Sunday, December 30, 2012
1) That's the summery of what we have learned about the CBA situation. The NHLPA has basically been in "informational acquisition" mode the past 36 hours since they first recieved the 'new NHL' proposal. There have been numerous clarifications the players wanted from the league. As has been their M.O., the leaked crap from the pro NHL media wasn't close to the real/whole story. That was why we held our opinion Friday when it seemed everyone else was declaring the lockout at an end. It is NOT over folks. Not even close to it.
2) The parts that the pro-NHL media sycophants left out was that the league was demanding a hard salary cap of 60 million next season(2013-14) That would in effect be an immediate 15% pay cut for the players. Whats more, the celebrated amnesty buy out of 1 contract after this season (assuming there is one) is NOT such a great deal for the players. For it comes out of their already reduced share, NOT from the owners who were the ones who signed the 'bad' contract. If the owners were the ones to pay for this buy out (and in reality there would probably be less than 10 such buyouts) we would laud this part of the NHL offer.
the union to not accept the 60 mil cap, but propose a more modest drop to around 65-66. They will counter with the suggestion that the owners pay for the 'buy outs'. Additionally, they will counter with FA contract max to be 8 years, 10 for same teams, and a 15% salary 'varience' from year to year (NOT from the start to end of the contract) We expect the reaction to be of utter dismay/agitation from the NHL/Bettman. The usual pro NHL media will do their expected anti Fehr articles of how he is the one responsible for the season getting scuttled. On their side the union will state they will allow the 1/2/13 deadline to implement their dissolution of the union to pass. An attempt to retain some good will/PR. The next move will be the NHL's. Can/will they move so we have a season? Or are the really going to 'die on the hill'. Right now a person we trust tells Fauxrumors 'Its 70:30 we don't play hockey this year". When we asked 'this season or this year, he didn't want to answer. Ominous indeed. Stay tuned folks! Oh, and Happy New Year!
Friday, December 28, 2012
1) The media frenzy over the 'leaked' "new offer" from the NHL is utterly amazing. Since he first was fed, er 'leaked' the new proposal from the NHL, Eklund and the other league-friendly media have been proclaiming this as a major concession, and that the season will definitely be saved. Some have even gone on to say the league has set Saturday January 19th as the start of the (2012)-2013 season. Yet, every player who we could contact, and every source who knows players could not find one who has heard any of the specifics BEFORE it was in the hands of the media. To say that Eklund's assertion that he got the proposal from a player doesn't pass the sniff test is an understatement! Clearly this was a planned NHL leak. Yet another 'end around' attempt to sway the players BEFORE their representatives (Fehr) can first look at it and discuss it.
2) Now, we are hearing the players will have a conference call later today, but you can bet your ass that the NHL put this proposal out there publicly to apply pressure off themselves and on to the NHLPA. Yet another tactic being employed. We won't comment on the specifics of the 'new proposal' as no one has seen it! All the media reports are WAY premature, and going over board. Don't we learn from history folks? The NHL did this very thing back in September. Put out publicly their 'concession-laiden' detailed CBA proposal and dared the players to reject it. No doubt the usual pro-NHL media sycophants will be demanding an immediate vote by the NHLPA on the proposal.
3) We at Fauxrumors on the other hand want to hear/read the details for ourselves, and unlike others, will hold judgement until we have facts to judge! Our sources tell us that after the conference call the NHLPA hierarchy will draft their response to the league. It is then that we will know if this is a real offer to negotiate from the NHL, or as we suspect, yet another ploy. Stay tuned folks its gonna be a fun 48-72 hours!
Thursday, December 27, 2012
playing a high stakes game of brinkmanship with the NHLPA. The word that we are hearing from our well placed sources is that the league is daring the players to file their 'disclaimer of interest' (deadline 1/2/13). They probably won't make any attempt to broker a deal until that deadline is passed. Their thinking is that they (the NHL) would be at a disadvantage in the talks and under the gun. The NHL wants the players to feel the pressure, not them. "Its so silly to be where we are" is what one source tells us. " In reality we are a smidgen apart". So what gives?
2) Yes, as we have written before, its about Donald Fehr! Gary Bettman fears that Fehr will use any leverage he can to get his clients a better deal. The irony is that even the worst deal the owners could get at this point is still a clear victory for them. Why they are causing further harm to the game is beyond logical. So what will happen Faux? No one can be sure, but from what we can surmise the players will be forced into filing their disclaimer and at that point the NHL will announce a drop dead date on 1/15/13. Either drop the premise of dissolving the union or its all out (legal) warfare and the season is toast and the only dates we will see on our calendar will be court dates. Players will file literally hundreds of law suits. In turn the NHL will file hundreds of their own. Yes, it can, and very likely will get VERY ugly after the New Year. The NHL version of the 'fiscal cliff' is coming about the same time as the US government's. The NHL as we know it might never be seen again. Franchises may not survive this nuclear fall out. Its insane, but unlike the Cold War when 'mutually Assured Destruction' (MAD)kept the peace, the NHL has no such fear.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
1) I read with amusement the ideas that Pierre LeBrun published this morning. He goes on to list "10 ways for NHL to recover from lockout". Now, I generally like his columns. He actually knows the game, and attempts to analyze situations with the fans perspective in mind. However here I believe he 'jumped the shark'. Why? Simply, BEFORE we can discuss ways to improve things, we have to have something to 'improve'!! Until there is a tentative deal in place any other discussions are pointless. For the damage is already done BUT will be FAR worse if the entire season in cancelled and possibly be light years worse if the stalemate goes to the courts and next season appears to be in jeopardy as well. All those things are still plausible, so its VERY premature to have this discussion.
2) Now, as for the suggestions, some are decent.
- We like his 20 year CBA idea. Would give the NHL necessary stability to recover.
- The suggestion that we feel would have the LEAST possibility of coming to fruition is the 'European expansion' idea. We have discussed this here before 5 years ago. http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2007/10/european-expansion.html We were pessimistic that this could happen then, and my opinion on the matter hasn't changed. Read that post to see why.
