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" We're Well Prepared" Jeff O'neill On Lockout


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#1 Rock

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 06:30 AM

`We're well prepared'
NHL players say possible lockout dominates plans
http://www.thestar.c...l=1044442957278

League must take the lead on talks, Leafs' Tucker says


RANDY STARKMAN
SPORTS REPORTER

WINDERMERE, Ont.—Even on a picture-perfect day for 18 holes in the Muskokas, Carolina forward Jeff O'Neill admits it's hard not to let one's thoughts wander to the wild and wacky summer it's been in hockey and the storms clouds brewing overhead.

"Sure, it is," O'Neill said yesterday when asked whether the potential lockout after next season was on a lot of players' minds this summer. "For the guys who make 10 million bucks a year or whatever, they don't care. For the guys that are going to be out of work for a year ... we've all been putting our money away so we're well prepared for a long work stoppage."

O'Neill and many of his NHL peers, including Eric Lindros, Darcy Tucker and Shayne Corson, took part yesterday in the first-ever Windermere Good-as-Gold Open to support the Canadian women's Olympic hockey team and Muskoka Interval House, a women's shelter.

Tucker, who has spent most of the off-season relaxing on his boat on Lake Rosseau, said he doesn't want an extended vacation that would stretch far past September of next year. The Leaf said he's hoping to see some constructive talks between the NHL and the NHL Players' Association this season.

"I don't think it's something that's going to get done overnight, that's for sure," Tucker said. "Obviously, there has to be ongoing talks throughout the year. That's what most players would like to see, is talks towards something.

"But if the NHL isn't going to make themselves available to talk, it's going to be difficult for us to get something done. It's up to Gary (Bettman, NHL commissioner) and his people to make the first move and get this thing going, because we'd love to sit down and talk but nobody's made any headway from their side. We like the status quo."

Former NHLer Marty McSorley, a co-chairman for yesterday's fundraising tournament, was one of NHLPA head Bob Goodenow's main lieutenants when he was a player rep, but is now technically part of the management side as a coach with Springfield, the Phoenix Coyotes' AHL affiliate.

"It's a different climate right now, as every negotiating period is," McSorley said. "I think the ownership group is stronger. I think that the players in '94 showed a tremendous amount of solidarity, but that was close to 10 years ago. For the most part, the vast majority of players are a different crew.

"I think that the owners are looking at this as an opportunity to force the game and put it where they want it to be financially. It's going to be very interesting."

McSorley said the best compromise could be some sort of soft salary cap with a luxury tax.

"I'm not sure if the owners think that's the right thing to do," he said. "I'm not sure if the players feel that way. If the players want the status quo, there will definitely be a lockout. If the owners are trying to get a very solid salary cap, there will definitely be a lockout. I think a tax would probably solve not having a lockout, but I'm not sure it would satisfy the desires of one group or the other."

Brad Tapper, a Scarborough native who plays for the Thrashers, said he's worried a lockout could hurt teams in the south.

"It takes a lot to get fans into hockey in the south. And if we go into a lockout, we might lose fans there. Sometimes we only get 10,000 or 11,000. For us as players, we have to realize what's at stake here."

For his part, O'Neill is scratching his head about the events of this summer.

"The feeding frenzies of the past with the free agents have come and gone, I guess, with the lockout coming up. The game's changing. It's not the same as it used to be. Whether it's for the better or worse is not for me to say, but when you see a guy like Paul Kariya sign for $1.5 million, it's weird."

O'Neill also expressed some sympathy for the plight of former Leaf goalie Curtis Joseph, who is in limbo after Dominik Hasek came out of retirement for Detroit.

"He donated his career to the Wings to try to help them win a Cup and they just kind of turned their back on him. That's the way hockey is at the end of the day. We do make a lot of money and we are treated well and we've got a good lifestyle, but we're just a piece of meat at the end of the day because organizations will turn their back on you in a heartbeat if something better comes along."
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#2 GetReal

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 07:02 AM

Brad Tapper said "It takes a lot to get fans into hockey in the south. And if we go into a lockout, we might lose fans there. Sometimes we only get 10,000 or 11,000. For us as players, we have to realize what's at stake here."

