Lockout Update: Day 31 - There is still a lockout.

You've heard the big news today I'm sure. Very positive, as the NHL have promised the players that their contracts for this season will be honored in full, and that the split offered is 50/50 for the next six or seven years. Payments owed over that 50/50 number would be deferred to later seasons when revenue growth allows for it. The NHL media and twitterverse is abuzz with the news - and I suddenly got a handful of sales this afternoon. 

If a CBA can be reached by next Tuesday, expect a full 82-game schedule to start on November 2. I believe the season will start before November 10th now. Expect furious negotiations over the next week. Fingers crossed.

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Fantasy Guide - Fully updated as of October 10, including the Draft List - KHL injury notes, a full blow-by-blow analysis and breakdown (from my perspective) of the Expert's League draft, a *bonus* article going over the rosters of each team and picking out possible retirement candidates in the event that the lockout wipes out the season. I will keep updating until January, and when a season is announced I will re-jig the projections - all 600 of them.

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We got our first bit of good lockout news yesterday when it was leaked to Deadspin that the NHL hired an expensive company/PR guy (Frank Luntz) to run a focus group to help guide them through the public relations battle that they are losing. The questionairre included a part in which several different versions (using different wording) about the same issue was presented - in an effort to find the most positive spin. The term "shared sacrifice" seemed to be a good one that you'll see used a lot going forward. The questionnaire also included a selection of 10 images, with the "fight" image including the late Derek Boogaard as one of the combatants. Another page included almost word-for-word a piece written by Wyshynski over at Puck Daddy (see this, and this).

It speaks to the NHL's interest in keeping their fans - something we've all questioned to this point. But the fact that they got caught doing it sure hurts their position in negotiations. Think about it - six-digit fines for any team that speaks out of turn… what kind of fine would this warrant, if only they could fine Frank Luntz?

So this was leaked. And Luntz responded with this statement. Included:

The objective: to understand exactly what fans think and precisely what they want. In this case, the fans were very clear: they want the teams and the union to reach an agreement quickly so that they can get the hockey they want and deserve.

Wow. They spent thousands of dollars - probably close to six digits - for that conclusion? Well done. Is that cost going to be Hockey Related Revenue?

Anyway, I think this has to help. Can the NHL really be hardasses after this? Well, yeah. But I don't think they will. The mockery that the media is making of this - the wasted money, etc - is more backlash than the league has faced since this began.

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Regarding revenue sharing and the propaganda spewed out by the NHLPA about how great things are in Major League Baseball. Word is that the New York Yankees would like to get out from under the luxury tax threshold within a few years. If that happens, I'd like to see how great things are in MLB then. Weren't there seasons in which the Yankees contributed well over $100 million in tax? Money that went to the poorest teams? What will those teams do without that money? Anyway, just something to think about. I believe more revenue sharing is needed, but I don't believe MLB is as comfy as Donald Fehr would have you think.

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Both Jason Garrison and Alex Edler are still getting paid by the Canucks. Edler is still dealing with a bulging disc in his back. Garrison has a groin injury. If I'm them, I'm in no hurry to rehab (Edler was seen kicking a 30-yard field goal Saturday, the back is probably fine). Keep sending those checks!

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Ben Bishop has signed to play with Binghamton in the AHL. The domino effect? Less game action for Robin Lehner. This lockout is skewing development of a lot of your players in ways that can never be measured - but the impact is there, mark my words.

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Jussi Jokinen played eight games in Finland and has now returned to North America. So he's a guy we can remove from our lockout tracker. He had figured the lockout would be over by mid-October. He'll probably head back in December if things continue to look grim.

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Buffalo prospect Corey Tropp, who was probably making the team this year, is out for the season with a knee injury - both ACL and MCL were torn. Ouchie.

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Tampa prospect Cory Conacher was named the AHL player of the week thanks to five points over the weekend. He was last year's AHL MVP and last year's AHL rookie of the year. So yeah, doing good.

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Cory Emmerton broke his finger in a game in SM-liiga (Finland). He may need surgery.

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With two points yesterday, Alexander Radulov is back in his familiar spot at the top of the KHL scoring race with 19 points in 16 contests. But he has to be looking over his shoulder at Ilya Kovalchuk who is on a torrid pace - 16 points in just eight games.

