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SBD/August 14, 2012/Leagues and Governing BodiesPrint All
The NHLPA will make a CBA proposal to the league's owners today in a meeting in Toronto. It is expected that it will not be a direct response to the NHL's proposal of a month ago, which called for major cuts in the players' share of revenues. Instead, the proposal will include ideas on increased revenue sharing among the league's thirty teams. It also may propose the elimination of the salary cap. NHLPA Exec Dir Donald Fehr told reporters yesterday afternoon that the proposal will be an "alternate view" of the league's first offer. "Some people interpret a counter proposal to be, 'This is within the framework of what the other guy said.' It just moves some things around," Fehr said. "This is a different kind of an approach. It's how the players see the world." A large contingent of players, including Penguins C Sidney Crosby, Capitals LW Alex Ovechkin and Lightning C Steven Stamkos, are expected to attend today's meeting, which began at 11:00am ET. Despite the rancor, Fehr said he was keeping an open mind heading into today's meeting. "All things in this world at this stage of this negotiation are possible," he said (Christopher Botta, SportsBusiness Journal).
PLAYERS TAKE THEIR SHOT: The GLOBE & MAIL's David Shoalts writes what will be presented to the owners today in Toronto "will be ways they can share a much greater portion of the $3.3-billion in revenue the league pulled in during the 2011-12 season so the poorest teams can finally worry more about making the playoffs than making their mortgage payments." But this "does not mean any serious bargaining on a new agreement to replace the one that expires Sept. 15 is under way." It just means "each side has finally stated its philosophy about a solution." Shoalts: "Do not be surprised if it shows Fehr's remark last week of a 'meaningful gulf' sounds optimistic" (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/14). In Montreal, Mike Boone notes Fehr will "make the case that the NHL's fundamental problem is the revenue disparity between the league's haves and have-nots." If franchises in "non-traditional hockey markets are to survive ... the only solution is meaningful revenue-sharing between the rich and poor clubs." The NHL "wants redistribution of wealth -- effected on the backs of its players." The players "are about to put the puck on [NHL Commissioner Gary] Bettman's side of centre ice." Boone: "I fear he's going to rag it till Sept. 15 -- and beyond" (Montreal GAZETTE, 8/14).
WORKING ON DEADLINE: The CP's Chris Johnston wrote time is "beginning to run short," and Bettman "added even more urgency to the talks when he said last week that the players will be locked out if that date passes without a new agreement." It was a comment that "resonated strongly with the players -- many of whom took to Twitter to voice their displeasure with it." Fehr said, "The tone (of negotiations), in a sense, I suppose is a little different given that backdrop and the starkness from which it was delivered" (CP, 8/13). The CP noted Canada Prime Minister Stephen Harper is "hoping there won't be a work stoppage" in the NHL this fall. But Harper said, "The one positive thing that a strike does is draw attention to the other high-calibre hockey that is played in this country and around the world. I don't think I have to tell you as a hockey fan, I certainly hope along with everybody else there will not be a strike or a lockout" (CP, 8/13).
NFL execs yesterday said that they "now foresee starting the 2012 regular season with replacement officials," according to Mortensen & Schefter of ESPN.com. Sources said that the NFL and NFL Referees Association "are not making any progress towards a new deal." The league "wants to make a group of officials, who work only part time for the NFL, work full time." But more than 90% of the referees "already have full-time jobs and they are unwilling to leave them and the revenue they provide." The NFL also "wants to add three additional crews to give officials more rest and the league more officiating options, but the locked-out officials oppose this." The league "believes if it could bring in more officials now, it could groom more for the future." Additionally, the NFL has "discussed the option of rotating some of the proposed new officials into established crews if the league determines there is a substandard performance by an official that merits a change." A source estimated that the two sides "would not resolve their differences until the third week of the regular season" (ESPN.com, 8/13). ESPN.com's John Clayton wrote NFL replacement officials have “been terrible,” and if the league “doesn’t get a deal to bring the real officials back by the third preseason week, the league could ruin what might be a great season” (ESPN.com, 8/10). Locked-out NFL head linesman Mark Baltz said, "I don't see that the players and owners will put up with this much longer. The integrity of the league, I think, is at stake" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 8/14).
