Players Speak Out against Lockout as Games continue to Cancel

Don Fehr back in September.


As you all know by now, the NHL has announced that it has canceled all games of the 2012-13 season through December 14th, along with the much anticipated All-Star weekend in Columbus.

That brings us up to 423 regular season games canceled thus far, including the Winter Classic between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. How much money has been lost thus far, too? Here are the status up to

Salary lost: $416,998,959.25
Days Lost in Regular Season: 45
Days since the Lockout: 71

By the time you read this, those numbers will probably have changed, which is absolutely unbelievable. However, with each day that passes, more and more players are becoming vocal about their opinions on the lockout at hand. The NHL and NHLPA will tell you that these players’ outbursts have nothing to do with the “progress” that the two sides have made, but it’s very clear that the players are getting just a frustrated as the fans at this point.

“(Bettman’s) the only guy in pro sports that likes lockouts. It’s ridiculous. The only people who have record revenue and try to cut everything from us are the owners. There needs to be a give-and-take. We’re willing to take less revenue. We’ll do a 50-50 split if they honor our contracts. That seems fair. When you sign a contract, you look the GM in the eye and you expect them to honor your contract.” – Jason Chimera, Washington Capitals

“I personally think (Gary Bettman’s) an idiot. Since he’s come in, he’s done nothing but damaged the game.” – Ian White, Detroit Red Wings

“It’s disappointing that the approach for Gary [Bettman] and the ownership group has been to make these hard dates and final offers and not budging and on and on. There’s no real answer to why except ‘We think we can lock you out and your careers are short and we can shake you down’. Not a good feeling.” – Mike Cammalleri, Calgary Flames

“The two sides are close enough to a deal that missing the bulk of a season is wrong and missing an entire season is not only insane, it is a blatant disregard for the sport, the fans and the culture we have grown over decades — just to satisfy egos, not the needs of either side.” – Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres

“But not to be able to play, and for the fans, too – they pay our salaries, anyway. It’s not fair for fans not to have hockey right now.” – Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks

And, let’s not forget our very own Sergei Kostitsyn: “Let’s put it this way – it would be better [for the players] if the lockout continues. Players want a definite answer. If the NHL season is lost – let it be that way. I would then play in Russia for the whole season.”

We could continue to add and add all of the players that have spoken publicly about the lockout, but it would make for one long, drawn-out blog post. It’s clear the players aren’t ready for another lockout, with the last one (in 04-05) still fresh on everyone’s minds.

The real losers here are both the franchise and city of Columbus. With an already struggling hockey market, the All-Star weekend was going to boost both the city’s economy and possibly push some life into the Blue Jackets’ sinking organization. And, to top it off, with Columbus losing their hosting duties at an All-Star game, the chance of Nashville hosting one in the near future will be pushed back as well.

Fans have also expressed their opinions on the lockout, with even a Flyers fan jumping at Commissioner Gary Bettman while leaving a meeting on Wednesday. To be honest, we are surprised it hasn’t happened earlier. So, the question is, how long will fans continue to let both the NHL and NHLPA drag the knife wound through their backs? The optimism is slowly but surely dying off, leaving just a heap of diehards clinging to the dagger. Even we are having a hard time keeping interest, as you can see our posts have been few to none.

How long will the NHL and NHLPA continue to drag the “supposed” season until they finally call it off for good? What good is a season that will start mid-December? We’d be happy for any hockey, championship-worthy or not, but even if the lockout ends tomorrow, the NHL is still the worst-run professional organization in the world. Bettman will still be the commissioner; Fehr will still be the executive director of the NHLPA. Will they just disagree once again and throw the league into another lockout?

Again, the optimism is fading fast and we’re pulling the dagger out at an alarming rate. Time to take notice, NHL.

Hörnqvist to Play for Tre Kronor


We’ve been quiet lately with the lockout in full force, but the life of a writer always gets the best of us. We are tired of not discussing hockey-related material that is worthy of a blog post (if you follow us on Twitter and Facebook, we are always blabbering).

The news we have tonight will come to no surprise to most Predators fans (Horny fans) that Patric Hörnqvist will be teaming up with Tre Kronor as the start of the 2012 Karjala Cup begins.

