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View Full Version : NHL to cancel the 2004-2005 season



TriangleMan
2005-Feb-15, 12:08 PM
News reports (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1845&ncid=1845&e=3&u=/cpress/20050215/ca_pr_on_na/nhl_lockout) say the announcement will be made Wednesday. :(

Parrothead
2005-Feb-15, 01:05 PM
It is about time they called the season, that decision should have already been made. :( It will be interesting to see if anything can be accomplished after the season is called or will offers fall off until the "start of next season". This whole thing could cause a couple of the smaller US market teams to fold. I just hope there is no re-locating of these teams, the league needs to be smaller. Once settled, it would be nice to see the Board of Governors dump Bettman

Just to keep up with a Toronto tradition ... "The Leafs will win the Cup, next year." :wink:

Moose
2005-Feb-15, 01:29 PM
Just to keep up with a Toronto tradition ... "The Leafs will win the Cup, next year." :wink:

I dunno, so far undefeated this year. Might be their best shot at the cup in a while. :wink:

kucharek
2005-Feb-15, 01:32 PM
From reading the articles, I'm not clear what's going on. Can anyone explain in simple words to an Old European what is going on with the NHL? What's the fuzz about?

Harald

Bawheid
2005-Feb-15, 01:45 PM
The owners of the teams say they are losing money and need to cut costs. They want to do this by introducing a salary cap, the players refuse to consider this as it would lower wages.

The owners locked out the players in a bid to force them to negotiate, the players haven't backed down which has lead to stalemate. I assume the players are not being paid while this lasts.

So much time has now passed that the season would be meaningless if they started now.

Moose
2005-Feb-15, 01:48 PM
And the impression I get from my little corner of the peanut gallery is that both sides are significantly overestimating the good-will of the remaining fans.

Bawheid
2005-Feb-15, 01:53 PM
And the impression I get from my little corner of the peanut gallery is that both sides are significantly overestimating the good-will of the remaining fans.

People soon realise that they are x hundred dollars better off for not going, and from the end of last season in April(?) 2004 until Sept(?) 2005 is a long enough time to find something else to do.

TriangleMan
2005-Feb-15, 01:54 PM
From reading the articles, I'm not clear what's going on.
Here's an article (http://www.canada.com/sports/story.html?id=cf6b4907-3086-443c-b4ff-a9fd5c51c668&page=1) that discusses some of the key issues.

Gmann
2005-Feb-15, 02:08 PM
Unless they come up with come kind of good gimmick, they will lose fans, who may not return for years. Major League Baseball learned that lesson in their last strike season. The die hards will show up regardless, but I see the team revenues falling short, unless they come up with something to show that improves the game. Hiring officials that are not totally blind would be a start, followed by taking the "thug factor" out, and replacing it with skilled play. I love hockey (Go Blues), but have a problem with the necessity to have "thugs" on the team to keep the other "thugs" from injuring one of your talented players, ala Todd Bertuzzi. They have their work cut out for them.

Swift
2005-Feb-15, 02:17 PM
Absolutely right Gmann. I think baseball has just about recovered from the last strike, but that was ten years ago. I personally think that a lot of the fans have little sympathy for athletes that make millions a year, who complain they are not making enough money. I like the salary caps in football and basketball.

Kaptain K
2005-Feb-15, 02:26 PM
My problem with a "salary cap' is that it is not a salary cap. It is a payroll cap. There is nothing to prevent spending the bulk of the payroll on one or two "key" players and stiffing the grunts who make them stars! :roll:

gethen
2005-Feb-15, 03:28 PM
My problem with a "salary cap' is that it is not a salary cap. It is a payroll cap. There is nothing to prevent spending the bulk of the payroll on one or two "key" players and stiffing the grunts who make them stars! :roll:
Amen. When I think about what the Wings were paying Sergei Federov and he seemed to only produce when his contract was starting to run out.... Of course the big names bring people in, but if there are no games, that is a moot point, isn't it?
Anyway, we've been watching some college hockey and enjoying it. And a good friend from northern Ontario, who coaches junior hockey, told us he really hasn't missed the NHL games that much. I think that bodes very ill for the next NHL season (if there is one.)

