The Blame Game...

Discussion in 'Fugu's Business of Hockey Forum' started by fcbarcelona, Dec 12, 2004.

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  1. sakicisstupid

    sakicisstupid Registered User

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    who's most at fault for the NHL's "dire" predicament and does it have any bearing on what either party should demand in CBA negotiations? I personally think the owners are largely responsible for this mess. They have budget limits they wouldn't stay in. They've allowed this league to expand into non-traditional, suffering hockey markets (short-term monetary gain) which has allowed the industry to become unhealthy (long-term pain). Now they want the players to take the hit for their mistakes. That's unjust.

    But, the players have pressured the owners to make fat contract offers. Goodenow has been a cold negotiator. Also, the NHLPA hasn't yet offered a system which can reasonably help some small markets which are deserving of a fair chance of retaining their best players (you know, the traditional hockey cities like edmonton, calgary)

    Yet, it is ultimately the owners' fault for this self-imposed lockout. They've stabbed each other in the back by signing players to highly lucrative deals (Lapointe, Thornton, NYR offer to Sakic) but are suddenly unified in advocating for a hard cap system (seems fishy to me). They've looked for quick ways to make substantial amounts of money (care more about their back-pocket than the product of the game or the fans). They must also be feeling pretty good that the hockey fans they're taking advantage via high ticket prices are on their side. I don't empathize with these billionares one bit. These wealthy people shouldn't have the luxury of operating in an idiot-proof system which allows'em all to make money regardless of their team's success. You take risks by giving players fat contracts and expanding the league into places where it won't work, you ought to get burned. The thought of a Bill Wirtz or a Jeremy Jacobs livin la vida loca while their teams suffer gives me chills down my spine.
     
  2. Hawker14

    Hawker14 Registered User

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    i agree !!!

    also, now that the players have offered to deflate their salaries by 24 %, will the owners of teams who were profitable last season decrease ticket prices by 24% as well.

    for some strange reason i doubt it !! :)

    in my view, players have obviously recognized that the NHL is not healthy as a whole, but is it their fault that teams like the Rangers don't want to share their revenues with Carolina ?

    the players have done their part to end this lockout by offering an almost unheard of 24% wage rollback.

    if owners still can't get their act together by agreeing to share revenues, then as a fan i have absolutely no respect for them. If high revenues teams are unwilling to share revenue, then contract the NHL to the 12-15 teams that can easily afford the current CBA.

    i think it's unreasonable for a team like Carolina to move from a pretty good hockey market like Hartford just to go to Raleigh, and then expect to be profitable even if they haven't created a viable market. Especially when a team like the Rangers would be making a $40+ million/year profit under the owner's last CBA proposal.
     
  3. quat

    quat winsome, loathsome

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    It seems to me that many of the Owners have played as hard as they could to win. The fact that some of them hired good people and were successful and that some hired good people and ignored them and did what they personally wanted, and finally that some just hired crappy people ultimately doesn't change what's going on today. The system in place is wacked for a 30 team league, and if nothing changed it would likely be wacked for a 20 team league at some point down the road.

    I'm not certain that Bill Wirtz has that much to do with what is wrong with the league. I understand why Chicago fans hate the guy, but other than likely voting yes for expansion, it's not like he's raised the bar on spending.

    The thing with expansion is that it's not just owners that were for it... the players were loving it as well.

    Of course we can't say for sure, but I would have to think that the basic difference in market size would still have a negative effect in the league even if it hadn't expanded... but we don't know that.

    Anyhow, "blaming" teams for trying to succeed seems kind of a waste of time, whether successful or otherwise... same goes for blaming players for signing the best contracts they could.

    heh... you are certainly correct that ultimately the Owners are responsible for the lockout... as they have infact locked the players out.
     
  4. Hawker14

    Hawker14 Registered User

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    true enough, it's not like he gave a washed up doug gilmour $ 18 million over 3 years or anything like that.

    or gave RFA keith tkachuk a five year $ 17 million offer sheet (with the first year @$ 6 million) in 1995 !!!
     
  5. thinkwild

    thinkwild Veni Vidi Toga

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    Now that the players have offered to reset the market to where the owners think it should be, it is very important to go through the blame game. Because we need to identify what were the problems that led them to the brink of bankruptcy. Not understanding where the blame falls, saying it doesnt matter, ensures you make the same mistakes again, and come up with hare brained solutions that adress the wrong problems

    The blame is in the ideas they were selling, and the systemic problems and misuses.


    For example, selling the idea that every team should have a chance to win that year. We know that is a mistake.

    For example, we know that RFA offer sheets, (Sakic), are unwise and unprofitable. They cannot be used to lure away a player by paying more than market value. The RFA compensation is to ensure that when Yashin or Comrie hold out and demand trades, we get proper value. RFA's are not free agents you can bid for unless they are in a hold out and not being offered market value. Avoiding RFA offer sheets will not result in any claims of collusion because its systemically logical.

