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Eklund's Blog.......CBA Solutions w/ Sources. Lockout Primer

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Eklund's blog

It has been a long time since I have written a blog like this one. It’s not a story I was hoping to have to write again, but it is part of my own history. Before HockeyBuzz, there was another blog; a blog about the NHL lockout of 2004-05. It was blog written by many people. I was one of them, of course, but so were other folks who have never been quoted or involved in this website at all. Until now that is.

With fears looming of another NHL lockout, I have spent the better part of two months re-connecting with those original sources. These are people were movers-and-shakers behind the scenes of the NHL and NHLPA.

Most of the NHLPA sources have since moved on to other positions, but they were kind enough to introduce me to the people now in their spots, providing assurance I would protect their identities and use their information for good, strictly in hopes that we can get back to the world we all love and in the hope that we all will be talking hockey and not Collective Bargaining Agreement discord this season.

As always, there are good people and not-so-good people involved on all sides of the business end of this sport. The trick is figuring out who is who. It isn’t always easy to do. Sadly, some of the good people from the last set of negotiations turned into disingenuous people once they got what they needed. The good news this time around (at least so far) is there appear to be fewer bad people than there were last time we had to do this dance.

On Lockout 2004-05

The last time around, Bob Goodenow headed the NHLPA. To this day, his enemies still say his way was to lead by misleading. That may not be entirely fair. A more accurate description is that he was very good at telling the players only what he felt they wanted to hear. But that strategy often works, and it worked for Goodenow for many years.

Internally, the biggest problem in 2004-05 was that he told different players many different things. As players' frustrations grew with the ongoing lockout, they compared notes with each other. The result was anger, disillusionment and, eventually, fracture.

Players, even ones most would deem as fringe NHLers or role players, told stories of Goodenow going up to them and asking them about their hometown, or reciting their stats going to back to their peewee hockey days. Goodenow always did his homework on his union members and was very good at getting to know the particulars of their individual personalities. He knew what made them tick and his mannerisms were always supremely confident. He explained things in competitive terminology. This connected with the players.

Ultimately, Goodenow's downfall was that he was so confident in his power base that he felt he could wait out the NHL. I have heard some say he still feels the salary cap wouldn’t have happened if they stuck to his plan. That plan being waiting yet another season for the owners to finally crack. It was his battle cry all along: Let's break the owners.

The problem in his logic was obvious. The owners don’t have the same time limits the players have. Missing a year of hockey was devastating to some NHL careers. Missing two years was unacceptable to virtually everyone who plays the game for a living.

The last time around, the NHLPA had a secret website to discuss things, but it only helped to a certain degree. There was always a high degree of paranoia that either the writers or the NHL itself was secretly gaining access to the union members' internal discussions.

In the years that have followed, I have wondered if we had had more social internet (like Twitter) in wide use back in 2004, whether the union leadership telling different stories to different people could have worked as well and for as long as it did then.

Goodenow’s even more fatal flaw: In an attempt to “control" the negotiations, he made it known how he would never attend a session unless Gary Bettman also attended. The tactic backfired. Bettman simply sent Bill Daly to negotiate just to keep Goodenow away. This is why the deal was struck with Daly and Ted Saskin at the table.

Now let’s discuss Bettman. Gary is a very polarizing figure, much of which I believe is for the wrong reasons. Unfortunately much of the ire against Bettman is far too personal and far too prejudicial in nature. Enough said. This isn't intended to be THAT sort of blog.

On Lockout 2012

This time, like the last time, Bettman has two very different but equally contentious groups with which to deal. Sure, the NHLPA is the obvious partner/adversary and forging a new deal that makes the players reasonably happy is ultimately vital to the long-term health of the League.

However, where Bettman REALLY won the war last time is he managed to convince a group of 30 wealthy owners to skip a season. Thirty teams who, quite frankly, only have their own interests at heart. Somehow, Bettman got them to work together.

