SAFE AT HOME

The craziest, wildest argument I was ever a part of involved a woman, nudity, a blazing fire log heaved in my direction (and she was a good aim) and a LOT of profanity. It all ended well (we’re still together, although I made certain our second home had fake fireplaces) and we lived through that day. After last night, I’m reminded that major blowouts are best kept private, because public displays of anger and outrage are usually forever courtesy television and youtube.

During the last lockout, I didn’t handle it well. The low point was realizing the Swedish Elite League lacked creativity (the land of Forsberg consisted of skating the puck up to center, shooting it in, and then having the other side do the same. Rinse, repeat) and I was determined not to let these negotiations get me down this time.

And its worked fine. I’m enjoying AHL, WHL, KHL, NCAA hockey, and will enjoy our teenagers at the Christmas tournament and the Spengler Cup. So its all good.

Except.

Except, my beautiful wife (who has the temper God gave  women who are born to an English father and a German mother) is completely over the top this time around.  Gary and Don better not come around these parts, the girl is turning the air blue these days with verbal assaults usually reserved for the Kardashians, liars and cheaters

I’ve been trying to talk her down from the ledge, but understand her anger. I’m also pleased that she’s so emotional about hockey, because its another love of my life. I hope for her sake these guys get their act together and we see NHL hockey soon. I do think we have to remember that there are things we don’t control in life, and attaching our emotions to those things is not productive.

I’m writing this in the hope she reads it and understands it comes from a good place. Been there, done that. It isn’t worth it, all that energy and good feeling wasted on something you can’t control.

It’s a thing. Like taxes, death and the high cost of living. We’ll get through it, as we always have.

Meanwhile, the fireplace roars away in the background. Safe at home.

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41 Responses to "SAFE AT HOME"

  1. Ben says:

    I literally have not had such a productive autumn since 2004.

    Who would have thought that life could be so fulfilling even without watching a gaggle of entitled jocks smacking each other around for 9 hours a week.

    Funny thing is, the emotion and animosity displayed in these negotiations is precisely what’s been slowly excised from the league over the last couple of decades. It’s a far more engaging contest than you’re likely to witness in any regular season game.

  2. Lois Lowe says:

    Flaming log thrown at you for going to the strippers, eh?

  3. Chris Hext---formerly EasyOil--- says:

    Lois Lowe,

    Have to admit, I’m oddly curious as to the cause of the argument mentioned by LT at the top of the post!

  4. nelson88 says:

    My only solace in this entire ridiculous spectacle is that this is the very likely the last we will see of Bettman and Fehr. I actually think Bettman has done some good things (and some not so wise things) for the game but have to imagine the torch will be passed once this (finally) gets settled.

    As an optimist I always hoped otherwise but my head told me there was no other result than a full blown sh*t show as soon as Fehr was named head of the NHLPA. No question he “solidified” the union but unfortunately his massive ego was never going to let that be the positive result it could have been. Most of the posters on this board also grew up in small communities with a number of these players as friends and aquaintences. Personaly I think they are qualilty people, loyal to a fault and always willing to come out swinging if backed into a corner. Desireable qualities but I can’t help envisioning “Liar, Liar” where Jim Carrey’s character convinces the cheating wife that she is the “victim” to such an extent that there is no wiggle room to back out. I don’t think history will be kind to DF when all of this is said and done.

    Flame away as you wish. My last comments on this topic.

  5. OilClog says:

    One thing I don’t want to hear anymore.. Is that either side cares about the fans or the game. It’s clear none of them really give two cents what damage they cause to the game or league. They’re satisfied bickering like school girls on how to divide the bounty. Well.. My sweet bright orange Oilers t-shirt I bought last spring is the last cents of mine they’ll get to fight over. I’ll watch and cheer for the Oilers when they ever return…but the league and PA for the most part can kiss it. Last time a slap stung like this she never saw me again!

  6. El Duderino says:

    The PA selection committee knew they were hiring a big gun in Fehr. They wanted vengeance for their perceived loss in the 2004 negotiations. The PA leadership (whoever that is) won’t sign a deal unless they think they have won the battle. This whole scenario is like 1942 Stalingrad- blood, mud, ice, bullets and death. Berlin may have to fall before any “agreement” is reached.