- Realignment within the 30 current teams is a no brainer. Its over due as it is.
- I don't like the idea of adding playoff rounds. 16 of 30 is fine. More playoff teams would further make the regular season appear meaningless as it was when 16 of 21 teams made it 20 years ago
- Make the "Center Ice" package Free. Abso-Dam-lutely! Great idea Pierre! We'd make it free for 2 seasons. One for each lost season!
- His 'World Cup idea in mid season sounds great now, but GM's/team owners probably wouldn't be all too happy with the prospect of losing a star player(s) during a playoff run. The Olympics every 4 years is barely tolerable to many. However I am going to say we would be All for such a tournament!
- His other ideas of making the free agency period coincide with the draft and having all teams together on trade deadline day wouldn't get the average fan excited here in the states. Yes, it would be huge in Canada, but that's not where the NHL would need to repair its damage as much as the non traditional markets its attempted to grow in the states the past 2 decades
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
1) Firstly we here at FAUXRUMORS want to thank each and every one of our many loyal readers. We wouldn't be here without you!
2) During this all too long hockey hiatus, we at the FAUXRUMORS group, want to wish all of you and yours the best this holiday season! We will be back, covering the lock out nonsense in earnest tomorrow. Until then we at FAUXRUMORS want to say :MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!
Thursday, December 20, 2012
absolutly outrageous! For those who are reading this and are unaware of this silly situation: Yesterday Winnipeg Jet forward Evander Kane posted a tweet containing a picture of himself holding stacks of cash on a Las Vegas hotel balcony. It was obviously done as a joke, etc. It wasn't a particularly good one, and perhaps had more 'inside' meaning, but nonetheless it should have ended there. However the media, especially in Canada, not having much hockey to discuss these days took off with the story. Taking it places it had no reason to go. Starting with the 'insensitivity' to how Kane is apparently young and spoiled, etc.
2) Few know the Kane family story, but its FAR from privileged. He comes from a large family hardly well off. Yes, he has achieved at a young age what few will ever attain, but he doesn't deserve this level of criticism for a simple, innocent picture. Whats even more amazing is that writers who apparently have issues with the forward are using it to attempt to run him out of town! Case in point, the article by Gary Lawless in the Winnipeg Free Press In his opinion article he makes the very provocative mention that " Kane's Days are Numbers in 'Peg". When I read that I said out loud, what the F%$k??? Are you kidding me? He then goes on to use unnamed players who aren't happy with Kane, etc. We could find NO players to back up the story. To put it simply Lawless's story was a hit piece. A piece of shit is more like it. However he wasn't the only writer or twitter(er) who was making similar bizarre/stupid statements.
3) So why? Well there are two obvious issues here. One we already mentioned. There is little else to discuss in Canada visa vie hockey. Even the CBA discussion has little news to disseminate and columns still need to be filled with something, so we get this kind of tripe from otherwise decent hockey writers. The other is more insidious but no less true. There is no doubt some racism in play here. Had Kane been Caucasian we do not believe the hoopla surrounding the picture would have ever been anything more than a 2 minute story. No mention of poor image, and certainly no mention of team mates having personal issues with him (when there are none to be found!) The kid just signed a 6 year extension. He evidently likes playing in Winnipeg. He is a fan favourite for his combination of skill and power forward ability. He isn't a goon but doesn't back down from anyone. If I was starting a team I'd want as many EvanderKanes as I could get. Certainly I think he is a better teammate than the 'other Kane!' Hopefully we'll get a season and this nonsense stops!
Monday, December 17, 2012
1) We are getting mixed signals from our usually reliable sources the past few days. Which is why we have refrained from making any premature posts until today. Some are saying that the latest legal wrangling is simply a last ditch effort by both sides to gain the last bit of traction/leverage before a deal is finally signed within the next couple of weeks at the latest. Still others are telling us that the NHL is soly focused upon the legal aspects and are now ready to go to full war mode to get rid of Donald Fehr who they view as the main obstacle from getting an agreement done.
2) There you have it. Two basically diametrically opposing angles emerging from the same story. How could they be so right/wrong? Because if one is accurate then certainly the other has to be 180 degrees wrong, no? Well, not really, for this is the NHL/NHLPA we're talking about. Sensibility is no where to be found here. Where in reality a deal could/should have been made last spring. If the players were willing to go down to 50 from the beginning, and the owners were willing to accept that from the beginning, all the other issues could have been resolved with intense negotiating from there. After all once the cap is set, the other issues are secondary! The money is guaranteed for both sides. Revenue sharing, once a BIG issue has ostensibly been resolved as well. All we are arguing about is how the players split their share. Basically how the owners prevent themselves from making stupid mistakes. (again)
3) While the NHL (specifically Gary Bettman) can't stand Donald (and Steve) Fehr, and would be giddy if they were able to divide the players like 2005, they also don't want to lose a season over what amounts to 'minor' issues. Therefore the legal tactics they are employing are a last ditch effort to scare the players into dumping Fehr ("not bloody likely" is what a player told us Sunday afternoon) So we believe the mere threat of the players 'disclaiming/decertifying' will cause a sudden flurry of negotiations/a deal very shortly. Ironic that the NHL, which has attempted (in vane) to vilify Fehr, now needs him? They know the chaos that would result in the union ceasing to exist is FAR worse than a world where the Fehr brothers continue to represent the players. After all, and no one would disagree, even if the NHL accepted the players last proposal word for word they would be HUGE winners. So to the NHL they win regardless. Now if we could only convince them that their tactics of prolonging the agony will result in a very hollow victory!