Bawheid
2005-Feb-15, 03:32 PM
Thanks Kaptain K, I appreciate the distinction.

teddyv
2005-Feb-15, 03:55 PM
Amen. When I think about what the Wings were paying Sergei Federov and he seemed to only produce when his contract was starting to run out.... Of course the big names bring people in, but if there are no games, that is a moot point, isn't it?
Anyway, we've been watching some college hockey and enjoying it. And a good friend from northern Ontario, who coaches junior hockey, told us he really hasn't missed the NHL games that much. I think that bodes very ill for the next NHL season (if there is one.)

I certainly haven't missed it that much. Quite a few extra hours to do other things around the house and what not.

Ultimately, this may result in the loss of several teams in the non-hockey markets and this is not necessarily a bad thing, although my apologies to the hard core fans in these locations - unfortunately there is not enough of you.

Another bothersome issue is all the players playing in Europe for less money. If they are willing to do it there then what is the problem. And so much for union solidarity.

jfribrg
2005-Feb-15, 03:58 PM
30 years ago I would have been devastated by a year without hockey, but I didn't even notice this year. It is a sport that I understand and enjoy watching from time to time, but I honestly don't care if the NHL ever returns.

Parrothead
2005-Feb-15, 04:01 PM
Another bothersome issue is all the players playing in Europe for less money. If they are willing to do it there then what is the problem. And so much for union solidarity.

That's where the difference between a lock-out and strike comes in. The players are "locked out" by the owners. Seeing as they are not being paid, they have found "other employment". Had the players been "on strike", their contracts would still be in effect, preventing them from playing elsewhere.

Kristophe
2005-Feb-15, 04:07 PM
The players are willing to play for less money. They just refuse to have a cap. The impression I get from this stance, as an average, uneducated fan, is that they're willing to take huge paycuts now because they know the owners aren't going to smarten up and stop overpaying players when their contracts are up.

The teams biggest problem is arbitration. Arbitration in the NHL is a joke. The player never loses. In fact, they sometimes get valued at more than what they were asking. It seems almost arbitrary sometimes.

MLB didn't lose me, and neither will the NHL. But I've never been who either of them were afraid of losing, anyway. I watch them on TV, and I'll watch just about any baseball or hockey game that's playing. Usually during commercial breaks of other shows.

SeanF
2005-Feb-15, 04:12 PM
The teams biggest problem is arbitration. Arbitration in the NHL is a joke. The player never loses. In fact, they sometimes get valued at more than what they were asking. It seems almost arbitrary sometimes. =D>


MLB didn't lose me, and neither will the NHL. But I've never been who either of them were afraid of losing, anyway. I watch them on TV, and I'll watch just about any baseball or hockey game that's playing. Usually during commercial breaks of other shows.
Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if major league teams make more money from the TV contracts now-a-days than they do at the stadium.

Which would, in fact, make you the very person they're afraid of losing.

Doodler
2005-Feb-15, 04:20 PM
Both sides are greedy as all get out. Its like watching rival flocks of vultures battling over a corpse. Owners want championship teams and all the monetary benefits that come from that, but squeeze the life out of a sport by foisting the costs off on fans (Ever compare ticket prices from season to season? And don't get me started on concessions.), player salaries have bloated to the point where they threaten the solvency of the game. Nice little viscious cycle.

Bawheid
2005-Feb-15, 04:35 PM
Another bothersome issue is all the players playing in Europe for less money.

But they get to stay at home with their families instead of in a foreign country. That has to be worth something.

Kristophe
2005-Feb-15, 05:29 PM
Actually, I wouldn't be surprised if major league teams make more money from the TV contracts now-a-days than they do at the stadium.

Which would, in fact, make you the very person they're afraid of losing.

Well, I would have said that was not true until Disney signed their current deal. Then again, it's really hard to say. The Senators can't get people to show up for their games, but they get TV coverage everywhere in Ontario north of Toronto. Meanwhile, the Leafs are one of the most profitable teams in the league, and you have to kill to get into one of their games. So, it's hard to say. The NHL as a league is less likely to fight for me because I don't buy NHL licensed merchendise.

I only really watch hockey during the playoffs. That's the only time it's exciting. I like the playoff/tournament atmosphere. But like so many others, I'm not at all beholden to the NHL. I won't shed a tear if they never come back. Let the league fold. All of the big teams will still exist. The NHL isn't all that old, after all.

If the NHL is really serious about this whole being an organized world class organized sports league, they need to fire Bettman. He's really done nothing for the league, or the sport.

An interesting idea that I like is that the Stanley Cup champions play in a tournament against the winners of the European Elite leagues. Then again, I'm a sucker for international hockey...

