – with the players capitulating and the owners victorious.

Except that it never turns out to be that way. Bettman was rewarded with his contract extension and kingly salary after getting the salary cap in ’05, but players’ salaries rose, on average, by more than $1 million per player since that lockout. And owners claim losses of $120 million last year, despite the rise in revenue from $2.1 billion to $3.3 billion. Obviously, too, owners still have no problem handing out ludicrously lavish 10- and 11-year contracts for upwards of $90 million or $100 million. So much contradiction.

This won’t go away quickly or quietly. A key date will be when owners start losing ticket and local TV revenues. A bigger date will be Oct. 15, when the players’ first checks are due, and then Oct. 30, when the second checks are due, and so on. The owners are in for a long fight – NBC will pay them their TV money with or without games – and the players know the owners have killed one season before.

Some small market teams might even lose less money by having their doors closed than they would lose by playing hockey. On the other hand, a team like the Rangers stands to lose a bundle – especially with the expensively renovated Garden going dark for hockey.

The players act naïve. Ex-Ranger Brandon Prust tweeted this week that he doesn’t understand why they can’t play under the old agreement while trying to work out a new one. The great Bobby Orr said both sides should be locked in a room with no food or water until a deal is made (somebody always says that during these things). They have to know that it won’t work that way, that is has to be played out over time and with leverage. Right?

How much time? The NHL’s (and NBC’s hockey) Super Bowl is the Winter Classic on Jan. 1 at the big house in Michigan. That’s a good guess.

But it could be longer.

As Dave Shoalts wrote in the Toronto Globe and Mail this week, the owners see fans as “ATMs with arms and legs.”

And nothing more.

 

 

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118 Comments

  1. ZzZz NYR ZzZz© on

    Well no hockey , soooooo here is some running news :(my running news)

    As I was running today I spotted a quarter on the road and ran back and picked it up. I saw a little girl sitting on the curb across the road and I tossed her the coin and it bounced onto the grass. I saw her run for it as I kept running. I heard her shout out ” Thank you!” I waved and kept going.

    Iv’e been running for almost an hour and was heading home when I saw this kid who looked like Ian from Big Brother come out of his yard and he runs right up to me with his sweat band on his head . He says nothing and looks right at me and proceeds to run with me for half a block. I look at him , he looks at me just inches away and he turns off , I say “Way to go” and he runs back to the yard he came out of. Talk about weird…

  2. That was pretty wild.

    ok here is my story..

    I watched the local news tonight by accident. Scott Gomez, Brandon Dubinsky and Joey Crabb skated with the local ECHL team today in practice. (Alaska Aces).

    Gomez skated with the Aces during the last lockout and I wasn’t impressed. Dubinsky said he wanted to keep in shape.

    Gomez is definitely not skating again, the other two said it was too early to tell.

  3. There are some strange people out there, Zz. Was the guy who joined up with you carrying a large breast? If so, maybe he was just trying to see what it would be like to see two men running abreast.

  4. What a wonderful birthday Tuesday will bring with no hockey! When it gets to Tuesday I’m gonna start taking this lockout personally. No hockey AND Kol Nidre. Can’t wait! lol

  5. ZzZz NYR ZzZz© on

    Happy birthday Evrockriser !! Are youuuu 26?

    coos , abreast as in turkey breast or some larger lady?

    Tomb , We should trade for Dubinsky and Gomez and have the Alaska Ace line!!!

  6. Hey Zz, thanks. But it’s not until next week so there’s no reason to rush Father Time. lol So, ummmm… yeah… 26, let’s go with that one. hehe

  7. Good morning, boneheads!

    Depressing, Carp….but true. Funny thing- they’re not that far apart. HRR issue ihas been resolved by NHL withdrawing that part from contention. It’s just that the players aren’t willing to give up a penny from their salaries this time around and Fehr is a perfect person to uphold that. And mr. Bettman, on the other hand, wants to show that he, too, is capable of holding his ground. It may continue for some time.

  8. Has anyone received their iPhone yet? Mine’s on a truck for delivery. These UPS clowns better hurry.

  9. But the NHL’s offer to retain the current HRR definition is off the table now though, right?

    iPhones can drive trucks now?

  10. Bettman insists he never said that, LW.

    Mine is on a truck too, Miami, except I’m not home till next the end of next week, so my neighbors will hold it for me. I’m not ready to drive for 2 plus hours to get it and come back. It’ll have to wait b

  11. LW3H

    Soon they’ll be able to pilot aircraft too … as soon as Apple figures out the currently bush-league Maps app

  12. Carp, I am getting the same treatment from people at work who know that I am a huger Rangers and hockey fan. I tell them don’t expect much before Thanksgiving with the Winter Classic being a more reasonable date.

    Answer for Brandon Prust – April 1, 1992. The 1991/92 season was the last time they played hockey without a new CBA and that date is the day the NHL players went out strike.

