May 10, 2005

NHL Lockout Clock: If you have OS X Tiger installed on your Mac, here's a daily/hourly/minutely/secondly reminder that there is no NHL. Yep, this widget is counting how long the lockout lasts. Technology that actually works for you instead of against you. For once.

posted by NoMich to hockey at 10:26 PM - 10 comments

Meanwhile the owners and most of the players still have more money than I do. And their only worry right now is how to get more of mine. Move on with your life,I did.

posted by volfire at 06:39 AM on May 11, 2005

Move on with your life,I did. If you mean this by temporarily shuffling hockey aside as my favorite sport until they come back, then I'm way ahead of you. If you meant that I should forever not like hockey no more, then no way.

posted by NoMich at 07:11 AM on May 11, 2005

The owners and players are dolts! NHL hockey is no longer visible in my rear view mirror.

posted by panteeze at 07:53 AM on May 11, 2005

Dudes I'm from Minnesota I go to a ton of Wild games hockey is life up here I had to watch the timberwolves suck it up this year thank god baseball season is back. Go Twins

posted by HitmanTennis at 08:28 AM on May 11, 2005

how depressing.

posted by garfield at 10:27 AM on May 11, 2005

NewsFlash : Bettman and Goodenow actually performing duties of job title. huh huh. duties.

