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[Retired] Official Lockout Thread

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We should all support dissolving the players union. When that is done, we will never have to worry about another lockout. If players don't like the terms the NHL owners offer, they can play elsewhere. If the best players are choosing to play outside of the NHL, the owners can choose to offer better contracts to entice them to play in the NHL. Free market economics... it works amazingly well.

In the long run, it is market competition that ensures fair wages and treatment... not unions.

Free market competition would mean no salary cap.

The players aren't striking for more money. The owners are refusing to let them play even though they have current valid contracts in the NHL.

The league had market competition before the cap and the owners apparently couldn't manage to run their business under that construct. It's not like the players were striking because they felt they were underpaid. The owners locked them out to implement a device that artificially suppresses employee salaries.

Once again, the big problem is the disparity in the wealth of the clubs. The rich clubs are what's driving up the players salaries, not unions. It was just a couple months ago that the Flyers put together an offer sheet for Weber that was specifically constructed to try and financially cripple Nashville so they wouldn't be able to match.

But that's somehow the unions fault?

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In the long run, it is market competition that ensures fair wages and treatment... not unions.

Not when owners can't manage their own business. They are spending well above what they can afford, driving up labor prices. Typically when a business does this in a free market, it folds.

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Guest RedWingsDad   
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Not when owners can't manage their own business. They are spending well above what they can afford, driving up labor prices. Typically when a business does this in a free market, it folds.

Free market competition would mean no salary cap.

The players aren't striking for more money. The owners are refusing to let them play even though they have current valid contracts in the NHL.

The league had market competition before the cap and the owners apparently couldn't manage to run their business under that construct. It's not like the players were striking because they felt they were underpaid. The owners locked them out to implement a device that artificially suppresses employee salaries.

Once again, the big problem is the disparity in the wealth of the clubs. The rich clubs are what's driving up the players salaries, not unions. It was just a couple months ago that the Flyers put together an offer sheet for Weber that was specifically constructed to try and financially cripple Nashville so they wouldn't be able to match.

But that's somehow the unions fault?

Without a union, there would be no lockout. Without a union, there wouldn't have been the need to negotiate a salary cap... and therefore there wouldn't have been a lockout last time.

Owners spending more than they can afford is a complicated topic, but without question the current CBA largely contributes to it. Without a union, there is no need for a CBA. If you believe the core problem with the leagues finances is rich clubs driving up the players salaries... how does the union solve that problem? I would argue that the NHLPA contributes to that problem, through forcing a CBA.

Edited by RedWingsDad

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Without a union, there would be no lockout. Without a union, there wouldn't have been the need to negotiate a salary cap... and therefore there wouldn't have been a lockout last time.

Owners spending more than they can afford is a complicated topic, but without question the current CBA largely contributes to it. Without a union, there is no need for a CBA. If you believe the core problem with the leagues finances is rich clubs driving up the players salaries... how does the union solve that problem? I would argue that the NHLPA contributes to that problem, through forcing a CBA.

You really need to read back this thread. Your misconceptions were exhaustively addressed earlier.

In short, without the union, what the owners are doing would be illegal. They would have no way of getting out of the already signed player contracts, without going to court and paying penalties for breach of contract or declaring bankruptcy.

Without a salary cap the owners would (and did) spend much more on salaries relative to revenue then they do now.

Without the pro sports antitrust law exemption, (that is if they had to operate like any other industry in America) it would have been illegal for the owners to consult with each other on hiring/salary decisions, let alone bargain as a single unit.

And lastly, the union's existence has nothing whatsoever to do with the owners spending insane amounts of money to get free agents. If you run a restaurant and hire a famous chef for $$ millions, but your revenue stream isn't enough to pay him, you don't get to leach off of more successful/better-run restaurants, nor can you lock out the chef and force him to accept lower salary. The owners do not and absolutely don't want to live under real free market conditions. They get the best of both worlds now.

Edited by sibiriak

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From TSN:

The NHL and the players' association are expected to resume labour negotiations this week in New York.

The sides are likely to meet Wednesday and Thursday in New York, a union spokesman told The Associated Press in an email. The plans and the agenda are expected to be worked out Monday.

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As long as they're meeting, there's reason to be hopeful. But Zetterberg heading to Europe is an ominous sign.

At the beginning of the lockout, I was confident that we would have hockey beginning around mid-to-late November. But the longer it drags on, and the more and more reports I see about both sides truly digging in, it makes me wonder if we're going to have another lost season on our hands...

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Guest RedWingsDad   
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You really need to read back this thread. Your misconceptions were exhaustively addressed earlier.