  7. blackdog says:

    How many times have I told you LT that you have to put your Swanks and Ouis in the ravine, not under the mattress! The mattress gets flipped now and then and then you get caught.

  8. Pertti says:

    So Tom Scharpling made this video of Aimee Mann’s “Labrador”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA1cX-wgMdM

    Video stars Blues fan Jon Hamm and Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster, among others

    Pretty apt song lyrically for us dumbassed hockey fans too.

  9. Pertti says:

    as long as I’m logged in here, thanks Lowetide for being about the only decent thing about loving this sport nowadays

  10. delooper says:

    I didn’t think the Olivier Roy thread was all that controversial.

  11. Ducey says:

    Its all just part of the process. Fehr just ups the temperature a bit given his propensity for cherry picking, moving the goal posts and PR spinning.

    There is no way that either side will flush the season over whether its a 10yr or 6-8 yr CBA, contract limits are at 5 yrs (7 for hometeam) or whatever the players are at (10?), or the 5% vs 25% year to year variance. Its all just posturing.

    The players were going to take the deal on Wed night until Fehr interviened and told them to hold out longer. The only question is whether they can get a few more concessions before Bettman crushes them.

    I am kind of partial to the owners position as I think that a provision that allows for the home team to sign their own player for 7 yrs rather than 5 for everyone else is likely to help us up here on the forzen tundra. I also don’t want to put up with this BS again for as long as possible – I vote for a 20 yr CBA.

  12. Нинтендо⁶⁴ says:

    “The craziest, wildest argument I was ever a part of involved a woman, nudity, a blazing fire log heaved in my direction (and she was a good aim) and a LOT of profanity. ”

    Lordy. Lowetide’s writing for Harlequin Inc. now. And half the board wants the next chapter.

  13. Jesse says:

    I find it really amusing that Bettman was blinded by such rage and how the owners were beside themselves when the the PA didn’t lap up their $100 MM concession right away. Almost as if the League is shocked that the players are pissed off at them. Almost as if the League didn’t start things off with an outrageous joke of a proposal back in July.

    With the way things have gone all along, it didn’t make sense for things to get resloved before the last possible second. Things are going to go right down to the wire. And if people are pissed off enough on both sides, I can see the thing blowing up.

  14. Нинтендо⁶⁴ says:

    Fehr’s the absolute best at lining players up to play deadly games of chicken, but he’ll reach new heights (or depths) if he can kill on season on non-monetary issues. Especially if Crosby and Burkle are as pissed as everyone thinks they are. Don’t actuallly care which side moves on the last issues but still curious to see if the Pied Piper can actually pull off the suicide march he’s threatening.

    Still think this will settle.

  15. jimmers says:

    The flying, burning log was no doubt preceded by a smirking and smouldering comment about the Green RIders…

    Gotta learn to duck!

  16. Captain Obvious says:

    nelson88,

    If you read the descriptions of Fehr from those who know him and have dealt with him in the past you get a completely different picture from your perception.

    By everyone’s account (except for Bettman) he is a man of integrity and honesty. His agenda is simply to professionalize the player’s association so that they are knowledgeable about the issues and are capable of meeting the owner’s at the table as equals. That is his goal and it is an honourable one.

    Unless you reject the principle that these negotiations should be between equal parties it is difficult to impossible to find a reason not to support the players.

  17. gogliano says:

    I’m mostly player side in terms of gut sentiments but I’m always amazed at the willingness of players unions to lose an entire season when it is rather clearly not in the economic self-interest of the majority of its present players. It is interesting trying to locate the source of that willingness to stand up for the union’s perceived long term interests (deference to star players / recognition of their superior merit? sense of fairness for current players? future players?), but I can’t think of a player side argument for extending this that rests solely on economic cost benefit analysis (stripped down to its constituent members).

    For every Crosby there are numerous players having their 500 at bats cut down to 250 at bats and/or numerous players not getting a chance to play the final year of a short career. Not saying the union should turn on itself or that it isn’t beyond closed doors but it is interesting that we can even get to this point. And if I do have any sympathies here it is for the players who are struggling to get their 500 at bats.

