Wednesday, February 16, 2005
Bettman to officially end NHL season TODAY... unless...
I really wanted to see the replacement players anyway - sort of an alternate universe NHL... Or simply "FAUX NHL"... *LOL*
*That* would have been interesting; a true even playing-field, with no prima donnas on ice - and with only one drawback, really; lousy clubs like the NYR or the Habs would have as good a chance as everybody else...!
This unlikely scenario is not to be - then nothing should be!
I know of better scenarios that were not - so, no; seeing no NHL hockey at all is clearly NOT the worst thing that could happen here, AT ALL...!
I do wonder why, of all the owners, the Dallas Stars guy is the most outspoken...
His team did win the Stanley Cup not too long ago (but then, look at the competition - it was against Buffalo! Buff-ah-low... as the jokey intonation went - don't ask where! *lol*)
*However*, truth be told that the Stars are, most years, shining on paper only...
And they are not writers, so, that is not good enough, is it? (Get it - not good, on ice? In the rink? During actual testosterone-enforced competition?!?)
Maybe the Dallas GM is more transparent than I give it credit to be! Aye; maybe, just maybe his true motivation is too obvious - with a band of under-achievers like that, he SHOULD not want another (even if shortened) disappointing season to happen... Indeed! ;)
I think the players need to get back to their roots - they need to go back to when they were playing because they loved the game, not because they were getting paid an arm and a leg and the firstborn children of their fans...
Just my opinion. :)
p.s. - this is a first : you commented before I could post the source article here, as per my luminous habit (beats a bad habit... lol). I had to reboot...! That's why! ;)
CTV.ca News Staff
It seems the end has been nigh for the hockey season for quite a while now, but it's expected the National Hockey League will finally cancel the 2004-2005 season officially in a news conference today - this despite a salary cap being finally brought into the discussions from the players' side as well.
TSN reports that individual NHL clubs are also said to be planning their own local news conferences, immediately following NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's announcement in New York Tuesday afternoon.
The NHL and its players ended a five-hour secret meeting on Sunday without making any progress towards a settlement. The two main actors, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow, didn't take part.
According to the NHLPA, the meeting was requested by the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
"Today, the parties met for the third time with FMCS officials. There was no progress to report as a result of this meeting, and in fairness to the process it would serve no purpose to comment further," NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin said in a statement.
The prospect of a possible settlement was seen as dim after talks broke down Thursday.
One high-profile NHL veteran said Sunday if this season is cancelled, don't necessarily count on hockey in 2005-06 either.
"It doesn't look very good right now, and unfortunately for the players and for the fans, if Gary Bettman cancels this season, I fear this could go well into next season and possibly a third season," Brendan Shanahan told ESPN.
Bettman said Wednesday that if the league wasn't drawing up documents with the players' association this weekend, the 2004-05 season would likely be cancelled.
The NHL will become the first major professional league in North America to cancel an entire season from start to finish. But Bettman says the damage the NHL will suffer as a result is worth it in order to get "cost certainty'' for his owners.
Through Monday, 824 of the 1,230 regular-season games have gone by the wayside. Had an agreement been reached over the weekend -- something even the most optimistic among observers wasn't counting on happening -- the league had a shortened schedule ready to go that would see teams play 28 regular-season games, playing only within their conference. The playoffs would stay the same.
On Friday, Bettman removed the league's gag order on owners, executives and general managers. This allowed them to talk about the lockout with the media and the players.
Observers thought this was a gambit to allow GMs and others to put pressure on their players to put pressure on Goodenow and other association leaders.
Dallas Stars owner Tom Hicks made the most of the opportunity.
"The players have turned down the best offer they're ever going to get. I can say that with certainty," Hicks told the Dallas Morning News, adding that the NHLPA wasn't "serious about entertaining the system we need to go forward."
The NHL claims its player costs are out of whack compared to other leagues. It claims player salaries accounted for 76 per cent of the league's $2.1 billion US in revenues last year.
It has maintained the only solution is one that provides "cost certainty," or a linkage between player salaries and league revenues.
