Monday, May 16, 2005


Larry Brooks vrs. Eklund

Before we begin, kudos to Larry. I am a huge fan. You can say he is slanted toward the PA, but the guy is pure entertainment. He is controversial, maddening, bizarre, but mostly Larry Brooks if fun and entertaining. This hockey we are talking about is the entertainment business. Sure it is a sport. But sports, well to me sports are when we ourselves actually play. When we lace them up at 6:30 am and put what is left of our groins to the test in an open hockey game with the guys from Campbell Soup. When we WATCH a sport it is for entertainment. It is our escape. That is what is maddening about this lockout. They stole our escape away. They are the guy who never leaves a beer in the refrigerator. Every night we come home from work frustrated, beat up, and the beer we bought yesterday isn't there.

Anyway, Larry knows this is entertainment and that is why love him or hate know you love him. You know, come trade deadline time, Larry will have Sakic going to the Rangers in a three way deal with the Calgary Flames. And folks will post it on the message boards while others talk about it to all hours of the night in Bars in Banff. Because hockey is supposed to be fun. We are supposed to be sitting in orange shirts with 20,000 others deciding whether to get our Nachos between the first and second or second and third periods. Larry is all about this stuff...And yes he is pro PA. How do you think he gets those trade rumors? He knows who butters his bread. I don't have a problem with that.

And then yesterday Larry Brooks "called me out" in his story...feeling very honored, in all seriousness, I challenge him to a rumor dual. The king of the print media rumors vrs. the guy who writes "the blog."

From your story.

"It means that Bob Goodenow remains in firm control of the PA despite league attempts to create friction and doubt within the rank-and-file through its floated messages to media and blogging mouthpieces."

Them fighting words! (for the record none of the messages I receive actually float)

Alright, let's drop em...So I am a mouthpiece, eh? Let's see...I simply talk to people and they talk to me. I open myself up to both sides evenly...The NHL is a much more open entity. The players talk very freely to me, and I never print 99% of what they tell me out of respect for them asking me not to. Mostly they come to me almost as a therapist. The NHL player has been horribly misrepresented and maligned by this process. Not allowed to talk and rarely informed of any strategies, they turn to a blogger that many have never met looking to make sense of it all...The NHLPA doesn't talk to me because that is there policy with everyone.....except for one could argue...Larry Brooks.

I offered the PA a chance to give me more info recently when I was accused by some of being one sided. The PA policy was appropriately described to me as this, "While I recognize fans would love an inside glimpse at the negotiations, I believe that doing so at this time will not assist the process and can in fact be detrimental, so I respectfully decline the request to say anything more than what I am prepared to say on the record (which I think you know is little at this point in time )

I can both respect that and question it. Yes some source sourdes at theNHL have given me info. I check the info and find it to be legit. The PA knows where to find me and they haven't challenged any of the info I have put on the blog recently...The NHL has a different policy. They don't find sharing certain aspects of the process to be detrimental. There are good people on both sides of this...few that I respect more than Gartner and Daly. The ones I talk to at the NHL feel the fans and players need to know at this time that they are trying to get this done quickly. Not as a PR stunt. Not as spin...but because if they don't let the fans know, they will lose them and their money...The biggest complaint the NHL has right now is that the PA leadership is on a different "timeline," and with sponsors dropping like flies, that is dangerous. The NHL players themselves realize they need to make haste and that is why progress has occurred as of late.

Back to my dual...

Larry, when I post a rumor I often put it in quotes in the words of the person who said it.

from your article...

"Because if the league truly wanted to create cause for debate within the union, if it wanted an agreement at anything other than on its own dictated terms, it would be offering 58 percent of the gross against a revenue guarantee of at least $1.8B for next season - and with meaningful revenue-sharing - instead of the same deal the PA has been rejecting for a year."

Interesting stuff, and rather specific. Are you negotiating for the PA? Using YOUR words to get THEIR point across...wait a second...Isn't that a mouth...? And by the way..The NHL has said time and time again the 54% is not a hard number (owners called players saying we don't believe the same thing that Jacobs said)...waitg a second...1.8B in the upcoming season...Are you nuts? Do you not recognize any damage as a result of a season being lost?

form your article...

"It means that these players, who quite assuredly understand they are losing money they themselves will never recoup, remain committed to attaining a system that will be fair and beneficial for the next generation of NHL athletes. Because these players understand that by agreeing to a CBA with such limited revenue-sharing that it will still leave anywhere from 6-10 teams losing money on an annual basis, the league will use those losses to gain further concessions through another lockout the next time."

First off revenue sharing has been figured out...that was a very good argument, but from what we can tell..resolved..And I know these players are strong to their own detriment...but I talk to alot of them, and Goodenow and Bettman better get them back on the ice in October. There is alot of damage already. One NHL all-star, highly respected in Canada, said this to me on the phone..It was so great I made him e-mail it to me....."We owe it to the players of the past and future to be playing hockey come October. To the guys of the past, whose play on the ice, and work off the ice-and I'll include Goodenow in that-made this a sport where guys can make over a million on the average despite no national USA TV contracts. We need to build on their momentum and then continue it by making the sport more entertaining. That is how we'll increase our salaries, and that is how we'll benefit the players of the future. If we continue to cancel, or even threaten to cancel seasons, we are killing the work they did, and setting our sport back further and further. I challenge both sides to say right now, "Game On" and let that be the pressure to get a deal done."

That's it, match, point.

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