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Old 02-18-2005, 08:03 PM   #1 (permalink)
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NHL/NHLPA agree..

apparently, they're going to announce tommorow that an agreement has been reached on a 45 mill cap, and that the season is uncancelled

http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?id=1994750
Quote:
There might be an NHL season, after all.

The NHL and the players' association will meet in New York on Saturday after the league requested the sides get together again. The Hockey News reported Friday night that the sides had already agreed in principle to a deal that includes a $45 million salary cap and could un-cancel the season Saturday.

Asked if there was any way a deal won't get done, a player close to the talks who asked to remain anonymous told The Hockey News, "Not that I can see. I couldn't possibly imagine the idea that somebody is going to try to make a name for themselves in the last minute here."

Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux are still believed to be major players in the process. Both are reportedly in New York taking part in the talks.

"I believe all (that) stuff is pretty accurate," said the player close to the talks.

A second source confirmed to The Hockey News that Lemieux traveled to New York on Friday.

On Wednesday, commissioner Gary Bettman canceled the season, saying it was too late to play any semblance of a schedule. The cancellation made the NHL the first major North American sports league to lose a full season to a labor dispute.

Or did it?

In a statement released Friday night, the players' association said the NHL made the offer late Thursday night to get back together. NHL spokesman Frank Brown told ESPN that the league had no comment on the reports.

There was no immediate word on who would take part in the meeting, although Canada's TSN reported earlier Friday that NHL vice president Bill Daly and NHLPA senior director Ted Saskin -- who ESPN The Magazine's E.J. Hradek reported was traveling to New York on Friday night -- will be in attendance. TSN said Bettman and Goodenow may not be directly involved in the meeting.

One general manager told The Hockey News that Bettman used the cancellation to force NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow's hand -- i.e., if Goodenow thought he could maintain his reputation of being a successful deadline hunter, he was wrong.

"I think the timing has always been to get an agreement so that we can play," said New Jersey Devils president Lou Lamoriello, who has taken part in previous negotiations. "Right now, it's still get an agreement, and then if we get an agreement, then can we play?

"I think it's a little different than it was before," he said.

Hradek reported that even if an agreement is reached, there is no guarantee a season will be played this year.

"The way everything has transpired, nothing surprises me," said Lamoriello, who declined to say whether he would be in attendance.

Daly was involved in a closed-door meeting Friday evening and declined to comment.

There hadn't been any official contact between the NHL and the players' association since Tuesday night -- when the sides traded what they said were final offers.

All proposals were rejected, and Bettman went ahead and canceled the season Wednesday at a news conference that was scheduled two days earlier.

"I don't think anything was premature. It was a necessity," Lamoriello said. "It didn't appear to be going anywhere and there was too much jockeying going on.

"Right now, there's a chance of people getting down to possibly getting this done," he said.

Bettman said in a letter to Goodenow on Tuesday that the league's salary cap proposal of $42.5 million was as far as he could go and that there was no time or flexibility for negotiation.

Goodenow sent a letter back, proposing a soft cap at $49 million that could be exceeded by as much as 10 percent by teams twice during the course of the six-year deal.

It appeared there was momentum toward reaching a deal and that the season had a chance to be saved, since the sides were only $6.5 million apart on their cap numbers. But talking ceased after each side sent two letters to the other on Tuesday night.

There were big breakthroughs Monday in Niagara Falls, N.Y., when the NHL agreed to drop its demand that player costs be linked to league revenues and the union, in turn, came off its steadfast opposition to a salary cap.

"We got through the philosophical end of it, so there's a better chance, but I think there is still a lot of work that has to be done and it still takes some time," Lamoriello said.

Bettman said the NHL couldn't afford the union's final proposal and said if all 30 teams spent $49 million on player costs, then more money would be paid out to players than last season.

Rumors began to swirl on Thursday, once the realization set in that the season had indeed been canceled.

"A lot of players, owners, managers saw how close the two negotiating teams got to a deal and I think people are just exploring if that can be explored any more," agent Pat Morris said Friday. "I don't know if it'll have a successful conclusion."

Bettman has said that teams lost more than $1.8 billion over 10 years -- the last time a collective bargaining agreement was reached. The previous lockout cut the 1994-95 season down to 48 games per team.

