Monday, November 12, 2012

Ownership Feud Heats Up?

1) In what many may find surprising 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.

3) Seeing Leonsis on the negotiating committee was a surprise to us.  Many see him as a fan friendly, affable sort. Not the persona of a Snyder or Jacobs. However we're told that 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.

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