Tag:Donald Fehr
Posted on: November 13, 2011 11:40 am

Report: NHLPA finds unreported team revenues

By Brian Stubits

Every day I look at what the NBA is going through with its lockout and hope hockey doesn't face the same, again. I keep my hopes buoyed by the belief that so many of the people currently involved went through it then and don't want to lose another season.

But perhaps a bit of good faith in negotiating has slipped away after a report from Larry Brooks of the New York Post.

We can’t tell you whether this is a case of hide-and-seek, but Slap Shots has learned from several sources that after exercising its right for the first time to audit select NHL clubs, the NHLPA believes it has discovered unreported revenues from last season.

This, in addition to a dispute over whether the $25 million Glendale, Ariz., paid the NHL to keep the Coyotes from absconding to Winnipeg should be considered hockey-related revenue, is what is holding up issuance of the escrow refunds to the players and checks to the owners who qualify for the second round of 2010-11 revenue sharing.

We’re told Washington and Nashville are among at least a handful of clubs that have been cited for failure to declare hockey-related revenue, with the matter now more likely than not to be decided in arbitration.

You can credit the NHLPA's findings to Donald Fehr, the new union head who ordered the audit to be done, something the NHLPA hadn't done in past years. I doubt knowledge of this won't harden Fehr's stance as he prepares to begin negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement after the All-Star break.

It's possible that this missing income was unintentional; I don't want to rule that part out. But it doesn't seem likely and the appearance certainly isn't pretty for the owners. The question remains and will remain; how much had owners been withholding in past seasons? The NHLPA can't find that out now as the books are closed.

Brooks also reports that a high-ranking executive identified only as one from a team that is doing well on and off the ice that players “will get 48 to 50 percent, and there will be a rollback” in the next CBA. Certainly this will be the owners' stance to begin with, but making it happen is another thing altogether. The players are receiving 57 percent of the revenue right now, it will be tough to get them to back down much off that number, especially now that it was revealed some teams weren't being forthright and the players weren't getting all of their 57 percent.

Now please don't let this hamper the negotiations. I'm not ready for another lockout, the offseason is bad enough.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Category: NHL
Posted on: October 6, 2011 10:03 am

Daily Skate: EA simulation picks Pens to win Cup

By Brian Stubits

Today is a very special edition of the Daily Skate. We don't have to tell you why, but we will anyway: the season begins tonight! There are three games on tap, including the champion Bruins opening vs. the Flyers Canadiens-Maple Leafs and Penguins-Canucks. Scoreboard

SIMULATION SEASON: Two seasons ago, EA Sports' simulation using their hockey video game picked the Blackhawks to win the Cup and they did. Last season it predicted the Canucks would win the Presidents' Trophy and the Finals would be Vancouver vs. Boston. It was. This season? The Penguins are their champ. Feeling good Pittsburgh? (EA.com)

OPTIMISTIC START: The negotiations are still a few months away, but if you're like me, you're really starting to fear losing another season to labor strife. But new NHLPA boss Donald Fehr isn't. He's optimistic as the season gets under way that they can get a deal done. There will be plenty of time to negotiate, likely beginning around the All-Star break. (Winnipeg Free Press)

THE HEAT WILL BE ON: The over/under (more on that later today) for the number of coaches to be fired mid-season is 1.5 from bodog. The first could be Ron Wilson of the Maple Leafs. He begins the season squarely on the hot seat as expectations are as high as they have been in a while in Toronto. (Toronto Star)

HE COULD BE BACK: That was supposed to be in a Schwarzenegger voice. Anyway, "he" is Sean Avery, the recently waived Rangers forward who many assumed played his last game not only for the Blueshirts, but in the NHL as no team claimed him. Not so fast. GM Glen Sather says if Avery has earned it, no doubt he could be recalled from the AHL, where he was relocated on Wednesday. (New York Post)

PEACE AND QUIET: It's assumed that most players would prefer to play for a rabid fan base in a hockey-crazy city. Considering that qualifies for each of the seven Canadian markets and a majority of players are Canadian, it seems to be a perfect fit. But former Senators star Mike Fisher is enjoying life outside the spotlight with the Predators in Nashville. (Senators Extra)

SKINNER FEVER PART II: Jeff Skinner was a breakout star for the Hurricanes last season, winning the Calder Trophy as the top rookie. He was also a local star, especially among the swooning young girls of Raleigh. He talks about the craziness he went through last year, expectations for the coming season and much more. (Puck Daddy)

UNDERDOGS, EH?: First-year Dallas Stars coach Glen Gulatzan doesn't mind one bit that his team is considered an underdog. With players like Jamie Benn, Mike Ribiero, Brenden Morrow and Loui Eriksson, I can see why he wouldn't mind being below the radar. Oh, and his Canadian accent is pretty thick (just sayin').