Cougar
2005-Feb-15, 07:20 PM
I certainly haven't missed it that much.

30 years ago I would have been devastated by a year without hockey, but I didn't even notice this year.
I have really missed it. This really sucks! And what has replaced it on the sports channels? Texas Hold 'em Poker tournaments. Doesn't quite make up for the loss. :cry:

TriangleMan
2005-Feb-15, 09:44 PM
Exactly. I don't have the option of watching hockey games from other leagues. NHL games were on TV here but not the minors.

teddyv
2005-Feb-15, 09:51 PM
Another bothersome issue is all the players playing in Europe for less money. If they are willing to do it there then what is the problem. And so much for union solidarity.

That's where the difference between a lock-out and strike comes in. The players are "locked out" by the owners. Seeing as they are not being paid, they have found "other employment". Had the players been "on strike", their contracts would still be in effect, preventing them from playing elsewhere.

I understand all that. It's just that in other industries, when employee's get locked out they usually don't get other jobs in the meantime (I could be wrong, I've never been in a union).

Parrothead
2005-Feb-15, 11:05 PM
Another bothersome issue is all the players playing in Europe for less money. If they are willing to do it there then what is the problem. And so much for union solidarity.

That's where the difference between a lock-out and strike comes in. The players are "locked out" by the owners. Seeing as they are not being paid, they have found "other employment". Had the players been "on strike", their contracts would still be in effect, preventing them from playing elsewhere.

I understand all that. It's just that in other industries, when employee's get locked out they usually don't get other jobs in the meantime (I could be wrong, I've never been in a union).

The only reason players are playing elsewhere, I'm assuming, is this time around they knew the stoppage would be a lengthy one. The salary cap issue was the point neither side wanted to budge on. Now that they are down to a $12 m difference, there may be hope, just not for this season.

Ari Jokimaki
2005-Feb-16, 06:42 AM
I don't mind this situation, our league has been rather exciting this year. :P

If NHL would start now, it would be quite bad thing for many European teams who have acquired many NHL players. But I quess it's their own fault.

jumbo
2005-Feb-16, 09:30 AM
The lockout has meant that i have got to see NHL players in the UK. Most are role players but its still quite a draw. My local team, the devils, picked up Rob Davison a San Jose Sharks D man. What this meant is greater exposure for the game here. Plenty of people who have seen the NHL on tv realising they have a local team.

Im not so sure the NHLPA offer of a salary cap is a real step forward. It was made at the last minute after months of chanting 'just say no' about a cap. Now at the 11th hour they say lets have a x million cap. How many teams would actually be over the capped value. I think its virtually none. To my now cynical mind it sounds like offering an unrealistic cap that the owners wont go for, so they can say, if the the season is cancelled, 'We offered the owners a cap just like they wanted and they STILL cancelled the season, arent they awful'



Just to keep up with a Toronto tradition ... "The Leafs will win the Cup, next year."
I certainly hope so!....sadly its quite a long tradition isnt it :-?

One thing i`d quite like to see is this year, if theres no NHL, the stanley cup being awarded to the top team in another competition. Perhaps an AHL/ ECHL/top team in other leagues competition. Perhaps it`ll mean that the cup will be awarded this year to a bunch of guys who play for hockeys sake.

Bawheid
2005-Feb-16, 10:00 AM
I don't mind this situation, our league has been rather exciting this year. :P


My Czech mate says the same, and they get to see all the best Czech players.

TriangleMan
2005-Feb-16, 11:56 AM
One thing i`d quite like to see is this year, if theres no NHL, the stanley cup being awarded to the top team in another competition.
Then march over to www.freestanley.com (http://www.freestanley.com/) and help the cause. :D

Bawheid
2005-Feb-16, 12:10 PM
Ok, my reading is we start a team (in Canada) and then challenge for the Cup. We may get the Leafs in the opening round, but at least we would get one game.
If the challenge is restricted to Canada, how do US teams compete?

