NHL proving that rich people are different


As the NHL lockout drags on, The Gazette’s Pat Hickey says it’s another sign of how the very rich are different from you and me.

Hickey asks: So who is negotiating for the owners?

His answer: “A collection of losers who need a new deal because, during a period of unprecedented growth in the NHL, they can’t figure out a way to run a business.”

You can read Hickey’s column by clicking here.

Don Cherry ripped the players in a column for the Toronto Star under the headline: “Don Cherry to players: smarten up!” You can read that column by clicking here.

Gazette sports editor Stu Cowan welcomes Sunday’s Grey Cup game as a breath of fresh air for Canadian sports fans tired of the NHL lockout and notes that five Canadiens players were slated to earn more this season than an entire team in the CFL, which has a salary cap of $4.35 million.

You can read Cowan’s column by clicking here.

Jeff Z. Klein of the New York Times writes that with the latest batch of games cancelled the NHL has drawn nearer to the brink of canceling the season. Read Klein’s column by clicking here.

And you can read about some wild and wacky NHL contract signings from the past by clicking here.

(Photo by Pierre Obendrauf/The Gazette)


  1. Spartan117 says:

    Missing hockey?

    RDS is going to start broadcasting international Cricket matches in January.

    Listen to the radio-cast on CBC with Senyo Nyakutse, a former cricket player in Zimbabwe and the co-founder of Cricket Montreal, and Andrew Greenfield.


  2. JohnBellyful says:

    — “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.” —

  3. rhino514 says:

    I don´t understand what´s going on with the draft lottery, can someone explain?
    What are our chances to get a top/mid/late round pick?

  4. Mr. Biter says:

    UND report from sunny Hawaii. Kristo 1goal (2-1 win Friday night) 1 assist. MacMillan 1 goal in loss on sat. Kristo NCAA player of the week.
    Back next Sat night.

    Mr. Biter
    No Guts No Glory

  5. otter649 says:

    Heard one of the new conditions in the new CBA that The NHL wants put in – Is to start free agent signings 48 hours after The Stanley Cup is awarded & not wait till July 01. Also the players want to have single rooms in hotels while on road trips so no roommates. Normally only a 10 year vet gets this perk with a single room & no roommate……

  6. Harditya says:

    Update: 3-0 Sarnia over Peterborough at the end of the first.
    Galchenyuk has a goal and an assist so far taking his point totals to 39 in 25 games. Keep in mind this is his 3rd game in 3 nights.

  7. JayK-47 says:

    I’ve said it before but I have to say it again: I have never seen a team just plain have a superload of prospects like the Habs do this year. AND, I’m looking forward to the draft lottery because whether they win (top 3) or lose (bottom 3rd) they have 2 other 2nd round draft picks to smooth out any irregularities that may result from a snaking draft order. I am so excite!

    • JayK-47 says:

      Hmmm… Calgary gets 3 balls in the draft. Mtl and Nsh 1 each. Worst case scenario: Calgary wins (top 3 pick) and our Habs and Nashville get late round picks.

      1st round: Mtl 28th
      2nd round: Mtl 33rd
      2nd round: Mtl 35th (via Nashville)
      2nd round: Mtl 58th (via Calgary)

      Not too shabby with Timmins picking. Even then, the Habs pick again late 3rd, early 4th almost equaling 6 picks in entirety of the first 3 rounds. Can’t wait…

    • Boomer says:

      +1 buddy….

      best case scenario, Mtl gets top 10 pick, calgary and Nashville 29th and 30th, fingers crossed

  8. HabFab says:

    A peculiar note in this lock-out to me is how the Leaf fans I know seem totally uninvolved…have they got so punch drunk from the losing. What are those of you living in the center of the universe observing? All those millions of Leaf fans not caring would not be what the PA was counting on.

    • HabinBurlington says:

      Thats a good point, i think complete apathy towards all things leafs/nhl has set in for many.

