September 15, 2004

It's not yet 2:30 pm EST, : not that there is much doubt of what will be said, I have something to say because it needs to be said.....Fuck You and Fuck You, too! That is all.

posted by garfield to hockey at 01:06 PM - 55 comments

Let the personal insults begin. Bettman, you slimy suit-and-tied eightball, thanks for ruining a great league by over-expanding just so you could collect expansion fees. NHL owners, thanks for approving a shifty lawyer as your commissioner, and thanks for falling over each other to spend absurd sums on players, to the detriment of league stability, competitive balance, and common sense. To everyone involved in this fiasco...fuck you, for concentrating all your efforts on the PR war instead of trying to reach a compromise. Nothing meaningful has been reached in years of negotiations. You are all destined to be come case studies in business/econ classes as an example of how NOT to resolve labour disputes. Also, fuck Keith Tckachuk. Just cause.

posted by Succa at 01:37 PM on September 15, 2004

I have this irrational dream that Mario Lemieux (because of his unique position of being an active player AND owner) will swoop into the negotiations one day with his side-kicks Wayne Gretzky (a player-turned-owner that everyone respects) and Zdeno Chara (the intimidating muscle of the group who will help "convince" the owners and the union) and get this settled before November 1st. I also think the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Bills and Boston Red Sox will win their respective championships in my lifetime.

posted by grum@work at 02:03 PM on September 15, 2004

"everybody else is obfuscating. but it is unfair to challenge the veracity of the league's numbers." God, he is infuriating.

posted by garfield at 02:11 PM on September 15, 2004

I'd pay to watch a league that consisted of Chara beating on a different team owner each week. Anyone see the second intermission of the HNIC broadcast, with Saskin and Daly firing shots at each other through a couple of interpreters (Maclean and Oake)? What a pathetic display. Neither one is winning the PR war...they're both losing.

posted by Succa at 02:19 PM on September 15, 2004

It will be a Pyrrhic victory no matter who wins. I'm mostly looking forward to more air time for college basketball.

posted by mbd1 at 02:30 PM on September 15, 2004

I'm looking forward to going outside and finding other places to spend my entertainment dollar. Curling, arena football, assault weapons, I don't care. All my disposable income has gotta go someplace. (You hear that, dumbasses?)

posted by chicobangs at 02:37 PM on September 15, 2004

Right on, chico. It used to be $150 US for the Center Ice Package, and the occasional game ticket + parking + beer(as many as possible before the 2nd intermission cut-off). Not this year. Here is a partial transcript....and the NHLPA's reponse.

posted by garfield at 03:06 PM on September 15, 2004

It would be pretty good if this causes 6 or 8 of the pointless expansion teams to go bankrupt and tightens up the league a bit.

posted by molafson at 03:24 PM on September 15, 2004

Which ones are pointless? You'd probably include my team, and I know a ton of fans that wouldn't be happy about that.

posted by trox at 03:29 PM on September 15, 2004

It would be pretty good if this causes 6 or 8 of the pointless expansion teams to go bankrupt and tightens up the league a bit. Which ones are pointless? You'd probably include my team, and I know a ton of fans that wouldn't be happy about that. I think we should start with the Ottawa Senators. I KID! /a taunting Leaf fan