In short, without the union, what the owners are doing would be illegal. They would have no way of getting out of the already signed player contracts, without going to court and paying penalties for breach of contract or declaring bankruptcy.

Without a salary cap the owners would (and did) spend much more on salaries relative to revenue then they do now.

Without the pro sports antitrust law exemption, (that is if they had to operate like any other industry in America) it would have been illegal for the owners to consult with each other on hiring/salary decisions, let alone bargain as a single unit.

And lastly, the union's existence has nothing whatsoever to do with the owners spending insane amounts of money to get free agents. If you run a restaurant and hire a famous chef for $$ millions, but your revenue stream isn't enough to pay him, you don't get to leach off of more successful/better-run restaurants, nor can you lock out the chef and force him to accept lower salary. The owners do not and absolutely don't want to live under real free market conditions. They get the best of both worlds now.

Just so I clearly understand your position - you are saying that the union, and resulting CBA, have nothing at all to do with the current fiscal obstacles in the NHL, and nothing to do with the difficulty in resolving those fiscal obstacles? Please be clear on this point, so that we can proceed.

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Just so I clearly understand your position - you are saying that the union, and resulting CBA, have nothing at all to do with the current fiscal obstacles in the NHL, and nothing to do with the difficulty in resolving those fiscal obstacles? Please be clear on this point, so that we can proceed.

You'll have to clarify what you mean by "fiscal obstacles".

The union is a counterpart in the new CBA negotiation. It will take time. BUT:

If there were no union and thus no CBA, the owners would have to honor existing contracts. To the letter. No rollbacks, no escrow. All players would be free agents, negotiating for themselves. So no RFA compensation, no rookie minimum, no draft etc.

Old CBA is NOT the reason some teams lose money. Without it, and its salary cap and revenue sharing provisions, poorer teams would lose even more money and have even harder time keeping elite players.

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Without the pro sports antitrust law exemption, (that is if they had to operate like any other industry in America) it would have been illegal for the owners to consult with each other on hiring/salary decisions, let alone bargain as a single unit.

Please explain the point of this statement - it seems to just be confusing the debate. You are saying that it would have been entirely legal for owners to institute a league wide salary cap... without union involvement, correct? If so, you are proving my point in that the union is entirely unnecessary. Everything that was accomplished to salvage the NHL (grow league revenues) was done in spite of the union, not because of it.

So, please explain why we need a players union causing lockouts? What tangible benefits do us fans receive as a result of the NHLPA? The league could exist without the NHLPA... but not the other way around.

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Please explain the point of this statement - it seems to just be confusing the debate. You are saying that it would have been entirely legal for owners to institute a league wide salary cap... without union involvement, correct? If so, you are proving my point in that the union is entirely unnecessary. Everything that was accomplished to salvage the NHL (grow league revenues) was done in spite of the union, not because of it.

So, please explain why we need a players union causing lockouts? What tangible benefits do us fans receive as a result of the NHLPA? The league could exist without the NHLPA... but not the other way around.

The word you are looking for is "collusion". The same reason why anti-poaching agreements between Silicon Valley companies are illegal. I believe 'sibiriak' is saying that without CBA and union there can be no league-wide salary cap.

NHLPA is meant to provide "tangible benefits" to its members, the NHL hockey players. Without players there is no league.

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Please explain the point of this statement - it seems to just be confusing the debate. You are saying that it would have been entirely legal for owners to institute a league wide salary cap... without union involvement, correct? If so, you are proving my point in that the union is entirely unnecessary.

I am not an expert on anti-trust, but I believe that there are certain obligations the pro sports leagues have, in exchange for waiving anti-trust laws for pro sports. Among them, the obligation to bargain collectively. I may be wrong on that.

Everything that was accomplished to salvage the NHL (grow league revenues) was done in spite of the union, not because of it.

I disagree. I don't see how the union harmed the league's development. The new rules were instituted with a lot of input from the PA. The on-ice product is, well, players. All the financial problems are owner made I don't see any "in spite of".

Everything that was accomplished to salvage the NHL (grow league revenues) was done in spite of the union, not because of it.

So, please explain why we need a players union causing lockouts? What tangible benefits do us fans receive as a result of the NHLPA? The league could exist without the NHLPA... but not the other way around.

The union didn't cause the lockout. See the thread above for ample evidence for that.

The league might have done without the union, but since it is legal to form one, I don't see why the players shouldn't unionize to protect their interests. The league couldn't exist without the players, and the players have interests and the right to pursue them. Ergo, in real life the existence of a league leads inevitably to forming of a union. If you imagine some abstract situation where you would have NHL but no player unions, why stop halfway and not imagine a world where player play for free altogether.

