My Two Cents for October 2nd, 2012:
Just Call Us If And When A Deal Is Done- If you are tired of all of the headlines regarding the unfortunate event that is the NHL Lockout, you are not alone. You have the company of millions of hockey fans who by now are looking at the reality that if their even is a season in 2012-13, it will likely be truncated from 82 games down to anywhere from 48 to 60 depending on if and when a CBA can be finalized. My suggestion is the obvious one, please whatever you do don’t hold your breath. Commissioner Gary Bettman, the Owners, and the NHLPA led by Donald Fehr keep telling TSN.ca, the media which covers hockey and anyone who will listen to them that they are looking to resume talks Tuesday, October 2nd. However, they are only going talk about minor issues and mutually opt out of having any serious discussions about the major sticking points now and probably for awhile. If you know the history of these two at the negotiating table, they can’t even agree at where to go for lunch. Commissioner Bettman is completely indifferent to the consequences of shutting down the league once again. On the other side of the bargaining table is the man who costs Major League Baseball it’s 1994 Fall Classic and basically has made it clear that fans by and large do not matter to him to begin with. It’s one thing to have the players interest at heart, however it’s another matter to hold an entire league hostage for what is bordering on two and a half weeks. I say to these two gentlemen that at this point there is absolutely no obvious concern on either side to get anything close to a new CBA done, and maybe just to call us when these two grow up and figure out how to iron this problem out like men.
Just in case you forgot what the issues are and why these two geniuses cannot iron out an agreement, the owners want is a proposal where the players’ share in revenue would be cut from 57 per cent to 46 per cent and would include a change to the way the salary cap is calculated. Instead of being set at $8 million above the midpoint, the upper limit would be reduced to $4 million above resulting in the salary cap dropping to $50.8 million next season, or well below where it is presently set at. Additionally, the league also wants to get rid of salary arbitration and limit contracts to a maximum of five years with the salary being equal throughout the duration of each contact (i.e. the elimination of signing bonuses and ending Ryan Suter and Zach Parise type deals). Also, the league wants players to agree to 10 years of service in the league before they can qualify for free agency. The NHLPA on the other hand really wants nothing to do with this proposal. NHLPA leader Donald Fehr wants instead a revenue sharing plan that would allow for struggling franchises to get some financial relief while allowing current players to not give up much of what they already are enjoying.
Fan Reaction- So what to do? One idea is to refer to last’s weeks “My Two Cents” and print it off so you’ll have a lockout survival kit.:
As for the “brains that be” at the negotiating table, at this point I’ll just say call us when a deal gets done. At that point many fans and certainly a good number of season ticket holders will make their decisions on what they want to do. The die hard fans will likely come back, however don’t be too certain for a number of season ticket holders. They may just want to write off this season and any money they chose to spend will be for season seats in 2013-14. Clubs should accommodate these requests if they are made because it is not the fans fault that a portion of the season was scrapped by the lockout. Teams when they do return also need to consider reducing ticket prices for this season if they plan on filling their arenas in the regular season. Fan resentment will be there and should be expected. The resentment will not be personally towards the players, and it shouldn’t be as the vast majority did not ask for this either. The number of players who have gone to Europe, the KHL or the minors is proof of that. Players want to play, not be inactive for a year especially when they are either in their primes or before the ends of their careers. It’s gotten to the point where most fans have this reaction to the NHL lockout… “Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!” Again, gentleman, just call us when you get a deal done and until you do stop telling us about these “minor items” which probably are not all that relevant. Most fans are ready to do the chant heard loudly around the world at the New England Patriots vs. Baltimore Ravens NFL game last Sunday Night. You can’t blame them for that either.
Wayne’s World- In an interview with TSN, Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky stated that he feels the Lockout would be resolved, but not until around January 1st. “I believe in my heart, maybe because I’m such a big hockey fan, that they will be playing by January 1st,” said Gretzky during a question and answer period at a panel discussion on personal finance. “I think the hard part of their deal was the last negotiations (in 2004) of players agreeing to a salary cap.”** So Mr. Gretzky feels they will do all they can do salvage the season and start it with the Winter Classic on New Years Day. Honestly, Gretzky has a great deal of insight about the game and the league and probably knows more than most of us. If he’s not optimistic about the lockout ending soon, that’s saying something. This is probably one of the better barometers of how the talks are going.