posted by grum@work at 03:38 PM on September 15, 2004

"For the past several years, as flaws in the current economic system have become increasingly difficult to overcome, we at the National Hockey League have done everything possible to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement that works, day-in and day-out, to serve the best interests of all involved." - The Bettman Thank you. We are all dumber for having listened to (or read) that sentence. Fans are mentioned throughout his little speech. There is nothing I hate more than jackass owners, commissioners, or players telling me that they care one iota about what I think. It's just a lie and I don't know why they bother. I have no impact on anything anyway. My interest, as a fan, won't be discussed in any meeting between players and owners for the next 18 months. They will do nothing to increase my enjoyment of the game. They will do nothing that serves my interest in any way. And yet I am still an irrational slave to hockey, so there is not a damn thing I can do, but wait for this mess to clear and go back to rooting for my team. Speaking of my team... Let me throw this one out there. Bettman says that 20 teams lost money last year. Included among those are The New York Rangers, who the NHL claims lost about $40 million dollars. Now, I never went to business school, but I'm willing to bet that a brain-damaged chipmunk could have been in charge of the Rangers and they wouldn't have lost that much money. To call that figure suspect, would be far too kind. Let's see... They play in a HUGE market with crap loads of hockey fans. They play in such a rabidly hockey-mad place (despite what people think) that they can sell out nearly every game during every season of their near decade-long playoff-less streak. They do so despite the fact that their ticket prices are higher than most. They sell all of their luxury boxes. Not only are we fans going to games, but we're loyal enough to stick with club when they are 'the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked'. And we go in droves. I go, my friends go, executives at huge companies go, and those last folks, they generate tons of money in advertising dollars. And that money, it goes to the damn network that owns the freakin' team. In summary: You own the team, the town, the network, the building, the goddamned cable company, and somehow you people are stupid enough to lose $40 million dollars? "For the past several years, as flaws in the current economic system have become increasingly difficult to overcome..." Pardon me while I grab my tissue. This shit sucks.

posted by 86 at 03:41 PM on September 15, 2004

I'm kind of hoping, even if it is a small hope, that ESPN2 will show us more Champions League as long as the NHLers say out. <OT>Did anyone else see the Real Madrid debacle today? Wow, did they play like crap! Beckham was asleep on defense and no one on that team was able to manage their passing. The back line was purely crap, especially Pavon and Samuels--Jon Woodgate, where are you? Not on American TV but w00t for Liverpool with a sweet 2-0 win on the road! Waiting to hear the story from Rome and why they had to abandon the game.</OT>

posted by billsaysthis at 03:43 PM on September 15, 2004

Oh grum, you ol' egg-suckin' dog. If it wasn't for Ottawa, who would give Toronto their self-righteousness? Kidding! Maybe. Most people's choice for the "pointless teams" are probably the same. To pick six, I'd go Anaheim, Carolina, Tampa, Florida, Nashville, San Jose. Include Atlanta, Columbus, and Pittsburgh as candidates, though I think it could work in those places. What the NHL will have to accept is that hockey is mostly a Northeastern sport in the US. Throw in Minnesota and Chicago and you've got the US hockey demographic. Who plays hockey in Florida? In San Jose? It'll never rise above the level of novelty in these places.

posted by Succa at 03:51 PM on September 15, 2004

liverpool were at anfield.

posted by blarp at 03:57 PM on September 15, 2004

Carolina long was Hartford in the league before they moved? I wouldn't really call them an expansion team although, paradoxically, Minnesota is in fact an expansion team.

posted by LionIndex at 04:01 PM on September 15, 2004

"Think of the fans...think of the fans!" I'm tired of hearing that crap. The fans aren't losing anything but a TV show 3 nights a week - and I say this as a fan. We don't have a real stake in this, and aren't the ones caught in the middle. You know who I feel sorry for? The poor schleps who make their living at the arenas. They're out of work right that they need to feed their families and pay their mortgages. They're the ones caught in the middle of this spat between two groups of ego-driven millionaires fighting over how to divide up the enormous pile of money. Salary cap...Revenue sharing...who gives a rat's ass? Fuck 'em all.

posted by rocket88 at 04:10 PM on September 15, 2004

Look at the history of the NHL after the Whale left. It's all been downhill since. If they're axing those teams here's my best possible scenario. Take all the players affected and put them on a roster, cut the scrubs, sell the players you don't want to other teams, move the remaining team to Hartford, bring back the Whale and watch them rule supreme!!!

posted by YukonGold at 04:15 PM on September 15, 2004

rocket88, the league exists because of the fans... Both sides would do well to actually remember that and pay it more mind than lip service. Like it or not, every dime that the owners and the players are bringing in comes directly or indirectly from our pockets. I agree with you about the workers in the arena, but completely disgaree that fans have no stake in this.

