Chat with Scott Burnside
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN.com's Scott Burnside will stop by to chat about the NHL's latest news and events.
Before joining ESPN in 2005, he was a reporter for the Windsor Star and Toronto Sun. Burnside has won numerous awards, including the 1990 National Newspaper Award, and also co-authored the best-selling true crime book "Deadly Innocence" in the mid-1990s. He is based in Atlanta.
Send your questions now and join Burnside on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
Scott Burnside (1:01 PM)
Greetings all. Still no end in sight for the NHL's ridiculous lockout but that shall not deter us from pushing forward in our discussion of all things puck. Now, where were we?
Do you think the Owner's really had any intention of preserving an 82 Game Season or was that just a PR stunt? I question it because they shot down 3 NHLPA proposals in a matter of minutes, are asking for another one, and won't negotiate unless it is only about certain parts of their own proposal...that seems quite unrealistic if you think about it.
Scott Burnside (1:03 PM)
Bob; Great question given all that's transpired since a week ago Tuesday when the NHL's last proposal raised the prospect of a full slate of games. I still think both sides believe that an 82-game schedule is still within reach and my feeling is it should be of paramount importance in an effort to put this charade of a negotiation behind us. The next few days will tell the tale for sure.
Are we really that close to canceling the Winter Classic? Would that mean a season is doomed?
Scott Burnside (1:05 PM)
Alex; Some rumors suggesting the WC could go down the tubes as early as tomorrow, Friday. Don't buy that myself. Early next week is possible. But let's be clear the NHL can say it's going to cancel the Winter Classic but if there's any way to salvage it they will do their best to make sure it gets played. And the players should be working toward that goal, too. I've always believed the drop-dead date for getting the WC up is around Thanksgiving given the logistics involved, perhaps a little later. So even if the NHL announces it's gone don't bet on it being really gone for some time yet. That said, when it's gone for good so, too, is the rest of the season at least in my opinion.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What do you think of the New York Islanders moving to the Barclay Center in Brooklyn in 2015?
Scott Burnside (1:07 PM)
Chris; I like it. It's not perfect both in terms of the capacity and the sight lines given that it's not built for hockey. But in terms of keeping the team in the New York area and getting it out of the broken down Nassau County Coliseum, this is a pretty good landing place. Unless of course you're an NHL fan in Quebec City that was hoping the Isles would be coming north.
Lucky (Ocean, NJ)
Why has nobody suggested bringing in a mediator to settle the lockout?
Scott Burnside (1:08 PM)
Lucky; My understanding is that both sides would have to agree to having third party mediation and that's not going to happen. Too many egos to look for outside help even though at this stage you would think both sides would be banging down the doors to get a deal done through any avenue possible.
Nick (Does it matter?)
Not really a question just a comment. I would really like to thank the NHL and the NHLPA for their on going commitement to the negotiations as they remember the vendors, ushers and other employees that work in the venues their teams play in. Oh and also how they are thinking of the people that have made investments in restaurants and other businesses that surround those same venues. Let's give them all a big hand for working so hard to come to some sort of an agreement so that these people aren't suffering any longer than they need to.
Scott Burnside (1:11 PM)
Nick; Couldn't agree more. There are so many aggravating elements to this labor dispute but the one that is easy (easiest?) to overlook is the trickle down effect. Spoke to a business owner in Pittsburgh recently whose in serious trouble thanks to the lockout. All those people you mentioned, people who often rely on the money made waiting tables or ushering or looking after parking lots or selling hotdogs and souvenirs to get by get brushed to the side by two sides unable to find a way to divide up $3.3 billion in revenues. Sad and shameful.
Mitch (New York)
Any chance the Islanders can negotiate a break on the lease to start games sooner in Brooklyn?
Scott Burnside (1:13 PM)
Mitch; I don't believe so. Of course at the rate the players and owners are going the Isles' next game may in fact be at Barclays.
