Posts Tagged ‘Bettman’


As the lockout is on its 88th day at the moment. After the dramatic collapse of the last talks the fans across the globe have grown increasingly apathetic and tired of the lockout. I know I have been critical of the NHL and its approach to the negotiations. As I’m writing this, the two parties are meeting at a secret location (I’m told it is the same hotel in New Jersey that they have been using) and are trying to bring an end to this silly lockout. But in light of the dramatic conclusion of the talks, what have the fans been doing since then? Many have voiced their displeasure through Twitter and Facebook. Despite the unified disappointment from the fans side, to both the lockout and the way the talks have been going, it is safe to say that the fans do care about the game and the league.

There has been fan initiatives, like the Youtube video from Janne Makkonen at the start of the lockout, which has generated over a million views already. The great emotive video drew the attention of the players and hockey fans alike.

Most recently there have been groups created on Facebook like Stop The NHL Lockout, where people have been venting their frustrations and sharing news of the lockout. More recently though groups like NHLNFA, which is aiming to set up a fans’ union and claims that this is the only way to have NHL and NHLPA to listen to the fans. However good the intentions of the NHLNFA are, I can’t help but wonder how or why the NHL and NHLPA should listen to a Fans’ union in anything that has to do with the game.  The site says that its goal is to get to “1 million members and they (NHL and NHLPA) will have choice (sic) but to listen to us. IT’s not fair the fans don’t have a vote that counts at any of the meetings, not only with strikes or lockout but for anything NHL related.” It’s a lofty goal and personally I can’t see the NHL or NHLPA ever agreeing to let a fans union to have decision making power in what essentially is a business. The NHL can surely listen to fans in how to make the product better, but to actually allow them a vote? Can’t see that happening.

The group that I have become a fan of and think that they have a great idea is the Just Drop It group. The idea behind Just Drop It is that for every game the NHL takes away after the 21st of December, fans boycott the league for the equivalent number of games after the lockout comes to an end. The idea goes for attending games at rinks, watching games on TV or buying any NHL apparel. In my personal opinion this is a great movement from the fans who clearly love hockey, but have grown tired of the way the past 18 years and three lockouts have gone down. The group was only established on the 4th of December but has already surpassed 11,000 likes on Facebook. After a slick Youtube video from the group, it has also had serious global mainstream media pick up on the movement and has ultimately done it some good. The video has already been seen by over 38,000 people.

If enough people will do as the pledge says, it would send a clear message to the league that the fans will not tolerate the behaviour that has happened in the past 88 days.

So please, go check out the Facebook page, checkout the video and start spreading the pledge and stick to it. We all want hockey back, I think that’s clear, but at the same time, we don’t want to be taken for another silly ride like this.

 

Click on the image below for great deals on ice hockey equipment:


As the NHL lockout has progressed to the point where the full 82-game regular season is going to be axed and the two parties have seemingly reached a stalemate where the NHL won’t entertain other offers, or negotiations, unless they are based on the 50-50 offer it made last week. We’ve heard how the NHLPA made three different proposals, but they were dismissed in 10 minutes. The mind boggles how it is so difficult to resolve this issue.

 

Let’s face it no-one winning in this situation. Not the NHL, the owners, players, other team staff, fans or arena staff. Or wait… on second thought there might be one winner here and it’s the KHL as Russian NHL stars are coming out saying that they will stay in the KHL if the owners won’t honour existing contracts by rolling salaries back. If there is no new CBA signed today, the players will have lost 14.8% of their salary within 4 weeks of games cancelled, whereas if they had agreed to the NHL proposal they would have lost 12% of their salaries over a full season.

 

However, perhaps one of the biggest losers of the lockout is the Los Angeles Kings (and in the greater picture the west coast of NHL). When the Kings went on their incredible run on the way to the Stanley Cup, it raised the profile of hockey tremendously in the area and no doubt in West coast. Yes I know that Anaheim won the cup as the first California/West coast USA based team, but what harmed the potential PR out of Anaheim’s win was that within half an hour after Scott Neidermeyer and co had hoisted the cup, Paris Hilton went to prison to serve her DUI charges , which stole the Ducks’ thunder.