posted by 86 at 05:28 PM on September 15, 2004

Ah Fuck 'em. I'm not going to miss hockey becuase I'm actually not going to miss it. There's lots of it out there. Junior Hockey, College Hockey, etc. The NHL will be back, some teams may be shed and it'lll al start again in those places that really want it. You know who the real winners are in all this? Swedish Elite League fans. Those guys won the lottery.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:55 PM on September 15, 2004

Rocket88, add in the 50% of the league staff who were given their sack slips this afternoon.

posted by billsaysthis at 07:26 PM on September 15, 2004

Fuck the owners...nobody put a gun to their heads when they were signing guys like Holik and Lapointe to ridiculous contracts. Nobody was holding their families hostage when they were offering bloated, front-loaded contracts to Sakic and Fedorov. Nobody threatened to break their thumbs when they expanded the league to places where the only ice that you see is on some throphy wife's finger. They made the league a mess...fucking fix it yourselves. They're losing so much money, yet they've somehow managed to amass $300 mill for a lock-out "war-chest." Ironically, that's the same number they claim the league lost last year. Here's an idea...quit your fucking blubbering, dole out your little fortune to the teams that lost money, an accept the PA's offer. Rein in your spend-happy brethen, and let's drop the fucking puck already...

posted by MeatSaber at 08:22 PM on September 15, 2004

And another thing...I second Succa's comment....fuck Tkachuk, just because...

posted by MeatSaber at 08:24 PM on September 15, 2004

Need a little more fuck the Union in here so...Fuck the players! Seriously, fuck 'em. See how bad a salary cap or an average salary significantly lower but still over $1M US, or sliding revenue sharing around 50% is when the NHL goes belly up and they are all in a beer league after coming home from their 9-5's. Sure the owner's screwed up paying them that much, but now something needs to correct the situation. whether or not you believe the players, owners or the Levitt report, it's pretty plain to see the NHL could not continue as it was. If nothing changed, the whole league would probably go under in a few years anyhow due to dwindling popularity and escalating salaries. It's not entirely unrealistic, Bettman's claim that they will lose less money this year by not playing. Personally I'm not all for the owners point of view, but seemed to be a lot of dismissal out of hand of nearly everything they say because they are the owners (and commish is a lawyer). As I said, just a little balancer. Fuck 'em all is probably the best sentiment though. Which will happen. I don't see the league recovering from this quickly, if at all, when this is said and done.

posted by pivo at 10:03 PM on September 15, 2004

You know what I could see happening? The NHL folds and the NHLPA is left scrambling to find jobs. From the ashes rises a new global hockey league. 10 teams in North America, 10 teams in Europe. N.American Conference: Toronto, Montreal, New York, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, Edmonton, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, St. Louis European Conference: Helsinki, Stockholm, Berlin, Bratislava, Prague, Minsk, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Zurich, Kiev The top 4 teams in each conference make the playoffs, which is a similar format as the World Cup (round robin and then elimination games), but is played in an alternating and predetermined area every year. For example: the first year would be played in the northeastern part of the US (New York, Boston, Hartford, Portland), the next would be in the old USSR locations (Kiev, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Minsk), then back to eastern Canadian cities (Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Hamilton), etc. With a smaller number of teams, you end up with a true "world elite" league. Anyone could play with any team they choose (so Thornton could sign with Zurich, Selanne with Chicago, Hossa with Helsinki), and there would be salary caps (and minimums), shared revenue (from regular season games, tv rights, and playoffs) and reduced travel (until playoff time). With a true world league, you'd build up a global fanbase that would embrace the "World Cup" every 4 years (also adding to the coffers). The rules would be a mix of NHL and European: no-touch icing, no centre red line, 4-on-4 regular season overtime (but a shoot out at the end if it's still tied after 10 minutes), unlimited overtime for elimination playoff games and no fighting (or stronger penalties). It won't happen, but it would be nice to dream about...

posted by grum@work at 10:33 PM on September 15, 2004

grum: that actually does sound pretty awesome. It's only a matter of time before one of the major american sports becomes a real multinational (sorry, America, Jr.) and hockey is the obvious choice right now. Would certainly perk up my interest.

posted by tieguy at 07:15 AM on September 16, 2004

and no fighting You had me up until there, grum...

