The Vent: Thanking Gary Bettman; if Drake rapped about the lockout

21 Oct

THE VENT is a forum for rants, raves, pleas and laments from hockey fans across the world about the NHL lockout. It runs every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. If you've got a take on the lockout and need to let it out, email us at .)

Reader Martin Devon would like to thank the commissioner for, ahem, readjusting the popularity of the NHL:

I'm a long time hockey fan who would like to thank Gary Bettman for his contribution to the game of hockey.

When I was 8 years old, my dad made a deal with me: If I did well in school, he would take me to see a real live hockey game at the Montreal Forum. I held up my end of the bargain, so my dad got tickets for us to see the Game 2 semi-final game against the Flyers. Back then (this was 40 years ago), getting a ticket to a Habs game at the Forum was impossible. God knows what he had to pay for the nosebleed seats we got.

I grew up, moved to Los Angeles and became an LA Kings fan, a totally different experience. Sure, the team didn't win, but there were compensations. I could actually see the game live without the aid of binoculars. Wow. I never realized how fast NHL'ers were. Or the how intense it is when a two players crash into the boards.

For my birthday, my wife got center ice, third row seats to see the Kings play the Habs. I thanked her profusely and she looked at me quizzically -- "what's the big deal?"  You could buy tickets on the glass for less than my dad paid for tickets in the rafters in Montreal. Finally I could enjoy great hockey in affordable seats. You didn't have noisy crowds to deal with. You could get a beer and a hot dog without waiting in a long line. You could get out of the parking lot quickly. What a joy!

But then Bruce McNall bought the team and brought that Gretzky fellow to play here. Oy!  Now it started to get crowded. You could get seats but it became much more expensive. It got worse when those party poopers Tim Leiweke and Dean Lombardi got involved. They had to move the team into a fancy new area. Then the SOB's crossed the line -- they built a strong team. Worse yet, the team put it all together and the Kings won the cup. Now LA is starting to have the same problems we used to have in Montreal.

The damn rink is so crowded. We have stupid parades down Figueroa street. People who never heard of hockey are starting to take an interest. "Hey what's that parade for?"  "What's that shiny silver cup for?" Shut up! Nothing to see here. Move along.

I had to wait 3 hours to get my damn picture taken with the cup. They even sold out season tickets this year! What the hell?

The Kings organization is ruining hockey for me. Hockey was supposed to be my private thing.

Enter my hero Gary Bettman to the rescue. He recognized that hockey is getting too popular and came up with the perfect solution -- the LOCKOUT!  Sure, it hasn't slowed down the popularity of hockey in Canada yet, but you have to give Gary time. It is already starting to work over here.

Did you know that there are only 4 more preseason basketball games before the NBA season starts? That first month where the Kings could market to fans before basketball starts? Gone. Meanwhile, the Lakers picked up Dwight Howard and Steve Nash to play with Kobe Bryant (Canadians, think Parise and Suter signing with Philly). Genius!  That's all you hear about anywhere. Sure, the sports radio guys were lamenting the lockout a bit this summer:

"Bummer about the Kings. I was just starting to learn about the sport. Seems like fun...oh well. After the break, we'll talk about how Lakers practice went. Stay tuned on ESPN710."

Hockey is fading away. If Gary can stretch the lockout to take out the whole year before you know it all those crowds will be gone, I can get my cheap glass seats again and enjoy hockey in peace and quiet as it was meant to be enjoyed.

Thank you Gary. I appreciate all your efforts. Don't think that they go unnoticed.

Kyle Allen wants you to run to your windows, open them up, stick your heads out and scream a now-cliché line from a classic 1975 Sidney Lumet film:

I don't have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It's a recession. Everybody's out of work and scared of losing their hockey. The dollar buys a nickel's worth of players, teams are going bust, fans wear a football jersey in public. Basketball fans are running wild in the street and there's nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there's no end to it.

We know the players make too much and their contracts are too long, and we sit watching our TVs while some local newscaster tells us that CBA talks have ended without a deal, as if that's the way it's supposed to be! We know things are bad - worse than bad. They're crazy! It's like everything everywhere is going crazy, so we don't go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, 'Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my Playstation and my TV and my NHL 13 and I won't say anything. Just leave us alone!'

