Grim and grimmer


Yesterday’s news out of the lockout sham wasn’t good, and here’s some bad news. It’s going to get worse. Bet on that.

Also, I’ve been incorrect in something, and I’m ashamed of myself. I’ve been saying that this can’t get serious, that neither side will be budging much, until the owners (Oct. 11) and players (Oct. 15) start actually losing money.

The owners already say they’ve lost $100 million by canceling the preseason — of course it’s a gold mine. They force subscribers to buy tickets and don’t have to pay players salaries yet. They can’t cry over that, though, since they flushed the preseason money out of their own wallets. So cry me a river.

But I was incorrect about the two dates — the opening of the season, and the day first player paychecks are due. The actual day when both sides start losing money comes this week, when the NHL will cancel some regular-season games. That’s inevitable now.

And sooner or later, somebody’s going to have to cave a little bit here, and sooner or later, that’s going to have to be the players. Because the owners won’t budge much at all, if at all. They’re dug in and some of them lose more money by playing games than by closing their doors.

This is a players’ loss coming up. It’s just a matter of how much they want to lose, and by how much. The fear I have is Fehr himself. He was hired to not cave. He might not ever cave. This whole freakin’ season might go down the toilet if he doesn’t.


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  1. as much as I love hockey, I can’t stand by a league whose owners deny fans their entertainment every couple of seasons. this is unreal. the NHL is pissing off the few fans they do have (in comparison of course) and I won’t blame anyone for not watching or going to games when it does get rolling.

  2. This really does show who the powers are in the NHL and those 18 teams losing money have little or no say in things.

    This is the best article i’ve read on the business side of things (taking out the emotion and talking numbers):

    It basically says the model needs to change to more of a 50/50, but it also says quite clearly that the Habs, Rangers and Leafs make more profit than everyone else combined.
    When you split it out further the top 10 teams make a $220m profit and the others lose $96m (that would be worse if not for the Avs, Flames, Oilers & Sens making a combined nearly $30m profit).
    Revenue sharing needs a drastic improvement clearly and something needs to happen to the cap floor to allow these teams to get themselves back on a sound financial footing by not having to pay mediocre free agents just to get to the cap floor. I also think there needs to be a “Redden rule” to prevent high priced players being buried in the minors, this might give the owners pause for thought when giving out big contracts in the future maybe (or will they just continue to find loopholes?)

  3. I think they’re (both sides) making the worst gamble of all time. I think that if this goes on too long or the season is cancelled, there’ll be huge repercussions. That even affluent, die-hard fans will think twice about spending money on a league that “disrespects” the fan.

  4. Good morning, boneheads!

    I don’t think they give a carcillo, Miami.

    Carp is correct. It’s probably going to get even uglier for a while. But mr. Bettman is now facing a much tougher opposition than in 2004. Both Fehr and Bettman are very bright, educated, savvy, ambitious, and stubborn individuals. If Bettman starts reconsidering his offer because of lost games, watch Fehr start going after the salary cap. We will be here for awhile. Being an optimist, I still believe we will have some equivalent of a season, but I’m not as positive as I was a month ago.

  5. ilb – I’m not positive at all. The only way this thing gets resolved is if a mediator gets involved and i doubt Bettman will allow that to happen as that means its essentially a draw.

    Any reasonable person not in either camp can see that the solution is not a large salary cut across the board to give to all owners, but something more akin to lowering of the cap floor and a gradual move to a more even split.

    I think the thing that really bugs me the most is the claim that lots of franchises are losing money (to be fair the Forbes article supports that) and want to limit contracts to 5 years, while owners give out contracts for 6-10 years and up to $100 million.

  6. ..and i meant to add to ” and a gradual move to a more even split.” with:

    whereby any increases (or large % of them) in league revenue are distributed amongst the more needy franchises

  7. Donald Fehr + Players Divided by Buttman and the owners = NO SEASON!!!!

    Hasta la vista, baby.

  8. I’m seriously considering moving on…just ticks me off!
    On the other hand, my wife is pretty happy cause I’m going to be getting ALOT more done around the house!