  18. stevezie says:

    Hey! Aimee Mann’s old band!
    Anyway

    OilClog:
    One thing I don’t want to hear anymore.. Is that either side cares about the fans or the game. It’s clear none of them really give two cents what damage they cause to the game or league.

    This is completely true, which is why I don’t really care about the negotiations. However, it’s only fair to point out that the fans don’t give a damn about them either. When Ethan Moreau destroyed his body by giving a sperhuman effort 365 days a year and became despised for his dwindling abilities I stopped criticizing players for not carring about fans. The fans, players and owners all need each other and together form the trifecta that is professional hockey, but no one leg of the table gives a fiddler’s fart in a hurricane about the other.

    I hope everyone makes a comfortable living and ticket rices go down. If these goals are achieved I will consider the lockout a success. If they aren’t (and they won’t be), I will call it a failure and resolve to care less when it is over.

  19. Captain Obvious says:

    stevezie,

    Couldn’t agree more. Not only should the player’s not care about the fans, if I was a player I would secretly despise the fans. If you read the comments on oilersnations, if you listen to people talking at games, your average fan is a very ignorant person incapable of reason and judgement.

  20. Lucinius says:

    I find it interesting that TSN had mentioned the players were ready or very close to accepting the NHL deal until Fehr came in and told them to hold out for more because they were close to getting what they wanted.

    And they lost it all.

    Between the two I’m more on the side of the owners than the players, but only because I haven’t liked the tone of the NHLPA’s “negotiation” (which has generally been either not doing so, not tabling offers, or acting like a non-50/50 is even remotely plausible). Yes, the owners are being assholes, but this is largely a hobby with some profit making capability for these guys. If they mainly wanted to make money, many of the owners would make more by just sitting their yearly costs into a bank account and let it accrue shit interest.

    Both are working hard to kill hockey, but… I put most of it on the players (and mainly the top 10% paid players, who are going to get paid regardless.. whether here or overseas).

    Only people I feel sorry for, asides from the fans? Marginal players (3rd, 4th liners), who really aren’t being represented despite, arguably, being the majority.

  21. Ducey says:

    Unless you reject the principle that these negotiations should be between equal parties it is difficult to impossible to find a reason not to support the players.

    Right out of the Fehr playbook! Very nice. Creating a false dichotomy old fishface himself would be proud of.

    I know it makes it easier for your brain to process everything when its black and white but come on.

    Maybe one of these days you will wake up a realize there is no good and no evil in this. They are just fighting over money. They are not playing hockey over a 20% difference in variance, a difference of a few years of term of the CBA and a couple of years on contracts.

    To the vast majority of players who will not ever get a 5+ yr deal, or worry about variance, or even be in the league in 8 yrs the things being fought over make no difference at all. They could have said yes Wednesday and been back playing hockey. I have trouble feeling sorry for them.

    Sometimes you just put up with some swearing, brush the ashes off, obey and get on with life.

  22. spoiler says:

    LT said:

    The craziest, wildest argument I was ever a part of involved a woman, nudity, a blazing fire log heaved in my direction (and she was a good aim) and a LOT of profanity.

    This never happens when I’m watching the Shaw Firelog channel.

    But damn it sure would spice things up.

  23. Нинтендо⁶⁴ says:

    If they’re gonna throw firelogs I can definitely see the nhl + pa getting featured on the Firelog channel. Though if a certain Edmonton area household is willing to do live on location the Firelog channel takes a real run at the sweeps.

  24. sliderule says:

    Where you stand on this war is whether you believe that the NHL has a broken business model.

    The claim is that at least 10 teams are losing a considerable amount of money.It is also said that four of those are nearly bankrupt and would have to be contracted unless costs can be reduced.

    As the nhlpa has seen the books and not disputed this it has to be why they have agreed to a 50/50 split on revenue..

    The elephant in the room is Fehr and the hardline union guys who if this was a factory would be intimidating office staff and management as they cross the picket line.

    As long as the rabble rousers can keep intimidating the majority who I believe want to sign they will keep drinking Fehrs kool aid.

  25. maudite says:

    Best article lead in ever. Well played good sir.

