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  1. #1
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    Enjoy Flyers Cup Run - Lockout Looming

    `
    With this new Flyers' team, we will have an exciting 82-game Regular Season.

    Come the 2nd week of April, our Flyers will be a fine-tuned engine at forward, on the defence, and in goal, ready to charge into the playoffs and into the Cup finals.

    This will be one of the most exciting seasons in recent history - yes, more exciting than the close of the 2009-10 season and the Cup run that ended in disaster.

    We will enjoy every minute of this 2011-12 season, with it's many ups and some downs.

    We must.

    Because the 2012 Lockout is looming.

    Suck it all up, because it may be a while before we have NHL hockey again.

    The NHL-NHLPA CBA expires on September 15, 2012.

    We know that the battle between the new NHLPA Executive Director - Donald Fehr - of feared fame, and NHL head Gary Bettman, is coming - and soon.

    Go Flyers. We need to store-up the memories of a great 2011-12 season and Stanley Cup.

    Veterans Bryzgalov, Pronger, Jagr, Briere, and young stars Giroux, vanRiemsdyk, Schenn, Couturier - lead us . .



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  2. #2
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    More thoughts on a possible NHL lockout


    Last Updated on Wednesday, 6 July 2011 12:51 Written by Lyle Richardson Wednesday, 6 July 2011 12:51


    This summer’s initial blizzard of signings in this summer’s free agent market not only has met with criticism from various pundits and bloggers over the irresponsible spending of general managers, but given rise to concerns over the impact of these and previous expensive signings upon the next round of NHL CBA talks, slated for some time next year.

    No one should be surprised by this kind of talk. An increase in the salary cap by $5 million was bound to result in another frenzy of irresponsible spending, despite the lack of depth of quality star talent in this summer’s UFA market.

    It’s also seen as another indicator the NHL is heading for another lockout next year.

    Given the continuing struggles of several American-based franchise, most in the deep South, and the ever-escalating salary cap resulting in ever-increasing player salaries, it appears this CBA will need more than just a few tweaks, but perhaps an overhaul.

    Of course it remains to be seen what happens between now and September 2012, when the current agreement expires, but it appears the opponents in the next potential labour clash might not simply be owners against players.

    In previous CBA negotiations, the two sides were clearly established.

    The owners, represented by the league commissioner, insisted on “cost certainty”, bringing players salaries under control for fear it would have a detrimental impact upon revenue.

    The players, represented by their union, or “players’ association”, tried to prevent the owners from denying them what they considered their fair share of revenue.

    The opponents in the next round of negotiations however aren’t likely to be so clear cut.

    Sure, the NHLPA will once again try to prevent the league from cutting back their share of revenue via salary rollback and escrow, while many owners will likely attempt to claw back as much of the players revenue pie as possible.

    But the league is currently enjoying a resurgence of popularity in the United States in recent years, forged by exciting new stars like Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin, new rules which improved the quality of play, exciting Stanley Cup Finals since 2008 featuring at least one Original Six team, and the introduction of the annual Winter Classic outdoor game every New Year’s Day.

    That in turn has resulted in a big surge in league revenue over the last six years, especially for clubs in markets where hockey has a large following.

    Any kind of work stoppage, be it lockout or strike, for even a few weeks could have an adverse effect upon that resurgence, and thus threatening those revenue streams.

    One has to wonder how keen the owners of teams in Toronto, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago and Vancouver would be to have their revenues jeopardized by even the hint of another possible work stoppage, especially one which, this time, really would be to save struggling franchises, unlike the last two times, when it was merely a smokescreen for the real intent of crushing the militant leadership of the NHLPA.

    Count the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, once considered “small market”, into that group too. Those franchises were saved, not by the salary cap, but the steady increase in the value of the Canadian dollar, which not only significantly increased their revenue, but also made it possible for them to spend big money almost annually on their own talent or free agents.

    It would certainly be ironic if the Flames and Oilers were amongst the teams unwilling to stage a lockout to save struggling American based franchises.

    The next round of labor talks will center around the fact several teams – specifically, Phoenix Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes, Nashville Predators, Florida Panthers, and the New York Islanders – are struggling to survive under the current CBA, which was supposedly designed to save them.

    Already the league has been forced to accept the loss of their Atlanta market, as the Thrashers were sold and moved to Winnipeg, while the Coyotes remain without ownership two years after former owner Jerry Moyes declared the club bankrupt and attempted to sell it to Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie.

    It’s been a tendency amongst pundits to call those clubs “small market”. They’re not. Almost all those teams are located in the biggest markets in North America. For the most part, their problem isn’t location, but rather, how they’ve been run over the years.