Well, I'm not gonna leave you alone! I want you to get mad! I don't want you to protest. I don't want you to riot - I don't want you to write to the Board of Governors because I wouldn't know what to tell you to write. I don't know what to do about the Southern Expansion and the unrestricted free agency and the KHL and the cheap shots along the boards. All I know is that first you've got to get mad! You've got to say, "I'm a hockey fan, goddammit! My life has value!"

So, I want you to get up now. I want all of you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now, and go to the window, open it, and stick your head out and yell: "I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!"

Reader Laurie Owens isn't pleased with the NHL's owners, and is wondering why the commish would dare court the rage of one Sidney Crosby:

Angry? Sad? Disappointed? Oh, all of effing above.

Who was throwing money around like Albert Haynesworth in a Vegas strip club? Um, quite a few NHL owners. So by paring down HRR (learning to hate those letters) and essentially adding a buyer's remorse clause, they are behaving like the arrogant a-holes that Gary Bettman really is. They have the power and control, but seem truly intent on using it for evil.

While it is their choice to play, the players are on the ice taking the risk. They don't know if tomorrow could be their last game or not.

How much did the pay Frank Luntz anyway? Was it worth the cost of a season? An entire fan base? I love hockey and will miss it greatly, but I am not willing to put a dime (US or Canadian) into the pockets of the owners while they carry out Gary's pricey ego trip gone terribly wrong.


PS -- Gary has angered Sid. Really?? You want to piss off the face of your league?? It's only a matter of time before he goes to Russia to join Geno.

Via Jeanshorts and Bagged Milk ... this is dramatic. (One NSFW word in text.)

Reader Dallas King has a message for Gary Bettman on how the lockout really affects families and those who love the sport:

Dear Commissioner Gary Bettman:

My name is Dallas King, I live in west central Alberta and I am a DIE HARD OILERS fan! I am writing a detailed letter to vent my frustration with the NHL lockout.

I want to start with a little background. I am the oldest of 3 boys in my family, my father is a huge Oilers fan and he was so lucky to have 3 boys on the dates that he did. I was born in 1985, my middle brother Morgan born in 1988, and my youngest brother Graham born in 1990. Yes all three of those years were Edmonton Oiler Stanley Cup years. So to say the least we didn't have a chance who we were cheering for. So having grown up with such an influence from my father, it took the last lockout to realize where this came from and it broke my heart.

During the last lockout in 2004-2005 I came to notice something that I took for granted so many years before. A few years before the last lockout, my father's mom had passed away, so my grandfather was all alone. He was one of the biggest hockey fans I ever knew, and it was that tradition that he passed on to my dad who eventually passed on to me and my brothers. After my grandma passed away my grandpa just watched hockey, at night, during the day, on weekdays, on weekends, whenever he could he just watched any game that was on, it was like a getaway for him. On that 2004-2005 lockout year it all changed. The one thing that was a comfort to him, his passion was gone. He was lost, he could not watch the NHL that year. I noticed that he wasn't the same, he was getting old and couldn't do much, he moped around and I could tell it just killed him that there was no hockey. It broke my heart to see that, because this affects EVERYONE.

Fast forward to this year, and this lockout has brought a familiar situation. My mom's dad.

My mom's mom passed away 3 years ago, leaving my other grandpa all alone. I know that he is a hockey fan, maybe not to the extent of my grandpa I just previously talked about but I can't believe this is happening again!

This NHL lockout hits close to home just like the last one, as it becomes personal. I want to keep the tradition alive of being able to watch hockey with my grandpa as you never know how long you will have with that person.

So Gary Bettman, you see, this affects all people, all over the world. Not just the owners, or the players, or the people that work for the teams, or the players families, or the workers families, but the fans, and the tradition those fans are trying to keep alive. In the name of the fans please end this lockout.


Dallas King

Finally, reader Bryan Vickroy of The Sports Bank was inspired by our own Harrison Mooney's "Lockout Man":

Being inspired by Harrison's splendid rendition of "Lockout Man" I have created my own lockout music. The following is an ode to the commish's desires of the current lockout. Enjoy "Garys Room", a hip check/R&B in the tune of "Marvins Room" by Drake. Enjoy.

