Flashback to the 2004-05 lockout

Bettmanweb

When the NHL and the NHLPA announced they had finally reached an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement back in July 2005, after a 309-day lockout wiped out an entire season, commissioner Gary Bettman and players’ association boss Bob Goodenow sat together at a press conference to announce the details.

Bettman said he was there “to congratulate … all the NHL players, the greatest athletes in the world, for the incredible job and effort that they put out to help achieve this result. We stand here at a point where we can now together look forward in partnership to take our great game to spectacular heights. We can do it for the good of the game, and most importantly for our fans.”

Seven years later, the NHL finds itself back in the same situation, but with Goodenow no longer in the picture for the NHLPA, replaced by Donald Fehr.

Below is a column The Gazette’s Red Fisher wrote about the 2005 press conference. It’s very interesting to read it again now:

PUBLISHED ON JULY 22, 2005

RED FISHER
THE GAZETTE

So what else did you expect from the finale to this 309-day lockout, eh? Apologies to fans, maybe? Perhaps a tip of the cap (no pun intended) to the hundreds of people who lost jobs and to those many businesses that suffered terribly during the lockout? An admission that it should never, never, never have been allowed to happen? That both sides shared the blame for the first cancellation of a season in the history of pro sport?

Instead, there sat Gary Bettman and Bob Goodenow yesterday, wearing their best suits and faces of stone, trying to convince their national television audience this new collective agreement was the start of something new and wonderful for a game that will bear the scars of this amateur hour for years to come. No smiles. No self-blame. Ain’t life grand?

“I’d like to thank all the members of the negotiating committee who are here today for their dedication and hard work,” said union chief Goodenow, reading from a prepared statement. “The process has been long and challenging, and I know that the membership appreciates the time and effort that has been put into the negotiation process.

“We’re fully committed to the new deal and we anticipate great success for the game as we go forward. Most importantly, I want to thank the fans for their patience through a winter with no hockey. We pledge our full commitment to you as we go forward.”

On his part, Gary Bettman said he was there “to congratulate … all the NHL players, the greatest athletes in the world, for the incredible job and effort that they put out to help achieve this result.

“We stand here at a point where we can now together look forward in partnership to take our great game to spectacular heights. We can do it for the good of the game, and most importantly for our fans.”

Ugh!

Do not, for even a minute, think that anything good has evolved from this comedy of errors, even though some players, who months ago vowed they had given up as much as they would, eventually caved in for much less. Now, they’ve taken a 180-degree turn with the explanation that the deal is much better. No matter what spin they now try to put on it, how can anybody believe them – from the top down? Don’t believe they care for the people they stabbed in the back. Don’t believe that a blizzard of new rules will make the game better when the players return to the ice. How can you think of accepting anything that was said and promised yesterday after being fed so many lies for nearly a year?

Shame on Bettman and Goodenow. Shame on the players.

Is this new deal the dawn of a great new era for the NHL?

Here are 700 players who will be going into a new season with with a deal calling for a salary cap, a 24-per-cent rollback in salaries and a near-certainty that money they will be putting into escrow will take another substantial bite out of their take-home pay.

They are being told that new rules will open up the game and, as Bettman put it, take it to “spectacular heights.” Bolshoi!

Am I the only one who feels the game started going south from the moment the two-referee rule was introduced? Remember the toe-in-the-crease rule dedicated to protecting goaltenders? How long did that last?

Now, as if goaltending isn’t difficult enough, the size of their equipment has been reduced to dangerous measurements. The red line is on the way out and if that doesn’t do it, is the blue line next to go?

This may come as news to the giant intellects who decided that these new rules are necessary, but I have it on good authority that for decades, The Game somehow managed to remain an exciting and entertaining spectacle working with the same set of rules. How did Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux manage to put all those numbers on the board under the old system? Bobby Orr? Maurice Richard? Jean Beliveau? Bobby Hull? Mike Bossy? Guy Lafleur? Phil Esposito? So many others?

“From our standpoint, we believe that the agreement will give 30 stable, healthy, competitive teams and that the fans in all of our markets will have every opporltunity to think they have a shot at winning the cup,” Bettman said yesterday, and you can take it to the bank he’ll be saying the same thing when the board of governors ratifies the agreement today.

There is no question the owners needed a new economic system, even though they have only themselves to blame for the one, which they renewed twice, that led to the loss of a season. Their problems were self-inflicted. You don’t have to be reminded that the last agreement included a salary cap for entry-level players, a small victory for the owners, yet it was they who agreed to an astonishing bonus system that provided rookies with many more millions almost without trying.

Know something? Even though the salary cap for rookies has been reduced, even though all of the players are going into 2005-06 with a salary cap and the rollback in player salaries, some of the owners will find a way to sweeten the pot. Bet on it.