  26. DeadmanWaking says:

    Captain Obvious: Unless you reject the principle that these negotiations should be between equal parties it is difficult to impossible to find a reason not to support the players.

    Ducey: Maybe one of these days you will wake up a realize there is no good and no evil in this. They are just fighting over money. They are not playing hockey over a 20% difference in variance, a difference of a few years of term of the CBA and a couple of years on contracts.

    I have to say I’m on board with Captain O. Ducey, I think you’re missing the distinction between prisoners’ dilemma and iterated prisoners’ dilemma.

    If two players play prisoners’ dilemma more than once in succession and they remember previous actions of their opponent and change their strategy accordingly, the game is called iterated prisoners’ dilemma.

    These are basic mathematical building block in game theory as it applies to negotiation tactics. If PD is skating forward, IPD is skating backwards. Basic building blocks that form the foundation for everything else. Even goalies skate backwards.

    One can describe PD or IPD as a negotiation about money. However, one can better describe IPD as a negotiation about power. Sure, players can take the money (win the PD battle) and lose the power battle (the IPD war). I would describe that as gutless and self-centered. We’re a free society because of the people who paid the ultimate sacrifice fifty years ago. If our current society is threatened some new despot of trembling lip hairs, it’s our turn to pay the ultimate sacrifice (or die trying). Our turn if we have any guts. If the previous generation of NHL players had no backbone, we’d now have Alan Eagleson as the commish instead of Gary Bettman. In the IPD war, you need to take the long view. The only way to cash out without showing any backbone is: A) your forebears took in on the chin to get you to where you are; and B) you don’t give a damn about the welfare of the generation of players next in line, aka exit stage weasel.

    Lowetide could have spared himself some fireworks by marrying humble pie. Hard to argue with a winning formula and the wonderful efficiency of lord and vassal. Vassal: I better put out, or I’ll get beat. End of negotiation. How’s that working for your sex life, Ducey? Oh, it’s not just about sex, it’s also about respect. Slippery concept. One false word can turn a guy into a human couch-warmer for a month at a time. It’s enough to make you crazy.

    The whole reason we had this stoppage is because the league fantasized that the players would see their short term interests through Ducey’s eyes.

    Legal Look: A primer on NHLPA decertification

    Expect the NHL to argue that the NHLPA’s decertification is a sham. They would say that it’s nothing more than an opportunistic and transparent attempt to extract leverage in CBA negotiations. Decertification is a serious move, and it should not be akin to turning a light switch on and off when it’s convenient.

    Welcome to the asshole at the center of the universe. This is George Orwell 101. This “light switch” code language is almost as bad as referring to “civilian casualties” as “collateral damage”. Or when Rumsfeld Bans Word “Insurgents”. The word might have been mildly imprecise in describing the belligerent fog. (“Axis of evil” didn’t strike Bush as less than sufficiently precise, so I’d argue the standards here are gradeschool level.) The word insurgents was absolutely precise in describing the counter-insurgency combat tactics the Americans were doomed to adopt. We had a few months of plastic tank battalions crossing tidy lines on RISC boards, followed by gory years of Counterstrike bloodshed.

    It’s the league primarily engaged in flipping light switches here. Whose lockout is this, anyway? Legally, the league doesn’t have to decertify itself to declare a lock-out. So the light switch from their side is fair game. The union–for reasons buried deep in the root system of why the league is able to exist at all (as a labour cartel)–does have to decertify to play their trump card. This makes all the difference. All the difference if you can’t read and have never seen a history book. But ignoring that (as dictators do), it makes all the difference.

    Many of the players have never taken a survey course on labour law and jurisprudence. So the greedy owners get a seven year itch to bar the gates and see if the union will sleep on their trump card. Failures of will are common when you have an alliance an unequal partners (scrubs and stars). The league is not insane for thinking they can pull this off.

    But then a guy like Fehr comes along. Hey, he’s literate. He’s familiar with the law. He understands power tactics. He reads history. He understands stakeholder dynamics and works hard to keep his troops on side.

    Willis has a great piece up. NHL Lockout: When it makes sense not to make a deal

    The implication is that the NHL hoped to rope the players into closing a deal without the presence of Fehr.