And here you go:

Drake … GOOD CANADIAN BOY. (/DonCherry'd!)

Tags: , , , , , Reader, street
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NHL, union speak but no new negotiations set up (Yahoo! Sports)

20 Oct
NEW YORK (AP) -- NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly and players' association special counsel Steve Fehr spoke to each other on Saturday, but the sides still have no plans to meet face-to-face as a deadline to preserve a full hockey season draws nearer.
Tags: Association, , , , , Steve Fehr, Union,
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NHL CBA blame games; USA hockey will never catch Canada (Puck Headlines)

19 Oct

Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

• Nicklas Backstrom joins hands with teammate Alex Ovechkin in celebration of having well-compensating jobs. [@plysenkov via alexovetjkin]

• Great stuff from professor James Mirtle on the NHLPA offers and how they attempt to approach 50/50. (Note: His post doesn't contain the third offer, which may or may not have been written on a cocktail napkin.) [Globe & Mail]

• Mark Spector drops the hammer on Gary Bettman: "Bettman, however, has reached critical mass as the owners' emissary. It was under him that the pendulum swung so far to the players' side that a year-long lockout was required. And even with a step that drastic, it's taking a third consecutive stoppage to get that pendulum back to 50/50. That's why he looks so tired. Why Bettman couldn't even muster up the stage presence to entertain the NHLPA offer over night before countering." [Sportsnet]

• Frank Seravalli on the lockout: "I can get behind the players' wanting every dollar of signed deals to be honored. Otherwise, owners who signed players to mega-deals this summer would not have been bargaining in good faith, knowing that they would be asking for a reduction in revenue sharing." []

• Shawn Horcoff doesn't believe the owners were negotiating in good faith: "There was no talk whatsoever, not even any communication among their own people in the room, among the owners. It was that quick. It didn't really matter what we had to say. Unless we totally accepted their deal, they weren't going to take it. Right away you could tell they're not serious."  [QMI]

• Check out the awesome check from Pat Sieloff in the OHL last night. [Buzzing The Net]

• The AHL is feeling pretty good about the lockout, with attendance up 5 percent. Said President Dave Andrews: "Clearly, we've had far more exposure than we normally have from the main-stream hockey media and, if the quality of your league in enhanced, more people attend the games," said Andrews. "There's about 100 players in our league now who would have been on an NHL roster at the start of the season." []

• presents six reasons why USA Hockey will never catch Canada, including "Passion and Pressure": "Canada is expected to win at hockey, no matter whom they play. At the World Junior Championships in Buffalo in 2010, Canadians were lined up for miles to cross the border to watch their country play. During the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, an estimated 80 percent of the Canadian population watched the Gold medal game between Canada and the U.S. In America, the two biggest games in USA hockey history—the 2010 Gold medal game against Canada and the 1980 semi-final game against the Soviet Union—were not even aired live on a major TV network. In 2010,  NBC showed ice dancing over hockey." [Stack]

• Ellen Etchingham's feeling the expansion blues: "… if you're in one of those fortunate places where tickets are cheap and plentiful and you can't imagine life without going to NHL games multiple times a week, if you believe that NHL hockey should be brought to more people even if the product is barely worthy of the name, then riddle me this: where does it end? If two more teams is good, would not four more teams be better? If we want to keep the NHL in Phoenix and Nashville and Sunrise and Columbus, and have it also in Markham and Quebec, why not Hamilton and Seattle and Kansas City? Why not Tulsa? Hell, think big my friends, why not Honolulu? Why not just absorb the AHL in its entirety and have NHL hockey everywhere? If talent dilution is not a problem at 30 teams, and not at 32 teams, then when does it become one?" [Backhand Shelf]

• Kudos to the NHL for going purple on Spirit Day. []

• Connor McDavid is pretty good. [Hockey Primetime]

• The KHL is good hockey and bad business, which we believe automatically qualifies them for NHL revenue sharing. [National Post]

• Another good one from Backhand Shelf as 67Sound proposes a "make-whole" salary cap. [BS]

• Craig Conroy will get his number retired by Clarkson University. [Flames]

• Congrats to Scott Niedermayer for getting into the Canada Sports Hall of Fame. Now, name-check Tom Kurvers in the acceptance speech … []

• Finally, we give to you this Montreal hockey brawl, and at one point turns into a crazy pile-on. As opposed to a crazy pylon, which is Dion Phaneuf:

Tags: , , faith, , , , , , Stack, USA hockey
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As father fights terminal cancer, NHL fan slams lockout in jarring clip (VIDEO)

19 Oct

There are provocative videos about the NHL, made by angry fans with a message for both owners and players.