NHL clubs claim to have lost $273 million in 2002-03 and $224 million last season.

Bettman said that a deal would have to be in the drafting stages by the end of last weekend if there was going to be time to play a 28-game season and a standard 16-team postseason.
this is sweet if it goes through
45's a good number if you ask me
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:10 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This is big news...

It's awesome news!

However, I would ultimately prefer the best long term solution, and if this isn't it, then maybe it's better they don't play this year.
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:23 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm guessing that a deal might be done... but i doubt there will be a season even if there is a deal.
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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this is awsome. I;m glad they were able to talk some sense into Bettman and Goodnow. I think the whole point in having this was so that they will have a season. It will be nice to see the geezers play one more season, albeit a short one. Maybe Lemiux will lead the league in scoring again, he should be able to hold up 28 games.
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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i swear if they are dragging me around again i'm going to be fucking pissed. but if not, in the famous words of wayne's world, "game on!"
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Old 02-18-2005, 08:50 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i hope this is reality and we get a season even a short one to help salvage some of the fans that they were probably lose if it does go on.
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Old 02-18-2005, 09:51 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Meh, as much as I love hockey I could really care less if they have a season or not. It's great for the people that work at the arenas, and restaurants around the cities, but I just can't seem to get excited about this season.
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Old 02-18-2005, 10:34 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hurray. The millionaires finally caved into the billionaires.

What are ticket prices again?
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Old 02-18-2005, 10:52 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Now that this is over, what's the over-under on the number of days until Bettmen and Goodenow are found floating face-down in Lake Ontario?
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Old 02-18-2005, 11:28 PM   #10 (permalink)
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No way, I'll believe it when I hear those two bottom feeding suction eels Bettman and Goodenow say it.
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Old 02-19-2005, 02:47 AM   #11 (permalink)
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http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200....ap/index.html

Quote:
The union denied an online report Friday night that an agreement had been reached on a $45 million salary cap.
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Old 02-19-2005, 08:16 AM   #12 (permalink)
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If they play, I'm not watching NHL hockey ever again.
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Old 02-19-2005, 10:30 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CandleInTheDark
If they play, I'm not watching NHL hockey ever again.
Why?

I'm sorry but I'm sick of people like this.

The NHL is bar none the best hockey on the planet. Just because bureaucracy has wiped away a season doesn't erase that fact. It will be back next year an you'll be back sitting in front of your TV watching your favorite teams.

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Old 02-19-2005, 10:45 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I didn't even follow anything that had to do with the lockout, But if thier is a season..I will be rooting for my Habs.
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Old 02-19-2005, 12:58 PM   #15 (permalink)
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i have been hearing reports that lemieux and gretzky had a lot to do with getting an agreement. it also looks like bettmen and goodenow weren't even involved in the deal.
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Old 02-19-2005, 01:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
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suposidly the talks ended at 3:30 est, with no announcement on what was decided/happend. but gretzky and lemieux were there..
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Old 02-19-2005, 02:03 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Simply put, if they play any sort of season they might as well say the Stanley Cup is worthless. That, or they better play this long a season, every season until the next lockout.
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Old 02-19-2005, 04:13 PM   #18 (permalink)
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no dice. the talks split apart. no deal. they dont even seem close anymore. I thought 99 and 66 would get things going but it looks to be over.
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Old 02-19-2005, 10:23 PM   #19 (permalink)
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i think there is more to this then meets the eye.. the NHLPA said there were things they didn't "see" before in the old agreement and marios comments kinda sounded like, he didn't know how the nhl (or nhlpa) could deal with one another... The NHL also had a press conference set for 6pm too... Kinda sounds like the nhlpa changed their minds at the last minute and wanted more.. So something really bad must of happend.
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Old 02-20-2005, 10:10 AM   #20 (permalink)
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salm suposidly has a good article on what happend.. wayne had a 45 million deal in principle on, from both sides, and apparently a few nhl owners backed out at the last minute and the nhl changed their deal and really pissed wayne off..
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Old 02-20-2005, 11:20 AM   #21 (permalink)
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maybe this will get the notion that wayne gretzky is god out of everyone's head. Him and Mario Lemieux get sucked off way too much in this league. Yea, they were both great players in their own right but they're getting Michael Jordan type of coverage in a league where no one else gets media coverage. I think i've found part of the problem why a lot of people don't follow hockey...
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Old 02-20-2005, 12:04 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Gretzky is the greatest forward that ever played the game. Just like Tretiak is the greatest goalie that ever played the game.
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Old 02-20-2005, 12:12 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartak
Gretzky is the greatest forward that ever played the game. Just like Tretiak is the greatest goalie that ever played the game.

