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Lupul’s comments and…If we miss a year of NHL hockey, which markets that will be even worse off?

As we’ve discussed in this space for some time, yes, we fans come back to hockey after the various lockouts/strikes because we love the game.  We build our free time around it.  We enjoy having a rooting interest, often a passionate one.  We love the skill and we appreciate the players who perform.  And sadly, we are mostly helpless when those who bring the game to us can’t agree on a framework to operate a reasonably thriving together.

Both sides can throw water on the actions of the other party (and I sense, though maybe I’m wrong, that a lot of mainstream media types are very critical of the owners this time around, while giving the players a pass) but for me, there’s plenty of blame to go around.

I have zero sympathy for the owners, though I do think they are caught between a rock and a hard place.  If they all decide to tighten their spending belts at the same time, they will be accused of collusion.  When they blow their brains out by spending too much, they get criticized for that.  Not much of a window, it would seem, for doing the right—or smart—thing.

As for the players, why do I care if they get 43% or 57% of so-called “hockey-related revenue”.  Heck, most of these guys are millionaires many times over or soon will be, regardless of any CBA changes.  What’s the minimum NHL salary—half a million a year?  C’mon, how could any of these guys have sympathy for the everyday fans like us? 

Joffrey Lupul can say the words (check out his comments from Thursday) and say “hey, I’m a fan, just like you…” but last I checked he makes 4 million a year just in salary—plus all this other money/revenue players get.  We’re supposed to understand their position?  Really?  For me, this is not remotely like other "normal" labour negotiations where everyday people are fighting to keep up with inflation.

I like to think I’m reasonably open-minded, and open to differing views.  We discuss and debate stuff here at VLM all the time, and when I hear something that makes me stop and think, I’m prepared to shift my position.  But on this subject, I’ve read everything I can get my hands on, and I have not a bit of empathy for either side.  Zero.

But my broader point today, before I got myself off track, is:  even though fans did come back after the last lockout (and we will again), I have to believe that in some U.S. markets at least, the enthusiasm for hockey will wane even further if we lose another season.

How much true passion for hockey will there be in, say, Raleigh?  Or Tampa, or Sunrise, Florida?   Or Phoenix, which finally seems to have an owner (with other people’s money—always a good idea, eh?) but now no games to play.

The Islanders already play in an awful building and while they have a proud core fan base with a rich history, how deep is the interest beyond that?

I sure wonder about Columbus and the future of hockey in that city.  No one will notice they’re not playing until the Ohio State football season is over, but still, it’s an issue.

Dallas and Colorado? Both are home to former Stanley Cup championship teams, yet I can’t help but think it would not take much to really set those fragile markets back, especially after a year without the sport for the second time in less than a decade.

Nashville is a great story, and one of my favourite teams/franchises.  I love the way General Manager David Poile has quietly gone about building an organization in a “non-traditional” hockey market.  They have some great fans.  I’m just not sure how a year off can help in a market like Nashville.  How much will they have to do to win fans back, especially if their team struggles and is not as good as they were when last we had hockey?

What am I saying?  Am I suggesting these franchises will all (or any of them) wither and die after another lockout?

No, but it won’t help.

The sport has grown significantly in the past few years, despite the relatively recent lost season.  Everyone, including the players, has/have benefited.  Yes, the owners are always the ones that want to “claw back” from the players, and that angers some people, and maybe rightfully so.  But hey, honestly, haven’t the players already got a pretty sweet deal?  Tell me again what these guys pay for out of their own pocket?  How much do they make beyond their “salary”?  Are any of them, really and truly, hard done by—by any measure?

Yes, I’ve heard the argument many times that these are super-talented guys, that they are unique, the best in their field, are major entertainers, etc..  All true.  But as I've said here before, we all live in a free world.  Perhaps the players would like to try to earn two, five or eight million a year doing something else?

I didn’t think so.