    It’s anticipated the Coyotes, currently owned by the league, could be relocated – perhaps to Quebec City – if a new owner willing to keep the club in Arizona isn’t found by next spring.

    The Predators have been improving at the gate, and seem the more stable of the aforementioned teams, but it’s a safe bet their ownership group will seek to lower the current salary cap levels and stump for players to receive lower percentage of revenue.

    Ditto the Hurricanes, the 2006 Stanley Cup champions, who have a devoted fan base, but continue to scrimp by on lower payrolls, unable or unwilling to invest more money in improving their roster.

    The fan bases of the Blue Jackets, Panthers and Islanders have steadily declined for years to a combination of on-ice mediocrity and an unwillingness or inability of their respective ownership to keep pace with a rising salary cap.

    Those clubs will likely not only be at the vanguard of reducing salaries, but perhaps also at increasing revenue sharing, which isn’t likely to go down well with their wealthier brethren, whose resistance to such a scheme during the previous lockout resulted in such a convoluted process under the current system that it is usually of little help to the clubs which need it most.

    Even if the owners are all on the same page once again and determined to slash the players revenue share, unless they push this time for a hard salary cap which isn’t tied to revenue, they’re only going to see the same problem again down the road.

    And a hard cap might not be acceptable to clubs who have no problem spending big bucks on their rosters, who believe they should be allowed to spend whatever they want since they can afford to do so.

    A better way to address the issue might be increased revenue sharing and a luxury tax, but again, the richer teams will probably be reluctant to share more of their money bailing out their poorly run, less successful peers.

    Even then, increased revenue sharing or a luxury tax won’t make general managers smarter, anymore than putting the burden upon the players once again for the excesses and mismanagement of management will resolve the problem.

    The players have given back enough, as the salary cap dropped their percentage of revenue from the lofty 74% claimed by the league in 2004 (other sources put it more at 65%) to the maximum of 57% today, thanks to the overall salary cap, the cap on maximum salaries, bonuses and rookie contracts, plus the 24 percent salary rollback in 2005 on existing contracts, and the seemingly annual clawback in recent years by escrow.

    Forcing them into slashing their share of the pie even further will only increase the wealth of the larger teams, although most of them would likely prefer the right to spend whatever they want, but won’t make poorly managed teams improve, nor prevent top stars from getting top dollar, or general managers from overpaying for second tier talent via free agency, or gambling on the development of young talent, or investing too much in ageing talent.

    It will require real imagination and creativity, from all the owners, and from the NHLPA, to craft an agreement which would work to the benefit of everyone. Sadly, both are traits that have been sadly lacking in previous negotiations, and are unlikely to be utilized in the next round of talks.

    What could ultimately determine a work stoppage could be the willingness of the players to accept still more cuts to their share of the revenue.

    Despite hiring noted MLBPA honcho Donald Fehr as the executive director of the PA, it’s quite possible the players simply lack the stomach for another contentious battle with the league.

    That could be something the team owners are gambling on, that the players – most of whom were in the league during the season-killing lockout of 2004-05, forced to find work overseas or training at home – aren’t willing to go through that uncertainty and disappointment again.

    The overall feeling could be to accept the rollbacks and cuts, and just hope Fehr can still work out an agreement which keeps the cap tied to revenues, while protecting the rights they still have (arbitration, unrestricted free agency eligibility in their mid-twenties, movement clauses and most importantly, guaranteed contracts) and perhaps getting a cap on escrow payments.

    If the players lack the will for another contentious round of negotiations which could put another season at risk, the owners will get what they want, but it won’t improve the lot of struggling, badly managed American-based franchises.

    And that could bring about the real possibility of the one word nobody wants to hear in NHL headquarters: contraction.

    http://spectorshockey.net/wordpress/...e-nhl-lockout/


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    Brooks: NHL allowed small markets to spend as ‘evidence’ for tighter cap restrictions


    by George Malik on 07/10/11 at 07:24 AM ET
    Kuklas Korner

    As far as the New York Post’s Larry Brooks is concerned, the NHL very happily witnessed its small-market teams spending money like it was on fire this summer very specifically because it plans to use “small-market insanity” as evidence to bolster its case that the salary cap should be rolled back, front-loaded contracts should be all but banned and the players’ share of revenues are “getting out of hand” and must be reduced (never mind that it’s Gary Bettman’s high cap floor and narrow payroll range that’s thrown the wrench into the sanity proceedings) during the next round of CBA negotiations:

    The league opened the door with every intention of slamming it shut next time around and of hoisting the front-loaders on their own gold-plated petards. Bettman and his canny legal team, with aid from unwitting allies or dupes in the NHL Players’ Association office who never once consulted with Kovalchuk before authorizing a collective bargaining agreement amendment in his name, created a perfect storm in which small-minded small-marketers, their uninformed mouthpieces in the media and the GM of the Maple Leafs spent the week throwing around the term, “circumvention,” contrary to the facts.

