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Old September 15th, 2004, 05:10 AM   #1
azdad1978
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NHL lockout expected tonight


By Jerry Brown, Tribune
The date that has been ingrained — and elicited fear — in the minds of NHL players, management and fans for years, has finally arrived.

It's been circled and highlighted on the calendar as a day when hockey as we know it would change, when a sport that has struggled to maintain its status as the fourth major in the United States would disappear, fingers crossed that anyone will care when it finally comes back.

Sept. 15, 2004: Welcome to the end.

The collective bargaining agreement between players and owners — the same one that ended a 103-day stoppage in 1994 and has since been renewed twice — expires at 9 p.m., Arizona time, today, and a rubber stamp vote by the league's board of governors in New York will leave players locked out of training camps, the 2004-05 season in jeopardy and the very sport in peril.

Talks between the two sides, an exercise in futility for more than two years, broke off Thursday after the NHL flatly rejected a proposal by the NHL players' association that did not include what owners call “cost certainty'' and what players call a salary cap for teams expected to be between $30 million to $35 million.

“(The offer wasn't) anything other than a pre-orchestrated move to not make a meaningful proposal,’’ Bill Daly, the NHL’s chief legal officer, said in a statement. ‘‘They believe their best deal will be negotiated in a work stoppage situation and that’s unfortunate for our sport.’’

The offer came after the players rejected six different proposals from the owners, all with cost certainty at the core.

‘‘At some point, the owners have to realize the players will never accept a salary cap or a system linking payroll to league revenues,’’ NHLPA president and Vancouver center Trevor Linden said in a statement. ‘‘Unfortunately, the owners have expressed no willingness to engage in any dialogue that could lead to a fair agreement for both sides.’’

The owners say that presently, nearly 76 percent of all revenues are going to the players, that 19 of the 30 teams are losing money (a total of $273 million), that salaries have increased from an average of $733,000 in 1994-95 to $1.83 million last year while revenues haven't kept up, even though the average NHL ticket price has gone from $29.75 to $48.37 over the last decade.

The owners have built a “war chest'' of $300 million and many teams, including the Phoenix Coyotes, will do better financially during a lockout than during another season under the old CBA. The NHLPA has been squirreling away licensing fees for the past two years to pay stipends, medical benefits and insurance premiums.

There are no new talks scheduled, and no visible middle ground once the two sides are coaxed back to the table. Fade to black.

Optimists feel a deal can be reached by the first of the year, leaving another shortened season and a full playoffs. Others think the 2004-05 season will be lost, and both sides will get serious next fall, with talks of union-busting becoming more popular.

For the Phoenix Coyotes, it's the best and worst of times. A new, cost-certain CBA would pull the team out of red ink. The uncertain labor future this summer left free agents prepared to take substantial pay cuts and many of the teams that usually go shopping left on the sidelines. As a result, five free agents (Boyd Devereaux, Sean O'Donnell, Mike Ricci, Brett Hull and Petr Nedved) slipped on Coyotes sweaters during the offseason, transforming the roster from thin and hopeful to deep and confident. The Coyotes also re-signed all their own free agents, with some taking pay cuts in return for multiple-year contracts.

But now with his desk clear, Phoenix general manager Mike Barnett must feel like he's ready to drive his new sports car, only to discover the keys are locked inside.

“We've done everything possible under our control to be ready for a season,'' Barnett said. “The issue of the new collective bargaining agreement is in the capable hands of Mr. Daly and (NHL Commissioner Gary) Mr. Bettman, and we await what transpires.''

Some of the Coyotes players aren't waiting around. Ladislav Nagy will play in Slovakia, while Nedved will play in the Czech Republic. Oleg Saprykin and Andrei Nazarov will play in Russia, while Daniel Cleary (Sweden) and Krys Kolanos (Switzerland) are trying to finalize deals — all of which allow them to return to the NHL if and when play resumes this season.

Some Coyotes (Mike Comrie, Mike Johnson and Devereaux) may take part in the Original Stars League, a series of Canadian exhibition games featuring four teams playing four-on-four hockey, or a winter league slated for Quebec if the lockout continues. Others, like stars Shane Doan, Brett Hull and Derek Morris, will sit tight for now and see what happens next.