If I were the players, and really just “wanted to play hockey”, as Lupul evidently claimed (though Sydney Crosby, for his part, said, "not at any cost"...), I’d sign the deal and thank my stars I could do what they do for a living and make more money than most people could ever dream of.  They have advisors, supporters, agents, money, time on their hands, freedom, and people to help them every inch of the way in their careers.  Yes, some players still struggle, but my point is that, when they do face issues, systems are in place, checks and balances, to try and help them out.  That’s as it should be.  And I realize it doesn’t always help enough to prevent things like we had last summer, when we lost a number of former players.

But while the league, and teams, should do everything they can to help those players, that’s really not what this debate is about right now.

Maybe if they spent a few years without the glory, the money, the perks, the freebies, the adulation, the attention, and hearing from fans…”didn’t you used to be…….”.  Maybe then they'd truly appreciate what they already have.  And after they start to miss some of the things I just mentioned,  then I’d like the players to tell me why this is a bad deal for them.

I get that the human instinct - if you've been earning, say, 10 million a year and you're boss says you can now only make 8 million - is to kick and scream and think that life is unfair.  But maybe the real answer is that you were unduly privileged in the first place.  On balance, in the context of the broader world reality, you have been blessed more than you deserve, and sometimes, a little less need not be a slap in the face.

Look, we've been in a serious recession, worldwide, since 2008, not long after the last lockout when we lost a full season.  Do the players not look around them and go, most people are worried about the price of gas and paying the rent or mortgage?  Do they not look back and see how much more they make than in 1995?  Are they not amazed- and appreciative?

They should be.  And yet, they want more, or at the very least won't accept less.  They can say they don't want more, but they really do.  It's all relative.

I’m sure I sound like I’m “pro-owner”, which, if you knew me, would be a laugh.  But this is how these things push us, when we are overwhelmed by what we see as greed in others.  (Not that we aren’t all greedy to some degree, I get that…)

As always, I’m interested in your thoughts—just understand going in that, on this rare occasion, it is unlikely anything you say will make me feel sympathy for the players.


  1. "But on this subject, I’ve read everything I can get my hands on, and I have not a bit of empathy for either side. Zero."

    Yes I think that too. It's not some grand moral crusade. It's two groups of rich people scratching and clawing, counting all the pennies and trying to get even richer.

    It's like the Rolling Stones fighting with their record company....everybody is rich and do the fans really care who comes out on top? I think not.

    "I have to believe that in some U.S. markets at least, the enthusiasm for hockey will wane even further if we lose another season."

    I think you are right... even here in Canada. I'll tell you about my experience.

    Most people that post here know that I follow the AHL and prospects carefully. I think the last strike caused this.

    Back in 2004-2005, I lived in Winnipeg. I had access to Manitoba Moose tickets and saw allot of games.

    Because of the strike, that Moose team was pretty good and had a portion of the future Vancouver Canuck core. The team included: Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa, Alexandre Burrows, Nolan Baumgartner, Alex Auld, Rick Rypien and Wade Flaherty

    We saw that team play all sorts of great AHL teams. The Manchester Monarchs included Mike Cammalleri, Dustin Brown, George Parros and David Steckel. The Lowell Lock Monsters included Eric Staal, Chad Larose and Mike Commodore. The Binhamgton Senators had Jason Spezza, Chris Kelly, Anton Volchenkov and Ray Emery. The Rochester Americans had Thomas Vanek, Jason Pominville, Derek Roy and Paul Gaustad. The Hamilton Bulldogs had Tomas Plekanec,Jason Ward, Chris Higgins, Steve Ott and Andrei Kostitsyn.

    It was pretty good hockey.

    Ever since that season I have been far more willing to watch AHL games and pay AHL prices and less willing to play NHL prices.

    If there is an extended strike I will try to see every Marlies game and if I lived into Toronto I would probably get season tickets or some package. I can' even think of that with the Leafs.

    Do the NHL owners and players want more fans to become like like me...only willing to pay AHL prices?