  9. this is such a freaking disgrace that it gets to this point and to make matters worse the rangers have decided to keep having season tix holders pay until home games get lost which was to start nov 1st. so on the 26th of every month my 8 month payment plan my credit card gets hit up. I will have paid of 6 of 8 months by Oct 26th 5 days before there home opener. my rep told me about a week before the opener they may decide to freeze the accounts.

    this is such a del zaster and let me say this they could show khl games on espn 3 nhl network or even my front freaking lawn if you think for one second i will watch any they could all kiss my butt.

    nhl or bust for this fan.

  10. a novel idea. move the teams to new locations that lose money every year or ask there scum owners to sell the team…

    again bottom line some of the teams do not make sense economically to play where they do. islanders, debbies, coyotes, etc…

    rangers are literally being punished to save these loser teams….

  11. where would you move all those loser teams to, stuart?

    do you think that a team in KC will do better than staying on LI? Or another team in Toronto??

  12. jay reimenschneider on

    The players need to do themselves a favor and find other jobs elsewhere. Then the NHL can collapse on itself, as it deserves. Why should even 50% of these guys take a pay cut when they can make good money playing in Europe or elsewhere in leagues that are not only getting stronger, but that are also much safer?

  13. Toronto could definitely support another NHL team, but I doubt the Leafs would ever let that happen.

    Hey Carp, the numbers from that Forbes article seem to be very slanted towards what the owners would like you to believe, don’t you think? For a sport whose revenues have grown so much since 2004, it’s hard for me to legitimately believe that 18 teams could be losing money.
    Five or six perhaps, but 18? Can you substantiate any of that for us?

  14. If I could, jpg, the players would be paying me millions a year instead of paying Don Fehr …

    Good morning, Sally!

    Atta boy, Tony! Good for Richards. I hope he has a great season now. … if there is a season.

  15. As long as there isn’t snow on the ground and it’s above 50 degrees, I’m happy smacking a little white ball around in a field….

    If I do get the hockey bug, could always go watch live AHL hockey for a fraction of the price…or turn on ESPN to see our favorite Europansies skate on a wider ice surface…

    I’m not going to let these millionaires and billionaires ruin my year…

  16. Stuart is right. But they shouldnt be moved, they should be contracted. Some of these loser teams dont belong in existence. Contract 6 teams, have a 24 team league, competition will be better, should be more player safety w less goons like Hagelin, etc

  17. this is going to end up for the players exactly like it did 7 years ago: with the George Costanza bargaining technique of holding out for less money

  18. Speaking of Hagelin, if that’s his well-fed self in the pix, looks like he might be thinking of becoming an enforcer. That, or harder to move in the corners, if he can reach the corners. But, seriously, nice of these guys to come out and support charities and fellow teammates.

  19. Good afternoon all! Well, I was feeling hopeful when Richards said he thought the season would be going by the Classic, but now I’m even more depressed. It was quite sad, really, when he talked about not having that much more time left to play and wanting to get back on the ice. Eminger said he had no plans to play overseas, for now. That’s all I got.

    Most sadly, my frigging phone and the lighting in the place were not getting along, so all I have is one crappy photo of me and Hags. I could have gotten a decent one with Richards earlier, but decided not to bug him again after he so graciously agreed to talk with Tony.

    Hags and Eminger are absolutely charming….

    Mostly, a tremendously tremendous thank you to the angel who donated to the cause, but allowed me to attend the event.

  20. coos, don’t know what you’re seeing, but Hags looked fabulous.

    One thing I forgot, I’ve met lots of players over the years, especially from this team, but it was a total rush getting to shake Steppers’ hand. That was a sweet bonus. Wasn’t expecting him there.

  21. Hey, everyone on this blog should make sure to tune in to a KHL game on ESPN3. You don’t have to watch it, but put it on. The better numbers the European games get, the more the NHL may realize their grip on exclusive hockey entertainment is weakening. It’s not gonna make or break anything, but good ratings may send a message.

    And, no, I don’t work for ESPN or Alex Ovechkin.

    But I do recommend drinking a nice Czech Staropramen as you watch. So what if it’s noon. On a Tuesday.

