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Gretzy skips first day of Yotes training camp

I don’t care what the circumstances are with the Coyotes bankruptcy, I don’t care how obvious it is that you’re going to be dropped regardless of who gets the team. I don’t care about the fact that the NHL’s bid specifically states they will not honor your contract.

Right now you’re the head coach of the Phoenix Coyotes. This is an NHL franchise. You are being paid over $8.5 Million a year. Get off your butt and show up and do your job.
I respect Gretzky but this is pathetic. How can the head coach of a team not be there when training camp starts?
Unless your dying in a hospital somewhere there are no excuses. None.

Is it embarrassing for him?  Yeah.
But hey, you’re getting 8.5M. That’s well above any other coach in the NHL. And it’s not like there aren’t questions about your ability to do the job. Sure you’re a part of marketing the team and all. So there is a little extra. But however you cut it you’re getting huge money to coach that team.
And regardless of what happens in the future you are the coach.

If I’m a Yotes player I’m asking myself why should I show up and work my butt off if the coach won’t even bother?
Hard to have respect for any coach after that.
Gretzky has been a model citizen for the game. He’s done a ton for it. He’s worked hard, he’s given a lot of time and poured his heart into it. He’s legitimately been a superstar of the ice as well as he was on it.

But this is horrible. If he’s anyone else he should be fired 2 seconds from now. It won’t happen but there is absolutely no justification no matter who you are. There are far better coaches then he that should be dropped in a second if they pulled this.
For hockey, the NHL, Gretzky, and the Coyotes.

Gretzky no-show article


September 13, 2009 Posted by | NHL Business | 2 Comments

Avery, and a comparison between the NHL/NFL

I just love the contrast between the NFL and the NHL at the moment. Everyone’s up in arms about Avery saying ”I’m really happy to be back in Calgary, I love Canada, I just wanted to comment on how it has become like a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my sloppy seconds. I don’t know what that’s about. But, enjoy the game tonight." in reference to Phaneuf dating his ex Cuthbert.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think for a second this is about his comments, their just an excuse to suspend him. The issue is… well, all of a thousand things he’s said and done.

Meanwhile in the NFL Plaxico Burress has been put on the injured list after he accidentally shot himself in the leg with an illegal weapon that he was storing in the waistband of his pants. His teammate allegedly disposed of the weapon in New Jersey, crossing state lines. Nobody really seems concerned by this. Admittedly, the NFL often seems like it pretty much is a league of criminals more or less. So maybe a player shooting himself instead of assaulting someone else is a breath of fresh air.

On a related note, I wonder if the NFL has such a massive disparity between rules for the stars and… lesser players as the NHL does?
I don’t follow it, so I have no idea. It’s a constant aggravation to me that a fringe NHL’er can get suspended a week for something someone like Pronger could do 3-4 times before getting suspended for one game. The keep the stars on the ice at all costs mantra is tiring.
I sincerely wonder sometimes what would happen if Crosby brought a knife onto the ice and stabbed someone, if it were the playoffs would the NHL dare suspend him?  I’m honestly not sure.

December 4, 2008 Posted by | NHL Business | Leave a comment

Lessons in how to improve the game- by the NHL “brain”trust

“The League sat down and brainstormed about what would be the biggest improvement for the game and the uniform was first and foremost.”
Keith Leach, director of NHL Uniforms for Reebok

The league figured the best way to improve the game was with a new jersey? Sad, but probably true.

I’d like to say I’m surprised, but honestly I’m not. This is why hockey has been in perennial decline since the early 90’s.

August 16, 2007 Posted by | Amusement, NHL Business | 1 Comment

Quoteable words, the wonders of salary arbitration

Avery is a reasonably effective player as well as a detriment to the team… Avery is not a mature player. He plays, at times, like an individual rather than a member of a team. This is sometimes referred to as an inability to see the ice, and in Avery’s case this seems to fit with his overall approach to the game.” – The Ranger arbitration brief

“We are pleased to have Sean under contract and are looking forward to him returning with the same passion and enthusiasm he brought to our team last year. He is a terrific competitor, who we expect to play a significant role in a successful season.”– Glen Sather (Rangers GM) after the arbitration ruling

August 1, 2007 Posted by | NHL Business | Leave a comment

Bettman-NHL/Kansas City/Canada

Blogger Tom Benjamin is always controversial, sometimes I garee with him… often I don’t Either way he invariably causes a lot of interesting discussion.

Something he said the other day, bears repeating because it’s probably frighteningly accurate and quite disturbing.


 A post he made Thursday—-

…Canadians, pound for pound, are willing to spend more than Americans on hockey means that there’s no way Gary Bettman or the NHL could actually prefer a team in Kansas City over Hamilton or Mississauga or North York. Money talks! – Ian D.

As strange as it seems, most teams in the NHL do prefer Kansas City. Even better would be if Gary Bettman and local Nashville businessmen manage to prop up the Predators despite the pathetic $46 MM in revenues the team generates. The players are learning that sometimes money doesn’t talk very loudly in the NHL.