    What if more fans harkened back to old days of the original six and many NHL teams had to turn back into AHL teams?

    That would mean less money for both the owners and the players.

    In short, don't kill or hurt the golden goose. You might not like the results.

  2. It's good to hear the list of names that played in the AHL the last time we faced a lockout, DP. Some awfully good talent there.

    This is not quite the same situation, but I remember many years ago when I worked in broadcasting for a time, and for a couple of those years I was on the broadcast crew that did the radio games for a Major Junior team in Ontario. I had always followed junior hockey, and saw a lot of games in Toronto in the early-mid '70s, but I really fell in love with the junior game in the early '80s.

    What you're describing is more of a "risk" to NHL hockey. Fans are truly being priced out of the market. Neither party seems to want to recognize that. Fans can and may choose to follow other, less expensive "entertainment" options. That's not a threat, it's a financial reality for many of us.

    Every GM, owner - and player - should read your post today. Thanks DP.

  3. MIchael,

    First off, you do come across at times, as being pro owner. I don't wish to restate the case for the players here. I guess if I had to I would ask you what salary for the players is fair? Bottom line, the maximum salary now is 20% of the maximum cap value. Is it fair for Crosby to make one million dollars in a system that generates more than 3 billion in revenue? Since this is your forum, please tell me what is fair for the players? A minimum and a maximum, if you would be so kind.

    I think that as long as we are willing to define the discussion as the owners vs. the players. We have no hope of ever getting to a true partnership. We are stuck with a group of people who think that they are the ranch owners, and the others are thought of as cattle. Entirely replaceable on one hand, yet entirely unique on the other.

    Lately, I have been thinking about how unusual a group the owners of pro sports franchises are. They are members of a collective that is, I believe still, operates as a non profit entity. Yet they admonish other owners in smaller markets that they need to be better at running their business. These same owners always seem to have their hands out to the government for arena funding, under threat of moving the team no less. They are also very enamoured of the draft of players into the League. This is to me at least, the funniest one of them all. They shout and scream that they want a free market environment for themselves and nobody else. Imagine if heart surgeons graduating from medical school had no choice where they worked for the first 5 years, or longer, if the NHL gets its way. It even seems odd to say, doesn't it? But they are a uniquely skilled and talented group, blessed with a talent and a determination to make the most of it.

    I do not expect, or even ask, that you or anyone else feel sorry for the players. I don't, and I never have. I also am smart enough not to think that I could be one of them, if only for that minor peewee coach that didn't foster my talent. They have an enormous skill and a determination to maximize their ability to benefit from it.

    It bothers me a great deal that the fans lose in this situation every time. One point on collusion and I will go. Besides the fact that it is a drag on a free market enterprise. One that all these astute capitalist business owners should despise on principle. It is only collusion, if as a group they conspire to artificially limit or restrict competition. If they individually do this on their own because market forces dictate that there is simply no good business case to be made for increasing player costs. There is no collusion.

  4. I'm fed up with both sides, all the posturing and posing for the cameras, all the grasping for bucks, all the while COMPLETELY ignoring the fans - the very ones who pony up the mega bucks required to attend a game in this sport.
    I think this will be a shoot-off-your-foot exercise, no , a blow-off your-foot exercise, for the league. Just as interest is truly growing in the US for the first time, they decide to pull the plug!
    They may be rich, but they ain't smart.