I have met roughly a dozen current and past NHL owners and I can’t imagine how this feat was achieved. If they held records for Commissioners, Bettman getting that group to stay together for over a year (while bringing in no revenues) would be a Gretzky-esque record. Whether you like Gary Bettman or hate him, you must give him credit for that much.

How did he do it? Well he held an ace and he appealed to their egos…always a wise strategy in dealing with multi-multi-millionaire businessmen. Just as with Goodenow and the players, Bettman understood the owners' mentalities, both individually and collectively. What was different, of course, was the specific message.

Bettman's mantra to the owners: If the NFL and the NBA had salary caps, why don’t we have one? That resonated. Salary Caps resonated.

You see, I have been to the NHL offices on several occasions and I am always struck by the same thing. The NHL people don’t look at the most financially successful NHL teams themselves as a benchmark. Rather, the NHL looks at the other major sports and iconic sports franchises as their benchmarks. This is especially true in Bettman’s NHL.

This is why ESPN’s post lockout degrading TV offer was angrily dismissed, even when the NHL was not in much of a position of negotiating strength. The NHL powers-that-be knew that the NFL or NBA would have never accepted such a deal under any circumstances.

Therefore, Bettman bet on Comcast instead, despite the initial appearance (and corresponding ridicule) of taking a step backward in the exposure of the sport. By any measure, it took OLN/Versus awhile to get on its feet. But it eventually happened, and the NHL's current deal with Comcast/NBC has been a financial grand slam for the league.

Nowadays, anyone who watched the Olympics and the new NBC Sports Network has to admit that walking away from ESPN proved to be a good move. It opened the way for the NHL to innovate and be in a much better place today. Would the Winter Classic have ever happened with ESPN/ABC at the helm? I am not so sure it would have.

Why 12>4...

What is interesting this time around is how much has changed in the last seven years. At one point the NHLPA was in total shambles between the fallout of the lost season and a disastrous internal "spying" scandal involving Goodenow's successor, Saskin (whom I still feel was set up to a certain point).

Since then, the Players Association has risen like a phoenix (no Coyotes pun intended) from the ashes behind the very strong and experienced leadership of Donald Fehr.

I once wrote a blog entitled “We have nothing to Fear but Fehr Himself.” I wrote this remembering baseball’s strike from a casual observers perspective. Now, with a ton more knowledge of this game, I can say I was wrong. Donald Fehr, at least so far, has done nothing but impress me.

Incidentally, despite whatever public rhetoric you may hear, many at the NHL have also been impressed with Fehr's accessibility and straightforward dialogue.

Why are so many impressed? Many in hockey subscribe to the K.I.S.S. Principle. Many of you know what it stands for, but in case you don’t, it stands for "Keep It Simple, Stupid." Coaches yell it to their guys all the time. So far at least, Fehr has managed these negotiations by K.I.S.S.

The last time around, the players felt largely neglected by their leadership. This time around, they wanted more direct involvement.

In response, Fehr has invited the team union reps to any meeting they wish to attend and is even having them sit in on the negotiations. Some would say, “Why would a player want to do that? Isn’t that why they have a guy? To represent them?”

Most players pre-2005 would agree with that one hundred percent. But a funny thing happens when you lose an entire year of income in an already too-short livelihood. Then you want transparency. You want answers and openness. Most of all, you dread sitting alone at home kept in the dark about things that affect your life and your family.

I am told Fehr will propose some very creative ideas. These will be ideas in which the NHLPA lays out Fehr's vision of how he believes the NHL can fix its problems in regard to the salary cap floor/ceiling and revenue sharing. Of course, it will be creative without giving much or any ground. However, from a fans perspective and the perspective of some in the mainstream media, it will likely be better received than the initial NHL volley.

Take note: The NHLPA's proposal today will be so far from the NHL’s proposal that many will doubt a season is possible. There will be much doom-and-gloom. But a 2012-13 NHL season is more than possible; it is likely.

