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"Ink from the rink"
Langley, BC • Canada • 2013 Years Old • Male
Although things could change, the current state of CBA negotiations is pointing to yet another lockout. If so, this would be a natural hat-trick.

Since the NHL owners slotted hired-gun Gary Bettman as their commish, the mood of player/ownership negotiations has gone from somewhat amicable to downright confrontational and even combative at times.

The financial state of the league can be represented in many ways due to various metrics such as current value and revenue. But looking at the league and its teams as a whole is a bit like looking at the ass as a hole. In each case there is more to it than meets the eye, and as individual entities, some look better than others. ;-)

Some facts are not in dispute. Teams have risen in value since the last CBA on an average of 47% as of 2011, but because of increases in player salaries, operating income has dipped starkly with a year-over-year regression of 21% as of last year, most negatively affecting small market American teams.

Although it is the owner’s fault in large part, these numbers are not sustainable and there has to be a correction from the 57% of league revenue dedicated to salaries, to something closer to 50%. And even though the players are innocent victims, this has to happen for the league to be viable, and unless the players agree there will be a lockout.

Contraction has been suggested by some fans and would help to some degree, but neither the league nor the PA have an appetite for that.

If we have learned anything at all, it is that the players can never win a war of attrition against the NHL owners. So they might as well capitulate now. But I doubt they will and the losers will ultimately be the players who lose a year of their contract and career and most importantly from my perspective the fans, who neither side cares about when it comes to money.

The owners are a bunch of greedy sociopaths and the players are a bunch of spoiled brats. Yet hockey-crazed Canadian fans are more forgiving than Hillary Clinton when it comes to the game they love and will most assuredly return to the game as soon as the puck drops. Both sides know this.

The irony of it all is that the fans who will be hurt the most(generally speaking) are these same Canadian fans who support their squads through thick and thin and also have the most responsible owners. It is no coincidence that two of the three most successful franchises are Canadian (Montreal and Toronto), and that no Canadian team had a negative operating income based on last year’s numbers. We Canadians loves us some hockey.

There is yet more irony, to-wit: the Canadian teams will arguably be hurt more than their American counterparts as well.

The Vancouver Canucks who have been atop regular season standings for the last two seasons and made it within a win of taking it all, are facing a closing window with aging key players facing the downside of their careers.

The Edmonton Oilers need to develop their young guns in an NHL environment not the minors.

The Ottawa Senators are on the rise after a microsecond- rebuild looking to improve on last year’s resurgence.

The Winnipeg Jets just got their team back and are facing another year without NHL hockey after an already prolonged drought. Ugh!

Calgary is hopeful that a complete overhaul of the coaching staff and signing of key free agents will get them the handful of additional wins they would need to get back into the playoffs. They are also eagerly awaiting a full season from their top prospect Sven Baertschi who scored three goals in 5 games with the big club last year and extirpated the WHL at a 2 PPG clip.

Montreal are looking to improve on last year’s sub par performance and have taken steps to ensure future success by replacing their GM and have a buzz-worthy prospect in Alex Galchenyuk who has Habs fans salivating in anticipation.

And lastly Toronto fans (god luv 'em) are eternal optimists who feel they are going to win the Stanley Cup every year. Just kidding…kind of.

So is there anything Flames’ fans can cling to as a positive if the league shutters play for the entire season? Perhaps.

If the league takes the same approach to determining draft order as they did after the last lockout, teams who have the fewest playoff games over the last three years combined with the fewest #1 overall draft picks over the previous four years, will be weighted as favourites. The Flames would have as good a chance as any other team in the league to select Nathan MacKinnon or even Sam Reinhart as a consolation prize.

Factoid: The NHL is the only major sports league in North America to have lost an entire season to a labour dispute.

Next time up, I will look at the possibility of the Flames returning to the post season…if there is one.
Filed Under:   Flames   Lockout  
August 22, 2012 11:33 AM ET | Delete
"The owners are a bunch of greedy sociopaths" I'm don't really agree with this statement. It seems that many of the team owners now owe a lot of money to "investors" so they need more income to pay these guys off. Perhaps the real problem is that many of the NHL franchises are overvalued, thus making owners (mostly small market) go out and find people to loan them money on a losing investment.
August 22, 2012 2:11 PM ET | Delete
Perhaps I should have said the big market owners are a bunch of greedy sociopaths. Their actions, like Philadelphia trying to make Weber unaffordable for Nashville is a prime example.
August 22, 2012 4:42 PM ET | Delete
Agreed, which puts them in a tougher position, as many of these teams have to put up huge dollars to get players, thus put themselves further in the hole, i.e. Devils. I like how the NHLPA wants to give more to these struggling teams.
August 22, 2012 6:00 PM ET | Delete
Trying to reply but this won't let me lol
August 22, 2012 6:01 PM ET | Delete
The Devils are the Coyotes in waiting. I am jaded big-time on behalf of the fans Owners have no idea of how lucky they are we will came back like lemmings.
August 22, 2012 6:36 PM ET | Delete
I'm a lemming . . . If there is a lockout, I'm looking forward to Calgary Hitmen games (and cheaper) until they are back.
August 22, 2012 7:43 PM ET | Delete
"The Edmonton Oilers need to develop their young guns in an NHL environment not the minors."No... The Edmonton Oilers need to develop their prospects in the Minors, not the NHL.
August 22, 2012 8:48 PM ET | Delete
@Efs5030 I am not talking about their prospects I am talking about their young guns like Eberle, Hall and RNH. @FL4MES. I am a lemming as well, but I also live fairly close to Abbotsford, so I can see myself attending a few more Heat games this year. However I will be spending a lot more time playing hockey as well. Playing is a hell of a lot more fun than watching anyway.
August 23, 2012 7:15 PM ET | Delete
Your logic for why Canadian teams will suffer more doesn't make sense to me. Every team could have a reason for wanting to avoid a lockout. Had you said Canadian fans will be hit harder, I would have agreed. In general (complete generalization about huge countries) Hockey is more ingrained in Canadian culture and identity. Canadian teams are a bit of a stretch IMHO.
August 23, 2012 7:40 PM ET | Delete
Ok I don't disagree there, but I think Nugent Hopkins at least could go to the AHL. I believe he is still on his entry level deal so he'd be ok to be brought down. The other 2 I doubt they could do much. Though next year is the final year of Hall's entry level deal too. Unless the extension wipes out the 2-way part of the contract.
August 23, 2012 8:20 PM ET | Delete
@coffeejunkie(I sympathize with your addiction lol). Bear in mind I said generally. In general terms some American teams would benefit like Nashville with one year of Weber's front-loaded contract coming off the books, or Pheonix not bleeding anotther @25 mi in losses. Since all Canadian teams have positive operating revenue, in general terms they have more to lose from that perspective alone.@Efs, glad Flames fan and Oiler fan can find common ground.
August 24, 2012 3:42 PM ET | Delete
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