Sunday, December 30, 2012

No Closer!

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. 

3) So whats going to happen?  Simple.  The NHLPA will make/formulate their on counter proposal. Likely to be given to the NHL either tomorrow or Tuesday.  They will tweak some of the NHL's offer. Expect 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

Hold Your Horses!

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

NHL "Playing Chicken"!

1) Its a dam shame that even at this VERY late date the NHL/Gary Bettman are 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

"Ideas" Nice, But Misguided/Premature!

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. 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
3) Overall fine ideas and he isn't unique in having an opinion of how things can/could be improved once the NHL resumes. Like the old saying goes, opinions are like assholes, everyone's got one.  Depending on when the NHL's owners decide to come to their senses and resume the games the amount of damage they are perpetuating on their product will probably decide how many changes/gimmicks the NHL will be forced to attempt to try to repair the sport and its image among fans.  The longer this goes on, the worse it will get. Until the end is on the horizon, we feel its just wasted breathe/ink/space to discuss how to repair the game

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

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

Raising Kane in 'Peg!?!

1) At first we found the reaction to an innocently made Evander Kane 'Tweet' amusing.  Then annoying. Now we find it 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

Last Ploy(s) Or Is Season Toast?

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  and here

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Finally, A Deal Imminent!

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

"Its All About Fehr"

1) Those are the precise words we got from an NHL insider over the weekend when we asked  'Why there isn't an agreement today?"  We don't have to delve deeply to read between the lines of that sentence. Simply put, 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

CBA talks To "Fall Apart" Later Today?

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

Latest NHL 'End Around' Attempt

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!

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