  5. I find it numbing to listen to these guys jabber at each other, and unfortunately the mainstream media has no gumption for asking real questions.
    I share the zero empathy for either side..BUT I will say the players get less from me - they want have their cake and to eat it too.
    They are not partners, they are employees.
    IF they want to be partners, take some risk...currently the players have guaranteed contracts and get paid whether their team has 1 fan or a million fans...heck, their employers can go bankrupt and they get paid...see penguins/coyotes and possibly soon the in any lifetime is that a partnership?
    I am not an accountant but math is actually pretty simple..take hrr that is now agreed upon...45% for the owners, 45% for the players and 10% in to a stabilization be distributed via a joint owner/player committee after each season's books are closed.
    That leaves 350 million as a slush fund so to revenue grows so does this fund...this would strengthen weak teams permanently, give any expansion franchises the opportunity to succeed and give the current owners a little boost in their current share..
    It grows the amount the players get as the revenues grow...they will have a vested interest in growing the game.
    I have no idea if these %'s are the right ones...owners have already offered the players 49% so maybe you go 49 for the players, 45 for the owners and 6 for the "fund"....still dumps 210 mill in to the fund.
    If they miss even 1 game they lose a little bit of my fandom...and I have been watching the leafs since the mid 60's.................

  6. My point, Jim, is not that the rest of us, if only for a break here or there, could be in the players' shoes and making all that money; and then that we would it it all away to those less fortunate than us. I recognize that they have worked hard and are "unique" and provide entertainment.

    It is simply that this is not a situation where the rich and greedy business owners mistreat their hard-woorking employees, or create a horrible environment that, for example, necessitated the courageous launch of unions in the first place (or in hockey terms, led to the arrival of Alan Eagleson in the 1960s...).

    I'm just saying enough is enough. A minimum and a maximum? I think we are at a pretty nice minimum for players, if they make half a million a year. A maximum? I don't know. Does anybody really need to make 5 million a year? I mean, anything after that is surely monopoly money in terms of lifestyle and what anyone "needs" in a world where millions and millions go to bed (if they have one) hungry every single night.

    If it were "my" world, the players and wealthier/successful franchises would not only contribute to the less well-off franchises ("sharing"), profits above a certain point- and salaries above a certain point- would go into various funds to help minor hockey around the world; to help youth and college and other players who suffered career-ending injuries, etc. And a fund to help former players players in need, and to start more scholarships for needy kids, etc. That's where some of the "hockey-related revenue" would go.

    That's what I'd like to see.

    Your points and fair and as always, well made. Thanks Jim.

  7. Thanks Gerund O'. I'm pretty sure you speak for a lot of fellow hockey fans...

  8. There's a lot of common sense (and wisdom) in that, freshwind. One of the best posts here (and VLM receives a lot of great ones) that I can recall on this subject. Thanks.

  9. Michael,

    The solution to the problem is obvious, yet unattainable. Neither side is willing to be true partners in the NHL. Both want, for their own reasons, to be seen as the more important piece of the puzzle, with neither willing to acknowledge that they are better off working together.

    There is a level of paternalism on the part of the owners and the commissioner that is becoming more and more distasteful to me. If I may, an analogy. If I was in a car with these guys driving, I would have made them pull over long ago and let me drive. With them at the helm we are only going into the ditch. Record revenue growth, and we still have reports of up to half the League losing money. Or at best, barely breaking even. It is clear to me that these people need new ideas and some help directing the League to a place that will be profitable for everyone. They are unwilling to even consider other ideas. They consistently bury their heads in the sand at every opportunity. It is not possible in my opinion that the owners and BOG have any real clue as to how to make the entire League successful. At every turn their solution is to take money away from the players. End of discussion, do not tell us how to run our business. The sun belt teams were a great idea, no reason to move them somewhere there are hockey fans.

    I don't disagree with you when you long for a League that is less concerned with profit and more concerned with philanthropy. That is absolutely the way I would like the NHL to be as well. I do think that there is a little of this already, there could clearly be more.

    Does anyone need to make $5 million or more in a year. No. I will not say that the players deserve to make that kind of money. I can't make that kind of argument in good conscience. What I am sure of is this. Under no circumstances do I want Bell, Rogers, Comcast, Rexall Sports, Jeremy Jacobs, JMAC Hockey LLC, Molson, or Charles Wang to be able to squirrel away more and more capital that could be put to better use. I can make no argument, or think of any, that would have me believe that any of these owners have done anything to earn any more money than they already do.

