Wednesday, September 26, 2012

CNBC Quick Hit: We Talk NFL Refs

With a deal apparently imminent, I join Brian Sullivan at CNBC to talk NFL referees and NFL.

Watch it here.

About Last Night: Podcast of Yesterday's Show Covering Packers, NHL Lockout and the AHL

Last night on Offside, we hit on the legal and business side of the missed called in the Packers/Seahawks game. We also talk NHL lockout and interview David Andrews, President and CEO of the AHL.

To listen to last night's show, please click here.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Exclusive - NHLPA Memorandum To Players on State of Negotiations

Today, I secured a copy of Donald Fehr's memo to the players outlining the state of negotiations while addressing the competing offers.

The memo is a very good read as far as understanding the details at play.

I have provided an in-depth review of the memo and distilled the important details. The article is at and is entitled "NHLPA Memorandum Outlines Latest On CBA AndOther Details".

Here is an excerpt:
The NHLPA's proposal calls for "small, but fixed increases in pay for the players over a five-year proposed collective bargaining agreement. 
In the first three years of the CBA, the players would get $1.91 billion, $1.98 billion and $2.1 billion, which represents a share of revenue of 54.3 per cent, 52.5 per cent and 52 per cent. This assumes that hockey related revenue or HRR (the revenue pie shared with the players) continues to grow at the usual or historic 7.1 per cent rate.
Click here to read the article.

EXCLUSIVE: NHLPA Memo On State Of Negotiations

Today I got my hands on a memorandum drafted by executive director of the NHL Players’ Association (NHLPA) Donald Fehr to players. He provide a status update on negotiations and provides some details on the specifics proposed by both sides.

I broke the story through Twitter and my friends at picked up the feed and consolidated the feed into one story.

I've also drafted up a  more in-depth summary of what I read and TSN will post that soon. Once it's up I will drop a note here directing you to the story.

One thing is clear - there remain obvious areas of compromise on revenue sharing. Hopefully, this gets done inside of October.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

CNBC Hit: We Talk NHL Lockout and Potential Disconnect With Fans

I joined host Brian Sullivan on CNBC to talk NHL lockout. CNBC's Brian Shactman also joins the discussion.

When millionaires and fight really rich millionaires (or in some cases billionaires), does that resonate with fans. If there a disconnect?

Click here to watch this lively discussion.

CTV National News: NHL Players Heading Abroad

I join CTV National News to talk about NHL players heading abroad to play during the lockout. 

During the last lockout in 2004-05, 388 NHL hockey players headed overseas to play hockey. Why do they do it? Does this have an impact on negotiations?

Click here to watch the clip.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Team 1200 Radio Clip: NHL Lockout

I joined Steve Lloyd and AJ Jakubec on the Team 1200 to discuss the NHL lockout. 

Where are we and what's next.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Quebec Labor Board Rules On NHL Lockout - Who Won?

I wrote an article for entitled "Quebec Labor Board Rules On NHL Lockout, But Who Won?". 

Here's an excerpt:
The Quebec labor board on Friday made its ruling in connection with the NHLPA's attempt to block an NHL lockout in Quebec on the basis that it's unlawful.
The NHLPA's position was that since it was not certified as a union in Quebec, Montreal Canadiens players could not be locked out. Under Quebec law, only employees of a certified union can be locked out.
So who won?
No one, really, but maybe the NHL by just a bit.
Click here to read the article at

Friday, September 14, 2012

CNBC Hit On NHL Lockout

I joined Brian Sullivan from CNBC's Sportsbiz show, which airs on NBC Sports Network. We chatted about the key issues at play in the NHL labor dispute.

Agreed - the camera mysteriously makes me look like Philip Michael Thomas (carrying on business as Tubbs).

To watch it, click here.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

TSN Radio Clip - NHL Lockout and Where We Are

I join Scott MacCarthur and Steve Kouleas on TSN Radio to discuss the NHL lockout. How far apart are the sides and what is next.

Team 1200 Radio Clip: Latest on NHL Lockout

I join JR and Steve Warne at the Team 1200 to discuss the latest on the NHL lockout. This is all very sad. Very very sad.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012 Can the NHLPA Block A Lockout?

I've drafted an article for entitled Can the NHLPA Block A Lockout?

