This past weekend it was confirmed the NHL submitted a new proposal to the union Thursday afternoon. According to reports, the latest offer is approximately 300 pages and is the most “comprehensive proposal” the league has submitted in months.
While the NHLPA takes the time to review the proposal over the weekend, I would recommend everyone remain cautiously optimistic. I’m sure the union will craft a counter offer, since the rumored drop-dead date to start a 48 game season is January 19th. Meaning an agreement would have to be in place sometime during the 2nd week of January. In other words, the NHLPA has time to squeeze the league for a little bit more.
Below are the key highlights of the proposal and what I think are non-issues and key sticking points.
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Photo: Bruce Fedyck, US Presswire
Following up on our post last week regarding the Evander Kane “trade rumor”, I decided to see what a Winnipeg Jets blogger would want in exchange for Kane. I reached out to Arctic Ice Hockey for a few reasons, but mostly because they are Jets bloggers who are very familiar with advanced metrics. After all, that blog used to be the BTN blog before the Thrashers moved to Winnipeg.
Let’s start with what Kane is. He is one of the very few 20-year old 30-goal scorers. The list of players who have accomplished the feat is rather short and filled with big names, of which most are Hall of Fame caliber players. The one notable exception is Eric Daze, but he’s the exception to the rule.
When I initially wrote about Kane, I mentioned that the cost would likely start at a young roster player, a top prospect, and a pick. When speaking with AIH (full conversation here), we agreed that the quality of the players would really drive the cost. For the Rangers, I started off with Carl Hagelin (scoring LW who plays solid defense), Brady Skjei (top prospect), and a first round pick (theoretical, as we are aware the Rangers don’t have one this year). It’s an offer that I believe to be on the low side, and AIH agreed.
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Assuming an NHL season begins at some stage this year the Rangers and the entire league will need to get back to work and get ready in double quick time. Camps will be abbreviated, preseason games likely minimal. Players might not be at 100% to begin the shortened season and depth could severely be tested.
It’s the combination of these troubling reasons why many clubs may look for external, short term help in positions of need and in the Rangers case they made need to add a defenseman with legitimate NHL ability. Enter a guy like Paul Ranger.
Once a promising (albeit flawed) defenseman with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Ranger has begun a comeback with the Toronto Marlies after an extended break from hockey. And to begin with he’s doing very well. Of course, the Rangers may well turn to Matt Gilroy whose own comeback – of a different kind – isn’t going badly either. However, much has been made of Rangers impressive fitness upon his return and a +7 rating, 6 points in 12 games and impressive size (6’3, 200+ lbs) make him an intriguing option. Oh, and he’s on an AHL only deal with the Marlies so could be tempted with an NHL contract too.
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Image: Getty Images
Gary Bettman became NHL commissioner on February 1, 1993, and has been in this position for almost 20 years. Under Bettman, the league has seen three work stoppages, but also unparalleled growth. While many believe the league over expanded in the Bettman era, it’s worth evaluating each move/relocation to see where the faults/successes were.
There were six new teams added to the league under Bettman’s reign –keep in mind that San Jose (1991), Ottawa (1992), and Tampa Bay (1992) all joined the league before Bettman took over as commissioner, so they are omitted from this evaluation– and five relocations. The grades (Pass or Fail) are based on both team success and financial success.
1993 – Anaheim Mighty Ducks enter league
It took the Ducks three years to make the playoffs following expansion to Anaheim, and they even made it to the second round in 1996 before losing to the Red Wings. Following the acquisition of Scott Niedermayer and (re)acquisition of Teemu Selanne in 1995, the Ducks became a legitimate Stanley Cup contender behind their two leaders and J.S. Giguere, who had single-handedly taken the team to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2003. The Ducks won the Cup in 2007, but have been relatively irrelevant in postseason hockey since.
Despite their successes, the Ducks have been losing roughly $8 million per year and average roughly 86% capacity in attendance numbers. A second team in the LA area likely wasn’t a good idea. Grade: Fail.
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In an extremely generous gesture that will also appeal to the fans, Brad Richards and Scott Hartnell have co-organized “Operation Hat Trick,” a Sandy relief game featuring some of the NHL’s top players.