    If I was asked why I would rather the players get an increased share of the pie. There is a visceral dislike on my part for the owners, board of governors and the commissioner. There is something about people who are only willing to consider their own point of view that upsets me and makes me despise them, the more I am exposed to their world view. Precisely, the attitude on their part that they are the only ones capable of grasping the scope of the solution to the difficulties they face. It is painfully obvious that they are not capable of fixing the situation.

  10. To be clear, Jim, I think your points are exceptionally well articulated. I have long had an aversion to geed at the corporate level (as do many people, of course) and can't pretend I have "solutions".

    I understand that people find Bettman, at best, smug and condescending. Though I will add that baseball seems to have much better labour relations now that Fehr is long gone from that scene. So maybe the smugness cuts both ways.

    Bettman is doing the bidding of the owners, and they are bankrupt of ideas, for sure. Which mades this a tail-chasing exercise from the get-go.

    True partnership, yes, but as freshwind said, then the players would have to assume some of the financial risk. Are they prepared to do that?

    Thanks Jim.

  11. I think I might actually side with the owners (at least the rich ones) on this one for selfish reasons. The players seem to want the richer clubs to help out the struggling ones in the NHL. I believe you wrote a peice early this summer about Leafs fans, directly or indirectly, paying the Leafs salaries. Well the same can be said about generating revenues. As a Leaf fan who (stupidly) contributes to Leaf revenues, I'll be damned if I want to see my money help out some struggling franchise in a non traditional hockey market. They steal all our best Ontario talent and then expect us to help them survive while the leafs struggle? Forget that. I could care less if the game 'grows' in the States. I realize my opinions are flawed, lack real knowledge of the situation, and are a little too don cherry-esque but that's just the way I feel

  12. Michael,

    The talk has been mainly about the players and the owners...who do you support?...who has the better case? I would make the case that this should really be about the forgotten ones...the fans.

    The four major pro sports in North America glean their revenues mainly from TV contracts, box office receipts and licensed merchandise sales.

    The US TV contracts in Football are worth $150 million per team while in baseball and basketball it is around $35 million per team. Contrast these figures with hockey where it is $5-6 million per team.

    Gary Bettman became commissioner in 1993. Since then he has located teams in Dallas, Miami, Tampa Bay, Anaheim, Charlotte, Atlanta, Phoenix, Nashville and Columbus in order to secure that mega-buck U.S. TV contract that is the cornerstone of the other 3 leagues. This venture has obviously been a failure in more ways than one; he did not secure a large TV contract and most of those teams are losing money.

    The NHL is the only league where revenues are box office driven. Ticket prices for the least expensive seats in Toronto have risen from $1.50 in the early 60's to approximately $79 today mainly because average salaries have risen from approximately $10,000 to $2.5 million over the same period of time. We, the fans, are bearing the financial load with money directly out of our pockets.

    As I have stated before, I support neither the players nor the owners. The owners hired Bettman and have supported his counterproductive plans. They also still insist on handing out ridiculous mega dollar, mega year contracts, front loaded to beat the cap hit. The players strive for more and more when, as you so eloquently put it, they already have more than enough.

    In an ideal world, the league would contract to around 24 teams. Contraction does not benefit the players. The NHLPA would oppose the loss of 138 jobs thus the money losing franchises will continue however the players must then bear a portion of the losses.

    In an ideal world salaries and hence ticket prices would be rolled back and games would again be affordable for the average fan. This is obviously a pipedream.

    Finally, I would say to both the owners and the players...Don't waste your time trying to convince me that your position is the right one. For once sit back and consider the fans. We are the reason you are in such a priviledged position.

  13. I know everyone wants "logical" arguments, Cartsy, but people also have a right to voice views based on how they "feel".

    As you note (and as I tried to mention in an earlier post), fans do pay the freight, or at least a lot of it. Even those who do not regularly attend games and pay for tickets contribute in a wide variety of ways to the growth and wealth of both the owners and players - and the can-never-get-enough agents.

