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As midnight strikes, there will be no deathbed repentance from either Fehr or Bettman

You may well be (understandably) fed up with CBA talk, but we've had some well presented ideas here lately from posters...if you're interested, check out some recent posts and the ensuing dialogue:

-How the new MLSE owners might really feel about all this...

-Why we fans are the weakest link in this whole mess...

-Gary Bettman's moving target....

-Some comments from Joffrey Lupul and why American markets may struggle yet again...


The owners have a lot of faith in Gary Bettman and it’s clear the players have all the faith in the world in Donald Fehr, who achieved massive gains for the baseball players in his years as the head of the MLBPA.

Here’s why, in a nutshell, without pages of analysis and economic charts (none of which I could even pretend that I understand anyway…), this lockout will be a long one- maybe even one that endures for more than a season:  as much as we thought there was ego and hubris at the core of things the last time around (in addition to the need for "cost certainty" and a cap!), that pales compared with what we have in front of us now.


The players honestly seem to believe they were hard done by after the last lockout, and feel they “gave back” from their million-dollar salaries.  For their part, the owners feel they ended up losing on a deal that they supposedly had “won” before the 2005-’06 NHL season begin.

But maybe as importantly, here’s the reality:  as a prominent commentator suggested yesterday, Donald Fehr “never loses”.  He “never” gives back what his players have already won in previous negotiations.

Gary Bettman is also not in the business of losing.  He can’t let the owners down—and won’t.  They may be their own worst enemies, but it is their league.  And they may not be as unified as last time, but if they have reached this stage, why can't they go on for quite some time, if not a full year or even more?  They all survived somehow before.

Traditionally, in baseball and hockey, it is the owners who ultimately backed down, at least until the most recent NHL lockout.  But if they capitulate now, in Harry Sinden’s infamous words, they will no longer really be running their own league. Instead, it will be run by Don Fehr and the players’ association.  They will be partners with an Association that is not taking on any of the real financial risk.  Do they really want that?

So here we sit.  The unstoppable force and the immovable object, or whatever the old expression is.  I don't know and don’t much care which one is Fehr and which one is Bettman.  The bottom line is we will not have hockey, because of money, because of pride, because of ego, because of mismanagement, because of history- and because of chronic mistrust.

And mostly there will be no hockey because the owners—and the well-fed players—can live without the game much more easily than we can.

The message to all of us “fans”, then? We need to do the same.


  1. My fan protest will be the laziest most self-centered process possible. (In that respect I will try to emulate both the players and owners)

    I propose to watch only AHL games until the lockout is settled.

    With the money saved, I intend to drink better craft and micro brewery beer. No Labatt's or Molson.

    With the money saved I will also try to eat better quality steaks.

    I know this might be tough on all of us...but who else is with me on this high-quality beer and steak protest?

    Solidarity Forever! (burp)

  2. Wouldn't it be interesting if the fans could negotiate a contract with the so-called 'owners' BEFORE the owners could negotiate with the players?!

    It appears that 'owe' is foundational to 'owning'... and to whom is something 'owed,' if not the fans who are the actual creditors in the mix?!

    It appears that the 'product' for which there is a demand amongst the creditors, is the players themselves who are the supply (people who have made themselves into the 'product' would normally have little say, hence the prevailing owner's attitude throughout the history of the league).

    The owners, who fancy themselves as the creditors are, in actual fact, the debtors who function as capital collectors known as marketers. They 'own' intangibles like 'rights' to market the game, but they bring little to the table themselves excepting their hidden knowledge of finance(kind of like high level bankers).

    In a financial crisis fomented by the Gordon Gecko 'Greed is Good' factor, it appears the marketers (and the 'product') have lost all touch with reality, and may find themselves without a marketplace - no need to 'give the fans some credit'... we are the Credit!

    What will you do if the whole system crashes?

    Would you players be happy to at least feed yourself and your families while able to 'play a game' or would you take up some other hard labour if a Depression were upon us?

    When I was a child, I played as a child, but now I'm a man... perhaps you all 'taking a break/locking out your product' might find we've grown up enough in your absence to enjoy the game at another level (or something else entirely)... perhaps we won't even have time for your game - we might just have to survive ourselves.

    Hope there's still an economy and a marketplace for you when you get back...

  3. Love that post, DP, especially your first sentence, which speaks the truth. Both sides are indeed being as self-centered as possible. As fans, we have to look out for ourselves.

  4. I appreciate the various 'references' in your post today, InTimeFor62. It's amazing. Both sides (and perhaps accurately) really do assume we will just sit and wait for their return with baited breath. They do forget that last time around, people did rather nicely move on with their lives. When the game returned, so did most of us fans, but who knows what the effect will be when fans continue to be taken for granted?

    We love the game, but I wonder if we will begin to love those who are part of it less and less?

    Great post, thanks InTimeFor62.

  5. Here's another happy AHL thought. The Oilers farm team is going to be very good because most of them are so young that they can be sent down.

    The AHL roster for the Oklahoma City Barons could be absolutely scary to start the season:

    L1: Magnus Paajarvi - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle
    L2: Teemu Hartikainen - Mark Arcobello - Tyler Pitlick
    L3: Josh Green - Anton Lander - Philippe Cornet
    L4: Curtis Hamilton - Chris Vandevelde - Antti Tyrvainen

    D1: Justin Schultz - Colten Teubert
    D2: Theo Peckham - Taylor Fedun
    D3: Martin Marincin - Alex Plante

    G1: Yann Danis
    G2: Olivier Roy

    If Taylor Hall wasn't injured he would be there too.

  6. The Toronto Maple Leafs have sent the following players to the AHL Toronto Marlies:

    Spencer Abbott - F
    Carter Ashton - F
    Jesse Blacker - D
    Tyler Brenner - F
    Sam Carrick - F
    Joe Colborne - F
    Andrew Crescenzi - F
    Jerry D'Amigo - F
    Nicolas Deschamp - F
    Jamie Devane - F
    Jake Gardiner - D
    Simon Gysbers - D
    Ryan Hamilton - F
    Korbinian Holzer - D
    Nazem Kadri - F
    Leo Komarov - F
    Greg McKegg - F
    Mark Owuya - G
    Brad Ross - F
    Kenny Ryan - F
    Jussi Rynnas - G
    Greg Scott - F

    According to the Toronto Sun's Lance Hornby, the club has also returned 2012 first rounder Morgan Rielly to Moose Jaw of the WHL, while 2011 draftees Tyler Biggs, Stuart Percy and David Broll have been sent to Oshawa, Mississauga and Sault Sainte Marie of the OHL.

    I would have liked to see Biggs, Broll and Percy at the Marlies camp, but they look like they have too many bodies

  7. That's going to be a strong Marlie team, DP! If other NHL teams are doing the same with their guys on two-way contracts, there will be a number of awfully good AHL teams this season, for sure.