When the 1994-95 lockout ended, Nick Kypreos traveled with Glenn Healy from Toronto to New York. When asked by a customs agent if they had anything to declare, Kypreos said, “No, the owners took it all.”
And so it is with every lockout under the Lockout Commissioner. The owners win. Win big. Win by a landslide. Then when the agreement expires, or when the opt-out year arrives, the owners cry how badly they lost last time and have do it all over again.
I’m going over to the rink today to talk to some of the players about starting up again. At least, that’s the plan. Fair warning, my piece of cooke Mac laptop failed the last time I tried to post audio and failed again last night as I ran a test. So if no audio, there will be minimal posting from the rink (I am not going to transcribe a lot of babble about the lockout 30 hours after the fact). Though I may have an alternate, and therefore different-looking, way to put the audio on the blog.
I must say that you guys are completely nuts with the amount of traffic we had here yesterday, and all weekend, really. For some brief moments, I wondered if youse would all come back, and now I’m sure you will.
Do me two favors. Round up some Rangers/hockey fans who don’t know about this place and tell them to stop by. And follow me on Twitter, because during this stoppage I became a tweeting fool @RangersReport.
In the meantime, here’s my column from The Journal News and LoHud.com:
By Rick Carpiniello
Mark this down. The NHL will have another labor shutdown in 2020, and everybody will, once again, forget the drill.
Because the lockout that ended in the early hours of Sunday morning, the 113-day owners lockout, went exactly as scripted — with a deal only able to be done at the deadline.
Big surprise. It is pretty much how every labor dispute has ever gone, pulling along everybody on the emotional ride.
You can say it was unnecessary, that it could have been avoided, or it could have been settled sooner. But it could not have been, because neither side would have taken the deal that ended the lockout until it absolutely had to take it.
Remember when NHL executive/negotiator Bill Daly said that the demanded five-year limit on the length of contracts would be “the hill we will die on?”
Well, free-agent contracts will now have a seven-year maximum (or eight for a team to re-sign its own player). The sides split hockey revenue 50-50, which is where we knew it would be (and down from 57-43 in the players’ favor previously). The players gained on pensions (for those in the real world, you can Google “pension” to learn what that is).
The owners got revenue sharing, contract limits, the 10-year CBA length, and the language that will limit the vogue front-loading, salary cap-circumventing money in contracts.
The teams all got two buyouts next summer so they can comply with the salary cap ($64.3M next season, down from $70.2M).
But none of that could have been agreed upon until we got to the deadline, which was the coming weekend before Gary Bettman — the Lockout Commissioner now responsible for three major work stoppages — threatened to cancel the season as he did in 2005.
The difference this time was that cancellation was not an option, moderate owners reportedly told Bettman. Last time, the owners were willing to kill a season to get their salary cap, and the players didn’t blink. But, like the players’ strike in 1992 and the lockout in 1994-95, once there was a drop-dead date, the script called for an agreement. So plan on that script again in 2020, the eighth year of the new 10-year CBA, after which either side can opt out.
Owners lost hundreds of millions of dollars; the players more than 40 percent of their salaries (they average about $2.5 million).
The NHL — once the new CBA is ratified by the approximately 740-member players union and the owners — will go to training camp in the middle of this week, and next week begin a 48- or 50-game season with intraconference play only, and a full four-round Stanley Cup postseason starting in April.
The Rangers, poised to be serious contenders for that Cup with newcomer Rick Nash (who played in Europe during the stoppage), will skate at their Greenburgh facility today — though they can’t officially begin camp yet.
They may have benefited by the lockout in that A) Marian Gaborik’s surgically-repaired shoulder is now healed; B) their demanding, physical, shot-blocking style might be better suited for a sprint than a marathon; and C) goalie Henrik Lundqvist can play a greater majority of the games.
The NHL dragged the hearts of their most loyal, most passionate customers through this smelly mud. If either side really cared, this could have been done before the script called for it to be done.
But the fans, some of whom swore off hockey, some of whom said they no longer cared, will be right back on opening night, emptying their pockets on “NASH” jerseys and $18.50 prime rib sandwiches, lining the owners’ pockets again.
Thank you, sirs, may I have another in 2020?