    Forget the nine-year deals both Richards and Bryzgalov signed. The Kovalchuk Amendment not only allows, but encourages an 18-year front-loaded deal for a 21-year-old coming off Entry Level, under which nearly all of the money is packed into the first 10 years as long as the final nine seasons are established at $1M apiece.

    That’s the formula that would get Steven Stamkos on an offer sheet. That’s the formula that would get Drew Doughty. That’s the formula (though adjusted for a 13-year deal running through age 40) that most assuredly would have gotten Zach Parise, which is exactly why the Devils filed for salary arbitration and thus removed the winger from the market.

    Anyone who thinks this week caught the NHL by surprise is kidding himself or herself. This is what the league wanted to use as evidence that the system is hopelessly broken and tilted in favor of the big markets — the system, of course, that Bettman, counsel Bob Batterman and the Board invented and painted as a utopia the last time around.

    Next time, the NHL is going to introduce the ultimate one-size-fits-all cap. Percentage of the gross will be dramatically reduced. The midpoint will essentially become the cap, with the ceiling and floor separated by perhaps $4M-$6M. Deviations of salary within a contract will be kept to a minimum. The cap charge will be defined by the average of the three-to-five highest salaried seasons. Contracts will be kept to a minimum of five-to-seven years. And the calling card, as if one is required in an era where owners in every sport except baseball are in complete command of the labor landscape, will be last week.

    The league put out the bait. The Rangers and the Flyers (and the Sabres, who may be a small market team by definition, but have an owner with a big market mentality) took it, as well they should have. Sixth Avenue couldn’t be more gratified.

    If the NHL chooses to “save” itself from its general managers by further screwing around with the payroll range, nothing will change for the better as long as the cap’s determined by league-wide revenues. The floor won’t drop and teams will continue to overspend despite Bettman’s further attempts to reach “blessed parity.”

    http://www.kuklaskorner.com/index.ph...ter_cap_restr/


    `

  4. #4
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    If there is another long term lockout in hockey, the NHL is done for good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyc77 View Post
    If there is another long term lockout in hockey, the NHL is done for good.
    hate to say it but i gotta agree with this. hockey has become a little more popular over the last few years, but a long lockout would kill the sport.


    it's a shame really. it's the best sport no one seems to care about. i mean, christ, it's not lacrosse, or golf, or even tennis (even though tennis is one of my favorite sports).


    hockey is my favorite sport to attend live. such an electrifying atmosphere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phillyeaglesman View Post
    hate to say it but i gotta agree with this. hockey has become a little more popular over the last few years, but a long lockout would kill the sport.


    it's a shame really. it's the best sport no one seems to care about. i mean, christ, it's not lacrosse, or golf, or even tennis (even though tennis is one of my favorite sports).


    hockey is my favorite sport to attend live. such an electrifying atmosphere.
    Also. they currently have the 2nd best cap structure in all of sports except for football but that may change after the NFL's new CBA. It's a difficult balance to have a system that allows all teams to stay competetive and the players to get paid fairly as well.

    The only major change I would be in favor of is dispersing of several of these "small market, hot weather" franchises and either relocation them or doing away with them all together. Florida, Phoenix, ect should either relocate or not exist.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeyc77 View Post
    Also. they currently have the 2nd best cap structure in all of sports except for football but that may change after the NFL's new CBA. It's a difficult balance to have a system that allows all teams to stay competetive and the players to get paid fairly as well.

    The only major change I would be in favor of is dispersing of several of these "small market, hot weather" franchises and either relocation them or doing away with them all together. Florida, Phoenix, ect should either relocate or not exist.
    agreed. to be honest, i've always thought Hamilton would be a great place for a hockey organization.

    places like FLA, PHX, TB, even Columbus really shouldn't have a franchise.

    frankly i'm surprised LA has been able to do alright.

    hockey is my favorite sport to watch. if all sports were to lockout, i would miss hockey the most. truthfully, i would. there's nothing better than playoff hockey. nothing.

  8. #8
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    Was there a luxury tax before the last lockout?