in your opinion, but the fact of the matter is the way its marketed its that gretzky is the greatest forward to ever play the game and no one else has ever accomplished a single thing because he's 'the great one' and no one knows anyone else.
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Old 02-20-2005, 06:56 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Yeah...it's about time the players got their thumbs out of their asses. They make enought money as it is.
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Old 02-20-2005, 09:37 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunchbox
in your opinion, but the fact of the matter is the way its marketed its that gretzky is the greatest forward to ever play the game and no one else has ever accomplished a single thing because he's 'the great one' and no one knows anyone else.
There were many great hockey players before Gretzky's time. Bobby Orr, Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, and so on.

However, when it comes to the idolization of Gretzky, it's not entirely unfounded. He either owns, or shares most records in the NHL, an accomplishment no one else can claim. His calm demeanor, and level headed thinking also make him a great ambassador to hockey. Indeed, it was once said that the most annoying thing about Gretzky is that he is not annoying.

Honestly, I look up to Gretzky as a great man of hockey. If you disagree, that's fine, but to inspire the notion that Gretzky's unbridled reputation as The Great One is unearned is foolish.
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Old 02-21-2005, 04:51 AM   #26 (permalink)
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I said nothing about being uneared. I just think its ridiculous that we put wayne gretzky on this pedestal above everyone else in hockey and no one else in the sport even gets a step ladder. I just think they should have and should now spend less time kissing on his ass and more time promoting other players along with him so we have a face to this game. Because if the face of our game is a guy who retired several years ago...well we have problems.
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Old 02-21-2005, 06:59 AM   #27 (permalink)
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When there is someone worthy of being put at the same level as Wayne, it will happen.
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Old 02-21-2005, 07:45 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunchbox
I said nothing about being uneared. I just think its ridiculous that we put wayne gretzky on this pedestal above everyone else in hockey and no one else in the sport even gets a step ladder. I just think they should have and should now spend less time kissing on his ass and more time promoting other players along with him so we have a face to this game. Because if the face of our game is a guy who retired several years ago...well we have problems.
I don't get it. So, if you're stating that Gretzky's reputation is earned, then why are you acting so dismayed at people who look up to the man? As Ace_O_Spades just stated, when someone else worthy of attention comes along, people will pay attention. But, much like people admire the likes of Orr, Howe, and others, there will always be people who greatly admire Gretzky's accomplishments.
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Old 02-21-2005, 08:40 AM   #29 (permalink)
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To be deemed a great player in any sport - you must not only dominate but also pioneer how the game is played and Gretzky did just that. That said, throughout his carreer the game was undergoing major evolution as well where emphasis on defense is more important than offense. Some say that this has made the game boring to watch - regardless the game has changed and I don't think someone as talented as Gretzky who comes along in the future (a-la Sydney Crosby) will have the same opportunities to pioneer like Gretzky did. How many 'greats' of the game are known for the defensive skill - it is something that is more subjective and records like the ones Gretzky owns are not kept for.

My point is that Gretzky was a great player over a particular time period of the game. Any great player needs to be measure not to all players who every played but the era that they played also needs to be accounted for. It is highly unlikely that if Sydney Crosby blossoms into the superstar everyone thinks he is going to be - he still will not be able to touch Gretzky's records.
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Old 02-21-2005, 09:14 AM   #30 (permalink)
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either you guys (quadraton or AOS) aren't reading what i'm saying or i'm not expressing what i mean very well. So i'll give it another shot.