    • neumann103 says:

      From the vantage point of living about 2 miles north of the Air Canada Center there seems to be somewhat less focus on the lockout among my Leaf Fan friends than among my virtual community of Hab fans. However I think there is some self selection bias there.

      I can tell you that listening to sports radio in Toronto is quite revealing about what is filling the space.

      1. Baseball talk went on waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay longer than it should have. It was a real focus of the phone in shows. Initially it was just the train wreck end of the season but gained a second life with the Manager soap opera, and a huge third life with the big trade with the Marlins. The two main AM sports radio stations have probably each devoted 6 hours a day to baseball in November, judging from what I hear drivetime and extrapolate.

      2. The NFL is still big. No one team has focus but like an American market, the absence of hockey will become much more apparent after NFL season is over.

      3. General consensus that the Raptors are failing to take advantage of the opportunity to grow their market absent the crowding effect of the Leafs. This is being accomplished by a dedicated commitment to sucking. Rather than appropriate the Leaf market, they have taken on the Leaf approach.

      4. A minor bump due to the Grey Cup being here and the Argos inexplicably being in it. The CFL and the Argos have very little presence here so I don’t want to oversell this, but it is one of those little factors that keep cropping up.

      In my opinion I think there is a bit of confused apathy driven by the fact that no one really knows what to expect. There is no reason the NHL could not be playing hockey in mid December and yet no reason to believe it could be another full year. This is not like 2004 which was an existential battle over the basic structure.

      If the Toronto market goes a couple of weeks without a major sports distraction then maybe Leaf Nation will be much more up in arms.

      I will tell you what really surprised me was how little freaking out I heard about the Lockout messing up the Sundin HoF induction. If I were a Leaf fan that would have pissed me off to have that Saturday home game where they trot out all the inductees taken away in a year when a longtime Leaf captain is inducted. I have been to a couple of those HoF games.

      “Et le but!”

  9. HabFab says:

    In Europe today;
    Eller – 2G, 1A
    DD – 1A
    Diaz – 1A

  10. HabFab says:

    Kristo and Macmillan playing Notre Dame right now;


    Green #7 Kristo and #16 Macmillan

    UND goal Macmillan from Kristo.

  11. HabinBurlington says:

    Good football game going on between the Seminoles and Gators right now.

  12. Sean Bonjovi says:

    Here’s something that maybe we can all agree on:

    Both sides in this labour dispute called the Chara-on-Pacioretty hit a “Hockey Play”, so it’s kind of nice to see them all lose a ton of money. (expect Pacioretty I guess).

  13. 24 Cups says:

    When anger turns to apathy…..

    I’ve decided to replace my favourite team from Quebec with my new found French-Canadien passion – Sortilege!

    • HabFab says:

      I have quit reading players comments so that my heroes remain fairly untarnished or I could not watch them again.
      My feelings going into this was that it was going to be ugly and long. Keep hoping to be proved wrong…how is that working for me?

  14. Habfan10912 says:

    A tweet from Chrsadiens.

    (@Chrisadiens) tweeted at 5:17 PM on Sat, Nov 24, 2012:
    Its official…I’m engaged. She said yes! 🙂 #Habs colored wedding to come.


  15. HabinBurlington says:

    Interesting read from Mr. Hickey. What did I learn from the article? Well apparantly he would be a great GM/Owner who would never ever sign a bad contract or sign a coach or GM who would ever have to be fired.

    I agree on the part about Rangers/Habs/Leafs should have more say as owners, but….. I still believe this is a gate driven league and for that you can’t penalize these 3 teams for having crazed fans who pay through the nose to attend hockey games.

    This is not baseball where each team just picked up an additional 25-30 million in TV revenue from a national deal.

    Yes Minnesota signed Parise and Suter to stupid contracts and they should be held accountable. However, isn’t an owner supposed to overspend in order to try and build a winner when these players won’t go to these teams unless they are overpaid?

    Was Washington supposed to dump Ovechkin and just pick up average players in return since afterall Hickey says they are mercurial, I assume that means garbage and shouldn’t be kept.

