Discussion in 'St. Louis Blues' started by Spektre, Apr 3, 2020.
Can you fix poll question too?
Will there be another game played ever?
The only way I see the Cup being awarded is if the league decides that a brief 4-8 team playoff in mid-late summer is something that they absolutely need to have happen if they are going to make escrow/HRR-split concessions to the PA when negotiating a salary cap for next year. I don't think it is all that likely, but I could see the NHL demanding some amount of playoff games where they can generate revenue without having to pay players extra. Realistically, that is very dependent on how much wiggle room the NBC and Sportsnet contracts offer the networks to wiggle out of payments if playoffs aren't played. If the NHL gets the full TV money without playing playoffs then we almost certainly won't see the Cup awarded barring a miracle vaccine/treatment emerging quickly. If skipping the playoffs allows the networks to withhold substantial payments to the league, then I could see them bending over backwards to make some type of playoffs happen.
TLDR: I think the only way playoffs happen is if they are an absolute necessity for the league to avoid missing out on TV revenue.
I'm hoping we're actually able to start next season on time in October. I could see a shortened regular season much like the last lockout.
So, in 3 weeks? Yeah, not happening.
This is true pessimism.
I still think ultimately we're done, but I also think someone is going to try and crank things up and it's not going to work. For all the talk of quarantining players in some way to have games, there are still too many ways for a "clean" environment to end up contaminated. Quite literally putting several hundred people into even four areas with everything they might need for a month or so and locking them away to play some games with no one in/out is totally impractical.
I know the players - especially apparently MLB - are desperate to get something in so they collect some part of paychecks, advance service time, etc. etc. I also think desperation leads to poor decisions with unintended consequences. It's why I think someone's going to try it and it fails before everyone else can do it, and every other pro league currently in progress has to take a serious look within itself and ask, is this really worth it?
NHL ready to go when given 'green light,' Bettman says
I’ll go on record today that there will be a full playoffs. I bet they start ramping up in May and playing games within about 6 weeks from now. I won’t be surprised if there are significant modifications, maybe no live spectators, limited sequestered locations, etc. But I think there will be a TV product of NHL hockey this summer.
In the linked interview, Bettman spoke positively about playing hockey into August. I see no reason the NHLPA won’t cooperate if it means the difference in TV revenue and where the salary cap is set. They might even feel a sense of civic duty to do something to benefit the public.
It's almost like this is dangerous to people without other serious issues. And I don't mean the 17 healthy people that had problems.
I've made this point a couple other times, but I really wish we knew what the TV contracts looked like. We have no idea what type of TV revenue loss (if any) the NHL faces by not holding playoffs. I'd wager there is a very good chance NBC and Rogers didn't negotiate a clause that covered their ass in case of a mid-season, non-work-stoppage related cancelation to the season. NBC and Rogers absolutely stand to lose a ton of ad revenue if there are no playoffs, but we have no idea whether the TV contract allows them to withhold any payments to the NHL due to a National Emergency forcing the league to shut down.
The players have said they do not want to just jump straight into the playoffs, so there will be some kind of wrap-up to the regular season. How much? I suspect with 189 games to play they might just say "let's play it all out, that's ~4 weeks - good enough to get warmed back up for the playoffs." At a minimum, I think we're going to 76 games; that's still probably 2 1/2 weeks (some teams will have 8 games to play to get there).
The bigger question is when can guys get back into the U.S. from overseas. That's going to dictate when mini-camps start, and that decides what the rest of the timeline potentially looks like. And, it means that everything has to go off without a hitch. As I've noted elsewhere, I don't think that's the given some think.
As far as "civic duty to do something to benefit the public" - that's patriotic banter. It's worthless. The players will go back when they feel comfortable about playing and not risking their health and when they think health of their loved ones isn't in danger; that will come leaps and bounds before "civic duty to benefit the public" or any stuff like that.
Please understand my beef is not with you here (not shooting the messenger) but this makes no sense to me. The only reason to complete the regular season is because of the playoff races. How could it be that a "mini-camp" pre-start-up could get players back in game shape for playoff races, but not for the playoffs?
I am opposed to the resumption of play. Why put the players and their families at risk? To me, it just isn't worth it. Let's set our eyes on next fall.
This is absolutely a huge question, but I have a feeling that the answer is a good one for the NHL if they are trying to move quickly on resuming play.