Edited by sibiriak

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Please explain the point of this statement - it seems to just be confusing the debate. You are saying that it would have been entirely legal for owners to institute a league wide salary cap... without union involvement, correct? If so, you are proving my point in that the union is entirely unnecessary. Everything that was accomplished to salvage the NHL (grow league revenues) was done in spite of the union, not because of it.

So, please explain why we need a players union causing lockouts? What tangible benefits do us fans receive as a result of the NHLPA? The league could exist without the NHLPA... but not the other way around.

I am not for or against unions in any way. I have family members who are part of unions in fact, and some that hate unions as a whole. I mention that because some people are quickly labeled either for or against unions just based on their opinions. I am pretty much in the middle.

IMHO, we can't put the fault on one side or the other. The fault is strictly on both sides.

So why do we need a players union? The players union is there to make sure the players are treated fairly. The union is there to make sure they have benefits, retirement, disability, and so on. I would say that the union is there to protect the players from being taken advantage of.

Do we as fans benefit from the players union? I can't think of any benefits.

That being said, do I think the union is not necessary? I think they serve their purpose.

I just don't believe that one side or the other is able to say that they are free from blame in the lockout.

Edited by Nightfall

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Without a union, there would be no lockout. Without a union, there wouldn't have been the need to negotiate a salary cap... and therefore there wouldn't have been a lockout last time.

Without a league, there would be no lockout. What's your point?

The salary cap was instituted to protect the owners from themselves, because they demonstrated they cannot control their spending. Do you believe the PA proposed the salary cap last time which led to a lockout? The cap is not the reason for this lockout, and the salary cap isn't even the core of the negotiations. They're negotiating the definition of HRR and how that revenue will be split between the owners and players. If in any way shape or form the salary cap relates to overspending, it's the cap floor, and some franchises trying to reach the floor will spend more than a player is worth in the process, thus inflating salaries.

I'm beginning to think you're not familiar with the core issues about the league, PA, or CBA at all. You just seem to be bashing the PA without any apparent base.

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Without a union, there would be no lockout. Without a union, there wouldn't have been the need to negotiate a salary cap... and therefore there wouldn't have been a lockout last time.

Owners spending more than they can afford is a complicated topic, but without question the current CBA largely contributes to it. Without a union, there is no need for a CBA. If you believe the core problem with the leagues finances is rich clubs driving up the players salaries... how does the union solve that problem? I would argue that the NHLPA contributes to that problem, through forcing a CBA.

Get rid of Bettman and there's no lockout.

Without Bettman, there wouldn't have been a lockout in 95 that cost half a season, and we wouldn't have lost a whole season ten years later. Just let the true free market decide, no cap, and owners pay whatever they want to players. Then for those franchises that aren't profitable, let 'em fail.

See how easy that is?

Saying getting rid of unions equals no lockouts is a massive oversimplification of what's going on. First, every major pro sport has a union. It's a reality of the beast. And hockey is entertainment, entertainers also typically have unions.

If there wasn't a union and the NHL owners put together any deal they wanted, one of two things (or possibly both) would likely happen. The players would organize a union because they'd see they were getting a ridiculously small portion of the billions in revenue they generate. Or a lot of players would leave the NHL play in other leagues.

If this current group of owners and Bettman ran the league however they wanted back in 2004, it's pretty safe to say the Red Wings would have lost most of their European contingent.

Lidstrom would've gone back to Sweden. Dats back to Russia. So long guys! I'm sure they scrubs that couldn't crack the NHL when you were playing will be just as entertaining. Anyone can do what those guys do.

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Please explain the point of this statement - it seems to just be confusing the debate. You are saying that it would have been entirely legal for owners to institute a league wide salary cap... without union involvement, correct? If so, you are proving my point in that the union is entirely unnecessary. Everything that was accomplished to salvage the NHL (grow league revenues) was done in spite of the union, not because of it.

So, please explain why we need a players union causing lockouts? What tangible benefits do us fans receive as a result of the NHLPA? The league could exist without the NHLPA... but not the other way around.

There is no actual "pro sports anti-trust exemption". MLB was exempt until 1998, but now it's a limited exemption. The NFL has a limited exemption as well. The Clayton Act contained a labor exemption, which basically made unions exempt from anti-trust liability.

That exemption was used to derive the Non-Statutory Labor Exemption. That basically says that a CBA takes precedence over anti-trust laws. i.e. A CBA can contain terms that would otherwise violate labor laws.