  13. KHL on American TV?
    21.09.2012

    The UFA Sports agency, which acts as the KHL’s marketing service partner in nations outside the League’s borders, has announced a surge in interest among North American TV companies seeking to broadcast matches in the KHL Championship.

    At present, the American media are interested primarily in showing games featuring Alexander Ovechkin, Evgeny Malkin, Sergei Gonchar and other locked out NHL stars, so current talks are focused on coverage of games featuring Metallurg Magnitogorsk, Dynamo Moscow, CSKA Moscow and SKA Saint Petersburg.

    There are also ongoing talks with interested broadcasters from Great Britain and a number of European countries about showing KHL Championship games.

    http://en.khl.ru/news/2012/09/21/24731.html

  14. Good morning, Carp!

    Question: Are you guys going to start paying more attention to the AHL now? If so, are you rooting more for your local team (so you can go cheer the kids on) or the Whale (because Redden is there)? I’m having a hard time deciding if I like the Amerks now or not…

  15. I’m definitely rooting for Redden, Sally! Players like Redden cannot be found at the NHL level anymore! Gotta cheer for that! ;)

  16. Well, this Rangers season ticket holder along with several others I know have pulled the plug on our “ATM”. We have told the garden to STOP taking payments from us. Those of us on payment plans have already paid for HALF of the season. We will not give them one more dime until this is resolved. At this point, THEY OWE US games!. My rep said no problem, we will stop.

    I encourage other STH of any NHL team to do the same. STOP PAYING!

  17. I think even when this is resolved fans should think twice now before spending any amount of money on NHL merchandise and other NHL related crap. Hit them where it hurts…Show the owners that it was a bad idea to lockout the league…I know I won’t be spending any rubles on these greedy dogs anymore!

  18. >>… the owners see fans as “ATMs with arms and legs.”

    In other words, fans are suckers. In this day of “social media”, I find it strange that fans aren’t more organised. Why don’t NHL fans have their own union?

  19. Sally, it will be hard to root for the Albany Devils, but I may go to a few games since there is no NHL right now.

  20. Carp: The NHLPA also takes the same view of fans as the owners do.

    And you know what? No matter how long this goes for, the fans will return. It’s a virtual guarantee here in hockey/NHL mad Canada and I think the base of US based fans are hardcore and therefore, won’t be able to stay away.

  21. randall

    i just emailed my garden rep and asked to stop taking the remaining 4 months of my 8 month payment plan. I told her how livid I am to have to pay all this now while not knowing if there are games to be played.

    if you hear anything else email me baum27@aol.com

  22. Nice Eric. Contact those you know and have them do it as well. There is simply no reason for them to have the money.

    The “interest” they are going to give us is ridiculous. The Leafs are paying 5%.

  23. randall

    do you know for sure they will stop taking your money. i was told there will be no refunds until november 1st the home opener because thats the first game we are paying for. so essentially they are taking sept and oct payments as well so now 6 of my 8 months will be paid off before any scheduled home games get cancelled.

    the only interst you will get will be like 2% if you leave money on the account and not take a refund is what happened last year with knicks i was told

  24. onecupin73yearsandcounting on

    As much as you may love hockey..does it really matter if they play ?
    I mean come on..it’s a game ..do something positive for yourself other than Kvetching for the NHL .. and when it’s over the fool fans will come rushing back..my self included .
    So screw Bettman and the NHL owners.. don’t go to games..

  25. Its kinda funny watch all the players who are locked out, now heading over to Europe to earn big bucks to play hockey while the fat cats and Bettman loose out. I’m starting to think the only one’s suffering are the fans…
    Hey maybe those players will stay in Europe…

  26. Good afternoon all! Carp, that was one depressingly excellent column. A sad day indeed, other than my going to see the most relevant man in the world. Though I am impressed you spelled that word correctly C3….:)

  27. Current odds say the Rangers are 8 to 1 along with the Penguins to win the 2013 Stanley Cup. Vancouver is 10 to 1, and the defending champs are 12 to 1. So the Rangers are early favorites to win it all in a lockout season. Sound familiar anyone? It’s interesting how close history can come to repeating itself, but we came up a few wins short last year. And there was all that talk last season about parallels to the ’94 team too. So close yet so far away.

    This season would be only the 8th since ’04-’05’s cancellation. There were only 9 seasons (10 if you count the shortened season) between the ’94-’95 season and the lost season of ’04-’05. There’s so little time in between these events — it’s clear they just haven’t gotten things right in the NHL. Too bad these things seem to happen when things are going well for the Blueshirts. Coincidence!?

    Let’s hope the players do the right thing. They’re already off to a good start. JR is no longer a player, and while his mouth is still a threat, his idiocy should have less of an impact.

    Also, this just in, alleged rioting in Vancouver resulting from coming in second at 10 to 1.

