February 4, 2023

Brighton Journal

Complete News World

LeBrun grumbled: NHL playoff series has traction, but not with Gary Bettman — yet

The Athletic

PALM BEACH, FL – In a Board of Governors meeting that yielded little news, perhaps the most interesting thing I learned was the element that Not formally discussed.

At least, it was for me.

I did an informal poll of conservatives over the course of two and a half days. The question was simple: Would you like the idea of ​​playing before the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

I asked 12 governors. The score was 12-0 in favor NHL Add play round. I did not find a single dissenting voice.

Now, I’m sure if I were to question the referees from all 32 teams, I would find a few in opposition. But still: 12 judges, 12 people who loved the idea of ​​playing.

None of the Conservatives wanted to speak formally about it because they knew they would suffer the wrath of Commissioner Gary Pittman if they did.

Because Bateman is still firmly against the idea. He’s been very consistent with that over the past few years. Well, I posed the question to Bettman again on Tuesday after the conclusion of the two-day Board of Governors meeting:

How about the idea of ​​expanding the playoffs through a game like NBA it’s over?

“If I said to them, ‘Would you be open to playing?'” Some of them might say, ‘We can talk about it.’ We don’t get that feedback,” Bateman insisted. And so, I don’t feel much of a desire to change.”

It’s probably true that the owners and team executives aren’t in his ear yet on the matter. It certainly wasn’t the right time to do that during a pandemic. There were other priorities.

But the more I hear about some of these clubs, the more I feel that moment over the next few years is when there will be a push to play. And the tipping point could be if US television partners ESPN and TNT decide they want to support the idea and pressure Bettman to consider it.

I asked Bettman on Tuesday why he didn’t like the idea.

“You’re looking to solve a problem that doesn’t exist,” Bateman said.

Another reporter asked about potential additional revenue that could be obtained.

“I’m not sure it boosts revenue,” Bateman said. “Easing off the regular season and easing into the playoffs doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. I think having a system where half the teams make the playoffs and the other half don’t, I think that’s ideal.”

This week marks the 30th anniversary of Bettman’s election as NHL Commissioner at the Board of Governors meeting at this very hotel.

At that time, 16 of the 24 teams participated in the playoffs. Before that, it was number 16 of 21. And that was ridiculous, of course. Very easy way. But she is now 16 of 32.

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It’s just the right time to discuss the advantages of gaming. The most popular concept will see No. 7 vs. No. 10 and No. 8 vs. No. 9 at each conference in a best-of-three series, held quickly over a maximum of three days. No Travel The highest seed gets to host the entire series. This is what some people would like to see.

It will have more teams playing related games in March, no doubt about that.

This concept still protects the traditional 16-team stadium. It is a game of entering to reach the 16th.

But for any of that to see the light of day, owners will need to start making reverse conversions with the commissioner. I would suggest that this be done at the Executive Committee level. This is the smallest group of owners who have the delegate’s permission.

League investigation

Bateman was asked about the league’s ongoing investigation into the 2018 Canadian World Junior Team, which appears to be drawing to a close.

“We still have some work to do,” Bateman said. We understand that two more investigations are ongoing. We have more work to do in terms of coordination, especially with the players’ union, but I think we’re definitely on home soil.”

What seems clear is that the NHL does not want to interfere in any way with the police investigations that are still ongoing in London, Ontario, meaning that I believe the league is sensitive to the fact that publicizing the results of its investigation to the London police with the conduct of their criminal investigation could be problematic.

Bateman was asked specifically if the league would announce its results to the London police.

“That’s up to the London police. If they told us not to make things public, we wouldn’t,” Bateman said.

salary cap

Since 2005, it has been the tradition for the league to give the umpires a peek/projection of next season’s salaries at this meeting.

To that end, it appears that despite some hope at the October meeting that the cap could jump by more than $4 million if a certain revenue threshold is met this season, HR will be lower than that, and players won’t be quite as well. . The guarantee has been paid off from the pandemic, and so we’re probably looking at just a $1 million increase in the cap this summer, to $83.5 million.