    Every industry is in competition for elite employee salaries. It doesnt force them all into bankruptcy. Its competition. THis CBA allows the restting of comparables by the owners so they have a tool to keep the system in check. It addresses the problem.

    The market is now self correcting and at equilibrium. How can a businessman not accept?
     
  6. Seachd

    Seachd Registered User

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    Because this isn't about "second chances". The players are going to try to get just as much money from the owners this time as last time. Believe it or not, that has a huge effect on salaries. It's not like players are sitting back and telling the owners, "Just pay me what you think is fair."

    A businessman would look past the fluff and realize that it's a temporary thing.
     
  7. sakicisstupid

    sakicisstupid Registered User

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    idk quad, the players may have benefitted with expansion to some extent. however, the majority of them don't care about the extra job openings if that means they're gonna have to take a salary cap. the players' latest proposal acknowledges the owners' financial issues. so the NHLPA has burdened its share already. but they also believe the owners created this mess. so they should assume a large amount of blame for fixing it themselves (especially when the players have given them the reset button to turn back the clock under a system they're willing to change to a certain extent). i can imagine that if Bettman struts his way into the negotiating room and slaps down a hard salary cap, the players will develop an undying hatred for the NHL's owners.
     
  8. Guest

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    I'm probably considered pro-owner, but I would consider that 90% of the fault lands on the heads of the owners, and I don't understand how anyone could argue otherwise. The players just took advantage of the owners system, not the fault of the players but the fault of the owners not having the proper system in place.

    All this talk from the owners about cost certainty and wanting the players to go under a cap, the owners could create their own version of regulation and cost certainty without asking the players to do a thing. Revenue sharing.

    If all teams had the same funds available to them, I know this is radical and never stands a chance but it puts the owness on the owners, then that would create the cost certainty they are looking for.

    When Detroit can afford to spend $65 million, and Ottawa can afford to spend $45 million, why not add up those revenues and equally disperse them so both teams can spend $55 million instead? I don't really need to know the answer to that, because I already know it.

    Theoretically, the average team salary was $41.4 million last season ($1.8 million ALS x 23 player roster). If you collected enough revenue from every team, proportionally to their overall revenue, to compile a pot of $1.242 billion that would be distributed 30 ways, then everyone would be much closer on level to competiting with each other financially.

    The owners could fix the problems themselves, without creating these issues with the players that just turn bitter, including the fans. It's the true greed of ownership that prevents them from correcting it themselves. It's like that person that some people know who always blames someone else for their problems, but never looks at themselves as the cause or solution.
     
  9. thinkwild

    thinkwild Veni Vidi Toga

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    That is fair if the $65Mil teams is better than $45Mil team. But Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Calgary, San Jose, probably soon Nashville, will have a better team at $45mil than Detroit will at $65.

    If you equalled out these 2 teams payroll, it would help Detroit more than Ottawa. Moving them to financial equivalency isnt a goal that Ottawa would want. I guess if we traded Havlat and Volchenkov for Lidstrom and Shanahan we would be more financially equivalent. Is that a move you think should be forced on us for fairness sake? Or just make Detroit let go of Shanahan and Yzerman so Pittsburgh can sign them. What does moving to financial equivalence have to do with good team building decisions?

    If Detroit had Ottawas team, they would be paying $40 miln now possibly $30mil, too. Because that is the schedule set out. Detroit spending $65 mil does not affect Ottawas ability to put together an elite team for $45mil. Spending money is a fair strategy when it provides no unfair competitive advantage, and doesnt affect teams trying to put together elite teams in their prime and in a cost certain schedule.

    The only reason Calgary should be wanting to re-sign Iginla as one of the leagues most expensive UFAs is if they are a contender with a good chance of winning. If they are developing and are still a few years away, they shouldnt want to keep him, but use him as trade bait. That is the smart thing. That is the proper and wise thing to do, not an unfair thing. If Calgary is winning and a contender, not only will they be able to pay Iginla enough to keep him, he will want to stay an lead his team at a fair rate - like Alfie.
     
  10. Guest

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    I agree that Calgary, San Jose, Ottawa, and Tampa Bay have great rosters at low payroll compared to the top of the league, but they would only benefit more from what I am saying.

    I'm not saying that Ottawa should be required to spend as much as Detroit, and I'm not saying Detroit should get their roster for the same dollar Ottawa does. What I am saying is that there should be an equalized revenue sharing plan for the entire league that gives Ottawa or San Jose as much revenue to spend on payroll as Detroit or Toronto.

    That would mean that teams like Detroit & Toronto would have less of a surplus to spend, because a portion of that surplus would be shared with competitive teams. That would mean that Detroit might have to give up Shanny & Chelios, and that might mean that a team like Pittsburgh would be able to bolster their roster with a little veteran presence.