    This is the last gasp of assholes who’ve lost the war. Hey little girl, come over here. We’ll get along so much better if you lock your legal counsel outside the room.

    In a partnership between equals, sometimes logs are thrown. If the players show no guts in the board room, we’re supposed to believe they have guts on the ice? Goodbye, national pastime. Welcome to WWF, coming to a rink near you. What’s going on here in head office is Kayfabrication.

    While most modern sports enthusiasts are aware of wrestling’s status as a pseudo sport, what few alive today remember is that it evolved out of a failed real sport (known as “catch” wrestling) which held its last honest title match early in the 20th century. Typical matches could last hours with no satisfying action, or end suddenly with crippling injuries to a promising athlete in whom much had been invested.

    Kayfabrication (the process of transition from reality towards Kayfabe) arises out of attempts to deliver a dependably engaging product for a mass audience while removing the unpredictable upheavals that imperil participants.

    At the point Kayfabe was forced to own up to the fact that professional wrestling contained no sport whatsoever, it did more than avoid being regulated and taxed into oblivion. Wrestling discovered the unthinkable: its audience did not seem to require even a thin veneer of realism. Professional wrestling had come full circle to its honest origins by at last moving the responsibility for deception off of the shoulders of the performers and into the willing minds of the audience.

    We’re supposed to believe that the same players who capitulate for short term gains against an adversary knee deep in Orwellian bullshit are heroic figures when displayed on a frozen pond.

    Sorry, Ducey, I’m not that willing.

    In the previous CBA, the Orwellian bullshit was “cost certainty”. Tell that to Taylor Fedun lying in a crumpled heap at the end boards while still in training camp. He’s out there risking the whole enchilada while league owners are building custom terracotta rooms on the backs of their kitchens to proof their bread dough under ideal conditions.

    Any parallels to the WWF are strictly coincidental.

  27. Marc says:

    Chris Hext—formerly EasyOil—:

    Have to admit, I’m oddly curious as to the cause of the argument mentioned by LT at the top of the post!

    I figure Pouliot was involved somehow.

  28. Wolfpack says:

    Just read Gregor’s article over at O.N. about how Gary Bettman probably earned himself some sympathy last night with the passion he showed and the frustration you could sense coming from him. I was about 50-50 on this, with both sides having made mistakes throughout this gong show, but now I really beleive the league needs the right deal more than the players do. Despite feeling like they caved during the last CBA negotiations they are making a lot more money now than they were six years ago and there are franchises in real trouble.
    One thing I won’t fall into line on is the whole “spoiled millionaires” thinking. These guys are mostly farm boys with limited education and useful skills to get by in the real world without hockey. They have agents and a union head whispering in their ear every day that they are special, they worked so hard, and they are being taken advantage of. It is human nature to feel like you deserve more than what you are getting. And let’s face it, these guys do not have a lot of experience when it comes to thinking for themselves. They are led around by the nose from the time they are 14 years old. So it is not as simple as “Spoiled millionaires” in my opinion. It is also a union mentality compounded by greedy agents.

  29. godot10 says:

    I was Team Bettman last time around.

    I’m Team Fehr this time. The NHL has its hard cap. The players are making all the concessions. With a hard cap and 50-50, if the NHL can’t run its business, it needs more competent owners.

  30. DeadmanWaking says:

    I have one of my billboard posts awaiting moderation. Perhaps I shouldn’t have resorted to one or two choice morsels of commonly accepted terminology. For the first time, I’m starting to see things in whole cloth. The monolith will begin to shrink now. How does the moon look from the cow’s perspective at the top of the arc?

    It’s taken me two lock-outs to wrap my mind around the central issues. In a marriage, it can sometimes take a long time to figure out what you’re really fighting about. Lowetide could probably tell us a story about the trigger event. But for the deeper reasons, he might or might not know the whole of it himself.

    Here’s what I’ve figured out over nearly a decade.

    The lockout cycle is a three ring circus. One stakeholder is the fans (who also double as taxpayers when it comes time to build a new rink). We fell in love with the game because of the authenticity of rising to the occasion in the heat of the battle. Unfortunately, we’re often duped to accept entertainment in place of sport. To a multitasker, it doesn’t look much different. Eventually, though, you wake up and realize the love is gone. Where did it go? Under the entertainment trap door. Love and authenticity are too often comprehended only in hindsight. Some fans are willing to pay the price for authenticity (sitting through these ugly debacles) others just want entertainment back on the dial.