Remember, in all cases, first offers are about what you WANT, not what you need. The NHL’s offer showed us this in spades and I believe was a bit of a reaction to not knowing where to go against Fehr. Some said it was greedy and were this a “take it or leave it” offer it would be hard for the NHL to get much positive public opinion from what was put forth.

I feel the NHL made a bit of a blunder with such a draconian stance, and the NHL’s initial offer (specifically, the way it was received by the players) has made the League's second move into something more important than it needed to be. The next move from the NHL will be its public response to the NHLPA offer.

If the owners come out and say more words to the effect of “Well, it looks like we are heading to a lockout, because it's our way or no way,” they will be doing Donald Fehr’s job for him by unifying the NHLPA.

Conversely if they respond with a more diplomatic tone -- something along the lines of “We appreciate the work that went into the NHLPA’s proposal. We'll study it, and then we'll meet again with Donald” -- the NHL will have a chance to win the public opinion polls and, more importantly, keep the players from fully aligning against them in similar fashion to how players instinctively defend teammates in a fight.

Rumors abound that Sidney Crosby will be part of the players' presentation of the offer. Like it or not, Crosby is the NHL face and is notorious for not wanting any part of this sort of thing. His presence would surely help the NHLPA make a strong statement that it is a more united front. I would also bet any amount of money (were I to poll fans on this site and twitter tomorrow) that more fans will be more on the side of the players once the NHLPA proposal is made public.

The NHL has a real battle on its hands here. The system that was put into place didn’t take into account the success they would have. The financial projections on cap escalation underestimated the NHL’s financial growth by huge amounts. The fact the system has taken the Cap Floor to a higher number than the original Cap Ceiling was NEVER in their plans. And yet here we are.

By the way, you can complain all you want about the lesser teams struggling to keep their product on the ice. But we just saw a summer where Minnesota and Nashville landed (or at least retained) the big dogs in free agency while Detroit and Philly ultimately couldn't give their money away despite their deep pockets and on-ice contender status.

This is all terrible, right? Sooner or later, the wealthy teams will simply grind down the smaller-market teams, right? Wrong. It's not terrible at all. It's true parity and the owners and players alike know it.

All of this is great for hockey. Sure, there are still huge revenue sharing issues and many teams struggling to get by and yes indeed, we came UNBELIEVABLY close to having two teams who are in dire financial straits (NJ and Phoenix) play for the Stanley Cup. Issues such as these are why there is a need for further adjustments to be made to the current CBA. The NHL and the NHLPA agree on that much, at least. It's getting from the current point to a new destination that will be tricky.

Most will note the NHLPA’s massive turnover and say the NHL is basically the same as it was in 2004. It is still Bettman and Daly running the show, after all. However, while the NHL may be represented by the same two key leaders, it is flat out wrong to say the team owners looking at the potential 2012 lockout are the same as the owners of the 2004 lockout. A lot of people -- and perspectives -- have changed.

Even skipping over the teams who have changed hands, the owners who were around in 2004 are in entirely different situations. Most are much happier with their current status as NHL team owners. Due to the internet and social networking, they are also personally much more in the limelight than they ever were in the past. Every time we see a team sign a big name player the majority owner or club president takes the podium. With this added exposure and familiarity also comes more accountability.

This time around, Gary Bettman doesn’t hold an ace (such as ensuring a salary cap) to keep the owners aligned during the negotiation poker game. Not yet at least. All that Bettman holds right now is a revenue sharing percentage, and that's nearly as powerful of a tool to keep the owners compliant and united while he and Daly negotiate with Fehr. I also believe Donald Fehr will do everything he can to not wake up the sleeping giant that is the 30 owners; not out of fear (again, no pun intended) but for strategic reasons.

The percentage that Bettman holds right now is the difference between 57 percent and 46 percent. That's eleven points to play with; eleven points to try and assure even the most financially vulnerable NHL teams survive. Toward this end, Bettman also holds the negotiating tactic of defining the semantics of "hockey-related" revenue.