With the European leagues taking a two-week break, many players have made their way back to North America as the NHL and PA have resumed talks since the letdown of October 18th. We would like to remain optimistic about the meetings (with both sides meeting for eight hours today and are expected to resume tomorrow), but it is a tad bit difficult.

Back to Hörnqvist, the Predators’ right wing will be representing Sweden’s national team alongside Carl Söderberg and Gabriel Landeskog, the youngest player named captain in NHL history. We attempted to read the Swedish news release, but Google Translate can only help you so far.

Again, this news should come as no surprise to Hörnqvist fans. The 25-year-old has given a majority of his time to his national team over the years.


We may or may not be ready to see him in the blue and gold…

NHL & NHLPA: Out of Touch with Reality


After yesterday’s massive letdown, we couldn’t help but feel, not only bitter and defeated, but utterly dumbfounded by how out of touch with reality both the NHL and players truly are.

We will never fully understand what both sides are dealing with or what’s going on inside their heads, but from the outside looking in (the fans’ point-of-view), it’s nothing more than a bunch of indecisive businessmen who are controlled by the greed of money.

What happened to the love of the game? The reason they are in the positions they are now?

Downhearted from greed; that’s just one of the mixed emotions NHL fans are experiencing along this rocky, blind route we’d like to call the lockout.

Although it would be nearly impossible to have a fan presence during the meetings other than standing outside with picket signs, it would still be ideal that we have a voice in the situation. We are the ones who give you that money to fight over, right?

By our accusation of the league and players being “out of touch with reality”, we just can’t begin to fathom the idea of being that well off monetary wise and still have the nerve to fight over more.

What is that you need so badly that you are willing to put people (who don’t make nearly half of what you do) out of work while you negotiate splitting their hard-earned money? What can you not afford now that you want? I highly doubt it’s something you need because nothing materialistic is needed with the kind of money you are arguing about.

Maybe it is because we cannot justify blowing our money on five matching Land Rovers and a Lamborghini that matches our favorite shirt or maybe because we’ve never experienced such luxury. What we can tell you, and this goes for all professional sports entities, is that we hope we never get to the point in our lives/career where we forget about the people who got us to where we are.

This can’t be said for all professional athletes or owners, for most athletes have their own charities and are well-versed in the community. However, as a whole, the NHL and NHLPA have made themselves out to look like a bunch a money hungry jerks with nothing better to do.

So this post is more of a rant than factual based, but wether they truly care or not, both sides are not making friends with fans who don’t understand the ability to fight over revenue when they have enough money already to support themselves and about twenty of their closest friends and family. When you struggle to support yourself and family on one or more jobs, it’s pretty darn difficult to see eye-to-eye with both the players and owners.

This is how the NHL will lose more than just a few games. They are enviably going to lose strong and weak fan bases due to their lack of true connection with the fans that provide then with the revenue that they are currently fighting over.

The NHL is not the NFL or NBA. They do not have the fan base, the time and experience like these two organizations do and they never will if they continue to alienate the people who fund them.

It’s time to take off the rose colored glasses and end this before the fans do.

NHL Shoots Down PA’s Proposals


Well boys and girls, the optimism for a full season is dwindling fast. The NHL and NHLPA met today to discuss possible CBA negotiations, with the PA giving three counter offers of their own.

Unfortunately, what seemed like a positive step turned into a “backward step” per Gary Bettman as the he and the NHL shoot down all three of the NHLPA’s offers.

Back to zero.

What were the PA’s offers? Here they are in a nutshell:
– Proposal #1: A fixed players share for the next three years and, depending on growth, the amount will be decided.
– Proposal #2: The owners take 50% with 5% growth.
– Proposal #3: The players go 50/50 as long as the owners honor all the current contracts signed by the players.

Lots of room for discussion, right? Well, Bettman said both sides were “speaking different languages” when all was said and done. Personally, we believe Proposal #3 is the best of the choices, but obviously the owners do not feel the same way.

Information is still making its way to social media, so we’ll update with all the latest information.