Since that exemption requires a CBA, and a CBA requires a union...the union is in fact entirely necessary. Without the union agreeing to the hard cap, half or more of the league's teams would likely have gone bankrupt by now.

Edited by Buppy

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Forgive me if this has already been discussed, but I wanted to relay an interesting theory I heard from a friend of mine who works closely with the Red Wings Association.

The owners are purposefully creating this lockout and have no intention of resolving negotiations anytime in the near future.

Why?

Force out the weak franchises.

As most of you know only 8 teams were profitable last year.

Why not just cut the 6 least profitable teams?

That would involve costly buyouts of the current owners. The lockout will hurt all the NHL teams, but the more successful owners are willing take a temporary hit and force out the weak teams by strangling the last of their worth.

A lot of owners feel they are currently subsidizing the weak teams and need a long term solution. The lockout is an alternative solution, albeit a desperate solution, to eliminate teams without having to abide by league rules in regards to franchise closings.

This is not meant to be a rumor or a conspiracy theory. I just thought it was an interesting rational to why the owners would risk lost profits for another dissolved season.

I don't think it really answers the question of why the owners are taking on the risk of losing fan support, but nothing in the NHL organization seems to make much sense lately. As NBA is on the rise, the NHL continues to completely misunderstand their target audience; fixated on gimmicks and specific players.

Thanks for reading, can't wait to hear your replies.

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There is no actual "pro sports anti-trust exemption". MLB was exempt until 1998, but now it's a limited exemption. The NFL has a limited exemption as well. The Clayton Act contained a labor exemption, which basically made unions exempt from anti-trust liability.

That exemption was used to derive the Non-Statutory Labor Exemption. That basically says that a CBA takes precedence over anti-trust laws. i.e. A CBA can contain terms that would otherwise violate labor laws.

Since that exemption requires a CBA, and a CBA requires a union...the union is in fact entirely necessary. Without the union agreeing to the hard cap, half or more of the league's teams would likely have gone bankrupt by now.

Thank you. This is very helpful.

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Forgive me if this has already been discussed, but I wanted to relay an interesting theory I heard from a friend of mine who works closely with the Red Wings Association.

The owners are purposefully creating this lockout and have no intention of resolving negotiations anytime in the near future.

Why?

Force out the weak franchises.

As most of you know only 8 teams were profitable last year.

Why not just cut the 6 least profitable teams?

That would involve costly buyouts of the current owners. The lockout will hurt all the NHL teams, but the more successful owners are willing take a temporary hit and force out the weak teams by strangling the last of their worth.

A lot of owners feel they are currently subsidizing the weak teams and need a long term solution. The lockout is an alternative solution, albeit a desperate solution, to eliminate teams without having to abide by league rules in regards to franchise closings.

This is not meant to be a rumor or a conspiracy theory. I just thought it was an interesting rational to why the owners would risk lost profits for another dissolved season.

I don't think it really answers the question of why the owners are taking on the risk of losing fan support, but nothing in the NHL organization seems to make much sense lately. As NBA is on the rise, the NHL continues to completely misunderstand their target audience; fixated on gimmicks and specific players.

Thanks for reading, can't wait to hear your replies.

It is an interesting idea really, but there are a couple of problems:

Why did the owners at first agree to put these teams into such markets? No one can tell me, that they didn't hire some highly educated research experts and other stuff before voting yes. Cutting some of these franchises could be done easier:

Put the non cap world on the table again and decrease revenue sharing, teams who can't even make it with rs are going to be non existant in no time, midget would have to bite the bullet and relocate them.

Granted it is just a theory, but I think there are better ways to do that if that is really what some owners are going for.

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I saw the headline and assumed it's an old article. It's not. When the two sides meet later this week, they once again won't be discussing the central issue that is holding up the season.

The NHL and NHL Players' Association likely won't discuss economics when collective bargaining talks resume this week.

The sides have agreed to sit down together in New York on Wednesday and Thursday, but deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Monday that he expects the conversation to cover secondary issues, including "health and safety, medical care, drug testing, rent and mortgage reimbursements (and) grievances."

Fehr insists it's good the two sides are still talking even if it's not about the main issue. I guess it is better than nothing, but still seems kind of absurd.

http://www.tsn.ca/nhl/story/?id=407017

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Forgive me if this has already been discussed, but I wanted to relay an interesting theory I heard from a friend of mine who works closely with the Red Wings Association.

The owners are purposefully creating this lockout and have no intention of resolving negotiations anytime in the near future.