    What is an owner supposed to do, not sign good players? Not get into bidding wars or UFA players to help his/her team?

    Players want the max money they can get, then after they sign the deal they talk about how happy they are to go to Team X and then they talk about how they just want to play hockey. Funny how they just want to play hockey doesn’t come up in negotiations. I don’t hold it against them, they are allowed to get all they can get. But if indeed 3 teams are making all the money, it means the system isn’t working, because every team has players making big bucks. Only a handful of teams are staying near the bottom of the salary floor, virtually every team is overspending in an effort to make the playoffs and get their financial windfall.

    The reality is that two markets in Canada have the fans and the money to support big market spending, Vancouver is a close third, but still doesn’t have the passionate fans which Toronto and Montreal have. New York Rangers are the Rangers and will also always have a wealthy fan base willing to support the team.

    So what are the other teams supposed to do in the present day system of the NHL? They continue to try and buy the best talent, and they continue to either break even, make a little money or lose money.

    And when did the Phoenix GM and Coach become Great? Last I checked, great means you win Cups or at least one cup. I haven’t seen the Phoenix GM win a Cup or go to a Conference Final. He may manage a payroll well, but they are not close to winning a Cup.

    • Sean Bonjovi says:

      “However, isn’t an owner supposed to overspend in order to try and build a winner”

      That’s a myth and it’s the reason the league is “in trouble”. Some teams (the teams with lots of money) have many different ways to win hockey games. Spending lots of money is one of those ways. It might work, but it’s not a guarantee and it’s not the only way to win, it’s just the path to victory that requires the least creative thinking. Teams like Nashville and Columbus need to accept the fact that this strategy IS NOT an option for them.

      The other ridiculous assumption is that the only way to make a profit is to make a big up-front investment in players. That idea is flawed because it’s based on the myth that winning and/or icing star players generates enough additional revenue to offset those expenses.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        So how do you appease a fan base in a sun belt state by going with a 6 year build, then have moderate success and suddenly find yourself losing all your key players unless you spend, ie. Shea Weber in Nashville.

        In a true hockey market, like Edmonton they understand the paitence of a slow build. But when you are trying to convince fans Hockey is a good sport and worthy of your dollars, you need to win games to help sell the game.

        Obviously my argument/point is very generalized. There are many stupid owners/GM’s in the league. But it isn’t Montreal, Toronto and New Yorks problem to pay for it either.

        • Sean Bonjovi says:

          I saw a smart owner should do S.F.A. to appease a fan base that doesn’t support his business to the degree that would allow him to turn a profit.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            THat would be prudent, how would the players like it however, if 60% of the league only spent to the current salary cap floor?

          • Sean Bonjovi says:

            That’s not the owners concern, but here’s how that would work out.

            Let’s say revenue was $3.3 billion, the players share was 57%, the cap was $72 million per team and the floor was $54 million per team.

            If 18 teams spent $54 million > $0.972 billion

            and 12 teams spent $72 million >$0.864 billion

            Total salaries would be $1.836 billion. 57% of $3.3 billion is $1.881 billion, so every player in the league would get a bonus cheque worth about 2.5% of his annual salary. The players should like that.

            If three of those eighteen teams spent $72 million instead of $54 the total salaries for the league would be over 57% and every player would lose some of the money payed into the escrow account.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            Completely forgot about the escrow and its ramnifications with guaranteed % of league revenues. Thanks Sean.

        • Stuck_in_To. says:

          Quite right but isn’t that because the problem is having a team in the sunbelt which is only there because the business is a monopoly?

          I mean, if these 30 owners were selling coffee beans, the answer to the issue would be self evident. Those who could not earn would fade away.

          Obviously, not a fair comparison. But I think Hickey is rather right about this. The NHL is a failed business model and all the band-aids in the world are not going to get such franchises to generate money. The players could play for meals and a clothing allowance and that is still not going to get Phoenix and Florida 100% attendance and crazy sweater sales.

