Friday, November 9, 2012


Well, well, well.
It looks like all of this chitchat isn't changing anything.
While I'm not a fan of either party leaking information to gain more support, I continue to stand behind the players here.
I don't sympathize with owners who signed contracts they couldn't back and now want to back out. I also don't feel sorry for anyone who thought it was a good idea to start a hockey program in Phoenix.
You made a poor, poor investment.
The onus does not fall on the athletes who put their bodies, and minds, on the line to make you money...
Fans don't buy jerseys with owners' names on them. They don't cheer for owners. They don't cry for owners. They don't laugh, gasp, sigh, yell, and even fight, for the owners. They do it for their teams. They do it for the people out there on the ice.

I understand it's a symbiotic relationship. We wouldn't all know and love Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and for other people, for some unbeknownst reason, (gag) Sidney Crosby and (cringe) Alex Ovechkin, if it weren't for the NHL and the people behind the teams who gave them contracts to begin with.
But, what's the point of giving them contracts if you can't back them up?
How will you recruit top talent in the future if your word and your signature are meaningless?

Your concern is money, but you let precious time pass when you could easily be turning profits. As a fan, I think of every day as games I'm not seeing. But you should be seeing dollar signs flashing by. Dollar signs that you're knowingly and willingly let pass.

You already have the smallest fan base in all of the major sports. Just when you start to catch the interest of more people, you decide it isn't that important to even bother with another hockey season. The longer you go, the less likely you are to get fans back. People lose interest quickly. Even the most loyal of us are disgusted by you right now.

So, negotiate. Really think about it. Really talk about it. Try compromise.

From The Sporting News --

NHL Players' Association executive director Donald Fehr sent a memo to the players following Thursday's meeting with the league:
Today, we met with the NHL off and on over several hours. A number of matters were discussed, including our proposal for a new pension plan, revenue sharing, the players' share and salary cap issues, and the owners' "make whole" concept. Present today were Chris Campoli, Mathieu Darche, Ron Hainsey, Johan Hedberg, Manny Malhotra, and Kevin Westgarth (David Backes was present for part of the day), as well as Mathieu Schneider, Joe Reekie, Steve Webb and Rob Zamuner.
No new proposals were exchanged on pension issues, but we will discuss this issue again tomorrow (Friday). We did receive a proposal on revenue sharing in response to the proposal we made this week, but this subject still needs considerable work.

In addition, we received a revamped proposal covering players' share and cap issues, their so-called "make whole", and player contracting issues. The owners finally did formally give us their "make whole" idea, which in dollar terms is similar to the discussions Bill Daly had with Steve Fehr a few days ago. While a step forward, a significant gap remains. Moreover, at the same time we were told that the owners want an "immediate reset" to 50/50 (which would significantly reduce the salary cap) and that their proposals to restrict crucial individual contracting rights must be agreed to. As you know, these include - among other things - losing a year of salary arbitration eligibility, allowing the team to file for salary arbitration in any year that the player can file, extending UFA eligibility to age 28 or 8 seasons, limiting contracts to 5 years, and permitting only 5% year to year variability in player contracts. Individually each is bad for players; taken together they would significantly reduce a player's bargaining power and give the owner much more leverage over a player for most if not all of his career.
In short, the concessions on future salary we have offered (at least $948 Million to $1.25 Billion over five years, depending on HRR growth) are not enough. We are still being told that more salaries must be conceded, and that very valuable player contracting rights must be surrendered. So, while we are meeting again, and while some steps are being taken, there is still a lot of work to be done and bridges to be crossed before an agreement can be made.
We will review today's discussions over night and tomorrow morning before meeting again with the owners. Following our meeting tomorrow with the league, we will be able to provide a broader update.
As always, please contact us if you have any questions or comments.
Best regards.

Friday, November 2, 2012

So, so cold

"Hey, fans, we could absolutely do without you," says Gary Bettman... that is, if you let actions speak louder than words.