“I think that in 2004 we were changing the whole landscape. Ownership wanted to have some sort of revenue sharing and once we came to the revenue sharing, the hard part — from my point of view — seems to be out of the way.” Gretzky told TSN. This is good information coming from the great one, but at the same time it points to one thing. Commissioner Bettman, the Owners, the NHLPA and Donald Fehr all knew this was going to come to a head one day and did nothing more than sweep things under the rug. They chose to deal with this problem later. Later has finally become present day, no CBA, no chance for one anytime soon, and of course no NHL hockey until if and when two thirds of the three stooges can get together and start getting serious about any kind of a deal.
Lord help us hockey fans. We will need all we can get, and for awhile.
Other Hockey News- Now that we have the weekly lockout update out of the way, we can happily report that both the Worcester Sharks of the AHL and the brand new San Francisco Bulls of the ECHL will begin play by the end of next week. The AHL Sharks will begin playing their regular season on Friday October 12th in Norfolk, Virginia as they take on the Admirals. This will be the first game of a two game set as Worcester will also meat the Admirals again on their home ice the following night at the same starting time. The AHL Sharks will play their first home game of the season on Saturday, October 20th when they host the Albany Devils. If you reside in the Worcester, Mass. area or are planning a trip out their to support the Sharks AHL affiliate, you can call for tickets at (508) 929-0500. For those not familiar with the Worcester area, the city is approximately just 42 miles southwest of Boston and just requires a short drive along the westbound I-90. The AHL Sharks are lead by Head Coach Roy Summer and feature Alex Staylock, who has come back nicely from a devastating leg injury two years ago. Should the NHL lockout end, Staylock who was expected to complete for the backup goalie job with Tomas Greiss could see some time with the big club.
For more information on the Worcester Sharks, please visit the team’s website:
Meanwhile, closer to the Sharks home in the Bay Area, the San Francisco Bulls are getting ready to launch their inaugural campaign at the Cow Palace. The Bulls are the ECHL affiliate of the Sharks, who previously have shared ECHL affiliations with Stockton and Bakersfield. The Bulls will get things started on Friday October 12th with the first of two games against the Bakersfield Condors. The Bulls games will be played at the Cow Palace, which has undergone some minor renovations to bring the old arena to a more up to date look. The San Francisco Bulls have the look of an organization that will hit the ground running and even has a clever marketing department in place to remind hockey fans that “We’re Still Playing”. This serves as a reassurance to the “Average Joe” hockey fan that the shenanigans which has plague the NHL with the lockout will have no effect on the Bulls whatsoever. As for marketing game tickets, the Bulls want fans to “Act Like You’ve Got a Pair”. To get tickets, or get a pair call the Bulls toll free at 1-(855)-SF-BULLS. No doubt the Bulls goal is to bring speed, focus and attitude to the ice each and every night. The Bulls games will also be streamlined on KNBR.com, which is huge. They will also have ice girls, known as “The Cow Belles”.
The Bulls opened camp on Sunday, Sept 30th and have a number of players trying out for the team. If the NHL lockout becomes what is expected to a long and protracted battle, they’re may be some familiar faces that may call the Bulls home until things get settled. You probably wont see the big names as Joe Thornton or Patrick Marleau playing at the Cow Palace, however you could see players who are trying to keep in condition and want to keep playing despite the NHL hi-jinks. The Bulls will be lead by Head Coach Pat Curcio, who is not only the Head Coach but also the General Manager and Team President.
For more information on the San Francisco Bulls, please visit their website:
Despite Lockout Sharks Still Involved in Community- Despite the NHL lockout which has cancelled both training camps and the entire exhibition season, this has not stopped the Sharks organization from reaching out to the local community. The Sharks in conjunction with NHL Street held their annual Sharks and Parks street hockey tournament on this past Saturday the HP Pavilion parking lot. The turnout was pretty good with over 200 participants representing street hockey clubs from San Jose and around the Bay Area. No Bettman, No Fehr, No Problem. Just kids aged from 7 to 15 getting out on a perfect weather day and getting a chance to play in and support the game they enjoy. This program was created the same year the Sharks franchise came into existence back in 1991 and with the idea being not only to promote the game of street hockey, but also to provide equipment to these teams along with coaching and other items designed to grow the interest in the sport at the community level. A good call by the Sharks organization to continue this amazing event dispite of what else is going on.