Do not include me among those surprised that Goodenow and Bettman yesterday made it abundantly clear they plan to remain in their posts despite the thunderbolts they flung at one another for many months of the impasse. And you had to like the reply Bettman delivered when one of the media wretches suggested that the commish and Goodenow didn’t really get along.

“You know, I think there’s too much made about a fragmented relationship,” he said. “It tends to make interesting reading, but Bob and I have always had a professional relationship. On a personal level, we’ve never had a problem dealing with each other. There won’t be any change in that. I have no doubt labour and management can work together for the benefit of the game and the fans in an unprecedented way.”

I ask you: has Gary ever lied to before?

(Photo by Chris Young/Canadian Press)

359 Comments

  1. HankHardball says:

    Bettman and the owners aren’t interested in settling at this time. Their mindset is that whatever they get now, they can get more if they lockout until the players are desperate enough to cave.

    They don’t have to pay the players. They still get $200 million for the season from their TV contract with NBC. They only get this opportunity once every 6 or 7 years and they’re not about to give it up.

    However, I remember watching Fehr when he negotiated for the players with MLB. One thing he will be able to do is galvanize the players by making them understand that if they don’t put a stop to Bettman now, they’ll have to go through this everytime the CBA comes up for renewal.

    The year could be gone again. Once they go beyond Jan.1, it very quickly becomes no longer feasible to have any sort of meaningful season with the time they’ll have left.

    Bettman already told you he knows hockey fans will be back. No matter how long it takes. Hockey is a business and the more money the Commissioner makes for the owners, the more money he makes for himself.

    So what are we looking at? They lockout for the year and then settle for something based on the proposal the players just made. But by then there’ll be another pro hockey league the NHL will have to contend with.

  2. JohnBellyful says:

    The Globe is reporting that, in the eyes of the federal government, information obtained through torture is no longer considered off-limits (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-allows-rcmp-border-agency-to-use-torture-tainted-information/article4497677/)
    Well, talk about your template for speeding up contract talks. Give each side the opportunity to interrogate the other for the purpose of getting at the truth, and gone would be all the posturing. And postures, when it comes right down to it.
    The players could feel confident the figures they’re given on team revenues and such would be gospel, and the owners could take comfort knowing torture would not so much extract information, as exact pain (which is their definition of negotiations).
    When the number-crunchers can’t agree on the data, it’s time to turn the file over to the member-crunchers.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      I’ve sat across the bargaining table from a management lead negotiator who was so repellent, so rebarbative in appearance and personality, that I believe these traits were part of his success and made him the very much in demand hired gun that he was. We did look forward to our sessions with dread. It was a form of torture.

      • JohnBellyful says:

        Rebarbative? Rebarbative!!! Whoa, whoa, whoa.
        Dude, this is a forum for hockey chatter, not an ESL (Erudite Sports Lingo) class. Next time you want to use rebarbative, do like the rest of us and write %$#%$#.
        Man, using obscure four-syllable words is just plain wrong. It’s too recondite for the rest of us.
        (And you can’t go wrong with smiley faces :) )

    • EasternOntarioHabsFan says:

      “Torture” is a relative term

  3. frontenac1 says:

    Lions beat Bombers by a Field Goal with one second left! Love the CFL.

  4. JohnBellyful says:

    Just noticed Other is fifth among fans’ favourite Canadiens in the poll opposite (View Results). I’m surprised he’s not first.
    Who do team members look to, when there’s an important goal to be scored? The Other guy.
    Clear the net? The Other guy.
    Take on the toughest players? You guessed it, the Other guy.
    Set up the power play? Stand in front of the other team’s goalie? Play on Gomez’s line?
    Other.
    Other.
    Other.
    Clearly, Other doesn’t get the respect he deserves from fans. Here’s a guy who does it all and yet fans voted Price number one. If they had been wise, it would have been Other.
    I’m sure he’ll fare better tomorrow when the focus is on qualities that make a player great and they do an Other poll.

  5. Steven says:

    So, I was just reading the 30 teams in 30 days articles at the official NHL website, and happened to stumble onto the Wild article.

    When I looked at the projected lineup, I noticed they had Clutterbuck put in as a 4th liner(and behind a pretty deep offensive unit in Minny, it makes sense to have put him there).

    When I look at our forward unit, we’re in need of another forward who can score, and Clutterbuck could probably provide that for us(with seasons of 10, 13, 19, and 15 goals to his credit). The need for scoring is more at the LW, and he plays RW, but I figure adding him would add some scoring and toughness to the lineup.

    The Wild aren’t awfully deep on D(unless I’m mistaken), so it’s possible we could send one of ours their way(or make a small package) and get him.

