Commentary, opinion and news on the world of hockey.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

NHL for sale?

Apparently, an investment firm and a sports advisory company have made an effort to purchase every team in the NHL. The dollar figure reported - $3.5 billion. I don't even know what to say about this; there's way too many what if's and I can't even begin to disect the implications of such a purchase.

Would there be GST included in that?

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

It's the agents turn

Player agent Ritch Winter has some words of wisdom for the NHL owners:
"We're not going to lay down and kill the game just because a bunch of basketball people want their way," he said. "Why are we taking directions from a bunch of basketball executives who only know how to lose millions of dollars, minimize talent and (screw up) TV deals?"
What's with the "we" crap? The only people that I can stand less than Goodenow and Bettman are the greaseball player agents. Take a look at what you just said there Rich baby. You're telling us that the NHL owners have no clue as to how they should manage their own business? Give me a break and get over yourself.

If it happened that the agents were somehow employed by the owners instead of the players, you can rest assured that they would be singing the exact opposite tune. The only reason that they have gotten their panties in a knot is because they stand to lose enormous sums of money. It's not that they have the best interests of hockey in mind.

Can anyone, including the agents themselves, seriously tell me that they have the best interests of the game in mind? Of course they don't. Yet they have the nerve to express disdain towards a bunch of "basketball people" because they know nothing of hockey and don't know what's best for the game as a whole.

Excuse me whilst I go and retch.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

NHL unleashes not so veiled threat

The NHL wrapped up it's board of governors meeting on tuesday and some of the comments about Plan B were a poor attempt at subtelty. Here's Cal Nichols, Edmonton Oiler's chariman:
"I think that we can move forward and plan to play a season however it happens this coming year. I think that in itself is what our fans want to see, so we'll just see how it works out in the summer.

I think everybody still has a preference to work with the union and try to negotiate something and hopefully that's where it takes us."
Sure, the preference is always for the top of the line product. But what do you do when the Sony flat screen's are locked out of the electronics store? You put a crapload of Sanyo's on display and hope to God that no one notices the difference in picture quality and the public buys it as a worthy alternative.

Gary Bettman adds his two cents - which is probably worth much less than that:
We discussed a variety of options and I don't want to focus on any one because it would seriously be misconstrued and be potentially inflammatory. The fact is there are lots of options.

Hopefully it's an alternative proposition that we never have to focus on because our commitment remains making a fair partnership deal with the players.

We're going to invite the union back to the table soon and I assume that they will discharge their legal obligation to bargain in good faith.

The more the damage, the less money we're going to have to ultimately pay in players' salaries. So I think it's in everybody's interest to move forward as expeditiously as possible."
Pretty much the status quo from 'ol Betts. The one positive thing is that talks could resume quite quickly. But even still, will the talks end up in a deal? I'm not so sure.

Both sides emerged from their meetings apparently as solid as they have ever been. Case in point, some of the owner's sound bites after the adjournment:

Eugene Melnyk, Ottawa Senators owner:

"You had 30 ownerships that are in absolute unanimity as to where we're going to go from here. Everyone voted on the resupport of Gary and it was unanimous. I think there's a plan in place to try to move forward and I think we're going to have hockey next season."

Los Angeles Kings president and governor Tim Lieweke:

"He speaks on our behalf and anyone that thinks he's in trouble is wrong. Anyone that thinks there is division within the owners is wrong. We are very united. We have one voice, it's Gary."

New York Islanders GM Mike Milbury:

"It was down the line solid."

And Flyers owners Ed Snider responded with this tidbit when asked if he would consider joining the negotiating party.:

"I am very happy with my life as it is. I don't need aggravation from Bob Goodenow. I might jump over the table and choke him to death. That would not be good. That's why they keep me out of negotiations. I am a throwback to the old hockey days."
There was an equal amount of rah rah's coming from the NHLPA side as well. So, as united as both sides seem to be, how does this thing ever get done?

I have no clue. I wish I did, because whew, I'd be one seriously popular guy. The owners comments from today gave me the impression that replacement players are moving up quickly on the to do list, and that tells me that the NHLPA's options will continue to get smaller and smaller. That is, assuming that the replacement players' train leaves the station without a hitch.

In any event, I'm going to Vegas. Tips and suggestions about what I can do while I'm down there are welcome.