4) Post script: If ever we had confirmation the NHL has a mole(s) in the NHLPA it was with their hastily made court filing Friday to avert a possible first filing by the NHLPA. Evidently the NHL got wind of the NHLPA's intentions and quickly entered their grievance to avert the NHLPA from doing so. How would they know the players intended to vote on 'disclaiming'?? Easy, the mole. We wrote about this person(s) WAY back in July, then in October when the NHL almost as much admitted to having a mole. Read about it here http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-mole.html and here http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2012/10/nhl-acknowleges-mole-in-union.html
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
1) Yes, that's the word we have received from several insiders over the past 24 hours. What we have been told is that since his 'staged', public tantrum Thursday night Gary Bettman has apparently been told by his employers(owners) to get a deal done. Evidently they could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Yes, the same light Fehr informed everyone about Thursday before the Bettman tirade. Through his chief lieutenant, Daly, the NHL reached out to the NHLPA, and a meeting is set at a 'secret location' tomorrow afternoon. We're told its likely a hotel in Toronto. You can be sure the media will soon find out the exact location within an hour of the sides getting together.
2) Why are we optimistic suddenly? Our sources tell us the biggest obstacles between the sides have already been ironed out. That unless one side decides to be a jerk and change their position suddenly, all that needs to be decided are some relatively minor bones of contention. Most of which both sides are not far apart on. "None should be deal breakers". The final CBA will limit the players overall share from the current 54% to an adjusted 52% this abbreviated season down to 51% next season, then 50% the remaining years of the deal. (A form of make whole) The length is likely to be 6 years with a players option to extend it an additional 2 seasons. Contract length will also be curtailed to no more than 8 years for players under 30, and 5 years for players over 30. No year can be differ more than 10% from previous season. UFA age will go from 28 or 8 years of experience to 30 and 10. Entry level will remain 3 seasons as will arbitration eligibility.
3) What hasn't been mentioned/released is will there be a grace/ buyout period? Can teams like Montreal /Islanders buy out the contracts of albatrosses like Gomez/DiPietro? Its likely we're told. What will follow is training camps to commence on or about 12/17. No preseason games ofcourse. The abbreviated schedule to start New years Day and will be a near 50 game season that will stretch all of April (No All Star Break). The latest date for the Cup Final is tentatively set for June 26th. Allowing the draft/awards shows to stay in their current formatted time. Still lots of questions, and the outline we wrote here is still partly in flux, but based upon information from previously reliable sources this will (should) get done before the week is over. Stay tuned folks, when there is a Bettman, things are never totally set! If anyone can 'Fu-Bar' this its The Great Lockout Artist, 'The Bettman'!
Monday, December 10, 2012
the NHL doesn't want to give Donald Fehr any credit in getting a deal done. As some astute writers have already said who also did some digging that a deal in principal should have been easy IF what both sides have told is accurate. That Ron Hainsey was told that 'bringing back Fehr into the negotiations is a 'deal breaker' is all one needs to know where this all stands.
2) Clearly (as we told our readers last week) the owners-players only meeting was all a show. An attempt to 'end around' the Fehrs. Get the players present feeling positive about things (having their home owners there was no coincidence!) then try to get them to sign off without their leader being part of the equation. When that backfired we saw Bettman have a 'hissy fit'. However all those who we asked said it seemed awfully "staged". Bettman is losing it because Fehr doesn’t lose his head. So the commissioner is making a total ass of himself and a laughingstock of the NHL. He’s threatening to lose another entire season, when the NHL going into this lockout had already lost more games to labour disruptions than the three other major North American leagues combined! It’s a game Bettman evidently can not win, because Fehr appears to be at least his equal. Fehr still has the players behind him as solidly as Bettman has the owners in his pocket. All the NHL’s 'end around' tactics, the tricks that worked so well against Bob Goodenow during the 2004-05 lockout, have failed.
3) Sooner or later, Bettman and the owners are going to have to deal with Fehr and to work out a partnership along the peaceful and profitable lines that Fehr helped to establish in Major League Baseball. The problem is that Bettman and the hard-line owners aren’t looking for stability and labour peace, they want total capitulation. Simple as that! The problem with trying to vilify Fehr is that he has a track record. Bud Selig and the owners of MLB learned the hard way that they couldn’t win, and that the best approach for everyone involved was to work with him, rather than trying to make him into the boogeyman. Bettman prefers this scorched-Earth approach. Show rage, threaten and then walk out of the room when you don’t get your way. This hasn’t worked and it isn’t going to work.This latest lockout is going to last as long as it takes Bettman to understand this fundamental truth. Get down to business, and make a deal!
Thursday, December 6, 2012
1) That's the word we are getting from a well placed insider. He tells Fauxrumors that despite the 'optimism' we were being told mainly by management yesterday morning, things in fact have not changed a great deal. "The players side is not happy", is how we were told things remain. He feels that the last 24 hours were just a 'PR stunt' put on for the benefit of not only the media, and fans but just as importantly for the 'moderate owners'. To prevent any possible coup attempts against Bettman/Jacob's rule over the board. They intentionally brought in a couple of owners they knew would appeal to some players (Crosby) and at the very least create a wedge between the players. For if they can fracture the union they are more likely to get the deal they want, and hopefully get Fehr the hell out of the NHLPA all together. A war within the war sort of speak.