    I figure the lineup would end up something like this:

    Patches – DD – Cole
    Bourque – Plek – Gio
    Moen – Eller – Clutterbuck
    Prust – Nokes/White – Armstrong

    That’s not a bad forward unit, and you have to figure that if Bourque struggles, you could put Clutterbuck on that line and he could potentially do well.

    Thoughts?

    • I don’t think our problem is with the third and fourth line. The biggest challenge we face is (in this order):
      1. A top 2 defensive d-man to replace Hamrlik/Skillsy and to act as Markov insurance.
      2. A first line center.

      Clutterbuck isn’t bad but I’m pretty happy with our third and fourth line. Prust /Moen/eller/ are solid and Noki isn’t great but he doesn;’t make too many mistakes and he’s our only natural faceoff winner which is critical to have on every team.
      Telio
      The greatest Canadiens and NHL news-site: http://teliopost.com/
      Twitter: @teliopost

    • chanchilla says:

      i absolutely LOVE clutterbuck, the dude is a monster, and he also prompts me to yell GO CLEAN YOUR ROOM, everytime i hear his name. lead the league in hits like 4 years in a row playing 3rd line minutes is impressive, wish we could do something to get him.

    • neumann103 says:

      Prust is better than Clutterbuck.

      Problem solved!

      “Et le but!”

  6. EasternOntarioHabsFan says:

    I over exaggerated just a bit Re Subban, although it just seems strange that a core player like him has not been locked up sooner

    • HabFab says:

      He is one of 4 young stud D in the NHL that are coming off their ETL contracts. None of them have signed yet so wouldn’t worry until we have to.

      • EasternOntarioHabsFan says:

        now that you look at it, it makes sense, hope he doesn’t screw up his development by holding out a large part of the year

        • Un Canadien errant says:

          The new CBA has pretty much ended the holdout. The rules now state that if you don’t sign a contract and start playing by a (very early in the season) certain date, you are ineligible for the rest of the season.

          But yeah, the owners need to rework the CBA, they’ve lost control.

  7. HabinBurlington says:

    So for the sake of a hockey conversation who would you rather have on your team? Bergeron or Kesler?

    http://www.cbssports.com/nhl/blog/eye-on-hockey/19882879/who-would-you-rather-have-patrice-bergeron-vs-ryan-kesler

    • EasternOntarioHabsFan says:

      Kesler for sure, Bergeron lacks any kind of physical edge and is injury prone.

      Not to mention that he was a freakin Nordickheads fan growing up! seriously, how low can one go?

      • HabinBurlington says:

        2 years ago I say Kesler immediately, but Bergeron seems to have recovered from concussions and has missed few games past 3 years. Kesler is now starting to look like damaged goods with hip and other injuries. There seems to be no aspect Bergeron can’t do, I don’t know tough for me, but may pick Patrice.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      That’s a hard choice. Both are solid centremen, can score and play great defence. Kesler is more physical, but a lot of Canuck fans want him to ease off on that aspect of his game, they think he tries to play bigger than he is and it leads to injuries. They hope that adding a Shane Doan (hopefully) and a Zack Kassian will allow him to play hockey more and middleweight chirper and aggravator less.

  8. HabinBurlington says:

    A pretty candid George McPhee talking about his recent coaching changes in Washington and what kind of players he likes in the NHL.

    http://dc.sbnation.com/2012/8/24/3264588/washington-capitals-george-mcphee-interview-adam-oates-dale-hunter-bruce-boudreau-semin

  9. frontenac1 says:

    Commandant, how long before we will see Thrower with Dogs do you think?

  10. howster says:

    No blood no foul

    Why do you think MB seems so sour on PK ?

    • EasternOntarioHabsFan says:

      I really don’t know why, he seems hellbent on unloading him, that would be a very Milbury-esque move, as PK has the potential to be a 25 goal 60 point Norris trophy in several years.

      I don’t see many flaws in his game that are not common in a young player.

      It is strange

      • HabinBurlington says:

        Hell Bent on moving him? Wow, I thought I followed the Habs closely, but evidently I don’t as I haven’t read any of this from a real source.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      When was it shown MB is “So Sour” on PK? Does this mean every other RFA unsigned currently is also being treated by their GM in the same light, that being a GM sour on them?

      Some negotiations take longer than others, PK is a very special player and just as he and his agent are trying to take advantage of the expiring CBA and get all they can, MB is trying to do what is best for the Habs both fiscally and on the ice. MB also has to be smart and realize the CBA may change and the landscape for the next contract could be different. Or perhaps PK has a healthy demand right now in order to buy time until one of the other big RFA dmen sign and then try get more than that.