  22. Sorry, Chris, but I don’t drink anything stronger than pop. (Pop drank everything he could get his hands on).

  23. I think that the numbers mentioned in Forbes are pretty accurate. I came across pretty similar numbers elsewhere recently, and it makes sense.The issue is that the current revenue sharing system implemented by NHL is beyond laughable. On top of having only miniscule amount allotted for that purpose, not every team is eligible to get it anyway, regardless of their financial health. The Fishsticks aren’t eligible because of their exposure to TV audience, for example. The owners are trying to solve it by getting more money from players right away instead of changing their approach. The players aren’t kin so far. Decreasing the cap floor too far down would endanger what NHL’s been preaching for- parity. Not an option in Bettman’s book. Nor is contraction.

  24. Ill take your word for it, ilb :)

    I bet nobody knew this…

    ilb used to be a professional boxer for 8 years. And he’s a coffee expert too, on top of everything else.

  25. Stanger Nation on

    Cornell v. Michigan at MSG in November for those wanting to see hockey at home rink prior to holidays.

  26. ThisYearsModel on

    Seeing as this “negotiation” is going nowhere, I am now rooting for dissension on the part of both sides and massive sniping by both. I want to read tweets from players about Bettman being the guy who played all the Oompa Loompahs in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Daly being Michael Chiklits. I want the owners to whine about these absurd contracts that the players are receiving and how they “did not realize the could not afford them” when they signed them. Come in….let’s get ugly! It will at least be entertaining.

  27. Hockey is only entertainment for me. It is not the end of the world. However, I do have sympathy for the people who depend on this for their bread.

  28. Michael Chiklis is a dirty bostonian. I used to like The Commish until I found out what he was.

  29. Chikilis would be a better Commish than the NHL’s commish. He also played a really bad part in Seinfeld.

    also, congrats to Vitaly for being the first Bonehead in a long while to put himself one strike away from being banned. Go get your shinebox.

  30. I used to chew Chiklis, but after hearing that it’s a Boston product, sayonara to that. Sticking with Juicy Fruit.

  31. tares, I think it’s absolutely disgusting and disgraceful that these owners (and league HQ) lay off or furlough low-salaried employees during the lockout. Anybody have a stronger word than disgusting?

  32. I think “disgusting” is a stronger word than “revolting.” When Marie Antoinette was told that the peasants were revolting, she said: “Revolting? They’re disgusting!”

  33. kansas city of course would be a better home for the fishsticks then long island. seattle would be a better home then Phx. Canada can handle 1 or 2 more teams etc..

    the coyotes, islanders, etc. do not make economic sense under any circumstance..

    move them, buttman use your brain once…….

  34. I made a mistake. I dont think it was ilb who told me that stuff, about boxing and coffee. My non sports related memory oft fails me in my older age.

  35. How about the Bible thumper Rupper17 and his tweet “Jer 29:13”: “New King James Version (NKJV)
    13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

  36. Id love to run a church, in which the religion is New York sports. Could be fun. I could have followers, and any donations made would go directly to NY teams.

  37. Some of this sounds like, well…Yeah, OK…I’m going to poke my eye, for my mother-in-law to have one-eyed son-in-law.

  38. Wow! The faithful here are faithful in the off season as well. So bummed out about this. The off season seemed so short because of the long playoff run. Rick Nash in Ranger blue……..


    Settle this damn thing.. DROP THE PUCK…

  39. LMAO….bitching about auto correct on FB and a friend (a Blueshirt) says this: Auto correct kills me. Truth becomes tryst, often becomes offend, deal becomes Fehr, etc.

  40. At the NYS Asociated Press awards and caught myself wondering why I know this guy Josh Thompson who just won an award…then I remembered this blog.

    Still 26.

    Congrats, kid!

  41. For a brief moment, Tiki confused ilb with a combination of Rodrigo Valdez and Juan Valdez.

  42. The NHL is a business on both sides, right? Why do we expect this not to be about money? Because we think they give a crap about our emotional investment in these teams and those teams’ place in their communities? Ha.

    We live in an increasingly shareholder-not-stakeholder world; why would hockey be any different?

  43. Congrats Josh!!!!!!!! What did he win for? Thanks Newsie….haven’t been to one of those in eons…

  44. Update to 6:57 post….holy carcillo, I thought she was just being funny and clever, but she was serious….auto correct did in fact change deal to Fehr for her…..LMAO!!!! WTB? If only we could auto correct Fehr and Bettman into deal….

  45. Yay Hobbit! Thanks NYR….not only was that an awesome bullit, but it made me long for hockey even more. Sigh.

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