And then there's this video by "eamu99" on YouTube: stunning, jarring minute-long clip in which a son laments the lockout at the bedside of his father, whom he says is fighting terminal cancer:

"I hope that the doctors and nurses that keep my dad alive get a raise. And that you get your asses back on the ice before it's too late." Man …

Here's a bit more from "eamu99":

Just wanna catch a game with my dad. There is a deal for the players within the NHL. But there is a contract with the communities that these players come from as well. When you are mentally strong enough to become an elite athlete you are a special human being (in most cases anyways) . A human being that can lead and inspire the people around them and their communities. The NHL take these extraordinary people and display them so their effect is amplified. Because of this lockout we have displaced inspiration and it is sad. I am sure that whoever misses out on their little piece of inspiration wont be refunded. Seems there is no deal for the fans in the NHL.

The video was put together by Canada native John Dick, 31, who studied journalism at the University of Queensland in Australia. While attending school, his father Bruce was diagnosed with cancer back in Canada.

"My dad wouldn't allow me to come back. He made me finish university," said John Dick.

The last time John saw his father was several years ago; i.e. the last time the NHL locked out its players. He traveled to see him again because Bruce was given just weeks to live.

Knowing that his son was a filmmaker, Bruce suggested they do a project together. "You're not going to be picking up any chicks the way you're looking," quipped John at the time.

The two finally settled on a mutual animosity for the NHL, the NHLPA and the lockout as their subject. John played hockey growing up and remains a fan; Bruce was an Edmonton Oilers dynasty fan that continued to follow the game.

John's premise was simple: Delivering a gut-punch of a message, underscored by his father's condition.

"How many tickets have me and my dad bought? How many times have we seen [the NHL]?" he asked. "You don't play hockey for other hockey players. You don't play for the owners. You play for the fans."

John said he hopes the NHL's top brass, including Gary Bettman, sees the video. And that maybe, just maybe, it has an impact on their desire to lock out the players.

As for his father, John said he's spending as much time as he can with him. Instead of the NHL, they'll watch CFL football games in the hospital.

Admittedly, it's difficult to hear his father talk about watching the NHL upon conclusion of the football game, knowing that the League won't be playing any time soon.

"He forgets. He's on a lot of pain killers," said John.

Tags: being, clip, , eamu, , John Dick, , , terminal cancer
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How were the KHL’s ratings on ESPN2? Better than Dan Le Batard, not as good as poker

19 Oct

When analyzing the ratings for professional hockey on ESPN, fans inevitably have one standard for success or failure:

"Did hockey beat poker?"

This Pavlovian response was born out of the trauma we suffered in the NHL's waning years on the World Wide Leader, when televised Texas Hold'em tournaments seemed to take precedence over pucks. Poker became the symbol of ESPN's apathy towards hockey; a rivalry between the two sports (OK, one sport and one game of chance) still rages, as we early await Daniel Negreanu to be our Gandhi ...

With the NHL having locked out its players, Russia's Kontinental Hockey League signed a slew of star players and cut a deal with ESPN: Games would be streamed live on ESPN3 online, and a select few would be featured on ESPN2, marking the first time in several year that professional hockey had a home on the Deuce. (RIP, NHL2Night.)

The first broadcast was Tuesday, Oct. 9 between Alex Ovechkin's Dynamo Moscow and HC Lev Praha, Zdeno Chara's team. On Oct. 14, it was Ovechkin vs. Amur, a game that Dynamo won, 4-1. So, in other words, they weren't under Amur. (Drops mic.)

So how did the KHL on ESPN2 do in the ratings?

