Monday, 17 September 2012

What gives, Gary Bettman? - By Teemu Selanne

Early this morning, long time NHL star Teemu Selanne posted a blog posting, in Finnish, discussing the current labour strife. 

With a huge assist from the combined might of Google translate, the Bing Translator and my own comprehending of the English language, I offer up a translation of Selanne's blog post below.

If you can understand Finnish, please feel free to check out the original posting courtesy of

What gives, Gary Bettman? - By Teemu Selanne

Hello again everyone! This blog posting will have a lot of information to digest from me as I am amongst my own. The summer went well and everything has been fine in my preparations for the new season. I have to admit that aside from the disappointing at the start of the lockout, everything is great. I think now would be a good time to properly discuss this. 

I still remember a very beautiful summer's day, it was July 22nd 2005. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was getting ready to announce that the year-long lockout was over. He and the league brass were excited by how dazzling the NHL's future would be when the owners finally got what they wanted. Mr. Bettman was right! The NHL's business has grown since the lock-out from 2.3 billion to 3.3 billion, that is, almost a billion dollars, or 40 percent. Just so, you saw right! I'm talking about billion!
The new salary cap evened out the sports-team level differences. The NHL is smoother and more interesting than ever, the product works and the fans like it. The clubs are paying their players more than ever to play. Everything should be fine. What's wrong with this plan then? Can ice hockey really afford to be without playing again? Damage caused by the last lockout has just been repaired. Most of the fans that the league lost have approximately been recovered. However, television giant ESPN, which has rejected ice hockey and replaced it with Texas hold'em poker, is still the biggest source of lost revenue.
There are 30 teams reportedly 22 or more have a winning result. Some teams aren't showing financial results, that the rich clubs would like would share part of their profits to these weakly to clubs. The message from the rich teams to the struggling ones is a harsh one: not a chance! If you do not know how to do business, or you're wrong in the city, it is not our problem. 

Commissioner Gary Bettman has this great idea: Let's take money from the players and give it to these poor clubs. No way around it, each belongs to "own people" in this circus. The NHL complains that the players get too big a piece of the pot (57%) of the total business. After all, the clubs face the financial risks that the players will not have. That's true, but the NHL forgets that we players also face risks. Every day when we put the skates on we take the calculated risk that one check can end a career or one skate cut could end our lives. The average NHL player's career lasts about four years. Is to me unreasonable "to accept" what's he doing? NHL is a clear market value of a player, the clubs and the NHL have developed. They know every player's value and pay accordingly.
The NHL has warned the clubs about offering lengthy Front-loaded contracts. After all, the clubs don't need to offer them if they do not want to. A perfect example of this is the Minnesota owner Craig Leipold, who is also a member of the NHL's board of Governors. He signs two-player deal with Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. A couple of 13 years at more than $ 100 million contracts (per player) and then tells the hockey world about how excited the entire Minnesota franchise is with fresh purchases. The next day, he puts on his Board of Governors jacket, and goes to the other side of the table and tells the same hockey world how incomprehensible these new long-term contracts are. Come on! Noone forced the teams to pay such sums, and add in the 13 years of absurd contracts. It is their decision! How do the NHL clubs still not know that  any of mega long-term deal have not been working? You also have to remember that it has a contractual dispute with 57 per cent share of the players was their offer, which we had to accept. And now, it is not enough!
Gary Bettman has been the NHL's boss for almost 20 years. He was hired by the NHL Board of Governors to bring the in salary cap, and so he did. There has been a work stoppage twice during his reign. Now it is the third! He is certainly the NHL's most hated person. It's time for the fans of every team to speak their minds. Fans need to know!
Gary Bettman earns more than eight million dollars a year. Would Mr. Bettman be willing to give up their salary and give part of it to these "poor" teams? Hmm ... interesting question.
In the same breath, we need it known that players association boss Donald Fehr announced when the negotiations began, he did not want his own salary before this "war" is over. Among the players reaction was admirable. Mr. Bettman should try to negotiate bringing hockey back to the big TV companies, such as ESPN. It probably could use the extra money for these "poor" clubs.
In any case, winners in this dispute are unlikely to be found. In particular, on behalf of the fans I'm really sorry. They do not really deserve this, and you have to remember, however, that the end of the day this ship of joy, more or less pay just fans. It does not help other than to hope that this lockout will not last long, and reach back to enjoy the NHL hockey. The world's finest sport does not deserve this! Disappointed vainly awaiting better news. Good hockey now through in many leagues some about to start or have started already!

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