 

The Kings, however, had everything going their way throughout the playoffs. Witty Twitter commentary throughout the playoffs, great marketing around the finals and best of all a packed out arena. OK there were a few mishaps, when the local news station thought the Kings were a basketball team, but the way it was handled by the Kings media team was exemplary in the way it was turned into a positive. Again another tongue in the cheek media stunt pulled off.

 

There was a huge buzz about the Stanley Cup finals in Los Angeles. It was palpable through a TV Screen and through out-of-town media outlets. The Kings’ profile was lifted in Europe as well. They had Anze Kopitar the only player from his native Slovenia to reach the NHL (so far) as well as getting loads of media attention from European media outlets. See the Kings are a team that you rarely don’t see on the TV here in Europe, or have that much written about them in the mainstream media, that is unless you are a diehard Kings fan an you go out of your way to find the feeds and stories so you can follow your team.

 

The Stanley Cup did a lot to the Kings’ profile and the lockout has undoubtedly put serious dents in the great work the team has done in the local area. The finals put hockey on the map in Los Angeles and now with the lockout dragging on, many of the newer fans to the team and the sport might forget all about the existence of the team again.

 

With international stars like David Beckham in the audience for most games and other celebrities getting into the game (of hockey), the lockout is really doing its best to mess up Los Angeles’ chances to truly grow the sport/team to truly be one of the top sports teams in the area (out of Lakers, Dodgers and Clippers. Note I haven’t included NFL here as the closest team to LA is in Oakland).

 

So with all that could have been done for hockey in Los Angeles, the Kings are probably one of the teams that will suffer the most out of the lockout. While the lockout may have caused some issues in terms of PR and marketing for the Kings organisation, I doubt the diehard fans will not have deserted the team. However, will we see some of the people who started to get into hockey during the playoffs cone be back? I’d say it all depends on the duration of the lockout. The longer it goes on the more the newer generation of fans will forget.

 

As said, this lockout is ridiculous, as the parties seem reluctant to actually get a deal done. Both say it is of utmost importance to get the season started, but there seems to be little, if any, urgency to actually get things under way. The longer the lockout goes on, the more it hurts the fans, the behind-the-scenes staff at teams, the league. The next blow to the NHL will be when they have to cancel the Winter Classic, 24/7 and the All star game, but on the positive, they only have to look in the mirror to find the culprit. 


The NHL season is scheduled to kick off on the 11th of October, but it is in serious jeopardy due to the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) expiring and the parties are, according to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, far apart from each other.

Since the playoffs, many journalists, insiders and players have speculated that the earliest they can see the season starting is December and it is looking like the October start time for the league is some way off.

Given that the previous lock-out saw an entire season cancelled, it sent a lot of players to Europe to play and looks like a lot of teams are making plans to get players to return to Europe, should the lockout take place.

HC Davos in Switzerland has already announced that it has agreed that San Jose Sharks centre man Joe Thornton and new New York Ranger Rick Nash would ice for the team. Both played in Davos for the whole year during the last lockout.

Frolunda in Sweden has, according to a couple of tweets, tabbed up Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers, Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators and Loui Erikkson of the Dallas Stars to play for the team should the lockout take place. All the players are products of the Frolunda system.

The Finnish Flash, Teemu Selanne, apparently has said that he would “not rule out playing for Jokerit.” Selanne who turned 42 this summer, signed a years’ extension with the Ducks in what he has hinted would be his last season in the NHL. For the other NHL  Finns, there haven’t been any firm news of player movements, but sports outlet Veikkaaja polled 15 Finnish NHL players (poll was done anonymously) and only one said that he would play in the Finnish SM-Liiga.

From my perspective, where it would be great to see NHL players playing Europe, I would rather see a full season of NHL hockey. Should the lockout take place, it would be the third lockout during my lifetime, which cannot be good advertisement to the way the league and the sport operates.

I sincerely hope that the owners, the NHL and the NHLPA can reach an agreement so that we have a full 82 game season.