    Also, revenue sharing only works if the teams receiving payments use that money to develop talent and add payroll, see: Pittsburgh Pirates.
    Last edited by smking619; 07-10-2011 at 01:31 PM.
    Prepare to experience sexual magic.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillyeaglesman View Post
    agreed. to be honest, i've always thought Hamilton would be a great place for a hockey organization.

    places like FLA, PHX, TB, even Columbus really shouldn't have a franchise.

    frankly i'm surprised LA has been able to do alright.

    hockey is my favorite sport to watch. if all sports were to lockout, i would miss hockey the most. truthfully, i would. there's nothing better than playoff hockey. nothing.
    I would be all for moving those franchises(especially Florida, Phoenix, and Columbus...Tampa has at least had some success as a franchise). I really like the idea of moving a team to Hamilton. I would also like to see Quebec get a team again and then maybe Kitchener or London too. Hockey is like a way of life in Canada, and with the addition of a Winnipeg team, and if these franchises moved to other cities in Canada, I think it would dramatically help the sport. It would make it so 1/3 of hockey teams are from Canadian cities. Its all but a sure bet that teams in Quebec, Hamilton, and either Kitchener/ London would have a larger fanbase than the teams currently in Phoenix, Florida, and Columbus.

  10. #10
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    Article today -



    Observer-Reporter


    John Steigerwald

    Sunday, July 10, 2011 3:32 AM



    >> If you're a hockey fan, you should fear Donald Fehr.

    A lot.


    He's the guy who gave you what is now Major League Baseball. Of course, he couldn't have done it without the full cooperation of the Idiots Who Run Baseball. Now, he is the head of the NHL Players Association.

    The NHL's collective bargaining agreement runs out in September of 2012. Here's what Fehr said about the salary cap a few weeks ago, "In my judgment, the lynchpin of the labor peace you've had in baseball for a very long time is in fact the revenue sharing agreement. There is no cap in baseball, but it's the revenue sharing agreement that made it work."

    That's why there is nothing to fear but Fehr himself.

    The revenue sharing agreement brought labor peace because the large market teams were able to buy off the mid and small market teams just enough to keep them happy while the big market teams continued to make large profits and maintain their ridiculous competitive advantage.

    MLB teams are making money. If the small and medium markets were losing money the way the NHL's small and medium markets were losing money before the 2004 lockout, the small/medium markets would have held out for a salary cap.

    The NHL has several low revenue teams which are struggling to maintain the salary floor while still making a profit. They are vulnerable to be bought off by the NHL large market/high revenue teams the way baseball's little guys were bought off.

    And you had better believe that Fehr knows it.

    I know it's possible, but I just can not get a picture in my mind of Fehr announcing that he had just negotiated a deal that includes a salary cap.

    The Penguins would be OK for a while without a salary cap, but they would eventually become the Pirates. <<

    John Steigerwald writes a Sunday column for the Observer-Reporter. His website is justwatchthegame.com


    http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/...11-Steigerwald


    `

  11. #11
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    Looks like ABRO believes the sky is falling...thanks!!

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    I would like to see Quebec get another team and actually Newfoundland in St. Johns has a decent facility already in place and a good size population. Plus they don't really have much else to do. They are so proud of their province there. If you called them the St. John's Screetchers they would be so proud.

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    The issue with the US-based teams isn't size or economic means. Every US city with an NHL franchise has (on paper) a more than sufficient ability to support a professional sports franchise.

    The biggest issue here is marketing and brand development. As we've all said, hockey is a sport that (basically) sells itself. Playoff hockey is captivating. The NHL has the violence of the NFL and the pace of the NBA. It has the drama of baseball without the not-so-good rest of baseball.

    What's missing here are teams that are willing to give now to get later. Nashville has finally started to "get it" with their recent promotions, publicity for star players like Weber, Rinne, Suter, etc. Most of the other small-market teams that are struggling aren't doing much (if anything) to help themselves out of the hole they are currently in. When that happens, the CBA isn't to blame. The owners and management are to blame. And the NHL needs to have an enhanced ability to "encourage" problematic owners to handle their business in the best possible way. Having perennially "bad" teams does nothing but hurt the entire NHL.

    The great thing about the NHL salary cap is that small and mid market teams can genuinely compete with major-market teams. I do think some changes are needed to the system, and I think I'll be outlining them in a soon-to-be-published B/R op-ed, but overall, this CBA has been good for hockey.

    Comcast going national has and will continue to be good for hockey.

    But most importantly: the NFL and NBA on strike will be GREAT for hockey. Come November, if neither of those situations are resolved, the NHL is the only professional game in town.

    As we've said before: hockey sells itself. If the average American fan is "forced" to watch the NHL to meet his/her weekly sports quota, I think a large number will become addicted. A lockout would RUIN that momentum.