    So thanks for taking the time to visit and post.

  14. I don't need to add a word to your thoughtful post, Pete Cam. Thank you.

  15. Hi Michael,

    First of all I have no sympathy for either side in this dispute. If I were to make 50K per year at my job, showing up every day of the year with the exception of my 2 or 3 week vacation and stat holidays, it would take me 20 years to earn a million dollars. A lot of people do not make 50K. After taxes there is barely enough to put anything away for a rainy day or retirement. Some of these guys make more in a year than most people will in a lifetime. So the "short career, have to provide for my family" excuses are all crap.

    On the other hand the owners are blessed with one of the most officious mouthpieces on this planet in Gary Bettman. One thing I learned with certainty through the last lockout and the mess in Phoenix is that if it comes out of his mouth it is either a half truth or an outright lie.

    The owners crushed the union during the last lockout. Out of that rose "cost certainty". They won. And the first thing that they did was try to find ways to circumvent what they had achieved.

    It makes you question the business acumen of the parties involved. How else could such a foolproof business model become the debacle that we now have?

    How can we trust these people to come up with something that works? Do we have work stoppages every 5 years to look forward to? When is enough enough?

    Right now the owners are getting what they deserve. They built it, they have no one to blame but themselves.

    And, if certain markets do not recover then so be it. I am sure that the Leafs will happily continue to subsidize their operations. Or, get rid of them entirely. No one will care. There are hard core NFL fans in Canada, yet we do not have any teams. You do not have to physically attend hockey to be a fan.


  16. I can't argue with a word you said, Brad (cbh747). I've always felt the player mantra of "my career is so short so I have to make my money now" was exactly what you said: crap. (Do these guys somehow think they are entitled to not have to work after they retire? The rest of the real world has to work every day of their lives. Heck, many of them can virtually retire on what they earn in their first contract nowadays, if they invest wisely.)

    And the owners are without shame. Bankrupt of ideas- they pay someone 8 million dollars a year to say all the stupid things they think.

    So here we sit.

  17. Although there are blame all around but more so because of the Owner's incapacity to manage themselves collective without collusion implications as you've indicated, this impasse can be overcome if the players would have a little understanding of the owner's positions and the owner's redress of their main problem, Revenue Sharing.

    I too have little sympathy for the owners but I do understand why they are where they are and why they must address the issues that they feel are in the player's favour. Yes, the players are not obligated to manage the finances of the owners' and their sometimes shortsighted decisions. They have negotiated their market value contracts in good faith and the problems are all owners' driven but perhaps they must be the ones to give a little in order to fix it as they are also part of the whole.

    There are inherit risks to the owners as they are liable for many external fixed costs beyond players' salaries, something that players have little to deal with. They collect their biweekly salaries, pay their agent and the tax man and go on their way. Aside from players' salaries, the owners are dealing with insurance, facility management, operational management (including scouts, GMs, secretary salaries), travel expenses, etc and THE main issue of revenue sharing.

    Revenue Sharing and this is where I am completely on the players' side, is something that IMO is completely mismanaged and that must be addressed. At present, I don't see any repercussions for under performing teams. The solution to roll back the player's salaries alone to compensate is like robbing Paul's cousins to pay Mary.

    That said, an equitable division of revenue should be IMO 50/50. I understand the players' position as I too would feel unfair that the contracts that I've signed were suddenly redressed in the favour of my employer. I understand that the players feels that again, they are the ones that must gives when it is really of the owner's doing.

    Perhaps the members of the NHLPA and fairly so, are viewing from the perspective of their limited careers and not the longevity of the league. Especially when it is still thriving. When we look at a 6-10 years CBAs, what transpires afterwards does not effect the "me" in their union. Meanwhile the owners are looking down the road and see the raining days ahead. IMO the only way to move forward for the betterment of the league long-term; the players must move beyond this view point and at the same time, the Owners must take more responsibilities for their decisions.

