Found August 24, 2012 on Blue Seat Blogs:
PLAYERS: Gary Bettman
TEAMS: New York Rangers

The past few days of the CBA negotiations have been worrisome to say the least. Wednesday’s big meeting was canceled after the head honchos met in the morning, which was tough to take as anything but negative. On top of that, the meetings yesterday were met with nothing but another quote about how the owners and the NHLPA were still far apart and that both sides have a fundamental disagreement on the current state of the NHL.

But that’s not the troubling part. The troubling part is a quote from Gary Bettman pulled by Mark Masters of TSN (s/t to Becky for pulling this info for me):

‘We recovered last time bc we have the world’s greatest fans’

And therein lies the biggest problem. That quote alone suggests that the owners are not playing by the rules. The owners are using the loyalty of the fans, our loyalty and hard-earned cash, as a bargaining chip.

We’ve been covering every major point of the CBA negotiations here, including the UnfollowNHLSeptember15 movement. And while this little tidbit might not seem like a major moment in the negotiations, it’s one tiny sentence that packs a powerful punch. The NHLPA cannot negotiate when the owners are willing to use fan loyalty as their biggest bargaining chip.

Two weeks ago I ripped both sides for the games they were playing. Now it appears that the owners are not even concerned about the fans and the future of the game. Clearly, they fully expect the fans to come back in droves, the way we did after the first lockout. And as much as we hate to say it, and as much as it pains me to say this, we will definitely come back if there’s another lockout.

But while the hardcore fans like us will come back, the NHL is playing a very dangerous game with the fair weather fans. The league took a giant leap forward in a non-traditional market when the Kings won the Stanley Cup. LA was never a poor team, but they certainly saw ticket sales jump after their Cup run. The last time LA saw a boon like this, some guy named Wayne was traded there.

Aside from having one of the biggest national markets see a drastic increase in revenues, they have another team in perhaps the largest US market that is now considered a legitimate Cup contender for years to come. That of course is the Rangers. New York is the biggest market in the US when it comes to hockey. Hockey was finally becoming water cooler talk in the office, and now they risk losing those fans. This doesn’t even include the US markets in Boston, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, or Detroit.

Side note: Obviously I’m not including the Canadian markets, as there’s no real concern in losing fans in Canada. Canadian fans aren’t fair weather fans.

The fact that loyalties are being used as a negotiating tactic is appalling. We never thought either side would stoop so low.

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Bettman's taking NHL fans for granted.

It sounds like the NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is taking NHL fans for granted – his logic is – because the fans came back after the two previous lockouts - they will come back this time again. I am sure there were a lot of fans that weren't happy today with Bettman's condescending, pompous and arrogant statement statement, I don't like reading that statement....

Bettman Thinks Owners Are Spending Too Much On Player Costs

Jesse Spector of Sporting News writes about Gary Bettman's comments to the media after yesterday's CBA talks and how in his estimation, the league is "paying too much in player costs." This is a stark contrats to his August 9 comments where Bettman said “the fundamental proposal—our initial proposal—relates to the fact that we need to be paying out less in...

Bettman proves that he is a ________!

If you had any hope of the CBA getting hammered out by the September 15, 2012 - those hopes were squashed today. This the zinger that Commissioner Gary Bettman uttered today at the end of 90 minute negotiating session between the NHL Owners and the NHLPA. Gary Bettman:"we believe that we are paying the players more that we should be." — Renaud P Lavoie...

Gary Bettman Says 'Wide Gap' Still Exists on Fundamental Issues in NHL Labor Negotiations

After cancelling a collective bargaining meeting on Wednesday, the NHL and the NHL Players' Association met for 90 minutes on Thursday. There's really no forward progress to report. It was the first full bargaining session of the week, but we're left with no increase in optimism when it comes to starting the upcoming season on time. Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA...

Top Goal Scorers Since The Lockout

We are likely at the end of an era in the NHL. The era began as the 2004/05 lockout ended and the era will end as the new lockout begins. We are in a period where off-ice politics define the eras of play on the ice. One era lasts from one Gary Bettman induced hockey stoppage until the next one. For the good of hockey we would like to get past that point, but it creates a point...

Lockout Looms

“I think it’s fair to say we’re far apart,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters after Thursday’s labor talks wrapped up for the day. Super. The owners want to pay less to the players, and the players feel like they gave up enough last CBA. What else is new? Puck Daddy does another good job summing up the day’s discussion. This quote from the NHL owners out of...

Optimism Fading

from Tom Benjamin of canuckscorner, I’m feeling a lot less optimistic after the meetings this week between the NHL and the NHLPA. Gary Bettman did not respond positively to the NHLPA proposal – and by that I mean he did not soften the league position at all – so it is now clear that the league is on a path that was laid out years ago, about the time the ink on the last CBA...

NHL collective bargaining session brief

TORONTO (AP) -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says the only way to make progress in ongoing labor talks is to solve the "fundamental economic issues." Bettman says the two sides remain far apart on those key financial elements after the bargaining session Thursday lasted less than 2 hours between the league and the NHL Players' Association. The union expanded on...

Idle Threats

from Cathal Kelly of the Toronto Star, There is no reason for Gary Bettman to fear a lockout, or even the loss of an entire season. History has already taught him that a year off is good for business.  A year off reminds his captive audience what they’re missing. Despite the handwringing from the grassroots types and those who want to see the game thrive in the tropics, lockouts...

NHL collective bargaining session brief in Toronto

TORONTO (AP) -- NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says the only way to make progress in ongoing labor talks is to solve the "fundamental economic issues." Bettman says the two sides remain far apart on those key financial elements after the bargaining session Thursday lasted less than 2 hours between the league and the NHL Players' Association. The union expanded on its...

The Chairman’s PR bomb: thank you, walking dollar signs!

The Globe and Mail’s Bruce Dowbiggin hits the nail on the head and then some with the following: The NHL triumphed in the 2004-05 lockout because it sensed that everyone disliked Bob Goodenow, leader of the National Hockey League Players’ Association. So the league just kept repeating his name. Bingo, a salary cap. Apparently the league has lost its magic media touch. Exhibit...

Andy Brickley Starting to Get 'Pessimistic' That NHL Season Will Begin on Time (Video)

When the Los Angeles Kings won the clinching game of the Stanley Cup Final on June 11, it was hard to imagine that the summer of 2012 would pass without the NHL and its players association agreeing to a new collective bargaining agreement. After all, the league's profits have skyrocketed since the last lockout cancelled the 2004-05 season, and it seemed impossible that NHL commissioner...

Sides still far apart in labor talks

Another NHL lockout is beginning look inevitable. Unable to move beyond the philosophical stage of talks, the owners and players have watched another week slip by without progress. They sat down together for a quick session Thursday morning before reporting the same significant gap that has existed all along. The main issue that divides them is far from complex. ''We believe...

Do The Owners Know What They Are Doing?

from Tim Colishaw of the Dallas Morning News, Siding with ownership has been difficult in any of sport’s “labor wars” of the last 30-40 years. But the NHL owners may have captured the gold medal for incompetence with their threats to lock out the players in three weeks. Seriously, this is going to happen. And for many of you, I realize the next question is: So what? That...
Rangers News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.