Rick Nash Shoulder Injury…Blame It On The Lockout- Rick Nash became the first injury of note to come as the result of the NHL lockout when he was injured during a Swiss League game with HC Davos. Nash was injured while he was checked into the glass in a recent game. Nash however is listed as “Day to Day” after an MRI showed their was no serious damage to his shoulder. Nash was traded from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the New York Rangers in a blockbuster deal made before the NHL lockout went into effect. Nash has three goals so far with HC Davos, who also features the Sharks Joe Thonrton.**
Uproar in Edmonton- Edmonton Oilers owner Daryl Katz got the wrath of the Edmonton fans because of a recent trip to Seattle where it was rumored he was possibly considering moving the franchise to the Emerald City. So angry was the wrath of the Oilers fans that Katz took out an ad in the local Edmonton newspaper Saturday to apologize to the Oilers fans for eyeing Seattle as a place to relocate the team. The Oilers have called Edmonton it’s home since 1972 when the team was formed as part of the old WHA. The crux of Katz apology to the Oilers fans read “”I took for granted your support and your love for the Oilers, that was wrong, and I apologize.” Katz continued, “The simple fact is that the Oilers need Edmonton, and Edmonton needs the Oilers.”**
The reason this happened was because Katz and the city of Edmonton are at an impasse over funding for a new arena in the City of Edmonton. The original cost of the arena was anticipated to be around under $500 million but now could go as high as over $700 million. Katz is said to be asking for more money because he is trying to keep the team in the city where five Stanley Cup trophies call home. Katz has been battling with the Edmonton City Council over the past few months. The arena is supposed to break ground and begin construction one year from now in October 2013.
Three Non-Hockey Items- This week’s first non hockey item is the San Francisco 49ers rebounding from a tough loss at Minnesota September 23rd. The 49ers once they got rolling against the besieged New York Jets showed almost no mercy in a 34-0 hammering of the not so mean green. Alex Smith had a pedestrian day completing 12 of 21 passes for 143 yards. Mario Manningham caught three passes for 47 yards while Delanie Walker has two receptions for 31 yards. Frank Gore was also key with 62 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. However the real story on offense was Turlock’s Colin Kaepernick who scored his first NFL touchdown and was very productive as the 49ers showed a very strong wildcat offense at certain times during the game. Kaepernick just missed his first career touchdown pass when he overthrew Wide Receiver Randy Moss by just inches as Moss had out leaped triple coverage by the Jets.
The other story was the 49ers defense who pitched an unexpected shut out against a Jets offensive attack that just fell apart as the game wore on. Jets Quarterback Mark Sanchez had a bad day completing 13 of 29 passes for 103 yards as the 49ers defense was all over him for most of the day. The closest the Jets came to scoring was late in the third quarter when it has appeared Sanchez had thrown the perfect pass to Santonio Holmes which looked like a certain touchdown, only to be denied by Safety Dashon Goldson who tipped the ball away before it could fall into Holmes hands. The Jets got a much worse break to start the fourth quarter as Holmes suffered a foot injury right after catching a pass from Sanchez. Holmes immediately fell in pain while unwittingly tossing the live football away. The live ball was picked up by Carlos Rogers who ran the ball back virtually uncontested for a 49ers touchdown which made the score 24-0. The Jets never seriously threatened again afterward.
With the win, the 49ers go to 3-1 and will host the Buffalo Bills Sunday at Candlestick Park. Since the Bills are an AFC road team, CBS Sports (not FOX) will be covering the game. For more information on the San Francisco 49ers, please visit our Fansided partners at Niner Noise:
Swinging A’s-The Next Generation- Congrats also to the Oakland A’s also for clinching a hard earned birth in Major League Baseball’s playoffs. The A’s with a 4-3 win over the Texas Rangers Monday night vaulted the Green and Gold A’s to a post season birth that nobody expected. The A’s lowpoint of this season was a 22-30 mark back in May. Since that time, the A’s have been one of the best teams in baseball going 70-38. The A’s likely though may be looking at the first round wild card game against either the Baltimore Orioles or New York Yankees. This is unless the A’s sweep the three game set over the Rangers, which would give Oakland the American League West crown. A huge congrats also goes out to A’s manager Bob Melvin and a crew that in April looked like the Sacramento River Cats farm team. Nobody saw this coming, and in the world sports that’s always a fun thing.
Ryder Cup Golf – What does the 2012 USA Ryder Cup Team have in common with the following: The 2010 Boston Bruins, The 1975 Pittsburgh Penguins, 1942 Detroit Red Wings; 2004 New York Yankees; 2003 Chicago Cubs (and pretty much all Cubs teams since 1908)…Two words: Choke Artists. Truthfully, the European team just wanted it more. For the American team, it’s a paycheck win or lose. It’s that simple. Everybody on the USA team (with the exception of Bubba Watson who held up his end of the bargain and was the American’s best golfer) needs to ask themselves if they even care to be a part of this. If not, fine. Let the youngsters such as Bubba Watson and his generation take over. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson again? With all due respect, Please!
…Just My Two Cents…
The King Shark
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