Let the Negotiations Begin: NHL deals Proposal to NHLPA


After more than 100 days after the NHL/NHLPA CBA talks began, the two sides have finally decided it’s time to negotiate. 

The National Hockey League, under the guidance of commissioner Gary Bettman, has proposed a 50/50 split amongst hockey related revenue (HRR) with the NHLPA. With this proposal, Bettman is attempting to  save the 82-game schedule, with it expected to start on November 2nd, if the NHLPA agrees.

With fans sighing with relief that at least one side has made a move, all is not quiet on the home front. The current split is at 57% in favor of the players, which (without doing the math) tells you with this new proposal, the players will lose money, wether all at once or long-term. 

So what could possibly hold the players’ association back from accepting this slice of pie, besides the 7% decrease in possible income? Well, there’s more to this proposal than a 50/50 split of HHR. Here is some of the fine print:

  • Five-year limit on long-term contracts. As of right now, there aren’t any limits.
  • Salary arbitration stays the same.
  • Unrestricted Free Agency would begin at the age of 28 and/or eight years of a NHL term.
  • Entry-level contracts would be extended from three years to four. 



So, what does Don Fehr and the players have to say? Not too much; at least, not for now. As much as we would have enjoyed the NHLPA to announce they’re acceptance to the proposal today, that was definitely a long shot in the dark. The NHLPA did announce that they will respond to the NHL’s proposal within 48 hours, so sometime on Wednesday or Thursday (hopefully).  Fehr also mentioned that, if the new proposal is agreed upon, the deal would last at least six years.

Again, after 100 days, we have lift off to a possible end in the lockout. 

– Photo courtesy of: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images



Sergei Kostitsyn joins Avangard Omsk


After much debate as to where he would sign, Sergei Kostitsyn as chosen to join up with Avangard Omsk of the KHL. SK74 has been vocal about signing with the KHL, but he seemed to take his time selecting which team he’d settle with. As we mentioned in a previous post, the Predators forward has been pretty open about sticking with the KHL, even if the lockout comes to an end before the NHL season can be completely wiped.

Of course, contract-wise, SK74 cannot technically do that, but with big names like Ovechkin and Semin claiming to do the same, it’s no surprise the younger Kostitsyn would jump on board with the bandwagon. Plus, with a league that jumps to a lockout with a drop of the hat, we’d probably do the same.

As you remember, older brother Andrei Kostitsyn signed with Traktor Chelyabinsk in September after being dismissed from the Nashville Predators due to a late night stint during the 2012 playoffs with Russian rebel, Alexander Radoluv. Though most would think SK74 would join up with AK46 again, he chose to go at it alone, with Chelyabinsk a good 12 hours West of Omsk.

Sergei is now the fifth Nashville Predator to ship off to Europe, with Pekka Rinne teaming up with Dinamo Minsk, Roman Josi joining his former team SC Bern, Patric Hörnqvist signing with HC Red Ice, and Craig Smith joining Finland’s SM-Liiga.

NHL cancels all Games Scheduled until the 24th


Surprise, surprise… The NHL has announced the cancellation of all regular season games up until October 24th, with more to follow suite in two-week increments.

For the Predators, this means seven games, including ones against St. Louis, Detroit, Colorado, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Pittsburgh, and Vancouver (four of those seven are home games against Colorado, Vancouver, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis).

Both sides (NHL and NHLPA) aren’t budging over the $3 billion in revenue differences, leading most everyone to brace for a long and painful lockout.

Although it may or may not add up to much, contacting the NHL and NHLPA is a minor step that could measure up to a huge difference for the fan “voice” during this lockout. If you do decide to voice your opinion to either side, don’t fire off steam. Yelling and cussing will fall on deaf ears, but reasonable, passionate fans will be heard. Give it a shot.

NHL League Offices:
1185 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036
Phone – (212) 789-2000
Fax – (212) 789-2020

National Hockey League Players’ Association:
20 Bay Street, Suite 1700
Toronto, ON

Image credit: Bruce Bennett – Getty Images

Craig Smith joins SM-Liiga


With no end in sight for the lockout, more and more players are making the jump to Europe, and now you can add Craig Smith to the list.