2) "You can bet if the face of the league played for San Jose we'd of seen that owner in there". It was No coincidence that the Pens ownership group was used prominently this week, but in reality they held no sway within the Bettman controlled hardliners. It was funny listening to folks ready to give Crosby credit for saving the season. In reality, he was being used as a dupe all along. At best he would have been lauded by some and vilified by many others as a sell out. Much like Trevor Linden was 7 years ago when he went behind Goodenow's back to broker a deal with the NHL. The difference this time is Crosby to his credit, didn't fully play the game the NHL was hoping. He kept Fehr/NHLPA with in the loop at all times. Thus the reason why talks became tense later yesterday when it appeared the Crosby coup wouldn't materialize
3) So now that the niceties from yesterday morning are over and both sides are back to discussing the core issues once again, expect the usual suspects from both sides to reemerge and we'll be right back where we were a week ago; a stalemate with little hope of getting a deal to save the season. Our source, who we legitimately believe in, tells us that " The only way a deal gets done is if the NHL is ready to actually ready to stop treating the players like children". What we believe will come away from this week will galvanize the NHLPA not divide it further when they learn of the attempt they made the past couple of days. If/when things break down later today, it could be a LONG cold winter until both sides reconvene (unless the NHLPA decides to de-certify). Stay tuned folks, looks like its getting bleaker, NOT brighter. Sorry :(
Saturday, December 1, 2012
1) The latest NHL attempt to "end around" the NHLPA is at least a bit more up front this time. If you recall the last time the league attempted to get past the union brass they end-around-attept-fails lifted its gag order among owners and GM's with players. Allowing them "a 48 hour window" with which to discuss the labour situation/the NHL proposal in detail. Attempting to "discuss" the NHL side of things without the "distraction" of having a professional business man/negotiator to cloud their judgement. It was an epic failure and helped re-galvanize the players against the NHL even further.
2) This time the NHL is being out in front in their latest attempt to remove the Fehr brothers. This time after the expected failure of Federal mediation, the NHL proposed that they remove the leaders from each side and just have the players alone discuss the CBA issues directly with the owners. 'Sure, why not', was the union response. BUT the NHL included another proviso: They choose which players and which owners can attend the meeting(s). To that the NHLPA and we at Fauxrumors had the same response: LOL LOL LOL!!!
3) So lets get this strait. The NHL wants a select number of professional businessmen to get together with their selected professional athletes to get a 'fair' business agreement done? Ridiculous at too many levels to list. However, if we were in the players side we'd agree to meet with the owners BUT with OUR list of owners(or all 29 preferably!) as well as our players. Most notably we'd like to see Parise/Suter meet face to face with Craig Leopold and ask him strait away if he ever intended to pay them the $$ he signed them for a few months ago? How about Alex Ovechkin ask Ted Leonsis if he knew all along he wouldn't live up to the long term contract he signed his star player for 5 years ago? Any former Bruin to go in and give Jeremy Jacob's the finger just for the enjoyment. LOL
4) There are several more examples we could add, but the end result is that this will NOT change the issues surrounding the impasse. The players are well educated and this apparent paternalistic attempt by the NHL owners to try to persuade the 'simple minded' players will be an epic failure and its very possible that we could see a heated exchange or two. For as Fehr, an veteran of labour-management wars is very resistant to emotionally responding to threats and intimidation, the players are not as polished. It could get quite ugly. Perhaps that's why the NHL wouldn't want, lets say Harvard educated enforcer George Parros, involved in the talks? ;) Just more wasted time we say. Meanwhile the clock continues to tick down!
Monday, November 26, 2012
1) In a surprising turn of events today the NHL/NHLPA on going discussions took an unexpected twist when federal mediation was agreed to by both sides. Now, for the record it should be explained that there's big difference between "mediator" and "arbitrator".What could be most beneficial, here is it will now be clear who is/isn't negotiating. Now before we get all giddy that this will be a positive development we at Fauxrumors have been told NOT to expect any Earth shattering changes to the dynamics of the impasse. For despite the fact that the FMCS states that its percentage of mediated cases settled is 85-87% the truth of the matter is that fed mediation has poor record in pro sports labor disputes. Most importantly, it's non-binding! Either side can simply walk away from the mediators recommendations. We would have been much more positive if both sides had agreed to "Binding Arbitration". Then we could say a light at the end of the tunnel is here and not an on coming train!
2) Best case scenario is the mediation gives both sides a reality check. However, like before, the willingness to compromise has to come from both sides and mediation won't change the "differing world views" both sides have. We're realists here at Fauxrumors so we don't hold that view. Since the mediation isn’t binding and, by bringing a new person into the discussion, it will likely complicate not improve the situation. We fore see a 'he said, she said' situation developing where each side tries to persuade the mediator of the value of their position thus causing a hardening of feelings and worsening of the overall situation. meanwhile the clock continues to tick away and we lose valuable time.
3) So why did the NHL, who only recently seemed resistant to the idea of bringing in a 3rd party into the mix agree to this? Its simple, said a well placed source, "De-certification scares the Be-Jesus out of the league". Although they kept up a facade that they would prevail in court to fight the NHLPA to decertify and challenge the legality of the lockout, internally they knew it wasn't going to be easy. For unlike the NFL and NBA the NHL has to trod through not only the NLRB in the US, but also the more stringent labour laws in Canada. However all that said, do not expect a significant or any for that matter change in the NHL position. If anything it will tend to harden as we go forward. Many are coming on board with our position that it will take an owner to come out publicly and buck the system before anything meaningful will change. We're also told to ignore the Hamrlik statement. Our sources tell us that his position to 'take what deal we can' is a VERY small minority opinion within the NHLPA. probably less than 5% of the players, mostly older Euros. So unlike 2004 when a sizeable faction was already developing, the players remain united behind Fehr. Hopefully the mediation will do better here than in the Hostess mess.
And the count down clock continues to click down to another lost season. Thanks Mr. Bettman!
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
1) That's the exact quote we received from a very prominent NHL exec tonight with regard how the NHLPA head Donald Fehr handled today's latest negotiations with the NHL. Specifically, just when it appeared the NHL had the association in a corner with their request for the union to put forth a detailed proposal, the NHLPA head reversed fortunes. Many felt that the NHL request would force Fehr to show his cards sort of speak. The opposite has transpired in a short 24 hours. The league and specifically Gary Bettman are now in that proverbial corner after Fehr's adept PR coup today.
2) To recap, the players Association called the NHL's bluff with their retort today. They portrayed their proposal as a concession laden document. Leaking through the media that 'moderate' players demanded that they attempt to restart the talks by making those big concessions. Basically telling the league that they better not simply walk away. Leaking the details to the media prior to the afternoon meetings. Almost like they were daring the NHL/Bettman to dismiss this and get the backlash from fans, etc.
