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NHL stoppage doesn't look to be a long one

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The NHL has joined the NFL and NBA as North American sports leagues to enact work stoppages since 2011. The men who have represented the owners and players in these battles:


Roger Goodell

He has served as commissioner since 2006. He oversaw the 2011 lockout that lasted from March 11-July 25. Only the exhibition Hall of Fame game was missed.

DeMaurice Smith

He has served as union executive director since 2009. He oversaw union's decision to decertify during a 2011 lockout.

David Stern

He has served as commissioner since 1984. His tenure has included four lockouts. The 2011 lockout lasted from July 1- Dec. 8 and resulted in a shortened season, the second under Stern.

Billy Hunter

He has served as union executive director since 1996. The NBA has played two shortened seasons in his tenure. During the 2011 lockout, he oversaw the union dissolving into a trade association.


Gary Bettman

He has served as commissioner since 1993. The 2012 lockout is a third work stoppage under his tenure. He is the only commissioner to preside over a cancelled season (2004-05) because of a labor dispute.

Don Fehr

He has served as union executive director since 2010. The 2012 lockout is his first with hockey, but he was part of five work stoppages during three decades with the baseball union, including the 1994 strike that cancelled the World Series.

2011 NBA labor dispute

Major points of dispute: Division of basketball-related income (BRI), salary-cap structure and the luxury tax.

Length: July 1-Dec. 8, 161 days.

History will remember: National Basketball Players Association dissolves union into a trade association (Nov. 14, 2011).


· Players' BRI share decreases from 57 percent to 51.2 percent (Year 1). Players will receive between 49-51 percent of BRI in Years 2-10. The split in these years depends on revenue growth.

· Clubs afforded amnesty exemption to remove a player from the cap, but only once during 10-year CBA.

· Players' max salary remains at 25, 30 or 35 percent of cap, based on years of service.

· “Derrick Rose Rule” allows a player on a rookie contract to be retained at up to 30 percent of team cap — increase from 25 percent.

· Luxury tax, previous at $1-to-$1 ratio, increases incrementally for every $5 million beyond threshold.

· Escrow goes from 8 percent to an annual 10-percent withholding; necessary difference taken from players' retirement fund instead of future salary.

· Salary cap remains soft but allows for increased midlevel exemptions for teams that will/won't pay luxury tax and teams with no cap room.

· Salary floor raises from 75 percent of cap to 85-90 percent of cap.

16 Regular-season games missed per team

$1 billion Estimated lost TV advertising revenue

42 Sets of games played on three consecutive nights


Major points of dispute: Rookie salaries, season length, salary-cap structure, division of football-related revenue (FRR) and safety/health benefits.

Length: March 11-July 25, 137 days.

History will remember: National Football League Players Association decertifies (March 11, 2011). U.S. District Court judge invalidates NFL lockout (April 25, 2011) and Eighth Circuit court of appeals vacates that ruling (July 8, 2011).


· Players' receive 55 percent of national media revenue (TV), 45 percent of revenue from NFL Ventures (projects) and 40 percent of local team revenue (tickets).

· Elimination of judicial oversight in owners-players disputes.

· Players eligible for unrestricted free agency after four years and restricted free agency after three.

· Salary cap set at approximately $120 million, with no initial minimum per team. Teams hold option of three player exemptions, each at $1.5 million, over course of 10-year CBA.

· Salary floor set at 89 percent of cap but does not return until 2013.

· Rookie wage scale enacted. First-round picks to receive four-year deals with an option.

· Players' minimum salary increases by 10-12 percent, based on tenure.

· Regular season remains 16 games, not 18.

· Organized offseason practice schedule shortened by five weeks.

· Two-a-day practices in pads eliminated from training camp.

· On-field time/full-contact practices reduced.

0 Regular-season games missed

$1 billion Increased benefits for retired players

50 Minimum percentage increase of rights fees for all TV partners

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Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, 10:58 p.m.

Hockey fans lamenting the latest NHL work stoppage can perhaps take solace in the likelihood that it might not last as long as the one started eight years ago.

That dispute was about economic structure, the implementation of a salary cap. This dispute, if both sides are to be believed, is about plain economics — a divide of revenue that was $3.1 billion last season.

Players had been collecting 57 percent on the last collective bargaining agreement. The last NHL offer called for owners to collect a range from 51-53 percent.

“This is a battle for hockey revenue, and if it's just about that, there shouldn't be a long stoppage,” said Larry Silverman, the Pirates' baseball legal counsel from 2002-11. “Long stoppages occur when there are fundamental structural differences between parties.”

Silverman said that was the case during the 2011 NBA lockout, which cost that league 16 regular-season games per team and featured infighting among the union and owners.

A contrast was the 2011 NFL lockout, which was about a lot of things but came down to a split of North American's sports biggest overall economic pie, said Lynn Lashbrook, president of Portland-based Sports Management Worldwide.

The backdrop of a struggling U.S. economy and “politics” has perhaps influenced the NHL dispute, Lashbrook said.

“Look at the Chicago teachers strike, the (lockout) of NFL referees, and the backdrop of owners, generally, being very strong men,” Lashbrook said. “There is kind of a collision going on now that is more universal than even two years ago. My read is that owners think, ‘Enough's enough.' And employees, or players, think, ‘Yeah, for us, too.' ”

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at




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