posted by MeatSaber at 08:22 AM on September 16, 2004

and no fighting You had me up until there, grum... Well, if you figure that in the "elite league" format, there won't be too many guys who's primary job is to fight. Therefore, you'd be left with the "power forward" types like Iginla, Tkachuk, Roberts...guys who will fight, but their team would rather didn't fight. I'm not saying there WOULDN'T be any fights, I'm just thinking that it would be one of those "game ejection" results that would keep it to a minimum. Besides...did we really "miss" fighting during the WC? There was (I think) one scrap. Instead of fights, guys got back at each other with some THUNDEROUS hits (especially the Canada/Finland game).

posted by grum@work at 08:47 AM on September 16, 2004

Go New York! Bratislava sucks! Oh, and fuck Brett Hull, just because.

posted by 86 at 09:08 AM on September 16, 2004

...because he doesn't give a fuck?

posted by garfield at 09:14 AM on September 16, 2004

grum, I nominate you for commish. And as commish, I have one suggestion to put forward. Some form of promotion/relegation should be incorporated, so even the B league would be worth following.

posted by garfield at 09:17 AM on September 16, 2004

Well, with a format like that and with 10 teams per continent, the B league would totally be worth following. Great idea, grum. You've got me thinking about it too. I don't know how Vancouver can not have an A league team, though. I don't know who you'd drop. (You want Edmonton in there, really, you do. Philly, maybe. Fuck 'em.)

posted by chicobangs at 10:52 AM on September 16, 2004

I really, really like grum's proposal. I've always thought that rather than trying to force feed hockey to American's they should take the NHL to where there is already a fan base.... Europe. The only thing I would change is your playoff format. I really dislike 1 game elimination because 1 lucky bounce is all it takes for a lesser team to win. That and Calgary must have a team... why the hell would you pick Edmonton over Calgary! Shame on you. ;-)

posted by camcanuck at 11:06 AM on September 16, 2004

You could maybe go to 12 teams, then. Add two more in Europe (Frankfurt? Riga? Oslo? Vienna? Rhein? Munich? Geneva? London?), and Vancouver and Calgary in North America (seeing as the whole concept of this league is going to be sniffed at by the US Networks anyways, and chasing their money has been a losing proposition for the NHL for decades, the hell with it, bring the teams to where you can count on a supportive culture and consistent stadium revenue at least). You don't want to go past 24 top-level teams, though. The glorious day this all happens is the day monkeys sprout gossamer wings, and fly in perfect formation from my bum. And no one will be happier than I to admit I was wrong about it.

posted by chicobangs at 11:39 AM on September 16, 2004

Grum, maybe you should call Lamar Hunt or Phillip Anschutz, those guys have an eye for new leagues. Also, I like the B League with promotion/relegation enhancement and very definitely the no fighting--no other sport needs it so why hockey? SportsFilter: Fuck Keith Tckachuk, Brett Hull and the NHL Owners. Just cause...

posted by billsaysthis at 11:42 AM on September 16, 2004

there was a detailed amateur proposal for a similar International League that I think I saw on hockeypundits (which now seems to be defunct). i wish i could find it to see if there were any ideas there to add. (of course if one of those hockeypundits guys just pipped in here with that info that would be good too).

posted by gspm at 12:03 PM on September 16, 2004

Bettman's letter of apology to us fans....I'm eagerly looking forward to the PAs mirrored message.'

posted by garfield at 12:14 PM on September 16, 2004

"...while giving your team the opportunity to compete for the Stanley Cup every season." And they posted this on the Rangers' site? Pfffff. Okay, now we know he's not connected to reality.

posted by chicobangs at 12:21 PM on September 16, 2004

world-class NHL hockey at ticket prices you can afford. I guess we can expect a reduction in ticket prices once this thing is all worked out. Hell, he put it in writing.

