Hockey Takes an Early Christmas

The NHL was supposed to go on its Christmas break after the end of play on the 23rd. There would be no activity, including travel, until the 26th.

As it turned out, all of the games on the schedule for the 22nd had already been postponed due to the league shutting down individual teams for Covid outbreaks.

So the league and the players did the smart thing and decided to start the Christmas break early. It now starts at the end of play tonight (the 21st) and all of the games on the books for the 23rd, there are five of them, will be postponed.

I got my info from the players association’s news site.

Now while I think that their hearts are in the right place, I think they are coming up short. Personally, I think they should shut down until New Years Day. Let the infected players recover and then come back on 1/1/22 with the Winter Classic.

But that’s just me.

Artificial Disk Replacement Surgery

Jack Eichel was traded from the Buffalo Sabers to the Vegas Golden Knights today. The reason for the trade had nothing to do with hockey and everything to do with healthcare.

Eichel needs surgery. He has a herniated disk. He wanted to undergo a procedure that had never been performed on an NHL player. The team wanted him to have a more common procedure. I have to imagine that conflicts like this are probably common. The team doctors want to do X and the player’s personal doctor wants to do Y. In this case the two sides refused to budge and it lead to a stalemate where Eichel didn’t get either procedure and the team traded him to get rid of him.

It all seems dumb to me, but what really surprises me is that based on the collective bargaining agreement, the team is 100% in the right. Now I understand that the team has millions of dollars invested in the player and all of that, but try to look at this from your own healthcare perspective. Imagine you have a condition that requires surgery. You and your doctor come up with a plan of action, and your employer says no and tells you that you have to do something different. Now imagine that you signed a contract that gives the employer that right.

Wow. I mean… wow. Do the other pro sports leagues have this right too? No, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.

Players Union Ratification Vote

The players union’s electronic (ie interwebs) vote to accept the new collective bargaining agreement was supposed to have ended about an hour ago. There has been no announcement from the union regarding the results yet.

A majority of the 700 or so union members is required to ratify the agreement. The owners ratified it on Wednesday (I think) so this is the last step. A yes vote from the players union means camps can open today. A no vote means the lockout continues, probably forever.

Do you think Gary Bettman is worried? I’m positive Donald Fehr doesn’t give a flying leap either way. Imagine the disaster a no vote would be. The dumbest work stoppage in history would be dumber by a factor of about 10 gazillion.

I expect a yes vote though, and so does everyone else, so we should have hockey in full swing by tomorrow. Just remember, all my fellow fans out there, do not give them your money this year. Spend your money on businesses that actually want to be in business.

Go (broke) Bruins’

The Framework of the NHL CBA is in Place

This morning at around 6:00am Eastern time, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA Director Donald Fehr appeared together at a press conference and announced to the few of us left who still care, that a framework for a new collective bargaining agreement has been reached.

There area a few things left to do. The legal document has to be written up. It then has to be presented to the league and union memberships. Then it needs to be ratified by both sides. This crap has gone on long enough that we can assume both sides will rubber stamp it, just so they can get back to work.

After that, a schedule will be announced. Players and coaches will gather together, and an abbreviated training camp will take place for about a week. Dougie Hamilton will show up to Bruins camp, and nut job Tim Thomas will not. After about a week the butchered, insultingly shortened season will commence and history will fill up a great big bucket with asterisks to place next to everything that happens.

The single most important thing left to do needs to happen before the games start. The fans need to keep their money.

I said it before, I’ll say it again. This disaster is the fans’ fault. If we had punished the league for its lack of loyalty last time, then this lockout would never have happened. We did not punish them though. We came back to the game with our wallets open, ready to blow our dough on tickets, merch, concessions, anything. I’m as guilty as the next sheep.

We, the fans, cannot… Must not… Make the same mistake again. Keep your money, hockey fans. Teach the NHL that our loyalty, and our money are not to be taken for granted. Show the league and the players union who the real bosses are. Teach them a lesson that they will never forget, and stop this bullshit from happening again.