    Hypothetically speaking, say Detroit, Toronto, New York (Rangers) and Colorado all have enough revenue coming in to spend $65 million a season on payroll. Say that Nashville, Phoenix, Edmonton, Carolina had $30 million a season to spend on payroll. If you equalize everyone's payroll with revenue sharing, you would end up taking $20 million from each of the teams above spending more, and the teams spending less would get a portion of it so all the teams would have budgets of $45 million. Best of all, it's a free market system that allows the players to move freely, and believe it or not, you'd see a drag on salaries. The top spending teams wouldn't be able to throw as much money at free agents, including their own RFA's, and it would slowly drive the salaries to a moderate level.

    All that said, Phoenix will have the best ice in the league :lol: before the owners agree to a revenue sharing plan that focuses on the league as a product rather than the individual team. Focusing on a league driven product would also improve the league product.

    I've been saying lately that I didn't think there was any true answer to the CBA, but I think this is my latest proposal I stand behind the most, although I am still very favorable towards my ideas on the Homegrown Exemption Cap, and the Spenders-Cappers Conferences idea.
     
  11. thinkwild

    thinkwild Veni Vidi Toga

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    It sounds noble. But what you are saying is throw all the revenue in a pot and divide it 30 ways. A hard cap. Phoenix hardly seems spending challenged.


    Equalize payrolls with revenue sharing? Thats some fancy doubletalking there. And its a free market? I see what you are getting at but, if all teams had equal revenues, then no playoffs could of been played. You have to allow for the reality that these are 30 different businesses, with different revenues, who dont want to share with each other because they dont see themselves as the single business partners some fans wish for. Perhaps if they were they could organize themsleves that way.

    I dont think trying to ensure all teams each year are spending the exact same amount focuses on the league driven product more. Id think having great teams playing attracts more viewers for TV, than ensuring each local team does well. The Colorado-Detroit games were the ones that boosted ratings. It is the great teams the cameras follow.

    I think the luxury taxes give something similar to the homegrown exemption because for small payroll teams, they can offer less than large payroll teams for UFAs. And by ensuring the ability to afford an Ottawa quality team for $30mil, something any city can do, you can have spenders and cappers in the same league competing as equals.
     
  12. Guest

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    Good point on the playoffs, but perhaps you set that as a special incentive for teams, the playoff revenue generated is exclusive to the teams, but regular season revenue is shared.

    I never said Phoenix was spending challenged, but keep in mind that they have never been among the top 10 spenders in the league if I recall correctly (not checking it), and it wasn't until this season that the Coyotes signed more than one significant free agent in an offseason.

    Revenue sharing is not a hard cap at all, and why you decided to call it one, I have no clue. If you give every team equal payroll capabilities, it doesn't preclude teams from spending more or less than that amount, it just gives everyone the same amount of money to play with. It gives the teams that have been more notorious spenders a little less money to spend, and it gives to poorer teams a little more money to spend. Ask the NHLPA if they would consider revenue sharing a hard cap, better yet, ask 10 people around here who are old enough to remember the last lockout.

    Finally, you think having a super-power matchup like Detroit-Colorado, and having the high spending teams in general is more of an attraction to viewers than a balanced league where the viewers local team might have an equal shot at competiting? I guess we might just have to agree to disagree, either that or we are misunderstanding each other.
     
  13. thinkwild

    thinkwild Veni Vidi Toga

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    However, they still have the ability despite the fact many other teams have more money. Yes, its unfortunate that Detroit couldnt afford to keep Federov, Hull, and Robitaille, but not unfair.

    I agree, if you are just sharing the revenues owners make, as if they were one large company with 30 divisions, this would be ideal, and you wouldnt even need a cap. I agree with you this is a great solution. Im thinking we all share that goal. But the owners would never go for it. Its not the reality to design around. But they are completely free to do it without any permission from the players if their true goal is just to make a fair league.

    I think every team wants to become the next Edmonton Oiler dynasty. A team of RFAs who under the player proposal would probably cost less than $40 mil today at the time of their first cup win. If my Sens could do that for 5 years, I wouldnt complain if some of them then went on as UFAs to other teams especially if we got good prospects to rebuild with.

    No one has the right to a team of expensive UFAs. No one needs one to win either.

    But I agree with your 3 ideas. I just think they are equally accomplished in this new proposal.
     
  14. Guest

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    And as I said before, none of them have a shot of making it to the CBA anyways, so it's all for not.

    Equivalent to hell freezing over :lol:
     
  15. Tom_Benjamin

    Tom_Benjamin Registered User

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    I understand what you are saying here, and I agree to a certain extent. The NHL could simply pool all revenues and then there is no need for a cap of any sort. It is an impossible solution for a lot of reasons - not the least of which is, ironically, defining revenues - but it is still a very important point.