    Next we have the league. There’s risk selling sport, less risk selling entertainment. It’s very hard for them to resist the Sirens. Second, this is not just one big happy family. It’s more like a UN meeting where Luxembourg sits beside the African Congo. They agree among themselves almost as often. There’s an internal group with Security Council Veto which somewhat resembles the Original Six. The have-nots can make a lot of trouble for the haves, whose electronic media revenue stream depends on the pretense of being a North American league (and not just a Toronto, Montreal, Boston, New York corridor league). If only there were a Great Lakes Television Network with a twenty-year Nike sponsorship contract, the solution would be so much simpler.

    Finally, we have the players, at all different stages of their careers and with vastly diverse earning potential. Any diplomat worth his salt would lick his lips to initiate a divide and conquer. But they are forced to function as a cohesive group to stand up against the league, who have their own problems functioning as a cohesive group. Both sides choose leadership, but the leadership has a real problem deciding how to split the spoils between the powerful minority and the powerless majority of their constituencies, while not having the whole thing degenerate into an internal cat fight. Internal cat fights breaking out when you’re lining up across the battle trench is a leadership CLM.

    The power structure at the top is mainly the Original Six Security Council (I’m not 100% certain which of these teams are the primary hawks). Leagues are run along the lines of secret societies. Winnipeg keeps its mouth shut, if it knows what’s good for it. Those at the top of a power structure such as this one are mainly invested in squeezing the balls of those who are one rung down the heap. Does the senior silverback kick the crap out of the troop punching bag? No, more often he kicks the crap out of the sly silverback next in line to the throne. This is why transfer payments go over like a lead balloon in sorting out their internal differences.

    This unsolved problem has to go somewhere, so it lands on the players. They look weak, and team owners realize that fighting among themselves could be dangerous. The players look vulnerable. There isn’t much financial alignment between a 2nd round rookie yet to graduate from his cup of coffee and a 31 year old veteran contracted through to the second coming.

    Only they’re not quite that vulnerable, because their agents take the longer view of things and so does their management, when they choose wisely. It happens over and over that the arrogance of team ownership underestimates this historical reality (I’ve posted that link before).

    Theoretically, the fans have a fair amount of clout in ending these petty charades. But we’re divided, too. As soon as we point to the players as rich spoiled brats, the league swoops in for a second helping of liver.

    There it is. It’s a three ring circus with each house divided.

    The problem with the fan base is that the more we care, the less effective we are in imposing our desires. It won’t be until we stop caring about the game that our voice is finally heard. One day the league will wake up and realize they’re just another entertainment brand with no sport left to hook the younger generation. They’ll have a lockout and the media won’t bother to report it. Instant ceasefire. Nobody notices.

    Why should we, as fans who care, worry about the younger generation who don’t care yet? Because at the end of the day, all you have left is that you didn’t sell out.

    I’m terribly concerned that “cost certainty” is just a fancy Orwellian term for a can opener designed to let out the magic. The bottom line on the NHLPA interest is to force the league to fix some of their internal dirty laundry (establishing some kind of passable equity among ownership). They won’t fix it themselves if they can choose not to. If they don’t fix it, they’ll have another seven year itch to take it out of the union all over again.

    The underlying interests as I see them are a desire for “cost certainty” on the ownership side and “revenue balance” from the players’ side. When the teams are fighting less among themselves, they’ll be less determined to grind it out of the players.

    I wouldn’t even be surprised if Fehr and Bettman both see revenue balance as a good thing for the league, for hockey, and for the fans. The difference is that Bettman’s job depends on the fat cats never detecting the faintest twitch of Bettman expressing or acting upon such a belief. In this, the fat cats are just being true to their own interests.

    Maybe the solution is just to buy Toronto off their high horse with a one-time half billion dollar payment to permit a team in Hamilton and a second team in the GTA. If they had some competition within their own market, they’d become less lock-out friendly. They’d lose $400 million on the value of their franchise in exchange for the half billion in hand.