Hey Brad in the north 10 to 11,000 fans at a game is a lot and is sometimes the norm.

This issue is a power struggle with a lot to lose. Hopefully there won't be "my way or the highway" or an "arrogant stand off" attitude in the negotiations.
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#3 '7'

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 10:56 AM

any lockout over 5 months would be like a death blow to hockey in the south. Whatever casual fans those teams had would forget and move on. Overall it would be good for the league as they expanded too quickly but you have to feel bad for handfull of die hard Predators & Thrasher fans

Hey Brad in the north 10 to 11,000 fans at a game is a lot and is sometimes the norm.


Blackhawks, Devils, Islanders, Bruins, Pens.....all because of the Bettman era and what it's done to the game.
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^7^ is just defending his sport sheeps.. as Alcibiades the exiled Athenian rationalizes in his speech to the enemy Spartans, he wants to take revenge on Athens because he loves it and can't stand to see the state it's in now - Triumph
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#4 sheeps

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 11:02 AM

Really, GR? Is that really the truth? You're making a generalization here.. "it's hard to get hockey anywhere"... well let's see:

Hockey's North: Canadian/Minnesota/Detroit/Buffalo/Colorado

Minnesota: 102.4% attendance, 18,500 average
Toronto: 102.2% attendance, 19,240 average
Colorado: 100.0% attendance, 18,007 average
Detroit: 100.0% attendance, 20,058 average
Vancouver: 99.9% attendance, 18,396
Edmonton: 98.9% attendance, 16,657 average
Montreal: 97.2% attendance, 20,672 average
Calgary: 94.6% attendance, 16,239 average
Ottawa: 93.0% attendance, 17,198 average
Buffalo: 73.5% attendance, 13,735 average

Hockey North's Averages: 96.17% attendance, 17,870.2 average

Hockey's Middle: New York/Long Island/New Jersey/Philadelphia/Columbus/Boston/Pittsburgh/Washington/Chicago/St. Louis

New York Rangers: 99.7% attendance, 18,148 average
Philadelphia: 99.0% attendance, 19,325 average
Columbus: 97.8% attendance, 17,744 average
St. Louis: 97.6% attendance, 18,570 average
Long Island: 91.6% attendance, 14,930 average
Pittsburgh: 87.0% attendance, 14,749 average
Boston: 85.6% attendance, 15,029 average
Washington: 84.6% attendance, 15,787 average
New Jersey: 78.0% attendance, 14,858 average
Chicago: 72.2% attendance, 14,794

Hockey Middle's Averages: 89.31% attendance, 16,393.4 average

Hockey's South: Los Angeles/San Jose/Carolina/Tampa Bay/Anaheim/Atlanta/Phoenix/Dallas/Nashville/Florida

Dallas: 100.0% attendance, 18,532 average
San Jose: 99.2% attendance, 17,350 average
Los Angeles: 97.0% attendance, 17,569 average
Carolina: 83.7% attendance, 15,682 average
Tampa Bay: 83.7% attendance, 16,545 average
Phoenix: 81.6% attendance, 13,229 average
Anaheim: 81.5% attendance, 13,988 average
Florida: 80.2% attendance, 15,428 average
Nashville: 77.3% attendance, 13,228 average
Atlanta: 72.7% attendance, 13,476 average

Hockey South's Averages: 85.69% attendance, 15,484.7 average

So, once again:

Hockey North's Averages: 96.17% attendance, 17,870.2 average
Hockey Middle's Averages: 89.31% attendance, 16,393.4 average
Hockey South's Averages: 85.69% attendance, 15,484.7 average

GetReal, another generalization without any facts to back it up.