  28. ZzZz NYR ZzZz© on

    Lock out ? Im NOT buying it.

    No way man , Lock out ,shmock out…We need to evaluate , evaluate, evaluate!!!

    Our guys are over seas and all sorts of places. We need to keep up to date and we need to get Nash skating!!! Gaborik is healing nicely and looks like we can count on a few kids when things get started.

    Now don’t be fools folks.

    This thing will start up again and then what…we start thinkin about hockey!!?? NO WAY , we start now. We all be coaches and gms and scouts. We need to keep our team united and raring to go. Other need to stay fresh. This is a building time. We start the season ( when ever it starts) prepared and ready to take this thing ALL THE WAY. Don’t think there will never be an NHL cuz your only being silly.Lord Stanley been around forever and it aint stopn now. So keep the update comming. The Rangers are back!!!!!

  29. Redden will not be skating in the AHL any time soon.

    He is an NHL player till he is re-assigned. He is locked out and missing those huge paychecks.

  30. Redden’s getting over 6 mil a year to play minor league hockey. Gotta be a record in there somewhere. That’ll never happen again. Had he been brought up late last year, he could have further aggravated Ranger ownership by getting himself injured before the lockout and they’d have to pay him all the way through it while he didn’t play at all for anyone. As it is, seems he’ll play for the Whale and continue to get paid the remainder of his $39,000,000 contract.

  31. KatieStrangESPN #CBA According to my French-speaking cohort @Real_ESPNLeBrun, NHLPA/NHL’s next hearing before QLRB will be October 15

    —————-

    can anyone translate this? what is this mean for the hockey season?

  32. “can anyone translate this? what is this mean for the hockey season?”

    I have no idea. I haven’t even spoke to Rammer yet…

  33. If only there was some way to get Bettman to act as attorney for Bill
    Clinton ( and he is a huge Ranger fan y’all know), when Lewinski’s new tell all book comes out. scheduled soon.

  34. Rangers fans want to see Rangers players live on ice in action, than I I have an invitation for you….

    Rick Nash is bussing Switzerland the next couple of weeks with HC Davos and his good friend Joe Thornton to play almost three times a week in such charming places like Bern, Zürich, or Lugano with the best scenery and food available for a cheaper prize than in the NHL with a lot of outdoor activities possible…..

    Dont miss that opportunity :)

    First game today at 7.45 local HC Davos vs. Rapperswil Jona Lakers Vaillant Arena…

  35. Can’t wait to make my first 2 hour trip to see the reigning ECHL champion Florida Everblades!! Woohoo!! That’s the closest I am to any actual hockey. Although I think there may be some kind of American junior club like 10 minutes away but I have no idea what that actually means. American junior hockey. Let that one settle in. lol

  36. Good morning, boneheads!

    Interesting story, Evro. I don’t know if there is any merit in their claim against NHLPA but someone should certainly look at how his addiction was handled by medical personnel. In Minnessota and NY.

  37. I am stunned by the News I have heard today …..

    Florida Panthers lay off their mascot; the lockout just got real, yo…..

    They should send all guys involved in those talks to the desert without water…

  38. “Thanks to fellow countrymen for warm reception! Unforgettable emotions from the first game. Now we prepare for a meeting with Riga.” Anisimov42 via twitter

    He might like it there so much that he won’t want to come back

    CBJ are in trouble! lol

  39. Just heard from several sites the Rangers have just acquired PK Subban from Montreal for Del Zoto, Chris Kreider and a 2014 second round pick.

  40. Rick Nash scored a hattrick in the first period for HC Davos in his debut in a 9-2 win against Rapperswill Jona Lakers….He played on a second line together with Joe Thornton who set up all the scores…

  41. I hate mascots but I’ve gotta say (and my father just reminded me) that the guy who’s in the Stanley C. Panther suit is pretty talented. He does amazing physical feats while in that sweaty animal costume and when he’s not, he’s dressed in a Cowboy hat and jeans and is the Panther’s more talented answer to Dancing Larry.

  42. past tense, Evrock. He’s unemployed now, probably out of the sweaty suit.

    Had the pleasure of meeting bull dog line. and his family, today at a HS football game. Good guy. we talked lockout. I told him my dark secret … that I don’t terribly mind if the season starts a little later with me being so busy with my “other job” right now, and with it still warm enough for some outdoor adventure involving 14 sticks and several white spheres.

  43. Partially correct Carp. Just because he’s currently unemployed doesn’t mean he’s not still talented! lol

  44. Btw, I just bought my little cousin his first stick. I bought it at Dick’s Sporting Goods which was the only non-all-hockey store around here that still carries hockey equipment. It even came with a “year-in-review” DVD……. from ’08-’09! Gotta love the Sunshine State (where it seems to rain more often than not these days. Ugh.)!

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