3) We're told that Bettman and Jacobs were fit to be tied as they awaited the NHLPA's arrival at the leagues offices today. Knowing that they would be faced with an unenviable position of explaining to the media why they don't like the players' proposal. So while most aspects of what the players proposed were not tremendously different in their totality, it was how it was framed PRIOR to the meeting that changed the tone/landscape under which it was released. A hopeful public eager to place blame at any side showing unwillingness to negotiate. Thus the owners have to come back (probably Monday)with a face saving response. Ultimately the players are probably going to have to give in further, but in the mean time 'The Fehr' can enjoy the Thanksgiving weekend.
Monday, November 19, 2012
If this is the deal we are going to get, what's the point of dragging this out?" Snider, as we reported last week was always an odd supporter of the Bettman's push to rein in the players' share of revenue. However apparently he (and other owners) has recently soured on the process after it became apparent that a deal would not be brokered in time for Dec. 1 season start. To put it bluntly: Snider and the rest of the NHL's owners were told that they would get a big win, with significant player concessions. The reality appears now that the best they'll get is a small win in revenue split (something they could have earned without missing a single game!)- coupled with a demoralized/pissed off fan base and all-important corporate sponsors that are ready to/have already quit.
Bettman was ordered back to the table when the NHL abruptly announced that they would in fact meet with the NHLPA today. A far cry from a 2 week hiatus! As chairman of Comcast the lockout is adversely affecting his company Comcast Sportsnet
once Bettman made this proposal that the tide shifted against him. Owners that were against Bettman were emboldened, and owners that were previously on the fence were tilted toward getting an agreement now. This brings the hardliners group perilously close to not having the votes to prevent a 'coup', or vote to end the lockout. As we have said all along, it won't be a move by the NHLPA that makes or ends this lockout, but a move by a Big Market Owner to change the tide. As we wrote last month owners-cracking. Then we were told that Bettman was 'bullett proof', but apparently things have been moving quickly towards that changing and is likely the reason he shifted his stance from waiting 2 more weeks to talk to later today.
The Bettman does NOT give up easily. Expect today's talks to be as cantankerous they have ever been, However, our sources tell us that won't mean Bettman is fighting but will be his way to 'saveface'. "Go out swinging" sort of speak. This is ONLY our (Fauxrumors) guess, not based upon any source, but we feel based upon recent information that a deal might very well be in pace by December 1. For the first time since the lockout began we are doubting that count down clock on our upper left front page will be accurate. We're not quite ready to remove it, but The Bettman may have unwittingly helped end the lockout by going too far. Stay tuned folks!
Monday, November 12, 2012
the real fight that is going on with regard to the new CBA is NOT between the players and the NHL, but among the 30 NHL owners. As we have on occasion alluded to, there is a real and palpable faction among the Board of Governors. Up until recently Gary Bettman has been able to tip toe around this mine field, but the latest developments over the past few days indicate that perhaps Bettman is losing his grip on the here to now silent majority who are not pleased with likely losing a(nother) season.
2) While most of us aren't surprised to know that Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs along with the likes of Craig Leopold are the ones most associated with the "hardline group" of owners who support almost all that Gary Bettman does on their behalf. The surprise that many of our raders might be that 2 other hardliners are Philadelphia Flyers chairman Ed Snyder, and most surprising, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis. Now one would think that Snyder, being a big revenue owner would be less inclined to support restrictions on spending, but he is of the 'old school' we're told, who can't stand to spend millions for the 'minions' he employs to entertain the Flyer faithful.
as easy going as he is outwardly, he is a hard on in the negotiating room. Not being a jerk, but a stickler for detail that Bettman and Jacobs love. It has not been lost on the Capitals star forward Alex Ovechkin who has called out the owners as "Clowns" on his Twitter account, that his boss who signed him to a 125 mil contract 5 years ago is on the forefront in wanting to cut that deal down to size. Its probably one of the reasons '8' has been so vocal about not returning if the owners insist on not living up to contracts
4) So we are already hearing the question(s) But Faux last week you wrote that we were going to get an agreement, and many of the issues were resolved when the silent majority of owners rebuked the hardliner minority/Bettman? Well, we're sorry to say that the hardliners were either playing the other owners for suckers(never intending to acquiesce) or they changed their minds at the last minute. Most who have been following this can see its unlikely that Gary Bettman would suddenly change course without a plan. So we're sorry to report that the hardliners have basically survived the coup attempt by Rangers owner Charles Dolan. (so far) Not to say the other owners have given up, but a reliable source tells Fauxrumors that "until you hear an owner go public (risking a hefty fine) the hardliners can be considered in control".
5) So now it appears the NHL seems to have dug in their heels and might actually be ready to give the NHLPA a hard deadline of take it or leave it (without saying those words). We're told December 1st is the date the league will give. Once we pass that date the season is officially toast, and all previous offers are OFF.
Sadly, as we have written all too many times, the Clock on the upper left is looking more likely by the hour. For much like the last go around, not until the owners get their shit together can the real negotiations start.
Thursday, November 8, 2012
1) That's the word we at Fauxrumors received earlier this morning from reliable sources within the ranks of both sides. We are told that detailed discussions have been on going for the past 3 days now at a mid town Manhattan hotel "The Drake" we believe. Thus far unlike previous negotiations, "core economic" issue are the main discussions taking place. The principals Bettman and Fehr are both taking part here and actual progress is being made we're told. The split of revenue actually has already been agreed upon, as well as the amount of revenue sharing. "Significantly up" from what the NHL offered in their open proposal is what we were informed. No numbers just yet, but that was a big sticking point for the NHLPA.
2) The other huge issue was the all important "make whole" provision that would limit the losses of players who already signed contracts. That issue as we previously discussed 2 months ago http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-right-of-return.html is what irked the players most. Owners giving out big contracts knowing they not have to live up to them. On this issue the owners gave in big time. From what we have been informed it is this concession that brought the 2 sides back to the table in the first place. Once that frame work for further discussion was set, the rest seemed to have fallen into place (so far). We don't want to get too excited just yet. A reliable source also told us its still too early on that "someone could still 'Fubar' the whole thing and we would literally go back to square 1 and a probable lost season."