    As a fan, I am sicken by all of the bickering. The squabbling between millionaires and billionaires unconcern about doing the right thing. But this is a game that we love and have been more than willing to pay to be a part of it. If Lupul really love the game that much, playing in any leaque while being paid a sustained salary should be more than enough. There is a lot less 'Love' when you a professional player and also refer to it as a 'business' when convenient. At the end of the day and appears to have played out as expected, both parties are not really speaking the same language.

  18. Excellent blog, Michael. I like many others think there is an easy solution, but not one upon which both sides will agree. However, as an 'outsider' (european and not having had the benefit of being Canadian and therefore having hockey as my religion since birth!, there are a couple of points I would like to make:

    I understand that before Bettman the NHL had no lockouts. Since he represented the owners this is now the third? Hmmm....

    The owners want the players to take a smaller cut of 'hockey related revenues' in a market that is expanding year on year. So the players in effect may not actually earn less, because the revenues are going up anyway. Hmmm...

    Regarding players getting massive salaries - yes they do. We have the same problem in the UK with soccer players. The difference is most clubs do not even turn a profit. At least most NHL clubs break even at worst! My point is that the players will always get repugnant salaries regardless of the form of any CBA. Hey, if i could whack a golf ball around a course or kick a football around a pitch to the extent that someone wanted to pay me ridiculous sums of money, I'd take it and we all would. We can't rewind to day one and start again with sensible salaries, so we need to just get past that one!

    I have read so many fan comments regarding 'we should show the league by not turning up to games / buying merchandise'. Hmmm... lets admit it, the day the lockout ends, everyone will be straight back to hockey with a bigger thirst for it than ever, wearing the newest player's jersey.

    The point made about interest dropping in markets like Phoenix, Florida, etc. - Good!! If it takes a lockout to rationlise the league whereby uneconomic markets are replaced by ones that actually want hockey (name most Canadian cities!) then so be it.

    Sometimes it takes a bit of pain to get some gain. In the meantime, sure it's frustrating for the fans that we might not have some live hockey for a bit. It's not pretty watching two sides of greed battle it out, and maybe some sense may prevail with regards sorting out the next CBA a bit earlier in the process to avoid all this nonsense.

    Personally, I would love to see Joffrey, Dion, Phil, and any other star for that matter, come and play some hockey in the Elite UK league for a few months. Thats if these gods of the ice could adapt to our size of rink of course.....!!!

  19. Very well said, Lukas. You outline how the two sides could move forward, with a bit more understanding of each other's needs and concerns.

    I sense that most of us agree that the owners put themselves in this situation. But we need to understand that while they make mistakes and lack vision and new ideas, they are also the ones that own all the risk. Guaranteed contracts help the players sleep at night.

    We need to somehow find a way to bridge the gap. As you and others have clearly stated today, we are all tired of the bickering (again) and the lockout has even started yet!

    Surely both sides realize that, after last time, we don't really believe what any of them say....

  20. Common sense, reality and a smile for the day- thanks for delivering in a big way today, Richard (Welshmapleleaf). Appreciate your perspective a great deal.

  21. very interesting guy on the radio today...a business guy...said all the players' projections are at 7.1% as it has grown since the last lockout

    this number is bogus since most of this increase is the increase in the canadian dollar and is unsustainable moving forward

  22. I was just looking at season tickets for the Marlies...gee whiz. I think if I lived in T.O. I would get a pair for this season. $1216 for a pair of season tickets. $665 for a pair of a half season tickets!

    Every couple of nights I would be posting on this forum, "buddy can't make it...his wife is mad again. Who wants to go? Free ticket, just buy me a beer or two."

    We could all have fun cheering on Kadri, Fratttin, Gardiner or Scrivens.

    It would be like that magical season that I enjoyed with the Manitoba Moose during the last lockout.

  23. My guess is we will indeed see a big uptick in Marlies' attendance this season, DP!