I mean, this isn't even taking into account all the outliers... take Buffalo out of the North and every team has at least 93.0% attendance! Take Dallas and San Jose (have had recent success) as well as Los Angeles (second biggest city in the US) and every team has less 83.8% attendance!

GR, here are the facts. Generalizations don't work.
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#5 sheeps

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 11:05 AM

Hey Brad in the north 10 to 11,000 fans at a game is a lot and is sometimes the norm.

Where are your facts, GetReal? Oh yeah, they don't exist.

If you look in my previous post, the lowest AVERAGE attendance for a "Northern" team is 14,749.

10,000-11,000? You need to get real.
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#6 SC Devs Fan

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 11:24 AM

Damn, MrSheeps, I've never seen an argument on this board backed up by better stats. Kudos to you.

I see a nasty lockout coming... too many Jagr/Holik salaries as owners cry poverty... no matter who or what has caused the financial difficulties some franchises are in, the danger is real and the league needs to address the direction of salaries. Players, obviously, won't want to make concessions - they'll feel they worked hard to get here, let the next generation of players deal with it.

For a hockey fan - and I consider myself to be a hockey fan above a Devil fan - this is going to be a depressing time. Remember how long it took baseball to 'come back' and that took McGwire... we don't have that kind of exposure or superstar - you think most of North America would care if Mario Lemieux was on track to break Gretzky's goals record? A lockout could doom some of the franchises, but not doing anything will doom them all.
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#7 MaddDog

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 11:49 AM

Sheeps,

thanks for breaking out the statistics because I wasn't in much of a mood to go hunting for attendance stats and blow GR's theory out of the water :lol: . Good work!
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#8 Triumph

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 12:24 PM

Not only that, but ^7^'s contention that the Hawks, Bruins, Pittsburgh, and Islanders have been ruined by the Bettman era is of course, horrifyingly flawed.. the Hawks and Bruins owners aren't willing to spend a dime, Wirtz doesn't even broadcast the games played in Chicago, I mean, how good is that to sell the game of hockey? Jacobs has let players go from Boston without replacing them. Pittsburgh spent themselves into debt well before the Bettman era, and their fiscal stability was ruined by the early 90s. The Islanders owners were also unwilling to spend any money. Is that Bettman's fault? No, it's the collective bargaining agreement's fault for failing to put checks on teams that felt they were one player away from the Cup every season. Salaries have gone up what, 300% since 95?

And the Devils wouldn't be doing any better attendance-wise if they still had Janne Ojanen and were scoring 3+ goals a game.
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#9 GetReal

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 12:38 PM

Sheeps thanks for the work, not required however, please re-read what seemed to send you into orbit,

"Hey Brad in the north 10 to 11,000 fans at a game is a lot and is sometimes the norm."

So so Stats on averages don't cover one game I didn't mention average, every game or team for that matter.

Don't get like Triumph, and go into orbit, read first. thanks however for the stats.
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Smart mouth, arrogant Bush, his kids are safe.

The BUCK never stops at BUSH if it's bad, he finds someone to take the blame for him, ie: Tenet's mea cupa.

Impeach G. W., the Iraq war was built on his lies...... lies........lies.

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#10 sheeps

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 01:13 PM

OK, let's take us, New Jersey: 78.0% attendance, 14,858 average. Since we're one of the worst "Northern" teams in terms of attendance, I think it's fair.

In 2001-2002, we only had two games out of forty-one with under 12,000 attendance, one at 11,420 and one at 11,731.

2 out of41 is "the norm"? Especially since we're considering the team with the third-worst attendance in the 20 Northern-most teams...

GR I do not think I "went into orbit," I think I reacted to one of your many blanket statements with facts, not figures made up that don't hold true to any real fact.
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#11 GetReal

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 01:32 PM

Sheeps thanks again for the info. Attack all you want.

The point that I made point in first post to this was it wasn't only the south that would hurt because of a lockout but that the north would suffer as well.