Why not? Three facts:

  • The NHL may be the NHLPA’s partner, but the NHL doesn’t generate spit in revenues. About 90% of league income is local.
  • Individual teams are individual businesses pursuing individual objectives. They care far less about league revenues than they care about team revenues, and in that regard, there are huge disparities, team to team.
  • In the Gary Bettman hockey league, player salaries are tied to league revenues. The players get nearly two thirds of the next $400 MM in league revenues.

    Add it up. From the Wharnsby piece:

    It has been suggested that having another high-revenue Canadian team might not be in the league’s best interests since it would push the salary cap higher without putting any money into the pockets of its 24 American-based teams. Those owners are already dealing with a salary cap that is much higher than they anticipated it would be, solely because of the strength of the Canadian dollar.

    Higher league revenues are not in the interest of any (not just American) individual team unless those increases are driven by their own or pooled centralized revenues. (And in the case of pooled revenue, the benefits are reduced because a chunk of those revenues will go to save the rich teams revenue sharing money.) When the Leafs raise ticket prices, salaries go up for everyone. As pay per view expands in Vancouver, player costs are driven up in Washington.

    The owner of the Atlanta Thrashers would be very happy to see Nashville stay put. If Hamilton generated $50 MM more than Nashville, the Thrashers don’t see a penny of that money and player costs across the league go up by about $1 MM a team. Why does Atlanta want Nashville to move? Why would a Toronto? The Leafs might like the idea if it reduced revenue sharing costs but it won’t because those are tied to revenues, too. If Nashville doesn’t get the money, another poor team will get more.

    The stupidity works in expansion thinking, too. If the league can find chumps willing to pony up big bucks for teams in new markets, it’s a double win. First, the teams get expansion fees which don’t have to be shared with players. Second, by adding a couple of low revenue teams they hold down their own salary costs.

    Remember when small market whiners couldn’t stop telling us the league was being ruined by salaries inflated by big market spending? In the Gary Bettman Hockey League, the big market teams don’t even have to spend to drive up salaries. Now salaries can be inflated by big market revenues whether the big boys spend or not. Most teams don’t want to see league revenues grow.

    It’s just another absurd consequence of an absurd system.

  • July 21, 2007 Posted by | NHL Business | 2 Comments

    Gretzky comments on Nashville

    Wayne Gretzky has a few comments on the Nashville-Balsille situation over at the Globe and Mail site. Worth a read on his rather hypocritical (IMHO) take on the situation.

    He essentially said it’s simply business and the team will do better in Canada then it would in Nashville and that’s fine and he supports anything that puts teams in the best markets. That in and of iotself is fine, many people share that opinion including myself to some extent.

    However given his own position in a relatively weak hockey market in the outhern US I’d have thought he’d be much more supportive of Nashville’s current situation. Phoenix’s own presence in the NHL 12-20yrs from now is hardly assured.
    It’s still growing and trying to cultivate a strong NHL fanbase. Not all that dissimilar from what Nashville has attempted to do.

    Phoenix and Nashville are in awfully similar situations with respect to their ability to be a profitable franchise in the NHL with a decent fanbase.

    Somehow I sincerely doubt Gretzky’s comments would be the same if someone asked him if he felt Phoenix should move to Canada.

    June 21, 2007 Posted by | NHL Business | Leave a comment


    Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports on the topic of expansion:


    In the wake of a Stanley Cup playoffs that broke records for irrelevance and low ratings, with empty seats in both new and established markets, coming off the infamous “Preakness Game” that highlighted the worst TV package in sports, the worst commissioner in sports and the lingering hangover from two suicidal lockouts, what does the NHL think is the answer?


    The NHL has forced so many of those fans to voice their anger by staying away, not buying, not watching, not caring. Unfortunately, rather than get this league to change course it’s emboldened them to bleed the sport dry.

    Fans are disillusioned, disappointed and disenfranchised. And what else would they be at this point? The game is great. The league stinks. We want our old NHL back; fewer teams not more, owners that want to win, not bilk taxpayers, real television coverage, not something that’s on before bull riding.


    Funny, how everyone on earth can see this except Bettman and his delusional owners all wrapped up in the mythical belief the NHL is incredibly popular in he Southern US, the TV rights deals are wonderful and better then anything they could ever hope for.

    Yes, let’s add more teams in areas that don’t care about hockey. Meanwhile we should continue to ignore those areas that do.
    The NHL is worse off now then it was when Bettman was first hired, the US cares less about hockey now then ever before. At some point the owners have to realize his tenure has been an unmitigated disaster in every respect.

    Fold a few teams, fire Bettman, and move a few to the Canadian and possibly Northern US cities that actually care about and can support hockey.

    June 8, 2007 Posted by | NHL Business | Leave a comment

    “Thank you fans” – NHL Propaganda

    Toronto Sun's Al Strachan recently reported of several teams that have shown their appreciation to their fans for their support following the lockout:

    – In Ottawa, management booked a children's show that evicted the Senators from the Scotiabank Place last weekend.Senators-haters, who are numerous, laughed at this, suggesting that the team didn't even have enough confidence in its ability to expect to advance to the second round.Of course it did. But Dora the Explorer is a high-revenue production, and kids can hardly be expected to come out on a school day.