The league wants to see player salaries kept below 55 per cent of revenues. The range for the other three major North American sports leagues is 58 to 64 per cent.
Bettman phrased the cap as a "salary range" of between $34.6 and $38.6 million US annually per team. The current average is $44.5 million US.
For the players, a "hard cap" like that isn't acceptable. They have touted a market-based solution which would involve a salary rollback of 24 per cent and a luxury tax that would punish teams for overspending on players.
There is also the issue of trust between the two sides. The players have suspected the owners are under-reporting some revenues.
Bettman has rejected the idea of a luxury tax, saying the NHL needs to fundamentally restructure.
Goodenow pulled a rabbit out of a hat with a last-minute offer in 1994 -- the last time the two sides were embroiled in a contract dispute.
The league was also seeking a salary cap back then.
With files from The Canadian Press
and for all the wrong reasons too...
And it rates so... low on most headline news wires too... it is getting to be pathetic really...
And I actually know people who were planning to get together for an NHL game - meet up for the first time because they had just hooked up on a sports message board in the extraneously looooong off-season now... Well... it will not happen for some time now... eh? Maybe some day...
GAME OFF! NHL Season Canceled
Feb 16, 3:54 PM (ET)
By IRA PODELL
NEW YORK (AP) - The NHL canceled what little was left of the season Wednesday after a series of last-minute offers were rejected on the final day of negotiations.
A lockout over a salary cap shut down the game before it ever got a chance to start in October. Now the NHL, already low on the popularity scale in the United States, becomes the first major pro sports league in North America to lose an entire season to a labor dispute.
"As I stand before you today, it is my sad duty to announce ... it no longer is practical to conduct even an abbreviated season," commissioner Gary Bettman said. "Accordingly, I have no choice but to announce the formal cancellation of play for 2004-05."
"This is a sad, regrettable day that all of us wish could have been avoided," he said.
Bettman said the sides would continue working to get an agreement.
"We're planning to have hockey next season," he said.
The union scheduled a news conference later Wednesday in Toronto.
"The scary part now for hockey is do the fans come back? We're not baseball, we're not the national pastime," Nashville forward Jim McKenzie said.
The league and players' union traded a flurry of proposals and letters Tuesday night, but could never agree on a cap. The players proposed $49 million per team; the owners said $42.5 million. But a series of conditions and fine print in both proposals made the offers farther apart than just $6.5 million per team.
"We weren't as close as people were speculating," Bettman said.
Although Bettman was unequivocal in announcing the cancellation, Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman held out hope that some kind of a miracle was still possible.
"If you read into what (Bettman) said, it sounds like there is still an opportunity to get things done," Yzerman said. "The principles are there to make a deal, so I still think something can happen in the next day or two, because we're really not that far apart."
This will be just the second time the Stanley Cup isn't awarded since Canadian governor general Lord Stanley first had the idea for a North American champion trophy in 1893; the last was 1919, when a flu epidemic forced the finals to be called off in the then 2-year-old league. There was a lockout in 1994-95 that ended in time for teams to play 48 games, still more than half the regular season.
"We profoundly regret the suffering this has caused our fans, our business partners and the thousands of people who depend on our industry for their livelihoods," Bettman said.
"If you want to know how I feel, I'll summarize it in one word - terrible," he said.
Before Monday, the idea of a salary cap was a deal-breaker for the players' association but the union gave in and said it would accept one when the NHL dropped its insistence that there be a link between revenues and player costs.
That still wasn't enough to end the lockout that started on Sept. 16 and ultimately wiped out the entire 1,230-game schedule and the playoffs.
And now, that offer is off the table.
"By necessity we have to go back to linkage since no one knows what the damage to the sport will be," Bettman said.
The NHL's last game came in June, when the Tampa Bay Lightning beat Calgary 2-1 in Game 7 to win the Stanley Cup.
Since then, a lot of stars have moved on, going overseas to play. Jaromir Jagr, Vincent Lecavalier, Teemu Selanne, Joe Thornton and Saku Koivu are among the over 300 of the league's 700-plus players who spent part of this season playing in Europe.