Son Of The Bronx had the ESPN and ESPN2 ratings from Oct. 8-14, including the details on the three KHL broadcasts. (For the record: "P2+ (000): Viewers, in thousands, aged 2 years or older.")

So the KHL's Tuesday night broadcast ranked No. 78 for the week on ESPN2, ahead of a mid-afternoon episode of "Dan Le Batard is Highly Questionable." It was the highest rated of the three broadcasts, which isn't too shabby considering the same game was shown hours earlier; wonder if the hype about the Steve and Barry Show helped goose the ratings.

But to answer the question we're all asking:

"Did hockey beat poker?"

Well, no. Poker ranked No. 32 on the weekly ESPN2 ratings. Even Alex Ovechkin can't overcome fat white guys with funny sunglasses bluffing each other.

Overall, that initial KHL rating showed promise. If the lockout continues, it might be enough to have the KHL on ESPN2 a few more times. Provided it includes more Barry Melrose commentary. And by that we mean more references to the Soviet Union-as-current-Russia.

s/t to Son Of The Bronx, our favorite place for cable ratings fun.

Tags: , beat, Bronx, Dan Le Batard, , , ESPN2, , Kontinental Hockey League, , poker
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The Vent: Protesting the lockout by cheering harder for the Leafs, partying

18 Oct

THE VENT is a forum for rants, raves, pleas and laments from hockey fans across the world about the NHL lockout. It runs every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday. If you've got a take on the lockout and need to let it out, email us at .)

Wouldn't it have been nice if this feature came to an end today? It was a nice thought, but it didn't, so here are some thoughts that aren't quite as nice.

Ryan F. won't sit idly by and do nothing. He's got a brand-new protest: he will only watch Toronto Maple Leafs from here on out. It's kind of like a hunger strike, but with more suffering, I guess.

I'll keep this short. So here we are once again. The NHL season is supposed to be underway but alas it is not. You know, the last couple of weeks fans like me have been told how we can stop this lockout. I've seen people and even hockey media suggest I unfollow the NHL/NHLPA on social media sites, stop buying tickets/merchandise or even stop being a hockey fan altogether. I'm not going to do any of those things. I am not naive enough to think that I could have any effect on ending this lockout. I am going to do something though, not from pressure but simply based on what I feel.

You know the old saying "Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me." I was willing to let the last lockout slide because I was told it was necessary to fix the systemic problems with the league. I bought that and boy was I dead wrong. How else would we be back here once again? I live in Toronto where like so many people I live and breathe the Maple Leafs. My father is a Leafs fan and my grandfather was too. I watch every game on TV that I am capable of viewing and through winning and losing (mostly losing), I support them. I try and get out to a couple games a year at the ACC but usually I cannot afford tickets. Remember in the last lockout when you claimed we would have lower ticket prices under a new agreement? Again, you won't fool me twice.

Look, I'm always going to be a Leafs fan until the day I die. I will continue to watch every Leafs game I can whether they return in 2012, 2013 or 2014. But here's what I will not do. I will not be watching other NHL games. I won't be watching Calgary vs. Edmonton or Detroit vs. St Louis. I'm done with that. Instead I'll be watching the NFL, MLB, NBA and heck even the AHL. This is not a threat or a form of protest. This is simply the reality of taking your fans for granted. It doesn't matter how big or small your role is in this. Whether you are Gary Bettman or Donald Fehr, Sidney Crosby or Shawn Thornton you have reduced a former NHL fan into just a Leafs fan. Stop posturing and negotiate like civilized people who have influence over the lives of so many who are hurt not only emotionally but financially but this lockout. You know them right? They are the broadcasters, writers, bars, mascots and concession workers. I believe there are a lot of people who share my sentiment and that's not good for anyone. Time to grow up and do what is right. Drop the puck.

Angela H. also cooked up a unique way to protest the lockout. A party.

To mourn the loss of opening night, some of my hockey friends and I had a F#%k the Lockout Party this past weekend. Beer, nachos, classic Bruins games on the TV, and A LOT of bitching.

My amazingly talented friend Stephanie brought over this cake, and I just had to share it.  It pretty much says it all!

Pro-tip: If your protest involves cake, you're protesting the right way.