The struggling teams with the worst financial outlooks need help. This stretches beyond the players' ability to fix it with on-ice success. The wealthy owners realize this, too. Nevertheless, they still have their own interests atop their personal agendas.

The sport of hockey has never been more popular or lucrative than it is now. As such, for Bettman and Daly to rally all the most influential owners to miss an entire season without a linchpin issue is going to take something beyond the managerial equivalent of a Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux season.

Without a Salary Cap-like monolith to hold up the talks any longer, I expect far fewer days in which I have to write the now famous “No Progress Report” types of blogs that I echoed so many times during the dark days of 2004-05. I will flat out tell you that the NHL will have a much harder time hitting a home run this time around. But that’s OK.

Here's why: Despite the early requisite tough talk, I honestly feel that most on the NHL side know that a home run isn't needed to bring the talks to a resolution.

I have already had people tell me the atmosphere now just isn’t where it was in August and September of 2004. Teams have too much to lose now, and wealth is a great leveler. In 2004, the NHL felt the league was legitimately in trouble, and symbolically pulled the goalie to skate with 6 forwards and no defensemen. In other words, it was sheer desperation time.

This time around...well I have heard people privately equate it to "the NHL is really just trying to hold the lead" in getting what they want versus the union's forthcoming initial proposals when all is said and done.

All this is well and good. But, in practical terms, what will the NHL and NHLPA have to do to get this done and will get it done before we miss hockey games?

I went to both NHLPA and NHL sources from the good ole days as well as some new friends and asked them the following question:

Ignoring the percentage issue, give me a compromise you feel your side could relinquish in the spirit of getting this done

Of course I promised all involved that once again I would protect them and in doing so they responded with some awesome and creative answers. Some unique and some obvious. Some I agree with and some I don’t. Some I see happening and some I would love to see, but can't imagine...

With player rumors, as you all know, I just report and then I step back without venturing an opinion. I prefer not to get in the way of the conversation and allow you all to decide for yourselves what rumors do or do not make sense…in your own words.

However, those of you who remember my lockout coverage in '04 will recall I offer up plenty of opinions when the sport is threatened and this should already be obvious from the some 2500 words into this blog. That being said, I also try to represent both sides of the fence and will state opposing opinions as well.

My goal during this potential lockout will be the same as it was back then. I will try to show you there is hope in this chaos and I will search long and hard for positives to report even when it gets ugly. I am not a gloom and doom guy. I don’t see this as a personal thing. These are millionaires dividing up the pie. And lucky for us, there are sources out there who want the NHL fans to know all is not lost. These are just negotiations.

I will not have any personal issues with Bettman or Fehr as long as I believe they are keeping the overall health of the game atop their agendas. And should they take things too far and not remember the fans are their true bosses here you will see my attitude change. We the fans do not deserve being taken for granted. Not in a sport that is so gate driven and such a huge part of so many people’s lives -- and cultures.

I will ask Bettman and Fehr the question, “Do you always put the fan’s first and remember they are paying for all of this?” I will write blogs on their answers.

I have established a personal relationship with Gary Bettman and I do find him to be a standup guy doing a VERY difficult balancing act of a job. In TV interviews his critics jump all over him without somehow understanding he has to answer questions from 30 different perspectives. Somehow, he does that extremely well without any of the owners having issues.

If you listen to Gary’s radio show on XM you will hear how much he loves the game and all the lore around it. You will also get an idea of how hard the guy works. His answers are always well researched and well thought out. I am sure he has people helping with the questions, but there are so many instances you'll hear him go off script when interviewing someone, merely because he is a fan of the game and legitimately interested.

I have met Gary enough times to know this is not an act. I have yet to meet Donald Fehr in person, but I am attempting to work out a trip to do so. I would really like to understand more about him. So far, like I noted, I am very impressed.