For other older players, such as Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier and Dominik Hasek, the cancellation puts their careers in limbo.
"This is a tragedy for the players," Bettman said. "Their careers are short and this is money and opportunity they'll never get back," Bettman said.
And who knows when Canadian phenom Sidney Crosby will be able to get into the league, or what team he'll eventually play for. Since there was no season, there probably won't be an entry draft in June.
An agreement must be place for the draft to be held, and there is no clear-cut way to determine the picking order once a deal is reached. Washington had the No. 1 selection last year and grabbed Russian sensation Alexander Ovechkin. No doubt the Capitals would love to go first again to pick Crosby.
Taking a year off, or more, will only push the league further off the radar screen.
But this was known back in 1998 when NHL teams began preparing for this possibility by creating a $300 million war chest. The collective bargaining agreement, that expired on Sept. 15, was extended twice after it was originally signed in 1994. That allowed for the NHL to complete its expansion plans without an interruption of play.
"We lived through a decade of a collective bargaining agreement that didn't work," Bettman said. "It doesn't matter whose fault it was."
A year ago, pessimists said that at least one season was sure to be lost and that two was not out of the question.
"We never doubted that the union had the support and the backing of its players," Bettman said. "I hope when this is over they'll think that it's worth it."
He STILL thinks something might happen in the next two days...?!? What is wrong with this guy...?!? Have the booze effects still not let up since the excesses of the Red Wings post-cup victories lo, YEARS ago...?!?
Don't get behind the wheel now, Stevie...
Hmm... am I sounding like Don Cherry here...? Maybe even... a more visceral Grapes than the actual Grapes... eh?
Game... I mean, COMMENTARY OFF...!
I remember the oddest message board posters saying, months ago really, that this year the Bruins are (were) screwed... and that their favorites -the hellacious Habs- were ever improving and were going to even be WINNING THEIR DIVISION THIS YEAR...
HAIn that case, the Habs are the ones who got screwed this year... BIG TIME. This was going to be their year... eh? And it is simply STRIPPED AWAY - COMPLETELY from them... ohhhhhhhh! Poor Canadiens...
Halte-là... Halte-là...Halte-là... le Canadiens... oops... ils ne sont PAS là! ...
The voracious hockey fans in Montreal actually will say that they DON'T CARE as much about having lost the EXPOS outright and totally (to Washington, where they will be heceforth known as the Nationals... at least a name that means something... eh?) as they care about THIS... Fact is... the EXPOS were at least able to PROVE that they were any good in 1994 before the season got canceled... and THEY were actually something... not mere fanboy fantasy-type of speculation on the worth of the team based solely upon one miracle comeback (rip-off really) in the post-season the last time out... No folks... the EXPOS were good in 1994. The Habs are Hab-nots in 2004-2005...! Getting not even a single game to display any evidence that their alleged improvement was anything else than mere WISHFUL THINKING... Under the new salary cap, when the damn NHL finally does resume its activities -one day...! *lol*- the Bruins will see it fit their plans perfectly - and more players available to them! The Habs will truly become the Hab-nots of the league - seeing as NO ONE enjoys playing there with the intense media scrutiny (they have nothing better to do during the long winters...) - just ask Mariusz Czerkawski and Doug Gilmour. The thinking man's players will rather play anywhere but here - given the same lousy salary (salary cap will make pay dwindle down to a miserable average of 150,000 or 200,000 a YEAR... oh my GOD...!!!). Atlanta... Minnesota... Phoenix... even Nashville will seem like paradise to play hockey in - when opposite to Montreal! Taxes are a killer too in le belle province... ha! All the more reason to NOT play here... but of course, NOBODY is playing ANYWHERE right now (except in the AHL... OHL... IHL... CHL... XYZHL...whateverHL!!!). Thus... who needs the NHL? Who needs the Habs... especially?!? *LOL*
Laughs well he who laughs last...
proven to be true once again!