To me, they do.

Sources involced with the Winter Classic have said the annual outdoor game is off.


Not only is the event a fan-favorite, it's a major money-maker for the league. It's a worrisome sign to me that the NHL really doesn't care about having a season this year.

Furthermore, as a fan, it's just another blow.

I propose a lock-in.

Put these men in a room. Lock the damn door and don't let them out until they have reached an agreement--with all the i's dotted, t's crossed and signatures-by-the-x's.

Friday, October 26, 2012

And now for a move that's Classic Bettman

The Winter Classic and All-Star game are on very thin ice now, with the NHL dangling threats of canceling both beloved events. They say if a deal isn't signed by Monday, we can add those two games to the October and November losses.

There they go, toying with fan favorites once again. It certainly isn't the way to win favor... not that they care.

Meanwhile, the NHLPA has released this statement.

Disappointing.And I'm looking at YOU, Bettman.

No Hope Left?

The NHL has many of us shaking in our skates (or on our couches) right now as we tear the pages off our calendars.
No-Hockey November is in the rumor mill now --,0,7985509.story

Ultimately, I just want hockey. I don't care what the contracts say. They could pay the players the equivalent of my salary and if they all agreed on it, I would be ecstatic.
Woohoo! They can't afford cool stuff, either, but they're playing hockey!!!

With that said. I don't like Gary Bettman and the owners. I don't like the way they deal. It's a shady business. They're sleazy and it makes me uncomfortable.

If this article was supposed to change that notion, they failed miserably. If you made a bad business investment (ice hockey in Phoenix, for example) and continue to dole out contracts for players you can't afford, don't expect me to feel sorry for you.
If you then bully the players when they try to meet your contract proposal with THREE offers that, for shame, require you to meet the contracts you signed, well no pity party from my.

You lost my respect when you used the tragic death of an NHL player for a PR spin. And now you're only making it worse.

It's time for the next round of letters.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

My letter to the NHL

National Hockey League
1251 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10020

October 18, 2012

To whom it may concern:
As these negotiations continue, please think about your fans.
I have four brothers. My dad tried out for the “Miracle” Olympic team. I grew up in a small town in Illinois, in a close family who loves hockey.
And I grew up a Chicago Blackhawks fan. If you know much about how they were operated for a while, it wasn’t really with the fans in mind. We didn’t get to watch many of their games on TV. And when I was younger, my family wasn’t one who could afford tickets. So, we watched and cheered when we could.

I grew up watching my dad ice skate at a boat harbor, because we didn’t have a rink in town anymore. And anytime some place safe froze over, I was sliding around on it, too, pretending I was a hockey star.
My dad once met Bobby Hull at a sporting and outdoors show. He met his hero. THE Golden Jet. I'd never seen anything like it.

I played other sports, myself, but eventually a rink came back to town and my younger brothers played hockey. They’re good. And despite seeing them play soccer, football, baseball and tennis, there’s nothing that brings a family together like the hockey experience.

Through college I took advantage of the cheap student seats at United Center with friends and family. 
As I got older, I took my brother, my best friend, to the Winter Classic at Wrigley Field. I get tears in my eyes recalling it. It was one of the single greatest events I have ever lived.

I made sure attending Blackhawks games was a family tradition. It’s a truly magnificent experience. 
We went to games early to get autographs. We even met Jonathan Toews before he became the superhero he is to us all now.

A few years ago, my career ambitions took me farther from home. I lived in Connecticut and worked in Connecticut and Manhattan. I missed my friends and family greatly. I missed my home. But I had hockey. I had tons of it. Between the Rangers, the Islanders, the Devils, etc., there was always someone to watch. And anytime the Blackhawks were in town, I was there! It was an exciting taste of home mixed with all the thrill of NHL hockey.

I will cry if I talk about the 2010 Blackhawks season, so I won’t go into much detail there. But, also being a Chicago Cubs fan, I can tell you it was my first time ever living through my team’s victory. It was overwhelming. Everyone should get to experience that feeling, at least once.

