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NHL Lockout - Which side do you believe?

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  • Dec 4th, 2004 6:07 am
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Poll: Which side do you think is telling the truth?

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Oct 12, 2002
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NHL Lockout - Which side do you believe?

The NHL lockout is at day 77 with no end in sight. Seems like Goodenow and Bettman have come out of hibernation to campaign for their respective sides. While both sides are spinning their rhetoric, who are we supposed to believe? Both sides are accusing the other of lying, and/or misleading the fans. They both can't be telling the truth. Who do you believe?
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Jul 13, 2003
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doesn't matter who we believe. The fact of the matter is the system has to change. Bottom line. Doesn't matter who's fault it was even if it was the owners signing the strokers to high contracts.
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Oct 17, 2001
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The NHL priced itself out with the player contracts and they need some help getting it back in control. NHLPA has to give some back. Sure the owners got them in this condition but it can't last if we want Cdn teams solvent.
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Sep 5, 2004
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Greedy Selfish Players :mad:
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Jul 24, 2003
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while i don't think you can 'believe' the paid representatives of either side, i prefer to side with the players rather than the owners.

here are some of the reasons:

--bettman negotiated and signed the current cba which put them in the financial 'problems' that the league currently faces. bettman likes to use the analogy of a car wreck, well if that's true, then he was driving the 'car'.

--while many may fault the players, i seriously doubt anyone put in the same position would turn down millions of dollars if it was offered to them.

--lots of people focus on the 'millionaire' status of players, and conveniently forget that the average wealth of each owner is around $500 million dollars. this is not a case of the players stealing from the poor.

--does anyone think that if the nhl owners bring down their payroll costs that any of them will pass on those savings to fans in the form of lower ticket costs??? no bloody way. tickets will stay the same price. . .the only thing that will change is how much profit the owners will put in their pockets.

--when will the owners take responsibility for their fiscal ineptitude? in what way did the nhlpa or any hockey player put a gun to ted leonsis' head and force him to overpay jaromir jagr $11 million? why do the players have to pay for the poor judgement of the individual owners?

--since the forbes report (the only independent report so far) obviously shows that the nhl has lied, it seems pretty obvious that one side is definitely less believable. never has the nhlpa denied that the league needed to be fixed and that there were financial difficulties--they just didn't lie about the amount of debt and then refuse to let anyone examine the books to confirm the numbers (which the league has done).

--in a true negotiation, both sides have to make concessions, to offer and counter-offer. . .this, the nhlpa has attempted. they have tabled salary concessions ($millions in salary strips), luxury tax alternatives, etc. and today, offered to table a new settlement. in response, bettman has uttered only one word ('cap') surrounded by weeks and months of stony silence. that is not bargaining in good faith. that is not attempting to negotiate.

--bettman uses the rhetoric of 'cost certainty'--well, since when in business do you get cost certainty? how many companies can say they have such guarantees? the notion in and of itself is a violation of true free enterprise and free market principles.

--some may say that rank and file players don't support the union, and that many have already voiced their dissention. yes, this is true, but everyone knows that owners have just as much disagreement or apathy within their own ranks--the difference is that bettman has nicely closed off dissention within the ownership ranks this time--unlike in 1995, when the splinter amongst owners forced his hand. there's no way that teams like the rangers, or detroit, or toronto care about a salary cap. if anyone asked, they would be apathetic about the idea, at best.

really, this is an attempt to break the union. the salary cap is not even really that important to the most powerful teams in the league, and i sincerely doubt that bettman really cares about the calgarys or edmontons of the nhl, so he's not doing it for them.

my .02 cents
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Jun 28, 2004
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Afong, you just saved me from a long post.. you pretty much said everything I was going to :->

I have a hard time having sympathy for either side... millionaires fighting against billionaires over money. Boo hoo. Someone won't be getting their ivory backscratcher :->

I just want to point out that now that Bettman's pretty much getting pwn3d in the media about the "cost certainty" (ie. several media sources have shown that the measures the NHLPA propose would make a meaningful difference).. he's now going off about the "disparity" between the teams.
Jr. Member
Jan 20, 2004
123 posts
1 upvote
Burnaby
In industry, you don't get 'sales certainty'. But you certainly get 'cost certainty' Why? In a real business, you are free to fire or hire employees. You can let someone go if he is not producing as expected. If your payroll is too high, you are free to trim it. Contracts are almost never guaranteed. In business, an employee cannot suddenly violate the terms of their contract to renegotiate it. This is not the reality in the NHL.

