Monday, September 17, 2012

It's a No Go, Joe - NHL Lock-out

The CBA expired on September 15th, 2012 at midnight and once again the NHL and the NHLPA failed to come to any agreement. The owners have locked out the players until the two sides find some middle ground and sign a contract.

This leaves the 'little guys' without jobs and the fans (us) without our favorite sport. Both sides are pointing fingers at the other - again - and haven't set a date for another bargaining session. I feel for the employees of the stadiums who lose anticipated paychecks: vendors, parking lot attendants, office workers, security personnel, etc. None of those persons make the six or seven figure salaries. And let's not forget about us: the fans. If we didn't go to or watch the games on television or cable/satellite, there would be NO reason for the professional game to exist.

Now, I understand both sides have grievances. Owners have a lot of overhead (salaries, upkeep of the stadium & equipment, etc., so naturally they want a bigger slice of the pie. Players have limited time on the ice and deal with injuries, travel, moving due to trades, etc.

Wait a moment here. I make less than 35k a year - it's not great, but I survive. The governor gave us a pay cut last year - plus we the honor of taking six furloughs (non-paid days off) a year. Sure, I could try to find another job, but that would involve moving and trying to sell off my houses. The economy in Nevada is horrible. Our unemployment rate is at 12%. Hopefully the State will do better some day soon and we'll get our merit raises unfrozen and the furloughs will go away...maybe.

The league minimum is, what, $120,000 now? I could get along very well on that and put a good chunk away for the future. There are cities who would love a hockey team. Move the teams doing badly to those areas, then perhaps those teams will do better.

Common sense isn't so common.

For example: A company was moving an over sized truck through a metropolitan city. As it drove along the freeway, it came to an overpass. A sign noted clearance was 14 feet 2 inches. The truck was 14 feet 4 inches. The driver continued under the overpass anyway, where it became wedged. Highway patrol, the fire department, CAL-Trans, a tow truck, and the company officials all responded. The men stood around scratching their heads, trying to figure out how to get the truck freed,a s it was stuck tight. Nothing they tried worked. A boy on a bicycle rode on the overpass and stopped. He shrugged his shoulders and said aloud, "Why don't you let the air out of the tires?" Problem solved.

The San Jose Sharks Ownership released a statement on their website:

Dear Sharks

As we are sure you are aware, the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement between the National Hockey League and the NHL Players’ Association expired on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 9 p.m. PDT.

Without a new agreement in place, training camps will not open as scheduled on Sept. 21 and no hockey will be played until a new deal is consummated and in place.

As of this moment, there is no definitive answer as to when a settlement will be reached but there are a few things we wanted to communicate to you.

First off, please know that our fans and partners are our number one priority. Your enthusiasm and commitment to our franchise is unparalleled and something that we do not take for granted.

The changes that are being sought in collective bargaining are being sought in the best interests of the game and all those associated with it.

Updates on the labor negotiations can be found at

We appreciate your patience and ask that you continue to bear with us. We sincerely thank you for your support over the years – and moving forward.

We hope to see you and NHL action back at HP Pavilion very soon.
The NHL also released a message on their site:

A message to our fans

Sunday, 09.16.2012 / 9:00 AM / News
The following message to fans was issued by the National Hockey League on Sunday:

Despite the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the National Hockey League has been, and remains, committed to negotiating around the clock to reach a new CBA that is fair to the Players and to the 30 NHL teams.

Thanks to the conditions fostered by seven seasons under the previous CBA, competitive balance has created arguably the most meaningful regular season in pro sports; a different team has won the Stanley Cup every year; fans and sponsors have agreed the game is at its best, and the League has generated remarkable growth and momentum. While our last CBA negotiation resulted in a seismic change in the League's economic system, and produced corresponding on-ice benefits, our current negotiation is focused on a fairer and more sustainable division of revenues with the Players -- as well as other necessary adjustments consistent with the objectives of the economic system we developed jointly with the NHL Players' Association seven years ago. Those adjustments are attainable through sensible, focused negotiation -- not through rhetoric.
This is a time of year for all attention to be focused on the ice, not on a meeting room. The League, the Clubs and the Players all have a stake in resolving our bargaining issues appropriately and getting the puck dropped as soon as possible. We owe it to each other, to the game and, most of all, to the fans.

Frustration is certainly in the air. Bill Daly, the NHL Deputy Commissioner, and Steve Fehr, NHLPA special counsel, are supposed to meet tomorrow and will hopefully make some headway. As expected, free agent signings are put on hold and the training camps are on hiatus.

At least some fans will get to see hockey via means of the AHL, ECHL, college, and other leagues.

As Larry the Cable Guy says, hurry up and "Get Er Done"!

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