9/16/12 Day 1 of NHL Lockout – Hat Trick Bettman!

And so, it is done!   We have a lockout and Bettman has his first hat trick, Congrats Gary!  

Since we’re now Nashville Preds Season Ticket Holders and our packages have been paid for and hotels secured, I chose this article to share:   

By George Walker IV, The (Nashville) Tennessean  

The NHL made the first formal acknowledgement of the owners’ lockout of players at 9 a.m. Sunday when it issued a message to fans confirming its primary objective was changing how revenues will be split with players.

The NHL made its appeal directly to fans on its website on Sunday morning.

The statement, issued on NHL.com, does not mention the word “lockout.”

“Thanks to the conditions fostered by seven seasons under the previous CBA, competitive balance has created arguably the most meaningful regular season in pro sports; a different team has won the Stanley Cup every year; fans and sponsors have agreed the game is at its best, and the League has generated remarkable growth and momentum,” the statement read. “While our last CBA negotiation resulted in a seismic change in the League’s economic system, and produced corresponding on-ice benefits, our current negotiation is focused on a fairer and more sustainable division of revenues with the Players — as well as other necessary adjustments consistent with the objectives of the economic system we developed jointly with the NHL Players’ Association seven years ago. Those adjustments are attainable through sensible, focused negotiation — not through rhetoric.”

The two sides haven’t met since Wednesday, but the statement said the league is ready to negotiate “around the clock.” The NHLPA said Saturday that its negotiators wanted to meet that day and the league turned them down.

“This is a time of year for all attention to be focused on the ice, not a meeting room,” the NHL statement read. “The League, the Clubs and the Players all have a stake in resolving our bargaining issues appropriately and getting the puck dropped as soon as possible. We owe it to each other, to the game and, most of all, to the fans.”

Although there are many issues, the major economic disagreement is about the NHL’s desire to have a revenue split of 50-50 between owners and players. When the last agreement expired, players were receiving 57%. In the owners’ last proposal, they offered a six-year deal that would give players 49% at the start of the deal and 47% at the end of the deal.

The lockout doesn’t have any immediate impact on NHL veterans, other than the fact that teams can’t have any contact with them. Training camps weren’t scheduled to open until next weekend.

The Chicago Blackhawks announced the postponement of its annual training camp, which had been scheduled for Saturday.

The first cancellations will be preseason games, and that could come during this week.

NHL players receive 14 paychecks during the season, and they won’t lose their first one until mid-October.

“I have to say that on average, the players are pretty good savers and will not feel a big financial strain,” said NHL player agent Steve Bartlett. ” For the first time, the escrow may work in the players’ favor as the timing of the payment will act as lockout pay.”

The league takes money from players’ paychecks during the season in case the players’ share of revenue exceeded their overall take. Regardless of whether there was a lockout, players were scheduled to receive their escrow returns in October, and the estimate is that it will be 8% of their salary.

“I think the hardest part is not playing, regardless of the money,” said Bartlett, who represents Ryan Callahan, Erik Cole, and Steve Sullivan, among others. “These guys have been training hard as always and like race horses, they are ready for the gate to drop. That is why many will look for alternative places to play.”

Some European players could sign quickly to play in their home countries, but the expectation is that the vast majority of NHLers will see what happens over the next few weeks before deciding whether to seek employment elsewhere. The Detroit Free Press reported that Pavel Datsyuk stayed in Russia and sign with his old team, AK Bars Kazan

“Obviously, the older players have been through this,” Bartlett said. “The younger ones will get guidance from the vets.”

The beneficiary of the lockout will be the American Hockey League because NHL teams have assigned most of their younger stars to their minor-league affiliate where they can play and not lose their development.

The list of stars who will start the season in the AHL includes Jeff Skinner (Carolina), Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton), and Adam Henrique (New Jersey). Those four players combined for 88 goals last season. Washington goalie Braden Holtby, Phoenix defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic, and Philadelphia forwards Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn also were assigned.

In the two days leading up to the launching of the lockout, NHL teams committed more than $200 million to sign players under the old CBA terms. Players were motivated to sign because of the uncertainty over what the new CBA might bring. However, teams didn’t insist on discounts for the 11th hour signings, and players appeared to get normal market value.

“The recent rash of signings is a great case of ‘actions speak louder than words,'” Bartlett said. “It boggles my mind that they can be preaching the need to reduce players contracts and then they rush to sign players under a system they say doesn’t work It is like someone knowing that an item is going on sale on Monday and rushing out to buy it on Sunday.”

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