3) So what spurred on this? Well, that's where the story gets REAL interesting. No one wants to take the credit/blame, but someone who we trust told us that a group of owners headed by NY Rangers Charles Dolan met with Gary Bettman and demanded a deal get done. He, we're told, didn't want to see the league brought down by a few rouge owners led by hardliner Jeremy Jacobs. He stated that his coalition of big revenue teams would be willing to 'up their ante' on sharing revenue if the league allowed some of the rules that allowed some cap circumvention/ allowed the big market teams 'flexibility' to remain. That helped Bettman and Fehr to sit down and the rest seems to be coming together well. For as much as the rhetoric said they were far apart, in reality they weren't/aren't. That's why it would be a shame if this didn't solidify into the deal we have been told might come as soon and early next week. Stay tuned we may actually be back talking hockey here at Fauxrumors by next weekend!!
Friday, November 2, 2012
1) From what Fauxrumors has learned, if the NHL cancels the Winter Classic as has been rumored could happen as soon as early as today, the 2012-2013 NHL season is as good as toast. " You can put a fork in it" (the season), is how one insider told us late yesterday evening when we talked to discuss the current state of the negotiations. He told us that the league might postpone the cancellation IF they feel the players would be willing to meet and discuss their (the NHL's) prior proposal. Basically grovel with their collective tails between their legs. "Not bloody likely" is what a player rep told us when we posed that very question to them this morning. "We (the players) are as solid as ever!... Bettman can kiss my ass".
2) If that's any indication of both the players resolve, but as importantly, their anger at the way the NHL has handled the negotiations thus far we are not likely to see an end to this any time soon. The NHL Board of Governors has been told by Bettman that IF/When the Classic is canceled that he will not only withdraw their previous proposal that was rejected by the players off the table, but he will bring back an earlier one. For the NHL feel that as time goes on the players demand to have current contracts be 'made whole', will appear more and more ludicrous. As for the Classic. The owners have long held that IF their Marquis game is missed due to the CBA, they would then feel they would be justified in inflicting as much pain back to the players as is possible.
3) The problem with that short sighted view is that most players by now have resolved themselves to missing most if not all of the season. As witnessed by an increasing number of players(now over 200) playing over seas. Contract make whole provision or not, its unlikely the players this time around will fracture like in 2004. The ball is clearly in the NHL's side and for the time being they seem resolved to continue to cancel games (The Winter Classic among them) in order to get the deal they have felt is their right, all along. Nope, nothing has changed, only the calender, and the topic of today's rhetoric. Just keep your eyes on our Count Down clock.
Saturday, October 27, 2012
1) Our ultra inside sources exclusively have told Fauxrumors that NHL commissioner Gary Bettman intends to announce he us stepping aside once the current NHL season is completed. No, Gary isn't going to quietly retire to Florida, but instead take the job he has coveted for more than 25 years; the NBA commissioners post. For those who haven't yet heard NBA commissioner David Stern announced recently that he was going to step aside early in 2014 david-stern-retire-nba-commissioner-2014.
2) We are told when Gary found out last month from his old buddy David he was immediately interested in returning to the NBA as the top dog. We are told its Gary's job if he wants it, despite what Stern may have said about his successor, Mr. Silver. The only issue is the wording of his current deal with the NHL which he recently extended in March 2011 for 5 additional years at nearly 10 million/year including perks/bennys. Its unknown if he has an 'out clause' in the deal which would allow him to jump leagues if given the chance. Folks who know Bettman say its highly probable the Queens NY native made such an allotment within the contract so would be free from the final 2 years of the deal should the NBA Board of Governors agree to take him on.
3) Stern is set to step down on 2/1/14. Ironically Bettman started with the NHL on 2/1/93 and would possibly be starting back at his old haunt on 2/1/14, 21 years to the day after he left the NBA to guide the NHL. For review: Bettman joined the NBA back in 1981, only 4 years removed from his NYU Law degree. He served mainly in the marketing and legal departments. Bettman rose to 'third in command' of the NBA, spending many years as the league's general counsel and senior vice president.. Bettman played a key role in the development of the "soft salary cap system implemented and agreed by the NBA in 1983, a system it more or less continues to use today.
4) Folks who know Bettman privately tell that Gary has never been a real hockey fan despite being the head of the league for over 20 years. He knew little about hockey before hand and to this day only has a passing knowledge of the sport he heads. Basketball on the other hand is Bettman's true love. He we're told, can recite players and stats of players going back to the 1960's. He was a frequent attendee of Knicks games growing up and has retained his love of the sport throughout his NHL tenure. Even watching NBA playoff games in private when his own league's Stanley Cup playoffs were underway. So few of his inner circle will be surprised to see Gary return to his real roots, NBA basketball, and truer still VERY few NHL fans will be sad to see he and his 3 lockouts, and probably 2 lost seasons go!
Thursday, October 25, 2012
1) Firstly, for those who aren't geographically inclined Brooklyn is actually the southwestern end point of the Island known as Long Island. Both Queens, and Brooklyn, NYC boroughs are part of Long Island. However ask either a NY-er, or 'Long Islander' and you'll hear differently. 'Screw the geography, we're not part of LI!' So while some won't be pleased with the move or keeping the name the same, it is geographically accurate nonetheless. Its also interesting that we believe had the Isles moved to Queens that distinction would be less intense as Queens was once considered Long Island up until probably the middle of the last century when Queens lost its agricultural identity.