          • HabinBurlington says:

            I would love to see the league have contraction, 6 teams in fact. However, the minute that would be brought up the players would have huge issues with it. This is my point, both sides need to be willing to make changes to the last CBA to try and help. And I would really like to see 4 less teams in the league, but how the Heck does that get sold to owners and players?

  16. 24 Cups says:

    It’s starting to get ugly.

    It reminds me of that old expression – when the watering hole gets smaller, the animals start looking at each other differently.

    • Habfan10912 says:

      Here here!


    • wjc says:

      NHL is not failing.

      Cba needs adjusting.

      Future is in pay-per-view….center ice packages, big network packages. Televisions are getting bigger, clearer (hd 4 times more clear) Three dementional and surround sound heightens the experience and feeling of being there.

      Winning a cup is not necessary to be successful, having the players to take you 3 or 3 rounds into playoffs is.

      Having superstar to put an identity on your franchise is important and they will cost you.

      Only one team can win it all and if you have parity, you could win once every 30 years and be considered successful.


  17. bobinsask says:

    Hickey calls the owners who are in the inner circle “a collection of losers.” It they are losers, then Hickey is a complete buffoon. Take the example of Murray Edwards, a highly successful Calgary businessman who was born and educated in Saskatchewan. He is a self-made man who has the School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan named for him. Nice evaluation there, Hickey. Hope you know about hockey than you do about business.

  18. HabinBurlington says:

    So went to watch the Habs practise today, all was going well until I discovered a bar in the practise arena with a very very nice bartender working there. Sorry, kind of missed some of the action on the ice, but Jenn says Hi to all of you! 🙂

    Edit: Oops meant Bulldogs.

    Breezer was out there helping with drills, skated as well as any of the Dogs.

  19. jols101 says:

    LL was the right draft pick for the Habs at the time. He was ranked by all scouts in that position, he is a Montreal native and he had as much upside as anyone picked right before him or after him.

    LL has big league hockey IQ and could still become a good top 9 forward. His problem, and this relates to his durability, is when you see him in street clothes you have to do a double take. Is that a 21 year old man or a 12 year old girl?

    I’ve seen more body in my shampoo.

    He needs to get on Eller’s or PK’s workout program and he needs to do it quickly.

    The biggest misnomer is that it will get easier for him as the years move on. Not so, he has already dropped from being the best up and comer for the Habs to second or third. Galchenyuk is obviously the first and between Gallagher and LL it is a tough call as to who is second. Next year Colberg will be a year older, bigger and better maybe he will be ready to make a splash plus all the other prospects.

    He needs to train with PK next summer and finally put some muscle on those bones; it will go a long way in him becoming a good top 9 regular for the Habs…

    • 24 Cups says:

      Both your points are quite valid.

      Choosing Leblanc was a no-brainer. No scout, reporter or fan would have done anything differently at the time. There was total bliss in Whoville once LL was selected.

      Fast forward to a guy who now looks small and has started out on a very shaky path. Having said that, he’s still just 21 and has plenty of time to rebound from the poor career path provided by the Habs (a bit of an exaggeration on my part, but I’m just trying to make a point).

      You can say what you want about the lockout, but for me the biggest plus is that the Habs can’t screw up Gally, Beaulieu, Tinordi or Gallagher this year.

  20. Phil C says:

    According to Forbes, the owners of the Leafs, Habs, and Rangers made more money than the rest of the league combined. They have the most to lose in this lockout, yet according to Hickey’s article, they are not participating in the negotiation. I find that very odd.

    Bettman refuses to budge on the “core economic issue” over an amount the owners will lose in 9 days in the lockout, eventhough the goal of 50/50 has been won. I also find that odd.

    I wonder if this lockout could really be about owners vs owners? Bettman’s actions are consistent with someone not interested in making a deal. Could it be that Bettman and a group of owners are trying to squeeze the rich teams for more revenue sharing? This would do more to solve the core economic issue than salaries at 50/50 because the six poorest teams will probably lose money with the deal on the table.

