Haggerty: Sides counting down to an NHL lockout

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Haggerty: Sides counting down to an NHL lockout

So it would appear the lockout is on.
Yes, the NHLPA has until midnight on Saturday moving into Sunday to accept a take it or leave it proposal from the NHL that will be pulled from the table. But NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was quick to point out that wasnt a take it or leave it offer when addressing the media in New York City Thursday afternoon.
Confused yet?
No.
Frustrated yet?
Most definitely.
According to TSNs Darren Dreger, Bruins Principal Owner Jeremy Jacobs, the senior member of the NHL Board of Governors, made the motion on Friday afternoon for a unanimous vote from league ownership to support a lockout expected to begin on Sunday. Its symbolic that a man just beginning to repair a damaged image in the eyes of Bruins fans after the Stanley Cup championship two years ago is pushing the very thing that will drive many hockey fans right off the cliff.
Nobody wants to make a deal and play hockey more than I do. This is what I do. This is what my life is about, said Bettman. This is very hard and I feel terrible about it.
In the same breath Bettman also said that the urgency for substantial alterations to the new CBA were necessary because the 2004-05 was more fair than the league originally anticipated.
In other words the owners didnt decimate the players like theyd originally envisioned, and the NHLs moguls apparently arent making enough money despite the record 3.3 billion in revenue last season.
The owners have given up a small amount and weve moved significantly toward them, said one member of the NHLPA about the last two days of discussions. At the end of the day this isnt about percentage points. Its about one side willing to forego significant things to get a deal done and its about another side that hasnt budged from many of their original demands.
There is the slightest hint of optimism that the NHL and NHLPA are beginning to agree on definitions of financial terms and are inching toward each other in key areas. But theres no way the NHL lockout doesnt become a reality on Sunday, and theres every reason to believe its going to last for a while.
Perhaps it will be as Bruins center Gregory Campbell predicts, and the two sides will move closer once it gets past the Sept. 15 deadline. Perhaps the NHL will finally drop the demands for rollbacks and escrow plans, and keep the player percentage of Hockey Related Revenue at 50 percent or higher.
More importantly, perhaps Bettman and Co. will finally take the NHLPAs call for expanded revenue sharing designed to cure the ills of the struggling small market teams more seriously. Its that kind of wide vision and creative forethought thats going to rescue the NHL from these damaging money squabbles that pop up whenever the CBA expires in the hockey world.
Fehr said he was a little surprised and significantly disappointed that Bettman has continuously labeled revenue sharing discussions as a distraction during the negotiations.
We want a deal that stabilizes the industry and gets us out of this cycle, said Fehr. You get up every day and want to reach an agreement. If the lockout is the way it's going to be then unfortunately that's the way its going to be... but maybe that can be reconsidered."
Perhaps the NHLPA will realize that things are different than they used to be, and a move to a straight 5050 split similar to the NBA and the NFL that is going to be necessary in a new world of sports CBAs.
If those frank, substantial discussions are set to take place, many of the players believe theyll now happen because the NHL regular season is on the clock and ticking.
Im trying to take an optimistic approach," said Gregory Campbell. "The lockout deadline almost seems inevitablefrom everything that Ive heard about the talks. Thats the owners' plan. Theres nothing written in stone and even if we are officially locked out on the 15th Im still optimistic that as soon as the deadline comes there will be progress.
Once the deadline hits its for real and the season wont start until it gets sorted out. Hopefully thats a time when people really get serious and try to work something out here. I dont think the game is in that bad of a shape. Its certainly a lot better than it was when I came into the NHL.
The NHLPA made a serious concession when they agreed to tack another year onto their CBA offer and make it a five-year deal with two options at the end of a three-year contract. The NHL made a significant move by finally agreeing to negotiate from the original HRR (Hockey Related Revenue) formula rather than an update number that was going to pull more money away from the players.
Thats a modest start that probably should have taken place two months ago, but at least the two sides are continuing a dialogue at this point. Whispers about another lost season are starting to seep into the conversation, but most still feel that a new NHL season will be underway by Christmas just as the similar NBA situation was solved prior to the holidays last year.
That gives some hope the entire season wont be lost as thing start to sound eerily similar to eight years ago when the NHL lost an entire season.

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Tuesday, Jan. 24: Crosby, Matthews top coaches' poll

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while rooting for “Manchester By the Sea” to upset some favorites at the Oscars.

*Sidney Crosby and Auston Matthews top the annual NHL coaches' poll produced by TSN Insider Bob McKenzie.

*The oral history of Fox’s glowing puck used for the NHL during their run with the league is an entertaining one.

*Mike Babcock gives pep talks to the reporters along with his own players while running the show in Toronto.

*The Vegas Golden Knights are moving forward with their timetable toward hiring a coach with some good candidates out there now, and some other ones potentially available soon. I’ve wondered if Claude Julien would be interested in that spot if he’s let go by the Bruins this season, but the one sure thing is that he wouldn’t be out of work long if he is relieved of his duties.

*Claude Giroux needs to start playing a little more fearlessly and without dwelling on mistakes, according to his general manager.

*Detroit Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill doesn’t believe that fancy stats and analytics have had a major impact on the way the Wings do things.

*PHT writer James O’Brien has the rundown on a Millenial’s dream of performers at the 2017 NHL All-Star Game: Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rae Jepsen.

*For something completely different: keeping an eye on the notion that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is going to run for President.

 


 

Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

Julien: 'The less said and the more shown' is good for Bruins right now

BRIGHTON, Mass – Claude Julien met with the media after Tuesday’s morning skate and there was a bit of a long pause between questions at one point early in the session.

“I understand because everything that needs to be said has already been said, right?” cracked the longtime Bruins bench boss, who was in good spirits after morning skate despite the turmoil around him.

It’s clearly less about words and more about results right now for a struggling team that’s lost a season-worst four games in a row in gut-punching fashion and has fallen out of a playoff position despite teams above them, Ottawa and Toronto, holding five games in hand on them. 

The Bruins are in a freefall at the worst possible time and at this point, Julien wants to see positive action and winning results from his team rather than the empty talk with the media.

“We want to respect our game plan, execute it well and that normally helps you. We’ve been a little bit all over the place, especially in the last game,” said Julien. “That’s what we addressed yesterday, moving forward.

“I haven’t used the All-Star break as a motivation. We’re basically looking at these last two games, and what we have to do in these last two games. I think we’re well aware of what’s waiting for them after that. The players normally know when the breaks are. That’s not for us right now. I’d like to see our focus on what we need to do [against the Wings] to right the ship. We’ve talked about it a lot, and I think right now the less said, and the more shown is probably the best thing.”

With two games left until the All-Star break, one has to wonder what Julien’s fate will be if the Bruins drop both games to Detroit and Pittsburgh before the group breaks up for All-Star weekend. 

A good showing might be enough to keep Julien calling the shots for the Black and Gold down the stretch this season. But the sense is that more of the same fragile, losing efforts from the Bruins in these final two home dates, a familiar look from this group over the past three seasons, could spell doom for the winningest coach in Bruins franchise history.

One thing is for sure: Words aren’t going to do anything for Julien, and instead it’s about cold, hard results for the coach and the Bruins players who are nose-diving in the middle of the regular season.