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 15, 2011 3:20 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2011 5:03 pm

Look at NHL CBA with exactly one year to go

By Brian Stubits

We don't do this often, but this one is worthy ... On this day in NHL history, the current CBA was signed in 2005, bringing an end to the lockout after an entire missed season.

Hockey has had life a bit care-free in the past year in regards to labor, watching the NFL and NBA go through their own lockouts. The NFL has since worked out a deal without any meaningful games being missed. The NBA, meanwhile, is in danger of missing the start of the season, if not a lot more.

But the care-free days are about to wind down. The clock begins ticking now on reaching a new deal to avoid another crippling lockout. It has taken six years, but the league finally seems to have recouped from the wiped-out season, seeing popularity levels returning to and in some cases exceeding the pre-lockout highs. To put it simply, things are going alright for the NHL these days.

You don't need me to tell you how jeopardizing another labor deadlock would be to the sport's growth. There are already multiple cities facing the possibility of losing their teams partly because of a lack of fan support. I'm sure a work stoppage will really help solve that problem ...

The biggest problem that seems to be on the horizon is the ever-escalating salary cap and floor. As each continues to rise quickly, it is doing the smaller markets and those with less money no favors. They are already losing money and their operating costs are forced to go up at an accelerated rate.

On the other side of the equation, the quickly rising ceiling is allowing the teams with greater resources to stay ahead of the pack. I touched on the landscape of the East starting to take shape into a very static conference because of well-off franchises getting more room under the cap to help maintain their lofty positions. This exact problem has caused a lot of the friction the NBA is currently dealing with.

The summer spending spree we just went through will undoubtedly give ammunition to owners claiming salaries are skyrocketing. Expect to hear a lot of "Ed Jovanovski was given $4.125 million per year for Pete's sake!" arguments being made.

Kelly McParland at the National Post wrote about how this year's free-agent blitz was planting some seeds of labor doom, insisting that the owners will only have themselves to blame. But the counterargument to that angle is that many of the owners' hands were forced by the salary floor rising, inducing them to overspend.

Out of the four major sports leagues in North America, it is pretty much undebateable which can least afford a stoppage; it's the NHL. It already has the lowest fan support of the four sports as it is. It can't afford to lose the momentum it has going (and the potential of it growing a lot more if the NBA season is taken away, leaving just hockey). You think hockey suffers from a lack of coverage now? Another lockout would set it back further.

There is no doubt the best thing that can be done to avoid another stoppage is get to work on a new collective bargaining agreement as soon as possible. You might remember there is a new lead man for the NHLPA, none other than Donald Fehr. In case you need a reminder, Fehr was the man in charge of baseball's players union when that sport suffered a strike of its own. I still own a ball from the World Series That Never Was from 1994, an awful reminder of the fall without baseball.

I think Fehr will forever have a taint in a lot of sports fans' eyes as the man that cost the MLB a season. I was still in school during the strike, but my memories of the way Fehr was portrayed was as the bad guy in the whole scenario.

Nonetheless, he is going to be the point man for the players in negotiations and from their point of view, there are few better to have on your side. Fehr plans on doing a lot of travelling the remainder of this calendar year, visiting every team and learning about the sport and all of his clients. After that, hopefully negotiations begin in earnest and the uneasiness that is seeping in can be put to sleep before it truly breaks out.

The biggest hope that the sides will swallow their pride and make concessions to sign a new labor deal is that the lockout is something many of these players and owners have gone through. Nobody would want to have to go through it again. It's those memories that can ultimately be the biggest incentive to find common ground. I mean they decided to bring the shootout to the NHL after the lockout to help interest fans (needless to say, most fans I see don't like it one bit), can you imagine what they would have to bring to the game whenever they would start playing again?

Every time labor battles are being fiercely fought you always hear the mantra of "think of the fans!" In this case, I don't think it will be too tough for the parties involved to do just that. The only question is if that will deter them from holding their ground.

And on a personal note, I hope they think of the writers, too. I don't want to spend my summer like the guys at the Eye on Basketball blog keeping daily tabs on labor talk. Nobody wins in that scenario.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Category: NHL
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com