Do not buy tickets. Do not buy merchandise. I’d like to say that we should boycott TV broadcasts, but I don’t think many of us will be able to go that far. I will say that we should continue to avoid doing business with companies that sponsor the league and the individual teams. That one is particularly important for me, being a Bruins fan, as word has it that Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs is due for a much larger share of blame pie than most owners.

I can’t expect fans to not watch the games. I can encourage all fans to not spend their money. Let all 30 teams play in empty buildings for their ridiculous shortened season. Let them know who was affected by this idiocy the most. Let them know who they really work for.

Another NHL Lockout Post

tick tock, tick tock.

The clock is ticking.  One week to go until the league’s deadline to cancel the season.  One week to go until the unthinkable happens… again… and the league cancels the whole entire season.  One week.

And the two sides didn’t meet face to face yesterday.  Are you kidding?

So here are two of the remaining sticking points.

Ready?

The league wants next season’s salary cap to be 60 million dollars.  The players want next season’s salary cap to be 65 million dollars.

Both sides have agreed that term length of the new collective bargaining agreement (assuming they ever actually agree to one) should be ten years.  The players want an option to back out after seven years.  The league wants an option to back out after eight years.

There’s also an issue dealing with player pensions that seems like it might be a legitimate problem, but is still something that a little give and take should be able to resolve in a short time.  Still though… they are hung up on seven years vs eight years, and 60 million vs 65 million.  Really.  Both sides are saying that publicly.  Honestly, they are.  Both sides are so incredibly stupid that they are risking the cancellation of ANOTHER NHL season over these issues.

My god people, how much of a collective group of assholes can you be?  For the salary cap?  How about 62.5 million.  Problem solved!  As for the term length, I have a more complicated solution.  Take a coin, right?  Flip it.  Heads means the opt out is seven years.  Tails means the opt out is eight years.  Problem solved!

They have had a Federal mediator at all of the recent talks.  I swear that poor son of a bitch must be ready to just start punching these idiots.  Meet with the players and punch Donald Fehr in his World Series canceling head.  Meet with the players and punch Gary Bettman in his season canceling head.  BOOM!  Problems solved!  Drop the damn puck!

Obligatory Pissed Off at the NHL Post

I haven’t done one of these posts in a while.  Maybe because after more than three months of lockout, I just don’t give a shit anymore.  Maybe.

The NHL made a proposal to the NHLPA today.  The national hockey media is all abuzz over it.  It seems to include serious movement by the league toward the demands set by the players association.  Good.

Of course it comes as we approach the league’s mid-January deadline for cancelling the entire season.  That would be two labor cancelled seasons in eight years.  That would also be suicide.  The offer also comes as the players union is trying to decide whether or not to decertify and throw the whole labor negotiation into the US courts.  That move would probably cancel this year and next year and maybe the year after that.  But hey, at least they wouldn’t be saddled with a 10 year CBA, right?

None of this is what specifically triggered my need to write a pissy NHL post this afternoon.  As has happened each time one side or the other generated excitement, I fully expect the other side to ruin the optimism.  That will most likely happen after a 3:00pm Eastern time conference call with the players union leadership.

No, what pissed me off this time was something that NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said.  Allow me to quote Mr Daly via this Pierre LeBrun ESPN article:

“We are hopeful that once the union’s staff and negotiating committee have had an opportunity to thoroughly review and consider our new proposal, they will share it with the players. We want to be back on the ice as soon as possible.

I added the italics, because that’s what pissed me off so much.  As soon as possible, Bill?  Really?  It’s DECEMBER 28th, and you want to get back on the ice as soon as possible?  What an asshole.  Hey Bill, as soon as possible went out the window when the first day of training camp was missed back in September.  You missed as soon as possible more than three effing months ago.  Thank you Deputy Commissioner Daly, for once again blatantly insulting your millions of fans.  Those millions of fans who allowed your league to post the highest earnings in its history last year.  That’s over 3 billion dollars worth of insulted fans.

I hate them all so much.

I HATE THEM ALL SO MUCH!