I'm saying: From the late-middle of gretzky's career to the end of it and even now after he is gone he is the ONLY player who gets recognition outside of the die-hard fans. Gretzky has acheived his superstar status but I think there are players who've done enough to get superstar status but don't get it because the NHL has been insistant on NOT marketing players outside of Wayne Gretzky.

its not the point that gretzky is on a higher level of admiration for these players is that he is the ONLY one with a level of admiration in the public eye. Its a binary decision either A) you're wayne gretzky and you're great or B) you're not.

its that simple and its wrong.
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Old 02-21-2005, 10:49 AM   #31 (permalink)
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you know after i sit back and look at all this, i think the players really dropped the ball.. The owners aren't going to cave, and next season (there will be one, and a draft). All the players the nhlers are taking jobs from in europe will come over and play in the nhl, along with some nhl players i bet.. And guess what? we won't have to deal with players that play for just money, but because they want to play.. I think the games will be even better next year then they have for awhile..
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Old 02-21-2005, 04:41 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lunchbox
either you guys (quadraton or AOS) aren't reading what i'm saying or i'm not expressing what i mean very well. So i'll give it another shot.


I'm saying: From the late-middle of gretzky's career to the end of it and even now after he is gone he is the ONLY player who gets recognition outside of the die-hard fans. Gretzky has acheived his superstar status but I think there are players who've done enough to get superstar status but don't get it because the NHL has been insistant on NOT marketing players outside of Wayne Gretzky.

its not the point that gretzky is on a higher level of admiration for these players is that he is the ONLY one with a level of admiration in the public eye. Its a binary decision either A) you're wayne gretzky and you're great or B) you're not.

its that simple and its wrong.
Then there has to be someone out there who people would think of before they think of Wayne Gretzky.

Jarome Iginla had a good start during last year's playoff run, and if he proves he's not just a one shot wonder, he might have a chance at usurping Gretzky's throne.

Everyone keeps saying Sydney Crosby will be the next player to dominate the league, but for the time being, he is just another guy waiting for the draft.

Rick Nash, Martin St.Louis, and Vincent Lecavlier are playing for teams no one even cares about, and Dan Heatly needs a course on road safety.

Even Brett Hull is starting to run out of steam, and he definitely lost a lot of respect from people North of the border when he donned the Team USA jersey.

So, I agree. It's been too long since someone could carry the game of hockey, but as things are right now, there just isn't anyone out there who can rise above the rest like Gretzky did. But I promise you, when that guy comes along, people will know.
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Old 02-21-2005, 05:37 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Quadraton
It's been too long since someone could carry the game of hockey, but as things are right now, there just isn't anyone out there who can rise above the rest like Gretzky did. But I promise you, when that guy comes along, people will know.
I get what you mean but there is an immense amount of talent in the league that's not being showcased. Look at the NFL they have players on every team that's marketed and every team has at least a player or two who has an amazing skill set that you can market. If the NHL wants to model its business after something it should be the NFL. I can probably give you at least 25 players who could be marketed to show how amazing they are at this game there are guys who can do some ridiculous things with the puck and I just think they need to showcase the starts of the entire league and not worry about there being a next gretzky.
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Old 02-21-2005, 07:21 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Wayne Gretzky dominated his sport in a way no other player has dominated their sport in North America. Not even Michael Jordan. For all Jordan did, there still are players like Jabaar with more points, Stockton with more assists, etc. Gretzky has basically every offensive record that matters. Not only does he own the records, but no one is even close to him.

Now, I don't know what you mean by the NHL 'marketing' him. I don't think the NHL at all markets Gretzky. Instead, it is the media that will only pay attention to hockey when Gretzky is involved with something. And deservingly so, since he is the greatest offensive player in history. It would be nice if the media talked about other facets and players in hockey, but they don't. In the end, you don't need someone marketing to you who is good and who is not. You'll find out just by watching.

I also heard that some owners backed out of the deal. I'm really upset about how these sides are treating the fans, but making us think twice within a week that a deal is 'immenent' only to be dashed the ultimate blow of complete cancellation.
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Old 02-21-2005, 08:15 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by lunchbox
I get what you mean but there is an immense amount of talent in the league that's not being showcased. Look at the NFL they have players on every team that's marketed and every team has at least a player or two who has an amazing skill set that you can market. If the NHL wants to model its business after something it should be the NFL. I can probably give you at least 25 players who could be marketed to show how amazing they are at this game there are guys who can do some ridiculous things with the puck and I just think they need to showcase the starts of the entire league and not worry about there being a next gretzky.
That talent is being showcased. Up here in Ottawa, when there was still NHL hockey, I always saw the likes of Daniel Alfredson, Zdeno Chara, Patrick Lalime, et al. being marketed on the New RO for the sake of the Senators organization. The same went for Leafs players in Toronto, and I would imagine everywhere else.

