Good ESPN Article-Timeline of Events Since Last CBA

Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by Hockey_Nut99, Jan 10, 2005.

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  1. Hockey_Nut99

    Hockey_Nut99 Guest

    I think something like this wa sposted here before but I thought I'd post it again since I seen it on ESPN today.

    By Mark Brender
    The Hockey News
    (Re-published from the Sept. 28, 2004 issue of The Hockey News.)[/LEFT]

    How did things ever get this bad?

    It's a question many people are asking about the acrimonious relationship between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association. That acrimony, as much as anything that has happened over the past decade, has plenty to do with their inability to reach a new collective bargaining agreement. At the same time, there have been many significant events that have helped shape the bargaining positions the NHL and NHLPA are stuck on today.

    Here's a look at some notable dates in the life of an expired CBA:

    Jan. 13, 1995: The NHL and NHLPA end a 105-day lockout by agreeing to a new six-year collective bargaining agreement. A deal is reached only after the owners drop their demand first for a salary cap and then for a luxury tax; NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said the owners decided neither item was worth losing the entire season. Key features of the deal are the introduction of a rookie salary cap; unrestricted free agency at age 32, dropping to 31 after four years; and changes to arbitration. The 1995 season is condensed to 48 games of intra-conference play only. The final game of the Stanley Cup is played June 24, the latest date ever.

    Sept. 29, 1995: Both sides agree not to reopen the CBA after three years, as was their mutual right, to facilitate NHL participation in the 1998 Olympics in Nagano, Japan.

    June 25, 1997: The NHL and NHLPA jointly extend the CBA through 2003-04. This allows the NHL to continue with expansion that nets owners $320 million (from $80-million expansion fees paid by Atlanta, Columbus, Minnesota and Nashville). The NHL says it extends the agreement because the deal is working.

    August 6, 1997: The Rangers contribute to salary escalation by signing Joe Sakic to a three-year, $21-million offer sheet, front-loaded so they would pay him $17 million in the first season. Colorado, thought to be in financial difficulty, matches the offer. Philadelphia also signs Chris Gratton to a five-year, $16.5-million offer sheet, huge money for a young center who had been a third-liner most of his career.

    August 8, 1997: Player agent Mike Barnett convinces the Boston Bruins to agree to a bonus structure for No. 1 overall draft pick Joe Thornton that, in effect, makes a mockery of the rookie salary cap. Thornton is eligible to earn an additional $2.3 million in balloon payments on top of his $925,000 base salary in his first season by reaching performance incentives in three or four of six bonus categories. Moreover, unmet bonuses in the first year could roll over to following years. Thornton doesn't break the bank using the model, but others do; the standard Thornton sets results in Ilya Kovalchuk earning some $14 million over his first three seasons in the league.

    Feb. 18, 1998: Carolina signs Sergei Fedorov to a six-year, $38-million offer sheet that ends up costing the Detroit Red Wings a record $26 million in 1998-99 when they match the offer. The Wings have to pay a $14-million up-front signing bonus and another $12 million bonus when they reach the conference final.

    June 30, 1999: Positioned as the post-Gretzky superstar to drive hockey skyward in California, Paul Kariya, 24, signs a contract that pays him an NHL-high of $10 million. He is entering his sixth year in the league. In hindsight, it is an eye-popping deal for a player who has never led the NHL in any statistical category nor won a major award. Qualifying-offer rules ensure Kariya will either receive at least $10 million from the Ducks until he turns 31 or become an unrestricted free agent. The latter happens when the Ducks decline to make Kariya a $10-million qualifying offer in the summer of 2003.

    Jan. 2, 2000: The Canadian government cancels a federal aid package that would have provided millions of dollars to help Canadian franchises overcome tax and currency disparities. Canada's NHL teams are outraged, but the flip-flop plays well with the Canadian public. The issue of Canadian small-market struggles fades off the CBA radar screen as the Canadian dollar rebounds over the next few years.

    June 2, 2000: Wayne Gretzky is introduced as the future managing partner of the Phoenix Coyotes under the new ownership group led by Steve Ellman. Gretzky joins Pittsburgh owner Mario Lemieux as the first former players to take ownership positions with NHL teams. A year later, Gretzky lures longtime agent and friend Mike Barnett to cross sides and become the Coyotes GM.