2) OK enough with the history/geography lesson. For the record we will maintain what have heard from multiple sources since this past spring- Specifically, contrary to the press release yesterday, the Isles will NOT wait for 2015 to play their first regular season game in Brooklyn, but it will take place in 2013, or next season. Wang is done with Nassau county and is already paving the road to get out of the lease. How? Declaring the building, The venerable OLD Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, to be dangerous, and unusable and worthy of being 'condemnded'. Efforts to do this are already underway. Talk of asbestos, roof collapse danger, and inadequate exits in cases of emergency will all be used. It will undoubtedly go to court, but in the mean time Wang will get the nod from Gary Bettman, and the team will start the 2013-2014 NHL season in their new home. Why else make the announcement yesterday? If its truly 3 years away??
3) So the next question; Can 3 teams make it who play geographically with in 20 miles from each other. Probably not, but we believe the team that will ultimately be moved will be the Jersey denizens ( NOT imminently- but a post for another day) The Rangers should have minimal fear of this move eroding its fan base. They have a 75 + year advantage, and their fans are very loyal. 30 years after moving to New Jersey and winning several Cups the Devils still are considered the outsiders even in most of northern Jersey. So the Islanders shouldn't be seen as anything more than a divisional rival and geographical rival second. It is also important to note that a BIG reason the Isles stayed local is their cable TV deal. It will continue unaffected by the move. Had they gone to let's say KC, they would lost that valuable steady income.
4) It WILL help Wang and the Isles attract more/better UFA's. Not only will they be playing in a state of the art and not state of the ARC facility, they will also be part of NYC and all the 'glamour' that brings with an added sense of anonymity if the player desires it, not playing in Manhattan. In the end its only a loss for the moronic lawmakers in Nassau County who allowed the Islanders only professional sports franchise to be pilfered. Wang wins and loses. He gets his team a better deal economically but fails to make the real estate killing he desired and bluntly is why he purchased the team back in 2000. One source told us not to be shocked to hear that Wang is putting the team up for sale once the move is finalized. "He's done with hockey." We at Fauxrumors feel best for Islander fans. Yes, many will have a much longer commute to get to the arena, but for the first time in a decade or longer their team appears secure. Its not going anywhere, and it should now be able to compete economically and put a competitive product on the ice. For them, this day was LONG over due! Yes, a team will Grow in Brooklyn!
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
the NHL attempted the ole 'end around' ploy with respect the the stalled labour negotiations. We have now found out that after the NHLPA and the NHL couldn't come to an agreement and talks broke off last week. The NHL then published its proposal in an apparent attempt to "educate" the players. However the 'education attempt' didn't stop there. Evidently the league then lifted its gag order among owners and GM's with players. Allowing them "a 48 hour window" with which to discuss the labour situation/the NHL proposal in detail. The NHL failed to let the NHLPA know of this. OOPS? It is perfectly clear what "The Bettman" was trying to pull here. Namely go behind Donald Fehr's back like the NHL did with Bob Goodenow last time. Unfortunately for Gary there is no Trevor (Benedict Arnold) Linden this time around. Instead Donald Fehr has this group united more than the association has ever been.
2) Its maneuvers such as these that will make a deal LESS likely as the players will be distrustful/wary of the owners/Bettman. Meanwhile we're told little has changed as the NHL watches the clock tick away. We're told its a good likelihood that come Thursday or Friday the NHL will announce a significant cancellation(possibly all of November) and give an ultimatum. To paraphrase; " If there isn't a deal in place and games ready to be played by December 1st, the season will be cancelled and all previous offers will be taken off the table other than the original one". It will be Bettman's last card to play, and he's hoping it finally gets through to the players. A source within the union tells Fauxrumors that they are prepared for that card to e played and already have informed the rank and file of this probability. Sorry folks. Keep an eye on the count down clock. Its looking more accurate by the day!
Monday, October 22, 2012
1) Another day, another Russian born NHL player makes a comment about the current NHLPA-NHL stalemate. This time it was Nashville Predators forward (for the record NOT Russian, but Belorussian) Sergei Kostitsyn. According to reports the winger said he hopes the NHL lockout will last all season...Kostitsyn, who has joined Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League during the NHL lockout, said players want a certain answer from admitted that he had a hard time adjusting to life in North America. "I couldn't get used to (American) mentality. They are totally different people from us."
2) Many will probably recall recent clear statements by Alexander Ovechkin, who has stated on more than one occasion that it may occur that Russian born players might not return to the NHL after the lockout is settled. Failing to realize perhaps that despite its recent history of acrimony, the NHL and KHL have an agreement to honor the contracts of players in each respective league (No more Radulov pilfering). Its basically silly bluster considering Ovechkin has another 8 seasons under contract the Washington Capitals (at 10 million/season) Earlier we also heard from Sergei Gonchar and a few lesser stars mimicking Ovechkin's threat.
3) Meanwhile, there has been very little vocally stated or written by many other NHL players. Certainly few have been making public anti owners/Bettman statements like Ovechkin via "The Bettman", oration in September. In 2004 the was no shortage of players making their feeling well known. So why the change, and why only Russians? The answers are really strait forward/easy. For one, and its no secret, Donald Fehr since he took over has asked the players from refraining from going public if they had problems with the league. Not an absolute forbiddence like the NHL has with its owners (ask Mr.Devalanno about that
http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-price-of-transparency.html ) but a request to avoid any possible caustic language. In other words, 'leave that to me'.
4) On the other hand the Russian players likely feel emboldened to be more vociferous because their prospects of getting work at home is becoming better by the day. As we have long outlined the KHL (although not quite yet) will be a real rival to the NHL visa vie Russian and European talent. Here: in 2008-----> http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2008/10/is-khl-real-russian-threat.html and then 4 years later this summer.
http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2012/07/red-menance-on-horozen.html. So we feel the recent rash of vocalizations by the Russians is yet another step in making of the KHL a true rival league (for Euro talent anyway) However for the time being we don't believe regardless of the CBA result the KHL is not quite ready to 'go to war' with the NHL.