Everything he's saying in public suggests that Trump wants the economy moving again. Sports can act as a very public and symbolic message that "it is time to get back to normal." I'd wager that the White House would bend over backwards to facilitate immigration issues in order to get sports going again.
If I had to make the decision today, I would be opposed as well.
But I'm not opposed to keeping the possibility of playoffs open for a while to allow more data to come in. Betmman talked about having a better idea by late April, which I'm totally fine with. If I were betting then my money is still on the Cup not being awarded this year, but no one is forcing me to make that bet. I'm happy to leave my chips in my pocket for now, let the odds shift as new info comes in and making that bet at a later date.
That was meant to be more facetious.. not pessimistic.
I hope there's hockey again at some point.
No, I got that. I should have elaborated on it more to demonstrate that.
I don't think it has anything to do with getting in game shape for the playoffs. I think it has more to do with wanting to play a few games before ramping up into playoff intensity and having time to shake off any rust from the layoff before getting into games where it's "4 losses in a series and you're out."
Basically, it would be using whatever part of the regular season that gets played as a training camp (that matters) for the playoffs (which really matters).
That was kind of my point. Teams trying to get in the playoffs who are currently on the outside looking in probably have even more urgency than winning 4 out of 7 or your season is over. They may need to win 6 out of 7 and would, therefore, have a lesser margin for error coming back at all rusty. If not for these teams, why would you even be trying to finish the regular season schedule?
I wonder how much of this is some misguided idea about what the players will end up getting paid when all is said and done.
Thus far, the players have received all but their final paycheck. That last one would finish paying them for all 82 games of the season. If they don't play all 82, then they likely have to return some of that money since their contracts would then be pro-rated based on how much of the season really got played. Presuming the rest of the season + playoffs are played without fans, that's going to drop HRR (which all other things being equal increases the percentage of HRR the players got paid, which increases escrow). If we only play say 74 games, the players would return about 10% of their salaries - but, that would all come out of escrow since the amount of HRR is likely to be little-changed due to that. (If broadcast contracts get pro-rated, HRR would drop some but probably not as much as player salaries in aggregate would drop.)
So, if the players wanted to play some part of the rest of the season but still keep escrow from getting out of hand, they'd play a few games of the regular season but not all of it and forfeit pay for the rest of the unplayed regular season games. However, I don't think they're considering that. They're thinking "get all our money" without think of how that will impact escrow. It's like how they repeatedly kept pushing for a higher cap because that meant bigger contracts, ignoring that between teams routinely spending to it and using an inflator that exceeded HRR growth, and they paid for it with increasing escrow - thus putting them in the same position as if they had taken a lower cap that accounted for overspending by teams and a more realistic HRR inflator.
So we might not hear much complaining by players about playing a condensed schedule to try to recover as much of the 82 games as possible. I'm actually starting to think we may see a situation where they try to play all of it, the remaining schedule and the playoffs. This would lead to a delay in the start of training camps and maybe condense the schedule and offset it a bit from the usual.
Its a bit of a grind for players, but if that's the difference between giving money back and keeping their expected earnings, and if they have any inkling about what the rest of the country is going through, we should not expect to hear compaints.
It is an interesting juxtaposition. Assume games can be played, but that arenas can not fill up like normal. Assume they're playing in North Dakota or sequestered in Vegas or some version of the plans that people have put forth. The owners probably get more revenue from the televised playoffs, but the players get more pay from the regular season games. What do you prioritize? Would an abbreviated playoff structure decrease the TV money? You'd have to think there are stipulations in the contract, but we can't know.
It does look like there may be competing interests at work here between the owners and players, at least to a degree.
And in response to an earlier comment, I 100% believe Trump wants sports to come back as soon as safely possible. Its very symbolic. Hate him all you like, but I agree that the resumption of televised sports would have a very good effect on the psyche of the country. Some of the rampant pessimism may start to dissipate. There is also a much different decision between allowing stadiums to fill with fans, as opposed to playing games in a sequestered environment without crowds. The latter option is not so far-fetched, if all interested parties want to make it happen.
Denmark is allowing kids back to school already. Some of the worst hit areas are plateauing in their case numbers, elsewhere in the world. I don't think its nearly as crazy to be thinking about when the games resume as it felt like even a week ago.
I think the players are starting to seriously think about the implications of playing into late August and then having to turn around on short notice and crank it back up. Best case for non-playoff guys, we're talking 4-5 weeks of play (so into mid-June), ~4 months off, then a really compressed schedule to try and get the league schedule back to the normal track. They can probably handle that. Guys on playoff teams? They could be doing ~3 months of play, have a month off, then that compressed schedule that potentially has them playing 7-8 more months if not more. That's one hell of a toll on the players, even the really young and really talented.