    June 20, 2000: The NHL board of governors grants commissioner Gary Bettman unprecedented supermajority power over a new collective bargaining agreement. Bettman now needs a simple majority of owners to back him if he is in favor of a new CBA and just eight with him if he recommends against an agreement.

    August 11, 2000: Philadelphia winger John LeClair wins a record $7-million award in salary arbitration. The award represents a 92 per-cent pay hike from his previous deal and represents how selective use of the arbitration process by the NHL Players' Association and individual players helps drive up salaries league-wide.

    July 2, 2001: Determined not to come away empty in the free-agent market, Boston signs unrestricted free agent winger Martin Lapointe to a four-year, $20-million contract. Lapointe had scored more than 16 goals and 41 points just once in his career.

    July 11, 2001: The Pittsburgh Penguins begin what would be a three-year-long salary dump by trading the NHL's consensus best player, Jaromir Jagr, to Washington for three mid-level prospects. Saddled by a crumbling arena, unable to retain their top players or sign new ones, the once-bankrupt Pens slide to the bottom of the NHL even with Mario Lemieux's return to the lineup. Jagr receives an eight-year, $89-million deal in the nation's capital, but Caps owner Ted Leonsis receives negative return on his investment when his team struggles on the ice and in the boardroom; Washington goes through its own massive salary dump three seasons later.

    Sept. 5, 2001: Having dealt away Zdeno Chara and a No. 2 overall pick to get restricted free agent Alexei Yashin, the New York Islanders up the ante on outrageous contracts by signing the enigmatic center to a 10-year, $87-million contract, one of the longest and richest deals in NHL history.

    July 1, 2002: The unrestricted free-agent frenzy continues as Dallas and the Rangers sign forwards Bill Guerin and Bobby Holik, respectively, to five-year, $45-million contracts. Even Darius Kasparaitis strikes gold with a six-year, $25-million pact from the Rangers.

    January, 2002: Within weeks of each other, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow sign contract extensions through the 2007-08 seasons. The moves are seen as votes of confidence to the leadership on both sides heading into an expected acrimonious CBA negotiation in 2004.

    Jan. 9, 2003: The Ottawa Senators file for bankruptcy after owner Rod Bryden's final effort to restructure the team's massive debt falls through. Four days later the Buffalo Sabres, caught up in owner John Rigas's stunning crash amid fraud allegations relating to Adelphia Communications, suffer a similar fate. While the NHL uses the bankruptcies as proof of the NHL's dire economic situation, neither failure is directly related to the CBA. Ottawa is eventually purchased by Canadian pharmaceutical mogul Eugene Melnyk and Buffalo by Rochester-based Paychex billionaire Tom Golisano.

    March 30, 2004: The Atlanta Thrashers are essentially a throw-in in Time Warner's $250-million sale of the Thrashers, the NBA's Hawks and Philips Arena to Atlanta Spirit LLC. The low selling price and the inability of other NHL owners to find buyers (Anaheim and Dallas among them) suggest the business community believes the NHL is an unhealthy investment.

    May 4, 2004: Calgary, Philadelphia, San Jose and Tampa Bay are the four teams left standing at the Stanley Cup semifinals, making 12 different semifinalists in three seasons. In some eyes, the variety of teams enjoying playoff success and the fact that many of them are clubs with middle- or lower-tier payrolls deflates the NHL's argument that a new CBA is needed to address competitive balance issues. The big-spending Rangers, meanwhile, miss the playoffs for the seventh straight year.

    May 19, 2004: Plummeting TV ratings force the NHL into a two-year contract with NBC that doesn't include rights fees. The contrast between the new revenue-sharing arrangement and the five-year, $600-million deal signed with ABC/ESPN in 1999 -* hailed at the time as a landmark agreement *- reflects how far hockey remains from a long-sought-after breakthrough into the U.S. sporting mainstream.

    Summer, 2004: Unrestricted free-agent snipers Alexei Kovalev, Ziggy Palffy, Glen Murray and Paul Kariya wait ... and wait ... and wait ... for contract offers. Players use clubs' restraint on the big-name UFA front as proof that teams can control their costs even without a salary cap, but overall salaries continue to climb leading up to an expected fall lockout
     
  2. John Flyers Fan

    John Flyers Fan Registered User

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    Now Gratton has essentially been a bust since the day the Flyers signed him, but at the time he certainly wasn't a "third-liner"

    He wa a 22 year old, just coming off a season where he scored 30 goals and had 200 pim's. He looked like an up-an-coming star power forward. Unfortunately, he lacks heart and any kind of hockey sense.
     