    So the Senators were shunted aside. After last Friday's debacle they wanted nothing more than to get back on the ice as soon as possible. But because of Dora, they had to wait until Monday. When they lost again.

    – In Carolina, the Hurricanes have instituted a process that in a less fan-friendly league, might be characterized as gouging. According to the News Observer, fans are infuriated. Seats that cost $85 this round will cost $125 next round and $180 should the team get to the Stanley Cup final. That's a 47% increase in one round and a further 44% in the next.

    The newspaper quotes one season-ticket holder since 1999 as saying, "It's clearly a case of let's grab the money while it's there and next year be damned."

    – According to Sports Business Journal, the Montreal Canadiens are about to close a blockbuster $240 million financing. As part of the deal, Canadiens owner George Gillett will pay himself a $72 million dividend.

    – In San Jose the Sharks started their playoff series after the Colorado Avalanche had already played two games. The arena had booked wrestling and indoor-football events.

    – The Nashville Predators threatened to black out Game 5 of their playoff series against the San Jose Sharks if fans didn't buy more seats. A deadline of two days prior to the game was imposed.

    The backlash was considerable (or as considerable as a hockey backlash could be expected to be in Nashville), and the team relented after fans coughed up for most of the seats, leaving about 1,100 empty.

    – The Minnesota Wild has never had an unsold seat in its existence and consistently has one of the league's lowest payrolls. It has made the playoffs once. Yet the Wild announced that it will be raising prices on every ticket next season.

    – In Florida, where the Panthers didn't make the playoffs, the team had to be a bit more creative. It normally charges $15 for parking ($10 for season-ticket holders). As a result, fans took to parking across the street at a large shopping mall which encouraged the practice, and walking to the games.

    The Panthers announced that they intend to build a fence around their facility so that fans who walk onto the premises can be charged $5 (for starters).

    There are many other examples of the manner in which the NHL is proving that the lockout was "for the fans."

    Forgive me while I feign surprise.
    So much for the NHL being "all for fans", and "reduced ticket prices permanently"…. Bettman and the owners lied.
    Somehow people are acting shocked by this, after the bought into Gary Bettman's claims during the lockout.

    Remember how those owners blamed the players for all their woes? How they insisted it was the players high salaries that were the reason ticket prices kept going up?
    A like of course.
    Ask the fans of the Hurricanes, Predators, Panthers and Wild if they're feeling the love from their team's ownership.

    Do you think those owners who own their arenas (which would be almost all of them) really put their hockey teams ahead of other, potentially more lucrative, revenue generators?
    For that matter, how long do you think those reduced ticket prices many NHL teams introduced for this season will stay that way?
    Oh, but the owners need to recoup those losses from missing the season because of those mean greedy players, right?
    The NHL and the team owners sold the lockout to hockey fans as the only way to save the NHL product. Same with the CBA. Fans were promised a more affordable product because salaries were capped.

    What Strachan noted above is only the beginning, NHL fans. Get used to more gouging when it comes to tickets, concessions, parking or anything else that can be squeezed out of you.
    The NHL had "Thank You, Fans!" painted on the ice surfaces of the arenas, and rightfully so, after all, without the hockey-starved NHL fans turning out in record numbers (especially in Canada), the NHL wouldn't have seen its revenues for this season bounce up to close to $2.1 billion, slightly below pre-lockout levels.

    You should be thanked, NHL fans. You came out to support a product that was taken away from you by greedy men who only care about you when you pass through the turnstiles of their arenas.
    Most of you bought into what the NHL front office and the team owners told you about the lockout being the players fault. You honestly believed the cost of attending an NHL game would be more affordable with a salary cap.
    Your money is what makes the players millionaires and the owners billionaires. You could've told these guys to go pound sand after the lockout, but you didn't, you came back, willingly and excitedly.

    You did that out of blind, passionate love for your favourite professional sport, not out of stupidity.
    But your love is unrequited.
    The owners may be saying, "Thank you, fans", but most of them are really thinking, "Thank you, suckers".

    And for those that bought into the NHL's propaganda about the cap being so friendly to low revenue teams…. guess again.
    The cap is going up, way up, and it will continue to do so. It looks like it'll be roughly 45-48M next season, and I wouldn't bet on it staying at that level for long.
    Some have already begun to complain, only a year after they were saying they "won it for the fans". It is actually worse for them this time as the salary floor is also going to continue to go up as well. And at least under the old CBA they could hold on to their stars until they were 31, now they are going to be gone at 25 with the lowered age for free agency.

    The experts believed the league won the CBA battles in 1995 just like they thought they won them in 2005, but history has shown the players ran right over the owners a decade ago and history will prove the players won this round too.

    In the battle of millionares versus billionares, did anybody really think the fans were truly being considered? The only thing the NHL has done "for the fans" is give them a middle finger, laughing as they do so.

    May 14, 2006 Posted by | NHL Business | Leave a comment