But really, outside of the team you are cheering for, is there anyone you can get excited about? Does a Leafs fan really care that Trevor Linden is coming to town, or does a Canucks fan care that Mats Sundin is playing tonight? The fact is, most, if not all players can only be marketed in their respective markets. Outside of that, no one really cares. If you want to market the game, you don't need someone who just plays the game. You need someone who defines the game.

And that's where Gretzky differed above all others. It didn't matter if you weren't an Oilers fan, or a Kings fan, or a Blues fan, or a Rangers fan. When Gretzky came to town, people showed up just to see him define the game.

All the marketing in the world couldn't convince people do that for someone else. While I have no doubt there are many talented players in the NHL right now, it takes more than just "another fancy goal scorer" to draw people in. It takes someone who demonstrates a mastery of the game so unrivalled that it captures the hearts and minds of every fan who watches him. Right now, I'm sorry to say that person just doesn't exist. So, it's natural that people would instead fall back to the last truly great hockey player they can remember, and that happens to be Wayne Gretzky.

However, if I can say one last thing, I honestly think the next guy that's going to carry that torch is going to be Jarome Iginla. He can skate, he can score, and unlike Gretzky, he can rumble. His successful run in the Playoffs dubbed him Mr.Canada, and as he demonstrated on The National last year, he has a great sense of humility. Unfortunately fate is a cruel mistress, and the fact that he couldn't bring the Cup home kept him from "sealing the deal". I still have hope for him, but we'll see.
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Old 02-21-2005, 08:28 PM   #36 (permalink)
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I hope they aren't jerking me. But it outta be intense, 28 game season, full playoffs. Should be somewhat interesting.
I think that they outta take advantage of a season that is expected to be weird/flop and get rid of the penalties and market it as the XHL. It lasted about that long for football... Lindros can change his name to "He Head-injuried Me"
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Old 02-21-2005, 08:33 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by BabySealClubber
I hope they aren't jerking me. But it outta be intense, 28 game season, full playoffs. Should be somewhat interesting.
I think that they outta take advantage of a season that is expected to be weird/flop and get rid of the penalties and market it as the XHL. It lasted about that long for football... Lindros can change his name to "He Head-injuried Me"

what are YOU talking about?
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Old 02-21-2005, 08:35 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Nevermind, I guess some of us pushed the XFL out of our memories... unfortunately, it ruined me for life.
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Old 02-21-2005, 08:48 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Nevermind, I guess some of us pushed the XFL out of our memories... unfortunately, it ruined me for life.
no, some of us remember it but what SEASON are you talking about? there isn't going to be a season.
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Old 02-22-2005, 02:06 AM   #40 (permalink)
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It's really over now!!!

Alright ladies and gentlemen....

Even though I like Gretzky, Orr, Howe, Richard and think Crosby could be a great player as well when the season starts again, I believe we got way off base here regarding the original posting of the meeting on Saturday and the possible last minute un-cancellation of the season.

So, if you don't know already....it is finally over, done, finished.

Here's to hoping they can come to some sort of equitable agreement this summer.

It's official...
_________________________________________________________________
It's really over: NHL talks break down


CP/TSN.ca

NEW YORK (CP) - This time it is over. For good.



Despite the presence of Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux, another round of NHL talks failed to save the season Saturday.

"The season was over on Wednesday and it's certainly not going to be resurrected after today," NHL Players' Association senior director Ted Saskin said after the 6-hour session. "It's 100 per cent certain coming out of today's meeting that nothing could impact the cancellation of the season."

The NHL agreed whole-heartedly, but was mystified more by what didn't happen in the meeting.

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"The bottom line is, our understanding was that this meeting was for them to come forward with a new proposal but it never got to that point," NHL executive vice-president Bill Daly told The Canadian Press in an interview.

Like most observers, the league heard all the buzz Friday about a possible deal and privately hoped it meant the union was coming armed with an offer.

"We took a far different approach to this meeting than apparently they did," Daly said. "The media advisory they put out last night, all the leaks in the press about a deal being done at $45 million (salary cap), I don't know where those came from but I can tell you they didn't come from our side.

"So there was certainly a suggestion that they were prepared to make us a $45-million offer today, but that didn't happen."

