Donald Fehr and Gary Bettman will not be directly involved in today’s meeting between six NHL owners and a select group of NHL players, but don’t jump to a conclusion assuming that both sides will suddenly find some common ground with their leaders out of the room.

Bettman has long been the player’s whipping boy. They actually believe that he wants to ruin the game and that he’s the ultimate puppet master pulling the owner’s strings. Meanwhile the NHL is certain that Fehr is not telling the players the truth, even though many of them have been present during most of the negotiations.

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The lockout was asinine to begin with, but it’s becoming more laughable by the day. It would be great if today’s meeting will start an avalanche of positive negotiations, or as Steve Burton reported continue on the "significant progress" they allegedly made yesterday.

We’ll see.

Many have asked if Burton is legit or not, and I’ve only ever spoke to him once in my life so I can’t say. Others have said he has a good track record, so you never know. It wouldn’t surprise me if Jeremy Jacobs leaked it to him, since Jacobs has been getting ripped by some other Boston media lately.

I noticed many dismissed Burton’s report as Eklund-like, which is a real slap in the face, but I think many are so jaded by this debacle of a lockout that no one wants to believe they’d be smart enough to actually make some progress.

I did make some phone calls tonight, and I sensed that all the players want is to see the owners bend a bit on some of their demands, and if that happens then hockey will return.

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  • The owners won’t budge off of their HRR split of 50/50, but they don’t be surprised to see them bend on some of their contractual demands.
  • The players are adamant they don’t want a cap on contract length. Even though only 23 players have contracts longer than seven years, they are against a max salary. I’m hearing the owners would bend on that as long as they had their HRR in place. Do they really need to protect the owners who are dumb enough to hand out contracts longer than that?
  • The players want the entry level contracts to remain at three years. The owners are looking at two, because often they sign guys who have no chance of making their team. I’d suggest they keep entry level deals for 1st-3rd rounders at 3 years, but allow 4th-7th rounders, and free agents ELC to only be 2 years.
  • Here is a quick look at how many players who were drafted between 1998-2007 and played at least 200 games. It is too early to accurately calculate 2008-2012. 
Draft year First three rounds 4th to 9th rounds
1998 39 21
1999 26 14
2000 31 13
2001 33 25
2002 35 11
2003 45 20
2004 32 20
  First three rounds 4th to 7th rounds
2005 28 13
2006 33 5
2007 19 4
  •  In 2007 I had to project a few players to get them to the 200 game mark. Guys like P.K Subban who has only played 160 games, but I think it is safe to assume he’ll make it to 200.
  • In the above 10-year span, 321 players from the first 3 rounds played at least 200 games, while 146 between rounds 4 to 9 made it. Would it be that outrageous of an offer to suggest that players drafted in rounds 4 thru 7 only get two-year entry level contracts?
  • I’m hearing more and more that the players just want to see the owners concede a few of their demands. If that happens we could see a deal transpire before this entire year gets wiped out. Dare to dream fans, dare to dream.


Yesterday we raised $2,000 for the Christmas Bureau. A huge thank you to Bruce for his generous bid on the Oil Kings package.

Today’s package includes golf and wine:

Our friends at E&J Gallo Winery Canada stepped up and donated three cases of wine.

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2 cases (24 bottles) of Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa /Sonoma)
1 case (12 bottles) of Ghost Pines Chardonnay (Napa/Sonoma/Monterey)

Both of these wines come from a blend of premium grapes from Napa Valley and Sonoma County in California; the two best grape growing regions in California. Incredibly tasty.


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10 rounds of golf at the Ranch Golf and Country Club (hole 14 below) and it includes:

Power cart with each round, and use of driving range before your round.
$5 food voucher for each player on day of round.


A Big thank you E&J Gallo and The Ranch for donating to the cause. Once again all the proceeds from today will go towards Santas Anonymous.

Bidding goes from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. You can call 1.800.243.1945 or 780.426.8326 to bid.



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  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Do they really need to protect the owners who are dumb enough to hand out contracts longer than that?

    Yes, yes we do. That’s the #1 issue when it comes to why the league has issues. Owners being stupid.

    As a side note, whoever decided to play music before each segment on 1260 deserves a raise.

    • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

      Couldn’t agree more. HRR is not the sticking point. Owners want to lock down the contracts so the players have no leverage whatsoever until they have essentially played out the best years of their careers. And if you think owners aren’t dumb and greedy, take a look at a hockey league that, rather than grow organically in markets that love and support the sport, sell franchises in places that have never seen snow, to guys with more money than brains, who then wonder why sports dollars in their cities are going to NASCAR and WNBA, and then want the players to pay for their stupidity.

      • Reg Dunlop

        Just to play Devil’s advocate, Bettman’s ill-advised expansion into sketchy markets has provided about 150 players with million-plus income each year instead of 25 bucks an hour at the Chrysler plant. Growing the game organically is a great and noble thought but I don’t see 6 realistic new markets in Canada. Southern Ontario is controlled by Maple Leaf Sports, Montreal by Molsons, BC lower mainland by weed, Saskatchewan is too rural… I fully understand players dislike of Gary but they should credit their lifestyle at least partly to him.

        • B S

          I really don’t get these ad hominem attacks on the players, insisting that they would all “be working at the Chrysler plant” if they were’t playing hockey, as if that somehow invalidates their bargaining position. I have made the aquaintance of three NHL players post hockey – one is an executive in a multi national company, pulling down 6 figures, one is a successful real estate agent in town, and one is a medical doctor. I also have a friend whose MBA/corporate lawyer son is in a halfway house after 2 months in rehab for cocaine addiction. What does that prove? Absolutely nothing, except I don’t think NHL players are all knuckle dragging mouth breathers, nor do I think all corporate owner types are Ayn Randian supermen. I do think using a lockout to squeeze players for concessions is a cheap and ill-conceived bargaining ploy, because it alienates the very people that actually pay the salaries on the 50- 200$ installment plan – us guys, the fans – who write on these sites and take this stuff seriously, whether we should or not.

          • B S

            The three hockey players you mention I think is an awesome account of people of full value of making what they have. The Realtor & Bus Exec are entreprenuers & must work hard & risk lots to get what they have. They are full value of what they have. The Doctor in my opinion should be paid Ovechkin & Crosby money because they are the real true superstars in the real world. Pro athletes, I’m sorry, how much more do they need? How much is enough money? How much more of 50% of 3.3 billion dollars split between 700 of them with guaranteed contracts assuring them of that slice of the $$$ pie is enough? No risk, score 30-40 goals & then the next year score 10 but guaranteed that big slice of the pie because of that covetted guaranteed contract. I dont like the leagues lockout style & I dont like the players entitlement to endless riches because they play a game. Sorry, there is no defending anyone in this and its amazing of where to begin to fathom this chronic case of mass stupidity meeting in that boardroom of New York today.

      • T&A4Flames

        I don’t think it’s stupid to hand out long term contracts. It just creates an environment where everybody feels like they have to start doing it. Of course DiPietro was not a smart contract, but many of the the front-loaded ones were probably smart signings for that team. Not for the league. They become the norm very quickly, as you have to be able to match what team X gave. They are risky, but you have to take risks to win. So if everyone wants to try to win, everybody has to take big risks – but only one can win each year. So I just think it creates a bad environment. I’m so sick of the ‘save the owners from themselves’ shtick. It’s what any one of the players would do if he was an owner, just like he does as a player – anything to win.

  • Reg Dunlop

    There was a time when oil fans debated when, if and who the oilers would contribute talent to Canada’s olympic hockey effort. Ahh, those were the days. But we must look to the future lest we be buried in the past. A future that just might include the young guns playing a feature role in the next lock-out. Just imagine, instead of Sid we could have RNH standing shoulder to shoulder with Hallsey behind Fehr. As soon as Nuge gets that old glenoid labrum tightened up…

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    “Do they really need to protect the owners who are dumb enough to hand out contracts longer than that?”

    What’s really interesting about this is that it’s the owners who are protecting themselves… from themselves.

    The world in which that is both possible and necessary certainly seems counterintuitive from a “rational actor” standpoint (why would you need to create an external impediment to protect your own interest, wouldn’t you do this already?) and yet it seems fairly common that regulative, normative and customary impediments on one’s own actions can and do often serve one’s own interests.

    “I’d suggest they keep entry level deals for 1st-3rd rounders at 3 years, but allow 4th-7th rounders, and free agents ELC to only be 2 years. ”

    This seems like a no-brainer now that I’ve heard it… has it been floated by anyone involved in a CBA ever? I wonder what the counter-arguments would be.