Hull, who has been an outspoken critic of the foot-dragging by both sides in the negotiations, is worried the game he's played all his life is in trouble. “If it takes getting an independent arbitrator to (solve the stalemate), I think it's got to be done,'' he said recently. “I don't see how anybody who cares about the game can let this fester because they know it's just going to ruin it. “Both sides have valid points. But if they're smart enough to realize that, they're smart enough to realize which ones are the most important and work with that.''

http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/index.php?sty=28058
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Old September 16th, 2004, 06:42 AM   #2
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Bye bye hockey I wont miss you. The sport was ruined years ago.
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Old September 16th, 2004, 07:12 AM   #3
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So is there a lockout?
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Old September 16th, 2004, 08:22 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by thirty-two
So is there a lockout?
Yes.
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Old September 16th, 2004, 12:49 PM   #5
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The sport was ruined years ago.
How so?
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Old September 16th, 2004, 12:54 PM   #6
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How so?
Gretzky retired
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Old September 18th, 2004, 12:15 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Rivercard
How so?

All this, "Dont touch offensive players or we call holding" crap. I rmember game 7 1992 Islanders and Penguins (I was a HUGE isles fan). The pemguins had won the cup the year before. This was the 2nd round, our star Turgeon was out because of a cheap hit by after scoring the series winning goal against the capitals.

Anywho game 7...overtime....my favorite player kasparitis SITTING on Lemeiux punching his lights out as volek scores the game/series winner.

Oh the good old days of goons are gone. And now so it hockey. Coincidence? I think not.
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Old September 20th, 2004, 09:04 AM   #8
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I think you're describing two different things: the instigator penalty and clutching and grabbing. The late 70's to early 90's had neither. Now we have both, which is why the quality has gone towards the middle. There's nothing wrong with calling holding, IMO, but they wouldn't have to call it as much if the enforcers were able to protect the star players without the additional penalty for "instigating."
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Old September 20th, 2004, 08:39 PM   #9
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The sport was ruined by expansion. The lack of true NHL caliber talent to fill 30 teams in this league diluted the sport and brought about the trap in an effort for teams of lesser talent to be able to compete.

In addition, the sport was ruined by expansion by providing teams with a false sense of financial security. Expansion fees helped fund some of the league's top salaries and caused them to escalate to a point that the league could not handle. There has never been a solid TV contract in place to help the teams continue to shell out the kind of money they were doing in the 90's. When expansion dried up, so did the extra funds to pay the high salaries.

The NHL was always a blue-collar league that the average Joe could afford. The sport was fast and exciting, and still can be, but the NHL is clueless on most issues that would bring that game back.

I lived and breathed this sport almost my whole life, and even I cannot stand to watch it very much any more. It is simply not the same game. Sure, the playoffs are exciting, but aside from that, it is extremely overpriced entertainment.

To sum it up, expansion, the trap and escalating salaries without a substantial TV deal ruined the league.
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Old September 21st, 2004, 07:12 PM   #10
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This lock out is getting very little press at least hear in the states. Anybody been to Canada?
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Old September 21st, 2004, 07:22 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Hordispack
This lock out is getting very little press at least hear in the states. Anybody been to Canada?
That is because outside of the hockey fan world, no one really cares. This just goes to show the NHL that they are really the most inferior of all sports leagues in this country, including all ranks of college and pro.

Hockey has moved from the backseat of the American sports scene to the trunk, and the longer this lockout lasts, the less anyone will care.

It's too bad, because just 8 years ago, when the first lockout was gone and forgotten, hockey was really on the upswing. The NHL may never fully recover from this.

The only solution will be retraction. They need to eliminate about 6 teams, cut the schedule to 72 games, start the playoffs in late March so the Finals are on in May, cut salaries and lower ticket prices. The NHL and NHLPA are both run by incompetent fools.
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Old September 24th, 2004, 05:49 PM   #12
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I agree. I think the players may have cut their own throats. They did this (supposedly) for the younger/ lower paid players. These are the guys who may very well never see professional hockey again.
And what about all the non players who depend on this sport for income? I haven't heard anyone mention them.
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Old October 14th, 2004, 09:41 PM   #13
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Has this been resolved yet?


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I wasn't serious in my post.. I don't really give a crap.
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Old October 15th, 2004, 08:34 AM   #14
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At some point, the owners have to realize the players will never accept a salary cap or a system linking payroll to league revenues" Why not
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Old October 15th, 2004, 01:18 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by SunCardfan
At some point, the owners have to realize the players will never accept a salary cap or a system linking payroll to league revenues" Why not
Actually, the owners are betting that the players will cave. And I think they eventually will. The PA is going to get a lot of heat from the guys that do want to play and realize that even with a cap they are going to make damn good money, a huge amount more than if they were playing in Europe or where ever.
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