And finally, Nicole H. wants to do something, but she doesn't know what to do but share with us her despair:

I first fell in love during the summer of 2003 while paying a visit to my Midwestern relatives. I had lived my whole life (to that point) unaware I was related to die hard hockey fans. Then I sat down to watch a playoff game with my Pépère, and found myself instantly hooked.

I picked up right where I left off the following season, determined to learn all I could. Having just moved to the DC area I became a Caps fan (which, given my timing, was both a show of incredible dedication and stupidity). I have bled black and bronze/red, white, and blue ever since. I count down the days till prospect camp, then rookie camp, then training camp. Between the league and third party ticket sites I pay huge mark ups to see the occasional game on my teacher's salary (if only I would take the player's advice and just get a better paying job). I came back after the first lockout, even though I had barely had any time to invest myself in the sport. But this time is different.

I can't say I am giving up forever- that would be ridiculous. And I am still a hockey fan- I bought AHL Live in anticipation of the worst to get me through the winter. But my heart just doesn't feel in it for the NHL right now.

My husband tells me I'm nuts and maybe I'll feel different the moment the improbable actually happens. But for now all I want to do is stick it to the NHL and NHLPA. But how? I'm thinking "opening night" boycott. Wouldn't that be nice to see the fans say "screw you, we'll come back when WE are good and ready". But alas, hockey fans are well dressed crack heads. So I will be left with the ability to do little more than sit in the corner like a petulant child till I feel like I've made my point. That always works out well...

Tags: , , , , Maple Leafs, , , protest, ,
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‘Today is not a good day’, says Donald Fehr, as NHL, NHLPA meet again, get nowhere

18 Oct

Just prior to Thursday's meeting with the NHLPA, Gary Bettman was confronted by a hockey fan named Barry Murphy, who told the commissioner that, as a fan, he felt disrespected and neglected. "What are you going to do to show us you care about us?" Murphy asked Bettman, according to Elliotte Friedman.

"We're going to get a deal done," Bettman responded.

It was yet another reason for optimism ahead of the meeting, which was precipitated by the NHL's surprise proposal to the players on Tuesday, offering a 50/50 revenue split and the same definition of hockey-related revenue to the players, and a faint glimmer of hope to fans. Might Camps Fehr and Bettman find some middle ground Thursday?


When the two sides emerged from the meeting just an hour later doing the Charlie Brown walk of sadness, it was clear things had gone badly. It was also clear, according to Bettman, that they weren't speaking the same language. From TSN:

"This is the best offer that we have to make," Bettman said of the proposal from the league earlier this week. "The fact is, we're nowhere close to what we proposed."

[...] "I don't know what the next step is," added Bettman. "I'm obviously very discouraged."

The players surprised the NHL with three offers. According to Bettman, none of them even began to approach the 50/50 revenue split of the NHL's most recent proposal.

One reason for that: the union wants all contracts honoured. In breaking down the latest breakdown in talks, Donald Fehr made specific mention of the deals signed this summer. "We'll get you to 50-50 but you have to agree to honor the contracts you have signed," he reportedly told Bettman.

According to Fehr, and in direct opposition to what Bettman told Barry Murphy, the players want to make a deal. Apparently, the owners don't. Fehr:

"The reason I say 'apparently they don't' is that after the proposal was made, they did what they have done before: they take very few minutes, they don't think about it, they don't analyze it, they don't talk to the other owners, they take less than 10 minutes... all three proposals are rejected in their entirety. And secondly, the proposal that we recently got is their best offer."

"They might be willing to tweak it around the edges -- a tweak is sort of a small and insubstantial thing, and they agreed -- but that's it, and that's what we're supposed to do."

"And when you think about it, if you assume that's their best offer, why in the world did we see it four weeks into a lockout? ... I can't answer that question."

Fehr summarized the meeting thusly: "The vibe we got was, unless you're prepared to sign with very minor variations, don't bother us.'"

The damning characterization of the NHL likely has something to do with combatting the way the NHL's proposal set the players up to look like the badguys.

