Wednesday, August 22, 2012

One Timers

Some thoughts about the Predators and all things hockey...

Fisher signing sends a message

The signing of Mike Fisher to a 2 year, $8.4 million extension by the Predators was a good move by the team for two reasons. Fisher is one of those glue guys that can contribute in all zones on the ice and is a strong, veteran leader on a young team. Just as importantly, his signing is confirmation that the owners can and will continue to pony up the money to put talent on the ice beyond Shea Weber. While the Predators will rarely make a breathtaking financial move with player contracts (Weber notwithstanding), it is good to see that the team has the ability to sign the players they feel can contribute. Many in the hockey world had their doubts.

File this under "karma"...

On a very slow Saturday evening that probably serves as a prelude to some serious-ass CBA fireworks come Tuesday, the Pioneer Press’s Charley Walters suggests that the Minnesota Wild’s lockout-proofing of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter may require a lickety split infusion of bucks from the team’s various owners, Board of Governors negotiating representative Craig Leipold included:

The Minnesota Wild have to pay $10 million bonuses by Saturday, Aug. 18, to each of the star free agents they signed in July, Zach Parise and Ryan Suter.

With those bonuses due, a little birdie says, virtually all of the Wild’s 11 limited partners last week agreed to commit to a total capital call of $10 million. Principal partner Craig Leipold is expected to fund the remaining $10 million.

Parise and Suter each agreed to $98 million, 13-year contracts July 4, with the signing bonuses due within 45 days.

If there is a NHL lockout—the league’s labor contract expires Sept. 15—Wild investors could be asked to commit to another cash call. That could occur as early as November.

Who ya gonna believe?

It is precisely this signing, along with the enormous Weber offer thrown out by Ed Snider of the Flyers, and several cap circumventing contracts executed last season, that undermines the credibility of the owners when they say they are not making money and need the players to give up part of their salaries. I have no doubt that the revenue split will ultimately settle near the 50/50 range, but the owners have thrown away their ability to cry poor in their negotiations with the NHLPA.

Revenue Sharing is championed by...the players?

The problem for the League is that some teams are truly revenue disadvantaged and the League needs a better revenue sharing model. The players, lead by Donald Fehr, have shrewly positioned themselves as champions of revenue sharing and promoting the overall well being of the game. Right now, in the court of public opinion, they hold the upper hand.

Do you think...

The rush by a number of players to get long term deals done is a realization that those types of deals will no longer be available under the new CBA?

That the new CBA will exact tighter controls on the owners, who frankly need to be saved from themselves, in the area of contract term, bonuses, and front loading?

A lockout of any length will be detrimental to growth of hockey in the non-traditional markets? My belief is that, yes, it will hurt momentum and perhaps alienate the casual fan. But the damage will not be as great as it was after the last lockout because the roots of hockey are more established in these markets.

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