Brad Paradis (Ogdensburg NY)
Why is it the NHL has had two lockouts in such a short amount of time while other sports have not experienced this issue?
Scott Burnside (1:15 PM)
Brad; Great question and it's one that both sides need to give serious thought to once (when? if?) this dispute gets settled. How do sponsors, fans etc. have any faith that this isn't a league that is deeply flawed when it comes to relationships with its players? Of course they can't have any faith because it is deeply flawed. Not a Gary Bettman basher by any stretch of the imagination but fair to question the leadership at the top on both sides and given that Commissioner Bettman has presided over three such lockouts it's not a particularly flattering track record especially given how other top sports have managed to avoid such dangerous and destructive stoppages.
Lonny (Blaine, Mn)
I am tired talking about the lockout. I just want to know if you think Minnesota will get a Hockey Classic in the next five years?
Scott Burnside (1:17 PM)
Lonny; I am with you. And yes, with Zach Parise and Ryan Suter in the fold giving the Wild a lot more 'oomph' when it comes to star power and recognition amongst the casual fan I would be shocked if The State of Hockey does not get to host a Winter Classic in the near future. Now, who gets to visit? What about Dallas?
with this "reported done deal" for luongo do you have a sense of which team its with? i think with toronto for tyler bozak
Scott Burnside (1:20 PM)
Greg; Easy there big fella. Still a couple of balls in the air vis a vis Luongo making his departure from Vancouver. If the league does punish the kinds of front-loaded so-called 'cheat' deals which Luongo signed that makes the asking price a little steeper from Vancouver's perspective since they would be on the hook for his cap hit if he retires. I still think it's Florida but Dale Tallon has been resistant to give up a top prospect. The Leafs can now acquire Luongo with a clear conscience and Bozak might make sense. Mike Gillis will have more leverage moving forward so that may alter how much comes back to the Canucks.
Jonathan Toews (Chicago)
Will I hoist the cup this year?
Scott Burnside (1:23 PM)
Jonathan; Depends on which cup you're talking about. If it's the Stanley Cup I would have to say it's unlikely. Still don't think the Blackhawks have the goaltending to get the job done. Which brings us to an earlier question I would think GM Stan Bowman might circle back to Vancouver to see exactly what Mike Gillis might want for Luongo. In spite of Luongo's propensity for melting in the playoffs he stands as a significant upgrade on what the 'Hawks have now.
Brandon (Bakersfield, CA)
Any chance we see a last minute deal take place right before the deadline tonight?
Scott Burnside (1:24 PM)
Brandon; No way. But I think (as the players believe) that the deadline is a bit fluid. I think if there was movement in the next 24-48 hours there is still a chance to get things done in time for a full schedule.
I read an article on TSN about a shortened season possibly 72 games going forward which would create better inter division play and rivalries. What are your thoughts on that? Personally I think hockey in June is a little too much.
Scott Burnside (1:27 PM)
David; Not sure if you're talking about a 72 game schedule as becoming the norm but I don't see any way that happens. With players and owners splitting revenues neither side will want to lose 10 games even though I agree a shorter schedule in theory makes for better hockey, better playoff races and healthier players come playoff time. And any way to get hockey done by the end of May would be a bonus. Just not going to happen on a long-term basis.
do these players realize they'll lose much more in a lost season than a 12% rollback?
Scott Burnside (1:28 PM)
Tom; Yes I'm sure they've run the math. But for many it's a battle of bottom line and principles. They feel the owners have treated them poorly when it comes to these negotiations and in many ways you can see why that is. But you're right, no way they make the money back lost through a significantly shortened season or worse a lost season. Never happens.
Garrett (Long Island)
Hey Scott! I'm just trying to be optomistic here. If a season is salvaged who do you have playing in the ECF/WCF, Stanley Cup Finals, and who is the eventual champion?
Scott Burnside (1:30 PM)
Garrett; Here's how I see it shaking down. New York Rangers and Pittsburgh in the east final. Los Angeles and St. Louis in the west final. Kings and Penguins in final. Penguins win it. Now, come back next week and I may have a completely different answer.