That's all presuming everything goes great and there's no waves that follow. If there are, that's added disruption to guys who like to be in routines during the season. That also ignores free agency (which is going to be super-compressed) and training camp (which will also likely be pretty compressed) before the new season. Somewhere in there, guys are going to make mental calculations and say "this is what I'm willing to endure, but this is too much" and decisions will start getting made accordingly. The longer this takes to get to something that's "acceptable" to return to play, the more compressed timelines get and the more likely players start saying "OK, this isn't worth the physical and mental wear-and-tear I may have to make it happen" and things start getting cut.
The time now is added to the time home with families. They’ve been advised to return to their primary residence. It’s not a normal vacation, but guys at least aren’t on the road and away from their families. It factors into the equation.
We’ll see what happens, but if the pause is approaching a couple months in duration, you could argue they don’t need as long a summer break. I bet the bottom line for most players is trying to recoup at risk salary. That’s what I’d expect the NHLPA to prioritize. There was a suggestion of an improved relationship between players and owners. This is going to put that to the test.
On March 13 the league announced that the players would receive all of their paychecks in full. Contracts will not be pro-rated if there is a shortened season. If the league had tried to prorate the final few weeks of paychecks, then any player who objected could have taken it to an arbitrator. That is a huge can of worms for the league and the litigation costs likely would have outweighed the money saved by prorating contracts.
But you are bang on about escrow. Even though the players got their full paychecks, they will likely be giving a lot of it back via escrow because HRR is obviously going to fall way shy of the projections needed to get salaries at just 50% of HRR. A couple weeks ago on 31 Thoughts they were talking about players having to give back somewhere between 30-40% of every player's salary. This is a consideration that is getting left out of most fan discussions, but according to Elliott the players seem aware of the reality. At a 30-40% give back, you start talking about the take home pay on a $5M contract being about $1.5M after that give-back, taxes, agent fees, etc. That is a harsh reality that is going to put money at the forefront of discussions regarding a re-start of play.
For clarity, have you heard of any provision in the current CBA that would allow the owners to "claw back" any salary paid this season? I keep reading references to "making it up with escrow" but I am not aware of anything in the CBA that would allow the owners to ask players to return money they have already been paid this season in salary. It seems likely at the moment that all of the funds from players contracts that were escrowed (i.e. - held and not paid) would be forfeited by the players and that the owners would still come up short for their 50% of HRR. To my knowledge, the only way they can make that up is by reducing the cap for next season and/or holding a higher percentage of next season's players contracts in escrow until they've made up the difference. I'm not aware of a season in the salary cap era where the players didn't get a least some of their escrowed salary back after the HRR figure was certified, but we are breaking new ground here with the likelihood that this year's escrow amount will be insufficient to arrange a 50/50 split of HRR. Do you have any insight on this?
I seriously haven't paid attention to whatever letter agreements may have been made between the NHL and NHLPA regarding the last 3 paychecks. To the letter of the Standard Player Contract, the clubs could absolutely demand salary back if we don't play another game. What would likely happen is that they just say "OK, we'll get our money back via escrow" and then the NHLPA tries to strike a deal to spread out this year's escrow over time to avoid a huge immediate hit to the players.
On escrow: my gut says if we don't play another game this season, there's a high probability escrow won't cover getting the players back to 50/50. If we do play games, the more of the regular season that gets finished the better the chance that escrow is insufficient to cover getting the players back to 50/50. Beyond that, it's pure speculation.
Finally, on the cap: there's seriously so much bad knowledge out there about next year's cap, I'm exhausted thinking about trying to explain it to people to get the facts right. Nothing about this season guarantees what next year's cap will be, other than "it sets the initial spot from which the cap is based." It should be based on where both sides think revenues will ultimately land; that can (will) be different from this season. Example: HRR for 2021-22 suggests a $100 million cap, but both sides think it was inflated because of whatever reasons and 2022-23 revenues will really be 5% less. The '22-23 cap should then be 5% lower, or $95 million. Setting it at $100 million or more guarantees the players get overpaid, thus requiring significant escrow to get them back to 50% of HRR. How will it get treated for '20-21? I have low faith in it getting set correctly, based on past history; how they're going to f*** it up though is anyone's guess.
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