Noone believes numbers. If the Forbes report (an amateurish piece of garbage if you ask me - the guy 'researched' ticket prices and did some simple math. He had no actual financial numbers) says the NHL lost $90 million and the NHL claims they lost $235 million, which number do you believe? Well, neither - you believe a number in between. The Forbes report only _confirms_ the NHL is losing money. And despite the illusory notion that these huge corporations can afford to bleed millions of dollars, the bottom line is that no business can operate under a perpetual loss.

The idea that NHL owners can actually 'hide' money is not true. With honest accounting, the actual situation becomes clear. Once government accountants investigated Enron and Worldcom, the whole scandal was revealed. Do you think that the NHL owners could hide their money more craftily than those companies did for years? Why not have _government_ accountants audit each year's revenues? Or a third party accounting firm appointed by both union and owners, as they do in the NFL and NBA?

Consider this. The average player's salary in the NHL is TWICE what it was ten years ago. That is an average increase of 200%/10 years = 20% per year. The most recent NHLPA offer offered a 5% league wide rollback on player's salaries. If you consider that league salary has increased by 20% per year, if you were the owners, you would spit on a 5% rollback. The union has offered cash back because it knows that under the current system their 5% loss will likely be wiped out in a year. Most salaries are public and the average league salary is easily calculable by any average Joe.

Annual rise in players salaries - actually this source claims 300%

The proposal also included a proposed $60 million in savings by restricting entry salaries. This basically robs Peter to pay Paul. But again, the union is keeping it's stars paid while it shortchanges the rookies and grinders. Also, the 'savings' are compared to the already bloated entry level system. There are already huge problems with loopholes in the entry level system, as any Ottawa fan who bemoans the millions paid to busts like Alexandre Daigle can attest. This is like showing you the 50% discount on an item you have marked up.

Details on the last NHLPA Proposal

The NHLPA has no problems with contracting to less teams. This is stupid for two reasons. Part of the reason that the NHL makes more revenue now is that they have more teams. Sure, the on ice product is poor, but in general the league makes more revenue. So, the NHLPA is basically in favour of lowering league wide revenue while keeping a system that increases player salariies by an avergae of 20% per year. Does this seem right to you?

Also, if you were in the CAW and they told Ford it was ok if they laid off 7% of their workforce to save money, do you think that would fly? Well, if the NHL contracts by two teams, that is what will happen. None of the stars will lose work. Only the muckers and grinders and rookies. As a fan, I would love to see contraction, but as a NHLPA member, I would wonder who my union was serving. And remember, an NHL team consists of minor league affiliates, rink workers, and related service industries that make money. They will all lose from contraction.

CBC's take on Contraction

And no, the owners cannot just 'take responsibility' for paying the players so much. Let's say that all the NHL GM's got together and decided that they would pay high level players only in a certain range, mid level players in a certain range, etc, etc. Then, let's say that they acted on that plan and refused to pay players more than those ranges. Let's say that they were so disciplined that one GM would not even look at a player if he knew the player wanted too much money compared to 'the plan'. Well, my friends, that is called collusion, and it is illegal. The MLBPA has successfully sued the major league baseball on such charges in the past.

Old article on Goodenow accusing collusion

THAT IS WHY WE NEED A COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT. In the framework of the CBA, any offer is deemed fair, and market value, not a 'conspiratorial pricing plan' drives the price of a player's salary. That is why the league needs an NBA-style soft cap based on yearly measurements of overall league revenue. That way the players get NBA style salaries commensurate with the monies that the league is actually making. Teams can still overpay players, but the overall team will suffer as a result.