  3. Toonces

    Toonces The beer kitty

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    Also, a great rundown of why neither side will compromise.

    Greedy, money loving bastards, both sides...
     
  4. Toonces

    Toonces The beer kitty

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    Yeah, Gratton was touted as the perfect second line center behind Eric Lindros.

    Bust he is, but he certianly was not a "third liner" when he signed that contract. It was a boneheaded move by the Flyers...
     
  5. And he did match his previous season's point total (62) his first yr with the Flyers so they got results from him. I don't see it as that boneheaded of a move considering they traded him just shortly into the 2nd yr of the deal...especially considering they netted Renberg & Langkow for Gratton & Sillinger. The deal wasn't good for the entire league but they got a yr out of him and then unloaded him for much better value.
     
  6. Toonces

    Toonces The beer kitty

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    No, in hindsight it was a great move for the Flyers. Langkow got us Jeff Carter, and I beleive the Cyotes also gave us a 2nd rounder which was sent to Tampa (along with Fedotenko) for Pitkanen.

    It was risky though, if they didn't match us, we'd have never have had drafted Gagne, or Justin Williams ect. That and it helped throw salaries all out of wack.
     
  7. fcbarcelona

    fcbarcelona Registered User

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    Literally weeks after the NHL says the CBA was working, it all blows up in their face with those offer sheets. What a shame.

    Here's an example why Bettman can't trust his owners. If they hadn't stabbed each other in the back on numerous occassions, as Karmanos did to Ilitch for egotistical reasons, the value of their franchises would be far greater.

    Fram the fan POV, very stupid deal. But the Ducks wouldn't have done it if they didn't think it made sense from a business standpoint.

    That's twice Ilitch has been blind-sided. Maybe if he had a better relationship with his fellow governors, he wouldn't have to dig out the knife from his back.

    At this point, Bettman had probably realized a lockout will be necessitated. Franchises struggling to hold onto their star players....very sad. Leonsis gambling on Jagr, even sadder.

    Yet again, player's cashin' more in the bank. Where is the money coming from if the league was losing so much money at this time? From the owner's pocket's stemming from his other business ventures? I don't think so (though there are some exceptions that would include a couple owners taking loans to pay for thier teams). I highly doubt smart business men would consistently dole out cash to players at the expense of their other organizations. Even if they were, why wouldn't they be more hesitant to do so? Thus, I don't think the league was supposedly losing as much money as they stated they were. Their markets have to be providing enough support to justify this escalation in salaries. Indeed, when ticket prices rise significantly, so do player salaries. Thus, at this time, the rich clubs don't seem to be too alarmed since only the small market teams are only the ones suffering.

    Another example showing that small market clubs were suffering.

    ALERT! ALERT! ALERT! Between 2001-2004, the large market teams probably got on board with the hard cap train that Bettman and the small market owners had been begging for. The value of thie franchises plummeted as they saw expansion fees dry up and some owners unable to fetch the right amount of money for their teams. I can understand why all the owners seek a hard cap. They're all falling down from the sky in a parachute that they poked holes in with their back stabbing and willingness to overpay for less than stellar products. The owners didn't play their cards right and got burned.

    Even more disturbing has been the league's misjudgement of their ability to gain more fan support with the presence of NHL players in the Olympics. I hope they learned their lesson and aren't as optimistic that they could regain full fan support after this lockout. I think they know this since they're already frustrated (re: Daly's comments) with the NHLPA's refusal to cave in and are hesitant to nix this season. If losing this season doesn't mean much, establish a deadline date. Be cocky and challenge Goodenow to take them on at the 11th hour.

    May I suggest significant revenue sharing to ensure a healthy league and an economic partenership with your fellow owners based on trust and unity. :dunno:

    May I also suggest that the NHL never sign a long-term deal with the NHLPA. Extending the previous CBA by 7 years (twice if I remember, with the last time Bettman clearly recognizing the lack of economic success its small market clubs were enduring) for the sake of the Olympics was Gary Bettman's single biggest mistake.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2005
  8. Hasbro

    Hasbro Can He Skate?! Sponsor

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    of course just before signing gratton, Clarke called the Rag$ "vultures" for their offersheet on Sakic.
     
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