posted by 86 at 12:24 PM on September 16, 2004

From Bettman's letter: Our mandate at the League is to do everything possible to reflect our respect for your connection to NHL hockey You see there Gary, I believe you are following your mandate by locking out the players...because I truly believe that you don't give 2 shits about the fans. The NHL cannot survive this, no matter what you might think. The fans' loyalty outside a handful of cities is unstable at best, and you will lose a tons of fans because of this. Outside of Toronto, Montreal, and Detroit, can you name me one city that has an NHL team, plus another major league team, where hockey is the top sport? 90% of your fan base could care less if the league shuts down, and people are sick of the pissing contests between owners and players. If you really cared about your fans, you would've come to some kind of agreement by now. Hell, you've had 10 years to get a deal done. You don't care, and I won't even pretend to believe that you do...

posted by MeatSaber at 12:32 PM on September 16, 2004

So where does Roenick's It's a business, we hope you understand, be sure and come watch us again when this is all over take stand on the gving 2 shits about fans scale? The players are just as culpable in not getting something done oer the last 10 years.

posted by pivo at 12:52 PM on September 16, 2004

The difference is, the union has made an effort to get something half-hearted as it may be, they at least made an effort. Where's are the owners' proposals? I've yet to hear about one. CBA stands for Collective Bargaining Agreement. The owners are not trying to come to an agreement, they want it their way or not at all. I know the NHL is fucked up financially, but these same owners that are screaming that they're going broke are the same guys that were signing guys to ridiculous contracts, or allowing their peers to do so. I don't fault any person for taking every penny they can get from their employer...if your boss offered you $1 million a year to do your job, would your first thought be "gee, what will this do to the stability of this company?" Hell no it wouldn't. (unless your the company accountant)...

posted by MeatSaber at 01:02 PM on September 16, 2004

As I understand it they proposed 6...all had what the union construed to be salary caps. The players just keep floating the same proposal with different words as well, so how hard are they really trying? 6 of one.... Again whether or not the owner's are lying or hiding financials, the players need to realize they must take a major paycut for the league to remain viable. That is quite obvious (to me anyhow). This isn't about who's to blame for where the NHL is, it is about what needs to be done for there to continue being an NHL. The bigger issue is that aside from true hockey fans (a daily dwindling small number) no one really gives a shit. Last night on a national talk radio show the host was begging for calls about reaction to the lockout...he got very few. The ones he did get were decidedly pro-NHL, hoping they broke the union in half. All Average Joe knows is these guys are bitching about millions of dollars while they can't even afford to take their family to a game anymore. I don't fault any person for taking every penny they can get from their employer...if your boss offered you $1 million a year to do your job, would your first thought be "gee, what will this do to the stability of this company?" I don't really fault them that either, take what you can get. But now is the time to give back a little. As I said this is not about why they are here, it is what needs to be done to fix it. A better twist on your job nalogy would be if I were making the $1M and my boss said "This is a very specialized industry and we are the biggest player on the block. We are going to go under. You can keep your $1M and we fold. If you took $500K we will be good for the long term. Or you can move to Russia and make $50K."

posted by pivo at 01:41 PM on September 16, 2004

The problem with the western N.America teams (Vancouver, Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver) is that travel for the eastern N.America teams would be a bitch, and vice versa. And there are far more strong hockey markets in easter Canada/America than there are in the western area. I included Edmonton because I thought that a single team in Alberta might work. If it was my choice, I'd have both Calgary and Alberta, but then which US team gets the heave-ho? If I was running it, I'd work out some sort of cross-promotional deal with VIA/Amtrak/Eurotrain where all the teams travelled by first-class train between games. Even make a fan participation thing by having "meet the players" and "travel with the pros" contests ON THE TRAIN. The players and fans can walk about and mingle in a controlled environment, but privacy can be achieved by allowing the players to retreat to their own car afterwards. The playoffs would obviously have to be a worked out. A best-of-seven series really only works when you are dealing with true "home/away" scenarios. If you are playing in a neutral site, there is a bigger draw to a single-game (or at most, best-of-three) playoff decision. However, more playoff games (at higher ticket prices) means more money for everyone involved, so what do I know.