    Revenue disparities in the NHL are staggering. Partly this is the result of success, partly it is the result of market. No matter, the disparities are staggering. That is a financial issue. That is a potential competitive balance problem. That is the future of the NHL, in my opinion, if there is no deal. The players will eventually break the lockout by decertifying.

    How do you resolve this problem absent revenue sharing? The owners propose to cap the players at the lowest common denominator. That makes profits in the big markets and successful markets awesome at the expense of the players.

    I think it is best to solve that problem by delaying free agency long enough to render the wallet size nearly meaningless.

    Tom
     
  16. Guest

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    Essentially, if you open up the market enough so that the players are moving freely, it's going to lead to a lot of the same problems we've had already. I think you can still have players test the free agent market, because it's important to their side of the arguement, but then you must limit the marketplace of the teams.

    If the goods are available, those with money to spend will buy them. If you increase the supply of the goods, the price is driven down slightly because of the competition among the goods. However, if you limit the purchase power of the consumer, it can also act as an artificial increase in the supply of the goods, because you won't have the rich loading up.

    I think you can keep free agency where it is now, but what about adding free agency caps to start with. Say that every team can budget $X.00 on free agents signed by the club per season, and I'm not saying per offseason. For example, if a team signs a free agent this year, last year, and the year before, all 3 players would count towards this cap. That's only a small fraction of the overall issue though, but it may require small level fixes to get things to work.

    Another thing I'd suggest is a free agent signing period that expires when the season begins until after the trade deadline. That way players and GM's would know the timeframe they had to get the deal done, instead of a player or GM holding out into the season. I think it's important to set boundaries.

    Like we've all said, the revenue sharing is a great theory, but it's not likely to work out. I was suggesting that it was a way of the owners dealing with their problems internally in a different way. Despite it being complicated, they could still determine what they want to consider as shareable revenue.
     
  17. me2

    me2 Calling out the crap

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    Give or take a few tweaks to core and non-core it'd go something like this.

    Core: players drafted traded or signed under the age of 29, or traded for 29 + and 2 full years on team before first UFA contract. Or any player, UFA or not, with 5 of previous 6 years with a club.

    non-core players: any UFAs or players traded as dumps before UFA age. Players traded with less than one year before UFA are non-core (ie Blake when traded to Colorado is NON-CORE)


    Core players are exempt from luxury tax but count towards cap.

    Non-core players are taxable (option for first $5m as exempt from tax to allow some fiddling around with UFAs).


    Set salary cap at $35m (with $5m exemption).
    Sum all core players salaries.
    Sum all non-core players salaries.

    If the total amount is less than $35m then no tax.

    If the total salary is over $35m but there is less than $5m in non-core then no tax. (this is how Ottawa and Tampa keep exisiting team together)

    If a team has $40m in Core and $12m in non-core it pays tax on the $12m less $5m exemption.

    If a team has $30m in Core and $12m in non-core it pays tax on the $7m over $35m less $5m exemption, so it pays $2m. As its Core salary grows it will push more non-core into the taxable range.

    If a team drafts really well, it can keep itself together as long as it can afford it but won't be able to survive based on UFA purchasing as it ages.
     
  18. Guest

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    I have no problem with the overall theory of your proposal, of course because my proposal I called the Homegrown Exemption Cap was heavily based on the same principals. Nice work. One thing I might add is a franchise player rule for players, who may have been traded near UFA status or signed with the team as an UFA years ago, say like 6-8 consecutive years of service to the same team would count as core. It'd be a rare case, but would be a valid point.

    Despite this proposal, the biggest problem it still doesn't address IMO is that if Toronto wants to pay Sundin $9 million a season, then Iginla will want $9 million a season, and Calgary can't match that. It's near impossible to drive those compareables away from the CBA with contracts, unless you do a hard cap, which I don't support. Even with a hard cap, some teams may opt to pay their top player $10 million, which still leaves a comparison for other top players to ask for. That makes it difficult across the board.
     
  19. HckyFght*

    HckyFght* Guest

    The league expanded so it could claim that they were in all major markets for television. TV took a pass, and now the league is stuck between a rock and a hard place. You can't blame them for gambling that they would be successful, now, because television hasn't stepped in with the big money, it's time for a correction. In this respect there really is no "blame," but it is time to go forward by taking a step backwards. Roll back salaries, and roll back the rules changes that were wrongly instituted to lure TV's interest, and all will be well. The league can get back to growing it's markets and beefing up fan support and therefore revenues.
    -HckyFght!
     
  20. me2

    me2 Calling out the crap

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    Its either going to rely on owners being responsible, and if they UFA market is severely damaged that would hold down the RFA market to some degree.

    The other options would be centrally negotiated contracts and/or no arbitration at all.
     
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