So to make a long story even longer here are some of the best answers to the question..

Ignoring the percentage issue, give me a compromise you feel your side could relinquish in the spirit of getting this done

#1. The Two Way Contract Fix

“We want the best players in NHL, but currently we are losing our depth guys to Europe due to the way two-way contracts work. Currently if a player is making more than 105K in the minors and he is called up he must go through re-entry waivers and another team could grab him. Then the team losing him is on the hook for half the money and cap hit.

Some veteran players are afraid of signing one-way contracts because they know teams won’t call them up again once they are sent down. Younger players often get massively underpaid on the AHL end of two-way deals. It is a big issue. These are truly good guys and good hockey players. They are often getting married and starting families. They are OK playing in the minors if need be, but to keep them capped at $105K is insane. They get buried. So instead many of these players are looking to the KHL or other European leagues.

By allowing for an increase in “guarantee” dollars available on 2-way contracts and raising the threshold on re-entry contracts, you will see many more players signing here and it will also, as a side benefit make the AHL better.

Say $1 million is the new threshold. The keeps the best players here for team depth. And allows older guys chance to play in the NHL longer and be a solid influence on their AHL squads. I know the poorer teams will cry unfair because the bigger markets will be able to buy depth and put it in the minors without affecting the Cap. So limit it. To perhaps 5 per team.

This is the kind of issue the NHL could get serious good will from the players by proposing. This affects a ton of guys every July and puts them into an uncomfortable decision. If a guy is getting $1m to playing in the K, but can only get a guarantee of 100k on a two way or they are never going to get the call they are left with very tough decision. Most guys will tell you they will stay in the NHL."

#2 Expand the Playoffs to 20 Teams.

“The NHL has already discussed this, but not in terms of how much it would help out the smaller market teams. By expanding the play-offs to 20 teams, 4 more teams will get into the post season…likely 4 more smaller market teams. How do you do it and how do you make sure it makes the regular season more meaningful? Simple.

The 1 to 6 seeds in each Conference get into the regular playoffs. 7 plays 10 and 8 plays 9 to see who gets the final two spots in a 3-game play-off. The winners become 7-8. That is potentially 12 more games. But in 2010-11 it would have kept 8 more teams “alive” during the play-off push which certainly would have resulted in more dollars.

Those games would be huge for the markets and guaranteed sell outs. Sometimes home games in bigger markets in the early rounds don’t sell out completely.”

#3 Require a Second Team in Southern Ontario

“The NHLPA should demand the NHL puts another team into southern Ontario market or account for it. The NHL can’t ask us to take 50% of the revenue but then leave substantial sums of money on the table. There is no doubt the revenue will be huge.

The league’s main issue with Jim Balsillie re-locating wasn’t moving Phoenix, it was moving a team into Ontario for a couple hundred million. They know they could probably put a $1 billion price tag on a second team in Toronto and get it. The NHLPA would be far more willing to drop the percentage if we knew the NHL was getting all possible revenues.”

Ek’s note: If the NHLPA wants to win the public opinion poll this would be in their proposal for sure.

#4. Allow Dollars to Be Traded Between Teams.

“Allow Dollars to transfer between teams. If Toronto wants to “sell” a player, let them. It’s just another way to redistribute the money in the end. Some, many of the mistakes, made on contracts are not capricious or foolish. Sometimes things just don’t work out. Penalizing teams (GM’s) just hurts the game and the fans.”

#5. Re-work the NHL Discipline System

“When there is a possible suspension form a three person panel. One NHL, one NHLPA, and a third member agreed upon by the NHLPA and NHL reps. (The third party’s salary would be paid equally by the NHL and the NHLPA). Establish some due process, the appearance of propriety, and some precedent. And allow the player to not only attend but attend with representation of some sort. A lawyer of sorts to present his case.

#6. Allow Bonuses For Everyone.

