Tag: NBA Lockout

Dave Andreychuk

Andreychuk to NBA players: Get a deal done


We’re a few days late on this one, but the Orlando Sentinel published a story Wednesday in which former NHL player Dave Andreychuk advised NBA players to get a deal done and end the lockout before the season is officially canceled.

“In the end, it will be worse,” warned Andreychuk, now Tampa Bay’s Vice President of Fans. (Seriously, that’s his title. Guess it’s better than Senior Associate of Fans.)

Andreychuk isn’t the first former NHL player to implore NBA players to suck it up and take what the owners are offering. Bill Guerin said the same thing in October.

Looking back on the lost 2004-05 NHL season, Andreychuk remembers what it was like to be locked out.

“As the pressure built — after a month, two months, three months — it started to sink in,” he said. “Guys were saying to themselves, ‘I’m 25 years old and hockey is how I make my living. We need to get a deal done.’”

Andreychuk concludes, “At the end, we were so willing to sign, we had to agree to what the owners wanted. We gave back a tremendous amount just to get a deal done so we could go back to work.”

In a related story, NHLPA chief Donald Fehr has emailed Andreychuk the link to the following video:

Columnist: Kings, Ducks blowing golden opportunity

Los Angeles Kings v Anaheim Ducks

Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News has written an interesting piece prior to back-to-back nights of The Freeway Face-Off. The Ducks and Kings will do battle tonight at the Staples Center, then tomorrow night at the Honda Center.

Teaford thinks Los Angeles and Anaheim are “blowing it” with their lackluster starts to the season.

Blowing what, exactly?

The Kings and the Ducks could have the fall/winter/spring stage all to themselves if the NBA lockout continues and the Lakers and Clippers remain on the sidelines.

USC and UCLA aren’t going to the Rose Bowl and their seasons are winding down.

Soon all we’ll have is hockey under the palms in Southern California.

You might think the Kings and Ducks would use this opportunity to make a determined leap onto the front pages, gain a few more seconds on the local television news, lure new fans and get more people talking about them.

Sadly, however, neither team is seizing the day.

The struggles in both LA and Anaheim are well documented. The Kings were supposed to be highly competitive this season, but have been mediocre at best. The Ducks, meanwhile, have just been bad.

If you’re looking for a reason why, consider the roster makeups. Both clubs are extremely top heavy.

The Kings rely almost exclusively on five forwards for scoring: Anze Kopitar, Justin Williams, Mike Richards, Simon Gagne and Dustin Brown. (To read about LA’s lack of secondary scoring, click here.) Blueline production is almost totally reliant on Jack Johnson and Drew Doughty.

Anaheim’s even more imbalanced. Up front, scoring is done almost exclusively by Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan (Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano chip in, just not often enough.) And after Cam Fowler, Francois Beauchemin and the struggling Lubomir Visnovsky, the Ducks blueline gets really thin. Toni Lydman is struggling, Luca Sbisa has been a nightmare and the rotating door of sixth/seventh defensemen (Sheldon Brookbank, Kurtis Foster, Nate Guenin) has done nothing.

“So far, there’s no reason for anyone with the faintest interest in hockey to jump aboard either team’s bandwagon,” Teaford writes. “Neither team has played well enough to warrant extra column inches in the newspapers or sound bites on the evening television news.”

With the NBA locked out, the SoCal sports scene is primed to focus on the Kings and Ducks this season.

But with the way they’re going, it might not happen.

NBA lockout could be opportunity for NHL teams

David Stern

Panthers GM Dale Tallon told ESPN’s Craig Custance something interesting the other day.

When asked if the NBA lockout meant more media attention for the NHL in South Florida, Tallon replied, “We’re getting a lot of coverage. Ever since July 1, we’re getting a lot more. Fans there are excited about what’s going on. We’re getting a little more [attention] but it’s more to do with what we’re doing [than a lockout].”

Obviously Tallon isn’t about to say they’re only getting more coverage because there’s no Heat news to report on. And in fairness, the Panthers did have a newsworthy offseason. Plus they’re off to a good start.

But let’s be real here – the NBA lockout hasn’t hurt. All those reporters who used to spend all day listening to Chris Bosh cry have to do something.

If there’s no basketball this year – and that’s looking like a distinct possibility – teams like the Panthers, Coyotes, Avalanche, Devils, Stars and Ducks need to cash in on it. All those teams play in NBA markets, and all could use a boost in attendance.

Trust me, sports fans in those cities will want a team to cheer for, especially once football season is over.

I remember what happened in Vancouver during the 2004-05 NHL lockout. With no Canucks, all of a sudden everyone was following the BC Lions (CFL). The Lions hadn’t been relevant in Vancouver since the 80s when Pamela Anderson was going to games and looked like this:


It wasn’t a one-year phenomenon either. Lions attendance jumped 20 percent from 2004 to 2005. People liked the product. They paid for more.

Granted, there were other factors at play. The Lions were a good team and management had improved. But the NHL lockout gave them a bump without a doubt, particularly when it came to media coverage.

Listen, I’m not saying every basketball fan is going to start watching hockey. If I had to guess, I’d say there’s more crossover between hockey and football fans in Vancouver than there is between hockey and basketball fans in the United States. However, you can’t underestimate the desire of sports fans to cheer for a team, even if it’s not their number-one sport.

Bettman: “Work stoppages aren’t good for any of us”

Gary Bettman

With the NHL season in full swing and the NBA lockout creating a void for sports fans, there are plenty of people who think the NHL should see a bump in ratings and revenue. The common sentiment is that there’s an opportunity for NHL teams (and the league as a whole) to convert some basketball fans and show them what they’re missing with hockey.