posted by grum@work at 02:10 PM on September 16, 2004

Again whether or not the owner's are lying or hiding financials, the players need to realize they must take a major paycut for the league to remain viable. That is quite obvious (to me anyhow). But it is less obvious to the union, either through cognitive dissonance, or because the league may actually be misrepresenting its losses. Nobody can agree on how much the league is losing. I can understand the fan resentment towards the players, because while they're hunting for ideological purity (a free-market system for their labour), they're still hockey players making millions. I just don't think it holds any water when you compare it to what the owners have done, which is trip over each other to offer ridiculous contracts to star players (who are usually playing for other, smaller-market teams), report some revenues here and others over there, and generally shit in their own nest. We can all agree that the players needs to take a paycut -- and their 5% offer is ridiculous, it should be more like 20% -- but the owners should have to make the greater concessions in these debates. That means accepting the luxury tax proposal (or similar) and forgetting the salary cap.

posted by Succa at 04:09 PM on September 16, 2004

Correct me if I'm wrong, if the owners had done ANYTHING as a group to keep contracts down, is that not collusion? I'm not saying they had to pay the high contracts, but they could not stop someone else from doing so even if they were so inclined. Ueberroth tried that once. That means accepting the luxury tax proposal (or similar) and forgetting the salary cap. Could be a solution but won't happen. Too far gone. It is now the owner's way or the highway. At any rate it is too late. The more I think about it the more the NHL is doomed. "Game On" logoed apparel and commercials won't fix this one if they miss the season. Stayed tuned next week on "Bad Play, Stupid Contracts, Expansion, and Rising Fan Costs Kill Your League": The NBA.

posted by pivo at 04:35 PM on September 16, 2004

And remember - The Cup predates the NHL by a good margin. The new league could go get it. Because any top-level pro-hockey league is just fluff without the Holy Grail. 12 teams in NA: Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver, Philly, New York (just one), Detroit, Minny, Boston, Colorado. With Boston and Vancouver on the bubble (fans need to actually show up and care - I'm not convinced Boston has that anymore and Chicago certainly does not). European teams as Grum has outlined. Use the big ice, tag-up icing and no red line. Keep everything else relatively the same (no instigator). All told a good idea. I like hockey. The NHL can kiss my hockey-loving ass (Players included).

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 05:52 PM on September 16, 2004

[via offwingopinion] midway into the summer they were really close (to a negotiation or to a deal, i'm not sure)- but now they are so far apart that she isn't expecting a season at all this year. Nothing earth shattering, but i hadn't known of any progress, regardless of it being junked in favor of....whatever you call where we're at.

posted by garfield at 02:07 PM on September 17, 2004

In the absence (groan) of any better place at spofi to drop in such a minor item... the above link pointed out Tuomo Ruutu's website. Who knew? (At the World Cup the Finns were calling Team USA Team Viagra, heh)

posted by gspm at 02:59 PM on September 17, 2004

this sounds interesting, though the content update/s could use improvement.

posted by garfield at 10:12 PM on September 19, 2004

You're pointing to two different things there. Never heard of the original six thing but the Original Stars Hockey League was what was in the news items (and something I mentioned in another thread). That being said, the website is indeed a few days behind the times. But $25 a ticket? I don't know if I would be that desperate yet.

posted by gspm at 10:22 PM on September 19, 2004

garfield: I think you have a mixup there. Original Stars Hockey League is not the same thing as Original Six Hockey League. The Deep River Original Six league seems to be a (literal) beer league in the town of Deep River, Ontario.

posted by grum@work at 10:25 PM on September 19, 2004

sorry guys. thanks for clarifying. i had a long Sunday of partypoker and vodka.

posted by garfield at 08:02 AM on September 20, 2004

sorry guys. thanks for clarifying. i had a long Sunday of partypoker and vodka. Party Poker and Vodka: Sport or not a sport?

posted by grum@work at 10:00 AM on September 20, 2004

Not sure, but today I feel like I ran the ball for a buck-fifteen with 30 touches. Would a pain-received quotient help us determine the answer? Inquiring minds want to know.

posted by garfield at 10:44 AM on September 20, 2004

Partypoker is fun, but there are too many douchebags who think they are Jesus himself. I could go for the vodka, though.

posted by wfrazerjr at 07:07 PM on September 21, 2004

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