Let's not fool ourselves. Disappointed though Bettman may be, he's nowhere near as disappointed as hockey fans are, and that was sort of the point. The NHL's offer was designed to stoke fan optimism and force the NHLPA to crush it, putting the pressure on the players to make concessions and save face.

In that sense, today went exactly how it was supposed to go, and I'd say Barry Murphy has every right to feel he just got the Cindy Lou Who treatment.

Unreported by Friedman: when Murphy asked, "Why are you stealing our Christmas tree?" Bettman responded, "I'm taking it home to my workshop, my dear. I'll fix it up there. Then I'll bring it back here."

Now, the season dangles perilously on the edge of a metaphorical Mount Crumpit. For a deal to get done, someone's heart is going to have to grow three sizes.

"Today is not a good day," said Fehr. "It should have been, but it wasn't."

Tags: Barry Murphy, Donald Fehr, , , , , optimism, ,
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World’s oldest hockey stick; Backstrom to Dynamo; NHLPA proposal anticipation (Puck Headlines)

18 Oct

Here are your Puck Headlines: a glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media.

• Tired of these new one-piece sticks that shatter the second you release a one-timer? Fear not because the world's oldest is up for auction! This yellow birch stick from circa 1650 is available via Classic Auctions. Bidding is currently over $3,000. [Classic Auctions]

Probably not a good sign that Nicklas Backstrom is on his way to Dynamo as the NHLPA prepares to submit their counterproposal. [Washington Post]

• The NHLPA is expected to offer their take on the NHL's proposal from Tuesday. Mirtle believes escrow will be the biggest factor in the players not accepting the offer. [Globe and Mail]

• Chris Stevenson on why the players need to negotiate instead of countering with their own proposal yet again: "The league got criticized for putting its offer out there in the public domain, but at least the NHL has crafted something the players and others can tear down. And didn't NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr once say he'd like to see negotiations televised?" [QMI via Ottawa Sun]

• Elliotte Friedman agrees: "No one's saying the players have to take the league's proposal as is. But, it is in their own best interests to sit at the table and make a serious effort at seeing where the next week or two will take them. This must be business, not personal." [CBC]

• Goal No. 1 for the Dallas Stars once the CBA gets resolved: sign Jamie Benn. [Heika]

• Things got pretty wild in the crowd at a Cape Breton high school game: "She pulled down her pants in front of the crowd and everyone. So I guess she got kicked out or something, I'm not sure." [CTV]

Don Cherry: "The lockout is just a sad thing." Like Charlie Brown or something. [Montreal Gazette]

• Reebok will have some competition for NHL jersey rights in 2016 as Bauer has stated they're prepared to get involved in the negotiations. [The Star]

• The draft pick the Washington Capitals received for Scott Stevens from the St. Louis Blues is still paying off for them. [Japers' Rink]

• Real nice story on junior hockey player Adam Restoule who's battled back from a serious kidney ailment. [Buzzing the Net]

• Kevin Bieksa's charity game last night raised $200,000 for Canuck Place, the Canucks Autism Network, and the Canucks Family Education Centre. Singer Michael Buble "wimped" out, but matched the $100,000 the game raised through ticket sales. [Pass It To Bulis]

• Speaking of charity, next Friday, members of the 2010 Stanley Cup winning Chicago Blackhawks will reunite for a game to help benefit Ronald McDonald House. [ESPN Chicago]

• While the lockout sorts itself out, Barry Trotz and David Poile of the Nashville Predators are keeping their normal schedules, except for one major thing. [Tennessean]

• Just how did Gary Bettman get so good at the lockout negotiating business? [Slew Footers]

• Peyton Manning isn't just a quarterback in Denver, he's also an 8th grade bantam hockey player. [Denver Post]

• It's Week 1 of news from a world where the NHL is actually playing. [Sports Pickle]

• Finally, here's the hit Tommy Wingels, now playing for KooKoo in Finland, laid out that earned him a 3-game suspension (per Matias Strozyk):

Tags: , , , , , NHLPA, Nicklas Backstrom, stick,
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Fan-made NHL ad campaign will give you the warm hockey fuzzies again

18 Oct

Alex is "a Chicago Blackhawks fan with a fetish for the Florida Panthers," which we believe is actually on Dale Tallon's business cards.