    Hope something gets resolved…

    thanks for the charity work!

  • Romulus' Apotheosis

    “I fully understand players dislike of Gary but they should credit their lifestyle at least partly to him.”

    Shane Doan should be sending Bettman (and those 4 councillors in Glendale) thank you cards at every opportunity.

  • T&A4Flames

    I’ve said it plenty of times and I’ll say it again, the NHL is a competitive business who’s business is to be competitive. As long as there are the have’s and the have not’s, the have’s will spend all they can in order to bring a championship to their city and their fans. In the long run certain contracts will hurt the franchises that sign them but in the meantime, if a team has the capabilities to attract a player, they are doing a diservice to their fans if they don’t do all they can to bring in a winner.

    So, yes, the owners need to be protected from themselves, utter stupidity or not. JMO

  • I am now incapable of being optimistic about it.

    I imagine the meeting will end and Crosby will say some stock bullsh*t about hoping progress gets made. Daly will speak for the Owners and say he hopes this generates traction, and then after Christmas they cancel the season.

    That’s how I see it all playing out in the best case scenario.

    Worst case scenario: This meeting lasts 2 hours and Sidney Crosby comes out demanding a trade, the Union galvanizes and becomes even less reasonable, we lose this season and part of next.

      • B S

        How about Kevin Lowe + Eager + Potter? (it is a fantasy trade after all). Sid the Kid is a fantastic hockey player, but he’s turned into an entitled little pr!ck over the years. Combine that with his injury history, and the luck of the Oilers and I honestly can’t say I’d want him in place of any of our young players (multiples of whom would actually be required for a trade). I also don’t think he has the attitude to lead a team through the playoffs.

  • SmellOfVictory

    I’m kind of surprised that players want longer ELCs. I realize it adds a small safety net to the dudes who are slower to develop or just kind of borderline players, but it decreases the opportunity for more money at a younger age as well. And just because you’re off an NHL ELC doesn’t mean you can’t still have an AHL contract if you’re struggling a little.

    • vetinari

      Yeah, that ELC reduction seems to me a very good thing for both sides. But since it came from the owners, the players automatically assume it is bad.

      The 5 year contract length limit is a very good thing for the players. The owners have to shell out real bucks (not “salary cap” bucks) to players over the lifetime of a contract.

      • SmellOfVictory

        Well, it’s good for the average player because they don’t get screwed on HRR thanks to those front-loaded contracts. It’s less good for the superstars who receive those massive front-loaded contracts because they don’t get huge paydays right off the bat (comparatively to what they can receive with super long contracts).

  • Ogden Brother Jr. - Team Strudwick for coach

    Here’s the other thing of the 16 deals that are 10+ years, 10 different owners are responsible for those deals.

    The next 6 deals which includes the 8 and 9 year deals adds another 3 owners to the mix.

    That’s almost half the owners throwing big long-term deals out there. Not to mention the other owners that have swung and missed.

  • vetinari

    On the issue of long term contracts– why not simply make it that any NTC/NMC in a player’s contract ends when that player hits his 32nd birthday, but all cap hits remain with a team (and the team has to still pay the player) for any contract that carries the player past his 40th birthday whether he plays the season or not? GMs can then still hand out moronic 15 year contracts but they can at least trade or demote the players if they need to… and the players get paid

    • vetinari

      How about this idea,

      In a trade, the teams that gave the long term contract keep the difference of the total cap hit of the contract, the receiving team gets
      the newly calculated cap hit based on term and contract remaining.

      player X gets a 10 year 93mil from team A(15,14,13,12,11,10,9,5,3,1)
      = 9.3mil cap hit

      player X gets traded after 6 years to team B
      has 14mil left on contract (9,5,3,1)
      = 4.5mil cap hit

      Team A still has to add 4.8mil to their cap for the remainder of the original contract.

      this idea accomplishes two things,
      it makes it easier to trade these dumb LTC,
      and it punishes teams for handing them out.

  • vetinari

    Unless the NHL is prepared to cancel the entire season with a clear drop dead date……..the NHLPA will hold out for a better offer.

    Time to draw the line in the sand for these spoiled brats!

  • B S

    hows about the owners of the opposing teams throw equal amounts of dough in a hat. both clubs play and winner takes all. the players split the cash amongst themselves. loser goes home broke.