Thursday, October 18, 2012
1) Our hats are off to the Edmonton City Council today after yesterday's vote to refuse the extortion attempt by The Edmonton Oilers drug dealer owner. To review for some who haven't been following this issue. The deal to build a new arena for the Edmonton Oilers collapsed yesterday, with city councillors correctly blaming Oilers owner Daryl Katz and his last-minute demands for millions more in taxpayers money. The original deal had taxpayers and ticket buyers paying to build the rink with the Oilers outlaying about $15 million a year in lease payments and operating costs and allowed to keep almost all the profits made. The original deal fell apart a month ago when Katz wanted a do-over after "he'd had a second look at the numbers" and needed millions more, including a $6 million a year in operating subsidies for the arena.
2) Katz' logic? Well first he probably feels empowered as most other municipalities bend over and take it when they are bullied into spending tax dollars for a private enterprise. The usual nonsense is that the new arena will spur retail, office, and residential buildings around it that would bring in about $2 billion more in tax revenues over 20 years. Total bullshit. Even the more conservative city estimate of 584 million over 20 year is probably way over stating the positive spill over effect of building the new arena in downtown Edmonton. His blatant extortion moves included, Katz threatening to move the team to Seattle if the arena did not get built. He visited the Pacific northwest US city three weeks ago in a very public, clear signal to the Edmonton City Council that he meant business. We don't. buy his public apology in newspaper ads after angry fans vented outrage. Its also still true that Katz has not publicly ruled out moving the team as a "last resort." If I were on the City Council I'd call his bluff. Your move Daryl!
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
1) Key word/phrase we believe is, STARTING POINT. Why? This is what the NHL should have sent over to the NHLPA last June instead of that idiotic demeaning proposal that set the stage for 4 months of dead lock. Had the NHL made this their opening proposal there is a very good chance the season would have stated on time. In fact its likely that training camp would have been uninterrupted.
2) We want to make clear though that this is NOT an end point. No way will the players simply sign off on this. There are still MANY questions that have yet to be answered/disseminated publicly. Such as:
- How do they get the players share down from 57 to 50% without affecting existing contracts
- Does this offer change the way HRR (Hockey Related Revenue) is calculated like the opening proposal did
- Most importantly for us at Fauxrumors- Are there new mechanisms in this proposal to address revenue sharing? Its this last bullet point that needs to be looked into. Why? If that is not addressed significantly we will be right back here again with the NHL asking for 'concessions once again
4) The ball is now in the players court and the NHL certainly putting the pressure on them to respond. One has to wonder/be careful when the other side is saying 'hurry up and sign!' The PR is now on the side of the NHL so the players need to tread carefully now. They can't reject this out of hand. Its also unknown if this is a take it or leave it deal? As they say, the 'devil is in the details', but IF the NHL is ready to negotiate off this proposal there is light at the end of the tunnel, but until we hear answers to the questions we have put out here today we will continue to stay with the current 'count down clock' of no hockey until next fall prediction. I would like to be found wrong. Meanwhile most fans should be asking Gary Bettman, where was this proposal in June/July????
Monday, October 15, 2012
the loss of NHL games was met with little to no 'fan' fare at all. The NHL at this stage of their season has enough trouble gaining traction in the US up against MLB playoffs, the NFL season and the NBA getting geared up. So few, other than fanatic die hards (mostly bloggers), took real notice of what was 'missing' this weekend. You can bet your dollar (or tens of millions of them) that the suits in NYC/Toronto were!
2) Meanwhile hundreds of the players, have secured employment elsewhere. Either in the various European leagues, the AHL, or back to junior. Several pro-NHL hack columnists have taken shots at the players for either 'abandoning' the CBA process, or for 'taking jobs' from other players. Of course both arguments are total crap. No one forced Euro teams into taking NHL talent. They simply want to sell tickets, and the best players get the biggest audience. AS for abandoning the CBA process, that's so absurd its not worth responding to. As we wrote in response to 'Douche' Damien Cox's such assertion, how come no one asks why all 30 owners aren't sitting in on the discussions as well? Only the select hardliners are consistently in the room with the Fehrs.
3) All this makes me feel fairly confident that at some point one of those 30 (no show) owners will step up and be the contrarian voice against the Bettman led minority cabal. The bad news is that it will probably NOT be in time to save the season. For we have also exclusively been told that the NHL will announce later this week that they have set a deadline, or drop dead date of December 1st. If there is no new CBA by then, the season is toast. Of course its likely that this announcement will be met with a similar response to the missed opening weekend garnered, silence and apathy.
Friday, October 12, 2012
1) Few probably picked up on the important bit of info dropped by NHL VP Bill Daly yesterday. When being interviewed after the latest go around with the NHLPA Daly let this little tid bit drop with regard to a future NHLPA proposal: "Daly said a "variety of sources" both privately and publicly tipped off the league that the union was working toward putting forth a new offer.....We understand you're working on a proposal. Make it to us," Daly said of the league's message to the union during Wednesday's negotiations. "Let's not stand on formalities. If you a have a proposal, make it. So how would the NHL know this?
2) For those who don't follow this blog regularly, and how dare you not! :) about 2 months ago we did a posting about how the NHL has inside information about the union via a mole(s). Players who are being paid/promised something in exchange for information. Read all about it here----> http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-mole.html We never thought we would have this kind of direct, albeit unintentional conformation that the owners/Bettman have a mole within the NHLPA ranks. However, as we discussed back then, Fehr already knows this and is taking that into consideration. Not discussing details/strategy with players that he wouldn't want the league to know.
3) As for what is in the anticipated 'new' players proposal, we're told NOT to expect anything Earth Shattering. As has been the case recently, it will be reshuffling of already disseminated proposals. We are also hearing that if/when the NHLPA 'drops' their "new" proposal the NHL will be ready with their own. This all in keeping with both sides trying to not look like they are inflexible in anticipation of this whole fiasco hitting the courts at some point. As one eloquent insider told us recently, " The negotiations are a circle jerk at this point". Maybe so, but the only ones getting screwed over are the fans and part time workers who rely on the NHL for needed income. Sorry folks, again we point to the clock on our blog. This is when w expect hockey to resume.