She's also a talented graphic designer, who created a "Because It's Hockey" campaign that played off the NHL's "Because It's The Cup" advertising blitz.

Check out the full set here, and cleanse thyself of lockout malaise. If only the NHL was subversive enough to run a Pavel Datsyuk print ad that featured the Dallas Stars' Mooterus jerseys…

And, while you're at it, the Pucks and Pixels apparel shop, which is pretty awesome.

s/t reader Caroline Yin.

Tags: blitz, business cards, chicago blackhawks, Dale Tallon, , malaise, , , pavel datsyuk, , talented graphic designer, thyself
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Depressing proposal reactions; Subban’s video resume; Michael Buble with the Sedins (Puck Headlines)

17 Oct

• An unemployed P.K. Subban puts together a video resume. He's good with computers.

• Bob McKenzie, downer: The NHL's proposal wasn't met with much enthusiasm from the players. [TSN]

• Brooks Orpik, downer: "There's a lot of little details. It doesn't look all that great to me. That second bullet point — HRR is the same as last year, but it's still subject to interpretation. So 50 percent of what? The other big thing is the [huge] contracts that were given out, especially that mad rush right before Sept. 15, they really had no intention of really paying all that money out. We heard yesterday that they were going to honor all the contracts, but when you look at it and read it, in one sentence, separated by a comma, the league is going go pay all current contracts that were deferred. It's just coming from future players' share. It's not coming from the league. It's players paying players." [Post Gazette]

• James Mirtle, downer: The NHL's proposal won't be accepted by the players because of stupid escrow. [The Globe & Mail]

• Hal Gill, downer: is dubious of the NHL's proposal as it appears online: "I just saw the whole proposal online. It looks kind of dummied down. I don't know if you read the old CBA, but you read through it and there's a lot in it and there's a lot of fine print. That was what the big concern is — going through it and looking at the finer points. You can say 50-50 in hockey-related revenue, but HRR is a big topic, and I know they've been discussing that a lot. The finer points of that are more what I think they're concerned about  with what they're looking into now." [Tennesseean]

• Elliotte Friedman, mild upper: with the NHL's offer yesterday, we've entered the Zone of Possible Agreement. It's like the Twilight Zone, but without a gremlin on the plane. [CBC]

• Among the men outed for being clients of the Zumba prostitution ring: a high school hockey coach. High school hockey coaches need love, y'all. [NECN]

• Bain Capital tried to buy the league in 2005. What would that have been like? [Deadspin]

• The roster for Kevin Bieksa's charity squad, Bieksa's Buddies, includes Michael Buble playing with the Sedins, the guy that played John Carter on Manny Malhotra's wing, and Dan Hamhuis on a defensive pairing with Jason Priestley. [PITB]

• Now is a good time to get to know the Asia Ice Hockey League, which sounds just fantastic: "There's drama: Will the hapless China Dragon, out of Shanghai, a team so bad it can't even afford a plural S on its name, ever win a game? (Think of the Dragon this way: they're sort of the Asian answer to the Toronto Maple Leaf.) In fairness, I think they won a game back in 2009. Plus, unlike most professional sports leagues, the AIHL is always changing the schedule, so just figuring out when the next game is can be thrilling!" [Rabble]

• Looking back at the 1974-75 Washington Capitals, when men wore the hair on their head and their face with way more panache. [Japers Rink]

• Dobber audits a guy's fantasy team and comes to the expert conclusion that he should get rid of Joe Corvo. [Dobber Hockey]

• "A Bracebridge hockey historian is scouring the community for anyone who may have the official paperwork behind a goaltender's remarkable two-goal game." If he can find it, the goalie will earn a place in the Hockey Hall of Fame, so someone help this guy out. [Cottage Country]

• Suitable alternatives to Gary Bettman, including Ryan Gosling and a sack of flour. [02L Sports]

• The KHL's website features kittens and yields untold joy. [Backhand Shelf]

• And finally, in case it wasn't clear that the Dallas Stars ice girls have only a tangential relation to hockey, they're just as effective during the lockout. They recently went to the lake.

Tags: downer, finer, , , HRR, Ice, Michael Buble, , proposal, Sedins, video resume
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