So as we sit here at the edge of CBA Armageddon, there's a lot of finger pointing and blame-game name calling by both the NHL and NHLPA, with Gary Bettman saying the players don't understand the economic realities of today's sports owners and Donald Fehr saying the owners are trying to create solutions to problems that don't exist.
The problem with listening to what the sides are saying publicly is that it's essentially smoke and mirrors. Neither side wants to reveal what it's really after at this point, fearing it would put them in a weaker bargaining position.
That's why I find it much more illuminating to break down the proposals and try to tease out their goals. Our friends over at Pension Plan Puppets did this Thursday for the NHL's initial proposal. This is what I found most intriguing about the breakdown, bolding mine.
While the new rules proposed by the NHL may provide some modicum of increased competitive balance for the small market teams, they're primarily intended to eliminate the union's power and put the players at the mercy of the club which drafts them. These proposals don't fix the underlying economic issues of the small markets in any way, but they do give team management as a whole an increased toolkit to control players' careers.
Yeah, that's sort of what I'm taking out of it as well. The question is how committed are they to getting such a thing. If the real priority is to solve the economic issues, I think the two sides can find common ground in a reasonable period of time. But if the owners are fixated on greater control over players throughout their careers? That might turn into a nuclear winter.
After the jump, why the CBA negotiations are just like the Jamie Benn contract situation, Windsor Spitfires conspiracy theories and fashionable jeans for hockey players. Am I serious? You'll have to click and see.
- I don't know if this piece by Mike Heika comparing the Jamie Benn contract negotiations to the CBA talks makes me feel better about the CBA or worse about Benn's new deal. Either way, it's certainly thought-provoking. [DallasNews.com]
- Patrik Nemeth drew some comparisons, at least by Stars fans, to Richard Matvichuk during his recent appearance on our Top 20 Countdown. And his straightforward game might prove to be a modern-day version of the Stars former shutdown defenseman as he continues to mature. [DallasStars.com]
- We've already linked the pictures of Jaromir Jagr wearing a Stars jersey, but it made a little bit of a flap in the greater hockey media because, as many of you pointed out, that isn't exactly the Stars current getup. [Puck Daddy]
- If you've been following junior hockey, you'll already know that the Windsor Spitfires got slapped very hard by the CHL for a recruiting violations scandal. A local columnist takes a look at the players who might have been involved in those indiscretions, and a Stars prospect is on the list. [Windsor Star]
- Jumping back to the Jamie Benn contract talks for a minute, there's now another comparable out there now as Wayne Simmonds has signed a six-year extension with the Philadelphia Flyers worth a reported $4 million a year. Wait, aren't the owners proposing a five-year limit on contracts? I am so confused about what they really want. [Philly.com]
- At least one of the teams in ownership limbo looks to be headed in the right directions, as Jeffrey Vanderbeek is apparently close to putting a two-year band-aid on his financially challenged ownership of the New Jersey Devils. [New York Post]
- When the owners released their first CBA proposal, Todd over at Thursday Morning Cupcheck broke down all the hidden clauses. Now he's doing the same to the NHLPA's first proposal. [Thursday Morning Cupcheck]
- Are you a professional, or perhaps former professional, hockey player? Do you have trouble fitting your butt into a nice pair of jeans. Derek Roy understands how you feel, and he's saying good things about a new product, produced by the appropriately named Gongshow Gear. [The Star]
- As a nod to our No. 5 regular-season game, as summarized yesterday by Josh, here's the start of that giant brawl. There are three more parts of this game also available on the official site if you'd like to spend your Friday watching that glorious bloodbath.