Today, commissioner Gary Bettman talked to Helene Elliott of the LA Times about the NBA lockout and the “opportunity” it presents for the NHL. “Work stoppages aren’t good for any of us,” Bettman told Elliott. “And I get asked a lot about how we’re ‘taking advantage of an opportunity.’ The truth is, you can’t make an elaborate plan when you never know how long a work stoppage is going to last.”

For more, you should really read Elliott’s entire article that appeared on LATimes.com. There’s some great stuff about the Southern California teams marketing decisions while the Lakers and Clippers sit on the sidelines. If you read one thing tonight (well, aside Pro Hockey Talk), this is it.

It’s a question that deserves attention: what should the league do with this incredibly opportunity. For the next few months, the league has weekdays all to themselves on around the sports landscape. While the NFL and college football will continue to get the majority of eyeballs on the weekends, the void left by the NBA lockout leaves the NHL with an extraordinary opening. But how can they cash in?

It’s hard to formulate a long-term plan since the NBA lockout could end any day, right?

Let’s throw this out to the readers. What do you think the league (and teams) should do while the NBA owners lockout their players? Should teams do things differently in order to capture the average sports fan or should they continue with business as usual at let the sport sell itself? After all, it’s a pretty good one.

Let us know what you think in the comments. It seems like everyone has an opinion on this one—we want to hear what you have!

Why there won’t be an NHL lockout after 2011-12 season

Gary Bettman

Chances are you’ve heard a thing or two of late about how the NFL lockout ended and since you’re here and you’re a hockey fan it made you start thinking back to the dark days of 2004-2005. You know, back when the NHL owners held the NHLPA over a barrel trying to fix the economic standards of the league and went so far as to sacrifice an entire season to do so.

You remember how that felt when NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said there would be no season, no Stanley Cup awarded, and most importantly, no hockey played at all. All those feelings bubble up every time there’s a labor dispute to be had in pro sports and while the NBA is dealing with their own lockout, the NHL could once again be back in the same position after next season.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement the NHL and NHLPA worked out to end the lockout back in 2005 expires after next season meaning that it’s time for the two sides to go back to the table. Hockey fans are still scarred over what happened in the past but fear not, both sides have a few reasons to get things worked out without having a work stoppage.

The National Post’s Sean Fitz-Gerald outlined a few things that show why there might be a lockout once again, but here’s a few things to show you why that’s not going to happen.

1. Cash rules everything around them

While the salary cap and salary floor keep going up and that can mean trouble for some of the poorer teams that have to spend more, it does mean one really good thing: Revenues keep going up. With money continuing to flow in, television ratings continuing to rise, the game’s popularity growing with the merchandise sales to match and a new TV deal in place… Figuring out how to best divide up a bigger pie should be a pleasant problem to have.

The one thing both sides need to figure out is how to make sure getting to the salary floor is less painful for teams that don’t make as much money as the Maple Leafs, Flyers, Red Wings, and others. Some teams are still struggling to make the big bucks and while there’s some revenue sharing now, there’s not a lot of it to help offset losses for some teams. While they’re not going to go full on to keep teams afloat, giving out more money to hurting teams would help.

2. There’s actually a working TV contract

When the NHL locked out the players back in 2004, it came at a rough time as the NHL’s deal with ESPN and ABC had an opt-out clause for them. Once the lockout was wrapped up, ESPN and ABC got out of hockey and the already publicly damaged NHL had to suck up their pride and make a deal any way they could.

Now there’s a new, fat contract signed and sealed with NBC and NBC Sports Group with lots of money behind it, ticking off the newly re-upped rightsholders by not giving them what they paid for doesn’t really do a lot to help out the mutual business. It all comes back to money again here, but when there’s nothing about the sport on TV that hurts everyone’s bottom line.

3. Both sides know how bad for business a lockout is

Sure, lots of fans are nervous that Donald Fehr is leading the NHLPA and not a lot of fans really care for the job Gary Bettman does, but both sides have one big thing in common. Both Fehr and Bettman have been through sport-crippling work stoppages.

Bettman, of course, had two work stoppages to his record. The stoppage in 1994 caused nearly half of the 1994-1995 season to be missed as just 48 games were played that regular season and the entire 2004-2005 season was nuked. Fehr was head of Major League Baseball’s Players Association when the 1994 World Series was canceled due to a mid-season lockout. While he was able to help the MLBPA and MLB avoid further issues later on getting another deal agreed to, his reputation has been sealed thanks to getting the World Series canceled.

With track records like that, both sides know they can’t afford to allow things to get so bad once again and cause there to be games missed. Things aren’t so bad in the NHL that they need to fight tooth and nail all over again, tweaks are needed and will be handled with the right amount of mutual griping.

4. They can’t afford to lose the fans

With memories of how much the last lockout affected the NHL, both the NHL and NHLPA know that they can’t risk doing that to hockey fans all over again less than ten years after kicking the fans in the crotch. Letting the game suffer again so soon after that would be a death blow for the sport. Hockey fans are loyal and they’ve put up with a lot of crap from its leaders.

When the NHL came back, they promised fans lower ticket prices and plenty of other perks to buy them off. The lower ticket prices never showed up, but the fans came back in droves in most places including a few of the old traditional places. Screwing the fans over again while the game is at its most popular in places like Chicago and Boston while continuing to pick up steam in other cities would be about the worst business plan around.

No business can survive while making terrible decisions and for the NHL and NHLPA, slapping the fans in the face again while old wounds are still healing would go down as a historically bad decision.


Guaranteeing labor peace is a foolish thing to do and while both the NHL and NHLPA are going to fight for their needs, wants, and piece of the CBA turf, they know they can’t afford to let things get out of hand. Fans will fret and will continue to do so until a new deal is done, but there’s no reason to think that we as hockey fans will be sitting here sweating things out the way NFL and NBA fans have done and will do.