Yes, the owner's stance on a hard cap is just silly. So is the player's insistence on no cap at all. But does anyone believe they are really serious? All of this rhetoric is just bargaining. Any new CBA will involve compromise on both sides. We are all just agonizing over it as fans because we are impatient and eager for hockey to start again. But anyone familiar with automotive union negotiations will recognize these same tactics.

Anyhow, I say that they should all suck it up and drop the puck.
Deal Expert
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Jun 14, 2003
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The owner may be rich but why should they share their own wealth (not the money earned from the team) to their player?

If the players drop or freeze their salary, yes, the price of the ticket may not go down. However, the chance of going up will be lower. If the players raise their salary, the price will go up for sure because it is one damn good reason/excuse to do so.

An owner can lose money just because he owns and operates the team. A player does not lose any money from what they already earned just because they play. Finanical risk of an owner is much higher than player.
Member
May 19, 2003
439 posts
56 upvotes
Players are over paid but I think that is due to agents, players, gms and owners fault.

How do I side with? Owners. They need to make money. But I think the NHL should in state a team cap. This way no team can spend more than another.

What could this mean? I think better balanced teams. NYR sucked so bad when they stocked and loaded. LOL
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Aug 5, 2004
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afong56 wrote:--since the forbes report (the only independent report so far) obviously shows that the nhl has lied, it seems pretty obvious that one side is definitely less believable. never has the nhlpa denied that the league needed to be fixed and that there were financial difficulties--they just didn't lie about the amount of debt and then refuse to let anyone examine the books to confirm the numbers (which the league has done).
I don't think that's true at all. The forbes report didn't get all the numbers, and just used publically available/estimated figures. Levitt did a full blown audit.

If you're questioning his credibility, well, I don't know what to say. He was the longest serving chairman for the friggin SEC. They set and enforce the reporting rules for the largest economy on the face of the planet. If he can't give the right numbers, no-one can.


Just FYI, MOSSey3535, 200%/10 years is more like 12% per year. You forgot about compounding. 300%/10 years is about 15% per year.
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Jul 24, 2003
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mossy--if the nhl wanted credibility, they would have let forbes examine their books. then we'd know for certain. one thing for certain is that forbes found revenue streams that were definitely unreported or unaccounted for in levitt's report. how does the nhl explain that one?

levitt's credibility can easily be called into question because he is not an independent auditor. he was paid by the nhl. forbes is far from an "amateurish" magazine. i say let forbes do a followup report, only this time let them have full access to their books.

again, the nhlpa fully recognizes that the league is losing money--no one denies that, and i'm not sure why you make an issue of it. however, when the league inflates the numbers in attempt to create public support for their side, then we need to question their credibility.

if the nhlpa proposed solutions that would create a savings of $100 million for the league, and the losses totalled around $100 million, then the public would say, "hey, the players are trying their best to fix the problem, the league doesn't need a cap". but when the league comes back with a number like $225 million, then the public says, "whoa, the players are way overpaid if the best they can do is cut the losses in half. maybe the owners are correct, the league needs a cap".

this is a natural reaction.

and no, collusion is not the only way for owners to have their foolish spending curtailed. the other solution is called a luxury tax, and if the penalties are stiff enough, would serve as a strong disincentive for overspending on players. who would actually be stupid enough to suggest collusion as a solution?
Newbie
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Nov 12, 2004
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Chilliwack BC
wow...i swear bettman and goodenough have been here to post...
everyone has made very good points but i`m leaning with the owners manely
because i myself LOVE to play hockey and if i were an nhl player i would be more vocal to get the nhl fixed so i can PLAY...the money will turn out to be enough...really it will.
players make too much to play. yes just look at this word for a few seconds...PLAY...
ask any kid today if a million a year would be enough for them to pursue an nhl career. the nhlpa has no business negotiating for future players, let them do it themselves when the time comes and just PLAY...there`s that word again.

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