    The NHL and the NHLPA need to conduct their negotiations in world-class style. They need to show transparency and mutual respect. They need to show the world that they are different. In today's world, nothing would resonate more with "ordinary americans" than a major professional organization doing the right thing by its FANS first. Talk about setting the bar high for the other leagues that are failing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ace23 View Post
    The issue with the US-based teams isn't size or economic means. Every US city with an NHL franchise has (on paper) a more than sufficient ability to support a professional sports franchise.

    The biggest issue here is marketing and brand development. As we've all said, hockey is a sport that (basically) sells itself. Playoff hockey is captivating. The NHL has the violence of the NFL and the pace of the NBA. It has the drama of baseball without the not-so-good rest of baseball.

    What's missing here are teams that are willing to give now to get later. Nashville has finally started to "get it" with their recent promotions, publicity for star players like Weber, Rinne, Suter, etc. Most of the other small-market teams that are struggling aren't doing much (if anything) to help themselves out of the hole they are currently in. When that happens, the CBA isn't to blame. The owners and management are to blame. And the NHL needs to have an enhanced ability to "encourage" problematic owners to handle their business in the best possible way. Having perennially "bad" teams does nothing but hurt the entire NHL.

    The great thing about the NHL salary cap is that small and mid market teams can genuinely compete with major-market teams. I do think some changes are needed to the system, and I think I'll be outlining them in a soon-to-be-published B/R op-ed, but overall, this CBA has been good for hockey.

    Comcast going national has and will continue to be good for hockey.

    But most importantly: the NFL and NBA on strike will be GREAT for hockey. Come November, if neither of those situations are resolved, the NHL is the only professional game in town.

    As we've said before: hockey sells itself. If the average American fan is "forced" to watch the NHL to meet his/her weekly sports quota, I think a large number will become addicted. A lockout would RUIN that momentum.

    The NHL and the NHLPA need to conduct their negotiations in world-class style. They need to show transparency and mutual respect. They need to show the world that they are different. In today's world, nothing would resonate more with "ordinary americans" than a major professional organization doing the right thing by its FANS first. Talk about setting the bar high for the other leagues that are failing.
    Excellent, insightful, post.

    `

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    Today's article, below, portrays the next step - after the Comcast takeover of NBC.

    We all know how aggressive a corporation Comcast is, as it has built itself into a giant conglomerate with $37.937 Billion in revenue in 2010.

    Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider has turned his boss, Comcast Chairman, President, and CEO, Brian Roberts, into an avid Flyers fan. We see Roberts with Snider often at Flyers' games in Suite #7, the Comcast luxury box at the Wells Fargo Center.

    Now Comcast has the majority ownership of NBC. Powerful.

    Comcast has installed their own man to head NBC Sports.

    These are very good developments for the NHL, NHL on TV, and the potential stability of NHL franchises in the US.

    And now, we read this article this morning:


    NBC Takes Over Sale Responsibilities For The NHL


    by Paul on 07/11/11 at 09:31 AM ET
    Kuklas Korner


    NEW YORK (July 11, 2011) – Following April’s landmark, 10-year media rights agreement with NBC, the National Hockey League (NHL®) and the NBC Sports Group announced today that the two companies are strengthening their relationship even further by creating a unique, groundbreaking sales venture that will streamline national U.S. NHL media sales for the next five years.

    NHL media sales for all national platforms—NBC, VERSUS, NBCSports.com, NHL Network™, NHL mobile and all official NHL digital sites, including NHL.com — will be sold by the NBC Sports Group Sales Department, which will be bolstered by absorbing NHL media sales employees. All traffic generated by official NHL digital sites, including NHL.com, will now be attributed to NBC Sports Digital.

    The agreement excludes current and future NHL official marketing partners, who will continue to purchase media through the NHL Integrated Sales Department. Financial terms of this new agreement, which continues through the 2015-16 season, were not disclosed.

    “Joining forces with NBC enables us to go to the marketplace with unprecedented strength,” said NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins.

    “We’ll be able to accelerate the growth of our business by providing our sales talent to the strong sales team at NBC, which is already selling the NHL across NBC and VERSUS as well as the Olympics, the Super Bowl and other gold standard events. This venture creates an efficient, powerful way for us to bring the young, tech savvy NHL demographic to advertisers across multiple platforms.”

    “This agreement is the archetype for a sports property and its national media partner, and it speaks to the strength and long-term commitment of our partnership,” said Seth Winter, Senior Vice President, NBC Sports Group Sales & Marketing. “Sports marketers will benefit because of the unprecedented single voice that allows them to purchase national network television, cable television and digital media for one major sports property in only one place.”

    http://www.kuklaskorner.com/index.ph...s_for_the_nhl/


    `

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