Why?

Force out the weak franchises.

As most of you know only 8 teams were profitable last year.

Why not just cut the 6 least profitable teams?

That would involve costly buyouts of the current owners. The lockout will hurt all the NHL teams, but the more successful owners are willing take a temporary hit and force out the weak teams by strangling the last of their worth.

A lot of owners feel they are currently subsidizing the weak teams and need a long term solution. The lockout is an alternative solution, albeit a desperate solution, to eliminate teams without having to abide by league rules in regards to franchise closings.

This is not meant to be a rumor or a conspiracy theory. I just thought it was an interesting rational to why the owners would risk lost profits for another dissolved season.

I don't think it really answers the question of why the owners are taking on the risk of losing fan support, but nothing in the NHL organization seems to make much sense lately. As NBA is on the rise, the NHL continues to completely misunderstand their target audience; fixated on gimmicks and specific players.

Thanks for reading, can't wait to hear your replies.

I just don't see the logic in this at all. How would the lockout force out weak franchises? I almost see the opposite as well, the lockout is entirely to help the weak franchises....although I don't see how the NHL's proposals help those franchises other than in the very short term.

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I just don't see the logic in this at all. How would the lockout force out weak franchises? I almost see the opposite as well, the lockout is entirely to help the weak franchises....although I don't see how the NHL's proposals help those franchises other than in the very short term.

No season = No ticket sales and decrease in commodoty sales = No profit

...that simple.

The contents of the contracts are irrelevant when the theory stems from simply trying to starve weak teams.

It is an interesting idea really, but there are a couple of problems: Why did the owners at first agree to put these teams into such markets? No one can tell me, that they didn't hire some highly educated research experts and other stuff before voting yes. Cutting some of these franchises could be done easier: Put the non cap world on the table again and decrease revenue sharing, teams who can't even make it with rs are going to be non existant in no time, midget would have to bite the bullet and relocate them. Granted it is just a theory, but I think there are better ways to do that if that is really what some owners are going for.

The theory behind any expansion is that they saw a potential market and took a chance. I think the owners bit off more than they could chew. They thought that (A) the debt would be short term, and (B) the expansion would grow the popularity of the sport by giving more people the opportunity to attend games. In reality, a lot of owners were hesitant to include more cities. Additionally, they carried out the expansion poorly, going back to the pitfalls of the NHL marketing team. "Gee where is a good place to play ICE HOCKEY? The desert? The tropics? GENIUS! ...oh wait...dumbest idea ever". I think they expanded to places that already had good sports franchises, but didn't fully consider the idea that people from those areas might not know the sport well enough to care. Florida and Arizona could have been successes, but the NHL needed to be more popular before they planted teams there.

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No season = No ticket sales and decrease in commodoty sales = No profit

...that simple.

The contents of the contracts are irrelevant when the theory stems from simply trying to starve weak teams.

Given that the franchise value of even the most money losing NHL team would be around $200 mil., it would require several (as in at least 5) lost seasons so it would make economic sense for the owner of such team to give up his franchise for next to nothing. I somehow doubt that the other owners are willing to give up this many seasons just to save themselves few mil./year in revenue sharing. It would take decades for the profitable teams to recoup such losses. It would be much cheaper for the league to just buy those franchises out at their current values.

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The theory behind any expansion is that they saw a potential market and took a chance. I think the owners bit off more than they could chew. They thought that (A) the debt would be short term, and (B) the expansion would grow the popularity of the sport by giving more people the opportunity to attend games. In reality, a lot of owners were hesitant to include more cities. Additionally, they carried out the expansion poorly, going back to the pitfalls of the NHL marketing team. "Gee where is a good place to play ICE HOCKEY? The desert? The tropics? GENIUS! ...oh wait...dumbest idea ever". I think they expanded to places that already had good sports franchises, but didn't fully consider the idea that people from those areas might not know the sport well enough to care. Florida and Arizona could have been successes, but the NHL needed to be more popular before they planted teams there.

IMO, geography has little to do with troubles of the teams in Miami, Columbus and Phoenix, when Tampa, Carolina, Dallas, Nashville and California teams are doing OK. It all comes down to how good the management is. Phoenix put their rink in the middle of nowhere, so it's little wonder that their attendance suffers. Columbus was unable to ice a winning team for 10 out of 11 years of its history, drafted abysmally, and now traded away the face of their franchise. Why would the fans keep coming?

Phoenix has become a playoff team while under the league management. I wonder why it could not do that under the old management?

Edited by sibiriak

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