No-one should take the above use of "we" to imply in any way that I can play hockey or would be any use whatsoever. :D

TriangleMan
2005-Feb-16, 12:18 PM
If the challenge is restricted to Canada, how do US teams compete?
The same way they always do, by hiring Canadian players! *runs away*

Bawheid
2005-Feb-16, 12:20 PM
If the challenge is restricted to Canada, how do US teams compete?
The same way they always do, by hiring Canadian players! *runs away*

=D> =D> =D>

Moose
2005-Feb-16, 12:56 PM
*rofl*

Wally
2005-Feb-16, 01:10 PM
And what has replaced it on the sports channels? Texas Hold 'em Poker tournaments. Doesn't quite make up for the loss. :cry:

Call me quirky, but I actually enjoy watching the WPC and other tex. hold'em tournaments! 8-[

It's a great game to both watch and play, considering how important the mind-game is in how you play. You can learn a lot from watching the champs. . . 8)

jumbo
2005-Feb-16, 01:10 PM
Then march over to www.freestanley.com and help the cause.
I saw that site just yesterday. I`d love it to work out but sadly i doubt it`ll happen. What is interesting there is the reaction of the tampa fans to the idea. Its a teensy bit hostile :o Though given the criteria for originally awarding the cup the idea seems reasonable enough.


Ok, my reading is we start a team (in Canada) and then challenge for the Cup. We may get the Leafs in the opening round, but at least we would get one game.
If the challenge is restricted to Canada, how do US teams compete?

No-one should take the above use of "we" to imply in any way that I can play hockey or would be any use whatsoever.
Fortunately (kindof) we wouldnt get the leafs in the first round due to the lockout unless its the St Johns variety you were thinking of. Whew no divided loyalties issues for me then!

I can`t play hockey either (spectator due to lack of skating ability im afraid) so i`d be no use except as part of a rabid mob of fans or perhaps a dangerously unqualified zamboni driver! :D

Thumper
2005-Feb-16, 01:39 PM
There were several articles and commentaries in our newspaper (Columbus, OH, USA, home of the cellar dweller Bluejackets) over the weekend. One which interested me was basically an interview with Luke Richardson, one of our players. The jist of it: He desparately misses playing hockey, he's aware of the irreparable damage to his sport, but he desparately believes in his cause and would feel he would be letting down former and future players if he backs down.

He said he's had numerous discussions with people that "just don't understand". A quote somewhat to the effect of: Yeah I've got plenty of friends who can't afford to bring a family of 4 to a game. It's sad but what we're doing is right.

I'm not sure if he doesn't understand or understands all to well but can't back down due to pride or fear that the owners will crush them. Whatever, I'm almost to the point of not caring. They are ENTERTAINMENT. People pay to see professional athletes perform. I love watching sports where people play because they love their sport. Plenty of that to see everywhere. MLB lost me at the last strike: I will never pay to see or go to a game ever again. NHL is one small step from that. We watched some pee-wee hockey over the weekend in between free skate sessions. It was great. Hockey is hockey. I can't completely blame one side or the other but I'm pretty much ready to say _____ all those guys.

(sorry for long post)

Gmann
2005-Feb-16, 01:44 PM
The rumblings I'm hearing now is that the players have agreed to a cap, but are about 7 million apart with the owners on what that cap should be, and if there is to be a "luxury tax" applied to a team that exceeds the cap. It is much the same formula that they have in US Football. My guess is that this season will be washed out probably today or tomorrow, but they will come to some kind of agreement this spring/summer, and be back on the ice in time for next year. The big question will be the fans? Are they also going to make a triumphant return, or will they stay away in droves? Either way, the NHL owners have their work cut out for them.

As for players getting on with the lesser known Hockey teams, in our case the Missouri River Otters. Our (Blues) young, promising defenseman, Barrett Jackman, has been on the team. His reason is to keep his skills sharp, and try to improve his play while all of this is going on. I'm sure there are many other players who are doing much the same thing. These are the guys who are not in it for the money, they are in it for the game. (although the money doesn't hurt) I applaud those pure players. the owners are going to settle on something, they are just going for the best deal they can get. My intuition tells me that they will settle on a 45 or 46 Million $ cap, with insurance paid by the owners. But that's just me. :wink:

Parrothead
2005-Feb-16, 05:26 PM
From what I was just hearing on TSN, the players will probably make no more moves, its up to the owners and Bettman. Seeing as this will be a 6-year CBA, the players will go for a cap, but they want a soft one (10% wiggle room over the term of the CBA). Bettman seems to be saying $42.5 m hard cap, take it or leave it. Will fans return hard to say, the players seem to be taking most of the flack, but this agreement is more for the up and coming players rather then the established ones. $6.5 m difference over 30 teams cost of $200 m, we'll find out in the next half hour.