    I’ve almost come around to being on the same page as Ducey. Sometimes you have to take your licks to solve the real problem. Does it sound like fun to push a half billion onto Toronto’s plate? No. But it might fix the real problem here. It might not be that Toronto is one of the primary hawks in this drama, but they certainly have enough clout to sit on a smaller hawk if their interests were better aligned in that direction.

    In the media, we mainly get the tap dance: The gun, the gun, the gun. What will the players do? Take it on the chin once every seven years.

    OK, that’s a lot of words. I’m done now. Lunar apogee. Green cheese retirement party, coming up.

  31. melancholyculkin says:

    Things were going swimmingly on Wednesday night. A few details needed to be hammered out, but the players felt confident with where talks were headed—confident enough that they suggested federal mediators return to help “polish this off,” as Hainsey said.

    The owners declined.

    “As confident as some of players are on their issues, we cannot close deals. I’d love to think I could,” Hainsey said, “We cannot.”

    Steve Fehr was there, but the job of closing the deal belongs to Donald Fehr. He is the executive director of the NHLPA, after all.

    “Once we made clear that … we had to get our union leadership, that we’ve hired for this, in the room, there was just a very big change,” Hainsey said on Thursday, after talks broke down. “It was alarming, and I was told that if we were going to do that, it was possibly a dealbreaker. That was made clear last night. It was confusing, because we kind of agreed that we were moving toward each other, and we weren’t that far apart. So, it’s confusing for the players to think that we were supposed to finish this ourselves.”

    Hainsey was then asked to confirm, point blank, what he had just said: The owners told you that bringing Don Fehr into the room would be a dealbreaker for the progress you had achieved?

    “That’s correct,” Hainsey said.

    Source: http://aol.sportingnews.com/nhl/story/2012-12-06/nhl-lockout-news-donald-fehr-owners-gary-bettman-ron-hainsey-hockey-strike

    I don’t see how anyone can read that and then say Fehr is the one holding up a deal.

    Seriously, what the hell is that?

  32. Ducey says:

    DeadmanWaking,

    Deadman,

    The players might be heroic when they go into the corners, but there is nothing heroic about refusing to come off the bench until the variance is upped from 5% to 15% or the CBA comes down to 8 yrs from 10.

    And I agree that the Leaves are the problem, but not in the way I think you are suggesting. A good CBA will, above all else, (because it doesn’t really matter whether Hall makes $5M or $6 M a year) protect the likes of Edmonton from Toronto and the Rangers. Without an even playing field, the myth that underlies all sports – that your team can win it all with enough smarts, some heroic performances, and a little luck – really is no more than that.

    If EDM can’t compete because of systemic inequality, I won’t watch.

    Fehr has no interest in this aspect of the game. Bettman’s interest may be primarily greed, but it overlaps with allowing all the teams to spend approximately the same amount on team salary.

  33. melancholyculkin says:

    Ducey:
    DeadmanWaking,

    Deadman,

    The players might be heroic when they go into the corners, but there is nothing heroic about refusing to come off the bench until the variance is upped from 5% to 15% or the CBA comes down to 8 yrs from 10.

    And I agree that the Leaves are the problem, but not in the way I think you are suggesting.A good CBA will, above all else, (because it doesn’t really matter whether Hall makes $5M or $6 M a year) protect the likes of Edmonton from Toronto and the Rangers.Without an even playing field, the myth that underlies all sports – that your team can win it all with enough smarts, some heroic performances, and a little luck – really is no more than that.

    If EDM can’t compete because of systemic inequality, I won’t watch.

    Fehr has no interest in this aspect of the game.Bettman’s interest may be primarily greed, but it overlaps with allowing all the teams to spend approximately the same amount on team salary.

    The owners got their level playing field. They have a salary cap. The problem is that the cap is tied to revenue, and revenue has grown disproportionally in favour of the Original Six and the Canadian teams.

    Nothing, as far as I can see, that the owners have proposed is going to fix this. Simply cutting back the players share of the pie isn’t going to solve the systemic issues. Some form of revenue sharing would help, but nobody really seems to be talking about that.

