Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Good signs and bad signs in the ongoing CBA talks

After realizing that Fehr's "counter-proposal"
would consist entirely of crotch-chopping,
Gary Bettman gave up and went home.
Last week brought a flurry of CBA news, including an unexpected offer from the owners and several counter-proposals from the players. And while that lead to a brief burst of optimism, the week ended without a deal in place and with the two sides seeming as far apart as ever.

The whole process has felt like one long case of one step forward and two steps back, with every positive sign immediately followed by a negative one. Here's a look back at the ups and down of the current state of negotiations.

Good sign: Two sides have essentially agreed on the definition of hockey-related revenue, with a few exceptions.
Bad sign: One of those exceptions is the service charge on season ticket cancellations, which currently projects to be the league's top revenue source this year.

Good sign: The owners have wisely suggested that the best way to move forward is to ensure that both sides are speaking the same language.
Bad sign: The players still selfishly insist on speaking one of those languages where the phrase "signed contract" has meaning.

Good sign: While the owners were widely criticized for their use of an expensive public relations firm, at least we know that the NHLPA would never waste time on annoyingly transparent PR spin.
Bad sign: We know this because, in an odd coincidence, every player in the league tweeted about it at the exact same time.

Good sign: There appeared to be cracks in the owners' solidarity during one meeting, when one of biggest lockout hawks got into a shouting match with one of the guys who's always irresponsibly throwing money around.
Bad sign: Order was eventually restored when everyone told Craig Leipold that he was talking to himself again.

Good sign: The players have been attempting to build goodwill by inviting the owners to spend leisure time with them individually.
Bad sign: So far, the owners have declined the repeated invitations to go for a nice walk in the woods with David Booth.

Good sign: The players responded to the owners' most recent offer by presenting not one but three different counter-proposals.
Bad sign: Those three different offers were created by Donald Fehr shifting his weight slightly while he sat pantsless on the photocopier.

Good sign: There appeared to be some frustration with the lockout among the NHLPA, as one player was spotted sobbing inconsolably on the floor.
Bad sign: It turned out to just be Roberto Luongo after reading reports about this rumored trade to the Maple Leafs.

Good sign: The league's public relations focus group was successful in identifying key phrases that average hockey fans are guaranteed to respond favorably to.
Bad sign: They're still figuring out how to work "Gary Bettman just tripped and fell into a rocket ship aimed at the center of the sun" into a CBA proposal.

Good sign: The two sides have reportedly made progress on a plan for improving player safety and reducing concussions.
Bad sign: That plan is apparently "never play hockey again".

Good sign: Bettman seems to already be thinking ahead to bringing back the post-lockout slogan "Thank You Fans", since he keeps writing that phrase in his notebook over and over again while smiling.
Bad sign: On closer examination, that first word may not be "Thank".

Good sign: Experts agree that the actual gap between players and owners has become so small that the league would have to be run by complete idiots to cancel the season now.
Bad sign: Everyone who says that immediately trails off, looks around awkwardly, and then mutters "So… see you next year."

2012 – Sean Avery appears as a guest judge on a modeling reality show called Project Runway, which is not to be confused with his appearance on the ice for any shift against a legitimate NHL heavyweight, which was called Project Run Away.

From Make his head bleed: A history of the NHL in pop culture, one of 24 chapters of brand new material available exclusively in The Best of Down Goes Brown.
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  1. How long will it be until DownGoesBrown is no longer funny because we will lack the context of hockey to relate his jokes? I'm thinking 2049.

    Brilliant stuff, Sean.

  2. Based on twitter etc, I think DGB would be great at (American) football coverage. Can I recommend a couple of NFL posts on random Tuesdays as a protest? (yes, I'm an American, why do you ask?)

  3. "So far, the owners have declined the repeated invitations to go for a nice walk in the woods with David Booth."

    HAAAAAAAAAAAAHAAHHAHAHAAH!!!!! *snort* *continued laughter*

  4. As is often the case, the picture caption is the highlight!! Love it

  5. "Gary Bettman just tripped and fell into a rocket ship aimed at the center of the sun" just might be the most viable option for ending the lockout....

  6. For the holidays this year I've already asked for a dartboard with Gary Bettman's face printed on it.

  7. look at it this way folks, if this keeps up ... by the time hockey is played so many of the fans wont give a damn that tickets will be easy to get.

  8. sorry for killing the joke but could somebody explain the booth one to me?

    1. He got a bit of news coverage with this tweet:


  9. What is this... hoc... key... you speak of? I vaguely remember watching something on tv to get me through winter and I now find myself sobbing quietly on Saturday nights while my wife puts on every Sandra Bullock movie known to man since "there's nothing on tv that I want to watch"... damn you Bettman and Fehr...

  10. "The players still selfishly insist on speaking one of those languages where the phrase "signed contract" has meaning."

    Wow! Golden! That one and the one about Fehr on the photocopier were my favorties!

    Thanks for another great article DGB!

  11. I would be laughing if I could stop crying.

  12. http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ma06v6bsn01qegw8v.gif

  13. bad sign : NHL lockout is still on and not ending anytime soon from the looks of it.

    Thanks for the jokes though.:D

  14. Hockey is back folks! I'm loving every moment of it.

  15. I think the players can be selfish. You're already making millions.