I suspect the ACC in Toronto will be packed to the rafters once play resumes, most of the seats are held by season ticket holders as it is. Only games I've been to in recent years are playoff games where I managed to be among the lucky few to snag a ticket available to the public or being the guest of a season ticket holder. Seeing as the Ontario teachers pension fund owns 48% (might be 58%) of MLS&E (owners of Leafs, Raptors and the ACC), I'm sure they want to see the seats full again.

Kristophe
2005-Feb-16, 07:05 PM
I'm pretty sure the teachers own more than 50%. They hold controlling interest, and I'm pretty sure they always will.

teddyv
2005-Feb-16, 08:07 PM
I suspect the ACC in Toronto will be packed to the rafters once play resumes, most of the seats are held by season ticket holders as it is. Only games I've been to in recent years are playoff games where I managed to be among the lucky few to snag a ticket available to the public or being the guest of a season ticket holder. Seeing as the Ontario teachers pension fund owns 48% (might be 58%) of MLS&E (owners of Leafs, Raptors and the ACC), I'm sure they want to see the seats full again.

I suspect there may be some goodwill games (ie cheap) offered early in the next season to entice people back.

Moose
2005-Feb-16, 08:44 PM
Game over: NHL cancels season (http://www.cbc.ca/story/sports/national/2005/02/16/Sports/noseasontest050216b.html?ref=rss)


NHL commissioner Gary Bettman cancelled the hockey season Wednesday after a series of 11th-hour offers by the league and the Players' Association failed to produce a new collective bargaining agreement.

teddyv
2005-Feb-16, 11:26 PM
Game over: NHL cancels season (http://www.cbc.ca/story/sports/national/2005/02/16/Sports/noseasontest050216b.html?ref=rss)


NHL commissioner Gary Bettman cancelled the hockey season Wednesday after a series of 11th-hour offers by the league and the Players' Association failed to produce a new collective bargaining agreement.

At this point, GOOD RIDDANCE!

Rich
2005-Feb-17, 04:52 PM
As a fan of hockey who tries to go to a couple of games a year I knew this was coming. Frankly, I'm glad. I'm on the owners side all the way on this one and what the closure of the season means is that they win. Next summer they can start hiring college and semi-pro players under whatever kind of agreement the owners collectively want and then any other players who want back in will be forced to accept whatever the owners want with no input at all.

What is lost in all the shuffle is that professional hockey in North America has become financially untenable as it has been run over the past decade. Hockey saw a huge surge in popularity in the early 90s and severly overplayed its hand. Ultimately when the peak in enthusiams died off and lots of casual fans stopped watching games on T.V. the big networks dropped hockey. As a result television revenues virtually disappeared. The teams make almost nothing on the few ESPN or local broadcasts they do get.

This means that the owners have to find other means to make money. The most obvious is to raise ticket prices. In the D.C. and Philadelphia markets I have witnessed ticket prices rise, for most seating sections, by more than 50% (and in some sections close to 100%) over the last 5 or 6 years. Tickets I paid $25-$35 for in '99-'00 were $60 or more last season. Tickets in the $50 dollar range are close to $100 now!

This has resulted in fewer fans in the stands. It used to be I could go to a supposedly "sold out" game with (my own estimate) fewer than 20,000 seats actually filled. Some of this was season ticket holders not showing up, but a lot of it was "organized" scalpers and such buying up all the free tickets to sell at a mark-up. This meant that games for which tickets were hard to come by were often sparsley filled. By last year tickets were frequently plentiful even for big match-ups, seats more empty than full, and prices going even higher (even the scalpers weren't buying them all up anymore). In other words, many teams were simply hemorraghing money.

If that trend continued we'd have no NHL anyway. Better the owners pitch a flag and fight now while there is still something left to fight for. Hopefully they'll take this opportunity to also come up with some rules and playing surface changes to increase excitement in the game and draw fans back in decent numbers. (And, though I used to be of opposite mind, to finally make a real attempt to eliminate fighting in the game.)

Anyway, I'm one hockey fan who will be in the stands when hockey comes back. I just hope they take full advantage of the break to make as many beneficial changes as possible.

(For the record I've found NHL players, as a group, to be the least obnoxious and most fan friendly of any major league sport. I want to see them get paid, but I want to see professional hockey survive even more.)

TriangleMan
2005-Feb-17, 08:29 PM
Here's a news article on the reaction from Canadian fans (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=1845&ncid=1845&e=2&u=/cpress/20050217/ca_pr_on_na/nhl_cancelled_so_what) to the announcement.