  34. Captain Obvious says:

    sliderule,

    I think the economic system is broken. The problem is the proposed CBA isn’t going to fix the problem because it retains the problem is the 2004 CBA. The problem is that the system is broken by the salary cap, or more precisely, the salary floor. To the extent that some teams are losing money this could be solved in a single stroke by making the salary floor a percentage of the midpoint, thereboy raising the salary cap and reducing the salary floor. That single move would transform their bottom lines in a second without missing a day of action. Yet it required the players to suggest this which the owners then refused.

    The competitive balance problem is largely a canard. Competitive balance wasn’t a problem in the nineties and if it was a problem it didn’t get any better after the lockout. To the extent that competitive balance is a problem the best solution is to restrict the salaries of young players through contractual restrictions.

    An offer of 54% of HRR in exchange for an extra year until UFA and defined arbitration salaries after the ELC ( 40% of FA salary, 60% of FA salary, etc.), and linking the salary floor to the salary cap via percentage and increased revenue sharing, would have solved all the economic problems of the league and been signed in September. It also would make for a much better league.

    But this is all talk since cost certainty and the rest is all nonsense. No one thinks the NFL is losing money and that didn’t stop them from playing the same cards.

    Finally, Deadman, those posts are far too good for a comment thread. They should be required reading for anyone who cares about hockey.

  35. Ribs says:

    I don’t know… If the players could have made a deal they were happy with and the only thing they had to do was keep their guy out of the room when they signed the papers, they should have just done it. if the owners want to call that a “win”, then so be it. I’ve lost interest a long time ago so it’s all “meh” to to me now, I suppose.

  36. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Captain Obvious: The problem is that the system is broken by the salary cap, or more precisely, the salary floor.

    Bingo.

    The fat cats have no interest in revenue sharing, but expense sharing? Damn right, they’re all over it.

    I’m amazed this isn’t a way bigger factor in the negotiations than it seems to have been. The NHL brought on a lot of its weak-market woes by forcing a substantial payroll on every single team.

  37. sliderule says:

    You can hardly blame the “fat cats” being reluctant to revenue share.

    It’s one thing to revenue share when you have billion dollar tv contracts like baseball.In hockey most of the fat cats are getting their money from the local market and fans while the have nots are giving away their tickets.Hard to justify that to shareholders and your revenue streams.

  38. Bruce McCurdy says:

    sliderule,

    My issue is that the fat cats force the weak sisters to pay fairly equivalent (and rising on a percentage basis) salary costs in the name of “cost certainty”, but there is no such “revenue certainty” assured to those same weak sisters.

    On a given night the visiting team is paying ~half the performer costs for the show, but the home team rakes in ~all the revenues.

  39. Bruce McCurdy says:

    The craziest, wildest argument I was ever a part of involved a woman, nudity, a blazing fire log heaved in my direction (and she was a good aim) and a LOT of profanity.

    “The following program contains violence, nudity, coarse language, and mature themes.”

    How can we not be interested in a show like that?

  40. sliderule says:

    The argument the pa Is making about the five year limit and Horcoff repeated today just doesn’t make sense.
    They say Parise would have just got 10 mil instead of 7 mil.Well he might have but it wouldn’t been from Minny as it would have put them over the cap.
    What the limit would do is allow teams that have cap space but are not “favored”locations sign free agents.Doesn’t that sound like it might be good for a team like the oilers.

  41. DawnM says:

    sliderule,

    I have doubts that a 5 yr term limit would be good the Oilers or any other team. The argument, as I understand it, is that there would be little incentive to sign a cap friendly contract. Currently, players can take term instead of maximum money now. They are insulated against the risk of career ending injury. Without that, it’s clearly in their best interest to go for the maximum money they can get now. Whatever the maximum percentage of cap ends up being, is there any way the Oilers could sign 4 or 5 impact players and still maintain a full roster? The only way to go would be for the remainder of the roster to be making minimum wage.

    The argument applies to every team. It’s conceivable that the league becomes one of a few stars making the max, and the remaining majority making the min. In that view, the PA’s distaste for a 5 yr term limit makes perfect sense. It has nothing to do with the few contracts over 5 yrs and everything to do with the rest of the membership.

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