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Yearly Archives: 2012

Pain threshold: can the NHL do what others couldn’t?

The NHL wants to void player contracts if the NHLPA succeeds in any action to disclaim interest or decertify?  No kidding.  Isn’t that what the NHL has been trying to do all along?  Maybe not void those contracts, but certainly they have tried to cut out the bits they don’t like.  The NHL is also claiming that any attempt to disband the NHLPA would be a sham because the players are completely unified behind their union and its leader.  This despite earlier accusations that said leader has misled and grievously abused those players.  Whatever.

This cannot simply be about a few contracts that NHL owners regret signing.  It simply can’t be about 2 years difference in desired CBA length.  It can’t be about how to divide up the pie, between players, teams and other teams.  If that’s what it were about, both negotiating committees need to be confined to padded rooms.  I may loathe Gary Bettman’s public manner but I don’t believe he is an imbecile.  The capacity of Donald Fehr’s brain has never been in question.  So what are these guys really fighting about?  Like a married couple screaming about which tv show to watch, the real problem cannot be defined using the words they let us hear.  It smacks of a really big blow-up that will leave scorch marks well beyond the borders of pro hockey. (more…)

Broad strokes: Sharks overseas

(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner, November 29, 2012)

Over the past few days, I discovered an impatience I haven’t felt for a while, the “hold on, no games today?  Or tomorrow?  Or… I’m supposed to wait how long for a game?” feeling.  It was irritating, but not bad.  It reminded me of a normal hockey season.  It feels like being all adapted to the new hockey universe.

This impatience drove me to start hunting for European and KHL games online.  This is not only difficult because feeds tend to move around, but also because an audio feed will not do. I don’t speak most of the languages these games are broadcast in.   I did manage to dig up a Dinamo Minsk game going on yesterday morning.  A video feed was not available to me (which only took me about an hour to figure out) but following the scoreboard was better than nothing. So that was fun, except that Minsk blew a lead and fell 6-3.  At least Pavelski got a goal. (more…)

Very tough bargaining

The NHL CBA hubbub in New York got my attention this week.  They had pizza and a Tweeting podium and milkshakes… but I don’t get how anyone in the media can side with the owners.  The players gave them pizza, the NHL paraded milkshakes by and gave them none.  So the show had plot holes, but it was a very convincing performance from the whole cast, very suspenseful.  I almost believed that a 2013 NHL season would happen before October.  Watch it come undone here.

My own parallel negotiations are not going well.  There was a great deal of optimism that almost inexplicably disappeared a few days ago.  I wonder if I didn’t promise too much, saying I would take care of these young cats.  They are not cute little round kittens anymore, and they still won’t let me pick them up.  I am disappointed beyond belief.  I’m going to have to take a deep breath and try to regroup.

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What a lovely ballet: a little rant to pass the time

(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner, November 25, 2012)

Stop patronizing me, NHL et al.  I’m not patronizing you, but then you don’t have anything to sell.  Your shop doors are locked.

So just don’t. NHL, don’t pretend you’re trying to avoid going broke.  I know you’re just trying to get more on top of the very much you already get from the sport. NHLPA, don’t tell me I’d do the same thing in your position, I can’t even imagine being in your position.  Media, stop telling me this lockout is such a bleeding catastrophe because it leaves me without hockey to watch.  If you don’t know there’s plenty of hockey for me to follow, you haven’t done your homework.  If someone is telling you you’re not allowed to cover anything but major league sports, I’m sorry.  I can’t help you. (more…)

Lead or follow: there’s no getting out of the way for NHL owners

It was 1979.  I was in a diner with my parents.  The paper place mat in front of me had “1979” in one corner, “1980” in another.  Staring at that, I realized it would soon be 1980, it would never be 1979 again.  It gave me a chill, realizing how time is a one-way street, inexorable.

I wish I could put that place mat or one like it in front of the CBA negotiators.  Retirements, injuries, even deaths do not wait, will not be held in suspended animation for the owners to get their butts off the stage, out of the fast-dimming limelight, and let the real stars take their places.  The NHL spokespeople, flanked by the owners, a gagged chorus of mimes, this is a poor substitute for the NHL spectacle.  While they bicker and pout, the real players are performing elsewhere, or just not.

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How to listen to a hockey game

This isn’t some snarky fan behavior piece.  It is not beautiful, it is not comprehensive, but it should be enough to get someone started who hasn’t had any luck before.

Not all teams broadcast all games.  Some college teams broadcast them, and you can usually find information about that on their team website.  But most of the time one team or the other will broadcast a play by play.  I haven’t recently gone to find a game I wanted to hear and failed, except for this season’s AHL Phantoms.  For no reason I can identify, they don’t have their audio feed linked to the AHL schedule page.  That said, when I first started following development leagues, I didn’t think it was so easy.  Some links are less obvious than others.

Anyway, here you go: (more…)

Dumping Mr. Big, wildcat negotiations continue

(Originally published at Kukla’s Korner, October 31, 2012)

Despite lack of evident progress in major league negotiations, hockey goes on.  Sure, we can expect the Winter Classic to be cancelled tomorrow, but that hardly qualifies as progress.  It represents a big loss for the sport and the league, but I don’t know who believed the NHL was going to get out of this lockout without taking heavy losses.  Well, there was that one guy… Anyway, tough deal for Detroit and those Canadians who were looking forward to having a Canadian team in that game.  The catch to those losses is that however much money some teams lost under the old CBA, they can apparently afford to lose more.

@PollakOnSharks: “So, @RattoCSN, if it isn’t about the product (and not arguing), this more about egos or some sort of collective economic suicide mission?”

May they lose to their heart’s content– not my problem. (more…)