Scott, should the fact that more marquee players are starting to head overseas be an indication of anything? Patrick Kane to Kiel, Cory Schneider "now" considering his overseas options, Scott Hartnell heading over, Sidney Crosby "says" he'll have to start thinking about it...etc. Is this a negotiating tactic by the players...or advice coming from agents that there won't be a season? Whether Crosby would risk injury/insurance is one thing, but if he were to actually go...does that mean the season is over?
Scott Burnside (1:32 PM)
Blake; I'm not sure there's a pattern at all to players' decision to go to Europe or when to go. My sense is a lot of guys, especially guys with big, long-term deals that cost an enormous amount of money to insure, have been more reluctant to go. I think for many guys it's about staying sharp, playing in games. There's still a large group skating four times a week in Minnesota. They may be better able to ride this out in the short-term than guys in other markets. But when/if the season if canned then you'll see more guys looking for places to play. Not sure there's any benefit one way or the other vis a vis bargaining strategy though.
Jared Romberger (Philadelphia, PA)
Scott I want it plain and simple, do you think there will be a season this year or not.. honest opinion.
Scott Burnside (1:34 PM)
Jared; Yes. I still think there's going to be hockey this season and I still think there's a chance to get the full 82 in. Of course I thought the Kings would lose every round last spring.
When do you think hockey will be played ??
Scott Burnside (1:35 PM)
Bill; I will say Nov.9 or Nov. 10. That happens to be Hall of Fame weekend. Good way to kick off new season.
Speaking of the Kings, how much do you think the ongoing lockout will impact new fans in LA and other markets?
Scott Burnside (1:38 PM)
Andrew; This stinks for all the markets but I have to imagine places like Los Angeles, coming off its first-ever Stanley Cup are seeing potential revenues dry up on an hourly basis. Tampa has yet to full recover from missing out on its post-Cup season (they had other issues too of course). Carolina made a big splash in the off-season now they're buried behind SEC football, NASCAR and the NFL season. What about Phoenix. No owners still and now a lockout after going to their first-ever conference final. Terrible. Florida makes the playoffs for the first time since 2000 and now this. Talk about a kick in the teeth.
Hank Scorpio (Cypress Creek)
Should the NHL season get canned what would you pick as the best hockey event for the season?
Scott Burnside (1:40 PM)
Hank; I think the World Championships next spring, a tournament I normally disdain for its watered down product and meandering format would be a treat. With the 2014 Olympics looming and all players available it should be a terrific tilt being held in Helsinki and Stockholm.
Sid (North Carolina)
Do you think the owners are really as unified as they seem. I couldn't help but think we would not be in this situation if some owners were more responsible. Is there any system that can protect the owners from themselves?
Scott Burnside (1:42 PM)
Sid; I'll answer the second question first; no. The owners and their GMs seem incapable of shooting themselves in the foot regardless of the system and then the league's fallback position is to squeeze the players for more to help correct their own mistakes. And to your first, I think there was a lot of pressure put on Gary Bettman from more moderate owners to produce last Tuesday's offer. No way all 30 owners like what's going on but that's a moot point in many ways. And the further this goes a greater number of owners will dig in their heels making a deal even more difficult to negotiate.
Nick C (San Jose)
Pessimistically speaking, if the season is lost, which team is hurt the most by it? Got to believe a team like San Jose's "small window" only gets smaller.
Scott Burnside (1:45 PM)
Nick; Yes, San Jose would be a team that will feel a special pinch if they lose a whole season. Don't think this is especially good for Detroit, even the Rangers which really seem to have their ducks in a row with Rick Nash, Brad Richards, a rehabbing Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist. A year off for those players won't help. Frankly not many teams you can point to and say, gee, not playing for a year might help. Florida, with so many good young players might be one. Chicago has a good group of youngsters that might benefit from a year away from the NHL and of course Edmonton.
