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.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
1) Well, it might be premature to say that there is significant rift developing within the owners ranks, but it IS fair to say that there are quite a few that aren't too keen on where Gary Bettman appears to be going with his 3rd lockout in 17 years. This could explain why it took so long for the league to announce the cancellation of games, and why they only cancelled the first 2 weeks and not the entire month. You see, as soon as games are cancelled, especially regular season games, there is immediate hardship on the owners. The lost revenue in the preseason is a drop in the bucket to regular season games. Additionally fans, season ticket holders especially, really aren't too big on pre season games. Attendance is usually at 50% or less in most US markets for these meaningless tune ups. However with regular season games now being erased, and probably never made up, real money is being lost, and fans are either getting fed up pissed,and/or alienated, (usually both).
2) What owners fear is apathy setting in with the casual fans. Folks who they have cultivated into becoming fans might begin to drift away. Spending their entertainment dollars elsewhere. Markets like Nashville, LA, Tampa Bay, Carolina, to name a few, have invested heavily in to trying to persuade folks to stick with/support their teams. Those ownership groups have remained largely silent publicly, but have not been totally subservient to the hardliners and Bettman in the Board of Governors meetings recently. Our insiders have told us to NOT get excited or expect this group to attempt a coup against Bettman. He's largely bullet proof because of the NHL by-laws which states that it takes 2/3 of the owners to ratify a new CBA, so it would take an avalanche of dissent to change the staus quo.
3) That said, it isn't going unnoticed by Bettman that he doesn't have the level of support he had last go around. The simmering dislike of what is happening to them already appears to be pushing Bettman to avoid any public displays if irritation with the NHLPA. For we are told, and know that the fans are NOT siding with the owners like they were 8 years ago. Fans are already getting restless, and it will be interesting to see how long it will take before someone on the non hardliner side goes public with his disapproval of Mr. Bettman. Billionaires quite understandably have egos and don't enjoy being told what to do. Especially when they are being to told to shut up and lose a(nother) season. WE maintain that it will likely take one of these unheard from owners to break this impasse. The ball, or puck, is clearly in the owners side of the ice. It will be up to them to change the current dynamic. Lets all hope its sooner rather than later!
Monday, October 8, 2012
1) A report out of Toronto today, and yet to be confirmed by Fauxrumors, is that the NHL/Gary Bettman is considering bringing replacement players if the lockout appears to be going into Thanks Giving (in the US) or late November. The word is that the league will attempt this maneuver in an effort to try to spur on the NHLPA to move off their intractable position. The person went on to say that he thought many over 30-ish players would "cross the picket line to get one last paycheque"
2) To the second point first. The author of this story apparently doesn't know/understand the way the NHL players' mind works. From what we have seen the past 40 years (and it hasn't changed all that much) NHL players are some of the most loyal, trust worthy people you could ever meet. Certainly they are head and shoulders above their brethren in the other major team sports. Extrapolating that loyalty, there is NO WAY that any 30+ year old NHL vet crosses the lines and plays with the replacements (if that ever occurred) more on that momentarily. Those players most likely to 'cross' would be guys with little to no real future to legitimately play in the NHL. Has-beens, or more truly 'never-beens', who would look at this as their one chance to ever skate in an NHL arena during a regular season. Low level ECHL or rec league guys. No 4th line NHL players and only a minuscule number of lower level AHL guys would attempt to cross for the reasons cited above; loyalty.
3) Now, on to the legalities of attempting this. None of us at Fauxrumors are attorneys, but from asking around we're told it would be a nightmare for Gary Bettman to try to make this attempt. One told us Gary 'might have an easier try if he waited until they lost a season". Meaning it wouldn't fly in a court if they tried it so early. Even then, the labour laws, especially in Canada would make it difficult. Additionally, and as our title suggests, NHLPA head Donald Fehr would secretly LOVE it if Bettman and the owners tried this maneuver. Most probably don't recall but back in 1995 the MLB owners tried to do the same thing after losing most of the 94 season and looking at a lost 1995 season. The players headed by Donald Fehr brought the owners to court and won. The decision made the previous CBA the law of the league for the season and not long afterwards the 2 sides made an agreement and there has been labour peace ever since. Could this be what Donald Fehr has been brought in to try to do? Perhaps, but one would have to think that Gary Bettman is smarter than to fall into this trap (or maybe he isn't smart?) One thing is certain, the impasse is likely to continue and cancel the season.
Friday, October 5, 2012
1) Our 'buddy' Damien Cox has done it again. He has posted yet another ridiculous article/posting at TheStar.com Here it is for your reading (dis)pleasure. http://thestar.blogs.com/thespin/2012/10/another-reason-not-to-hope.html Firstly, to review our previous Damien Cox posts over the years: http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2007/10/why-damien-cox-is-douche-bag.html written almost 5 years ago and then last year http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2011/08/damian-cox-continues-to-be-douche.html. So as you can see, we have little regard for the megalomaniac writer.