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Sergei Kostitsyn has seven points in four KHL games, but more interesting is that he has seven shots. Normally it would take him 10 games to get that many.

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Hahaha - Ilya Bryzgalov gets tripped up. By nobody.

 


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notoriousjim said:

notoriousjim
... part of the issue that the players are facing is the question of what makes a business in hockey. Are each teams a seperate business or are they seperate. Baseball got busted for this years ago when they were collectively avoiding FA in order for them to just resign with their old teams. They were veiwed as seperate entities in the same umbrella.

When they are pushing to get more revinue sharing, the issue is that each of these teams are their own entity. Telling one that it needs to support another does not make sense. The NHL is just a loose collection of teams, they only give up money when they absolutly have to. It is like any fantasy league, if one buddy cannot afford the $10 buy in, what do you do about it. Most of us would just find a new manager.
October 16, 2012
Votes: +0

baconnol said:

baconnol
Bettman I think it was pretty smart of Bettman and the owners to hang onto Phoenix until after the negotiations... use it as a bargaining chip, get the players to accept lower dollars, then move them to better a better market and pocket the difference. There is probably another team destined to be moved once a deal is done.
October 16, 2012
Votes: +0

jacques oeuf said:

hammer2003
... Conacher has dominated the AHL and was apparently outstanding at camp last year with the Lightning but seems to get not much attention as an NHL prospect, probably because he is small and undrafted. Nothing left to prove in the AHL - is he a legit potential prospect for the NHL or what?
October 16, 2012
Votes: +0

DuklaNation said:

DuklaNation
@shovelguy I cant break down economics in this small space. But, the markets are too diverse in revenue potential. NHL expanded there and other cities for coverage for national US TV deal, where the big $$$$ are. Higher # of teams, flat to slight increase in quality players EQUALS higher demand, and higher salaries. Fact is, without owners who are willing to lose money, these teams would go bankrupt within a yr. In wont work under normal business conditions. Players have to accept that fact and accept a small minority of owners are going to make a lot more money. THEY need to focus on the financially weak teams and improve them, get more TV $$$, improve the entertainment value of the game, etc. THEN they will get what they want and the owners will be more than able to bump up the cap. I just gave one example but Nashville would take 20+ yrs to make up that 'loss' of $110MM (if ever). Thats what a failure this model has become. And to just blame the owners is a straw man argument.
October 16, 2012
Votes: +0

Noma said:

Noma
Jokinen Jokinen didn't think that the lockout would have ended by now. He just avoids Finnish tax laws. If he would've been longer in Finland he would've had to pay taxes for all the money he earned in the US in spring (because he would've been six months in Finland this year). He'll probably be back in Oulu in January if the lockout continues and a new tax year has started.
October 16, 2012
Votes: +0

shovelguy said:

shovelguy
@DuklaNation I fail to see how that is the players fault without reaching pretty far. The NHL wanted to be in Nashville, not the players, which the NHL received franchise fees of which the players don't get a share. An NHL owner made that deal with the city, not a player. The NHL wanted player salaries tied to NHL revenue, not the players.
October 16, 2012
Votes: +2

Dobber said:

Dobber
... I think it's all relative - are the owners losing the PR war? Yes. Are the players losing the PR war? Yes.

You see?
October 16, 2012
Votes: +0

BrianSTC said:

BrianSTC
NHL losing the PR war?? If you think the players are "winning" the PR war than there really is a huge gulf between how fans in big markets feel and fans in the smaller markets feel. And I stopped watching baseball because as a once rabid Blue Jay fan, I just got tired of Boston and New York swallowing up all the good players. Yeah, I was just one fan, but I was pretty hardcore and there is absolutely no interest at all anymore...
October 16, 2012
Votes: +1

DuklaNation said:

DuklaNation
... Is the NHL losing the PR war? Not from my perspective. Not when the Predators have received almost $110MM since '97 from the city and state to assist the floundering financial situation of the team. Thats from taxpayers BTW. The players have no sympathy from me. Some of them are lucky they arent sued for their crappy performances.
October 16, 2012
Votes: +1
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