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“Based on current projections, there will still be a guarantee at the end of the season, and if that’s the case, we’ll increase the cap by $1 million,” Bateman said. “The budget outlook we have now is very strong – we expect to have a very good season – but if we do better, through the field with an extra $140 and $150m, it’s conceivable that the guarantee will go a long way and then the cap will go into the medium term. ​To 86 (million) plus. We’ll have to see. We’ll just watch it. Obviously if we don’t finish paying the guarantee this year, after next year it should all be over and there shouldn’t be any problem with that.”

A third option would be to negotiate a “smoothing out” of cap escalation over the next few years with the NHLPA. The league has not yet been contacted by the NHLPA (which is discussing the matter with players internally at the moment, according to sources familiar with the matter but not authorized to speak about it publicly).

“It’s not something we’re discussing right now,” Bateman said. “It is the way it is. If it is going to be changed, that is obviously something that would have to be discussed with the players’ union.”

Based on what I’m hearing, I’d be surprised if the NHLPA didn’t approach the league at some point on this topic.

Another factor that can negatively affect revenue is the decline in the Canadian dollar. The seven Canadian clubs have a significant impact on HRR, so a lower Canadian dollar is not ideal.

“We took that into account,” Bateman said. “That was marginally, very marginally, a factor outside of our initial projections, probably in the $10 to $15 million range. Last year, we ended up with about $5.4 billion, give or take — I’m rounding — which is about half a billion more than we expected. Going into it. It’s one of the reasons why we even have this discussion. We expect another good year of increases in HR. But when we mentioned that, there was about a billion and a half dollars to pay off. Collectively — I mean, we and the players — we’ve done a very good job through Strongly bringing things back as they were as it is quite clear that, for sure, it will be paid off in the not too distant future.”

Current revenue projections are that players will owe owners around $70 million less by the end of the season.

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On Tuesday, Pittman revealed that there are at least 12 owners interested in selling the Senators.

“There are more than a dozen parties that I believe have signed a non-disclosure agreement and have expressed interest in this process,” Bittman said. “I think the process requires the data room to be open, which should be done soon, and they will probably start a more structured process after the first of the year.”

Could Canadian Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds be involved in a new ownership group for the Senators, regardless of which party the team ends up with? It would seem that this is what the National Hockey League is hoping for. Pittman said he and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daley met with Reynolds.

“Bill and I met with Ryan Reynolds, who impressed us a lot,” Bateman said. “If we can find a way to include him, I think that would be great for the Senators and I think that would be great for the league.”

On what distinguished Reynolds:

“He’s very smart. He’s got a number of businesses besides acting, he understands sports, he understands promotion. I think he told us he has over 100 million followers on all of his platforms combined. He’s a hugely popular person and a great orator.”

As for the timeline for the sale, that’s still not 100% clear.

“In terms of begging for who wants to be in the process, (it’s) an ongoing thing and I think the more formal process won’t start until after the holidays are over and people are back and focused,” Bateman said.

Non-commercial listings

Interesting little nugget at the end of Dali’s media availability. You’ve requested an update on the league’s desire to centrally record non-trading lists in player contracts around the league in the wake of last season’s cancellation VegasAnaheim trade involving Evgeny Dadonov.

The league announced in March that it would work with the NHLPA to build a clearinghouse for no-trade lists.

“We’ve already had discussions with the Players’ Association about creating a requirement that all non-commercial documents be filed simultaneously with the Central Registry and the Players’ Association,” Daly said at the time.

But after months of back-and-forth between the league and the NHLPA, it looks like there won’t be a common clearinghouse after all. Daley said on Tuesday that it appeared the league would move forward on its own, and that starting next season clubs would share no-trade list information with the Central Registry.

(Photo by Gary Bateman: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)