Next Saturday at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, Richards, who has been actively helping the effort on Staten Island, and Hartnell will lead squads that include NHL stars: Bobby Ryan, Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Dan Carcillo, James van Riemsdyk, Justin Williams, Simon Gagne, Ville Leino, Ryan Callahan, Steve Eminger, Jeff Halpern, Brian Boyle, Jody Shelley and James Neal.
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The Oilers might look to move a forward.
It’s easy to lose little bits of information in the lockout-centric focus of the NHL media nowadays. But Ryan Lambert picked up one fine tidbit that will sure get the rumor mills started. This one involves Kevin Lowe and the Edmonton Oilers, where in a statement that really shouldn’t shock anyone, the Oilers may look to deal from their strength to address roster holes:
You’re going into a game with lots of trump cards. That’s the only way you can make deals is if you have assets that are attractive to other teams. When you have assets then you can make deals.
So, absolutely, we’re at some point, whenever that is, we’re probably not too far down the road, we’re going to have to make some tough choices and maybe move some players, or a player, draft picks, to get a piece or two that finishes off the formation of what you feel is a championship team.
As Lambert points out in his article, this means that Lowe will –at some point– have to deal from his large stockpile of young offensive forwards with tons of offensive potential. The prize he will be looking for will be some top defensive help (top-two) and/or a top goaltender.
Naturally, Lambert throws the Rangers in as a potential suitor, and uses Michael Del Zotto as a potential target. So, are the Rangers and Oilers solid trading partners?
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Seeing as today is the NHL’s self imposed deadline for a full year, and seeing as how that is about as likely to happen as me hitting Powerball, I say we lighten the mood with two bits of relatively good news.
First, in case you missed in, the Islanders will be tenants in Brooklyn’s Barclays Center as of 2015 for 25 years. That’s a whole lot of years, but it’s good news because it keeps the Islanders on the East Cost and –more importantly– in the Atlantic Division.
Why is keeping the Islanders in the Atlantic important?
Well, it is one of the best rivalries in sports, and it would have been a shame to see it go to Kansas City. But for a more selfish reason, I point to realignment. Realignment is going to happen regardless because of the Winnipeg move, but an Isles move to KC would have forced the league’s hand. And I have a sneaking suspicion that if the Atlantic loses a team, then the Caps wind up in the Atlantic. Call it a hunch.
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When I first read a text message this morning from one of my friends about a Deadspin article leaking some NHL focus group documents about the labor dispute, I thought to myself, eh…non-story. Just about every major organization that sells a product or service conducts market research (e.g., focus groups, surveys, polls, etc.) to gauge consumer feedback.
Of course, then I logged on to Twitter and my timeline was blown up with anti-league, anti-ownership and even anti-focus group rants. I guess this is the predictable byproduct of what happens when the uniformed media tries to dissect business strategies.
Here’s what we all know. The NHL is taking a massive PR hit. However, in order for the league to protect their brand image from the relentless negative media coverage, they have to craft a response that fans can digest. By gauging fan’s opinions on the NHL and NHLPA’s labor dispute, the league will be better informed on what messaging works and what doesn’t.
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How will this lockout affect the future?
How will the lockout affect the game’s future?
The other night on Twitter I posed this 3-point question:
- How betrayed/disrespect do you feel by the NHL and NHLPA?
- How much does that really matter to your interest?
- Bottom line: will it really stop you from spending money on tickets?
Plenty of Rangers fans are outraged and insist this latest work stoppage is an unforgivable foul. I suspect that some of the fan base has really been turned off, but not a big enough part to make any difference; the Garden will still fill up.
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By now you are probably aware that the chance of the season starting on time remains pretty low. You’ve heard the rhetoric and you may have come across some attempts at number crunching. However, the fact of the matter is the media and the respective parties involved haven’t done a great job at communicating what both sides need in order for the sport to continue to grow and prosper. All you are getting are calculated opinions, half truths and secondary issues that are only meant to distract you from the core issue. How do we grow and split the pie?
What a fair CBA should look like
In my humble opinion, the pie (also known has hockey related revenue) should be split 50/50. This past year the split was 57/43 in favor of the players. Obviously a split of this nature is not sustainable. The way the business world operates in 2012 is far different than it did in 2005. Whether it is wages, travel costs, healthcare costs, lack of access to credit, etc., the price of doing business in this country has increased dramatically over the last several years and I think most people understand that.
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