“Allow bonuses for everyone. They can count against the cap just like they do for current Entry Level Contracts.. That way I can sign with Nashville for $500k and if I score 20, I can get my extra $1m. That is untapped dollars for players as it would not have been offered. I understand that Nashville might have signed me for $2M and now they would try to do it for $1.5 plus bonuses, but the market will dictate it and the flexibility will help more than it will hurt.”

#7 A Week of Courtship Prior To July 1.

“Allow players to negotiate the week between the Draft and the UFA. Allows players/teams to make informed choices. Protects teams from being terrified there will be no one left and overspending. Let small-markets clubs “sell” their cities, etc . Consider how much money, time and effort teams spend on the Combine in proportion to the money spent on those kids to how little they are allowed to prepare for signing the biggest contracts in the sport?”

Ek’s note: I swear to you, this was not from me, but rather an NHL source, as well as an NHLPA source…which makes me very happy because I have been on this bandwagon for years since I first heard Kevin Allen propose it. Imagine the excitement of players visiting cities. That week in Canada would be INSANE.

#8 Publish Transcripts of Player Arbitrations.

“Publish transcripts of arbitrations. Make GMs accountable for what they say. It would not only be interesting but lend great perspective to individual player stories and what’s expected of them.

#9 Treat Euros the Same as Canadian Juniors.

"Treat European players the same as Canadian Juniors. If the European Federations don’t like it, well, too bad. The system will reset itself and the players just won’t sign multi-year deals over there. The NHL really hold all the cards and neither the NHL or the NHLPA appear to understand it. In Europe, a player basically stays in entry level until they are about 27, even if they are not drafted, yet in Juniors it is to the age 25."

#10 Allow AHL players to practice with the NHL team without affecting the salary cap.

“Currently the teams up against the cap are doing a dog and pony show to save cents by sending guys down for two days of practice and bringing them back up. In cities where the AHL team practices in the same city players have to sometimes “ask” what sheet of ice they should practice on.

It is pointless and the rich teams feel like asses doing it because not only does it affect their cap but a player who could really use the cash ends up having to take a pay cut and practicing with the AHL club.”

#11. If A Team Doesn’t Want to Pay Revenue Sharing They Can’t Take the Entry Fee.

“Many of the teams in the NHL complain about helping out the smaller market teams but had no issue taking money from that team’s owner when the team entered the NHL.”

#12. When a UFA is signed the team losing him gets compensated for time spent Developing the player.

“You hear it all the time. Small market teams get sick of spending all that money and time developing a guy only to see him hit the UFA market at the young age of 26,27, 28 and play the prime years of his career with someone else.

Why not say the team signing away a UFA who has been in his current team’s system for more than 3 or 5 years would be required to pay a “development fee” of say 5 percent of the total money of the contract? For example, losing a homegrown player like Ryan Suter or Zach Parise would mean more than $5M apiece for Nashville and NJ.

This would be a great consolation prize to help the franchise out and maybe allow them to keep a future player or two they may had otherwise lost as well. The team paying the money could also choose whether or not the Development Fee counts against their cap."

#13. A Luxury Tax Paid To Go Over the Cap.

“Bigger market teams are making more money than ever before and dying to put it into the eco-system. All you need to do is say, any money over the cap you spend you have to pay a Luxury tax that would go towards helping the lesser market teams.”

#14. Force Teams With Waiting Lists to Raise Ticket Prices IF THE TEAM is taking revenue sharing..

“Many call this the 'Sabres Rule' because some of the wealthier owners used to accuse the former owners of artificially keeping ticket prices down in order to keep revenues low enough to get rev sharing. All the while there was a waiting list to get tickets. The Sabres claimed they knew what their market would bare and the only reason there was a waiting list was because the prices were reasonable.”

#15. Franchise Tags.

“It only makes sense the NHL would use the lessons learned from the NFL and allow for franchise tags. This way a team could retain their team identity and what happened with Shea Weber, where a team almost couldn’t afford to keep their team’s most valuable player couldn’t occur.”