I examine the merits of the NHLPA's case in connection with its proposed application before the Quebec Labor Board trying to block a lockout. 

Here is an excerpt:
The NHLPA will have some challenges with its application. The first deals with the NHLPA’s past conduct, which is seemingly at odds with the current situation. In 1994 and 2004, when the NHL locked out the players, the Union didn’t fight it. As well, and more importantly, in 1992, the Union went on strike.
So the NHLPA didn’t fight the lockouts as illegal, and they even went so far as to strike. The NHLPA will have to distinguish those positions from the current one. That could be tough since the positions seem in direct opposition.

Team 1200 Radio Clip: NHLPA's Labor Complaint

I joined Steve Warne and JR on TGOR this AM to chat about the NHLPA's labor law complaint and what it means.

TSN SportsCentre Clip: NHLPA Labor Law Move

TSN's SportsCentre aired part of an interview I did with Bryan Hayes of TSN Radio on the NHLPA seeking to argue that a lockout is unlawful in Quebec. Click here and look for "NHL"Alternative Measures"

If you want to listen to the entire radio clip go here and cycle through until you find my long scrabble friendly name.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Interview: Paul Kelly Former Head of NHLPA

This week on Offside (with my new co-host Lee Versage), I interview Paul Kelly, the former head of the NHLPA.

Paul offered tremendous insight into the NHL CBA negotiations, Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr.

If you are following the talks, or want to learn more about it, I highly recommend you listen to Paul's comments.

Where Are We On NHL CBA Talks?

The NHL last proposed giving the players a 51.6% share of revenue in the first year of a new deal. The NHLPA said hang on a minute - that 51.6% figure is really a 46% share of revenue since the NHL defines revenue in a narrow way.

That takes us back to when the NHL initially proposed a 46% share for the players, to which Fehr said that's really 43%. 

So at this point what is more important than what percentage the players get and is how they define revenue begin with. Right now, the sides are looking at this from different angles. That's never good. The NHLPA wants a more expansive definition of hockey revenue.

We know that last night, special counsel to the NHLPA Stephen Fehr and Deputy Commissioner Bill "Tomato Juice" Daly (yes that's his nickname from his college football playing days) had dinner. No word on how that went, but I can report that Daly had the fish and Fehr the mutton.

So are we headed for a lockout? 

Things certainly don't look great. Daly (an antitrust lawyer by trade) said while he remains “hopeful”, it is “increasingly unlikely” that training camps will open on time. 

“It appears that based on the response we got from the Union last Friday, our talks have stalled, at least temporarily. While we certainly remain hopeful they will resume shortly, it is obviously becoming increasingly unlikely that NHL Training Camps will start on time" Daly declared.

Contract/settlement negotiations are filled with ebbs and flows, and they can be a funny beast. When all hope seems gone, things can turn quickly and things can get moving.

In this case, though, the concern is that there are fairly obvious areas of compromise. When I get a new case, I look to figure out the likely terms of settlement. At times, it can take longer to get there but the finalized terms of settlement are generally not too surprising.

The cap next years was supposed to be at $70.2 million and the NHL is proposing a new cap of $58 million. So a cap at around $64 million would likely do it. 

As well, the NHL wants to give the players a 46% share of revenue and the PA has proposed 54% share. So start it close to 54% and gradually drop it closer to 50% over the life of the CBA.

This bring me to another point - the length of the CBA. The NHLPA is proposing a 3 year CBA with a player option to renew for 1 year. That won't cut it - not even close. It needs to be 6 years or more since long term CBAs help promote stability and grow a league. So the NHLPA needs to move closer to 7 years.

Entry level contracts are 3 years and the NHL is proposing 5 years. So meet at 4 years.

So back to the concern - no settlement to date despite obvious areas of compromise. If there remains a meaningful divide between the sides a week away from the CBA expiring, a lockout remains possible. However, given the nature of negotiations, a lockout is not a certainty. For me, it remains too early to make that call.

The NFL also tried to claw back player revenue in 2011. The sides in that case also had obvious areas of compromise. There was a lockout but no games were lost. 

So perhaps those looking to recalibrate should stop asking whether there will be a lockout, and start asking whether the NHL will miss any regular season games.