      I see absolutely no reason to believe MB is sour on PK. Unless maybe hockeyinsiderr says so! :)

    • commandant says:

      How do you figure MB is sour on PK? Cause he’s not signed yet?

      Were the Habs sour on Carey Price in 2010 when the signed him on the even of training camp?

      Are the Ranges sour on Michael Del Zotto? the Capitals on John Carlson? the Panthers on Kulikov? the Avalanche on Ryan O’Reilly? the Jets on Evander Kane? the Stars on Jamie Benn? None of these RFAs are signed.

      Were the LA Kings Sour on Drew Doughty one year ago when they didn’t sign him till October?

      Should we go on?

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
      http://lastwordonsports.com/

    • SlovakHab says:

      MB doesn’t seem sour on PK. What the hell are you talking about? Is it based on that 18-year old kid Twitter account??

  11. howster says:

    Easternontariohabsfan, no need to call me an idiot. That’s an Aholes response.

    He has broken some stories that have proven to be true.

    The main thrust of my post was that this new regime wants to get PK out of town which would be a really stupid move.

    • EasternOntarioHabsFan says:

      my god, I am sorry, I was in a very pissy mood when I wrote that, and I do not normally conduct myself that way.

      The main thrust of my comment was that Hockeyy Insiderr is not known to be a reputable source.

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      howster, if you’re going to repost garbage from that joker, be ready to be called out for being gullible or in on the fraud yourself. I suspect the latter. By this point, nobody can be ignorant of the fact that the site is run by a 17 year old kid from Québec, not an insider.

      EDIT: You say you follow the Canadiens since 1972 but didn’t capitalize your last name? First red flag.

      You joined HIO way back in mid-August of 2012? Second red flag.

  12. howster says:

    Hockeyy Insiderr reports we have offered PK, Eller and Bouque to Jets for Kane and Hsinsey. Kane has demanded out of the Peg.

    MB and his crew seem intent on Shipping PK out of town.

    I am about to cease being a habs fan after 40 years of loyalty. I will never return to see them play. Go Jets and Sens!!!

    • EasternOntarioHabsFan says:

      Hockeyy Insiderr is full of crap, I can’t remember one occasion where it was not totally wrong on an issue. If you truly believe a word on that site then you are an idiot.

    • ZepFan2 says:

      “Hockeyy Insiderr reports”

      :lol:

      ———————————————————————-
      Ka is a wheel.

    • SnowManHabs85 says:

      Glad I looked around this site today, had a good laugh.

      Why are you still following that “Insider”?

      “Responding to the media , or playing to the media, or listening to the fans is the quickest way to start losing” – Sam Pollock

    • Newf_Habster says:

      Howster…

      Why are you following this 17 years old fraudster and liar?! you are such a gullible person! Check http://kyriacou22.blogspot.ca/2012/08/who-is-hockeyyinsiderr.html

      Also, about 66 percent of his followers were created with fake accounts!

      At last, I suggest you to UNFOLLOW him!

    • CharlieHodgeFan says:

      A teenager probably a third your age and experience puts out a rumours page, and what he writes on it gets you all riled up? Have a beer, my friend. Relax and let the real world unfold.

      I don’t think anyone wants PK out of town. I’d be shocked if they were that stupid, or if PK were so greedy that they could not get a deal done. I could see Kane wanting out of Winnipeg though. That might be true.

    • Psycho29 says:

      Hockeyy Insiderr is a joke…..He has not ‘broken’ any stories, except for what Mommy is feeding him for lunch tomorrow…..

      And “Bergevin seems so sour on PK”?? Give me a break. Where did you see that? A couple of years ago the Habs didn’t sign Price until a few days before training camp.

      I’m not concerned at all.

  13. EasternOntarioHabsFan says:

    I have to say that I like what I see in this Dalton Thrower kid.

    I can’t remember a Defence prospect with that kind of cannibalistic edge combined with offensive upside (54 points for a D-Man in the W is no joke) since…… forever.

    Give him another year in the WHL and a few more in Hamilton and he will be a beast, mark my words.

    I wonder what Commandant thinks of him though, he seems to notice things in prospects that the rest of us don’t.

  14. gmd says:

    Someone below asked for an address so they could write the NHL. This morning Spector’s Hockey tweeted Bettman’s email address:
    gbettman@nhl.com

    • savethepuck says:

      If this is his real e-mail address I think he’ll have a million people e-mailing him to call him an a__hole.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

  15. HabFab says:

    Stu’s latest on the NHL’s just finished Review of Rule Enforcement.
    CAUTION: lot’s of offensive language such as Colin Campbell being quoted repeatedly;
    http://nhl-red-light.si.com/2012/08/24/nhl-renews-anti-diving-campaign/


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