Well, that’s about it for now. If you have read this entire blog I should send you a "thank you" cookie or something. I know there is a lot covered here, but I wanted to get it all out there prior to the NHLPA counter proposal in case any of these ideas found their way into the proposal.

My initial idea was to split this up into several blogs to discuss each idea individually…which I may still do, but I am very interested in your thoughts on the ideas presented to me, which I have now passed on to you to dissect and discuss.

Make your voice heard: Are any of these ideas worth the NHL and NHLPA implementing?

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Sorry, I changed your title. I read this this blog this morning and thought wow, this has to be one of the best blogs I've read on the CBA thus far, not only does it give us incite to the history associated with the previous lockout but also a lot of thought into what we may see in the future CBA.

I'm in favor of most of his ideas. I like the idea of a franchise tag and the fixing of the two way contracts. I'd like to fix some of the waiver issues, and have the age limits changed in the AHL and having the same rules apply for Europe and Juniors. ......however I don't want to see a 20 team playoff when you play 82 games in a season. I don't think arbitration transcripts should be made public.

I Never heard of the "Sabres rule" before, but yeah teams who have waiting lists should be required to raise most ticket prices.

And I really liked the 3 membered discipline jury idea.

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Sorry, I changed your title. I read this this blog this morning and thought wow, this has to be one of the best blogs I've read on the CBA thus far, not only does it give us incite to the history associated with the previous lockout but also a lot of thought into what we may see in the future CBA.

I'm in favor of most of his ideas. I like the idea of a franchise tag and the fixing of the two way contracts. I'd like to fix some of the waiver issues, and have the age limits changed in the AHL and having the same rules apply for Europe and Juniors. ......however I don't want to see a 20 team playoff when you play 82 games in a season. I don't think arbitration transcripts should be made public.

I Never heard of the "Sabres rule" before, but yeah teams who have waiting lists should be required to raise most ticket prices.

And I really liked the 3 membered discipline jury idea.

No problem 101. Don't care about the title. Just know people don't always like Eklund but thought this blog was good and hockey fans should atleast give it a chance... Thanks, Idaho-

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And I really liked the 3 membered discipline jury idea.

I think this was something we discussed on this board. Not necessarily a 3 member board although that is a great idea but having a third party to have someone unbiased to level the field. The current discipline CZAR is just that......and that you are using "tools" (no pun intended) called CZARS in a democratic environment is a joke.

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Liked a lot of the ideas but not the additional playoff, luxury tax, or forcing higher ticket prices if there's a list.

Playoffs are good the way they are. Adding teams minimizes regular season standings even further.

Luxury tax? The purpose of a cap is competitive leagues. Just because a team can afford more doesn't mean its good for the league. How many Workd Series did the Yankees buy??? I don't want that in hockey.

If a team raises their ticket prices because there is a waiting list, little guys like me won't be able to go anymore! I have half-season because my family has other needs. The Pens have a long waiting list. Does their success mean I should no longer be able to afford them? I can only go during the crap years?? I understand it's also based in revenue sharing, but where do you put the cutoff? Who determines what a fair ticket price is? Maybe the economy in Buffalo isn't as good as it is in Los Angeles or DC? Who's making that decision?

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Who determines what a fair ticket price is? Maybe the economy in Buffalo isn't as good as it is in Los Angeles or DC? Who's making that decision?

The theory was that if you have a waiting list for people to get tickets, you should up your prices instead of keeping them lower and getting more shared revenue from the cookie jar...I don't know how that will work out unless your prices are out of family in regards to other teams....

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The theory was that if you have a waiting list for people to get tickets, you should up your prices instead of keeping them lower and getting more shared revenue from the cookie jar...I don't know how that will work out unless your prices are out of family in regards to other teams....

Yeah I understand the concept behind it just don't know how you let other markets tell a smaller market what fair is, you know?

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