THE BLAME GAME: ESPN.com's Dan Graziano writes the blame lies "with the NFL owners." The NFL "hasn't locked out its officials because it has to." It has "locked them out because it can, at no cost to itself." The referees "should stand their ground in negotiations." Graziano: "If anything, the work of the replacements -- and the public's reaction to it -- helps their case against the league" (ESPN.com, 8/13). CSNBAYAREA.com's Ray Ratto wrote the dispute is "about money," and in order to "save that money, the owners are willing to put a dent in a new season -- one more tribute to their actual respect for the product." NFL owners "know you'll watch anyway, and they already have most of the TV and ticket money, so they're basically dismissing the sport to fuel their need to remind the labor force just how replaceable it is" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 8/13).
PERFORMANCE REVIEWS: SI.com’s Peter King wrote there were “not a lot of debacle plays over the weekend, but if you think the regular season will go smoothly with the replacement officials, you’re mistaken” (SI.com, 8/13). In Charlotte, Jones & Person noted during Saturday’s Texans-Panthers game “no real controversial calls were made, but head referee Gerald Wright did forget to turn off his microphone in the second quarter.” His comments “were work-related, though” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/11). In K.C., Randy Covitz wrote during Friday’s Cardinals-Chiefs game the replacement officials “gift-wrapped a scoring opportunity” for Chiefs QB Brady Quinn when they “called pass interference” on Cardinals CB William Gay, who “had made incidental contact” with Chiefs WR Jamar Newsome (K.C. STAR, 8/11). The AP’s Joe Kay wrote the replacement officials working Friday’s Jets-Bengals game “had a couple of tough moments.” They spotted the ball “incorrectly after one play and had to quickly move it about 4 yards ahead before the next snap.” Referee Jerry Frump “announced that a play was under review coming out of a 2-minute warning, then corrected that ‘It was just a test’” (AP, 8/10). The AP noted in Sunday's Raiders-Cowboys game, the replacement officials "spotted one ball outside the hash marks only to have [Cowboys QB Tony] Romo correct them" (AP, 8/13).
'A' FOR EFFORT? In Jacksonville, Vito Stellino wrote the replacement officials who worked the Jaguars-Giants game Friday night "seemed out of their element at times.” The officials had to “stop one play just before the snap to pick up a flag they left on the field on the previous play.” They also “seemed confused" when Giants QB Ryan Perrilloux "threw an illegal 15-yard pass because he crossed the line of scrimmage before he threw” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 8/12). Giants coach Tom Coughlin after the game said, “They’re trying as hard as they can to do the best job they can. Is it emblematic of a preseason game? Probably. There certainly are mistakes made” (NYPOST.com, 8/11). Giants WR Victor Cruz said, “It’s by far a tough job for them. But we just want to make sure that as players, we’re protected as well” (NEWSDAY, 8/12).
After Rory McIlroy on Sunday won the '12 PGA Championship for his second career major, golf's "Age of McIlroy may have finally begun,” according to Gary Van Sickle of GOLF.com. The sport “has been waiting for a new king ever since Tiger Woods assumed the throne with that Masters win for the ages in 1997.” For many fans and media, the "rush to judgment began last year when McIlroy romped past the U.S. Open field at Congressional.” But after the PGA Championship win, now comes "the dawn of a great opportunity for McIlroy, and he will fuel our golf conversations until we return to Augusta National next April” (GOLF.com, 8/12). In Boston, Ron Borges wrote, “Woods no longer is golf’s measuring stick. A 23-year-old from Northern Ireland is.” Golfer Padraig Harrington said, “Rory is showing that, with his A game, everybody else is going to struggle to compete with him.” He added, “Tiger needs his A game to come up against Rory. He’s not going to beat him unless he has a big weekend” (BOSTON HERALD, 8/13). In West Palm Beach, Greg Stoda wrote McIlroy is “now indisputably the face of the future of professional golf" (PALM BEACH POST, 8/13). ESPN’s Mike Greenberg said, “For all the people who have been casting Rory McIlroy in the role of he’s ‘the next one,’ ‘the next great one,’ ‘the next Tiger,’ he’s right on pace. He’s right on time” (“Mike and Mike in the Morning,” ESPN Radio, 8/13).