The Predators’ rookie phenom announced that he will be joining Finland’s SM-Liiga while the NHL and NHLPA continue to duke it out.

Smith is the fourth Predator to head overseas, including Roman Josi, Pekka Rinne, and Patric Hörnqvist.

ESPN3 Picks up KHL, Hörnqvist Signs with HC Red Ice, & SK74 starts Rumors


Although ESPN is notorious for ignoring all things hockey related (including acknowledging this current lockout), they turned some heads today by coming to an agreement with the Russian-based hockey league to air games on the sports giant’s online channel, ESPN3.

While it isn’t much, at least ESPN is taking the the initiative to draw NHL fans to their site, giving fans at least some chance of seeing their beloved players take to the ice – even if it’s half way around the world. And, believe it or not, this isn’t the first time KHL games have been aired on ESPN3. For the past two seasons, ESPN3 has aired a few games on their station, though thanks to the lockout, it has gained more attention now.

The first game to be shown on ESPN3 will be between Dynamo Moscow and AK Bars on Wednesday, with four more games to follow up until the 9th of this month. More games are set to be scheduled as the lockout continues.

Though almost the entire team is eligible to play in Europe, only a few have fully committed to a team during the lockout including:

– Pekka Rinne – Dinamo Minsk
– Roman Josi – SC Bern
– Patric Hörnqvist was set to return to his former team Djurgarden, but due to high taxes and insurance, Hörnqvist is seeking another route. Where to now? HC Red Ice, yet another Swiss league team.

Rumors are still swarming around as to what Martin Erat is up to, along with rumors that Sergei Kostitsyn wants to stay with the KHL, even after the lockout is settled. However, we have yet to come across anything that has stated he has even signed with a team. Maybe we missed it in the Russian-to-English translation.

Also, be prepared for the NHL to start announcing the cancelation of regular season games some time this week. Good news, however, if the NHL and NHLPA can come to an agreement before November, all 82 games will still be scheduled. Let’s hope for that.

It’s Off to Europe for Rinne, Hornqvist, & Josi: Who’s Next?

Pekka Rinne, Patric Hornqvist, & Roman Josi have hit the trail to Europe.

With all of September’s preseason games cancelled and three already missed, the Predators (along with players across the league) are struggling with the decision of wether to wait out the NHL Lockout or head over seas to continue what they do best.

Alexander Ovechkin, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Alexander Semin have been vocal about their departure for the ‘Mother Land’, prompting fellow NHLers to consider the same decisions, wether they nestle in the KHL or not.

Rumors have been swirling around particular Preds, with Martin Erat supposedly returning to the Czech Republic and Sergei Kostitsyn possibly signing with a KHL team, but the only truth for Predators fans is this: Pekka Rinne has signed with a KHL team, Patric Hornqvist signs with Sweden, and Roman Josi (who actually made his announcement earlier in the week) returns to Switzerland.

Amidst rumors of him signing with the Finnish Elite League, Pekka was adamant about settling with a KHL team instead of one in his native Finland. Rinne will be goaltending for Dinamo Minsk out of Belarus during the duration of the lockout.

Patric Hornqvist naturally returned to Sweden, signing with Djurgården, a key team of Sweden’s Allsvenskan league. Preds’ first rounder Pontus Aberg is active on Djurgården’s roster, giving Hornqvist the opportunity to help the youngster prepare for (maybe one day) a shot in the National Hockey League.

Roman Josi was the first to announce his departure to Europe under the Predators roof, shipping back to S.C. Bern of Switzerland. Former Pred J.P. Dumont played for S.C. Bern last season, gaining eight goals in just 31 games. Josi is expected to hit the ice for S.C. Bern on September 29th.

With Pekka, Patric, and Roman packing up and heading overseas, it’s only a matter of time before the other members of the Nashville Predators inevitably agree to the same decision. As mentioned, SK74 and Martin Erat are already in negations with European teams, so only time will tell when they sign.

The NHL and NHLPA have scheduled a formal meeting on Friday to discuss options on the current lockout, hopefully coming to some sort of an agreement.