Tell me you can't agree with that, Sheeps?

So after that you can go where you want certainly your choice but don't put it me about average attendance or stats because that wasn't my point and if you read it again you see that.

Have a nice day. And Sheeps you did react. You read what you wanted to read and wanted to show how good you are getting stats when that wasn't necessary because it doesn't alter my point.

Again have a nice day. As for my many blanket statements, life is made up of blanket statements without facts to get the idea across and you asked for this, just ask G.W. or re-read Goerge's remarks.
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NJ Devils are the CHAMPIONS & Nets Be Proud..Thanks to both NJ Teams for 2002/2003

"Bring Them On" sure George, your arrogant "my way or the highway" policies and remarks pissed the Iragi off more... 32 unnecessary US military deaths so far since G. W.'s remarks and dozens are wounded. It continues daily. Thanks Goerge. There are now 10-25 attacks against US soldiers daily.

Smart mouth, arrogant Bush, his kids are safe.

The BUCK never stops at BUSH if it's bad, he finds someone to take the blame for him, ie: Tenet's mea cupa.

Impeach G. W., the Iraq war was built on his lies...... lies........lies.

Do Not Re-Elect a Son of a Bush. Impeach him instead.

#12 Dr. Death

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 06:23 PM

I hope there is some sort of dialogue between the NHLPA and the NHL this summer. I think both sides should take the intitative and start the process of negotiating. I don't want to hear about the problems of both sides.

Get it done!
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#13 Zamode

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 08:37 PM

I'm sure O'Neill is poor........anyway....... and Tucker can practice his cheapshots with his club on unassuming golfers.

It sounds like an impending lockout is on it's way and could be long and/or ugly. By the looks of this article, no one seems to want to get things started, either.

The fans obviously are the ones who are going to suffer and it will be worse in the South. I do think soon as the puck is ready to be dropped that the mainstream crowds will be more than eager to get back to the game.

Kudos to you Sheeps, stats and all! Posted Image
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#14 sheeps

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 08:50 PM

I just can't agree with you here. Sure it's going to hurt every team, but how much? Toronto sells out the Skydome during the playoffs, so approximately 70,000 come out to eithe Air Canada Centre or the Skydome, if only just to watch it on TV. I was impressed with Carolina selling out their arena for away Finals game, but now they're back to filling up 83% of the arena. Toronto has sold out every game for how many years?

Sure, everyone will suffer, that is not what I got from your original post. You were saying that the norm for Northern teams is 10,000-11,000. The New Jersey Devils have poor attendance but have only had 11,000 some attendance figures twice.

You give a figure, it's not right.

You say it's the norm, but it isn't.

You dislike G.W. but basically say, "He makes blanket statements, why can't I?"

The only way to directly address blanket statements is to use facts. Go ahead, call it an attack. What was I supposed to do, keep telling you that your blanket statement was wrong, over and over? No. I wasn't trying to prove that I am good at getting facts, I was trying to prove - and did so successfully - that your blanket statement was wrong. It still is.
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#15 Tretyak 20

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 12:57 AM

any lockout over 5 months would be like a death blow to hockey in the south.


Hockey in the South will be just fine, given time and a little marketing. Trust me. Just for an example, my (former) home team, the Birmingham (Alabama) Bulls of the ECHL had 8 10,000+ crowds out of about 36 home games between 1/93 and 1/94. This was a minor league team that got next to zero advertising. Birmingham also had a WHA team that got good attendance years earlier.

Southerners in general love hockey, once they get used to it. They also generally love defensive, grinding hockey. Nashville will be okay, especially if they start winning more often.

And BTW, Atlanta IS NOT the South, it's a suburb of NYC. :puke:
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#16 point

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Posted 16 July 2003 - 08:40 AM

Tucker Lindros etc don't wnat their vacations to last past September? I can understand that, since they all started in early May!
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