posted by garfield at 10:52 AM on May 11, 2005

This is exactly how I feel. via this new-to-me blog

posted by garfield at 12:42 PM on May 11, 2005

I normally wouldn't post someone else's words, or atleast this many of them, but today I will make an exception. The hockey rant of the day: courtesy the unlinkable spectors : WARNING! FOUL LANGUAGE AND EXTREME SARCASM AHEAD! YOUNG CHILDREN OR PEOPLE WITH SENSITIVE DISPOSITIONS SHOULD NOT READ THIS. Don't say you weren't forewarned, folks, I'm pissed off today and not in the mood for NHL bullshit. In a recent column regarding the follies that is the NHL player lockout, Eagle Tribune pundit Russ Conway noted the following: The league already plans a "Fan Appreciation" promotional blitz once play resumes, including reduced ticket prices, concession discounts, prize giveaways and public appearances by celebrity hockey fans. Newly designed player uniforms are planned, and the league will unveil a new logo featuring the Stanley Cup in place of the old orange and black shield. So, NHL fans, do you feel the league's appreciation yet? The NHL has no choice but to have a "Fan Appreciation" promo blitz. Indeed, I've noted several times on this site and on Foxsports since last fall that we can expect the league and its teams to offer up little goodies as enticements to woo back disgruntled hockey fans. "It's our way of showing our appreciation for all your support in the past and throughout this difficult work stoppage". Get used to hearing that phrase, or a reasonable facsimile, a lot once the lockout ends. But don't expect those cuts to ticket prices to be either substantial or long term. In fact, you'll be lucky if those prices stay down for the entire first season following the lockout. Ditto for those potential concession discounts. Ticket and concession sales are the principal bread-and-butter of the owners, and they're not going to just allow those prices to be significantly slashed over the course of the next CBA. They'll chop them just enough to entice you back through the turnstiles on a regular basis and then BLAM! Right between the eyes with a markup that'll leave your heads spinning. As for prize giveaways, they'd better be an improvement over those stupid t-shirt cannons and on-ice turkey bowling on Thanksgiving during intermission. Public appearances by celebrity hockey fans? I didn't think such a beasty existed! Ok, ok, I know there's a handful of 'em around, but unless they can catch Kiefer Sutherland between filmings of "24" or Shania Twain between concert tours, I wouldn't get too excited about rubbing shoulders with celebrity fans. Shiny new uniforms for the players? Who bloody cares! New uniforms won't hide the fact the NHL's been slipping off the radar of sports fans in the good ol' US of A. What, are these uniforms supposed to reflect light or something? Is that how they're going to attract attention? And a new logo! Be still, my pounding heart! Yes, by gum, that's a sure fire seller, let's redesign the league logo, that'll put the butts in the seats for sure! The most galling, though, is the claims of Bettman and Daly and the owners that they've staged this lockout for the fans. When NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the lockout last Sept. 15, the league claimed to be doing it for the fans, who paid $43.57 per ticket on average during the 2003-2004 NHL season. "We're going to make it up to them over the long term," NHL vice president and chief legal counsel Bill Daly told The Eagle-Tribune. "The bottom line is we're doing this for the game and for the fans, ultimately, more than any other constituency. When we get our expenses under control, the pressure to continually raise ticket prices to try to make revenues meet the expenses will certainly correct itself." BULLSHIT!! Don't piss on my shoes and tell me it's raining, you asshole! Claiming they were staging this lockout for the fans is a lie, ok? A big, fat, shiny fuckin' LIE! This lockout was never staged by the league for the fans. The fans never entered into the equation. Both sides in this lockout had their reasons, but never once were they thinking of the fans. If they were, they wouldn't have allowed negotiations to become so contentious, so bitter and hateful, that it would cost an entire season. Lie number two is claiming ticket prices will drop under a salary cap. Several months ago, the Hockey News polled the owners of the 30 franchises to inquire if ticket prices would be reduced under a new CBA. Less than six clubs either had started reducing ticket prices prior to the lockout or expressed assurances they would do so under a new CBA. The rest offered the standard line that they'd have to await for the next CBA to be implemented before making a decision. Sounds reasonable, right? What they're actually doing is waiting for the new CBA to find out how it'll affect their individual markets so they'll know the minimum amount to cut those ticket prices and for how long. That's not a cynical viewpoint, folks, that's just the way things are. Indeed, last fall, Pierre Boivin, President of the Montreal Canadiens, told Stan Fischler his club wouldn't be cutting ticket prices. Of course, the Habs can get away with that. They know their club is widely popular in Quebec, and have since 1997-98 led the NHL in average attendence. When Toronto Maple Leafs season ticket holders met with Gary Bettman last fall, he couldn't assure them that ticket prices would drop under a new CBA. Bettman told them that wasn't decided by the league but rather by the market of each club. Ticket prices have no correlation with players' salaries, gang. That's determined by the marketplace. That's why teams like the Wild, Blackhawks and Predators, who had some of the lowest payrolls in the NHL, charged some of the highest ticket prices, while teams like the Rangers and Stars with some of the highest payrolls weren't even in the top ten in ticket prices. That's why tickets to attend a Leafs game are one of the most expensive in the league, while tickets for a Sabres game are among the cheapest. Let's suppose for a moment the NHL succeeds and gets a $37 million salary cap across the board. The league average ticket price last season was $43.57 and that was with the average payroll at $44 million. So if salaries are capped, ticket prices are gonna drop significantly, right? Wrong. In 2001-02, the average payroll was $38 million, yet the average ticket price was $41.02. Some savings, huh? Try not to spend those two whole bucks in one place, ok? The NHL is lying to its fans. That's right, I'm accusing Bettman and Daly of lying. They know goddam well ticket prices are based on what each market will bear, not on players salaries. They're feeding us bullshit when they claim that once their expenses are "under control" that ticket prices will also be controlled. They're just hoping that enough of you will be too stupid or apathetic to notice. The Toronto Maple Leafs will charge whatever the hell they please because they're the largest hockey market in the NHL and there's a high demand for their product. If they lower prices, it'll be only for the short term and won't be a significant drop. The same goes for other popular hockey markets. Struggling franchises - large or small - will cut their prices because they'll more desperately need to lure back fans. Once those numbers at the turnstiles improve, watch those prices nudge higher. The only good thing I can see coming out of this mess is when the next CBA is set to expire, and those ticket prices haven't dropped substantially, and the salary cap hasn't really changed things, more fans will realize that they were lied to, and hopefully won't buy the snake oil being peddled as gold by the NHL. Don't think for one second, NHL fans, that the league, owners and players have any real concern for you. They don't. If they did, they never would've allowed this stupid fuckin' lockout to occur, let alone drag on for months with no end in sight and nothing but childish, petty sniping between the two sides. We're nothing but walking ATMs for these people. They don't give a fat flyin' fuck about us, so long as we keep plunkin' down our money like a bunch of stupid crack-brained sheep for their overpriced watered down product and overpriced water-down concessions. That's what's pissed me off so much about this. Both sides have done potentially irreparable harm to the NHL, yet both sides seemingly don't care about the damage they've done, to their product and to their loyal fans. You wanna make it up to me, Gary and Bill? Then stop fucking lying about ticket prices and players salaries. Tell the goddam truth, because otherwise you're gonna reap the whirlwind in six years time when the next CBA expires, and I wouldn't wanna be you when that shitstorm descends. Next, work with the players, not against them. They're your product whether you like to admit it or not, and boys, you're gonna need them over the next six years. You've gotta sell a product that's colder than a witch's tit in the United States right now, and you'll need the players to do that for ya. Finally, make some real changes to improve the game. Bring me back the game as I know it can be played, rather than the cure for insomnia you've passed off over the last ten years. Hockey Hall-of-Famer Brad Park said it will take more than discounts and promotions to revive professional hockey. "They can have all the gimmicks they want, but it's the product that's going to decide what happens," he said. "They've got huge problems and a lot of making-up to do with the fans. It will recover, but not for years." The answer, Park said, is a more open, physical brand of hockey that encourages creativity and offense -- unlike today's defensive-minded style. "Players today have no concept of the history of the game and how it got to where it is," he said. "They don't know the game from 20-30 years ago. That's what made the game. You couldn't get a ticket back then. But they let it slide and the management people are too afraid of making a mistake. "After all this, they've got to find a way to turn the fans on with action." Amen to that, Brad.! SPECTOR, garfield <3s U

posted by garfield at 04:30 PM on May 11, 2005

Great points by Spector. If I ever go back to another game, it will be because they finally realized that in order to entice hardcore fans back, they have to give out free autographed Wayne Gretzky sticks and then everyone gets to take a slapshot at Goodenow and Bettman with them before each period. Goodenow and Bettman don't get to wear pads. Fuck, man, who am I kidding? I'll be back, even if they just lower the ticket prices by $1.50 and give us those stupid thundersticks at the door. Also, Garf, please don't ever sign off with anything like that again. I say that as a friend.

posted by Samsonov14 at 12:40 AM on May 12, 2005

don't sell yourself short, you're more than a friend, big boy.

posted by garfield at 07:48 AM on May 12, 2005

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