2) This time he takes his anti players/pro owners bias to new heights. He actually laments (cries) that the players aren't likely to 'mutiny' this time around. He's afraid that they won't implode and give in like they did 7 years ago. He thinks this is the fault of Donald Fehr, who apparently is some kind of Svengali type character who has hypnotized the players from doing what is best for them. Its apparently all about getting his brother Steve the job as director of the NHLPA when this is all done. Huh? Cox does a brief history of the NHLPA since 2004, totally glossing over the corruption and NHL owners/Bettman tampering in the hiring of Bob Goodenow's replacement, Ted Saskin.
3) Hysterically, he uses the players going to Europe, "Fleeing" as an example that the players aren't unified, but apparently disinterested? Seems odd, but that's what Cox apparently wants the reader to take away from that observation. He also kinda contradicts himself when he goes on to say that laments that so many of the players were involved that over the course of the summer that it was " frustrating to the league since very few had a solid grasp of the issues because they were in and out so often". However no word on how many of the NHL owners have been "in and out" of the various negotiations? Since there is a roughly 20:1 ratio of players to owners it shouldn't be difficult to have a bunch of them to show up, no? Why also is it a bad thing that the players won't have an uprising/go behind Fehr's back, but its OK that the owners are totally fine with going along with Gary Bettman? Damien you continue to demonstrate why you are a douche! (BTW: We are hearing that all is NOT all hunky-dory with the owners-More on that upcoming next week!)
The only thing that we do agree with Cox on, is that this won't end soon.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
1) Much fanfare was made recently when former NY Islander (Sabre/Ranger) Pat Lafontaine made the announcement that he was heading up a "European group of investors" who are interested in buying the NY Islanders with the intent of keeping them on Long Island. The 47 year old LaFontaine, who was drafted by the club in 1983 is 'intrigued' and may look to put together a bid. The story goes on to say that the Islanders owner Charles Wang, who is seeking a new arena for the franchise and reportedly looking to sell it for the right price, could be asking at a $300 million price tag. Oh and by the way, Forbes magazine valued the Islanders at $149 million last year.
2) OK, lets be real here. No sane person is going to sink 300 million into the NY Islanders right now. The team is hemorrhaging money and there is no deal in sight to get a new arena deal in place for the venerable but decrepit Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. What can Lafontaine accomplish on that front that an experienced business man like Charles Wang couldn't in 12+ years? The county referendum last year certainly showed the lack of interest/desire for the tax payers to pony up the dough needed to get a public financed arena deal set. Wang tried to do it with out much public funds but the town of Hempstead balked at the size/scope of his proposed "HUB" for the unused land near/on the coliseum grounds.
3) Oh, and last BUT not least, there is NO WAY, and I mean no F-ing way that Charles Wang would EVER deal with Pat Lafontaine. Especially in a deal that potentially would make the former Islander/Wang employee look good. When Lafontaine abruptly left the team in 2006 (when Neail Smith was axed after 40 days) Wang was pissed and when you do wrong in Wang's eyes, you are persona non gratis FOREVER! Who could forget a few years ago when LaFontaine was refused credentials. Here's the original story we did back in 2008: http://newfaux.blogspot.com/2008/02/islanders-bush-league.html It rehashes the whole fiasco very well. The bottom line is Wang NEVER Forgives and Forgets, unless the "offender" grovels publicly.
4) So I believe this whole issue is simply a distraction from not only the Isles grave Nassau County situation as well as the current CBA crap. With regard to the former we are on record stating that we have heard from a reliable source that even if there was hockey this year it would e the Isles LAST in Nassau County. That Wang plans to break the remainder of the lease (2 more years after this one) and move to Brooklyn at least temporarily. His feeling is that he cant be hurt any more than he already has by Nassau. To sum up don't get excited Isles fans, This is yet another "false positive" development in what has become a comedy of errors the past 20+ years. No way will anyone pay 300 million and Wang won't sell to a Lafontaine led group. End of story. Lets move on..............
Monday, October 1, 2012
1) A Faux exclusive (but hardly Earth Shattering news) is that the NHL is set to announce by the end of the week that it is cancelling games through October 31st, or the first 3 weeks of the 2012-2013 season. The announcement is largely not really shocking news given the current sate of the CBA negotiations. Since they are in stasis, and neither side wants to budge, the NHL is left with announcing the obvious.
2) We're told that in their one to one meeting this weekend Gary Bettman informed his NHLPA counterpart Donald Fehr of the impending announcement. Bettman probably thought it would push the Players Association along, and perhaps spur them on to giving in (further). Fehr we're told received the news in his typical fashion; IE: he didn't give any response to the intended provocation. We're also told the players are currently being informed of this and are being instructed to NOT react angrily, but matter of factly. So look to hear the players to say they are 'disapointed' but remain solidly behind their position of not wanting to accept the leagues demand of a retroactive roll back on existing contracts.
3) Expect the same old song-and-dance-to-continue that we talked about last week. There will be 'communication' but little real movement for the next few months. Look for the first signs of negative emotion to be displayed by the owners(Bettman) side in the next few weeks when they see the players aren't going to immediately crack and the pressure will start to mount from the fans. We maintain our stance that the season is all but lost and will continue to run the count down clock on the front of the blog. We very much hope we are wrong on this one.
As always, keep it here for all the latest!