    I am sure that Fehr has reminded the NHL that Major League Baseball teams have to contribute 31% of local revenues to the revenue sharing pot that is then split 30 ways. I’m sure the poorer NHL teams think this is the greatest idea ever.

    That’s my conspiracy theory for the day. But it’s the only theory that could explain some strange things in this lockout.

    • HabFab says:

      On the other hand, they will get to keep an extra $36 million dollars per year between them ($11.5 for Habs) from HRR changing from 57% – 50%. Now with increased revenue sharing they will probably have to give 1/3 or 1/2 that back to the poorer teams. But still nothing to want to give up.

      • Sean Bonjovi says:

        I guess the real reason that there’s still a lockout is that both sides think they can do better than the best offer on the table, but the reason I’m strongly anti-owner is that the league isn’t just asking for enough total dollars to float the worst businesses/teams in the league, with the intention of passing all those dollars on to the money losing teams. The league is asking for that money plus an equally big welfare cheque for the rich teams that don’t need it, and while they’re at it they’d like to change the player-rights and contract rules so that the players bear nearly all of the risk associated with possible injuries.

        • HabFab says:

          I don’t disagree that the owners are scum. I just disagree with people that think the players are all innocent in this. They both have and are contributing to this SNAFU.

      • wjc says:

        They are governed under a system approved by them (New York, Toronto, Montreal) Bettman is well supported.


    • B says:

      The Habs, Leafs and Rangers owners are fairly new / recent to the NHL. I suspect that their not being in the core negotiating group for the league is mostly due to their lack of seniority in the league (the current owner’s seniority, not the actual team’s seniority).

  21. frontenac1 says:

    @Hickey. Great article Pat. Thanks for cutting through the BS amigo.

    • B says:

      Good article, thanks for the link!

      I have been following MacMillan and am pleased with his progress so far. I caught some of North Dakota’s playoff games on TV and he looked good (especially for freshman). He seemed to step it up later in the season and even more so in the playoffs. Let’s hope his progression continues.

  22. J.J. of Turku says:

    Just came home from HC TPS Turku’s Finnish elite game. Was nice to see Mikko Koivu (MIN), Lauri Korpikoski (PHX) and Kris Russell (CBJ) in action (Alec Martinez (L.A) is injured). Still, it has been a million times more enjoyable to was Habs’ games in the middle of the night all these years.

  23. ABHabsfan says:

    Holy Crap! I was quoted in Stu Cowan’s article!
    I would like to start by thanking the academy…

    “man, I love winnin’; you know, it’s like better than losin’?”-
    Ebby Calvin “Nuke” Laloosh

  24. Habilis says:

    Fact : The players “lost” the last CBA negotiation after a year of no hockey.

    Fact: During the ensuing CBA, salaries climbed to their highest level ever, as they have over the course of every single CBA.

    Fact: The players could have played a full 82 games this year at 50% instead of 57%

    What do these three facts add up to? Well if the players had simply bitten the bullet, taken the loss then instead of a month or a year from now, they would be making about 1.65 billion (instead of 1.81) this season, probably something like 1.8 billion next season and then north of 2 billion for the third season and so on. Plus the league would be in great financial shape. Basically they would be back to where they are now in a year and in 2 years would be making more. Plus there would be the added bonus that none of them would have to miss time off their NHL careers. Time they will never get back.

    Instead they keep fighting for an ever decreasing pie, damaging that same pie as they do. Every day they fight is literally tens of millions of dollars flushed down the toilet. If Don Fehr really was hired to get them the best possible deal, he has already failed miserably. There is no way they get 1.65 billion for this year and it will probably take them 3 or 4 years to get back to 1.8 billion, maybe more if they miss this entire season.

    One look at past salary trends and a tiny amount of foresight was all that was required to avoid all of this.

  25. habstrinifan says:

    And Loser #1 (MOI) makes comment#1.


    • JohnBellyful says:

      C’mon, Trini, don’t go half-assed on a Grey Cup cheer. Get into the spirit!
      Look at me, I’m all excited like a kid on Christmas Eve. And I’m a Ticats fan!

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