Last year, in October, I started getting sick. It began with pneumonia, but then my entire body started feeling like it was shutting down. I had intense pain and no energy. I had to be put on disability from my very promising career. I suffered for four months, trying different treatments and tests with no results. Finally, in February I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. I began treatments in February and started to improve some by June. While I continue to have some issues from the illness it is now mostly under control. I am fortunate.

I spent many days and nights in tears, in pain, and generally devastated that my life as a happy 28-year-old was taking such a turn.While I had the support of a wonderful boyfriend and friends, my family remained in Illinois. With family at a distance, there wasn’t much to bring methe comfort of home.  So I watched hockey. I watched it live or I replayed the 2010 playoffs on my DVR.

It’s an escape. I could lose myself in a game and that’s something I needed when I was feeling so awful.
You have the ability to bring comfort to people. You have the ability to bring people together.
I don’t want to think about, or admit, what I’ve spent to go to your games or buy your merchandise. But I have felt it is worth it because for some twisted reason, it’s like the NHL is another member of my family.

Or it was. You see, I’d been so excited by 2010, I forgot about that last time you let me down (I was a little young in the 1990s).  That 2004-2005 lockout. Now that was a bitter season. It was one of the worst labor disputes in sport history. And you guys kept Gary Bettman around after that? Bad, bad move. Seriously. When this all ends, you should really reconsider who you have representing you.

That takes me to another point – the NHL isn’t the most popular of sports. I’ve done my best to recruit friends as fans. Any new recruits are already lost. In all seriousness, though, you all had a good thing going.

You had some serious marketability. Your real fans are loyal. They’re colorful. Your players are delightful. They are tough. They are by far the most athletic of professional athletes (baseball players are out if they sneeze, for example). They’re the toughest. They get seven teeth knocked out and go back out there to play. No one else does that. 

I can’t speak for other teams, but I know the Blackhawks are active with charities, their communities and youth hockey programs.

The games are fun and exciting. They’re fast. They are passionate.

It is one of the only sports out there where at the beginning of the season you know that any team out there could take home Lord Stanley at the end of the year. And every team out there is going to put blood, sweat and tears into raising that Cup.

People were just starting to realize that. And now you’re turning them away. You had momentum going for an incredible fan base.
But that can slip quickly and you are hurting your chances more than helping them.

The way the NHL and its owners have been dealing with negotiations has been a disgrace. It’s shameful. They’ve been toying with PR and media, and therefore, with the fans.

And now, I feel even worse than I did as a kid when we couldn’t watch the beloved Blackhawks on TV because their owner was too greedy.
Sound familiar?

You’re not going to keep your current fans or win new ones with shady PR campaigns, or by leaking contract proposals that might get our hopes up but are ultimately still unfair to the people who are actually out there playing the sport. We get that this is complex. We understand there is a significant amount of money involved. But don’t sign big deals with players if you don’t have the money to back those deals. Honor those deals. Stand by your word. 
Stand by your players.

It's their faces, their athleticism, their bodies, their minds, their dedication... it's them...who are bringing money to the NHL. 

Stand by your commitment to these players and these teams and, in turn, your fans.
We may love you. But we don’t stay in abusive relationships. And there are plenty of resources to watch fine hockey without the politics.

Thank you for your time.
Best wishes in a speedy conclusion.

Carly A. Mullady

A Consolation Prize

We all hoped a deal would be reached today. We hoped the NHL would accept the counter-offer proposed by the NHLPA.
We had no idea NHLPA would offer THREE!
And who would have predicted the "negotiations" would be over faster than a major for fighting?

This means the players are still locked out.
No training camp yet.

But there's one good thing happening, at least in Chicago.

Some of my favorite players are getting together to play some puck for a really good cause. And I'll get to see some hockey next week at the All State Arena.

Cheers to the Blackhawks and everyone participating in
Champs For Charity