Saskin obviously saw it differently.

"I can't imagine how they would take that approach when what was clear is that they invited us to a meeting," Saskin said in a later interview with The Canadian Press. "So in that circumstance, you would expect and what we had heard is that they had more that they wanted to offer than what they did the other day.

"But before even getting into the number it became more important to address what the systemic issues were around the number and that quickly let us to conclude the areas of disagreement are far more profound than was originally thought."

The league, privately, was stunned it didn't get an offer.

"The union is still intent on negotiating for more than we can afford," commissioner Gary Bettman told the league's 30 owners in a memo obtained by The Canadian Press. "They put nothing new and concrete on the table. "Unfortunately I was correct on Wednesday when I said we were much further apart then the media was portraying."

There never was a discussion on bridging the gap between their last two salary cap proposals, the owners at $42.5 million US and players at $49 million. Most of the meeting was spent on the league further explaining details from its final offer, and the players didn't like what they heard.

"I think there was a misconception that the two sides were close," NHLPA president Trevor Linden told reporters after the meeting. "I think, frankly, it came from the side of ownership and certainly general managers and some players and fans and media.

"But I think it was crystal clear from our standpoint that we weren't and that was evident today."

Added Colorado's Vincent Damphousse, a union vice-president: "When we saw more details on their offer we realized it was much worse than we thought."

Calgary Flames superstar Jarome Iginla said he was more than devastated to hear how things went badly Saturday.

"It's beyond that," he said by phone. "Especially when it looks on the surface like it's just about a (salary cap) number but then the league changes other things in the deal."

The NHLPA says the league altered a number of facets from the Dec. 9 union model it was supposed to work from with the salary cap. The league sees is differently.

It doesn't matter, hockey is dead again, and fans have been burned twice in four days.

"It's such a sad situation for hockey," Iginla said. "It's way past anger and frustration.

"It's like a nightmare that won't end."

Saturday's meeting was preceded by days of rumblings and phone calls and behind-the-scenes activity with players, owners, GMs and agents all involved in trying to get both sides together one more time.

After hearing all the chatter from both sides, Daly phoned Linden on Thursday to set up the meeting and Linden accepted only after asking for the presence of Gretzky and Lemieux.

Lemieux, the Pittsburgh Penguins player-owner, and Gretzky, managing partner of the Phoenix Coyotes, were joined on the league side by Daly and outside counsel Bob Batterman.

"As silly as it sounds, the talks were pretty positive," Gretzky sighed.

"Mario and I have not been involved in the ongoing negotiations," Gretzky told TSN. "I think that both sides, mutually, tried to bargain in good faith and had extensive talks today. We met for seven or eight hours and, unfortunately, couldn't come to an understanding. But, as I said at the end of talks today, from the outside point of view, it looked like we made some strides even though we're still apart. Both Mario and I encouraged both sides to keep talking."

Said Gretzky in a statement: "Mario and I were happy to be part of the process and everyone seemed to work very hard together. We had a constructive meeting and we only hope they will continue meeting for the betterment of the NHL and its fans."

Added Lemieux: "I hope all parties continue talking and come to a solution for the betterment of the game. I certainly appreciate the work Gary and Bill have done a lot more, now that I have been part of one of these sessions."

Saskin and Linden were joined in the meeting by Damphousse and NHLPA director of business affairs Mike Gartner.

The new dynamic at least provided a civil and cordial atmosphere.

"Mike Gartner was a very, very positive influence in the meeting and we concluded and we all agreed that we have to sit down and work through these issues, that the league needs a new deal, that the players need a new deal and the sooner we can reach a new deal the better," Daly said. "I wish we had that spirit of co-operation of dialogue from the start but we haven't."

Not in the meeting Saturday were the leaders, commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Bob Goodenow, the latter still making the trip to New York but waiting in the wings for developments.

Privately, the league doesn't want Goodenow in the room, just as the union would prefer Bettman to stay away as well.

The focus now is on the 2005-'06 season. After a board of governors meeting the week after next, the league will likely reach out at the NHLPA and try to renew talks in an effort to get a deal done as soon as possible.

The league would love to get a deal done by May in order to hold an entry draft in June, reach out to fans and corporate sponsors, market the game with its new rules. In short, re-launch hockey.
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