Monday, November 19, 2012

Bettman Went Too Far?

1) In perhaps an under reported story, late last week Flyers majority owner Ed Snider was quoted as saying, after Bettman announced a proposed 2 week moratorium on further CBA talks, "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.

2) Of course, fearing a hefty fine, Snider waked those apparent quotes back a day later, but that doesn't alter the land scape. It is clear that 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 as well as NBC Sports Network (Versus). The NBC Sports Network must still pay the NHL $200 in rights fees this year, but will get an extra year tacked on to the back end of its 10-year contract (it was to start this season) for free. On the ice, the Flyers are well over $100 million in revenues. That money maker that won't start until there's an agreement.

3) Well placed sources tell Fauxrumors that 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.

4) Now, before everyone of you out there starts to get giddy that we're going to soon see NHL hockey, hold your horses.  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!

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