Hi Scott, I was wondering 2 things:1) In the NHL in danger of losing any sponsors and / or will franchises get massively devalued because of this continued CBA mess?and2) Is Bettman's job safe? Multiple lockouts seems extreme and it seems like the league is losing money partly because of the expansion he championed (and teams like Phoenix which wasn't allowed to move to Hamilton)
Scott Burnside (1:47 PM)
RJ: I'm I'm a sponsor I'm not happy about this and it'll be interesting to see what happens with revenues when the game returns as the league will have to make good for lost time with those sponsors. As for franchise values my sense is that those values are tied as much with the financial structure of the CBA (as was the case seven years ago when the salary cap came in) so I don't see the lockout as having an immediate impact on those values.
if the season gets turfed how would the settle draft order?
Scott Burnside (1:50 PM)
Greg; A couple of questions about a draft order if the season is lost. If I recall the Crosby draft in 2005 there was a weight lottery in which teams that had had a first overall pick in the previous three years had less of a chance of earning the first overall pick. Playoff performance also factored into the number of balls a team had in the hopper (one to three). The draft order also was a snake format so the 30th pick then picked 31st as opposed to going 1-30 and then back to the top.
You say that the longer this goes on, the greater the chance that the more moderate owners dig in their heels. You are not the only person that is saying this. If that seems to be the consensus, why would Fehr be holding out longer, losing games (and money) in hopes of a BETTER deal? Would seem that someone is making a big miscalculation.
Scott Burnside (1:51 PM)
Dan; I guess that's why he gets paid the big bucks (which he's not collecting by the way during the lockout). This is, at least in my mind, a dangerous game of brinksmanship where the PA is looking to sweat the league just a little bit longer to get as good a deal as they can.
If the season is lost how does it effect the Devils and their financial issues. I have to assume not bringing in any revenue is going to hurt them.
Scott Burnside (1:53 PM)
Pete; Don't know that there's anything new to report on the Devils' financial front although rumors that the NHL had taken control of the team were not true. It's now in the hands of the bankers as I understand it.
Scott, if the owners agree to honor the current contracts that have been signed, will that get the deal done? Is this the major snag in th enegotiations?
Scott Burnside (1:55 PM)
enzo; It's one of them. The league needs to be able to show the PA how they're going to 'make whole' or pay out the existing contracts in full (or as close as any of the previous contracts have been guaranteed with the escrow component in place) while at the same time somehow manipulating the revenue split to 50-50. My guess is that it will take a 53 or 52 for the owners to start and slowly declining to 50-50 over the life of the deal.
let's go phantoms! as it stands right now, who are the top 3 AHL teams?
Scott Burnside (1:58 PM)
brett; I think the teams that are interesting (not necessarily the best) are Syracuse with Jon Cooper continuing to keep Tampa's top team at the top of the standings, Oklahoma City which is populated by Edmonton's top young stars and Hershey where Adam Oates and Mark French are sharing the coaching duties with the NHL out of action.
Wetmullet (Falmouth, Cape Cod)
Any chance the NHL would go to scabs for a season?
Scott Burnside (1:58 PM)
Wet; Not going to happen.
Scott, Kovalchuk was pretty vocal about Russian players staying put if contracts are lowered. He's backing what Ovechkin has already stated. Starting to believe these guys or is it simply bluffing 101?
Scott Burnside (1:59 PM)
JD; Unless Kovalchuk and Ovechkin became lawyers in the off-season there's no way for them to stay in the KHL or anywhere in Europe when the NHL settles. KHL won't or shouldn't let them play if they have a valid NHL contract and the IIHF will (or should) deny them participation in any sanctioned international event including the World Championships and Olympics. Not going to happen.
Scott Burnside (2:01 PM)
Well, we soldiered through another lockout chat. Here's hoping when we next gather in this space we have more happy things to discuss. Thanks as always for dropping by. Until next time.